Nike Uses 3D Printing to Get Soccer Cleat Ready for Rio Olympics

Nike is getting its soccer cleat ready for the Olympics in Rio and it took quite a bit of help from the company's 3d printing teams to get it done.

The company's soccer design director was focused on two primary factors when they set out to create the shoe that the US Women's Soccer team, and others, will wear in Rio.

“The idea was to innovate around touch and grip,” Nate Van Hook of Nike told Tim Newcomb at Sports Illustrated.

In order to get the bottom of the cleats to be just right, Van Hook and his team wanted to replicate the human "prune effect", which he described as the ridges that form on extremities (hands, fingers, etc) when they're submerged in water for extended periods of time.  According to Van Hook, those ridges are our natural way of improving grip when wet.

nike 3d printing soccer cleat olympics

In order to get that "prune effect", Nike made what Van Hook called "crude mockups" using 3d printers to find the right shaped studs on the bottom of the Magista 2 cleat.

With the use of 3d printed prototypes Nike realized if they created circular studs on the ball of the foot, with certain parts of the studs shaved off, they could end up with a superior product ready for the Olympics.

“We were able to take these studs and put them in a simulator and see how the traction is working,” Van Hook said.

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