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On Feb. 24, Nike revealed the Vapor Laser Talon, a football cleat with a revolutionary 3D printed plate, created using Selective Laser Sintering technology. Weighing in at only 5.6 ounces, the cleats are designed to improve an athlete's speed and acceleration and are geared toward one objective: to make the 40-Yard Dash a better experience. (Check out Kurt Hester's 40-Yard Dash Training Program.)
These are the first cleats created with 3D printing technology. Nike promises the lightweight technology will improve grip on wet turf while increasing speed. Debuting in neon yellow with a black Nike swoosh, the Vapor Laser Talons have a honeycomb pattern on the sole and breathable material in the upper.
Nike partnered with Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson for the design. Johnson, who has been helping football players improve their 40-Yard Dash for several years, believes the 3D printed plate has the potential to improve a player's acceleration.
Using Selective Laser Sintering technology (SLS), the company fused materials together to create a unique 3D pattern for the soles of the cleats. Nike indicated that this type of technology will be used in the creation of other shoes, because it offers designers more flexibility.
Nike's success with 3D printing technology may lead other manufacturers to use similar techniques in the production of future shoe models. It allows for layers of materials to be built up and quickly fused together based on 3D patterns and designs. At this point, only the soles of the Vapor Laser Talon incorporate this technology, but this may change in the future to include the entire cleat.