Sports firm in World Cup first
Sports gear manufacturer Nike is about to launch its first 3D printed bag and a new shin guard – developed using the digital technology.
The Nike Football Rebento Duffel is the world’s first 3D printed performance sports bag. So far, only three have been made and were carried by footballers Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in Brazil during the FIFA World Cup.
“We wanted to create something that was truly special for the game’s greatest players,” says Martin Lotti, creative director for Nike Football.
“We did this by using one of the most cutting-edge technologies – 3D printing – to make a bag that is unlike anything else.”
Taking cues from the Nike Flyknit pattern of the Magista and Mercurial, the laser-sintered nylon creates an intertwined weave on the bag’s 3D printed base. The 3D print also gives the bag body and creates a lightweight, yet durable structure that allows for flex.
Handcrafted, premium leather is used on the bag’s upper and straps, which seamlessly fits into the 3D printed base without the use of glue or adhesive. 3D printed hardware allows for unprecedented levels of customisation and opens new possibilities for integrated individuality.
The Mercurial FlyLite shin guard, says Nike, is a revolutionary design that’s “built for speed”.
“Players such as Neymar recognize the need for a guard and want that protection, but they tell us they want it without sacrifice,” says Lotti. “So we sought to give them just that – our best protection without sacrificing, speed, fit or comfort.”
The combination of engineered materials and a new design provides premium protection with a “barely-there” feel.
A specially engineered shock system at the back of the guard combines with an outer shell that work together for optimal impact protection with increased flexibility and breathability.
The guard replaces traditional foam backing with a new webbed shock system that, gram for gram – claims Lotti, provides more consistent impact absorption hit after hit than foam.
The innovative webbed backing uses pips, which come into contact with the outer shell to help absorb and disperse impact, protecting the shin while removing excess materials.
“We found the more material you took away, the better the guard protected the shin,” says Lotti. “Reducing material also allowed for unprecedented flexibility, creating a fit that was unlike anything players had experienced.”
In addition to the increased flexibility, allowing for a more customised fit, the pips cover a larger surface area along the shin bone to help distribute force over a greater area and absorb impact. The honeycomb structure also delivers optimal airflow and breathability, while the thin profile offers the ultimate in lightweight strength.
Nike’s equipment design team also used 3D printing technology to experiment with hundreds of impact patterns.
“With 3D printing, we were able to quickly innovate, experiment and test hundreds of patterns and prototypes for the engineered shock system,” said Lotti.