Could The World’s Fastest Shoe Really Have Come From A Printer?

A student at the Royal College of Art in London claims he has invented the world’s fastest running shoe. French-born engineer and designer Luc Fusaro developed a prototype that can be architectured around the unique shape of a sprinter’s foot, weighs just 96 grams, and can shed fractions of a second off your time. Here’s the coolest part (aside from the fact that it looks like God’s slipper): It comes straight out of a printer.

Designed to Win, as Fusaro calls it, is fabricated through selective laser sintering (SLS), a method for creating solid objects by fusing powdered materials with a CO2 laser. The process allows Fusaro to take 3-D scans of a runner’s foot, use digital tools to cater the stiffness of the soles to the athlete’s physical abilities, then print the shoes out of nylon polyamide powder, a material that is “one of the strongest in the range of additive manufacturing,” Fusaro says.

You wouldn’t want to run a marathon in these things. “It’s not good for more than 400 meters because it’s too stiff,” Fusaro tells Co.Design. But for sprinting, it can improve performance by as much as 3.5%–or about .35 seconds, which, in a 100-meter dash, could mean the difference between silver and gold.

Fusaro tested the shoe on several competitive sprinters in London and hopes to refine it for the 2016 Olympic Games.

[Images courtesy of Luc Fusaro]SL