Nike A.I.R. AI Generated 3D Printed Sneaker

Are you ready for AI generated sneakers?

Nike is, in a serious way. 

The apparel giant just unveiled its new Athletic Imagined Revolution, or A.I.R., line. It includes 13 3D-printed sneakers designed with artificial intelligence. The sneakers were showcased in Paris with commentary by Serena Williams. 

Nike used AI-generated mood boards for initial design inspiration developing the shoes. Nike Chief Innovation Officer John Hoke told designboom the project’s goal was to peak into the future of footwear. 

“We’re studying and working directly with athletes,” he said. “These are not just performance shoes; they’re blending performance with persona.”

The design team used AI to generate inspirational images from its mood boards. To envision the futuristic sneakers, they created prompts with large language models to quickly generate images.

The process evolved from purely 2D to a blend of physical and digital design. Computational algorithms then refined the 2D designs into prototypes for 3D printing, within hours or days. 

The sneakers were designed in collaboration with 13 athletes who were interviewed about their design preferences. They blended that with information about the people, places and things that inspired them and their thoughts on how the concepts could show their personalities. 

Though the sneakers aren’t available for purchase, the project could be a glimpse into the future. The novel line’s approach to merging physical and digital, or phygital, elements is pioneering. 

Integrating virtual designs into physical forms eases the transition from idea to product, unlocking rapid prototyping for designs that previously could only be imagined. AI-generated mood boards for design inspiration unlocks a high degree of customization that’s actually scalable. 

It would open otherworldly possibilities for consumers, especially those who struggle to find comfortable footwear. 

This isn’t Nike’s first venture into AI and 3D printing. 

In 2023, the company unveiled its ISPA Universal sneaker that combines that combines 3D printing, AI design, and sustainable materials like Bio-EVA foam derived from sugarcane. 

Designed for the circular economy, features include disassemblable parts for repurposing and replaceable cork insoles to extend shoe life. 

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