Executive Briefings

Reebok's Liquid Factory Could Change Process and Speed of Footwear Creation

A new generation of footwear manufacturing, spearheaded by Bill McInnis, head of future at Reebok and a former NASA engineer, is allowing the fitness brand to design and create a high performance athletic shoe faster and more efficiently than ever before, the company says.

Developed by the Reebok Future team, the Liquid Factory process uses software and robotics to draw shoes in three dimensions. The new technique leverages 3D drawing, where a proprietary liquid material, created by chemical company BASF, is used to draw shoe components cleanly, precisely and in three-dimensional layers. This layering technique is used to create unique footwear, without the use of traditional molds, Reebok says.

"Footwear manufacturing hasn't dramatically changed over the last 30 years," McInnis said. "Every shoe, from every brand is created using molds - an expensive, time-consuming process. With Liquid Factory, we wanted to fundamentally change the way that shoes are made, creating a new method to manufacture shoes without molds. This opens up brand new possibilities both for what we can create, and the speed with which we can create it."

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Developed by the Reebok Future team, the Liquid Factory process uses software and robotics to draw shoes in three dimensions. The new technique leverages 3D drawing, where a proprietary liquid material, created by chemical company BASF, is used to draw shoe components cleanly, precisely and in three-dimensional layers. This layering technique is used to create unique footwear, without the use of traditional molds, Reebok says.

"Footwear manufacturing hasn't dramatically changed over the last 30 years," McInnis said. "Every shoe, from every brand is created using molds - an expensive, time-consuming process. With Liquid Factory, we wanted to fundamentally change the way that shoes are made, creating a new method to manufacture shoes without molds. This opens up brand new possibilities both for what we can create, and the speed with which we can create it."

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