How Adidas and Carbon are changing the sneaker supply chain

While the Adidas Futurecraft 4D shoes are cool looking sneakers, the story behind those shoes is even more interesting. The sportswear company has partnered with Carbon to design a new kind of sneakers. Behind the Futurecraft 4D, you can find a process that is not that new — 3D printing. Many companies promised an industrial […]

While the Adidas Futurecraft 4D shoes are cool looking sneakers, the story behind those shoes is even more interesting. The sportswear company has partnered with Carbon to design a new kind of sneakers.

Behind the Futurecraft 4D, you can find a process that is not that new — 3D printing. Many companies promised an industrial revolution by bringing back factories to service-driven countries, such as the U.S. and European countries. But this partnership between Adidas and Carbon could turn that wild dream into a reality.

“What you saw there was basically this integration of hardware, software and chemistry all coming together to take a digital model, print it very fast, but do it out of the materials that have the properties to be final parts,” Carbon co-founder and CEO Joseph DeSimone told TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino.

And the secret sauce behind Carbon’s process is its cloud-based software tool. You use a primitive CAD, define some mechanical properties and it gets manufactured in front of your eyes.

It’s quite hard to buy Futurecraft 4D shoes right now because production is still extremely limited. Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke is hopeful that it’s going to change over the coming years.

“Ultimately, we're still ramping up the innovation. It will be faster, more limited material. Ideally, the vision is to build and print on demand,” he said. “Right now, most of our products are made out of Asia and we put them on a boat or on a plane so they end up on Fifth Avenue.”

You could imagine Adidas reducing the stock in its warehouse. “Instead of having some sort of micro-distribution center in Jersey, we can have a micro-factory in Jersey,” Liedtke said. When it comes to material, this manufacturing process lets you partly use corn-based material.

And it’s not just design. Making shoes on demand lets you optimize the structure of the shoe for different sports and bodies.

“In this case, we took 10 years plus — maybe 20 years — of science that we had on foot strikes, and running, and how runners run, and where the impact zones are, and what we need to design into it from a data standpoint. And then, we let the creative takeover,” Liedtke said.

Carbon isn’t just working with Adidas. The company is quite active on the dental market for instance, working on resins. “We now also have the world's first 3D-printed FDA-approved dentures,” DeSimone said.

It’s interesting to see that a simple product, such as a pair of shoes, can become the representation of a long process of research and development, engineering and design.

Robinhood gives investors international targets to aim for with launch of ADR products

Robinhood, the app-based investment platform for all your speculative investing needs, has launched a tool for investors to throw money at publicly traded international companies through the rollout of American Depositary Receipts. ADRs are the investment mechanism that U.S. investors use to invest in foreign companies whose shares aren’t traded on U.S. stock exchanges like […]

Robinhood, the app-based investment platform for all your speculative investing needs, has launched a tool for investors to throw money at publicly traded international companies through the rollout of American Depositary Receipts.

ADRs are the investment mechanism that U.S. investors use to invest in foreign companies whose shares aren’t traded on U.S. stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq, and as of today, the company said it would roll out opportunities to invest in 250 stocks from global companies.

The list of potential investment targets include Tencent, Nintendo, and Adidas the company said. And opportunities will exist to invest in public companies from China, Japan, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom whose shares trade in the U.S.

A full list can be found by searching “New on Robinhood” in the company’s app or on desktop.

For the francophiles in the room, French companies like LVMH, Michelin, and Ubisoft Entertainment will be made available soon, Robinhood said in a statement.

Soon you’ll be able to watch high school football on Twitter

Just at the NFL is gearing up to kickoff its regular season, Adidas has announced that it will be partnering with Twitter to livestream high school football games on the platform. The “Friday Night Stripes” series (Get it? Get it?) will include eight games, featuring teams from California, Georgia, Florida, Nevada and Indiana. The series […]

Just at the NFL is gearing up to kickoff its regular season, Adidas has announced that it will be partnering with Twitter to livestream high school football games on the platform. The “Friday Night Stripes” series (Get it? Get it?) will include eight games, featuring teams from California, Georgia, Florida, Nevada and Indiana.

The series starts September 7 (a day after the NFL season opener, incidentally), running throughout the standard high school football season, until November 9.

The deal joins a slew of existing streaming sports deals for the platform, including pro games from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL, along with collegiate conferences, like Pac-12. NFL games, in particular, have been a big hit for the site. This will, however, mark the first time high school football games have been streaming on the platform.

ESPN play-by-play announcer Courtney Lyle will call the games, along with analysis from former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk and sideline coverage by YouTube comedian Cameron “Scooter” Magruder. Twitter will also offer the standard sports timeline features to supplement the on-field action.

You can find the full schedule here.