June 20 - A running shoe that promises to shave fractions of a second off sprinters' race times is one of the highlights at this year's RCA Gradiation Show in London. Luc Fusaro claims his 'Designed to Win' shoe is the lightest sprint shoe ever designed, as Jim Drury reports.
This prototype running shoe could shave valuable fractions of a second off a 100 metre sprinter's race time. According to its designer Luc Fusaro, the 'Designed to Win' sprint shoe is the lightest ever invented. It weighs just 96 grams, about the same weight as a deck of cards. Fusaro used 3D printing technology to construct the custom-made shoe from sintered nylon polyamide powder. SOUNDBITE (English) LUC FUSARO, ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART (RCA) STUDENT DESIGNER OF RUNNING SHOE 'DESIGNED TO WIN', SAYING: "My idea was to disrupt the current manufacturing process by using advanced 3D technologies and additive manufacturing to produce custom made shoes. So in my process I had different steps, the first step was to create a range of different sole stiffness that I assessed using finite element analysis and make it tried by the athletes to see which one was the optimum one." During manufacture a moving laser beam traced and added the powder into 3D layers of the shoe. After conducting a series of tests with amateur London-based athletes, Fusaro wants to tweak the design to add more flexibility before releasing the printed shoe to the public. SOUNDBITE (English) LUC FUSARO, ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART (RCA) STUDENT DESIGNER OF RUNNING SHOE 'DESIGNED TO WIN', SAYING: "Tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical properties of an athlete can improve their performance by up to 3.5 percent and just to show the magnitude of such impact 3.5 percent represents 0.35 seconds at an elite event and in the last Olympic final the eight finalists were all within 0.34 seconds." Athletes constantly seek technological help to improve their performances - and sprinters like these are no exception. But runners hoping to catch Usain Bolt this summer will be disappointed - Fusaro says his shoe isn't ready for the Olympic stage. The Royal College of Art student has already made his mark on the London Games by helping design the podiums. And Fusaro is looking forward to the Games in Rio in four years time. He's confident the runner wearing his 3D printed shoes will come away with Olympic Gold. Jim Drury, Reuters