The first women’s pole-vaulting competition wasn’t at the international sporting event until 2000. More shocking than that, there is currently stick a lack of infrastructure for female pole-vaulters. No sporting brand produces shoes for women who participate in the sport. This motivated Elon University Honors Madison George to take matters into her own hands by designing footwear. She had been using ill-fitting unisex track shoes since she began pole-vaulting in high school. The unisex shoes on the market do not offer adequate support and have been known to put female athletes at high risk of injuries. She was inspired to use 3D printing for her footwear project after learning about grant program at Elon University’s Maker Hub. Madison’s proposal for a 3D printed pole-vaulting shoe for women was ultimately selected as a grant winner. She taught herself how to 3D design and came up with a shoe prototype that was fit for women’s feet.
Using the 3D printers at Maker Hub, George was able to 3D print a rough prototype of the sporting shoe. Thanks to the manufacturing company Carbon, Madison was given useful tips about materials that would be suitable for her shoe model. At this point the Elon University student has 3D printed two prototypes of the sole for the pole-vaulting shoe. From this point forward she plans to continue studying existing pole-vaulting shoes and spikes to refine her own design. She hopes to develop a shoe with interchangeable soles that could be used for pole-vaulting, the long jump, the triple jump and even sprints.
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