Nike has entered the 3D printing game, as the global leader in athletic shoes was just granted a patent for a 3D printing technology for shoe manufacturing.

Source: Nike Granted Patent For 3D Printing Technology | Digital Trends

In 2015 Nike applied for a patent for attaching an upper to the Strobel. A shoe can be affixed to an outsole in 1 of 3 ways. This method that Nike patented went unnoticed but was discussed in an article on Digital Trends. The article presents a statement that wasn't and hasn't been discussed very much.

On we've discussed the disruptive nature of 3D printing for shoes and how it is a serious game changer for the entire footwear industry. As adidas prepares for its Futurecraft 4D launch and other companies release 3D printed footwear, it appears Nike hasn't jumped in the water in the same way.

The Swoosh has released a cleat with a 3D printed plate to enhance player performance for NFL athletes, but they haven't gone as far in developing a 3D printed product for public consumption like Under Armour, adidas, and New Balance.

The question is why?

Nike realizes that 3D Printing is more of a disruption than the other brands. Nike's patent is looking beyond at the fact that, "consumers will one day be able to buy a shoe design file from Nike and 3D print the shoe themselves." It appears that everyone's excitement at adidas' upcoming major tech launch of the 4D and they are wondering why Nike is focused on sub2 marathons and traditional cushioning systems, should really consider what 3D printing really means for the industry.