adidas 4D

Meet the midsole that broke the mold. Since 2017, the adidas 4D has become an icon.


“With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing.”

A sketch of an Ultracraft shoe showing notes about requirements

About this Project

adidas has provided the world’s greatest athletes with top-performing, innovative products since its inception. In 2016 adidas came to Carbon to realize completely new paradigms in their designs and manufacturing that would allow them to once again raise the bar of performance.

Rising to the Challenge

Carbon’s material scientists developed an entirely new elastomeric material, EPU 41, that could live up to the demanding mechanical properties of a revolutionary running shoe midsole. Additionally, the development of cutting-edge additive processes and tools were critical for efficiently manufacturing the new unmoldable midsole at scale.


Learn About EPU 41

An adidas Ultracraft shoe

The Result

A world-class 3D printed midsole designed by using two decades of high-speed motion capture and force data from nearly 4,000 runners. The Carbon DLS™ process allowed adidas designers to create one of the most advanced shoes with a multi-zone midsole created from a single print. The monolithic, lattice design comprises over 10,000 individual struts that enable the precise tuning of the midsole for performance––increased lattice density provides support, while decreased density creates cushioning, giving runners lasting comfort with responsive feedback.


Over 1MM 4D Midsoles Produced on Carbon’s L1 3D Printer.

Midsoles being printed on a Carbon L1 in their actual orientation


Animation showing various midsole designs stacked on top of each other


Carbon DLS™ enabled adidas to rapidly iterate over 50 different lattices for the midsole before landing on the current design.


A misdole being printed on a Carbon L1


Carbon developed a full print and post-processing method for the new 4D midsole, ensuring that the end result was the best combination material and print process for adidas’s design.


An animation of various Ultracraft shoes, one after another to show how many options are available


The Carbon DLS™ process enabled adidas to expand its product portfolio rapidly, responding to market demands and customer desires faster than ever before.

Project Details


Carbon L1


Carbon EPU 41 Dual-Cure Elastomeric Polyurethane


Automated, Solvent-Free Spinning and Vacuuming Followed by Dual-Cure

DLS Advantage

High-Performance, Unmoldable Geometries, Programmable Metamaterials

Get Started with the Carbon DLS Process

Carbon Design Engine

Generate conformal lattices faster than ever before with Carbon Design Engine.