The world-record-holder Paula Radcliffe ran her first race in two years to prepare for the London Marathon at the Worcester City 10k race with the support of RS Print’s 3D-printed dynamic insoles. Paula’s custom insoles were designed with the digital CAD capabilities of 3-matic specifically for her anatomy, dynamic gait analysis and needs as a runner. Her RS Print insoles were there every step of the way as she crossed the finish line in only 35 minutes and 49 seconds.

The Latest Technology Makes a Difference

Two world players in their markets, RS Scan for dynamic gait analysis and Materialise for 3D Printing, have joined forces to create the newly-founded RS Print. Prior to this launch, Paula Radcliffe and RS Scan had already been working together for years to push the boundaries of modern athletics footwear. After nearly two decades of world class racing, she knows better than anyone that the latest technology makes a difference. Paula chose RS Print’s insoles to support her feet because of 3D Printing’s ability to create products that are truly customized to each athlete’s unique running style.

Preventing Injuries

According to Paula, “Whether your goal is to break the marathon world record or to run in the annual 5k race in your street with some friends, having a footscan® analysis is just a responsible thing to do to prevent possible problems. It’s truly amazing what the guys at RS Scan saw on my footscan® gait analysis and RS Print’s 3D-printed insoles work to fit my personal running style.”

I use the insoles in training to prevent over-stressing my body during workouts, Paula continues. “Since my injury, I am now more cautious than ever to make sure my feet are well taken care of so that I can reach my new running goals during the London Marathon. Without the support of RS Scan and the insoles, I would not have been able to recover back to this point post operation and also may not have been able to continue my career as long as I did on my injured foot!”

Customized Insoles with footscan® and 3-matic®

The 3D-printed insoles are made through a set process. First, a trained specialist takes a dynamic scan of your gait using RS Scan’s footscan system. The specialist analyzes your footprints to see where, and in which direction, you need extra support. Based on the analysis, your goals and the specialist’s input a design is generated and sent to RS Print.

Then, RS Print “engineers” a thin, lightweight and dynamic insole which is 3D printed for each individual. This process requires the use of 3-matic, the design software in the Mimics® Innovation Suite that Materialise developed. The final step is to mount a cushioning layer on top of the printed insole to add extra comfort.

Frederik Jansen, Product Manager at RS Print, explains: “The power of 3-matic lies in its capabilities to efficiently handle large data designs which are truly customized to a person’s anatomy; in this case, the dynamic movement of a person’s feet. Without 3-matic it would have been impossible to integrate the unique functional and lightweight lattice design into our products. 3D Printing offers nearly unlimited design possibilities which enable additional product functionality.”

3-matic is a truly unique software because it combines CAD tools with pre-processing (meshing) capabilities. The triangulated (STL) files make it extremely suitable for organic, freeform 3D data such as the anatomical data resulting from the segmentation of medical images (from Mimics).

“We use 3-matic to quickly prototype and test new design functionalities to improve our products, this reduces the time from concept to a final product. It’s a versatile software package anybody working with anatomical data should consider using.”
Frederik Jansen, RS Print, Belgium

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