In early 2013, Nike launched its Vapor Laser Talon soccer cleat with a 3D printed plate. While 3D printing had been used throughout the industry for rapid prototyping for years, the Vapor Laser Talon was the first athletic shoe using a production 3D-printed component.
Nike wasn't especially forthcoming about the details of the plate, saying only that a proprietary material was printed with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The SLS technique uses lasers shot into packed plastic powder (or metal powder) to fuse the particles and create a 3D shape. SLS and other 3D printing processes allow for the engineering and production of shapes not possible using traditional manufacturing techniques.