I went there with a small group of other Nike Air Max 1 Damen visitors for a tour. In a carpeted foyer, we pulled on heavy rubber toe caps, a protective measure. Liability thus limited, we traveled down the hallway toward the back of the building and shuffled inside.The factory was white and bright, about the size of a Home Depot, with high ceilings and no windows. There weren’t many people, though there weren’t Nike Air Max 90 Damen Rosa that many machines either. Along an assembly line made of three Nike Air Max 90 Femme Grise segments, an engineered knit fabric was laser-cut (by robots), shaped and sewn (by humans), and fused into soles (a collaborative, multistep, human-and-machine process). At the far end of the room, an orange robotic arm, perched high on a pedestal atop a particle foam machine, moved in a majestic, elegant, preprogram-med sweep.The raw components of the sneakers being produced inside the Speedfactory were minimal: rolls of engineered knit fabric; finger-wide strips of semi-rigid thermoplastic polyurethane, which fuse to the exterior of a shoe to give it structure; white granules of thermoplastic polyurethane for Adidas’ signature Boost soles; an orange neon liner imported from Italy; and a “floating torsion bar,” purportedly for increased support, that looked like a double-Adidas ZX Flux Donne headed intrauterine device.A worker whistled as he placed Nike Air Max 95 Femme oddly shaped, laser-cut flaps of the knit fabric onto a conveyor belt. Nike Internationalist Damen They looked a bit like Darth Vader’s helmet in silhouette. The conveyor belt glided them through white, cubelike cases with tinted glass, where a machine heat-fused the strips of thermoplastic polyurethane onto the fabric in a precise pattern. A factory worker riding a white forklift rolled slowly past.

Another worker passed the flaps of fabric back to a line of sewing machines operated by humans, who stitched them together to form three--dimensional little booties—the uppers of the sneakers. These were then stretched by an additional factory worker over a contraption that bore two model feet, as if a mannequin had been lying on its back, playing airplane. The feet were then detached—also by a human—and Adidas Superstar Dam Rosa placed into a large, glass-doored machine. In what can only Nike Air Pegasus 83 Dames Heren be described as a genuinely dramatic 93 seconds, the door to the machine Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Donne slid shut, a hot light flared up from behind the bootie-clad feet, and the knit uppers fused to a pair of soles. In traditional shoe factories, this process generally involves a messy and imprecise feat of gluing, performed by the dexterous hands of warm-blooded people. Here, it was done by what looked like a neo-futuristic Easy-Bake Oven. Later, another human would thread the shoelaces.The whole process was mesmerizing. As I leaned against the window of the bus back to Nuremberg, I realized that I hadn’t thought about the Second World War for at least five hours, a personal best for my time in Germany.SPEEDFACTORY AND STOREFACTORY are both the brainchildren of a division within Adidas that is focused on new technologies called the Future team—a kind of Google X Nike Air Huarache Donne for sneakerheads. The division is small—some 120 people on a campus Adidas Hamburg Donneof 5,000—and its definition of the future is modest: just two to seven years out. “We are like a little company within the company,” a tall, gregarious employee named Klaus told me. As he gesticulated toward the glass doors to the Future team’s offices, which are at the back of Laces, his voice had the breathless tenor of a whisper without being quiet; everything he said sounded like it could be followed by a magic trick. “We try to push our company: Come on, get off your lazy ass, go into a new area.”

Take Storefactory, for example: Klaus described how the idea could scale globally. A user (“I hate the word consumer,” he sighed) could take a body scan once, then order custom clothing to be delivered anywhere in the world. “The future will become so much more Nike Air Pegasus 89 Womens versatile and free,” he said.

In the center of the Future team office, Nike Air Max 2017 Femme a sneaker dangled from the grasp of a small industrial robotic arm, called the LBR iiwa, made by the German automation company KUKA. Engineers were experimenting with ways it might be used in a Speedfactory. Designed for lightweight, intricate assembly work, the arm is sensitive and responsive to touch. It is curved and sleek, like something out of a Pixar movie, or a sex toy.