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Case study

Keep moving – Anta uses Maezio® to empower the KT6 basketball shoe

Anta, a well-known sports brand in China, was looking for innovative material technologies for its hot-selling KT basketball shoe series to upgrade the product line while launching a new generation of KT6. Maezio® presents an excellent material choice for a carbon fiber shank to deliver midfoot support and superior torsional stability. The material’s processability enables efficient large-volume production and its recyclability makes a meaningful contribution to circular economy.
Task

In search of black technologies

Since reaching an endorsement deal in 2015 with Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors shooting guard, Anta has released six generations of the KT line in a variety of colors and many playoff editions. As Thompson becomes increasingly popular in China, sales of the KT series have topped the charts among all Anta basketball lines. 

Anta therefore wanted to upgrade the KT6 through the use of innovative “black technologies” while improving performance and also being able to achieve high production rates. 

Challenge

Traditional materials unable to meet Anta's stringent requirements

The shank needed to be as thin as possible to meet the weight specifications of the KT6, but also strong enough to fulfill the torsional requirements. Given the new shoe is expected to be the top-selling product of the KT series, Anta needed a carbon-fiber composite material which is easy to process and can be mass-produced efficiently. The traditional epoxy- based thermoset composite materials face challenges for the cost efficient production in large volumes. 

Solution

A versatile material that is also sustainable

After intensive evaluation and assessment, Anta chose Covestro’s Maezio® composite material for the new KT6. The material not only has a low density and high degree of rigidity but also allows for an extensive degree of freedom in design - itsmechanical properties can be adjusted by changing the direction and thickness of the sheet lamination. For the design of the KT6 shank, the orientation of the carbon fiber has been optimized to provide high stability, while the thickness is limited to just 1-millimeter to achieve a lightweight feel. 

In addition, as a thermoplastic composite material, Maezio® composites can be thermoformed efficiently at high yield rates and low cycle times, which is associated with cost reductions for millions of parts per year.

The recyclability of thermoplastic composites is yet another advantage for footwear brands that want to focus more on sustainability. 

The excellent properties of carbon fiber composites can significantly improve the torsional stiffness of basketball shoes and help smooth the transition from heel to toe. The carbon fiber shank, together with the highly responsive midsole and shock-absorbing module on the heel, makes the KT6 a truly high-performance kick on the court.

Anson Zheng

Senior Director of Anta’s basketball category and designer of KT6, ANTA Sports Products Limited

Why did Anta choose Maezio®?

  • Lightweight and strong: Maezio® provides superior stiffness without adding much weight to shoe parts, such as the midsole, toe kick and shank.
  • High degree of design freedom: The mechanical properties of Maezio® are tunable by changing the direction and thickness of the sheet lamination.
  • Efficient processing for high-volume production: Maezio® composites can be thermoformed efficiently at high yield rates and low cycle times.
  • Recyclability: The recyclability of the material offers added value for footwear brands that want to focus more on sustainability.

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