Chinese brand Anta uses Covestro’s Maezio to upgrade shoe
June 10, 2021 - Germany
Anta, a well-known sports brand in China, has used Covestro’s Maezio composite material to upgrade its KT6 basketball shoe. Maezio not only has a low density and high degree of rigidity but also allows for an extensive degree of freedom in design – its mechanical properties can be adjusted by changing the direction and thickness of the sheet lamination.
Anta 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 presented an excellent material choice for a carbon fibre 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.
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 colours 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. Traditional materials were unable to meet Anta's stringent requirements. The shank needed to be as thin as possible to meet the weight specifications of the KT6, and also strong enough to fulfil the torsional requirements. Given the new shoe is expected to be the top-selling product of the KT series, Anta needed a carbon-fibre 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.
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. Its mechanical 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 fibre has been optimised to provide high stability, while the thickness is limited to just one-millimetre 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 fibre composites can significantly improve the torsional stiffness of basketball shoes and help smooth the transition from heel to toe. The carbon fibre 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,” said Anson Zheng, senior director of Anta’s basketball category and designer of KT6, Anta Sports Products Limited.
Anta chose Maezio since it is lightweight and strong and thus provides superior stiffness without adding much weight to shoe parts, such as the midsole, toe kick and shank. It also offers high degree of design freedom, enables efficient processing for high-volume production, and offers recyclability.