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Title:
MOLD FRAME WITH A CUSTOMIZED INSERT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/206692
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An example mold frame comprises a body to partially form a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process. The example mold frame includes a cutout along a longitudinal axis of the body, the cutout to removably mate with a customized insert. An example customized insert comprises a respective body to removably mate with the cutout of the mold frame such that an interior surface of the body of the customized insert at least partially assists with forming a midsole of the footwear article in the injection molding process. The body of the customized insert has a customized shape or a customized pattern at the interior surface to customize a shape or a pattern of an exterior surface of the midsole.

Inventors:
PONOMAREV, Edward (US)
EMMENEGGER, Stephan Walter (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/027033
Publication Date:
October 14, 2021
Filing Date:
April 07, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. (US)
International Classes:
B29D35/12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOODWORTH, Jeffrey C. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A mold frame comprising: a body to partially form a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process; and a cutout along a longitudinal axis of the body, the cutout to removably mate with a customized insert.

2. The mold frame of claim 1 , wherein the cutout comprises a slot in the mold frame.

3. The mold frame of claim 1 , wherein the cutout comprises an aperture through the body.

4. The mold frame of claim 1 , wherein the cutout comprises a recess at a respective interior surface of the body.

5. The mold frame of claim 1 , wherein the body at least partially forms a mold side frame or a mold bottom frame.

6. The mold frame of claim 1 , wherein an interior surface of the body comprises a top edge and a bottom edge along the longitudinal axis, the top edge to form a biteline of the midsole and the bottom edge to form an outsole edge of the midsole, and wherein the cutout is between the top edge and the bottom edge.

7. The mold frame of claim 6, wherein a respective top edge and a respective bottom edge of the cutout are at respective given distances from the top edge and the bottom edge. 8. A customized insert comprising: a body to removably mate with a cutout of a mold frame such that an interior surface of the body at least partially assists with forming a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process, the body having a customized shape or a customized pattern at the interior surface to customize a shape or a pattern of an exterior surface of the midsole.

9. The customized insert of claim 8, wherein the body comprises a first material, and the mold frame comprises a second material different from the first material, the first material being less expensive than the second material.

10. The customized insert of claim 8, wherein the body comprises a three-dimensional printed material.

11. The customized insert of claim 8, wherein the body comprises a three-dimensional printed material that is printed from biometric data.

12. The customized insert of claim 8, wherein the body is to removably mate with the cutout of the mold frame via pins or dado joints or a dovetail joint.

13. A method comprising: assembling a mold frame with a customized insert, the mold frame including a cutout along a longitudinal axis, the customized insert to removably mate with the cutout; assembling the mold frame, with the customized insert, with other mold frames to form a mold cavity; and injecting a material into the mold cavity to form a midsole for a footwear article, such that an interior surface of the customized insert assists with forming an exterior surface of the midsole.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: assembling a second mold frame, of the other mold frames, with a respective customized insert, the second mold frame including a respective cutout along a respective longitudinal axis, the respective customized insert to removably mate with the respective cutout, such that a respective interior surface of the respective customized insert assists with forming a second exterior of the midsole.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising: selecting the customized insert, from a plurality of customized inserts.

Description:
MOLD FRAME WITH A CUSTOMIZED INSERT

BACKGROUND

[0001 ] Footwear tends to be mass produced with variance among a specific style or type of footwear typically being limited to size. Mass production of footwear is facilitated by industrial processes, such as injection molding, that are effective in keeping costs down when many of the same item are made.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example apparatus to injection mold a midsole of a footwear article with a mold frame that includes a body having a cutout into which a customized insert is inserted, the customized insert including a respective body that at least partially assists with forming the midsole of the footwear article in the injection molding process.

[0003] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an example mold side frame having a cutout in the form of an aperture, and an example customized insert therefor.

[0004] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an example mold side frame having a cutout in the form of a recess, and an example customized insert therefor.

[0005] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an example mold side frame having a cutout in the form of a slot, and an example customized insert therefor.

[0006] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an example mold bottom frame having a cutout, and an example customized insert therefor.

[0007] FIG. 6 is a flowchart of an example method of molding a midsole of a footwear article using an example mold side frame having a cutout in the form of an aperture, and an example customized insert therefor.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0008] Footwear often lacks customizable features or features specific to an individual wearer or small group of wearers. The mass production technologies that keep costs low also tend to inhibit wearer-specific features. A midsole may be injection molded with one shot of polyurethane (PU) foam or similar material using an assembly of mold frames, which are made of metal and generally expensive to produce. Hence, generating customized mold frames, for customized midsoles, can be expensive and/or difficult to customize.

[0009] Hence, according to the present specification, a mold frame is provided that includes a body with a cutout along a longitudinal axis, and a customized insert that includes a respective body that removably mates with the cutout of the body of the mold frame. The body of the mold frame is used to partially form a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process. An interior surface of the body of the cutout at least partially assists with forming a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process. For example, the body of the customized insert may have a customized shape and/or a customized pattern at the interior surface to customize a shape and/or a pattern of an exterior surface of a midsole being produced by a mold frame assembly which uses which the combination of the mold frame and the customized insert to form a midsole. In general, the body of the mold frame may comprise metal and/or any other material that is generally used in mold frames for injection molding. However, the body of the customized insert may be generated using a less expensive material; in particular, the body of the customized insert may be three-dimensionally printed, which may allow for easy and quick customization of midsoles. Indeed, in some examples, a plurality of customized inserts may be produced using three-dimensional printing and different versions of an otherwise same footwear article may be produced, for example to customize the footwear article to include different sports team logos and/or player names, and the like. Furthermore, in some examples, a manufacturing control system may be provided that allows for generation of customized inserts (e.g. using three- dimensional printing) and which may be used with an injection molding system to generate footwear articles with customized midsoles.

[0010] An aspect of the present specification provides a mold frame comprising: a body to partially form a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process; and a cutout along a longitudinal axis of the body, the cutout to removably mate with a customized insert.

[0011] Another aspect of the present specification provides a customized insert comprising: a body to removably mate with a cutout of a mold frame such that an interior surface of the body at least partially assists with forming a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process, the body having a customized shape or a customized pattern at the interior surface to customize a shape or a pattern of an exterior surface of the midsole.

[0012] Another aspect of the present specification provides a method comprising: assembling a mold frame with a customized insert, the mold frame including a cutout along a longitudinal axis, the customized insert to removably mate with the cutout; assembling the mold frame, with the customized insert, with other mold frames to form a mold cavity; and injecting a material into the mold cavity to form a midsole for a footwear article, such that an interior surface of the customized insert assists with forming an exterior surface of the midsole.

[0013] FIG. 1 shows an example system 100 to injection mold a midsole of a footwear article, such as a shoe. The system 100 may be used with an injection molding machine, such as a carousel-type machine that rotates a plurality of molds to different stations. The example system 100 may be a mold or part of a mold of such an injection molding machine. The apparatus includes a mold frame assembly 102.

[0014] The mold frame assembly 102 defines a mold cavity 108. The mold frame assembly 102 may include opposing side frames 110, 112 and a bottom frame 114. The mold frame assembly 102 receives a last 116 that carries an upper 118 of a footwear article that is under manufacture to enable the molding of a midsole onto the upper 118. The side frames 110, 112, bottom frame 114, and the last 116 may be movable with respect to each other to open and close the mold cavity 108. The opposing side frames 110, 112, bottom frame 114, and upper 118, as carried by the last 116, may be brought into mutual engagement to close the mold cavity 108. Material, such as polyurethane (PU), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), rubber, or the like, may be injected into the closed mold cavity 108 to form a midsole frame 512

[0015] As will be described in more detail below, a mold frame, for example as depicted the mold side frame 112, may be adapted to include a customized insert 120 which is removable and/or exchangeable at the mold side frame 112. As can also be seen in Fig. 1 , an interior surface of the customized insert 120 may have a customized shape and/or a customized pattern to customize a shape or a pattern of an exterior surface of a midsole being produced by the system 100. The term “interior surface” as used herein with respect to the mold frames 110, 112, 114 generally refers to a surface facing the mold cavity 108.

[0016] While only the mold side frame 112 is depicted as including the customized insert 120, in other examples, the opposing mold side frame 110 and/or the bottom frame 114 may be adapted to include a respective customized insert. As such, any one of the mold frames 110, 112, 114 (e.g. as depicted mold side frame 110), or any two of the mold frames 110, 112, 114 or any three of the mold frames 110, 112, 114 may be adapted for respective customized inserts, to customize a midsole accordingly. Indeed, any suitable number of mold frames of a mold frame assemble, and the like, may be adapted for respective customized inserts as described herein. Hereafter, a mold side frame and/or a bottom frame is interchangeably referred to as a mold frame to indicate that any suitable mold frame may be adapted for use with a respective customized insert; hence, for example, the mold side frames 110, 112 will be respectively interchangeably referred to as the mold frames 110, 112, and the bottom frame 114 will be interchangeably referred to as the mold frame 114.

[0017] Furthermore, while only one customized insert 120 is depicted, the system 100 may comprise a plurality of customized inserts for the mold frame 112 (and/or for other mold frames), the plurality of customized inserts having different customized shapes and/or different customized patterns. For example, the plurality of customized inserts may be respectively customized for particular orthopedic and/or performance functions and/or the plurality of customized inserts may be respectively customized for particular aesthetic features such as different team logos, different player names, and the like. Hence, when the system 100 is used to generate a midsole, a particular customized insert may be selected to make a first midsole and/or a first set of midsoles, and another customized insert may be selected to make a second midsole and/or a second set of midsoles. Hence, midsoles may be easily customized using the customized insert 120 and/or a plurality of customized inserts of which the customized insert 120 is one example.

[0018] Indeed, as depicted, the customized insert 120 is of a particular customized shape and customized pattern 121. For example a customized shape is in the form a particular series of curves and/or undulations. An example customized pattern 121 is in the form of a raised four pointed star, which may respectively correspond to a customized graphic for a particular wearer and a team logo. However, any suitable customized shape and/or customized pattern is within the scope of the present specification including, but not limited to, curves, graphics, text, textures, and the like. Furthermore a customized shape is understood to include an overall shape and/or longitudinal and/or lateral shape of an interior surface of the customized insert 120, and a customized pattern is understood to include graphics, text, textures, and the like which are provided on a customized shape.

[0019] Hence, the customized shape of the customized insert 120 may be used to form a midsole using the system 100, the midsole having a complementary customized shape that may have a particular orthopedic and/or performance function for a particular wearer and/or group of wearers; however, the customized shape may alternatively be to provide a respective complementary customized aesthetic shape to the midsole. However, any suitable customized shape is within the scope of the present specification.

[0020] Similarly, while the customized pattern 121 may provide a respective aesthetic pattern to the midsole (e.g. for a particular team logo, and the like), alternatively the customized pattern 121 may provide a particular orthopedic and/or performance function to the midsole for a particular wearer and/or group f wearers. For example, the customized pattern 121 may be in the form of protrusions that, when used to form a midsole, generate complementary voids in the midsole to provide a particular orthopedic and/or performance function to the midsole for a particular wearer and/or group of wearers. Hence, while the customized pattern 121, as depicted, comprises one protrusion to provide an aesthetic pattern to a midsole in the form a complementary void having the same and/or similar shape of the protrusion of the customized pattern 121 , in other examples the customized pattern 121 may comprise any suitable number of protrusions at any suitable location to generate complementary voids having the same and/or similar shape of respective protrusions of the customized pattern 121. However, the customized pattern 121 may alternatively comprise a void, and the like, at the interior surface of the customized insert 120 such that complementary protrusions are formed at a midsole. However, any suitable customized pattern is within the scope of the present specification.

[0021] It is further understood that customized orthopedic and/or performance functions of a midsole generated using the customized insert 120 may be determined from biometric data of a particular wearer and/or group of wearers, which may be acquired by any suitable technique, such as a three dimensional (3D) scan or other measurement technique to capture the shape of the foot, including, but not limited to, pressure plate analysis, gait analysis, or similar biometric measurement techniques. Such captured data may be used to determine the structure of a midsole to be manufactured using the customized insert 120, with the customized insert generated accordingly, for example using 3D printing, and the like, and using any suitable material. Hence, for example, biometric data may be translated into 3D printing data and/or used to generate 3D printing data to generate the customized insert 120.

[0022] In particular, the customized insert 120 (e.g. a body thereof) may comprises a first material and the mold frame 112 (e.g. a body thereof) may comprise a second material different from the first material, the first material being less expensive than the second material. For example, the customized insert 120 (e.g. a body thereof) may comprise a three-dimensionally printed material (that is printed from biometric data), and the mold frame 112 (e.g. a body thereof) may comprise metal, like, generally used with injection molding systems, such as aluminum, steel, and the like. While the metal of the mold frame 112 may be challenging and/or time consuming and/or expensive to customize, three-dimensionally printing the customized insert 120 may be relatively simple and/or relatively quick and/or relatively inexpensive, allowing for rapidly adapting the system 100 to produce a customized midsole. However, the customized insert 120 and the mold frame 112 may be of any suitable materials. Indeed, the customized insert 120 may comprise a metal and/or a plastic, and the like, formed in any suitable manner (e.g. including techniques other than 3D printing). Regardless, the material of the customized insert 120 is selected for compatibility with forming midsoles using injection molding; for example the material of the customized insert 120 may comprise a material and/or a three-dimensional printed material having a suitable durometer hardness for use with injection molding (e.g. and which has an operating temperature range that includes temperatures used when injection molding insoles).

[0023] Attention is next directed to FIG. 2 which depicts the customized prior to mating with the mold frame 112. In particular, the mold frame 112 comprises: a body 212 to partially form a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process; and a cutout 213 along a longitudinal axis 214 of the body 212, the cutout 213 to removably mate with the customized insert 120. As depicted, the cutout 213 comprises an aperture through the body 212, for example from an interior surface 215 of the body 212 to an opposite side of the body 212 (e.g. the opposite side is not depicted in FIG. 2 due to angle at which the mold frame 112 is depicted; however the opposite side of the body 212 is nonetheless understood to be present). The aperture of the cutout 213 is generally perpendicular and/or about perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 214. Furthermore, in general, the body 212 is arranged along the longitudinal axis 214 with the interior surface 215 also arranged along the longitudinal axis 214, as the longitudinal axis 214 is generally also along a same direction as respective longitudinal axis of a midsole at least partially formed by the mold frame 112 (e.g. which also corresponds to a length of a foot of a wearer of a footwear article manufactured using a midsole at least partially formed by the mold frame 112).

[0024] The body 212 is otherwise of any suitable shape compatible with injection molding machines and/or systems with which the mold frame 112 may be used to form a mold frame assembly, such as the mold frame assembly 102, and the like.

[0025] As also depicted in FIG. 2, the customized insert 120 comprises: a respective body 220 to removably mate with the cutout 213 of the mold frame 112 such that an interior surface 221 of the body at least partially assists with forming a midsole of a footwear article in an injection molding process. As depicted, and has already been described, the body 220 generally has a customized shape or a customized pattern 121 at the interior surface 221 to customize a shape or a pattern of an exterior surface of the midsole of a footwear article into which the midsole is incorporated.

[0026] The body 220 hence is otherwise of a size and shape that is complementary to the cutout 213 such that the body 220 may be inserted into the cutout 213 to about align the interior surface 221 of the body 220 of the customized insert 120 with the interior surface 215 of the body 212 of the mold frame 112, and/or such that the interior surface 221 of the body 220 of the customized insert 120 is proximal the interior surface 215 of the body 212 of the mold frame 112.

[0027] While as depicted the customized insert 120 is being inserted into the cutout 213 from the interior surface 215 of the body 212 of the mold frame 112, as represented by an arrow 230, in other examples, the customized insert 120 may be inserted into the cutout 213 from the opposing side (e.g. opposite the interior surface 215) of the body 212 of the mold frame 112. [0028] While not depicted, it is understood that the mold frame 112 and/or the customized insert 120 are provided with a retaining mechanism and/or retaining mechanisms to retain the customized insert 120 at the mold frame 112 when inserted into the cutout 213. For example, such a retaining mechanism may include a pin or pins, such as pins through respective apertures in the body

212 and the body 220. Such a retaining mechanism may also include dado joints and/or dovetail joints between exterior sides of the body 220 of the customized insert 120 and respective interior sides of the cutout 213; in this instance, the terms exterior sides of the body 220 and interior sides of the cutout

213 refer to sides of the body 220 and the cutout 213 adjacent each other when the body 220 is inserted into the cutout 213. However, any suitable retaining mechanism is within the scope of the present specification. Put another way, the body 220 of the customized insert 120 is to removably mate with the cutout 213 of the mold frame 112 (and/or the body 212 of the mold frame 112) via pins and/or dado joints and/or dovetail joints and/or any other suitable retaining mechanisms. For example, the body 220 of the customized insert 120 may be retained in the cutout 213 via friction and a suitable shape of the body 220 and the cutout 213 (e.g. tapered sides, and the like).

[0029] As depicted, the interior surface 215 of the body 212 of the mold frame 112 comprises a top edge 251 and a bottom edge152 along the longitudinal axis 214. The top edge 251 and the bottom edge 252 are generally separated by the cutout 213 and/or the cutout 213 is between the top edge 251 and the bottom edge 252. In some examples, the top edge 251 may be to form a biteline of a midsole and the bottom edge 252 may be to form an outsole edge of a midsole. Put another way, the interior surface 215 of the body 212, as well as the interior surface 221 of the customized insert 120, may be used to at least partially form and/or shape a same exterior surface of a midsole; in these examples, the top edge 251 may be used to form the biteline of the midsole (e.g. an edge of a midsole located adjacent an upper of a footwear article), the bottom edge 252 may be used to form the outsole edge of the midsole (e.g. an edge of a midsole located adjacent an outsole of a footwear article), and the interior surface 221 of the customized insert 120 may be used to customize a region of the midsole between the biteline and the outsole edge. Furthermore, while as depicted the edges 251, 252 form corners between the interior surface 215 and a top and bottom of the body 212, in other examples, the edges 251 , 252 may comprise protrusions, and the like, respectively below and above the top and bottom of the body 212.

[0030] As also depicted in FIG. 2, a respective top edge 261 and a respective bottom edge 262 of the cutout 213 are at respective given distances from the top edge 251 and the bottom edge 252, for example to provide a given thicknesses to walls of the body 212 forming a top and bottom side of the cutout 213. The respective given distances may be selected based on the material of the body 212, for example to provide structural integrity to the body 212 with the cutout 213 in the form an aperture therethrough. The respective given distances may hence be any suitable values compatible with the material of the body 212.

[0031 ] As has already been described, the body 220 of the customized insert 120 may comprise a first material, and the body 212 of the mold frame 112 may comprises a second material different from the first material, where the first material is less expensive than the second material, such that the customized insert 120 is less expensive to produce than the mold frame 112. For example, the body 220 of the customized insert 120 may comprise a three-dimensional printed material, which may be printed (e.g. three-dimensionally printed) and/or generated from biometric data.

[0032] Attention is next directed to FIG. 3 which depicts an alternative mold frame 312 (e.g. a mold side frame) and an alternative customized insert 320, having an interior surface 321 , that may be used in place of the mold side frame 112 and the customized insert 120. The mold frame 312 and the customized insert 320 are respectively substantially similar to the mold frame 112 and the customized insert 120. Flowever, a cutout 333 of a body 342 of the mold frame 312 comprises a recess at a respective interior surface 345 of the body 342 of the mold frame 312 rather than an aperture therethrough. The recess of the cutout 333 is generally arranged along a longitudinal axis 334 of the mold frame 312. Put another way, the recess of the cutout 333 extends from the interior surface 345 of the body 342, part way into the body 342, but not all the way through. A respective body 350 of the customized insert 320 is adapted accordingly, for example, such that a depth of the body 350 (e.g. about perpendicular to the interior surface 321 ) is similar and/or the same as a respective depth (e.g. about perpendicular to the interior surface 345) of the recess of the cutout 333. Hence, the respective depths of the body 350 and the recess of the cutout 333 may be to locate the interior surface 321 of the customized insert 320 relative to the interior surface 345 of a body 342 of the mold frame 312. Again, while not depicted, the mold frame 312 and the customized insert 320 may be provided with a retaining mechanism, as described above. An arrow 360 represents the customized insert 320 being inserted into the cutout 333 of the body 342 of the mold frame 312.

[0033] Attention is next directed to FIG. 4 which depicts an alternative mold frame 412 (e.g. a mold side frame) and an alternative customized insert 420, having an interior surface 421 , that may be used in place of the mold side frame 112 and the customized insert 120. The mold frame 412 and the customized insert 420 are respectively substantially similar to the mold frame 112 and the customized insert 120. However, a cutout 433 of a body 442 of the mold frame 412 comprises a slot in a respective interior surface 445 of the body 442 of the mold frame 412, and/or a slot in the mold frame 412. The slot of the cutout 433 is generally arranged along a longitudinal axis 434 of the mold frame 412. Put another way, the slot of the cutout 433 is similar to aperture of the cutout 213, but extends to an end of the body 442 of the mold frame 412, with a thickness of walls of the body 442 adapted accordingly to provide structural integrity to the body 442 of the mold frame 412. A respective body 450 of the customized insert 420 is adapted accordingly, for example, such that a length of shape of the body 450 is about complementary to the slot of the cutout 433. Again, while not depicted, the mold frame 412 and the customized insert 420 may be provided with a retaining mechanism, as described above. An arrow 460 represents the customized insert 420 being inserted into the cutout 433 of the body 442 of the mold frame 412.

[0034] It is further understood that the mold side frame 110 depicted in FIG.

1 may be adapted to include a customized insert according to any of the examples shown in any of FIG. 2, FIG. 3 or FIG. 4, with such customized inserts and a cutout of the mold side frame 110 adapted for the geometry of the mold side frame 110.

[0035] Furthermore, while the mold frames depicted herein include one cutout to receive one customized insert, in other examples, mold frames of the present specification may include more than one cutout to receive respective customize inserts to provide further flexibility in customizing midsoles using the mold frames and the cutouts.

[0036] Furthermore, while various specific examples of cutouts and customized inserts are described, cutouts as provided in the present specification, may be of any suitable shape including, but not limited to, suitable combinations of apertures, recesses and slots, with respective shapes of complementary cutouts adapted accordingly.

[0037] Attention is next directed to FIG. 5 which depicts an alternative bottom frame 514 and customized insert 520 that may be used in place of the bottom frame 114.

[0038] Attention is next directed to FIG. 5 which depicts an alternative mold frame 514 (e.g. a mold bottom frame) and an alternative customized insert 520, having an interior surface 521 and a customized shape and/or customized pattern 522 at the interior surface 521 , that may be used in place of the bottom frame 114. The mold frame 514 is substantially similar to the bottom frame 114, however the mold frame 514 includes a body 525 a cutout 533 along a longitudinal axis 534 of the body 525. As depicted, the cutout 533 comprises an aperture through the body 525 from an interior surface 535 to a bottom surface of the body 525 (e.g. the bottom surface opposite the interior surface 535; while the bottom surface is not depicted due to the angle at which the mold frame 514 is depicted, the bottom surface is nonetheless understood to be present). However, the cutout 533 may alternatively be in the form of a recess, a slot, and the like, as described above.

[0039] The customized insert 520 comprises a respective body 550 that removably mates with the cutout 533 and which is retained by a retaining mechanism (not depicted), which may be similar to, or different from, the retaining mechanisms described above. While as depicted the customized shape and/or customized pattern 522 at the interior surface 521 comprises a plurality of protrusions that form voids in a midsole formed from the customized insert 520 (e.g. when used with the mold frame 514 in the system 100), the customized shape and/or customized pattern 522 may comprise any suitable customized shape and/or customized pattern.

[0040] An arrow 560 represents the customized insert 520 being inserted into the cutout 533 of the body 525 of the mold frame 514. For example, as depicted, the customized insert 520 may be “dropped” into the cutout 533 of the body 525 of the mold frame 514 as the mold frame interior surface 535 is generally facing upwards in the system 100. However, the customized insert 520 may be inserted into the cutout 533 of the body 525 of the mold frame 514, and/or mated with the cutout 533 of the body 525 of the mold frame 514, in any suitable manner.

[0041] Hence, the examples of mold frames in FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 4, and FIG. 5 illustrate that bodies of mold frames as provided herein may least at partially form a mold side frame or a mold bottom frame.

[0042] FIG. 6 shows an example method 600 of manufacture of a midsole of a footwear article using a mold frame with a customized insert placed inside a midsole mold cavity. The method 600 may be performed by the example system 100 of FIG. 1. The method may be performed by other apparatuses. The method begins at block 602. [0043] At block 604, the mold frame 112 is assembled with the customized insert 120 as described above. As also described above, the mold frame 112 includes the cutout 213 along the longitudinal axis 214, the customized insert 120 to removably mate with the cutout 213.

[0044] At block 606, the mold frame 112, with the customized insert 120, is assembled with the other mold frames 110, 114, and the like, to form the mold cavity 108. The block 606 may further include place the last

[0045] At block 608, a material is injected into the mold cavity to form a midsole for a footwear article, such that the interior surface 221 of the customized insert 120 assists with forming an exterior surface of the midsole. The last 116 (with or without the upper 118 attached) may be used to assist with forming the midsole.

[0046] The method 600 ends at block 610 with the formation of a midsole having a customized exterior surface that is complementary to the customized interior surface 221 of the customized insert 120.

[0047] In some examples, the method 600 may further comprise, for example at the block 604, prior to the block 604, or between the block 604 and the block 606, assembling a second mold frame (e.g. a mold frames similar to a mold frame 110, 114 which has been adapted to include a respective cutout), with a respective customized insert, the second mold frame including a respective cutout along a respective lateral axis, the respective customized insert to removably mate with the respective cutout, such that a respective interior surface of the respective customized insert assists with forming a second exterior of the midsole. For example, in some examples, the mold frame 514 with the customized insert 520 may be assembled and used in place of the bottom frame 114. Put another way, the method 600 may include using more than one mold frame adapted to receive a respective customized insert.

[0048] In some examples, the method 600 may further comprise, for example at the block 604 and/or prior to the block 604, selecting the customized insert 120 for use with the mold frame 112, from a plurality of customized inserts. As described above, the plurality of customized inserts may be different, with different team logos, and the like, provided in patterns, and/or with different shapes for different respective orthopedic and/or performance functions.

[0049] In yet further examples, the method 600 may yet further comprise, for example at the block 604 and/or prior to the block 604, generating the customized insert 120 using a three-dimensional printing process, for example from biometric data. Such an example may include capturing biometric data of a wearer’s foot. This may be done by a 3D scan or other measurement technique to capture the shape of the foot, pressure plate analysis, gait analysis, or similar biometric measurement techniques. Such captured data may be used to determine the structure of a midsole to be manufactured including, but not limited, a customized shape and/or customized size and/or a customized pattern for the midsole, which may be used to generate 3D printing data for generating the customized insert. However, generating the customized insert 120 using a three-dimensional printing process and/or acquiring biometric data may occur at a same or different facility as a facility at which the mold frame 112 and the customized insert 120 are assembled and at which the midsole is formed.

[0050] In some examples, the method 600 may yet further comprise, for example at the block 608 and/or after the block 608, assembling the midsole formed at the block 608 with an upper (e.g. the upper 118) and an outsole to form a footwear article. However, assembling the midsole formed at the block 608 with an upper (e.g. the upper 118) and an outsole to form a footwear article at a same or different facility as a facility at which the mold frame 112 and the customized insert 120 are assembled and at which the midsole is formed.

[0051] It is further understood that the method 600 may be performed using a robot and/or a manufacturing control system that is has been provided with non-transitory computer-readable medium comprising instructions that, when executed by a processor of the robot, performs the method 600 using provided mold frames 110, 112, 114 and the customized insert 120 and/or a plurality of customized inserts from which a particular customized insert may be selected, and or which may 3D print a customized insert.

[0052] It is further understood that the method 600 may be repeated by exchanging the customized insert 120 with another of the plurality of customized inserts.

[0053] Hence similar midsoles, having different customized shapes and/or customized patterns, may be incorporated into footwear articles that are the same, other than the different customized shapes and/or customized patterns of the midsoles. Hence, for example, limited runs of footwear articles may be produced having different sports team logos, player’s names, and the like, on the midsoles. Alternatively, a wearer may request a particular customized shape and/or customized pattern for a midsole such that a footwear article may be customized, for example at a location of a retail store, and the like, that has equipment installed to: three-dimensionally print a customized insert having the particular customized shape and/or customized pattern requested by the wearer (e.g. a team logo, a player name, and the like); form a midsole using the customized insert; and assemble the resulting midsole with an upper and an outsole. Alternatively, the retail store, and the like, may be provided with midsoles produced using the method 600, having different customized shapes and/or customized patterns (e.g. different team logos, different player names, and the like), and a wearer may request a particular customized shape and/or customized pattern for a customized shoe at the retail store, which may then use installed equipment to: assemble the selected midsole with an upper and an outsole.

[0054] In view of the above, it should be apparent that the techniques described herein provide for readily customizing midsoles. In view of the above, it should be further apparent that the techniques described herein provide for customizable midsoles specific to a single footwear article or group of footwear articles. [0055] It should be recognized that features and aspects of the various examples provided above can be combined into further examples that also fall within the scope of the present disclosure. In addition, the figures are not to scale and may have size and shape exaggerated for illustrative purposes.