Scientists hail sports footwear breakthrough as Inov-8 team up with University of Manchester
Graphene, the thinnest yet strongest material on earth, is coming to running shoes in what Inov-8 are claiming is a revolution in sports footwear.
The British brand has linked up with the University of Manchester to become the first to incorporate graphene into running shoes.
Tests have shown the rubber outsoles in the new Inov-8 G series are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.
Two hundred times stronger than steel, graphene - widely used in aircraft manufacture - is just one atom thick.
Michael Price, Inov-8 product and marketing director, said: “Off-road runners and fitness athletes live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimise their performance, be that when running on wet trails or working out in sweaty gyms. For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly.
“Now, utilising the groundbreaking properties of graphene, there is no compromise. The new rubber we have developed with the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester allows us to smash the limits of grip.
“Our lightweight G-Series shoes deliver a combination of traction, stretch and durability never seen before in sports footwear. 2018 will be the year of the world’s toughest grip.”
The remarkable material was first isolated by University of Manchester in 2004 by scientists who were awarded a Nobel Prize for physics. It was produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District of northern England more than 450 year ago. Trail shoe giant Inov-8 was also formed in the Lakes.
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, reader in nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, said: “When added to the rubber used in Inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength. Our unique formulation makes these outsoles 50% stronger, 50% more stretchy and 50% more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene.
“The graphene-enhanced rubber can flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively, without wearing down quickly, providing reliably strong, long-lasting grip.
“This is a revolutionary consumer product that will have a huge impact on the sports footwear market.”