Posted in | Nanomaterials | Graphene

Graphene Utilized to Make Hiking Boots for the First Time Ever

Basing on the global success of their revolutionary use of graphene in trail running and fitness shoes last summer, the brand is currently bringing the groundbreaking technology to a market hungry for innovation.

(Credit: The University of Manchester)

Graphene being just one-atom thick and stronger than steel has been infused into the rubber of inov-8’s new ROCLITE hiking boots, with the outsoles scientifically confirmed to be 50% stronger, 50% harder wearing, and 50% more elastic.

Working together with graphene experts at the University, inov-8 is the first global brand to use the material in sports shoes and presently, hiking footwear.

There are two boots with graphene-boosted rubber outsoles: the ROCLITE 335 and the ROCLITE 345 GTX. The former provides better warmth on cold days with PrimaLoft insulation in the upper of the shoe, while the latter has waterproof GORE-TEX protection for hiking ventures in wet conditions.

The ROCLITE 335 weighs only 335 g and the ROCLITE 345 GTX weighs merely 345 g. Both can be purchased now.

Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director, said: “Working with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester, we’ve been able to develop rubber outsoles that deliver the world’s toughest grip.

The hiking and outdoor footwear market has been stagnant for many years and crying out for innovation. We’ve brought a fresh approach and new ideas, launching products that will allow hikers, fast-packers and outdoor adventurers to get more miles out of their boots, no matter how gnarly the terrain.

Using graphene we have developed outsole rubbers that are scientifically tested to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing. But this is just the start. Graphene is such a versatile material and its potential really is limitless.

Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials, The University of Manchester.

Remarking on the continued partnership with The University of Manchester, inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said: “Last summer saw a powerhouse forged in Northern England take the world of sports footwear by storm. That same powerhouse is now going to do likewise in the hiking and outdoors industry.

“We won numerous awards across the world for our revolutionary use of graphene in trail running and fitness shoes, and I’m 100% confident we can do the same in hiking and outdoors.

“Mark my words, graphene is the future, and we’re not stopping at just rubber outsoles. This is a four-year innovation project which will see us incorporate graphene into 50% of our range and give us the potential to halve the weight of shoes without compromising on performance or durability.”

Graphene is made from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England over 450 years ago. inov-8 too was forged in the same fells, though much more recently in 2003. The brand, at present, trades in 68 nations worldwide.

The researchers who first separated graphene from graphite were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. Building on their groundbreaking work, a team of over 300 staff at The University of Manchester have established projects into graphene-enhanced prototypes, from medical devices and sports cars to airplanes and of course, at present, hiking and sports footwear.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons—instances of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary partnership, and cross-sector collaborations that are engaging in solving some of the biggest questions facing mankind.

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