The University of Manchester has teamed up with British sportswear brand Inov-8 to become the world's first company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes. Laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles of the newly developed shoes, planned to arrive on the market in 2018, are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.
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 optimize 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, utilizing 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.”
“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”, explained the nanomaterials expert at The University of Manchester that was involved in this project.
The initial collaboration, part-funded through the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, has already delivered sector leading innovation for inov-8. the continued partnership, supported by the Innovate UK KTP programme, aims to transform the sports footwear sector through future inov-8 innovation