Manchester University makes sports shoes with graphene
Courtesy: University of Manchester
The University of Manchester in collaboration with British brand inov-8 has unveiled the world’s first-ever sports shoes to utilise graphene – the strongest material on the planet. The two have developed rubber outsoles for running and fitness shoes that in testing have outlasted 1,000 miles and are scientifically proven to be 50 per cent harder wearing.
Collaborating with graphene experts at National Graphene Institute, the brand has been able to develop a graphene-enhanced rubber. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and at only a single atom thick it is the thinnest possible material, meaning it has many unique properties. Inov-8 is the first brand in the world to use the superlative material in sports footwear, with its G-SERIES shoes available to pre-order from June 22, ahead of going on sale from July 12.
The company first announced its intent to revolutionise the sports footwear industry in December last year. Six months of frenzied anticipation later, inov-8 has now removed all secrecy and let the world see these game-changing shoes.
Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director, said: “Over the last 18 months we have worked with the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester to bring the world’s toughest grip to the sports footwear market.
“Prior to this innovation, off-road runners and fitness athletes had to choose between a sticky rubber that works well in wet or sweaty conditions but wears down quicker and a harder rubber that is more durable but not quite as grippy. Through intensive research, hundreds of prototypes and thousands of hours of testing in both the field and laboratory, athletes now no longer need to compromise.”
Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan, reader in Nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, said: “Using graphene we have developed G-SERIES outsole rubbers that are scientifically tested to be 50 per cent stronger, 50 per cent more elastic and 50 per cent harder wearing.”
“We are delighted to put graphene on the shelves of 250 retail stores all over the world and make it accessible to everyone. Graphene is a versatile material with limitless potential and in coming years we expect to deliver graphene technologies in composites, coatings and sensors, many of which will further revolutionise sports products,” Vijayaraghavan said.
The G-SERIES range is made up of three different shoes, each meticulously designed to meet the needs of athletes. The Mudclaw G 260 is for running over muddy mountains and obstacle courses, the TERRAULTRA G 260 for running long distances on hard-packed trails and the F-LITE G 290 for crossfitters working out in gyms. Each includes graphene-enhanced rubber outsoles and Kevlar – a material used in bulletproof vests – on the uppers.
Commenting on the patent-pending technology and the collaboration with the University of Manchester, inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said: “This powerhouse forged in Northern England is going to take the world of sports footwear by storm. We’re combining science and innovation together with entrepreneurial speed and agility to go up against the major sports brands – and we’re going to win.”
“We are at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution and we’re not stopping at just rubber outsoles. This is a four-year innovation project which will see us incorporate graphene into 50 pre cent of our range and give us the potential to halve the weight of running/fitness shoes without compromising on performance or durability.”
Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England more than 450 years ago. Inov-8 too was forged in the same fells, albeit much more recently in 2003. The brand now trades in 68 countries worldwide. (SV)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India