Lightness, today we talk about lightness. One of the main demands in the footwear industry is precisely this: “we need to make it lighter.”
And it’s from this necessity that fiberlite was born, the technology developed by JV International, one of the leading companies that conceived and develops technologies, compounds, and materials applied to soles.
What is the inspiration behind this technology and this type of solution?
All begins from MICHELIN’s experience in the tire industry, particularly from the early days of MICHELIN, which introduced textile fibers in tires. By combining this aspect with the specific need for an extremely lightweight product, fiberlite was created. Of course, in the process of transitioning from the tire industry to the footwear industry, it is necessary to respect the right proportions to achieve the intended benefits. Therefore, woven fibers were integrated into the rubber compound to reinforce it.
We took this as our inspiration, and the reasoning was: rubber itself has many positive characteristics, but it’s clear that we have mechanical and physical limitations. At some point, rubber can’t handle it anymore, and in some way, we add what is missing. In this case, we combined the customer demand for something lighter with the idea of textile fibers in tires and created our fiberlite.
What does this allow to do? It allows to significantly reduce the base of the rubber to make the sole as light as possible. And this makes it evident that fiberlite technology always needs to be contextualized to a specific use and demand.
What is another positive characteristic of fiberlite besides lightness? By incorporating a fabric component into the rubber, the tear resistance of the rubber itself is greatly improved. Additionally, the presence of fabric within the rubber prevents excessive deformation of the rubber when in contact with uneven terrains.
Furthermore, another characteristic of soles with fiberlite technology is the ability of JV International to create the perimeter of the sole, resulting in a three-dimensional structure. The most striking example is Speedland, where the three-dimensionality is achieved through the presence of fabric across the entire base surface of the sole in collaboration with JVI-solesbyMICHELIN.
For which activities is the application of fiberlite technology to the sole primarily suitable?
The world of outdoor activities is particularly suited to footwear with soles improving fiberlite technology. Specifically, fiberlite technology works well where the density of lugs is less frequent, where the lugs are strategically positioned to ensure traction and control on uneven outdoor surfaces. Consequently, it is more suitable for more “aggressive” soles where the base of the rubber remains relatively free to work in contact with the surface.
Some of the activities suitable for this technology applied to the shoe soles include trail running, road running, swimrun, snowboarding, skateboarding, and even fashion products.
In general, these are all applications where there is a need to meticulously reduce the weight of the shoe while maintaining the durability of the sole. Therefore, the range of footwear to which this technology can be applied is quite extensive.
Some footwear with fiberlite technology applied to the sole:
Speedland, in particular the GS:TAM, GS:PGH and SL:HSV models, in which the aim was to create the best trail running shoes, where pushing the limits of technology achieved the 3D effect, with fiberlite along the entire profile of the rubber.
Xero Shoes also applied fiberlite technology to their Scrambler Mid and Scrambler Low footwear. In this case, we are talking about barefoot shoes designed for outdoor use. Once again, there are a few, very aggressive lugs with a low-profile design, emphasizing lightness.
Etnies, a brand specialising in the world of skateboarding and MTB, in its Marana SBM fiberlite and Camber Pro models, has fibrelite technology to guarantee lightness during the tricks and stunts of these disciplines.
Having in-depth knowledge of available technologies applied to footwear soles for specific activities is essential for consciously choosing products that align with individual needs and, above all, for the adventures one wants to undertake. JV International offers numerous technologies, and soon we will discover more!
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