GORE-TEX, one of the most iconic and recognized U.S. brands in the world, exemplifies an enormously successful technology, family and corporate history.
From the intuition to create an innovative fabric (which occurred in the basement of a house in Newark, Delaware) to its use in spacesuits for astronauts on the moon, just over 23 years have passed.
It was 1958 when Wilbert L. and Genevieve sensed the unexploited potential of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene polymer). Subsequent experimentation leads Bob Gore, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gore, to apply expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) to create incredibly durable microporous material with extraordinary characteristics, such as low water absorption and excellent weather protection (1969).
The formula is innovative and it works, and so in 1976 the first outdoor jackets with GORE-TEX laminates, the first breathable, waterproof and windproof fabric on the market, were sold.
Success is unstoppable, and in the following years GORE-TEX achieves great success. This fabric, which in the meantime has been granted several patents, is gradually being applied to a great many products in a variety of fields, including footwear.
What is it and how does the GORE-TEX system work?
But let’s take a step back to explain the added value of this extraordinary fabric and, therefore, the reason for success.
Every single inch of the GORE-TEX membrane has nine billion pores (each of which is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water) so that rain and snow cannot get in.
Furthermore, the configuration of the membrane, is such that it is windproof.
Finally, since each micro-pore is also 700 times bigger than a water vapor molecule, sweat is not retained and can escape from the fabric (be it a shoe or jacket), even in very high temperatures.
Breathability, combined with waterproofness and wind protection, make GORE-TEX membrane products suitable for the most extreme or many different activities and situations: from running to cycling or even simply in places highly exposed to the wind.
What about GORE-TEX in footwear?
GORE-TEX technology has been chosen by the world’s top footwear Brands, such as Adidas, Nike, Salomon and many others.
Indeed, there are many activities and areas of use for which shoes with GORE-TEX technology are suitable: hiking, mountaineering, trekking, cycling, running, hunting, golf, motorcycling, kids, everyday.
With optimized breathability and guaranteed waterproofing, GORE-TEX can protect the foot from external agents, keeping it dry and controlling temperature.
GORE-TEX shoes, therefore, bring a decisive benefit everywhere in terms of durability, performance and the very quality of the activity (running, cycling, hiking).
For a runner or hiker for example, muddy, wet terrain and adverse weather and environmental conditions (damp, rain) are recurring issues. The shoe must not only provide good grip, durability and lightness, but also keep the foot fresh and dry. In the long run, this means minimizing stress on the foot and thus increasing the endurance and and recovery from activities.
The story of GORE-TEX shows us that an intuition, together with perseverance and the ability to innovate, can lead to great achievements. The application of such a unique technology, has quickly involved fields many different from each other. Not surprisingly, GORE-TEX has reached the medical field, where implantable biomaterials and membranes are used in many medical devices.
Learn more about GORE-TEX and find all the products with its special technology.
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