2024-07-21
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The ingredients that make a great sports shoe

From membranes to insoles via sustainable materials. The greatness of a sports shoe depends not only on its design, but also, if not above all, on its components.

The ingredients that make a great sports shoe

A sports shoe often impresses us with its eye-catching, often aggressive and colorful design. It gives us the feeling that by wearing that model we can achieve any goal. The concept applies even more to technical footwear, although in that case more technical factors and a greater awareness of functionality and performance also come into play.

But while design undoubtedly remains an important part in generating the performance we are interested in (and it could also be comfort alone), it is the components of a shoe that really make the difference, even though they are often invisible and barely perceptible.

So here are a few pointers on some of the components that are revolutionizing the industry and can change the way you choose a sports shoe. Also, because in many of the cases we report you will find on the model tags indicating the use of the technologies listed here.

PRIMALOFT

We start with an interesting overview of a brand that can make all the difference when it comes to thermal insulation: Primaloft. The brand, a global leader in advanced materials technology, presented its innovative solutions combining high performance, respect for people and the environment.

PrimaLoft Inc. is an advanced technology company with headquarters in Latham, New York, and offices in Xiamen, China, and is a world leader in the research and innovative development of comfort solutions with high-performance insulation and fabrics.

For more than 40 years, the PrimaLoft® brand has distinguished products that are used by more than 900 world-renowned brands in the outdoor and fashion industries, as well as in furniture, workwear, hunting and military applications.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Primaloft | outdoor shoe

With its Relentlessly Responsible™ mission, PrimaLoft is committed to balancing innovation, performance and sustainability in the quest for a better future. Let’s talk about some innovation with Leonardo Loro, Sales Leader Europe.

What is the novelty you had recently presented?

The ThermoPlume Plus, which represents the evolution of our flagship product ThermoPlume, an innovative ‘loose’ fibre, 100% post-consumer polyester staple from recycled plastic bottles.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
ThermoPlume Plus

The loose fibre provides a feather-like effect, as well as lightness, warmth and comfort, because it can be injected like natural down. Primaloft has been using recycled fibre since the mid-1990s and has therefore been a forerunner in the clothing industry, although for us today, recycled fibre is not the ultimate answer, but rather an intermediate solution, because the goal is to move away from fossil fuels.

What do you propose for the world of footwear specifically?

For the footwear sector, we have been successfully proposing Aerogel for some years now, the lightest solid material in the world because it contains up to 95% air, and which in clothing and footwear is proposed as a thermal barrier against extreme cold but also extreme heat. Encapsulated Aerogel is used in footwear as an insole or as side or toe inserts precisely to reduce thickness and increase the thermal barrier from cold or heat.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Primaloft | Aerogel
sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Primaloft | aerogel

For example, in mountaineering boots in the 4, 6, and 8 thousand metre models, as well as in MotoGP boots, where riders need protection from the extreme heat of the asphalt and especially the engine exhausts. It is a very interesting material because unlike others it can be used where protection from heat is required, as well as from water.

Could you explain further?

What we are trying to promote in the footwear industry is a new ‘thermal & water resistant‘ product concept. We believe that today we are witnessing an abuse in the use of membranes in the technical and fashion fields. For example, membranes are always present in winter footwear, but they only guarantee water resistance, not cold resistance. In footwear, on the other hand, thermicity is very important, and Primaloft products have water resistance intrinsic to the fibre and, above all, keep the foot warm or cool, as well as dry

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Primaloft | gold aerogel

But Primaloft is not the only one to offer interesting innovations for the comfort of our feet and to guarantee performance appropriate to our purposes. Let’s find out what else the market offers.

STEP ZERO

The Swiss brand offers high-performance insoles and soles made from 100% natural and fully biodegradable materials, especially designed for trainers and sports shoes, offering sustainable solutions for the industry.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
StopZero
sports shoes | shoestechnologies
StopZero

H-DRY

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
H-Dry technology

The patented H-Dry technology improves footwear comfort and performance because it eliminates any space between the upper and membrane, typical of shoes with waterproof lining, where water can penetrate and stagnate.

The waterproof and breathable H-Dry membrane is laminated directly to the inside of the upper, sealing the outer material and all seams in a single step. The waterproofing process is completed by fitting the shoe and applying the sole. The H-Dry membrane also has a very high and certified level of water vapour permeability.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
shoes with H-Dry Technology

FRAMAS

Framas presented the application of the innovative SMARTLITE® O system developed in collaboration with Huntsman, the first liquid TPU for the footwear industry, that enables the rapid production of high-performance, fully recyclable midsoles.

Easier to use than expanded forms of TPU, the SMARTLITE® O (LTPU) system can be processed in a single step, using significantly less water and energy and generating less waste and carbon emissions.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Framas shoes

INSITE

Insite® EcoComfort™ PU foam insoles are made with a blend of Susterra® plant-based compounds that reduce carbon emissions while improving comfort, performance and support.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Insite® EcoComfort™ PU foam insoles
sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Insite® EcoComfort™ PU foam insoles


They are in fact made with Susterra® propanediol, obtained from American corn grown according to Truterra regenerative farming practices, which can replace some of the main petrochemical ingredients in traditional polyurethane, reducing carbon emissions and the use of non-renewable energy and increasing performance in terms of flexibility and resistance to tearing.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
shoes with PU foam insoles
sports shoes | shoestechnologies
shoes with PU foam insoles

POLARTEC

The brand presented the first products made with Biolon™, a vegetable-derived nylon fibre and membrane for high-performance fabrics. The first application is on Power Shield™, where Biolon makes up 48% of the membrane, with high performance in terms of water resistance and breathability.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Power Shield™


The second is Power Stretch™ Pro, a dual-surface fabric composed of highly resistant nylon on the outside and soft, comfortable polyester on the inside. The latest version of the Polartec fabric has managed to replace half of the fossil nylon content with Biolon™ , maintaining breathability, durability and the characteristic 4-way stretch.

sports shoes | shoestechnologies
Power Stretch™ Pro

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