British sportswear brand inov-8 decided to take footwear a leap further: with graphene. Working with the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, they developed rubber enhanced with the game-changing material for running shoe outsoles that are, according to Aravind Vijayaraghavan at the University of Manchester, “50 percent stronger, 50 percent more stretchy, and 50 percent more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene.”
Is there anything graphene can’t do? inov-8 created their forthcoming G-series with flexible graphene-enhanced rubber for footwear – you guessed it – far superior to shoes with regular old soles. Vijayaraghavan said when graphene is added to rubber for the product, it imparts its groundbreaking properties like strength. The improved material offers a long-lasting grip for sneakers without rapidly wearing down. inov-8 product and marketing director Michael Price said the shoes offer durability and traction never before seen.
Price said in a statement, “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.”
Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material on the planet, and can be folded or twisted without damage. The University of Manchester has worked on graphene-enhanced airplanes, medical devices, and sports cars – and now sports gear. inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said the company is positioned “at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution,” and hinted this is just the beginning, saying graphene’s potential is limitless. The G-series shoes will hit the market in 2018.
Images via the University of Manchester