Nanotech

One of Inov-8's training shoes. / Photo by: Alexander Hahn via Flickr

 

Inov-8, a maker of running shoes and training apparel and equipment, announced through its website the world’s first training shoes outfitted with graphene.

In 2004, scientists at the University of Manchester isolated the semi-metal material called graphene from graphite, which led to their Nobel Prize award in 2010. Now, a sports footwear uses graphene to bring the world’s toughest grip. British brand Inov-8 announced the G Series training shoes with a one-atom-thick carbon sheet that solves the issue commonly encountered by athletes.

Typically, athletes need to select between two kinds of training shoes: those made with a sticky rubber and those built with harder rubber. Shoes with sticky rubber are designed to withstand sweaty and wet conditions, but the material can quickly wear down after consistent exposure to moisture. On the other hand, shoes with a harder rubber can last longer than the previous type, however, the grip is not as firm as with the other rubber.

To solve this dilemma, the G Series utilized a new rubber developed by scientists at the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester to provide both benefits -- grip and toughness. The outsole or the bottommost part of the shoes was enhanced with graphene while the uppers or the covering of the shoes were improved with Kevlar, a material used to create bulletproof vests. Moreover, the composition of the shoes provided a 50-percent increase in elasticity, strength, and hardness.

“When added to the rubber used in Inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength. Our unique formulation makes these outsoles 50 percent stronger, 50 percent more stretchy, and 50 percent more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene,” explained Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan, a reader in nanomaterials at the University of Manchester.

Graphene is a very thin, light, and flexible material that is 200 times stronger than steel.