Graphene is a relatively new material that has recently been used to make things better, whether it’s used in headphones, or to reduce battery charge times, or to desalinate and purify water. Now, we’re finally going to see graphene brought into the world of footwear and fitness. The University of Manchester has partnered up with British sportswear brand inov-8 to incorporate graphene into running shoes, and it’s the first company to ever do so. What’s even more amazing is that the kicks will officially be heading to the market some time in 2018.
These shoes have been tested in the laboratory, and the results show that the composite rubber outsoles are much stronger and more stretchy than traditional materials, making the shoes more resistant to wear and tear. This new kind of rubber, which has been developed with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester, means that off-road runners and fitness athletes will no longer have to compromise the need for grip. There is a degree of stretch, durability and traction with these new shoes that has never been seen before in footwear.
“When added to the rubber used in inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength,” university reader Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan said in a recent statement, as reported by Tech Crunch. “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.”
Even though it is technically the thinnest material in the world, graphene is simultaneously the strongest material ever measured. It is 200 times stronger than steel, and at the same time incredibly flexible. The material can be twisted, stretched and folded without causing any kind of damage.
“Product innovation is the number-one priority for our brand,” inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said. “It’s the only way we can compete against the major sports brands. The pioneering collaboration between inov-8 and the The University of Manchester puts us — and Britain — at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution. And this is just the start, as the potential of graphene really is limitless. We are so excited to see where this journey will take us.”