Whether trekking hut-to-hut in the White Mountains, completing an AT thru-hike, or taking the dog for a long walk in the woods, W.L. Gore — the company known in the outdoor world for its famed waterproof, breathable laminates — estimates that 223 million people enjoy hiking worldwide.
And the company aims to increase that number, while at the same time providing a better experience for anyone who walks outdoors, by introducing new technology promising all-around breathability and waterproofness in hiking shoes and boots. The focus of this new offering is not to have manufacturers replace currently endowed Gore-Tex shoes, but to broaden the protection spectrum for all seasons.
Available from 25 footwear brands worldwide in Spring 2015, brand partners will include Alfa, Bestard, Chriuca, Crispi, Dolomite, Hanwag, Härkila, La Sportiva, Mammut, Meindl, Salewa, Scarpa, Treksta, Viking and Zamberlan.
Gore-Tex introduced a first version of SURROUND technology last season with footwear-leader Salewa in the casual-technical Ramble. And it’s currently found in casual and children’s footwear by 15 brands. In the Ramble, excess heat and moisture are transported out of the shoe through large openings in the sole.Shoes will feature special GORE-TEX laminates that are integrated into the shoe upper and completely surround the foot on all sides — delivering extended climate comfort without compromising on weather protection.
But the centerpiece of the new hiking footwear technology is a special construction under the foot called the GORE-TEX SURROUND Spacer. Sweat can escape through the GORE-TEX laminate positioned in the underside of the shoe into the open structure of the mesh-like spacer – and from there out of the shoe via side ventilation.
“Keep in mind about one third of the body’s sweat glands are located on the soles of our feet,” says Global Product Specialist for Gore-Tex Outdoor Footwear, Marc Peikert.
“While normally, hiking shoes are completely enclosed beneath the foot, GORE-TEX SURROUND quickly channels sweat away from the feet in addition now through an open, patented construction below the foot. Excess moisture and heat can escape not only through the upper construction, but also downwards below the foot, and then laterally, resulting in dry feet. And dry feet make you feel better and reduce the risk of blisters and chaffing.”
“Footwear developers have been working hard to better address consumer’s needs for waterproof protection for activities like hiking where people have to deal with, and want to be prepared for, various ground conditions,” continued Peikert. “Consumers know that you need to be protected with your hiking footwear from morning dew, puddles, or sudden weather changes in the mountains as these conditions can challenge boots and shoes and for sure affect their comfort. Even a shorter hiking experience should not be impacted through the unpleasant feeling that comes from wet feet on what would otherwise be a great day.”
Keep an eye out for many of your favorite brands in North America including La Sportiva, Mammut, Salewa, Scarpa, TrekSta and Zamberlan to have outdoor footwear with SURROUND technology on shelves this spring.
The Gore company’s portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components and aerospace electronics. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Newark, Delaware, Gore employs approximately 10,000 people with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and China. Learn more at gore.com.