If you’re like most folks, you probably haven’t given much thought to the topic of soles. Maybe you’ve thought about how much traction you’ll get from your hiking boots’ rugged soles when you’re scrambling down a slippery slope, but beyond that…probably not. So it might surprise you to know footwear product developers – as well as leading branded component companies– are investing significant resources in the pursuit of new sole technologies that are going beyond the issue of traction to address comfort.
First up, there’s a new outsole technology called GORE-TEX® SURROUND™ from W.L. Gore, the company that virtually invented the “waterproof/breathable” category. This new design features an open sole construction that allows air to flow into the shoe itself to keep feet comfortably cool and dry, and there’s a waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX® membrane that helps regulate the flow of moisture out of the shoe, while keeping dirt and debris away as well. The result is a highly breathable design that’s ideal for shoes and boots that are intended for all-day, warm weather use. (At LOWA, we feature GORE-TEX® SURROUND™ technology in our San Francisco GTX® SURROUND™ casual styles for men and women.)
Another new technology is DynaPU®, exclusive to LOWA. For many years, the LOWA design team has been firmly committed to using polyurethane (PU) for midsoles (the part of the shoe that’s between the outsole and the shoe’s upper.) The midsole is the element of the shoe that handles shock absorption and rebound, which in turn can determine how well your feet, knees, hips and back feel after a long trek or run. Many other companies use EVA foam for midsoles, but we at LOWA believe in using PU because it’s way more durable, offers terrific shock absorption and is also much less toxic to produce.
The only downside has been that PU midsoles tended to be heavier and had less rebound than EVA, which made them less desirable for fast and light athletic use….until now. LOWA’s DynaPU® is a new polyurethane foam that has the superior shock absorption and durability properties of PU, combined with the rebound and cushioning properties that used to be exclusive to EVA midsoles.
It’s an exciting development in the geeky world of sole technology and it’s allowing our shoe designers to create lightweight yet durable athletic shoes that can also handle rougher terrain. LOWA uses DynaPU® in tandem with MONOWRAP®, a special PU frame technology that provides important torsional support for lighter-weight footwear.
DynaPU® and MONOWARAP® are found on LOWA’s new Innox EVO shoes which are designed for fast and light pursuits such as fast packing, scrambling and of course, everyday use.
To learn more about GORE-TEX® SURROUND™ and DynaPU® technologies and the 2015 LOWA line of shoes and boots, please visit www.lowaboots.com
*Mechanical compression tests performed independently by BASF show that after 240,000 compressions, DynaPU® outlasts EVA by 60%.