Graphene, a relatively new material that has found application in headphones, water purification and other areas will now be introduced in footwear and fitness. The University of Manchester is partnering with UK sportswear brand inov-8 to incorporate graphene into running shoes. It is the first company to ever do so and will be marketing the shoes some time in 2018.
The shoes have been tested in the laboratory, and the results show that the composite rubber outsoles are much stronger and more stretchable than traditional materials, which makes the shoes more resistant to wear and tear. According to commentators, the 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. They add, there is a degree of stretch, durability and traction with these new shoes that has not 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.''
Graphene is made from a thin layer of pure carbon. It is currently the thinnest and strongest compound known to exist, and is currently the best conductor of heat and electricity. Research is still ongoing about how best to apply this material's properties.
Innov-8 will sell its graphene shoes for £140 and £150 and they will be out next year.