The world’s first-ever sports shoes to utilize graphene – the strongest material on the planet – have been unveiled by the British brand inov-8.
Collaborating with experts at The University of Manchester, inov-8 has been able to infuse the wonder-material into rubber. The result is a ground-breaking development of rubber outsoles for running and fitness shoes that have outlasted 1,000 miles and are scientifically proven to be 50% harder wearing in repeated testing.
200 times stronger than steel and super-lightweight, graphene is the thinnest material on earth. inov-8 is the first brand in the world to use the Nobel Prize winning material in sports footwear, with its G-SERIES shoes available to pre-order beginning June 22nd and officially for sale on July 12th.
The company announced its intent to revolutionize the sports footwear industry last December. Six months of frenzied anticipation later, inov-8 has now removed all secrecy and reveals to the world these game-changing shoes.
“Over the last 18 months we have worked with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester to bring the world’s toughest grip to the sports footwear market. Prior to this innovation, off-road runners and fitness athletes had to choose between sticky rubber that works well in wet or sweaty conditions yet wears quickly wears down or a more durable, harder rubber that is not as grippy,” explains Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director. “Thanks to intensive research, hundreds of prototypes and thousands of hours of testing in the field and laboratory, athletes now no longer need to compromise.”
The G-SERIES range is made up of three different shoes, each meticulously designed to meet the needs of athletes. THE MUDCLAW G 260 is for running over muddy mountains and obstacle courses, the TERRAULTRA G 260 for running long distances on hard-packed trails and the F-LITE G 290 for cross-fitters working out in gyms. Each includes graphene-enhanced rubber outsoles and uppers with Kevlar.
“This powerhouse forged in Northern England is going to take the world of sports footwear by storm. We’re combining science and innovation together with entrepreneurial speed and agility to go up against the major sports brands – and we’re going to win,” stated inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey, while commenting on the patent-pending technology and the collaboration with The University of Manchester. “We are at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution and we’re not stopping at rubber outsoles. This is a four-year innovation project which will see us incorporate graphene into 50% of our range and give us the potential to halve the weight of running/fitness shoes without compromising on performance or durability.”
Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England more than 450 years ago. inov-8 was forged in the same fells, albeit much more recently in 2003. The brand is now available in 68 countries worldwide.
The scientists who first isolated graphene from graphite were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. Building on their revolutionary work, a team of over 300 at The University of Manchester pioneered projects into graphene-enhanced prototypes, including sports cars, medical devices, and planes. Now the University can add graphene-enhanced sports footwear to its list of world-firsts.
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, said: “Using graphene, we have developed G-SERIES outsole rubbers that are scientifically tested to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing. “We are delighted to be part of putting graphene on the shelves of 250 retail stores globally making it accessible to everyone. Graphene is versatile with limitless potential. In coming years we expect to deliver graphene technologies in composites, coatings and sensors, many of which will further revolutionise sports products.”