THE SPECIAL GORE-TEX MEMBRANE AND ITS USE IN THE PRODUCTION OF WATERPROOF AND BREATHABLE HIGH-PERFORMANCE SHOES FOR MOUNTAINS AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES.
Nowadays, when it comes to waterproof, wind resistant, breathable and high performance footwear, the first name that comes to mind is Gore-Tex, a membrane that over the years has established itself as the standard for technical and sport shoes for mountains and outdoors.
How Gore-Tex technology was born
Gore-Tex is a brand that owes its name to its creator Bob Gore. In 1969, Gore worked in his laboratory attempting to heat polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a material then traditionally used in connection and coaxial cables. Instead of slowly pressing the heated PTFE, he applied a fast and accelerated traction to the material, reducing its crystallization and increasing its porosity: this manoeuvre gave rise to expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), which soon became known as GORE-TEX®.
Thanks to the extraordinary hydrophobic and breathability features of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (the liquid water is repelled by the pores, whilst the vapour can pass through), the material was gradually perfected giving rise to the technologically advanced membranes that today the brand offers: Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Pro, Gore-Tex Active and Gore-Tex Surround, used in particular in the creation of waterproof and breathable sports technical footwear.
The Gore-Tex membrane: lightness, breathability and waterproofness
At the heart of the Gore-Tex fabric is an extremely thin membrane with more than 1,400 million pores per square centimetre. These pores are 20 thousand times smaller than a drop of water and, at the same time, they are about 700 times larger than a water vapour molecule. It means that when the body begins to warm up and release water vapour, it does not get trapped inside the shoe but it can cross the membrane outwards, whereas the water from the outside can not penetrate inside the shoe, keeping the foot perfectly dry.
All Gore-Tex fabrics are also specially treated to make them water repellent: this is to ensure that the water drops do not clog the pores outside the membrane, reducing breathability.
The Gore-Tex membrane reduces the weight of the shoe, prevents the formation of mold and offers extraordinary protection against wind and water.
The uses of Gore-Tex shoes: technical footwear for outdoor activities
Lightness, breathability and waterproofness of Gore-Tex footwear make it the ideal choice for outdoor activities at an accelerated pace, such as trekking on mountain routes, via ferrata, climbing, mountaineering and hiking on difficult terrain, even the most extreme and in any weather condition.