You may not have heard of graphene before; it's the more expensive yet lighter brother of carbon fibre used in revolutionary bike frames, sports cars, areoplanes, medical devices, aerospace construction and more. Now – for the first time according to inov-8 – it’s coming to running shoes.
Collaborating with The University of Manchester, inov-8 have created graphene-enhanced rubber outsoles that they claim will be 50% stronger, flexible and more resistant to wear than corresponding industry standard rubber. In layman’s terms, you could get double the amount of mileage out of your running shoe outsoles.
So why do it, surely faster wearing shoes means more sales? Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director explained, “Off-road runners live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimize their performance. For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly.
“Now, utilising the groundbreaking properties of graphene, there is no compromise. The new rubber we have developed with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester allows us to smash the limits of grip."
We're yet to put these claims to the test, yet the use of such a material is very interesting from a running point of view. First isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004 by scientists who were later awarded the Nobel Prize for physics, it’s the world’s first two-dimensional material at just one-atom thick. Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, has spearheaded this patent-pending technology. He said: “Despite being the thinnest material in the world, graphene is also the strongest. It’s also extraordinarily flexible, and can be bent, twisted, folded and stretched without incurring any damage.
“When added to the rubber used in inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength. Our unique formulation makes these outsoles 50% stronger, 50% more stretchy and 50% more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene."
We look forward to being able to put these to the test soon!
RRP at this point would be £140-150.
For more info, check out www.inov-8.com