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inov-8 Break New Ground with their Shoes

December 6th, 2017


inov-8 is launching a revolutionary worlds-first in the sports footwear market following a unique collaboration with scientific experts. They have teamed up with The University of Manchester (home of the National Graphene Institute) to become the first-ever company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes.

Laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles of these shoes, new to market in the summer of 2018, are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.
The range will be called the G-Series.

Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director, said: “Off-road runners and fitness athletes live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimize their performance, be that when running on wet trails or working out in sweaty gyms. 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.

“Our lightweight G-Series shoes deliver a combination of traction, stretch and durability never seen before in sports footwear. 2018 will be the year of the world’s toughest grip.”

Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England over 450 years ago. inov-8 too was forged in the same fells, albeit much more recently, in 2003. The brand now trades in 68 countries worldwide.

Commenting on the collaboration and the patent-pending technology, inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said: “Product innovation is the number-one priority for our brand. It’s the only way we can compete against the major sports brands. The pioneering collaboration between inov-8 and the The University of Manchester puts us – and Britain – at the forefront of a graphene sports footwear revolution.

“And this is just the start, as the potential of graphene really is limitless. We are so excited to see where this journey will take us.”

The scientists who first isolated graphene were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2010. Building on their revolutionary work, the team at The University of Manchester has pioneered projects into graphene-enhanced sports cars, medical devices and aeroplanes. Now the University can add sports footwear to its list of world-firsts.

Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, said: “Despite being the thinnest material in the world, graphene is also the strongest, and is 200 times stronger than steel. 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.”

“The graphene-enhanced rubber can flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively, without wearing down quickly, providing reliably strong, long-lasting grip.

“This is a revolutionary consumer product that will have a huge impact on the sports footwear market.”

GRAPHENE THE FACTS
Graphene is the thinnest material on earth and is 200 times stronger than steel. First isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004, it’s the world’s first two-dimensional material at just one-atom thick and has the potential to revolutionise many areas of technology.

Graphene is a new type of carbon – a sheet of carbon just one atom thick. It is the world’s first two-dimensional material and unlike any other material in the world. It’s the thinnest material on the planet but also the strongest. It is 200 times stronger than steel. It is also extraordinarily flexible, and can be bent and twisted, folded and stretched without any damage.

Graphene is closely related to a more well-known material – graphite, which is made of millions of graphene layers stacked on top of one another.

Graphite was first discovered and mined in the valley of Borrowdale, Lake District (England), in 1555. The local farmers found it to be useful for marking sheep. It was mined there until the end of the 19th Century.

Graphene was isolated from graphite for the first time at The University of Manchester in 2004. The two scientists who did this, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.

It is 200 times stronger than steel. It is also extraordinarily flexible, and can be bent and twisted, folded and stretched without any damage.

Graphene is added to the rubber used in inov-8 G-Series shoe soles. It imparts its strength to the rubber, making it stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.

Laboratory tests show the rubber used in these G-Series shoes is 50% stronger, 50% more stretchy and 50% more wear resistant.

This graphene-enhanced rubber can flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively, without wearing down quickly, providing reliably strong, long-lasting grip.

inov-8 and The University of Manchester have been working on this project since early 2017, moving fast with agility, and driven by a desire to create a world-first.

The potential of graphene is limitless. Watch this graphene video by The University of Manchester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMJnBx117-E

inov-8 THE FACTS 

One of the world’s leading brands in off-road running and fitness footwear, apparel and equipment.

British brand founded in 2003 by Wayne Edy. Forged in the fells of the Lake District, UK.

Renowned for delivering innovation and best grip in footwear for runners tackling all terrains, including trails, fells and mountains, as well as fitness athletes working out in gyms and boxes.

Now trading in 68 countries around the world. Sells one-third in the UK, one-third in the US and one-third in ROW. Biggest growth markets are Japan, UK, USA, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Czech Republic.

And company continues to grow in trail running, recording an average annual growth of 14% in this sector in the last 3 years, while remaining the pro’s choice in cross fitness.

Graphene will be a key growth driver. 50% of the inov-8 footwear range will be graphene-enhanced by 2020.

inov-8 are the forefront of new manufacturing practices – will produce new G-Series products on robotic lines, becoming one of the first sports brands to do so.

In August 2015, Descente – a Japanese sportswear maker with an 80-year history of craftsmanship and excellence – acquired an 80% majority share of inov-8. Wayne Edy, inov-8 founder, is a 20% shareholder and remains at the heart of product innovation.

Has won multiple global awards for its business and innovative product design.

In 2014 was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, which reflects outstanding achievement in the global market place. It’s the UK’s most coveted commercial prize and highest accolade of business success.

Believes that the athletes’ interaction with the environment is the single most important factor when designing products.

Has offices in both the Lake District and County Durham (UK), as well as Boston (USA).