Feel it in Your Sole – Dow Launches Next Generation Technology for Footwear
September 18, 2014
Whether you’re pounding the pavement, fast-breaking down the court, or simply getting fit, high performance footwear is essential to maximize your workout – and Dow is ready to help you step up your game.
Dow Elastomers is introducing its award-winning INFUSE™ Olefin Block Copolymers (OBCs) for use in the athletic shoe midsole. INFUSE OBCs help improve rebound, compression set, comfort and dimensional stability while providing the most lightweight material option available – all essential factors in the performance, safety and comfort of a shoe.
Midsoles dictate the life of a shoe, including durability, and the quality of the runner’s ride. They protect the runner’s foot, absorbing shock from jumping and running during a workout, lessening the impact and stress on the body. The midsole also serves as the center of stability for an athlete, preventing the foot from rolling inward or outward, which can lead to pain and injury.
“More and more people are investing in their personal fitness, and with that, we’re seeing growing demand for athletic shoes with higher performance midsoles,” said Michael Shoemaker, global strategic marketing manager for Dow Elastomers. “New technology applications, like blending INFUSE OBCs with ethylene vinyl acetate for the shoe midsole, are helping meet increased consumer demands for improved performance, comfort and durability in a market where midsole foams have traditionally provided a minimum level of benefits in midsole comfort.”
Formulators using INFUSE OBCs are seeing midsoles with enhanced flexibility, adhesion and foaming compared to conventional EVA-based midsole foams. INFUSE provides improved resilience with similar hardness, more stable performance over a broader temperature range, and reduced shrinkage and compression set at elevated temperatures. The technology can also drop into existing foam processes with minor adjustments by the manufacturer, eliminating the need to retool or alter the production process.
Competitormagazine recently reported that shoe brand owners are seeing a growth in popularity for maximum cushion athletic shoes, replacing a recent trend in barely-there minimalist shoes, which require higher strength and fitness from the athlete—not suitable for those needing to build up their strength.
“We are excited to help our customers revolutionize footwear performance and comfort through cutting-edge science and technology,” said Shoemaker. “This is just one market where we are collaborating with customers to develop next-generation products with INFUSE OBCs.”
INFUSE™ OBCs were awarded the 2012 ICIS Product Innovation Award due to the technology’s unique blend of flexible polymer blocks with hard blocks of high-melting-point polymer, an innovation never before achieved or thought possible, in the plastics marketplace.
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.