The Gear Junkie: ‘Graphene’ Coming To Trail Shoes Next Year | AspenTimes.com

The Gear Junkie: ‘Graphene’ Coming To Trail Shoes Next Year

by Stephen Regenold

Imagine a material that is only one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel. That is graphene, a wonder product revolutionizing everything from skis to race cars.

This month, for the first time, a company put it into footwear. In 2018, your trail-running shoes might have traces of the magic material.

British brand Inov-8 announced a line of shoes that have soles infused with graphene.

The company calls its treaded rubber "graphene-enhanced," and it's touted to flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively.

Inov-8 is a longtime favorite shoe brand for me. The small company has always bucked common convention, including "barefoot-style" runners and off-trail footwear with thin soles and exaggerated, spikey rubber tread.

For its graphene models, the company cites a combination of traction, flexibility and durability that's "never been seen before in sports footwear." As many as six shoe models will come with the futuristic sole.

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Graphene is a form of carbon. It's made as a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice that Inov-8 notes is "extraordinarily flexible and can be bent, twisted, folded and stretched without incurring any damage."

Sounds perfect for footwear. Indeed, the brand believes graphene will make its outsoles "50 percent stronger, 50 percent more stretchy and 50 percent more resistant to wear."

I'm excited to test them out and see how a shoe "stronger than steel" will do on the trail.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.