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May 17, 2019

New athleisure shoe combines material and technology innovations

By Beth Wright

Leading Taiwanese footwear manufacturer Longterm Concept has teamed up with designer Gu Guoyi and chemistry company BASF to develop a new athleisure shoe that combines advanced material innovations with the latest automation technology.

A specialist in intelligent footwear production processes, Longterm Concept has integrated different automation steps and fused four BASF materials into the new X-Swift shoe. The process is also said to enable a quicker production time compared to conventional footwear manufacturing techniques.

“The demand for new shoe designs is growing at a fast speed. Our process fundamentally changes the way that shoes are made and opens up brand new possibilities both for what we can create and the speed with which we can create it. The name X-Swift aptly reflects the speed of production, and how it mirrors our fast-paced lifestyle,” explains innovation director Darren Shih. 

The shoe, which is said to offer better stability and support for the feet, includes the following material solutions from BASF:

  • The outsole made of Elastollan Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) incorporates a high grip tread pattern to optimise traction and provide maximum surface contact.
  • X-Swift’s midsole features the high rebound polyurethane Elastopan for “excellent” cushioning and durability.
  • The midsole is complemented by a breathable insole made of Elastopan that is engineered to work with the high-performance sock liner.
  • X-Swift also features an innovative, two-piece material upper construction that is a combination of sustainable synthetic leather Haptex and fibre made with Freeflex TPU. The materials conform to the foot using minimal seams and stitch lines to provide superior comfort and maximum performance.

“The footwear market is dynamic and fast-paced. So we are challenging ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our materials. For this co-creation, we are meshing the qualities of our state-of-the-art footwear materials, and prototyping with the limitless potential of new manufacturing technologies,” says Manfred Pawlowski, vice president, consumer industry, at BASF Performance Materials.

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