• British outdoor brand Inov-8 claims to be the first company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes.
  • The Descente-owned company has partnered with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester on its G-Series footwear line.
  • According to Inov-8 the new shoes are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.
inov-8 says the G-Series shoes deliver a combination of traction, stretch and durability new to sports footwear

inov-8 says the G-Series shoes deliver a combination of traction, stretch and durability new to sports footwear

Outdoor footwear and apparel brand Inov-8 has partnered with UK scientists to become what it claims is the first company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes.

The British brand, which was acquired by Japanese sportswear maker Descente Ltd in 2015, says laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles of the shoes, new to market in 2018, are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.

Clothing that incorporates graphene, an innovative nanotech material derived from graphite, is said to significantly improve performance for athletes, professionals and sports enthusiasts.

Now Inov-8 has partnered with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester on the new lightweight G-Series shoes, which it says delivers a combination of traction, stretch and durability new to sports footwear.

"Product innovation is the number-one priority for our brand. It's the only way we can compete against the major sports brands," says Inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey. "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. 

Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, reader in Nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, adds: "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."