The graphene trainer revolution

By Alice Morrison

In a world first, inov-8 has collaborated with the University of Manchester to come up with a way to use graphene in trainers. Graphene is the thinnest material on earth. It is just one atom thick but is 200 times stronger than steel.

It was first isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004 and because of its thinness and strength has the potential to revolutionise many areas of technology.

The new inov-8 shoes will be coming to the market in 2018. Laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles using the graphene, are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear.

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 ground-breaking 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 very own RunUltra team member and ultra runner and skier, Luke Jarmey, said he is genuinely excited about the potential of the new graphene shoes. “I’m hoping that they will be able to offer stupidly silly amounts of stickiness and incredible traction, in a durable long lasting sole.”

There is a great symmetry in the story as graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England over 450 years ago and inov-8 was born in the same fells in 2003.

The scientists who first isolated graphene, won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2010. Since then, it has been used for cars, medical devices and aeroplanes.

Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at the University of Manchester, said: “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.”

Watch this space for a review of the shoes…

"graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England over 450 years ago"

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