The ability of graphene to add functionality to common objects has been exploited in footwear with better thermal properties. Developed by Graphene Flagship partners Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy, in collaboration with FADEL, a leading Italian shoe company based in Tuscany, the new GET technology gives the footwear better thermoregulation and freshness.
In this innovative shoe, flakes consisting of several graphene layers are added to polyurethane used in the soles. Laboratory tests show an augmented heat dispersion, greater waterproofing and enhanced antibacterial properties. Combining these effects with a ventilation system provided a better user experience. This prototype shoe was presented at the International Footwear Exhibition in Milan.
“One of the main properties of graphene is its ability to dissipate heat, so we began to think of combining graphene produced by liquid phase exfoliation into polyurethane—the material used for the sole of the shoe. This created a composite with a heat dissipation 50 percent better than the pure polyurethane material,” said Vittorio Pellegrini, Director of IIT Graphene Labs and Chair of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship. “We improved the thermal properties with a tiny amount of graphene (around 1 percent) which is significant in delivering a product whose cost is not significantly larger than before.”