Footwear for working and athletic shoes markets make up significant slices of the footwear industry. Jane Denny looks at the sectors.
Polyurethane plays an important role in all types of footwear. Two of the most demanding applications are in sports shoes, and work wear.
The different sectors place very different demands on footwear.
In sports shoes the emphasis is on low, weight, resiliency and often aesthetics. Here the low density of polyurethane foams and elasticity of polyurethane elastomers help designers meet the stringent needs of very demanding customers.
Work wear is equally demanding, but here the emphasis is on comfort, protection, durability. Once again polyurethane materials help footwear designers to meet these requirements.
Going for Gold
Looking at sports footwear, one of the biggest drivers to innovation are the quadrennial Olympic Games.
Just ahead of the London Olympic Games in 2012, 100m Olympic sprinter Yohan Blake said: “Energy is one of the most important elements for any athlete. Often people only think about speed, but energy is the secret weapon that can set you apart from the competition. An added boost of energy is what allows you to push yourself ahead of everyone else to cross that finish line first, especially in a sprint when every millisecond counts.”
Blake used shoes made with BASF’s Infinergy polyurethane foam. Infinergy uses particulate foam technology to create low bulk weight and good chemical…