The first hiking boots to contain super material graphene are now on sale, which their manufacturers claim will last 50% longer than equivalent footwear on the market.
The boots are the result of a collaboration between sportswear company inov-8 and the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute.
It is the same partnership that produced running shoes that contain graphene in mid-2018, which have since won a number of international awards.
The boots’ outsoles are made of a graphene-enhanced rubber. As graphene is 200-times stronger than steel and just an atom-thick, its manufacturers claim that this will substantially increase durability.
So, how do they perform?
Putting graphene hiking boots to the test
There are two types of ROCLITE boots from inov-8, the ROCLITE 335 and ROCLITE 345 GTX. I tested a pair of the 345 GTX boots in fields and woods on the outskirts of Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Hiking boots are typically clunky things, made for robustness and protection when walking for lengthily periods over uneven terrain. With inov-8’s boots, the first thing that is immediately noticeable is just how light they are.
Named after their weight of 345g, the 345 GTX weigh less than half of the average hiking boots on the market. They feel about the same weight as standard running shoes and it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing hiking boots.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that their lack of weight means they’re flimsy. These are some seriously tough boots, able to withstand the surprisingly harsh terrain that can be found near Stroud if you know where to look.
The 345 GTX boots incorporate GORE-TEX protection and are made to be waterproof. The breathable technology used for the upper part of the boot means that your feet also don’t get drenched in sweat during long walks.
The soles have been designed to ensure that no leaves, dirt or other debris accumulate and move freely from the soles as you walk.
And it’s some achievement at this time of year to not fall over with all the leaves, mud, snow and ice everywhere. This is largely thanks to the being soles lined with rows of claw-shaped cleats/studs and featuring Tri-C Sticky grip technology, which its manufacturers claim offers “the world’s toughest grip”.
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About the National Graphene Association (NGA)
The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies.