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Fibres and Fabrics for Performance Footwear
published in Issue 133, January-February 2008
The specialist performance footwear market may be divided into two categories: footwear for safety at work and footwear for sports and recreation.
The market for safety footwear is affected by legislation which governs personal protective equipment (PPE), and footwear items must be affordable by potential wearers and employers. By contrast, the market for sports and recreational footwear is driven by branding, and by technological advancements which improve the performance of the wearer.
Common to both these markets is an increasing trend towards the development of specialist footwear which help the wearer to perform better in a particular situation. For example, shoes which are used for running or sprinting provide different performance characteristics from those which are used in aerobics. Similarly, footwear for firefighters has different requirements from those which are used in industrial applications.
The requirements of fibres and fabrics for specialist footwear are equally diverse. However, one universal requirement is that the materials used are capable of providing good moisture management. However, the challenge in today’s market is to produce technologically advanced fibres and fabrics which can manage moisture while also providing other specialist benefits. Some footwear fabrics have to be flame resistant, for example. Others have antistatic properties, and some are capable of regulating the temperature of the foot.
A number of performance fibres and fabrics incorporating new properties are being introduced to the market to replace or improve existing materials. Also, consumer demand is growing for products which are “environmentally friendly”. These demands are being met in several ways—by, for example, using blends of Fosshield antimicrobial and Ecospun recycled polyester fibres, or by ensuring that the methods and materials used during manufacture are not harmful to the environment.
Table of Contents
Fibres and Fabrics for Performance Footwear
The Market for Performance Footwear
The Anatomy of a Shoe
Types of Specialist Performance Footwear
Conventional Fibres for Specialist Performance Footwear
Advancements in Fibres for Specialist Performance Footwear
Conventional Fabrics for Specialist Performance Footwear
Advancements in Fabrics for Specialist Performance Footwear
Conventional Antimicrobial Treatments and Technology
Advancements in Antimicrobial Coatings and Finishing Technology
Conventional Waterproofing Finishes
Advancements in Waterproofing Coatings and Finishing Technology
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