This time last year, I announced inov-8 were launching the World’s First Graphene running shoe. Since then we have seen the British brand launch the F-Lite G 290, G being the Graphene designation.
Now, the brand based on the edge of the English Fells are launching the World’s First-ever Graphene Hiking Boots – the ROCLITE.
I’ve been using the non graphene version of the ROCLITE Boot, the 320 GTX, since working with the brand at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships or OCRWC for short. They’ve proven to be a highly comfortable pair of light boots, that grip well and the Gore-Tex liner keeping all the mud and water the championships could throw at me, out the boot.
But now, the boot has had the G treatment.
Graphene is just one atom thick and 200 times stronger than steel. This wonder-material, discovered further down on the M6 in Manchester, graphene has been infused into the rubber of inov-8’s new ROCLITE hiking boots, with the outsoles scientifically proven to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing. Bold claims, but ones that those lucky enough to get their hands on a pair of the shoes in the past 12 months having been putting to real world testing.
Michael Price, inov-8 product and marketing director, said: “Working with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester, we’ve been able to develop rubber outsoles that deliver the world’s toughest grip.
“The hiking and outdoor footwear market has been stagnant for many years and crying out for innovation. We’ve brought a fresh approach and new ideas, launching lightweight, fast-feel products with graphene that will allow hikers, fast-packers and outdoor adventurers to get more miles out of their boots and grip to all terrains, no matter how gnarly.”
There are two ROCLITE boots with graphene-enhanced rubber grip (G-GRIP) – the ROCLITE 335 and the ROCLITE 345 GTX. The former offers increased warmth on cold days with PrimaLoft insulation in the upper of the shoe, while the latter has waterproof GORE-TEX protection for hiking adventures in wet conditions. The ROCLITE 335 weighs just 335g and the ROCLITE 345 GTX weighs just 345g. Both are available to buy now.
Below is gallery for the ROCLITE 345 GTX
Commenting on the continued collaboration with The University of Manchester, inov-8 CEO Ian Bailey said: “Last summer saw a powerhouse forged in Northern England take the world of sports footwear by storm. That same powerhouse is now going to do likewise in the hiking and outdoors industry.
“We won numerous awards across the world for our revolutionary use of graphene in trail running and fitness shoes, and I’m 100% confident we can do the same in hiking and outdoors.
“Mark my words, graphene is the future, and we’re not stopping at just rubber outsoles. This is a four-year innovation project which will see us incorporate graphene into 50% of our range and give us the potential to halve the weight of shoes without compromising on performance or durability.”
Graphene is produced from graphite, which was first mined in the Lake District fells of Northern England more than 450 years ago. inov-8 too was forged in the same fells, albeit much more recently in 2003. The brand now trades in 68 countries worldwide.
The scientists who first isolated graphene from graphite were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. Building on their revolutionary work, a team of over 300 staff at The University of Manchester has pioneered projects into graphene-enhanced prototypes, from sports cars and medical devices to aeroplanes and of course now sports and hiking footwear.
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, said: “Using graphene we have developed outsole rubbers that are scientifically tested to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing.
“But this is just the start. Graphene is a such a versatile material and its potential really is limitless.”
So, as you can see above, graphene and its unique properties have now been developed into hiking boots. I’m a fan of the current ROCLITE 320 and will be reviewing my pair (non G-Series) over the winter break.
The new ROCLITE boots with G-GRIP are available to buy from www.inov-8.com/g-grip and will soon be in-store via the brand’s retail partners worldwide.
Do graphene running shoes or boots interest you? Are there other areas of running equipment you would like to see the wonder material built into? Let me know in the comments below.