First graphene shoe developed by IIT
It is comfortable, durable and has thermal regulation properties. It is the first prototype of shoe made of the “wonder material”, graphene, developed by the Italian Institute of Technology in collaboration with the footwear factory FADEL in Lucca. The preview took place at the International Footwear Exhibition in Milan.
Besides marking the future of technology with the advent of flexible electronic devices and more efficient batteries, graphene could also contribute to the development of innovative shoes, characterized by maximum comfort, durability and hygiene. Evidence of this comes from the first graphene shoe jointly developed by the FADEL footwear factory in Lucca and Graphene Labs, the research laboratories of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa, which play a major role also in the European Graphene Flagship Project. The new graphene shoe was presented in preview at the 82nd International Footwear Exhibition which was held in Milan from 3 to 6 September 2016.
The project is characterized by the use of graphene for the shoe insoles and soles, which gives it greater flexibility, softness, lightness and durability, as well as excellent thermal regulation properties. The agreement between IIT and FADEL included an initial phase of investigation and optimization of the ink and graphene powder to “spread” over the soles, followed by a phase of advanced testing to integrate graphene into the machinery and chemical processes currently used for footwear.
The union between graphene and polyurethane – the material composing FADEL insoles – has allowed increasing the comfort of shoes, thanks to the greater thermal dispersion provided by graphene. Its crystalline hexagon structure has also given the insole greater impenetrability, while enhancing its antibacterial properties. The development of these early prototypes of graphene shoes led to excellent standards of comfort and durability by using a small percentage of graphene in terms of weight, through an innovative method developed by IIT which has made the use of this material more sustainable.