Innovative Technology Adapts Shoes to Weather Conditions

Hamburg-based company IQTEX has developed an innovative system which could revolutionalize shoe comfort. The system relies on BASF’s superabsorbent fabric Luquafleece®.

Wet feet – never again: IQTEX and BASF have jointly developed a unique, intelligent system which adapts shoes to suit weather conditions. To make this possible, IQTEX has processed a special superabsorbing fleece from BASF into an innovative ventilation element known as Vayu Verde®.

Vayu Verde® functions like a flower that closes up in the rain and re-opens when it is dry. When the material gets wet, for example if the wearer steps in a puddle, the superabsorbing fleece in the ventilation element immediately expands and self-seals the system. It even stays watertight under high pressure. Then, as soon as the material integrated into the sole of the shoe dries, it regains its breathability within minutes and the wearer feels a cool and pleasant sensation. Whether rain or sunshine – feet will always stay dry.

The fleece in Vayu Verde® contains superabsorbent polymers and is marketed by BASF as Luquafleece®. This functional material can absorb large amounts of aqueous liquids and thanks to its reversible moisture binding system is capable of absorbing and releasing large amounts of moisture and humidity. It is already being used for increased climate comfort in office chairs and protective clothing, for example.

The Vayu Verde® technology is not only suitable for shoes but could also be used to manufacture jackets, gloves, tents, safety helmets, textiles and sports accessories to achieve optimum ventilation. This innovative technology could also be deployed in electronic devices or medical products.

Superabsorbents are crosslinked polyacrylates that can absorb and bind huge amounts of liquid: up to 500 times their weight. Their main area of application is in the manufacture of hygiene products. They are also used in many industrial applications, such as for thickening or absorbing liquid waste or as waterblocking coatings for cables. Superabsorbents do not release absorbed liquids under pressure; plant roots, on the other hand, can absorb the water stored in superabsorbents slowly and evenly, which is why superabsorbents are increasingly being used for water storage purposes in the earth or in special plant soil. Superabsorbents are marketed worldwide by the BASF Acrylics & Dispersions division.