Shoes that breathe

Developers at Hamburg-based IQTEX have developed a ventilation device for shoes using a special superabsorbing material from BASF.

Working with a novel polymer from BASF, developers at Hamburg-based IQTEX have developed a unique ventilation system for shoes.

The ventilation element in the shoe – known as 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, a superabsorbing BASF polymer known as Luquafleece in the ventilation element immediately expands and self-seals the system. It even stays watertight under high pressure. Then, as soon as the material dries, it regains its breathability

The first shoes with Vayu Verde technology are to be launched on the market this year. IQTEX has already developed the first prototypes together with partners such as safety shoe producer Baak and the Deichmann group (who make the children’s shoes ‘Elefanten’).

The technology is not only suitable for shoes but could also be used to manufacture jackets, gloves, tents, safety helmets, textiles and sports accessories. It could also be deployed in electronic devices or medical products.

The Vayu Verde system is protected by international patents. IQTEX managing director Michael Dehn and his business partner Christian Wiedemann have already received several prizes for its development, including the Brand New Award during the world’s largest young entrepreneur competition at the ISPO Sport & Style trade fair in Munich in July 2007.

A perforated part is embedded in the front of the sole (1). Water vapour is transported through air ducts (2) under the upper sole into a cavity in the heel (3). The vapour is then emitted through a special waterproof valve