GORE-TEX® is a technology that was first introduced to the market in 1978. The special membrane redefines breathability and waterproofing. At the same time, the material is windproof and reliably wicks sweat away to the outside. GORE-TEX® is a brand of Gore & Associates, which was founded in the late 1950s and initially conducted research with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Later, this was turned into ePTFE. To this day, the company manufactures products and materials with the help of the polymer ePTFE, which have become indispensable in many industrial sectors. These include the chemical and environmental industries, but GORE-TEX® products are also indispensable in the military and aerospace sectors. The reason for the wide range of applications is that the materials are waterproof, windproof or even breathable. These properties make the material ideal as a component of safety footwear, winter boots and many other workwear items. But even at another time of the year, choosing the right material can provide more pleasant comfort.
The ePTFE, which is related to polytetrafluoroethylene, provides for the special nature of the material: A pore of ePTFE is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water. The membrane is bonded to the respective fabric in various ways. When which technique is used depends on the purpose of the textile. In the production of the classic Gore-Tex Pro Shell ePTFE, the membrane is permanently bonded to textiles, i.e. laminated. Depending on the type, only the outer material, and in some cases the inner lining, are included. The textiles used are usually already relatively tear-resistant nylons and polyesters. In turn, garments are made from these laminates. The seams are additionally sealed using a special process so that the fabric achieves a high level of impermeability. Depending on which fabric is used, the subsequent garment becomes windproof and/or waterproof.
With the GORE-TEX® Performance Shell, for example, the inner lining is only sewn in loosely. Only the upper material is firmly bonded to the membrane. This fabric is characterized by a particularly high level of comfort. If the lining is replaced with a breathable layer, the result is GORE-TEX® Paclite Shell. However, this is less resistant. On really cold days, clothing with GORE-TEX® Soft Shell is a real support in forest and woodland work. Thanks to a construction of three different layers of fabric and additionally increased breathability, a particularly warming effect is achieved. However, if the clothing is to be as light as possible, jackets and co with GORE-TEX® Active Shell are particularly recommended. Here, the lining is integrated into the membrane and the garments are particularly lightweight with their construction from two different layers. Compared to the classic GORE-TEX® membrane, this again results in better breathability. By the way, make sure to use only liquid detergent when washing the clothes, because powder detergent could close the pores. Although the clothing would possibly still remain waterproof, it could no longer ensure vapor permeability. Only through proper care will the pleasant feeling of wear be maintained permanently. However, sunscreen and sweat also become a threat to the functionality of GORE-TEX® products over time, so regular care is essential. In addition to the appropriate clothing, it is also worth taking a look at the footwear: in the cold season, for example, winter boots are essential. On the other hand, special safety shoes with overcaps are important on construction or assembly sites. The overcaps offer additional protection and are often made of leather, which is sometimes reinforced with carbon. Sometimes other metal-free materials are also used. Their purpose is to protect the upper over the steel toe cap. This extends the longevity of the safety footwear. By the way, some toe caps are metal-free. Using metal-free materials makes the shoe lighter. In any case, pay attention to the required safety class, because sometimes only certain materials can meet the requirements.
GORE-TEX® relies on a unique and ingenious product technology based on a simple physical principle: The pores of the membrane are 700 times larger than steam molecules, so the material is permeable to water vapor. This property ensures that water cannot penetrate, but sweat can be removed as moisture in the form of water vapor and can act as a wind stopper. The microporous membrane supports with its pores, so at the same time the natural temperature regulation of our body. Furthermore, the membrane is very light, thin and extremely resistant. This makes GORE-TEX® a versatile material for cut protection footwear and other functional textiles in the industrial sector. Clothing with PTFE in the fabric of GORE-TEX® also provides some protection against certain chemicals. On construction sites or industrial halls where chemicals are regularly handled, appropriate products are essential.
GORE-TEX® protects all around in many variations
The idea behind GORE-TEX® is simple: This clothing with polytetrafluoroethylene should keep you warm and dry at all times - no matter what weather conditions prevail. Breathability not only plays a major role, numerous functional textiles or workwear inspires with it, waterproof but at the same time permeable to water vapor. The outer material of the fabric is particularly tear-resistant and stable and, for example, the lining of jackets warming and breathable at the same time. This means that unpleasant odors are really no longer an issue! This also applies to other textiles. In any climate, any season and any situation you are so well equipped. Shoes with microporous GORE-TEX® membranes have been established for over 20 years. These tiny membranes are ideally suited for a safety shoe. In addition, the membrane is very well suited as a wind stopper, i.e. jackets, for example, are windproof and also have a warming inner lining. However, they are not waterproof. So with GORE-TEX®, even on cold days, nothing can stop you from working in the forest. Windproof clothing often contains additional PFC to achieve impregnating and oil-repellent properties. PFC also provides additional stability. One of the most important subgroups of GORE-TEX® membranes is Sympatex with PTFE. Sympatex is waterproof and windproof in an environmentally friendly way.
When buying your products, look out for various seals of approval. The bluesign seal of Bluesign Technologies AG offers particularly high security regarding the environmentally friendly production of textiles. This means that they have been produced without harmful substances.
GORE-TEX® safety footwear for various requirements
As mentioned at the beginning, GORE-TEX not only produces its own functional clothing, but is also used intensively by other manufacturers. Here, too, the membrane is partially permeable and thus wicks moisture and sweat away to the outside. At the same time, it protects the foot from penetration by water, chemicals or other substances. This also makes GORE-Tex a perfect component of safety shoes of various safety classes. Here, the work shoes from Lowa, Elten and Co are available with or without a toe cap or steel toe cap. While safety boots are particularly in demand in winter due to the warming properties of the inner lining, breathability comes to the fore in hot summer to better wick away sweat. Some models also have additionally reinforced soles, for example, to protect against nails and other hazards with puncture resistance. Many shoes have been designed with the largest possible textile fields and few seams to provide more comfort for the wearer in this way.
At GenXtreme you will find a huge selection of high-quality products with GORE-TEX®! If you have any questions about the technology, we are of course happy to help.