W.L. Gore has announced the launch of a new brand, Gore-Tex Infinium, which will be introduced from the autumn of 2018 for a new generation of functional active lifestyle clothing and footwear. Marked with a new white diamond logo to distinguish it from the black diamond logo of its waterproof-breathable membranes, it stands for a new series of solutions that seem to be well suited to help develop the growing outdoor lifestyle segment of the market. They are intended to improve the user's comfort and overall experience during a light hike, a bike commute or any other activities performed outside without a guarantee to keep him or her dry, except under a light drizzle.
Many outdoor brands have adopted the new Gore-Tex Infinium technology for two types of applications in apparel in their autumn/winter 2018 collections, including Arc'teryx, Black Yak, Burton, Mammut, Montura and Norrøna, plus K2 and Kolon from Korea and Montbell from Japan. Some of them will be using it only for soft-lined shells or insulated garments, or for both.
The new group of Gore-Tex Infinium soft-lined shells is meant to combine warmth and breathability with a minimum of water repellency. Here, the Gore-Tex membrane is applied to the outer layer of the fabric, allowing the jacket to remain lightweight and comfortable to wear, with a soft interior. The technology's unique construction is said to provide a new soft tactile feel on the outside of the garment.
In another application, Gore-Tex Infinium insulated garments will similarly feature the Gore-Tex membrane on the outer layer of an insulated jacket, protecting it with its persistent water repellency while keeping its comfort and breathability.
Gore-Tex Infinium will also be used exclusively by The North Face next year for a special type of stretch gloves that are windproof and breathable. The technology will enable TNF to precisely replicate the shape of the hand for perfect fit and improved tactility. Featuring a single seam over the entire finger area and a 3D stretch to provide superior fit, the new membrane will allow the wearer to use a smartphone or a touchscreen device without taking off the gloves.
W.L. Gore has also developed a Gore-Tex Infinium Thermium solution for footwear, but it will initially be launched next autumn only by Ecco on a global basis and by Frau with a focus on its domestic Italian market for stylish women's casual shoes. The idea here is to keep the foot warm indoors after a commute or a bike ride without letting it overheat inside the office or the home because of the membrane. With the new technology, a thin layer of efficient insulation is only applied to the area around the toes, which are the first part of the foot that tends to feel cold when it is exposed to lower temperatures.
Furthermore, W.L. Gore will launch next year a couple of new Gore-Tex products in the waterproof-breathable category, with the black diamond logo. One of them, which will be adopted by Merrell, is a Gore Invisible Fit technology that integrates a Gore-Tex laminate in running shoes in a new way, with a faster dry-out time, again improving comfort while reducing weight and water pick-up.
The company will also introduce a new series of Gore-Tex fabrics with stretch technology. The materials have the same waterproof-breathable properties as classical Gore-Tex fabrics, but they can stretch four times more. Several outdoor brands have agreed to adopt it for stretch panels and other components of a garment for improved flexibility, fit and comfort, for example to accommodate the movements of an ice climber.
All the new products have been tested at a unique Biophysics Lab and Environmental Chamber that Gore opened last year for these applications and others that are still in an exploratory stage of development. The new facility can simulate solar radiation at different times of the day, different degrees of humidity and temperatures ranging from -50 to +50 degrees centigrade.