GORE-TEX product technology has long been at the heart of waterproof, breathable footwear for city strolls all the way to expedition-leading. Staying dry from the outside in is a given, but what about the other way around? The challenge: While GORE-TEX membrane has 9 billion holes per square inch, rubber does not, meaning that even if your shoe is equipped with a high-tech membrane, it's never going to breathe from the bottom where plenty of heat and moisture is generated. "One third of the sweat glands on a foot are located on the soles of our feet, and hiking shoes are normally completely enclosed beneath the foot," says Marc Peikert, global product specialist for GORE-TEX Outdoor Footwear. The solution: GORE-TEX SURROUND™ hiking footwear, an innovative and fundamental change to below-the-foot shoe construction. GORE-TEX SURROUND™ product technology works in combination with a solid rubber sole, mixing traditional materials with new ones placed between the foot and the rubber outsole. This new material is connected to open areas on the lateral sides of the shoe, allowing moisture to pass from inside the shoe—including from below the foot—to the outside, while also providing support and protection. "There is a continued trend toward lighter footwear, even though comfort and protection in all aspects remains crucial," Peikert says. "We know that hiking tends to be done in warmer weather, but waterproofness is still highly requested from consumers because, even on a sunny day, you always have a chance of hitting moisture or wetness on the ground." Brands like Salewa and Ecco have already begun incorporating GORE-TEX SURROUND™ product technology into some of their casual lines for everyday use, while La Sportiva, Scarpa, Mammut and Salewa have partnered with the GORE-TEX brand to build technical shoes with solid rubber outsoles equipped for 360-degree breathability. "Even a short hike," says Peikert, "shouldn't be impacted by the unpleasant feeling that comes from wet feet on what would otherwise be a great day."
Whether you're taking on that first post-thaw hike or simply navigating puddles along your commute, chances are, getting your feet soaked is not on your list of goals for the day.