Covestro composite materials augment high-performance active footwear

Desmopan TPU and Maezio carbon fiber-reinforced TPU fibers applied to basketball shoe and a foot shape-based running shoe concept to demonstrate comfort, style, durability and superior performance.


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Composite basketball shoe concept.

Photo Credit: Covestro AG

Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany) reports that it is collaborating with a Chinese footwear designer to further develop innovative footwear concepts—in particular, a high-performance basketball shoe and a foot shape-based running shoe—using its composite material solutions. The resulting product is expected to demonstrate to consumers comfort, style, durability and superior performance, Covestro says, much like its thermoplasitc KT6 basketball shoe.

The shoe uppers are formed from the company’s Desmopan thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) fibers, the midsole printed using thermoplastic polyurethane powders (TPU) powder via selective laser sintering (SLS). Covestro says its TPU powder offers high tear and abrasion resistance and is ideal for running shoes as it is flexible and offers a high energy return. As an added bonus, much of the leftover powder from the process can be recycled.

The shoes also feature the company’s developed Maezio carbon fiber-reinforced TPU (CFRTP) for the shank, which is said to be light, but also extremely stiff and torsion resistant, offering a high degree of design freedom and a strong aesthetic appeal with an eye-catching unidirectional (UD) carbon fiber look. This material is also recyclable: Covestro notes that Maezio composites can be cut and remelted for reuse at the end of life, or reground into short fiber compounds and used in an injection molding process.

According to Covestro, for basketball shoe manufacturers who want to help relieve foot fatigue and provide sporting comfort, visco-elastic polyurethane foam placed at the sock liner is an option for optimized energy absorption properties and shock resistance. 

The running shoe concept applies a water-proof INSQIN coating.