In a significant milestone for the brand and the trail running market, Gore-Tex this fall is commemorating the five-year anniversary of the debut of its Invisible Fit product technology. Known for its seamless waterproof integration, the technology aimed to redefine the trail running experience, offering trail runners and hikers a new level of comfort and performance amidst challenging terrains and unpredictable weather conditions.
Unlike conventional waterproofing methods that often result in bulkier and less agile footwear, with Gore-Tex Invisible Fit product technology the membrane is engineered to directly bond to footwear uppers, rather than being installed as a separate layer later in the construction process. That makes the durable waterproof membrane virtually “invisible” in the construction of the shoe.
The benefits: waterproof, windproof and the elimination of wrinkles and folds, which reduces pressure points and creates a true to size forefoot area. Invisible Fit is the lightest weight technology that Gore-Tex makes for running shoes.
The Market Reacts
From June 1021 to June 2022, 11 million U.S. consumers purchased trail running shoes, according to NPD Checkout data. With runners and hikers alike turning to trail running shoes, this market continues to grow and shoes with Gore-Tex Invisible Fit appeal to this consumer since they work well in varying weather conditions on the trail or around town.
Available in a wide range of athletic footwear brands, shoes on the market with this technology include, but are not limited to, Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX, Brooks Cascadia 16 GTX, Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTX, Salomon Sense Ride 3 GTX, Merrell Nova 2, Hoka Challenger 7 GTX and Vans UltraRange EXO Hi Gore-Tex WW MTE-2 Shoe.
And certainly the company is not done in the trail running market:
• The Gore-Tex brand introduced a new bluesign-approved Gore-Tex Invisible Fit Footwear laminate version to the market last year. It is made of 70 percent recycled content and the face textile is undyed, meaning no chemicals are used as part of a dyeing process. Its construction process also has less water waste and a reduced carbon footprint.
• Then in Fall/Winter 2024, the Invisible Fit insert will be available with the Gore-Tex ePE membrane.
• Last fall, W. L. Gore & Associates unveiled its expanded polyethylene (ePE) membrane, a complementary material suitable for various consumer products and uses. It is light, thin yet strong and enables durable performance. It is also PFC free and has a reduced carbon footprint (per Higg MSI) achieved by its lower material mass along with new material combinations.
As with the current Invisible Fit insert, new Gore-Tex products with the new ePE membrane will provide durably waterproof, windproof and breathable protection with a long product life.