BASF has introduced “Limitless,” a new virtual concept shoe that feature's the company's various material innovations for the footwear segment. Teaming up with i-generator, a footwear design consulting firm headquartered in Portland, U.S., BASF transformed the safety shoe with a bold concept, at the same time setting standards in comfort, design flexibility, lightweight cushioning and durability.
Lace-less design for higher safety and increased flexibility
Since trips and falls are major causes of workplace accidents, laces are removed in the design to improve workers’ safety. Moreover, a closed, lace-less design offers better protection from spills and allows users to slip in and out of their shoes faster.
To realize the vision of a safety shoe without laces, a knitted upper made from Freeflex fiber is combined with a protective overlay made from Haptex, BASF’s premium solvent-free artificial leather. Special bands engineered from Freeflex add further stability and enhanced abrasion resistance.
Breaking boundaries in design with transparent toe cap
BASF’s innovative technologies also enabled the industry’s first transparent toe cap made from Elastollan®. This never-before-seen alternative to a metal toe cap offers completely new design possibilities to the safety footwear industry. It also means a lighter, more agile wearing experience while at the same time fully protected and meeting safety standards.
Health and comfort as top of mind consideration
To reduce workers’ fatigue, BASF used Infinergy, a particle foam that has unique spring and cushioning properties in the heel and the midsole of the shoe. The midsole, in particular, is lightweight with exceptional resilience and durability. In addition, the outsole insert made from Elastollan provides good grip and abrasion resistance.
“Although “Limitless” currently exists in virtual form only, we are confident that BASF’s performance materials can usher in new design possibilities and excite safety shoe brands about the potential of the industry,” said Gerd Manz, Vice President, New Markets & Business Incubation, Performance Materials.