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Jan 03, 07

New water-proof technology revealed

P2i Ltd has unveiled a new space-age technology that repels water from sports shoes.

Known as ‘ion mask’ and developed to protect soldiers from chemical attack, the revolutionary process applies a protective layer, just nanometres thick, over the surface of a shoe by means of an ionised gas or ‘plasma’.

The treatment not only coats the external surfaces of the shoe, but also the inside, between and around the individual fibres, making it particularly effective on shoes containing synthetic materials.

Invisible to the naked eye, ion mask allows the foot to breathe, but stops water seeping through the sides of a shoe - bouncing off the surface instead like beads of mercury.

Unlike conventional waterproof treatments that require additional layers to be sewn into the shoe during manufacture, which add weight and can result in poor fit, the ion mask treatment is applied after the shoe has been manufactured and does not compromise fit or weight. Furthermore, the process treats all materials within the shoe at once, coating synthetic materials as well as leathers.

“However seriously you take your sport, it’s more enjoyable with cool, dry feet, says P2i Ltd’s Technical Director Dr Stephen Coulson. “Where ion mask comes into its own is in serious competition.

“Getting wet feet during a marathon can mean blisters and taking water on board can weigh down tired limbs and affect performance. Having shown the new technology to a number of leading sports shoe brands, several are considering ion mask enhancement for their footwear to give their products the edge.”

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