It’s time to get gear-nerdy again. In addition to all the adventures and reviews that we do, where we really try to out gear through its paces, the technology behind the products is also a fascinating world.
How can you translate usage requirements and wishes using design, material use and fabrication methods into a product that helps with all those adventures we need that product for, along the axes of performance, fun and safety?
Today we are we diving into Hanwag’s TubeTec technology, the Bavarian brand which has been making traditionally double-stitched shoes since 1921. The coming weeks we will be reviewing the Belorado II Tubetec GTX from Hanwag, so we naturally wanted to know more about that technology.
TubeTec is a Hanwag sole technology for hiking shoes that aims to provide cushioning in the sole on the one hand, but also stability in the shoe on the other. Moreover it wants that cushioning and stability to be durable (so it stays good for a long time.)
Cushioning and Stability
Hanwag has endeavoured to bring these soft (damping) and hard (stability) properties and elements together in a durable package by using a three-part construction. First of all, there is a sturdy “tube” like construction of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). TPU is a material that forms the ideal compromise between hard plastic and soft silicone. Flexible but form-retaining, extremely robust and dust-and-muck-repellent. This “tube” is the protective casing as it where around a PU foam sole.
PU stands for Polyurethane and is used in an incredible number of forms and applications: among other things in the form of a soft foam well known for its soft and cushioning properties.
The use of PU in soles of shoes is not new; the innovation in this case is that this foam, that could be damaged from the outside (stones, or other sharp material on your trail), is protected by the TPU tube around it. In addition, the harder tube also offers more stability to the PU sole.
To wrap it up, the sole is finished with the actual outsole, with a profile that should give sufficient grip in dry and wet conditions. That outsole is what Hanwag calls a 3D PrismBas outsole. This profile, which looks like many prisms together, is made of very light material and can also be found in many of Hanwag’s other soles.
With that sole the circle of the sole is rounded, whereby the TPU material is also used in the “upper” (the actual shoe part where your foot is in) to offer extra strength and protection there too.
So at Hanwag (as with so many of the brands we know) there is a lot of thought and work being put into making products fit even better to our favourite outdoor activities. We have to say, sometimes innovation is more marketing than technology driven, but this seems to be an example of the latter.
But fortunately we don’t have to just take it at Hanwag’s word, as we said, we will be using and testing it soon. The proof is in the pudding.
We expect to post the review at the beginning of June.