Manchester

Trainers developed with graphene soles in Manchester

Graphene and trainer Image copyright INOV-8
Image caption Athletes no longer need to compromise over grip, Inov8 said

Trainers made with graphene have been unveiled at the University of Manchester.

Sportswear brand Inov-8 has designed the running shoes with scientists at the National Graphene Institute.

Tests have shown graphene makes rubber outsoles stronger and provides "long-lasting grip", researchers said.

Graphene, which has been hailed as a wonder material, is tougher than a diamond but also stretchable like rubber.

The university has already unveiled a graphene sports car, medical devices and a dress made from graphene.

It said it could now add sports footwear to its list of "world-firsts".

'No compromise'

Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, reader in Nanomaterials at the university, said graphene was 200 times stronger than steel, despite being the thinnest material in the world.

"It's also extraordinarily flexible, and can be bent, twisted, folded and stretched without incurring any damage.

"The graphene-enhanced rubber can flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively, without wearing down quickly, providing reliably strong, long-lasting grip."

Image copyright INOV-8
Image caption Graphene rubber being stretched and tested in the laboratory

Graphene - a form of carbon - was discovered in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who were awarded the 2010 Nobel prize in physics for their work on the material.

Michael Price, product and marketing director for Inov-8, said: "Off-road runners and fitness athletes live at the sporting extreme and need the stickiest outsole grip possible to optimize their performance.

"For too long, they have had to compromise this need for grip with the knowledge that such rubber wears down quickly.

"Utilising the groundbreaking properties of graphene, there is no compromise."

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