- The Plus Awards
It’s called “Limitless,” BASF’s new virtual concept shoe highlighting various breakthrough material innovations for the footwear industry. Teaming up with i-generator, a footwear design consulting firm headquartered in Portland, OR, BASF completely transformed the safety shoe with a bold concept, while setting standards in comfort, design flexibility, lightweight cushioning and durability.
First off, it’s a lace-less design for higher safety and increased flexibility. Since trips and falls are major causes of workplace accidents, laces are removed 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. The knitted upper is made from Freeflex fiber 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.
Next up: breaking boundaries in design with a 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.
The third area addressed involves health and comfort. 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.
“Today, consumers are searching for lighter, sportier looks but at the same time treat comfort and safety as top priority,” says Gerd Manz, vice president, New Markets & Business Incubation, Performance Materials. “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.”