Vented sole shoes that keep your feet dry? You bet. The new Gore-Tex Surround technology uses a special laminate lining that surrounds your foot from above as well as below. Together with the unique vented sole construction, this technology creates an absolutely waterproof yet all-around highly breathable shoe.
Gore-Tex Surround has been on the market for a few years now – I saw it at the Outdoor Show in Friedrichshafen last summer – but until this year was only adopted by casual footwear makers. Come Spring 2015, hiking footwear brands such as Salewa, Scarpa, and La Sportiva will begin to incorporate the waterproof breathable footwear technology. While not aimed at mountaineers or extreme athletes, Surround will appear in a range of light hikers, trail shoes, mid-cut hiking boots, and technical approach shoes.
Unlike the casual shoe lines where the soles are vented at the base, the outdoor version of Surround features a special construction underfoot. Sweat can escape through the Gore-Tex laminate positioned in the underside of the shoe into the open structure of the “spacer” – and from there out of the shoe via side ventilation outlets.
This unique construction keeps feet drier because the sweat produced by your feet – about one third of our sweat glands are on the soles of our feet – is transported away faster. That makes for happier feet when hiking and overall less chance for blisters.
Surround is set to hit the market in the 2015 spring/summer collections of 25 brands worldwide. Brand suppliers include Alfa, Bestard, Chriuca, Crispi, Dolomite, Hanwag, Härkila, La Sportiva, Mammut, Meindl, Salewa, Scarpa, Treksta, Viking, and Zamberlan.
I am in Germany hiking with Gore-Tex this week so look forward to putting Surround technology to the test.