From 20 – 22 September 2022, BASF exhibited its wide range of new solutions for the shoe industry at Simac, the international machinery and technology exhibition for shoes: a concept shoe made entirely out of BASF materials, boots which stay soft even at –40 °C, light and high rebound soles for safety shoes, and sustainable footwear solutions. In addition, the company presented 3D printed shoes as well as coatings solutions to protect the soles.

According to BASF, light and high rebound are main requirements when it comes to the midsole of sports shoes. In this field the company is one of the top suppliers of polyurethane materials. But what is valid for sports shoes should also be true for safety shoes, said the company. High rebound which guarantees soft dampening effects and lightweight soles are decisive for the comfort also of safety shoes. BASF said it transferred its knowledge from the sports sector to the safety shoe sector. The result are PU materials that safety producers waited for – it allows highest productivity by the direct soling process and comes with conformance to all safety norm requirements.

In addition, thanks to close cooperation with boots manufacturers, BASF further improved the performance of Elastopan polyurethane systems for boots. The result is a PU system for winter boots that provides outstanding properties: highest thermal insulation, keeping the feet warm, and provides high comfort even at low temperatures until –40 °C. That makes this Elastopan ideal for boots to wear during a winter adventure or – if combined with a toe cap – even on an oil rig in Alaska, said the manufacturer.

BASF also presented a concept shoe that is entirely made of sustainable products – the athleisure shoe ‘Madgamma – Intertekk Saturn’. The upper of the shoe is made with the 100 % recyclable monofilament fiber Freeflex thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The replaceable midsole consists of the comfortable and biobased Elastopan N polyurethane series. Another replaceable midsole option is made with TPU foaming, which has a lower density, high energy return, and is recyclable. Beside these products, other sustainable solutions such as the biomass balance approach and Ccycled Infinergy, were shown.

The creations from the last design contest of the school for design Calzaturiero Politecnico, Padua, Italy reminds us to the how we lived during Covid – like in bubbles. This feeling inspired the designers for the soles – the outsole is a transparent tread made of multiple bubbles. These bubbles enable us to look through to the midsole, which is bright and colourful. For the upper the students used recycled material from footwear and textile manufacturing scraps. The ideal combination between technology and craftsmanship can be found in the three winning shoes which were presented at Simac.

Furthermore, BASF presented NovaCoat-D that combines in-mould coating and release coating in a new way. Besides its demould properties, the coating provides additional functionalities for soles such as protection against sunlight, scratches, and dirt. BASF can offer a wide range of colours and effects. NovaCoat-D can be applied either manually or automatically.

Forward AM, the brand of BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, presented information at Simac 2022 on 3D printing materials and solutions for the complete design and development process of footwear. Along with samples of moulds, lasts and soles, visitors could see 3D printed climbing shoes made with the flexible Ultrasint TPU01 powder. By leveraging the principles of design for Additive Manufacturing, the first individualised 3D printed climbing shoe came to life. This technology not only simplifies the assembly of the shoe, but also reduces the production time required for customised footwear. Forward AM’s flexible materials, such as Ultrasint TPU01, are based on Elastollan by BASF, which offers customers across industries broad cross-technology solutions.

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