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Wool footwear takes centre stage at SPINEXPO

The Woolmark Company created several shoe prototypes using advanced wool yarns to enhance the inherent benefits of the fibre.

6th September 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Sydney

Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor

The Woolmark Company returned to SPINEXPO Shanghai last week, showcasing the latest innovations in wool shoes that are not only comfortable and breathable but are also resistant to odour and wick away moisture, along with its sourcing guide for wool fabrics and yarns – The Wool Lab.

Working closely with leading knitting machine manufacturers, such as Shima Seiki, Stoll and Santoni, the company has created several shoe prototypes using advanced wool yarns to enhance the inherent benefits of the fibre. For example, by combining yarns together and 3D knitting, the entire upper can be free of cutting and sewing.

Wool shoes

Comfortable for wearing next to skin by using a 100% Merino wool yarn as an inner surface layer, the latest spinning technology helps to knit the fabric onto the outer face of the shoes' upper, enhancing the abrasion resistance. Post-workout muscle recovery can also be improved by using a combination of Far Infrared (FIR) material with wool, the company says.

Wool shoes. © The Woolmark Company

"Thanks to our more active lifestyle and casual approach, runners are undoubtedly one of the most popular items in today's global market,” commented Julie Davies, The Woolmark Company's General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension.

"The natural properties of wool – such as odour resistance, breathability, comfort and shape retention – allows for the ultimate in footwear. By working closely with our suppliers, we have been able to develop technically advanced yarns to be incorporated into the upper, inner and liner for a range of machine washable footwear."

The Wool Lab

The rise of wool sneakers is part of a larger trend, with Merino wool continuing to cement its place in the growing sports and activewear industry. The Wool Lab Sport returned to SPINEXPO, with the latest edition showcasing the most advanced commercially available wool yarns and fabrics suited to the sportswear market.

Wool shoes. © The Woolmark Company

In addition, The Wool Lab Autumn/Winter 2018/19 was also on display and available for one-on-one viewings. This edition marks six years since The Wool Lab first launched, with each edition well received by trade and generating more than 10,000 swatch requests per season.

“Each season, an increasing number of fashion designers and brands look forward to seeing the latest offering as it provides the opportunity for them to explore an actual sourcing guide for commercially available products,” the company reports.

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