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GORE-TEX Professional, the business unit of technical oriented fabrics from W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore), has launched a new innovative three-layer footwear upper technology called EXTRAGUARD. Typically, safety footwear which is waterproof and robust is usually heavy and uncomfortable to wear.  Conversely, lightweight, breathable footwear doesn’t necessarily provide the correct protection during heavy duties in the rain or mud. However, with the EXTRAGUARD technology, Gore have developed a new upper material that combines the advantages of leather with those of textile upper materials. When dry, the upper material is 40% lighter than leather and it stays light even when working in rain.  Gore is thus opening up a new market for robust, waterproof and permanently lightweight safety footwear for use in extreme weather conditions.

The EXTRAGUARD upper technology consists of three-layers.  The outer layer is highly abrasion-resistant and robust.  The second layer, called the functional layer, can be varied in thickness according to end user requirements and is intended to protect the foot from shock. The third or inner layer is called the low water absorption construction. 

This new three-layer upper is then sealed with GORE Seam Tape and, together with a GORE-TEX lining (inner bootie construction), is integrated into a safety boot.  Seam sealing prevents moisture from making its way into the boot through the seams.  Even following months of heavy wear and loss of the water repellent finish GORE-TEX EXTRAGUARD safety footwear only absorbs a minimal amount of water, which means they stay light in weight.  Plus, with the GORE-TEX inner bootie in place the footwear remains waterproof and feet stay dry, even if the surface layer of the upper has been damaged. 

Helmut Klug, product specialist at GORE-TEX Professional, said: "Our scientific lab tests, as well as initial end user wearer tests, show that GORE-TEX safety footwear with EXTRAGUARD technology remain light, waterproof, comfortable yet robust even after months of intensive use."

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