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Italian Shoe Brand Fadel Uses Graphene to Keep Feet Cool

The future of footwear is fresh. Italian shoe company Fadel launched Freshoes, a collection of footwear with graphene that brings thermal properties and freshness to footwear.

The patented technology, GET by Fadel, is the result of a collaboration with Graphene Flagship partners Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT).

Graphene, an electrically and thermally conductive molecule, gives the brand’s polyurethane insoles the ability to regulate its temperature by adjusting the heat dissipation process in accordance with changes in the surrounding temperature. Laboratory tests show an augmented heat dispersion, greater waterproofness and enhanced antibacterial properties, resulting in less foot swelling and an overall softer and cooler underfoot feel.

“One of the main properties of graphene is its ability to dissipate heat, so we began to think of combining graphene produced by liquid phase exfoliation, which produces large quantities of graphene at a low price, into polyurethane—the material used for the sole of the shoe. This created a composite with a heat dissipation 50 percent better than the pure polyurethane material,” said Vittorio Pellegrini, director of IIT Graphene Labs in a press release.

For GET by Fadel, IIT improved the thermal properties of a small amount of graphene (about one percent) in order to avoid higher costs and maintain the footwear at an accessible price point. Fadel combines these effects with a ventilation system developed for this particular type of shoe.

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The Freshoes collection offers three sandal styles that pairs synthetic leather, textiles and stretch uppers with soles designed with small hexagonal heels. The hexagon heel, which recalls the shape of the graphene molecule, is made in TPU, which adds flexibility and antistatic properties. The brand is currently accepting pre-orders for the shoes on its website. The collection retails for $115 to $175.

From illuminated dresses to temperature regulating outerwear, graphene is a key ingredient in textile innovation. Since 2013, the Graphene Flagship has been tasked with bringing together academic and industrial researchers to use graphene as a means to generate economic growth, new jobs and opportunities. The consortium consists of over 150 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries.

“We continue to witness the potential of graphene-based technologies to create market disruptions and transformational innovations. Graphene’s unique capability to enhance multiple product attributes concurrently can create a competitive edge for many products, as is nicely demonstrated in the present case,” said Kari Hjelt, Graphene Flagship head of innovation.