by Susan Reed on Oct 02, 2019
Elastomeric Material Solutions
Would you be surprised to learn that high-tech and high-fashion are often closely linked? One unique company, Italian-based Omnipel Technologies, makes it their mission to address global footwear trends with high performance material solutions. For more than 20 years, Omnipel has been partnering with Rogers Corporation to do just that. We recently spoke with Dr. Jessica Schlaefer, Managing Director of Omnipel, to get her perspectives on the company, material trends, and the secrets to her firm’s global success.
INTERVIEWER: Why have you chosen Rogers Corporation as one of your strategic partners?
Schlaefer: We have been working with Rogers for more than 20 years now.
When my father started out as a distributor, he began importing a top brand of shoes from the US into Europe. He discovered that one of the secrets to the success of those shoes was that they used PORON® polyurethane materials from Rogers Corporation. He really believed in the performance and technology so he later started importing the PORON materials as a cushioning solution for shoe designers.
INTERVIEWER: What design challenges does Rogers help you solve?
Schlaefer: The PORON offerings from Rogers have always helped us provide a differentiated technical edge to our customers, and also they have really helped us to address the growing comfort trend. When a few leading brands came out with the “memory foam” story in recent years, everyone wanted a foam that can return to its original shape, but not all foams with that claim are equal. Designers struggled with the limitations of typical “memory foams” that attract consumers with initial comfort but collapse quickly due to their low resistance to compression set. After a short period of use, these foams permanently mold to the shape of the foot, resulting in loss of cushioning to critical pressure areas like the heel and ball of the foot. This degradation leads to discomfort and fatigue in the legs and feet when walking or standing. Who wants a “so-called” memory foam that collapses after you wear your shoes a few times? The PORON materials have long-term performance which makes them ideal for shoes.
INTERVIEWER: What makes the PORON materials better than the competition?
Schlaefer: The PORON product line offers an extended range of anti-shock and comfort foams with antimicrobial action. Designers value these high-performance, open-cell structure materials because they provide perfect cushioning and a comfortable sensation for wearers. PORON’s breathability and moisture absorbing properties also help us deliver long-term comfort to our customers.
INTERVIEWER: Can you give us an example of how Rogers has helped you deliver innovation to your customers?
Schlaefer: One of their newest products, PORON® Embrace, has really helped us address the “memory foam” demand. Unlike other foams, PORON Embrace returns to its original shape and adapts as the foot moves and changes shape throughout the day’s activities, delivering long-lasting durability and comfort. Designers love that this new material delivers a custom fit step after step.
For more information on Omnipel Technologies, visit http://www.omnipel.com.
For more information about the PORON Comfort collection, click here.