Cork – the solution for sweaty feet

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we have already dealt in detail with the problem of bad climate in the shoe, the causes and the effects on our feet and the approaches to solving this problem.

We have given a lot of thought to which material offers a proven solution and with which we can work with a clear conscience. The choice fell on the natural material cork. An ecological product that allows excellent comfort while being kind to the skin and the environment. Cork has extremely impressive technical properties and is a truly sustainable, as it is literally a renewable raw material.

Cork is obtained from the bark of cork oaks, which are mostly found in Portugal. From the age of 25 years, these oaks are peeled every nine years. The bark grows back again and therefore no tree has to be cut down for this. The cork industry operates in a remarkably sustainable manner: the peeling of the trees is done according to clearly defined principles, which means that the trees are treated gently and not damaged. The cork oak forest offers many other advantages. For example, countless plant and animal species that thrive in the natural environment can be found there. At the same time, the water balance is regulated by the forest to protect the soils. Trees are also capable of storing large amounts of carbon dioxide, providing the natural response to global warming.

But now some interesting technical facts about natural cork that make it truly unique. Due to its honeycomb and flexible cell structure, cork brings a very good damping behavior. Just 1 cm³ contains 40 million of these air-filled, closed microcells. This causes air to make up 90% of its volume and about 50% of its mass, making cork 5x lighter than water. The trapped air is responsible for the excellent insulating properties of natural cork against great heat and also in cold. Natural cork is so unrivaled in this discipline that it is even used in space travel as a heat shield. And of course, its naturally antibacterial effect promotes a hygienically perfect climate in the shoe.

So natural cork is an absolutely stunning material that is perfect for shoe use… almost. This is because cork is naturally very water repellent – so consequently it can hardly absorb any water. But the other properties of cork are so convincing in sum that we consider this material in shredded form as the perfect basis for our footbed. Crushed cork of this quality is, incidentally, made from the punching grids that are produced, for example, in the manufacture of champagne stoppers.

To give cork the ability to still absorb and retain moisture, we got creative. Over many years we have developed a special process, at the end of which is our Climatocork. With an equally unique manufacturing process, we produce an anatomically shaped footbed from it, which impresses in the shoe with its low weight, good cushioning, best insulating properties and also has excellent moisture absorption.

Other companies have also come up with the idea of using crushed cork as a base for footbeds and insoles. However, with one big difference: cork serves here only as a filler and is mixed with latex. This compound is not able to absorb foot moisture – only the cover leather / cover material on the surface. The result is the well-known problems, such as
sweaty, cold feet and unpleasant odors

With Climatocork technology, things are different. Here, the face material is not glued to the cork base, but both layers are bonded together in the manufacturing process without an adhesive layer. This means the foot moisture can penetrate the top material and is then transferred to the cork base where it is stored. After taking off the shoes, the moisture is released back into the environment overnight and the next day you have a fresh shoe again. Of course, for hygienic reasons, the footbed should be regularly replaced with a new one. For this reason, all our shoes are designed to have a so-called exchange system – that is, the footbed can be easily and conveniently exchanged.

Finally, with regard to the problem of harmful substances in the footwear sector discussed in previous articles, it should be mentioned that Climatocork not only works perfectly, however, but is also very kind to the skin. We have had this confirmed by the independent testing and research institute in Pirmasens through rigorous testing.

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