How Gore-Tex works

Written by William Lane


Posted on October 24 2023

Gore-Tex is a highly advanced and widely recognized waterproof and breathable fabric technology used in various outdoor garments and gear. Legero uses this material in most of their shoes and boots styles.

Developed by W. L. Gore & Associates, Gore-Tex revolutionized the outdoor industry with its innovative approach to creating durable, waterproof, and breathable materials. At its core, Gore-Tex is a membrane that is sandwiched between outer and inner layers of fabric. This membrane is composed of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), a synthetic material known for its exceptional waterproof properties. However, what sets Gore-Tex apart is its ability to allow moisture vapor to escape while preventing water droplets from entering.

The ePTFE membrane consists of countless tiny pores that are around 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but large enough to allow water vapor molecules to pass through. These pores create a microclimate within the fabric, where the heat and moisture generated by the body can escape as water vapor, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.

When the wearer engages in physical activities or experiences changes in temperature, the body produces moisture in the form of sweat. The breathable nature of Gore-Tex allows this moisture vapor to pass through the fabric, preventing the accumulation of sweat on the skin. This characteristic is crucial for maintaining comfort during intense physical exertion or in various weather conditions.

Simultaneously, the ePTFE membrane is hydrophobic, meaning it repels liquid water, including rain and snow. As a result, the outer fabric layer of a Gore-Tex garment remains waterproof, preventing external moisture from penetrating and wetting the wearer's clothing or skin.

Gore-Tex is renowned for its durability and longevity. The ePTFE membrane is highly resistant to abrasion, ensuring the fabric retains its waterproof and breathable properties even after prolonged use in rugged outdoor environments. Additionally, Gore-Tex is engineered to withstand the demands of various outdoor activities, including hiking, mountaineering, skiing, and cycling.

In summary, Gore-Tex utilizes a microporous membrane made of ePTFE that allows water vapor to escape while preventing liquid water from entering. This combination of waterproofness and breathability makes Gore-Tex a leading choice for outdoor enthusiasts, providing reliable protection against the elements while maintaining comfort and dryness.

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