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Friday, 4 November 2011

The difference between water resistant and repellent technologies

We recently came across the EMU Australia footwear brand who produce and sell a great range of sheepskin boots around the world but what caught our attention was the following banner on their website:

It is a great visual image that really states the fact that their boots are water resistant. Exploring the site further, EMU have also produced a video showcasing their water resistant sheepskin against a competing UGG boot. You can see the video below:

Before watching the video we initially thought that it was our technology, as the EMU video is similar to a version that we produced back in 2009 that focused on our ion-mask water repellent technology (see further down). In the EMU video, they demonstrate the difference between their water resistant sheepskin boot and that of a standard UGG boot. You can clearly see a distinction between the two as the water uptake is significantly reduced on EMU's water resistant sheepskin while the UGG boot completely absorbs the water leading to a stained, heavy and uncomfortable boot.

However, even though the water resistance does keep the EMU boot from absorbing the water, if you look closely you can clearly see that there is a layer of water that remains on the boot once it is pulled out, giving it a shiny but wet look. Over time, this could potentially damage the surface, resulting in the absorption of water and eventual staining. This is when we realized that it was not our technology and that ion-mask could be a great solution.

Why ion-mask?

Earlier, we mentioned a video we produced back in 2009 which carried out the same test as EMU demonstrate above but showcases our liquid repellent nano-coating technology. Although the boots in our demo are made from suede and not sheepskin the principles are the same:

The ion-mask treated boot completely repels the water by ensuring the water beads up and rolls off the boot leaving no layer or residue, which can occur with water resistant boots. The untreated version absorbs the water the instant it is submerged. We have also carried out this test using sheepskin boots and you can see the result in the following image:

ion-mask™ treated (Left) / Untreated (Right)
Again, the repellent benefits of ion-mask™ act as an invisible shield forcing the water to bead up and roll off while the untreated version is completed soaked. Adding ion-mask to sheepskin boots means total liquid repellency without any leftover layers or streaks that is visible with only a resistant protection in place. An ion-mask repellent coating ensures that they remain dry, lightweight and most importantly comfortable.

While EMU's water resistant sheepskin boots do offer protection they still allow water to remain on the boot which over time can lead to staining and absorption. With the addition of ion-mask this is no longer a problem and as it is applied on the nanoscale you don't even know it is there.

If you want to know more about ion-mask you can here.

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