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WEINHEIM - Freudenberg Performance Materials has developed a new fabric for the footwear market which it describes as the world’s first nonwoven crimping material.

The nonwoven crimping material offers a combination of high permanent moldability and shape retention with flexibility and suppleness and, says Freudenberg, enables manufacturers to reduce their production costs while consumers benefit from increased comfort.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for ever softer, more flexible and at the same time fashionable shoes," says Freudenberg. "This in turn places greater demands on shoe manufacturers in terms of production technology. Freudenberg’s innovative nonwoven-based crimping material succeeds in reconciling the demands of consumers with the associated technical challenges for manufacturers."

The material is said to offer a number of advantages such as multi-directional stretching properties. In contrast to knitted linings, the material’s multi-directional stretching properties enable uniform longitudinal and transverse stretching over the entire vamp area. The direction-independent pattern grading this enables results in up to 10 percent less cut waste.

Compared to conventional knitted fabric-based crimping materials, the faster thermoplastic moldability means shorter production times and therefore significantly reduced manufacturing costs.

The crimping material is also said to offer better shaping, last-true vamp mold retention and optimum shape and stability. Even after more than 72 hours of wear, the molded vamp still retains 100 percent of its true lasted shape.

Freudenberg also notes that the material’s extremely fine fibres allow shoes to be designed that are very soft in character and provide optimum comfort. At the same time, the exceptionally high cutting-edge stability increases the range of creative design possibilities.

The significantly lower weight-to-area ratio of the nonwoven-based crimping material further reduces the weight of the shoe while at the same time ensuring better shape retention.

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