As our membrane footwear is strongly represented in the FARE collection, whether Klasik or BARE, I would like to contribute to the general elucidatione knowledge of this issue. Not only from the questions you asked us, but also from the discussions in various social forums, it is clear that this matter deserves bigger explanation from specialists. I would like to contribute this article to eliminating this deficit. I prefer to start more broadly and I hope that those who are more familiar will forgive me and that those who know less will perhaps like to learn more.
What is a membrane in a shoe and what is its purpose?
The membrane is a work of modern chemistry. It is a very thin fabric with a thickness of about 0.2 mm. Its specificity lies in the fact that millions of very small micro-funnels penetrate its surface, which are actually the main essence of the function and purpose for which the membrane is used. These micro-funnels, if they work properly, must ensure that water and its molecules penetrate this membrane in only one direction. Outside from the shoes so that our feet don't get sweaty. On the contrary, it does not let water from outside to get in. So, simply said, the result of using a quality and properly built-in membrane must be that if we do not pick up some water from the top, the shoe must be dry inside, even if we are paddling or going through a brook. However, this would only apply if the membrane is built-in up to the upper edge. Which is usually not the case, because various design causes, such as closures, lacing, etc., prevent this.
Where can we find a membrane in footwear and what are the types and differences in quality?
You will not find the membrane if you do not disassemble the shoes. The membrane is built in between the top and lining parts of the upper. It is actually another sewn part of the shoe, where its seams are sealed with a special waterproof tape. The construction of membrane footwear has its own specifics and, for example, in case of excessive ingestion of adhesives, we could suppress the function of this membrane, even devalue it. It is also often called climate membrane and is widely used in the production of clothing uppers, such as outdoor jackets, trousers, etc. Sometimes, for simplicity, manufacturers replace the membrane with a so-called coating, which is only a partial replacement.
Probably the most well-known terms in this regard are Goretex and Sympatex. Our company FARE started to produce membrane shoes thirteen years ago. First they were men's trekking boots, then women´s and children´s. Soon after we extended the use of the membrane to some types of walking shoes. First we tested various brands and the Vildtex membrane from the German company Vildona worked best for us (you know it, for example, from household towels, mops, etc.). Vildona belongs to the huge Freuderberg chemical concern. Since the Vildtex membrane is only one of hundreds of their products, unlike other membrane manufacturers, it is not promoted in any ways. This is our explanation why this brand of membrane is so little known to the public. Not only through tests, but mainly through many years of experience, both our own and indirectly, we give this VAREtex membrane the highest rating.
How is the membrane treated correctly? What to do against getting wet?
The membrane is not treated. Any treatment attempt can only damage it. If I am talking here about the treatment of membrane footwear, then I can only deal with the treatment of the upper material according to the type. There we should follow the manufacturer's instructions. At the same time, we will keep in mind that although various lubrications will usually benefit natural materials, but this will probably make it difficult for the vapors to escape from the outside of the shoes and our feet will sweat more. Especially children sweat much more than adults. We must also not forget that the shoes are sewn by piercing hundreds of holes, all of which let water through. Lubrication with various fats can help us in the case of non-membrane shoes by actually clogging all holes and pores. It is certainly a solution, but not for quality membrane shoes.
If dirty, you can clean the shoes with a nylon brush or a special sponge if it is a nubuck. In the case of grain leather, just wipe with a damp cloth. If you want your shoes to last longer as new, you can use some impregnation spray, but it always depends on a certain type of shoes and it is necessary to use the impregnation that is recommended for the product.
And, finally, let me give you one more piece of advice. It happens that after taking shoes off, the mother finds out that the child has a wet sock. Remember, it is up to you to make the right decision. You must correctly assess whether it is a wet sock due to water penetration or due to sweating of the foot.
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