R.I.P. Bob Gore, GORE-TEX Inventor
Sad news emerged late last week that Robert W. ‘Bob’ Gore passed away peacefully at home on September 17 following a long illness. He was aged 83. Bob was best known as the inventor of GORE-TEX, the waterproof yet breathable membrane that is 'guaranteed to keep you dry'. His invention revolutionised textile technology, and subsequently, the sneaker world.
Bob made the fortuitous discovery of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) in 1969 after stretching strands of PTFE polymer, creating a highly porous structure that repelled water droplets while simultaneously allowing sweat vapour to escape. Soon after, ePTFE became the material application known as GORE-TEX, instantly unlocking higher levels of functionality and comfort for adventurers and flexers alike, with waterproof accessories, garments and shoes.
In the 50-plus-year history of GORE-TEX, the membrane has lined the most hardcore hiking boots, upgraded icons of the sneaker world, and laid the tech foundations of future classics. Its name was even immortalised on the small screen with the famous utterance, ‘It’s GORE-TEX. You know about GORE-TEX?’
Needless to say, the sneaker industry would not be where it is today without GORE-TEX. Thank you, Bob Gore.