Magazine December 2013

All the latest information from the textile world

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Shoes are treading new paths

Manufacturing classic products in an entirely new way – one good example of this is the knitted sports shoe. Traditionally, shoes for sports and recreation have been made from numerous different materials and individual components, all of them glued, baked or sewn. The top layer of the knitted shoes, in contrast, consists of a single component, manufactured in Fully-Fashion for a perfect fit. The results are impressive: Economically efficient manufacture and minimal wastage make this production method very attractive.

Just an imageRecycled PET bottles form the basic material

Light as a feather - and gentle on the environment

Alongside the conventional manufactured sports shoe there is also the knitted shoe, which is especially distinctive for its low weight and its sustainability: the shoes in question weigh a mere 140 grams. They are manufactured primarily from recycled polyester, yet their knitted fabric technology is still breathable and connects stable and elastic sections almost seamlessly.

While conventional sports shoes in the textile sector largely utilize spacer fabrics and knits produced on Raschel and circular knitting machines and are then cut to size, sewn or glued, the upper material of the knitted shoe is produced in just one working operation on a flat-knitting machine.

The main methods used here are Jacquard and intarsia, and they not only have to conform to high design standards. Because of the different binding techniques, stability and elasticity are delivered to the right part of the shoe in a targeted manner. At locations with especially high stability requirements, special melt yarns are sometimes used – and are melted off the surface during the ensuing production process.

The benefits of this technology at a glance:

  • Extremely low weight
  • High breathability
  • Perfect fit
  • Sustainable

Just an imageIn form-knitted shoe production, up to 66 % of reject material can be saved.

Sustainability – also in the production process

Not only the recyclable material used in the process is sustainable – the production process is as well. Manufacturing the upper layer from a single, form-knit part has the advantage that less work operations are required – and cutting waste also becomes a thing of the past.

In comparison to the knitted shoe, manufacture of conventional shoes involves a great deal of time and effort – and also produces a relatively high amount of cutting waste. In the year 2012, over 21 billion pairs of shoes were manufactured. If just one gram of waste had been saved on each of those pairs, the piles of garbage would have been 21,000 tons smaller.

Just an imageFlatbed knitting transfer needle

Sturdy needles and system parts

The requirements placed on the loop-forming components in this complex knitting process are very high. Reliability and sturdiness are required of the needles and system parts.

As a trusted supplier and development partner to leading flatbed knitting machine manufacturers worldwide, Groz-Beckert offer the right components for every application – whatever the gauge and whatever the transfer technology. That also includes the components used during production of the knitted shoe.

Groz-Beckert is also currently developing suitable transfer needles especially for the production of shoes and technical knitted fabrics. The objective here is longer needle service life, high process reliability during production and higher quality at the same time. No detail of the needle is overlooked. Groz-Beckert thus guarantees perfectly dimensioned needles to suit every application.

Whether hard-to-process materials or entirely new knitting technologies are involved, Groz-Beckert always has the right product to suit your requirements. Are you facing any special challenges posed by the latest production processes? The Groz-Beckert experts will be happy to assist you!