GORE-TEX Expanded Polyethylene debuts for fall 2022, promising long-lasting durability, a lower carbon footprint, and lighter weight.
Outdoor industry giant GORE-TEX is so ubiquitous that even small changes to its patented weather-proofing technology reverberate across countless brands and products.
Because of that, details from an announcement made today by the Maryland-based textile leader regarding its all-new waterproof-breathable membrane — its hallmark technology — will send ripples across the industry and may change performance standards in outerwear.
Lofty claims, to be certain, but the unveiling of expanded polyethylene (ePE) already has other industry titans buying in — including Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and more.
“GORE’s commitment to launching ePE directly supports our initiative to reduce our carbon impact by about 65% by 2030,” Arc’teryx director of advanced research, Greg Grenzke, said.
Grenzke teased that ePE would debut in the Arc’teryx line in its Ralle (men’s) and Coelle (women’s) jackets for fall 2022.
We’ve previously reported on details about ePE’s tech. Here’s what we know about GORE’s latest wünder material, and how brands will use it for the fall 2022 season.
GORE-TEX ePE Membrane
GORE-TEX lauds ePE as “a key milestone in GORE’s ongoing sustainability journey.” And that sustainability element is a significant part of both the impetus behind the innovation and brands’ interest in it.
According to GORE, ePE boasts a smaller carbon footprint than its traditional waterproof-breathable membranes. This is thanks to ePE’s more diminutive profile — it has less mass and less overall material, which translates to less energy input, water usage, and carbon output.
Moreover, the ePE membrane is PFC-free, a goal that has rapidly become an industry-wide standard. This lighter membrane can also bond with selected backers and face fabrics — like recycled, solution-dyed, or undyed materials — to ensure the performance elements integrate with a variety of sustainable product constructions.
“This was an ask and a pressure we put on our friends and partners at GORE for a long time,” said Kristo Torgersen, Patagonia’s mountains brand and business lead. “We saw the future of waterproof breathables being in a non-fluorinated chemistry. We set out to eliminate PFCs from the membrane, but we got so much more.”
In addition to its environmental focus, GORE claims ePE possesses long-lasting garment life, fully windproof protection, high breathability, and durable waterproofing.
Where to Find GORE-TEX ePE
In addition to Arc’teryx’s Ralle and Coelle jackets, Patagonia will employ ePE on its Storm Shift ski and snowboard shell kits.
The new membrane will also appear in a variety of both performance and lifestyle products from adidas, Salomon, Dakine, Reusch, and Ziener.
Stay tuned, as GearJunkie will test GORE-TEX ePE in a variety of iterations to see how it stacks up. Learn more about GORE-TEX ePE.