What is Infinergy®, and how could it help keep your employees safe and comfortable at work? In this new blog in our series looking at technologies in safety footwear, Andrew Grinnell explains all…
What is Infinergy®?
Infinergy® is a patented antifatigue technology that can be incorporated into the midsole of safety footwear to improve comfort and energy return.
A type of foam, it is made from oval-shaped expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) beads, which give the material its characteristic flexibility and elasticity.
It is also very strong and durable, allowing it to be used in a wide range of applications outside of safety footwear, including flooring, sports equipment and pet toys.
What are the benefits of Infinergy® technology for safety footwear?
Infinergy® foam is characterised by its elasticity, high tensile strength and abrasion resistance. This makes it a fantastic material for use within the outsole or insole of safety footwear, where it can perform better than conventional materials in established use – lasting longer, offering enhanced comfort, and improving shock absorption.
Lightweight yet strong, with good chemical resistance, Infinergy® is capable of withstanding extremes of heat and cold without losing performance, allowing it to be used in footwear offering year-round protection for wearers across a range of job roles.
The material’s elasticity means it springs back into its original shape immediately after compression, time and time again. This provides a guarantee of long-term comfort even with prolonged wear and makes it ideal for workers that are on their feet all day, whether standing on a production line or walking the warehouse floor.
Infinergy® is also among the innovations bringing the benefits of sports technology to the workplace. Used by adidas in the midsole of its innovative ‘Energy Boost’ running shoe, Infinergy® returns more than 55% of the energy put into the ground with each step or stride, and absorbs the rest. This reduces impact on the body and provides a springboard for the next forward movement that experts call the ‘rebound effect’.
The rebound effect allows the wearer to expend less energy, which reduces fatigue and means they can keep going for longer. Meanwhile, the shock absorption of the Infinergy® material reduces stress and strain on the joints, helping to significantly reduce the likelihood of the wearer developing a musculoskeletal disorder.
How can you tell genuine Infinergy® technology from cheap imitations?
Safety shoes with Infinergy® technology are characterised by gaps in the outer surface of the sole unit revealing the white E-TPU foam inside. Unfortunately – as with most innovations – there are cheap imitations out there that seek to mimic this look, using poorer quality materials.
As well as being unable to offer the same high performance, safety footwear made with a poor imitation of Infinergy® technology may harm your business’s environmental credentials. Genuine Infinergy® foam is recyclable, while cheap alternatives may not be.
Find out more: Read our guide to switching to sustainable workwear and PPE.
If footwear looks like it contains Infinergy® technology, but doesn’t say so, then buyer beware! It most likely doesn’t.
If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask your safety footwear supplier to provide further information about the technologies used in manufacturing the products they offer. A good supplier will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have, and to provide evidence of footwear’s safety credentials.