Monthly Archives: September 2014

These are not your Father’s GORE-TEX® Running Shoes!

GORE-TEX® has been in running shoes since the 1970s, but the current generation of GTX® shoes are not your Father’s GORE-TEX® running shoes.  Heck, they’re not even your older cousin’s GORE-TEX® running shoes!  Today’s GORE-TEX® running shoes are light and flexible, provide climate-controlled running comfort under all weather conditions, and are offered in customized designs in some of the most popular running brands and styles including the Saucony Ride, Brooks Ghost, Brooks Adrenaline, ASICS Cumulus, ASICS GT 1000, and Saucony Xodus.  I learned this and a lot more during my recent trip to W. L. Gore and Associates with fellow Run Bloggers Jason and Kate.

The three of us are members of Team GORE-TEX® and Team Gore Running Wear® for the upcoming GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon.  Gore Associate Cynthia hosted us for our visit to W. L. Gore plants in Delaware and Maryland last Friday to learn firsthand about the Gore Running products we’re using to train for the race.

Gore Associate Brandon, Me, Gore Associate Cynthia, Jason, & Kate

Gore Associate Brandon, Me, Gore Associate Cynthia, Jason, & Kate

It was an amazing day and I’m excited to tell you about it.  I’ll talk about GORE-TEX® shoes in this post and I’ll cover Gore Running Wear® in later posts.  Our first stop was the Elk Creek Plant where Gore Associate Kirk showed us how GORE-TEX® is designed into running shoes.  I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about GORE-TEX®.

Gore Associate Kirk Christensen

Gore Associate Kirk

Did You Know How GORE-TEX® Technology Actually Works and Why it is Unique?

GORE-TEX® is unique because it does not allow liquid water to penetrate, but it allows water vapor to escape.  How does GORE-TEX® pull off this magic trick?  The GORE-TEX® membrane has over nine billion pores per square inch.  The pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule.  This means that GORE-TEX® running shoes can be designed to push out as much sweat and heat as possible while still providing 100% guaranteed waterproof protection.  GORE-TEX® is unique because it is breathable, yet remains impenetrable by water.

I was surprised when I ran through wet grass in my new Saucony Ride 7 GTX® shoes; I did not get the wet saturated-sock feeling I’m used to after a few strides through thick wet grass.  The grass was very wet, and I saw the water drops on my shoes, but my feet stayed completely dry.  I’m looking forward to running in the rain with these shoes.

Wet Grass, Dry Feet

Wet Grass, Dry Feet

Keeping water out is only half the battle in controlling the micro-climate around our feet.  We were all amazed when we learned exactly how much our feet sweat when we’re running.  Each foot can produce 250 milliliters of sweat during a full day of running.  That means that during a four-hour marathon, our feet alone can produce over eight ounces of sweat!  The unique breathable GORE-TEX® membrane allows our feet to breathe, preventing them from getting too hot, while letting the sweat vapor escape.

GORE-TEX® is in Many of the Most Popular Running Shoe Models

I was impressed by the wide selection of top shoe models that offer a GORE-TEX® option (they have GTX® in the shoe’s name).  The current crop of running shoe brands with GORE-TEX® includes Asics, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance, inov-8, La Sportiva, Salomon, Scott, and The North Face.  Most of these shoemakers offer multiple GTX® models and there are choices in the neutral, stability, and trail running categories.  Check them out at:

Saucony Ride 7 GTX

Saucony Ride 7 GTX

GORE-TEX® Running Shoes are Light and Flexible

The new GORE-TEX® running shoes are lightweight and flexible and still provide the maximum protection we expect from GORE-TEX®.  I had no idea that the addition of GORE-TEX® adds less than an ounce to a shoe.  The picture below shows the GORE-TEX® liner in the Saucony Ride 7 GTX® shoes I’m running in now.  The inside of the shoes are soft and flexible, provide a glove-like feel, and keep my feet nice and dry.



GORE-TEX® Running Shoes are Custom-Designed for each Application

Kirk explained how Gore works with shoe manufacturers to customize the integration of GORE-TEX® into each shoe’s unique design.  Gore works in collaboration with the shoe companies to ensure that every aspect of making a shoe waterproof is taken into account.  Gore specifies how seams must be sealed, and they require that the laces and threads used in a GORE-TEX® shoe do not wick moisture into the shoe.

One of the most interesting parts of our visit was our trip to the Gore Shoe Lab where we saw how prototype shoes are flex-tested to prove out each new shoe’s design.  Gore Associate Donna is demonstrating the Mechanical Boot Flex Test in the picture below:

Gore Associate Donna Purner

Gore Associate Donna

In this test, shoes are placed on electronically-instrumented foot forms that each contain a dozen sensors to detect leakage into the shoe.  The shoe is immersed in water and flexed repeatedly for up to 200,000 times.  Any leak is immediately detected.  If the shoe leaks, the shoe manufacturer must modify the design and then resubmit the shoe for further testing.  Here’s a video of the test:

To demonstrate how the sensors work, Donna simulated a failure.  Sure enough, the sensor display turned red as you can see in the picture below:

Mechanical Boot Flex Test Simulated Failure

Mechanical Boot Flex Test Simulated Failure

This test ensures that each custom GORE-TEX® shoe design is waterproof and stays that way for the lifetime of the shoe.

All GORE-TEX® Shoes Require the Same Standard Factory Testing from Every Shoe Manufacturer

Once a GORE-TEX® Running Shoe is in production, Gore requires manufacturers to test shoes at the factory using patented Gore test equipment.  The Leak Test Machine is used to test 100% of GORE-TEX® Booties before they are installed in shoes.  The Centrifuge Test is performed on selected samples of finished shoes during production.  During this test, shoes are filled with water and then spun at 30g to check for leaks.

Factory Tests

GORE Doesn’t Make the Shoe but they Still Guarantee the Shoe

You heard it right.  They guarantee other companies’ products.  It goes back to Gore’s commitment to “fitness-for-use.”  Every Gore associate we met during our visit spoke about fitness-for-use.  Gore is not satisfied just to sell a material.  They do not consider a job completed until the end-user is 100% satisfied with the product, even if Gore only provides an ingredient in that product.  And they have been backing up that commitment with their GORE-TEX® “Guaranteed to Keep You Dry” promise since 1989.

The Perfect End to a Great Day

Near the end of the day we stopped at the W. L. Gore Retail Store at the Barksdale Site and checked out all of the cool GORE-TEX® products.  That’s when I got my new pair of Saucony Ride 7 GTX® shoes and I’ve already taken them for a spin or two.  I’ll post again with a report on the shoes once I’ve logged a few miles in the rain.

My New Saucony Ride 7 GTX Shoes

My New Saucony Ride 7 GTX Shoes

We finished with a tour of the Gore Capabilities Center with Gore Associate Paul, who gave us an overview of Gore materials and products including cables, medical implants, guitar strings, filters, military fabrics, fire and safety fabrics, Gore Bike Wear®, and of course, Gore Running Wear®.  Gore products have even been to the moon.  It’s pretty cool to know that there’s over a half-century of science and innovation behind my GORE-TEX® running shoes and I’m looking forward to training and racing in them.

Gore Associate Paul Bielewicz, Kate, Me, & Jason

Gore Associate Paul, Kate, Me, & Jason

You can check out my Gore Running teammates at:

Jason Saltmarsh

Kate McElroy

Summer Running Recap!

My iPhone jolted me awake at four-thirty this morning.  It’s September now and the chill is in the air.  I got myself out of bed, tiptoed past running buddy Griffin’s cage (too early for him), brushed my teeth, downed an espresso, and made the fifteen minute drive to meet up with the five o’clock Friday morning running group at Wegmans.  It was great to be back after battling a pulled hamstring that finally required me to stop running completely for the past month.



There was a large group, around a dozen of us.  We ran over ten miles on the Chester Valley Trail, illuminated most of the way by LED headlamps, and I didn’t keep track of the time.  I’m guessing we were running somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 minutes per mile.  The run went by quickly as I got a chance to catch up with everyone and hear about their summer races.

The conversations continued over coffee inside Wegmans a little after 6:30 and I shared some of my summer running-related escapades since completing the ½ Sauer ½ Kraut Marathon in Philadelphia back on June 14th.  Here are the highlights:

The Saucony Mile, June 20th


The Saucony Mile, Elite Heat

My daughter and I went to watch the Saucony Mile at the Pottstown-Limerick airport.  The race was run straight down the single runway, around a turn, and then back up a taxiway to the finish.  There were multiple heats ranging from elite through age groups and kids.  It was great fun on a sunny summer Friday evening.  I took the above picture of the lead group in the elite race, which was won in a blazing time of 4:10!

Downingtown Good Neighbor Day 4th of July Races

This is a very popular community 4th of July event that lasts all day and into the night ending with a fireworks show.  I ran the 10K and won my age group.  My daughter ran the warm-up with me and then she snapped a great action pic at the start:

Downingtown Good Neighbor Day Races

Downingtown Good Neighbor Day Races

We had Wawa coffee after the race:

Wawa Coffee Time

Wawa Coffee Time

in24 Urban Ultra Midnight Madness 8.4 Mile Race, July 20th

Midnight Madness

Midnight Madness

The Midnight Madness 8.4 Mile Race was part of the Back on My Feet (BoMF) in24 Urban Ultra weekend of races, featuring the 24-hour ultra race as the centerpiece.  It was a different experience driving into Philadelphia late on a Saturday night for a road race.

As I approached the Spring Garden Street exit I could see the lights of Boathouse Row and I started to get pumped up for the race.  I parked near the Art Museum and headed toward the start.  There were runners dressed in glow-in-the-dark gear jogging and walking back and forth stowing their bright yellow swag bags in their cars and warming up.  A midnight running vibe is a cool thing to step into.

Midnight Madness Starting Line

Midnight Madness Starting Line

I had a great time and got a chance to meet BoMF Philly Executive Director Scott Crossin as he greeted runners at the finish line!

Ready to Run at the in24 Midnight Madness Race

Ready to Run at the in24 Midnight Madness Race

2014 Advanced Sports Chiropractic Runners’ Pentathlon, Presented by the Greater Philadelphia Track Club, August 10th

This truly unique race-among-races was contested at Germantown Academy’s Carey Stadium & Athletic Complex, Fort Washington, PA 19034.  The competition was open to all athletes 14-and-older.  The event was sanctioned by USA Track & Field, and officiated by certified USATF officials.

Runner's Pentathlon

Runner’s Pentathlon

More from the event website:

“Each runner competed in 5 track races (3000m – 200m – 1500m – 100m – 400m/800m), with a minimum of 30 minutes recovery time between races.  Athletes chose either the 400m or the 800m for their fifth event (400m and 800m heats alternated). With an equal mix of sprints and distance events (order as above), this challenging (but fun!) competition pitted sprinter against distance runner to determine the best all-around track runner. Scoring was age-graded using the World Masters Association’s 2006 age/gender-graded tables. Points were tabulated for each race (the age/gender-graded percentage), and awards were based on the cumulative percentages for the five races. This meet presented a rare opportunity for men and women, young and old, to compete directly against each other on a level playing field.  The 2014 individual winner was Nick Berra, who amassed 429.60 age graded points to win for the second consecutive year.”

My daughter and I volunteered to help run the race.  I worked behind the scenes entering scoring data into a computer and posting results while she worked at the finish line assisting with automated timing.  We had a great time and then went for a trail run after the meet was over!

It was toward the end of summer when my hamstring began to get worse and sidelined me for almost a month.  It’s great to be running again, but I made an adjustment and switched from the full marathon to the half for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon because there’s not enough time left to ramp up to the distance I would need for 26.2.  Can’t wait to toe the line for the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon!

Questions for you:

What races did you run over the summer?

What races do you have planned for this fall?

Good luck out there on the roads and trails!