Design Blue Ltd.

D3O launches a brand new range of footwear cushioning materials:

Unique patented technology – Superior shock absorption

D3O, the British smart materials specialist, has developed a brand new range of cushioning materials specifically for footwear applications including athletic, industrial and military markets.

D3O is a ground breaking impact protection solutions company that sells and licenses a range of unique patented smart materials. Their team of chemists and material scientists has engineered a range of new materials to bring rate-sensitivity and superior cushioning performance to the footwear marketplace and now offers an intelligent, responsive solution that absorbs shock, improves energy return, reduces injury and provides long-term comfort.

Improved impact protection in footwear such as the midsoles has been linked to a reduction in lower limb injuries and D3O’s new heel-to-toe shock absorption range helps to reduce the impact trauma that commonly causes knee and hip injuries.


Toby Glyn, Footwear Business Development Manager, says;

“As the market leaders in lightweight protection, we have responded to increased customer demand for a low density, durable, shock absorbing material suitable for footwear. We recognise that the requirements for athletic footwear differ to those of the military or industrial markets and in turn have tuned our technology to offer solutions across this spectrum.”

D3O markets a unique patented technology used to manufacture high performance, lightweight, soft and flexible materials with high shock absorbing properties. The raw material is strain rate sensitive. In standard conditions its molecules flow freely, allowing the material to be soft and flexible, but on impact, lock together to dissipate the impact energy and reduce the transmitted force. This market changing technology is used to produce shock absorbing materials which can be found in a range of products across the motorcycle, sport, footwear, electronics, military and workwear sectors.


Phil Sheriff, D3O Material Development Manager, says;

“We have partnered with selected brands as we have started our development process and feedback from wearer trials has been extremely positive. We have been able to bring our expertise in polymer engineering and enhanced chemistry to the footwear industry and developed a superior cushioning offering compared to materials currently found in the marketplace.”

D3O has worked with key suppliers, testing facilities and end-user trials to develop a suite of materials where each grade is targeted at a specific footwear need or application. The new suite of footwear materials is the result of 18 months of research, experimentation, advanced chemistry and development and includes the following materials:

Decell is a polyurethane which has been tuned to deliver very strong cushioning properties across the whole spectrum of impacts from walking, through jogging to full sprinting. Its potential uses will be in footwear where comfort and performance are needed no matter what you are doing. This material offers 20% better deceleration of the foot on impact than leading materials in the market.

Pulse has been to engineered to give excellent energy return or “spring” without compromising on cushioning or comfort. Forefoot inserts in insoles or midsoles is where there is strong pick up from the market.

Milicell is a new PU grade engineered for military footwear offering a balance between durability, comfort and performance in arduous conditions.

There will be 2 other polyurethane grades developed using D3O's reactive, rate-sensitive technology which are designed to offer comfort, shock absorption and durability for sports (trail running and racquet sports) and for industrial footwear.

In addition, building on its success in thermoset materials, D3O has deployed its technology and knowledge into thermoplastics polymers and recently introduced D3O Lite - a polyolefin blend that incorporates D3O technology. There will be two D3O Lite materials incorporated in the new footwear portfolio which enables D3O to offer solutions at even lower densities to it's customer base.


Chief Product Officer Tim Brown says:

“It’s an exciting time for D3O as we extend further into the footwear sector. We now have a whole suite of new footwear specific materials hitting the market that will allow footwear developers and brand managers to choose the right material for their shoes and boots whether that is in midsoles, insoles, inserts, or strobel boards. We are also using different base polymers with our unique patented technology which means we have extended the properties, performance and design options we can achieve. In simple terms, our customers have more design options that will enhance comfort and cushioning in footwear.”

The new D3O Footwear range offers highly durable, efficient and effective solutions which perform across a wide range of impact energies. Designed to provide comfort, shock absorption and injury reduction, the range offers solutions suitable for sports as well as military and industrial markets and is compatible with a wide range of underfoot applications including inserts, insoles, mid-soles, strobel boards.


About D3O:

D3O is a British based impact protection solutions company that markets a unique patented technology, used to produce a shock absorbing material.D3O was born out of the 2006 Winter Olympics, where they provided protective solutions to the US and Canadian ski teams.D3O impact protection solutions have been integrated into thousands of products worldwide and are used in 5 core markets including sports, electronics, PPE, motorcycle and footwear.