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Dow Introduces Next Generation INFUSE™ Olefin Block Copolymer Material for Footwear Midsole in Vietnam

On July 4, 2017, Dow Elastomers, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), and the world’s leading producer of polyolefin elastomers, introduced next-generation INFUSE™ Olefin Block Copolymers (OBCs) – a material for footwear foam in Vietnam. Dow recently met with key members of the footwear value chain in Ho Chi Minh to introduce the next-generation INFUSE™ OBCs which will help Vietnam’s footwear manufacturers create high-performance athletic shoes, slippers and sandals. Featuring unique block architecture, INFUSE™ OBCs meets both manufacturers’ desire for sustainable solutions and consumer demand for product performance, comfort and durability.

Next-generation Material for Midsoles

Midsoles are regarded as the heart of the shoe that impacts shoe durability, performance and comfort. Midsoles based on INFUSE™ OBCs deliver lightweight footwear and an evident improvement on the rebound, compression set and dimensional stability of a shoe compared to traditional Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foams. In addition, INFUSE™ OBCs offer protection to the wearer’s foot by absorbing shock from walking, jumping and running as well as lessening the impact and stress on the body. In enhancing the resiliency of a shoe, INFUSE™ OBCs provide support to the wearer for a longer period of time than conventional EVA-based midsole foams.

“We see an evolving active leisure trend from consumers that is likely to drive growth in the footwear industry and an increasing demand for more comfortable shoes. Our next-generation specialty elastomer, INFUSE™ OBCs, was recently introduced to local Vietnam shoe manufacturers who are seeking to cater to this trend. INFUSE™ OBCs offer a sustainable solution for the shoe midsole with excellent rebound and improved recovery, reduced hardness and consistent stiffness across a broad temperature range and low compression set at elevated temperatures,” said Andrew Yen, footwear marketing manager for Dow Elastomers in Asia Pacific.

The INFUSE™ OBCs technology can be used with current processing methods and equipment, usually with no need for retooling and also offers potential for increased energy efficiency in production. 

Connecting with the Footwear Value Chain in Vietnam

Vietnam is the third largest footwear maker and the second largest exporter in the world, producing 40 to 45 percent of global top athletic footwear. Leather and footwear products are among Vietnam's key export items with 2016 exports reaching US$16.2 billion, accounting for 10 percent of the country's total exports. The figure is expected to surge to US$17.88 billion in 2017.[1]

“Dow Elastomers has been in the Vietnam market since 2011 to support various industries, especially footwear. We have a long-term plan in Vietnam’s market and we look forward to contributing to the transformation of Vietnam’s footwear industry with our state-of-the-art materials and support of the business expansion in the country,” added Andrew Yen.

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