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What is Gore-Tex?

2024-04-11

What is Gore-Tex®?

Brown Timberland waterproof shoe

When you’ve been shopping for clothes, particularly outdoor jackets and footwear, you might well have seen references to Gore-Tex® clothing. It’s a wonderful fabric that was pioneered in the 1960s but has yet to be bettered when it comes to keeping you dry. It does this in two ways: keeping the rain away from your underlayers and your skin while allowing your sweat to escape. At Timberland, many items in our range rely on Gore-Tex® to keep you fresh, comfortable, dry and safe when you’re working or being active outdoors. It also protects you against the wind.

How does Gore-Tex® work?

Rainwater and sweat are very different at the microscopic level. Sweat is a vapour, meaning it’s mainly gaseous with some small liquid elements, while rainwater is in the droplet form you’re familiar with. Gore-Tex® lets vapour through but not liquid water, so it’s a one-way street for moisture.

It does this thanks to microscopic holes in the layer of PTFE, an otherwise impervious plastic material. According to the Gore-Tex® site, each square inch of the Gore-Tex® membrane has nine billion pores. While the pores are big enough to let individual molecules of H₂O through (i.e. vaporous sweat), they are too small to let the globules of water in a raindrop through or indeed soaking water and snowmelt. So as you sweat, the water finds its way out, but no new water can get in.

Is Gore-Tex® waterproof?

Yes. Technically, because water vapour is escaping, and could theoretically pass through the other way. However, in practice, rain or snow cannot breach the membrane, and you will never be in a situation where there’s more vapour in the atmosphere than is coming from your skin. So you stay dry.

It’s how Gore-Tex® can guarantee dryness, whether it’s in a pair of Gore-Tex® trainers, chukka style Gore-Tex® boots or a waterproof jacket. No matter how much water the elements throw at it, none will get past the membrane, and as you sweat, it won’t linger around your feet or body. That’s dryness from within, and dryness from without.

Is Gore-Tex® worth it?

After the physics lesson above, this one’s easy – yes, Gore-Tex® is worth every penny. If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of sweaty clothes under a non-breathable coat, or have got soaked through and wind-blown during a walk in the mountains, you’ll appreciate the dry comfort of Gore-Tex®.

Walkers are particularly well served by this wonder fabric, which is why we put it in our Plymouth Trail Hiker Boots – every puddle, every muddy patch, and every mile you walk won’t be a problem when you’ve got the guaranteed dryness of Gore-Tex® at your feet.

Shop Gore-Tex® at Timberland

If you’re convinced of the qualities of Gore-Tex® (and science has had half a century to improve on it and failed), enter Gore-Tex® in the search box above to see the range of waterproof clothing and footwear we have in our collection.