Ever wondered how Gore-Tex can offer their GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise? This is done by insisting that they test and certify any product using their technology before it is allowed to wear the Gore-Tex tag.
Their rigorous testing process ensures the top-notch quality of their products before certifying them. They leave no stone unturned in guaranteeing the durability, functionality, and performance of their products.
Their testing process is nothing short of comprehensive, but it’s this meticulous approach that sets them apart as a premium brand in the market and goes some way to justify the additional cost.
It all starts with understanding the conditions in which the product will be used. From there, they dive deep into fabric construction, manufacturing, and finally, testing the final product. They examine every aspect, even elements like seams and zips that aren’t Gore-Tex products.
In this article we’ll be exploring the fascinating world of Gore-Tex garment testing, footwear testing, and even glove testing. Get ready to be blown away by their commitment to excellence!
- Gore-Tex has a comprehensive and costly testing process to ensure only the highest quality items carry their name.
- The testing process includes understanding the conditions of use, durability testing, human testing, field testing, and various specific tests like the Martindale test and Cold Flex test.
- Gore-Tex has specialized facilities like the Rain Room and the Storm Cube to simulate different rain conditions and test waterproofness.
- The testing process guarantees the highest quality products, involves real people in the testing process, and allows necessary adjustments and improvements based on feedback.
Gore-Tex Testing Process
Before certifying a product with the Gore-Tex brand, Gore put it through a rigorous testing process. First, they conduct material tests to ensure waterproofness, breathability, and overall quality standards.
Then, we move on to human testing, where they evaluate how the product performs in real-life situations.
Finally, Gore conducts field testing to assess the product’s durability and performance in various environmental conditions.
This thorough testing process ensures that only the highest quality products bear the Gore-Tex name.
Material & Garment Laboratory Tests
The first step in this process is testing the durability of the materials. They subject the materials to extreme conditions, such as rip and tear tests, exposure to harsh chemicals, and intense temperatures, to ensure they are tough enough.
Next, they evaluate the breathability of the materials. They measure how well air can pass through the fabric to ensure that wearers stay comfortable and dry.
Additionally, Gore-Tex assesses the waterproofness of the materials. They conduct tests to determine how well the fabric repels water, ensuring that it keeps the wearer dry in even the wettest conditions.
In the next part of the evaluation process, actual people are enlisted to test the durability, breathability, and waterproofness of Gore-Tex materials, to ensure unparalleled their comfort and protection in the real world.
These individuals come from various backgrounds and engage in different activities to simulate real-life situations. They wear Gore-Tex products for extended periods, exposing them to different weather conditions and physical activities.
Their feedback is crucial in determining the performance and functionality of the garments. The testers provide valuable insights into how comfortable the products feel, how well they breathe, and how effectively they repel water.
This human testing phase allows the manufacturers to make necessary adjustments and improvements before the Gore-Tex products get field tested.
Gore believes that the true test of a product is how it holds up in real-life conditions, so they then take the products out into the wild to see how they perform.
In the wild testers can experience the true performance and reliability of Gore-Tex materials as they’re put through rigorous field testing. This ensures that they meet the demands of even the most adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. The field testing involves subjecting the products to a variety of extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, and high winds.
Gore also tests the durability of our products by exposing them to rough terrain and challenging environments.
This allows valuable feedback to be gathered and make any necessary improvements to ensure the products deliver the standards customers expect from Gore-Tex.
When it comes to testing the quality of Gore-Tex garments, there are several rigorous methods used. The Martindale test involves rubbing wool or sandpaper against the fabric with pressure for hours to determine its durability.
The Cold Flex test squashes and stretches the Gore-Tex fabric in extreme temperatures for hours to ensure its performance.
The Rain Room simulates various rain conditions to test the waterproof design, while the Storm Cube generates 50 mph winds to assess the product’s resistance against strong gusts.
Lastly, the Instron test ensures that the garments are strong and resistant to wear and tear.
The Martindale Test
To truly put the fabric through its paces, Gore-Tex uses a special machine called the Martindale, which vigorously rubs the fabric with wool or sandpaper to simulate real-life wear and tear. This test is crucial to ensure that the fabric can withstand even extreme usage.
The fabric is rubbed with considerable pressure, non-stop, for hours or even days. Wool or sandpaper is used to create different levels of stress on the fabric.
By subjecting fabrics to this rigorous test, Gore-Tex ensures that its products can withstand the demands of outdoor activities and provide the freedom to explore without worry.
The Cold Flex Test
The Cold Flex test is conducted to ensure that the fabric can withstand the harshest winter climates without losing its functionality. During the test, the fabric is repeatedly bent and flexed while being exposed to freezing temperatures.
This simulates the movements and stresses that the fabric would experience when worn in cold environments. The fabric must maintain its flexibility and integrity throughout the test, without any signs of cracking or breaking.
These results provide valuable insights into the performance of Gore-Tex fabrics in extremely cold conditions, allowing us to certify their quality and ensure that they meet our high standards before reaching the market.
THE RAIN ROOM
The Rain Room can simulate anything from some light mist to a torrential storm. Specially engineered rain nozzles are strategically positioned in the chamber, enabling Gore to test a garment’s waterproof design in a range of scenarios, from light drizzle to wind-driven rain.
This state-of-the-art testing facility allows Gore to push the products to their limits, subjecting them to intense and prolonged rainfall. After this, they can confidently certify that it will keep you dry and comfortable, no matter what nature throws at you.
The Storm Cube
The Storm Cube is a weather machine that generates up to 50 mph winds, to test the gear against the full force of nature.
This state-of-the-art technology simulates all kinds of windy conditions, ranging from light drizzle to cloudburst to high-force gales. The temperature inside the Storm Cube can range from 5° to 25°C, ensuring that the gear is tested in a wide range of realistic scenarios.
The testing method follows the rain tower test (EN 14360) and includes testing before and after industrial laundry (ISO 15797, 60 °C) to ensure the products perform flawlessly in real-life situations.
The Instron Test
During the Instron Test, the gear is subjected to extreme stretching and pulling, mimicking the forces it may encounter during intense outdoor activities. This test is crucial to ensure that the products can withstand the demands of adventurous individuals who seek freedom in the great outdoors.
Here’s a breakdown of what happens during the Instron Test:
- Tensile Strength Measurement: This measures the transverse and longitudinal tensile strength of the textiles and laminates to understand their directional strength. This helps determine if the fabric can handle the stress and tension it may experience during use.
- Stretch Simulation: In this test, gear is stretched to its limits to see how it responds. This ensures that it can stretch and recover without losing its shape or compromising its performance.
- Tear Resistance Evaluation: In this test, fabrics are ripped to test their tear resistance and assess if they can withstand potential tears and prevent them from spreading further.
- Durability Assessment: This test examines the overall durability of the gear by subjecting it to repeated stretching and pulling to test its longevity.
The Instron Test guarantee that the products meet the high standards of quality required by Gore.
The Comfort Test
The comfort test aims to find the ideal equilibrium between the heat we generate and the heat we lose as comfort is not just about being warm or cool. To achieve this, Gore combines laboratory measurements with feedback from testers, who provide insights into personal feelings of comfort.
The aim is to fine-tune the products by continuously comparing objective data with subjective experiences.
The Suter Test
The Suter test is specifically designed to assess the waterproofness and liquid resistance of materials under loads. The Suter test ensures that even in the most challenging conditions, the product maintains its quality and performance.
During the Suter test, the material is subjected to intense pressure, simulating extreme environments such as heavy rain or high-pressure water exposure, such as when a laden backpack is pressing into your shoulder. This test verifies that the fabric can withstand these conditions without compromising its ability to keep you dry.
Through rigorous testing like the Suter test, Gore-Tex certifies the quality and reliability of its waterproofing, ensuring you don’t worry about getting wet.
Field tests are an integral part of the rigorous certification process to prove a product’s performance and reliability in real-world conditions.
During field tests, the garments, footwear, and gloves with Gore protective fabrics undergo various test conditions to evaluate their performance. Factors like durability, breathability, and waterproofness are assessed to ensure they meet the highest standards.
Gore aims to maintain communication with end-users and purchasing companies to gather valuable feedback for further product developments.
The Ret test measures the breathability of the fabric. This test evaluates how well the fabric allows moisture vapor to pass through, while still maintaining its waterproofing.
In addition to the Ret test, Gore also perform the Moisture Vapor through Fabrics Test, which further assesses the fabric’s ability to transport moisture away from the body.
These tests ensure that the products provide optimal breathability, allowing you to stay comfortable and dry in any weather conditions.
The Ret test
The Ret test measures a fabric’s resistance to moisture vapor transfer or, in more technical terms, its coefficient of evaporative resistance. The lower the RET value, the more breathable the fabric.
The RET test method is defined by the ISO 11092 standard and the RET value uses a numerical index:
- RET < 6: The material is extremely breathable, keeping you comfortable during your most intense physical activities
- RET between 6 & 12: The material is very breathable, making it suitable for moderate efforts
- RET between 12 & 20: The fabric is moderately breathable, and therefore not particularly pleasant to wear during a physical effort
- RET > 20: The fabric is not very breathable and therefore not suitable to be worn during physical exercise
- RET > 40: The fabric is considered non-breathable
This test is crucial in determining the effectiveness of Gore-Tex products in keeping you comfortable and dry. It ensures that you can enjoy your outdoor adventures without feeling stifled by sweat or trapped moisture.
Moisture Vapor through Fabrics Test
The Moisture Vapor through Fabrics Test assesses how much moisture vapor can pass through the fabric in a 24-hour period. This measures the moisture vapor transfer rate of fabrics and reveals the true breathability of Gore-Tex products.
Testing GORE‑TEX Footwear
When it comes to testing GORE-TEX footwear, there are several tests that look at different areas.
First, the Walking Simulator puts the shoes through hundreds of thousands of steps in a water bath, allowing for the detection of any design flaws through moisture sensors on foot forms.
Then, the Centrifugal Tester fills the waterproof footwear with water and spins it at high speeds to reveal any leaks.
The Wicking Test ensures that the materials in the upper are non-wicking, while the Comfort Test measures the breathability and climate comfort of the footwear.
Finally, the Breathability Test is conducted to ensure optimal airflow and comfort.
The Walking Simulator
The walking simulator at Gore-Texuses realistic foot forms to subject the shoes to thousands of steps in a water bath to test the waterproof capabilities of the boots and shoes.
A typical test involves walking in rain, with the foot forms submerged in 5 cm of water and flexed 500,000 times, equivalent to 500 km. The wearer’s body weight and walking speed are also simulated to ensure accurate results.
Moisture sensors in the boot react as soon as the smallest amount of moisture enters, providing real-time feedback on the product’s performance.
The Centrifugal Tester
In The Centrifugal Tester, the boots are filled with water and mounted onto the device. It spins them at approximately 240 revolutions per minute for a duration of 30 minutes. The spinning motion creates intense pressure, forcing water through even the tiniest of holes. If any leaks are detected, the boots are not passed for production.
This patented test was a game-changer in the industry, allowing for the identification of leaks 30 times more quickly than previous methods.
The Wicking Test
The wicking test is a crucial step to ensuring water is unable to infiltrate the shoe or boot around the GORE-TEX lining – a waterproof lining is only useful if the water cannot find other ways in!
To determine the absorptive properties of various components, such as upper leathers, textiles, bootlaces, and threads, Gore performs a wicking test.
The wicking test involves dipping each shoe into the water and observing the water level after two hours. If the water hasn’t risen more than 1 centimeter, the shoe passes the test.
This test ensures that each element, from the foam to the, upper, to the stitching and laces, performs as one to repel water ingress.
The Breathability Test
The Breathability Test measures the breathability of the entire construction of the shoe or boot, including the lining and outer material. It ensures that all materials used contribute to high breathability and climate comfort. This allows your feet to stay dry and comfortable in any activity.
The Breathability Test evaluates how well the footwear manages moisture, preventing the accumulation of sweat and moisture inside the shoe.
The table below illustrates the key factors evaluated during the Breathability Test:
|Outer Material||Evaluates the breathability of the outer layer, allowing moisture to escape while keeping water from entering the footwear.|
|Insulation||Assesses the insulation’s ability to regulate temperature and manage moisture, maintaining a comfortable climate inside the footwear.|
|Membrane||Measures the membrane’s breathability, preventing water from entering while allowing moisture vapor to escape.|
|Lining||Determines the lining’s ability to wick away moisture, keeping the feet dry and comfortable throughout wear.|
The Comfort Test
Achieving optimal comfort and breathability in footwear is crucial, which is why a more holistic and subjective comfort test is conducted to ensure that every component of the construction works seamlessly together to ensure they are comfortable to wear.
By subjecting each component to this thorough evaluation, Gore ensures that only the highest quality and most breathable products bear the Gore-Tex name.
When it comes to testing gloves, Gore-Tex conducts a whole-glove breathability test to measure water vapor escape and a whole-glove leak test to check for waterproof integrity.
Additionally, the liner retention test ensures that the lining and finger inserts are securely attached. Lastly, the spray test measures the water-repellency of the outer material.
These rigorous tests guarantee that only the best gloves make it to the market with the Gore-Tex brand.
The Whole-Glove Breathability Test
To determine the breathability of gloves, the Gore-Tex Crosstech inserts are tested. This is done by measuring the amount of water vapor that escapes from the glove during a specific time period and under specific atmospheric conditions.
The test involves pumping hot steam through the glove, which is then weighed before and after the test. By measuring the mass of water in the glove before and after water vapor passes through, we can determine how breathable the glove is.
Here are four key points about the whole-glove breathability test:
- The test is conducted in a controlled environment to ensure consistent and accurate results.
- The specific time period and atmospheric conditions are carefully chosen to simulate real-life usage scenarios.
- The test helps in evaluating how effectively the glove allows moisture to escape, preventing the buildup of sweat and ensuring comfort.
- This test is just one of the many rigorous tests that Gore-Tex products undergo to ensure their high quality and performance.
The Whole Glove Leak Test
During the whole glove leak test, the glove is submerged in water, so testers can see tiny air bubbles escaping indicating potential leakage.
The process involves immersing the glove in water and applying pressure with pressurized air. If there are any defects in the glove, such as weak seams or punctures, air will escape and create bubbles in the water.
By carefully observing these bubbles, the testers can identify any areas that need improvement before they are certified by Gore-Tex.
The Liner Retention Test
The liner retention test is performed to ensure that the lining and finger inserts of the gloves are properly fixed to the shell. Gore wants to make sure that when you take off your gloves, the construction stays intact and the glove remains waterproof.
The minimum retention force required is 2.26 kg (or 5 lbs) and it is tested multiple times, guaranteeing that the lining and finger inserts won’t get pulled out.
The Spray Test
The spray test measures the water repellency of the outer material, evaluating how well the fabric resists soaking up water and causing heat loss. This is an important test, as wet shells can hinder breathability and reduce evaporation. Good gloves should have the fabric repel water and dry quickly.
During the test, a fine mist of water is sprayed onto the fabric, and the number of water droplets that stick to it is measured. The fewer droplets that adhere, the better the fabric’s water repellency.
In conclusion, Gore-Tex’s testing process is a meticulous and comprehensive procedure that ensures the quality and performance of its products. By examining every aspect, from fabric construction to manufacturing, Gore-Tex guarantees that only items meeting their high standards are certified.
This commitment to quality and durability is what sets Gore-Tex apart from other brands in the market. Since manufacturers have to go through this process and pay for it, Gore-Tex products are generally more expensive, but customers can be assured that they’re investing in premium, reliable, and long-lasting gear that Gore will cover under a very good warranty if it does fail..
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.
- 1 Key Takeaways
- 2 Gore-Tex Testing Process
- 3 Garment Testing
- 4 Testing GORE‑TEX Footwear
- 5 Testing Gloves
- 6 Conclusion