Quality Testing: garments
Every style of GORE-TEX garments is put through a variety of intense testing. If at any point the product doesn’t uphold to the high GORE-TEX standards, it is sent back to the drawing board.
The Rain Room
Before any new GORE-TEX garment style is put into production it must pass the Gore lab style approval testing. This sophisticated outerwear testing facility is designed to simulate a variety of rain conditions. Using specially engineered rain nozzles strategically positioned in the chamber, we are able to test a garment’s waterproof design in conditions that range from light drizzle to wind-driven rain.
Comfort is a state in which we are neither too warm nor too cold; in other words, when there is a balance between heat produced and heat lost. To put comfort to the test, we compare laboratory results with the subjective perceptions of real test participants.
In the Martindale Test, wool or sandpaper is used to rub the fabric over and over again with considerable pressure. Depending on how tough the fabric needs to be, this vigorous rubbing can continue non-stop for hours … or even days.
Cold Flex Test
In the Cold Flex Test, GORE-TEX fabrics are squashed and stretched repeatedly in extreme temperatures for hours on end. The fabrics must survive this punishing test and emerge still durably waterproof.
Quality Testing: footwear
All GORE-TEX footwear is put through a variety of intense tests. If at any point it does not hold up to the high GORE-TEX product standards, it is sent back to the drawing board.
Comfort Test Breathability is not only a feature of the GORE-TEX membrane. All materials used, from the lining through to the outer material, contribute to the high breathability and climate comfort of GORE-TEX Footwear. In the Comfort Test the entire shoe is tested for breathability and climate comfort in the Climate Chamber.
The Walking Simulator tests the waterproofing of GORE-TEX footwear. Test shoes are placed on flexible artificial feet which are equipped with sensors that take up to 200,000 steps in a water bath. When moisture enters the shoe, the machine stops and an LED indicates where the leak is.The boots must then be modified and submitted for another round of testing.
The GORE-TEX lining isn’t the only element of footwear that’s crucial for durable waterproofness. Materials used in the shaft must be water repellent or they could carry water to the edge of the shaft by capillary action, and in extreme cases to the inside of the shoe. That’s why we test everything from the shoe’s leather and foam to the stitching and laces, to determine how much water they absorb.
Boots filled with water are spun at high speeds. The resulting pressure forces water through even the smallest of holes to discover leaks. These tests are performed at every Gore certified factory.