Tough on the outside, soft on the inside

2017 / July / 07 / Behind the Scenes /

anwag mountain and trekking footwear is made of a wide range of different materials. We select each of them carefully and apply them specifically. Choosing the right lining in your shoe means greater comfort and having the best possible wear climate for your feet. We make our linings from leather, GORE-TEX® or special fabric – they all have different characteristics.

At Hanwag, we’re very interested in the quality and structure of the materials we use, in how they perform, right down to the smallest detail. This applies to sourcing, product development and production. Many of our customers ask which is the best lining material: leather, GORE-TEX® or fabric?

We always start from the fact that when you are hiking in the mountains, your feet are going to sweat, creating moisture inside your shoes. It’s important to transport this moisture away as quickly as possible. Why? Because moisture means blisters. Most people don’t know why moisture from sweat, rain, puddles etc. causes blisters. There are two main reasons. First, wet skin is softer and more vulnerable. Second, wet socks lead to more friction and rubbing. Moisture-wicking socks and liner socks can help, but ultimately the best way to ensure good comfort and keep your feet dry is to wear shoes that have a breathable lining. In addition, the longer your trip – especially if it’s a multi-day trip – the more important it is that your shoes are waterproof.

GORE-TEX® lining:
GORE-TEX® is very breathable and allows perspiration to escape from inside your shoes. However, it still gets outperformed in certain respects by one natural material – leather.

Leather lining:
Leather is a very effective lining, as it absorbs significantly more moisture than other materials. Due to its natural structure, it moulds to the shape of your foot and is very comfortable to wear – especially in warm and hot weather. If you are planning a multi-day trip, it’s worth noting that leather-lined boots and shoes take longer to dry. Leather might not be 100% waterproof, however, if you wax or impregnate the outer material (the upper), it will offer good weather protection.

Fabric lining – Hanwag Bio Ceramic:
We introduced the Hanwag Bio Ceramic lining in 2017. This thermo-regulating, odour-limiting lining fabric has a bacteriostatic effect and helps to maintain a natural temperature by absorbing warmth and distributing it evenly around the foot. It’s extremely breathable and particularly effective when combined with a water-resistant leather upper. We use it for some of the models in our Hanwag Trail & Travel category, where it’s the perfect choice for hot summer days.

Finally, the combination of upper fabric and inner lining plays an important role too. For example, robust, impregnated 2.4 to 2.6 mm nubuck, such as we use on our TATRA, offers a good level of waterproofing. Teaming it with a leather lining, which is more breathable, provides greater comfort. Tough on the outside, soft on the inside. My colleague Andreas, also explains more about how the lining makes a vital contribution to the fit of our footwear here.