RELEASE DATE: 2018.06.01
[1st June - Kobe, Japan] ASICS announces the launch of the first-ever shoe to feature cellulose nanofiber (CNF), hailed as the next high-performance material breakthrough. The CNF will features on the 25th iteration of its flagship stability shoe, the GEL-KAYANO™, which has set the benchmark for long-distance running performance since 1993 and will be available worldwide from June 1.
CNF is a nano-sized ultra-fine fiber that is one-fifth the weight of steel but five times stronger. It can be made from almost any kind of plant biomass, making it an extremely abundant resource. Because of this, CNF is considered a highly promising next-generation industrial material for a variety of industries, including automobiles, household electronics, paint, and textile products. It also contributes to reducing its carbon footprint and has been the focus of much research in recent years.
The new shoe features ASICS’s new foam material FlyteFoam™Lyte for the midsole which uses the CNF to offer extra reinforcement of the bubbles.
As a result, the GEL-KAYANO™ 25 has improved both durability and stability for runners, without compromising on weight. Compared to the original FlyteFoam developed by ASICS, FlyteFoam™Lyte enhances strength by approximately 20% and durability by approximately 7%, while still remaining lightweight.
For the development of FlyteFoam™Lyte, ASICS adopted the Kyoto Process , which is the innovative manufacturing process of CNF reinforced resin material researched by one of the world’s leading authorities on CNF, Professor Hiroyuki Yano of the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere at Kyoto University together with the Kyoto Municipal Institute of Industrial Technology and Culture. The GEL-KAYANO™ 25, which is the first-ever product to be made through using this process, was realized by ASICS’s unique material design and foaming technology.
FlyteFoam™Lyte enlarged image
Kenichi Harano, Executive Officer and Senior General Manager at ASICS Institute of Sport Science says: “The GEL-KAYANO™ series was designed to make long-distance running accessible for runners. For 25 years, we’ve kept this goal in mind as we continued to make the GEL-KAYANO™ series lighter and more responsive, whilst never compromising on stability. We are thrilled that the GEL-KAYANO 25 is not only a further step in that journey, but that it was made possible by the development and application of next generation materials. Going forward, we will develop various high-performance shoes utilizing this material and strive to give more benefit for people around the world.
Hiroyuki Yano, Professor, Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere at Kyoto University says: “ Lightweight, super-strong cellulose nanofiber made from wood and other plant resources in abundant supply is being researched all over the world as a large-scale industrial material that can support a sustainable low-carbon footprint. The first commercial application of CNF reinforced resin material taking advantage of CNF features is indeed a big step in the development and usage of CNF material. We hope this will mark the start of more and varied uses of CNF reinforcing resin material in the future.
 Patent Pending (PCT)
 A more economical, one-step method that simultaneously nanofibrillates the dry-pulp (a
raw material of paper, CNF aggregate) and uniformly disperses the CNF in the resins. Also
known as pulp direct kneading method.