> When government specs called for waterproofing a new boot for the U.S. Marine Corps, McRae Industries reached out to fabric innovator W. L. Gore & Associates for guidance.
Partnering With Gore
IN 2008, McRae joined forces with W. L. Gore & Associates, a global materials science company best known for its GORE-TEX® fabric. McRae sought to venture into waterproof footwear, beginning with a temperate-weather boot for the U.S. Marine Corps.
"“McRae shares with Gore a patriotic commitment to providing the best gear to our soldiers. It’s the primary objective that drives our businesses. When soldiers return home safely from their missions, we feel that we’ve accomplished our duty.” - Kossi Zonvide, Application Engineer, W. L. Gore & Associates"
Integrating an inner bootie
Key to construction was integrating an inner bootie, featuring GORE-TEX fabric that is waterproof and breathable. The GORE-TEX bootie surrounds the foot to provide a durable barrier to water penetration. Feet stay dry after repeated flexing in cold and wet conditions. The fabric allows moisture vapor from perspiration to escape, keeping feet drier and more comfortable in cold, warm, and wet conditions.
Kossi Zonvide, an application engineer with Gore since 1997, was key to helping McRae integrate GORE-TEX into its military footwear. “At the time, McRae’s technology for soling, vulcanization, was not friendly to integrating a GORE-TEX bootie into their boots,” Kossi says. “It took a lot of engineering and technical support to overcome the challenges associated with their process.”
“We had a large learning curve to work out the bugs, from cementing during the lasting process to correcting wrinkles in the back of the boot,” says Jim McRae, vice president, director, and secretary of McRae Industries. “At the same time, we were transitioning over to a new last, creating additional challenges. Gore was with us every step of the way, providing the required seam sealing and testing equipment, training, and ongoing technical support to manufacture quality GORE-TEX footwear.”
Today, Gore and McRae partner to make high-quality combat boots for all branches of the U.S. Military and also provide similar products to Israeli Defense Forces.
Gore continues to provide ongoing support to the McRae factories. A Gore Associate regularly visits each facility to ensure operations are running seamlessly.