BASF has opened new footwear development centres in Thailand and the US, announced a new footwear innovation centre in Taiwan, which will open in 2020, and expanded its existing footwear development centre in Italy. Bringing together a team of process engineers, footwear specialists and technicians, coupled with the latest technologies and machinery, BASF said these centres will serve as “a global platform to formulate and test new material innovations, refine processes and evaluate concepts in large-scale production environments”.

The new US centre is in Wyandotte, Michigan, and consists of a 185 square-metre lab that is fully equipped with advanced footwear machinery for outsole, midsole and unit sole developments. BASF has said it thinks these new facilities will help designers “bring their visions to life” and speed to market shoe collections by improving testing of new materials and producing prototypes more quickly using polyurethane direct injection moulding.

“With over 40 years of experience in the footwear materials segment, we are proud of our innovations, such as Infinergy, high rebound PU midsoles or new thermoplastic polyurethane grades, which have transformed the footwear landscape,” said Andy Postlethwaite, BASF’s senior vice-president for performance materials in Asia Pacific.