From waterproofness in jackets, boots, and gloves from the original GORE-TEX products range to extreme breathability in jackets and gloves from the GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ products range: whichever benefits are offered by our product technologies, you can rely on the fact that our rigorous testing standards have been met.
Working hand-in-hand with our manufacturing partners—the brands who integrate our technologies into their products—we test to ensure that it’s not just GORE-TEX fabrics, membrane, insulations, and linings that meet our high quality standards but also the products made by those brands.
Every product featuring our technology is designed to offer you the best possible performance and comfort. From initial innovation in the lab through to demanding real-world situations, we run rigorous tests at every stage of the process.
There are three stages of testing:
1. MATERIAL & SYSTEM
While innovating and improving our range, we constantly test materials in the laboratory. This systematic process ensures we’re starting from the best possible place.
2. HUMAN PERFORMANCE
Lab tests are great. But only people can judge how products feel, work and wear in different environments and activities. That’s why human testing is crucial.
3. IN THE FIELD
Nothing perfectly replicates the real world. Whether designed for a mountain peak or a windy city, our athletes and experts put every product through its paces before it’s approved.
Our jackets and other outerwear products undergo intense testing. If at any stage a product doesn’t match up to our high quality standards, it’s sent back to the drawing board.
THE MARTINDALE TEST
The test that fabric has nightmares about. To replicate conditions and uses for which the product is intended, wool or sandpaper is rubbed against the fabric over and over again with considerable pressure. Depending on how tough the fabric needs to be, this vigorous rubbing continues, non-stop, for hours. Or even days.
THE COLD FLEX TEST
GORE-TEX fabrics are squashed and stretched repeatedly in extreme temperatures for hours on end. The fabric has to survive this punishing test—and emerge fit for its intended purpose.
THE RAIN ROOM
Our very own weather machine. This sophisticated testing facility is designed to simulate a wide variety of rain conditions. Using specially engineered rain nozzles strategically positioned in the chamber, we test a garment's waterproof design in conditions that range from light drizzle to wind-driven rain.
THE COMFORT TEST
Comfort is the state in which we’re neither too warm nor too cold, when there’s a balance between the heat we produce and the heat we lose. We compare laboratory measurements with personal feelings of comfort from our testers. This ensures best possible comfort for a wide range of activities and conditions.
Every new footwear prototype is put through its paces in our testing labs. The performance of the entire system of upper materials, linings including insulation, and our laminates need to be proven flawless under a range of conditions. Only when a shoe passes every test is it cleared for production.
THE WALKING SIMULATOR
Shoes are placed on realistic foot forms then subjected to hundreds of thousands of steps. Products being designed to carry the GORE-TEX GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise are placed on realistic foot forms and are tested for up to hundreds of thousands of steps in a water bath. If the design is not up to the challenge, moisture sensors on the foot form will let us know.
THE WICKING TEST
To meet our rigorous waterproof performance standards, materials in the upper must be non-wicking so that water can’t be transported into the shoe or boot over the GORE-TEX lining. We test all components, from the leather and foam, to stitching and laces, to ensure that the entire system performs as expected.
THE CENTRIFUGAL TESTER
Testing from the inside-out. Waterproof footwear is filled with water and spun at high speeds. The resulting pressure forces water through even the smallest of holes to reveal leaks. And if those leaks exist, the footwear is not passed for production.
THE COMFORT TEST
All materials used, from the lining through to the outer material, contribute to the high breathability and climate comfort of our footwear. This test measures the breathability of the whole construction, ensuring that everything works together to deliver climate comfort for all intended activities.
Every glove is subject to a series of performance tests in our labs. Only if a product meets our exacting and rigorous standards. Only if a product passes, matches, or exceeds our high-as-it-gets quality standards can it be produced in one of our partner’s certified factories.
THE WHOLE-GLOVE BREATHABILITY TEST
Hot steam is pumped through the glove, which is weighed before and after the test. By measuring the amount of water vapor that escapes from the glove, we can determine how breathable the glove is.
THE SPRAY TEST
This test measures the water repellency of the outer material. The fewer water droplets that stick to the fabric the better, since poorly protected fabrics soak up water, become heavy, and cause heat loss.
THE LINER RETENTION TEST
This ensures that lining and finger inserts are securely attached to the shell of the glove so they don't get pulled out when the glove is taken off. This test ensures appropriate dexterity in the glove.
THE WHOLE GLOVE LEAK TEST
All gloves in the original GORE-TEX products range carry the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise, and this test uses pressurized air to ensure waterproof integrity. Air bubbles detected in the water means the glove is leaking, so it will not pass the test.
Gore Fabrics is committed to continuously improving the environmental impact of our products. To ensure this happens, we’ve been using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for more than 20 years.
Our LCA studies for a typical jacket, and for a pair of hiking boots, have shown that the single most influential factor in improving environmental impact is the longevity of those products. In other words: the longer a product is worn, the smaller its annual environmental impact.
That’s another reason our testing standards are so high. By designing products that can be used to take you further, for longer, we’re helping protect the environment we all love to be active in.
Find out more about how we’re constantly working towards a better future for our planet.