Membranes are a great invention. In relation to apparel or footwear, the term refers to a semi-permeable, ultra-thin layer applied to a textile as a laminate or coating. Membranes make the fabric waterproof and windproof while maintaining breathability.
The structure of a membrane keeps water droplets (rain) from entering, while water vapor (sweat) can still escape outward. If you want to find out more about the technology of membranes, take a look at our VAUDEpedia: http://help.vaude.com/membran/
Fluorocarbons and PFCs have long been known to be critical to health and the environment. Aside from their use in waterproofing textiles, fluorocarbons are also used for the manufacture of PTFE or ePTFE (expanded PTFE) membranes.
VAUDE only uses PTFE-free membranes. Read more here to find out why fluorocarbons are so harmful, why VAUDE wants to eliminate their use and what we use as eco-friendly waterproofing.
PTFE is also known as Teflon, for example, in non-stick frying pans. However, it is also used to manufacture membranes for clothing and footwear. VAUDE uses PTFE-free membranes exclusively. Why?
PTFE membranes have two main environmental problems. One is that dangerous fluorocarbons are needed for their production, including PFOA.
The other is that the disposal of PTFE is extremely difficult. Even in highly sophisticated waste recycling plants, toxic substances are generated at normal combustion temperatures. PTFE must be treated with special care during disposal.
Since outdoor products are made for a very long service life, jackets with a PTFE membrane often do not end up with normal household waste. Instead, they are given away with clothing donations, travel through various channels to end up in countries without regulated waste disposal where they are disposed of in open fires. You can easily imagine how these hazardous substances end up in the environment and are breathed in.
Years ago, we decided to eliminate the use of PTFE membranes from all of our products. Since then, we have exclusively used high-performance PTFE-free membranes:
Our time-tested, in-house membrane with three different performance levels (active, advanced, pro) is made of polyurethane (PU), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or polyester (PES) and is 100 % fluorocarbon-free.
This innovative membrane is made from polyurethane (PU) or polyester (PES).
The Windproof Green membrane ensures that our products are windproof and breathable. For membrane production, we use recycled or biobased materials and do not use any environmentally harmful fluorocarbons (PFC).
This fabric consists of polyester and polyetherester. It’s a hydrophilic, non-porous membrane that’s extremely flexible, very thin and provides excellent wind and water resistance. It is PTFE-free and is made of 100 % recycled polyester (pre-consumer). We use this membrane in our footwear collection.
Yes, of course. Read more here about how to care for your favorite VAUDE products so they last for a long time and in a way that’s kind to the environment.