Soft TPU delivers flexibility for skateboard shoe protector made in USA

TPE supplier APS Elastomers has worked with molders, inventors and entrepreneurs for years; helping them choose the proper material, find cost-effective solutions, conceptualize, develop and commercialize elastomer-based products. When Michael Fransko the owner of Houkie Worldwide, LLC was in need of a soft, yet durable material that would mold easy, he contacted Stephane Morin of APS Elastomers for advice. After discussing the challenges with the mold, APS recommended Zythane 4060A, a very soft TPU.

“We receive countless inquiries from small companies, inventors, and independent molders seeking information regarding proper material selection – or occasionally, an alternative to a material they are using that may be better suited for the product they are developing”, says Stephane Morin, owner of APS.

Houkie skateboard shoe protector (Source: APS Elastomers)

The Houkie is a flexible overshoe that will protect all areas where damage occurs when skateboarding. Available in three sizes, the Houkie is stylish, removable and reusable. The dynamic stretch bands at the mid-foot allow the cover the stretch to fit numerous sizes. “The beauty of the Zythane material is if the Houkie feels snug, simply place the front half into a pot of boiling water for about 8-10 seconds, then immediately put the Houkie on your shoe with it on your foot and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, which allows it to mold to the width of the shoe. Talk about a custom fit”, says Michael Fransko.

Exhibiting flexibility in low temperatures, Zythane 4060A accommodate applications requiring shock absorption, abrasion resistance, wet slip resistance, and comfort. “The Zythane 4060A is wonderful material, adds Fransko. After dealing unsuccessfully with a molder in China, we have contracted with a manufacturer here in the United States and are proud to say Houkie’s are made in the USA!“

Zythane 4060A is polyester-based TPU specifically formulated for injection molding applications; exhibiting very good abrasion resistance and toughness and have good hydrolytic stability, oil, fuel and solvent resistance. It is supplied uncolored. Applications include among others shoe soles, ski and skate boot shells, other sporting goods, caster wheels, animal tags, good overmolded adhesion to certain EP (ex: PC, ABS, PMMA), couplings, gaskets and seals, tool handles, industrial parts, mobile phone cases, armrests, golf disks, mining screens.

In addition to assisting in product development, APS Elastomers will evaluate material’s performance, and if needed, rectify deficiencies.

“It’s exciting to see the end products created from our TPEs”, says Morin. “We welcome the opportunity to discuss projects and appreciate the challenge of developing new products or enhancing existing ones”, adds Morin.

„It’s been a struggle getting the Houkie developed so we can produce a quality product that will save skaters money, but with APS Elastomers’ guidance we are very excited about launching the Houkie and saving everyone money“, adds Fransko about the past 8 months of developing the Houkie.

APS Elastomers provides engineering service, technical support, and TPE materials (TPEs, TPVs, TPUs and other soft elastomers) for consumer and industrial applications. Company offerings include Maxelast TPEs, Viprene TPVs, Zythane TPUs, TPE alloys, compounding series, and custom and standard soft elastomer formulations.