Very cool video by Arc’teryx about a material that every skier loves but probably don’t actually know that much about. When it comes to waterproof performance there’s nothing better than GORE-TEX®. A great many of us owe GORE-TEX a great debt of gratitude for allowing us to stay dry, warm and comfortable on the slopes in otherwise nasty conditions. Take a few minutes to appreciate the material and its manufacture:


Gore-Tex, a revolutionary material synonymous with waterproof and breathable outdoor gear, has a fascinating history dating back to the mid-20th century. In 1969, Wilbert L. Gore, a former employee of W.L. Gore & Associates, and his son, Robert W. Gore, invented this game-changing material. The initial goal was to create a strong, versatile, and durable polymer. What they stumbled upon was a microporous material that would transform the world of outdoor apparel.

Gore-Tex is made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), a synthetic fluoropolymer with microscopic pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but 700 times larger than a molecule of water vapor. This unique structure allows Gore-Tex to be both waterproof and breathable. It keeps rain out while letting perspiration escape, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, military applications, and medical devices.

The breakthrough didn’t gain immediate recognition, but by the 1970s, Gore-Tex had made its mark in outdoor gear. Companies like The North Face and Marmot began incorporating it into their products, revolutionizing the industry. In 1976, Charles “Chico” State, a mountaineer, completed the first successful ascent of Mount Everest using Gore-Tex clothing.

Over the years, Gore-Tex has continued to evolve and expand its applications beyond outdoor apparel. It’s now used in footwear, gloves, tents, and even medical implants. Its durability and versatility have cemented its status as an essential material for those who seek comfort and protection in challenging environments. Gore-Tex’s history is a testament to the power of innovation and the impact a single invention can have on multiple industries.