Unpossibles: Shakedry and the PFAS ban

I always find it interesting when technological progress goes backwards. When something becomes unpossible. And I also love a good story in the nexus of manufacturing/fashion/materials science/cycling.

One thing we've taken for granted over the last 30 years is good quality waterproofing. All that Gore-Tex and Hyvent and AquaDash. (Jokes, the last one is a kids' session at our local leisure centre.)

Gore-Tex's best performing material is called Shakedry. Most waterproofing has a 2 or 3 layer construction, but Shakedry gets rid of a layer. That makes it less likely to clog up with sweat and dirt and therefore very breathable and light. I've never stomached the cost, but everyone who has a Shakedry jacket swears by it.

But it turns out the production process for Shakedry (and all the best waterproofing materials from other brands), is incredibly damaging, producing PFCs and and other byproducts that get in the food chain because they don't break down. More and more countries are banning PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), so Gore-Tex have stopped selling Shakedry and there's no replacement.

Manufacturers are trying loads of different stuff. Maybe some of it'll perform as well one day, but there's no simple answer. In the meantime the cycling nerds are hoarding Shakedry.

Anyway. Hi.