The shoes feature ion-mask enhancement, a revolutionary plasma treatment originally developed to protect soldiers from chemical attack and patented by UK-based P2i Ltd. 
The technology has already attracted further interest from the footwear market and P2i are expected to announce more contracts shortly.
According to P2i Ltd’s business development director Dr Ian Robins: ‘OutDoor 2008 is the perfect place to demonstrate this significant breakthrough in shoe technology to an audience of trade experts.
The footwear industry has spent many years trying to make sports shoes non water-absorbent and truly breathable without adding weight and we have been able to deliver the solution.
‘This high-profile contract with Hi-Tec has alerted a broad range of other industries to the potential benefits of ion-mask and, although we continue to work with a number of major footwear companies, the list of potential applications is nearly endless.
In the footwear industry, a protective layer, just nanometres thick, of ion-mask is applied over the entire surface of the shoe by means of an ionised gas or ‘plasma’, not only nano-coating the external surfaces of the shoe but also the inside, between and around the individual fibres in the shoe. Extensive evaluation at the three leading footwear test houses has confirmed the treatment offers unprecedented levels of super-hydrophobicity and breathability.
Invisible to the naked eye, ion-mask allows the foot to truly breathe but stops water seeping through the sides of the shoe; bouncing off the surface instead like beads of mercury.  Unlike conventional waterproof treatments that require additional layers to 
be sewn into the item during manufacture, ion-mask is applied after the shoe has been manufactured and thus does not compromise the fit or weight of the shoe. Furthermore, the process treats all materials within the shoe at once, nano-coating synthetic materials as well as leathers.
Conventional footwear requires the addition of membrane technology in conjunction with taped seams and a durable water repellent (DWR) in order to display highly water resistant properties.  P2i’s ion-mask enhancement process can take an ordinary shoe off the end of the manufacturing line or retail outlet shelf that would normally fail the shoe flex test and render it water resistant.  The technology can be used as a novel non-tape seam sealer and displays excellent abrasion resistance.