Here’s a fascinating story about Gore-Tex’s claim to fame and how they use their market-leading position to render their competitors as second-rate:
Then, in 1999, a small company called BHA Group began peddling an ePTFE membrane, similar to Gore-Tex, called eVent. Used for years in industrial smokestack filters, the membrane, tweaked to work in garments, was purportedly more breathable than Gore’s. Companies that had grown weary of Gore’s micromanaging now had a viable ePTFE alternative. “eVent was every bit as good as Gore-Tex,” claimed a marketing specialist who works with a number of brands and requested anonymity. But getting a piece of the waterproof-breathable market wasn’t that simple. “Gore literally built the industry,” said the marketer. “It’s hard to come in after two and a half decades and compete with such a well-established and respected brand.”
One of the thing that annoys me most about these outerwear products are their brands and how their brandings are everywhere on the product. If a company like Gore-Tex legally requires its licensees to prominently display the Gore-Tex logo, naturally they would want their brand to be even more visible on the apparel.
For this very reason I applaud companies like Muji or Uniqlo. They respect the customers and avoid these logo-stamping madness, but instead focus on the wearability and the design of their products. For example, Uniqlo’s Heattech, Silky dry — or the premium cotton product line — is not only affordable but is a very good base layer product that cost much less than those of the North Face, Patagonia, or Colombia. And if you aren’t blinded by Gore-Tex prominent presence, there are better products out there that do not turn you into a walking billboard promoting their second-rate stuffs.