The History of Neoprene and Why It’s Perfect for Seat Covers

The History of Neoprene and Why It’s Perfect for Seat Covers

Neoprene is a material with many practical applications. It is most famous for being the main material used to make wetsuits. Though it’s also used in industries ranging from hydroponic gardening to civil engineering, it also makes a perfect seat cover material for your vehicle.

The innate qualities of neoprene translate into neoprene seat covers having many benefits for a car, truck, or work van. If you’re curious as to how this 20th-century material gained its fame and found its way into so many products, consider the history of neoprene and why it’s perfect for seat covers to find answers.

A Brief History

No matter how small or unimpactful an object, material, or invention may seem, everything has an origin. Neoprene has likely affected your life in more ways than you know, so learning about its history and development can help you understand the importance of this compound in our world today.

A Marriage of Chemistry and Innovation

DuPont was originally a company focused on gunpowder and other wartime chemical compounds, such as dynamite. Famously, they were the creators of the “Farming with Dynamite” brochure, which attempted to sell farmers on the idea of using dynamite to remove boulders and stumps. After purchasing several chemical companies, they continued to branch their ideas to better appeal to broader industries and for use in homes.

Scientists from DuPont turned their focuses on polymers and materials during the 1920s. As one of the lead scientists involved, Dr. Elmer K. Bolton became interested in Julius Arthur Nieuwland’s research in the field of acetylene chemistry and attended one of his chemistry lectures at the University of Notre Dame. Nieuwland unveiled his research on divinyl acetylene, which becomes a rubbery material in the right conditions. DuPont purchased the patent from the school and got to work in developing it further by enlisting the help of Nieuwland and the other DuPont scientists.

Marketing Neoprene

Originally, the compound had a distinct odor and was under the name “DuPrene” to prevent other manufacturers from making a lower-quality version of it and ruining DuPont’s reputation. However, because DuPont didn’t manufacture any products with DuPrene—just the material itself—they renamed it to “neoprene” to make it sound more like a material and less like a final product.

To further ensure that neoprene took off, DuPont published their own journal and filled it with the many uses of neoprene, along with information on products that used neoprene. This marketing technique worked, and DuPont began immensely profiting from neoprene sales.

Neoprene’s Common Applications

Many industries home in on neoprene’s waterproof and insulating properties when they need it for their own products or projects. It comes in both closed-cell and open-cell (foam) forms, allowing for either snug, less compressible products, or comfortable, insulating, and breathable products.

Some examples of neoprene products include:

  • Wetsuits
  • Seat covers
  • Mousepads
  • Laptop cases
  • Weatherstripping for fire doors
  • Landfill lining
  • Metal casing padding
  • Hydroponic root covers
  • Waders
  • Flexible orthopedic wrist and knee braces

Though wetsuits are one of the most famous neoprene products, they expand in deeper waters when they’re solely composed of neoprene. Deep dive wetsuits use a compound of neoprene and spandex to prevent a loss of effectiveness once divers reach high-pressure waters. Neoprene does its job of insulating and resisting water in shallow waters, giving both materials different purposes.

How Neoprene Helped Fight Against COVID-19

Another recently highlighted application of neoprene involved its use in face masks. While manufacturers already made burn-resistant masks out of neoprene, medical professionals noted the high filtration rate of neoprene during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Neoprene masks filter 99.9 percent of particles that are smaller than 0.1 microns—the COVID-19 virus is 0.125 microns, which is large enough for neoprene masks to block.

Qualities That Make Neoprene Seat Covers Great

With neoprene’s history in mind, how does this material become one of the greatest seat cover materials you can rely on? Seat covers rely on a combination of all the factors of many neoprene products.

The primary qualities that make neoprene seat covers excellent include their water resistance, comfort, and durability as outlined below.

Water Resistance

One of the most desirable traits your seat covers can have is a resistance to water and other liquids. No one wants a spill to stain their seat covers, and the waterproof nature of neoprene protects your seats from staining like no other material. Neoprene doesn’t allow liquid to pass through, so you can clean spills up when they happen without any issues.


Padded neoprene supports your body while providing a comfortable seat for you to use while you drive. Naturally airy and cushiony by design, the neoprene’s soft, smooth texture is pleasant to feel during car rides. Its natural insulating capabilities also prevent your seats from feeling too cold in the winter.


Neoprene has a high resistance to the typical wear and tear that seat covers typically experience. Neoprene seats are a durable option for any vehicle owner that needs heavy protection against constant use. The fabric also stretches to fit your seat’s form perfectly without shifting or tearing. Neoprene seat covers also resist burning, only catching fire at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Make Neoprene Seat Covers Even Better

On its own, neoprene holds up against every element that batters your vehicle’s seats on a daily basis—but Fia takes its Neo™ series neoprene seat covers to the next level by adding a couple of extra protections. These added protections include providing extra waterproofing and added UV protection.

Extra Waterproofing

Not only is neoprene waterproof on its own, but we layer our custom neoprene seat coverswith an outer layer of water-resistant coating to strengthen the neoprene’s natural stain protection.

Added UV Protection

While many seat covers have an issue with fading due to sun exposure, we add extra UV protection to ensure that your neoprene doesn’t fade after only one or two summers of sunlight. Our covers keep their color for many sunny years after you purchase them.

By understanding the history of neoprene and why it’s perfect for seat covers, it’s clear to see why our professionals at Fia chose this material to represent our Neo™ series of heavy-duty, protective seat covers. Don’t leave your seats unprotected—trust Fia to keep them safe from any danger that comes their way.

The History of Neoprene and Why It’s Perfect for Seat Covers

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