In 1964, Shell’s established styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) position in footwear led to the formulation of Kraton™ D polymers in leisure shoes, making it the first commercial launch for SBC. These new, innovative polymers enabled the footwear industry to reduce system costs, while improving wet shoe traction. Kraton D polymers, made from unhydrogenated SBCs, are ideal when excellent, low-temperature flexibility is desired. These grades can also provide low viscosity, increased resilience, strong adhesion, and cohesive strength to various end-use products. They can also be crosslinked for enhanced properties.

The success of Kraton D polymers led to the opening of the first dedicated block copolymer plant in 1971 in Belpre, Ohio, along with the development of another high-performing product soon to follow. Kraton G polymers – SBCs with hydrogenated midblocks, were introduced shortly after, offering elasticity, flexibility with enhanced oxidation, UV and weather resistance, higher service temperatures, and increased processing stability.

Though Kraton invented and commercialized SBCs more than 60 years ago, we continue to redefine the industry through our commitment to research and sustainability. We have since expanded our array of specialty and performance polymer product families to include new Kraton D and G grades, as well as new Kraton A and FG products that offer distinctive combinations of both strength and elasticity.  Since growing from our humble beginnings in the footwear industry, our SBC products are currently being used by customers around the globe in a wide variety of applications such as paving, roofing, adhesives, and coatings, where quality and performance remain of utmost importance.


Today, with newer innovations like Highly Modified Asphalt (HiMA™ technology) for improved paving applications and CirKular+™ solutions for plastic recycling, Kraton continues to push the boundaries of innovation, by designing quality polymers with performance-expanding properties to meet the challenges of new and existing markets.