Understanding Footwear Traction Performance to Reduce the Risk of Outdoor Falls and Improve Mobility for the Aging Population
Authors: Susan Sokolowski, Nicole Demby, Ezra Ende, Chrissy Bettencourt
Abstract: Knowing that healthy aging lifestyles are connected to mobility and independence, the researchers wanted to examine how industrial design could be utilized to support this demographic. This research examined the traction performance of key footwear styles, to make recommendations on how to improve outsole design, to reduce the risk of outdoor falling. Falls are the leading cause of death and disability for the aging population. A footwear traction test method adapted from ASTM F2333-04 was used to collect data from six footwear styles with four common outdoor walking surfaces (wet and dry) and foot contact directions (normal and shuffle). The data determined that although the footwear tested were marketed for traction and safety, they greatly decreased performance in wet conditions and performed inconsistently across all flooring surfaces and outsole contact directions. Results from the work determined that better care with outsole design could improve footwear performance for aging users and potentially reduce the risk of injury for this growing demographic.
Keywords: Industrial Design, Footwear, Aging
Cite this paper: