Understanding Footwear Traction Performance to Reduce the Risk of Indoor Falls and Improve Mobility for the Aging Population
Authors: Susan Sokolowski, Chrissy Bettencourt
Abstract: Falls are the leading cause of death and disability for the aging population. The goal of this research was to understand the traction performance of key footwear styles to make recommendations on how to improve outsole design, to reduce the risk of indoor falling and enable mobility for aging users. Dry and wet traction tests were conducted on three common flooring materials, with six footwear styles. The data collection method was adapted from ASTM F2333-04, as a more attainable, student-led version of a linear traction test without the need for expensive lab equipment. Results 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. From the findings opportunities exist to redesign shoe outsoles and flooring to improve safety.
Keywords: Industrial Design, Footwear, Aging
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