Shoes are key for fall prevention and the elderly acknowledge that they want comfortable, safe and fancy shoes according to their needs.
During the research phase we identified that wearing appropriate shoes can reduce the number of falls by 36%. Footwear can increase the risk of slips, trips and falls by making people more prone to poor balance and bad gait, or by making it difficult to judge surface friction and distance from the floor (British Medical Journal).
Having that, we believe that the design of shoes for the elderly is an step to prevent falls. There are specific features for shoes that have proven to prevent falls: 1)A high back or collar to support the ankle 2) A strong Velcro fastener on the front to ensure the shoe will not slip off 3) A wide opening to make it easier for the elderly to get their foot in and out of the slipper which is important if they have restricted mobility 4) A house-shoe, which can offer the comfort of a slipper, but with the stable support of a shoe
In order for shoes to be safe it is important to have a hard, slip-resistant sole, a heel height lower than one inch. It is also recommended that older people wear well-fitted, slip-resistant slippers or house shoes indoors rather than walking barefoot or in socks or tights.
With these characteristics we can think on different types of shoes: party shoes, formal shoes , casual shoes and athletic shoes.
Results from our first user feedback:
We asked to women (12) from different ages and these are the main insights we identify:
-Overall they liked the shoe and they said they were willing to use this type of shoes.
- Some of them were not sure if these shoes were formal or athletic.
- They liked the idea of the Velcro for support but did not like how is located in the front part of the shoe.
- For the sole they didn’t have many comments but when we asked about the possibility to include a device to measure their balance they have different reactions. For women younger than 30 years old (4) they were excited with the idea and asked about details and they considered that it would be cool to have that information. Women from 30 to 60 (4) did not react so excited to the idea, but women older than 60 did (4) not understand the purpose of that device. They mentioned that would be uncomfortable, asked who will see the information and why this was important. We tried to explain the idea but in general they considered that was something that they don’t like.
- Women older that 60 mentioned that the idea of elastic laces was really good, while the boot to support the ankle does not seems very comfortable. Some of them mentioned that their ankle was width so it would be hard to wear that type of shoe.
-Also they mentioned that the shoe needs a higher toe box. And some of them like the high top for support and stability.
Update 04/16 - New sketch including user feedback
We did two new sketch based on user testing (image attached):
1) Try to change some of the features user mentioned such as, the rubber ankle (we change it for a zipper), the velcro and the internal heel.
2) In the user testing presented by Tianqi users mentioned they would like sport shoes, so we include the sketch with the features to prevent falls.
Update 04/18 - Prototype SAM
We hack an old pair of shoes and the video shows the results. We include the feedback found with the user testing. Look the video here: https://vimeo.com/213776043