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Traction Soles

Firm grip shoe bottoms that can be attached to any shoe.

Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
24 10

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

Everyone with cheap slippery soled shoes including elders, that want a firmer grip.

 People may not have the luxury to buy expensive shoes with firm grip to floor, may not like the looks of those shoes, or have access to those kind of elders' shoes. Separate soles that can be sticked or gripped  to the bottom of any shoe can fix the situation anc convert any shoe to safe shoes. 

It would not be just for elders but for everyone, so it won't create stigma. 


They can be in different colors and for different types of shoes. 


I found this example of slippers turning into outside shoes with soles, though only spesific to this shoe. 


And another example for al shoes,, though not looking so chic for prefering to wear them.


The floor grip is important issue with preventing elders to fall. Also the front tip having a curve would be good for preventing fall in case of tripping on a bump on the road. 



There are various product for preventing slipping in the market. Most commonly there are the non-slip pads for sticking partially under the shoe. This is for flat bottomed shoes like high heels or leather shoes. It is basically a silicone surface with a texture. Its a good solution but it doesn't give a firm grip to ground and handle bumps on the road, it just gives more friction to only the most slippery shoes, and they come off in time.
Similarly there are rubber slippers that one can wear over the shoe, which again creates more friction but is still flat and can't handle bumps. Moreover these slip-on alternatives mess up the looks of the shoes so it contributes to stigma and is less preferable.
Another close example are the ice-grippers. There are many alternatives to these grippers. Mostly they interfere with the looks of the shoe because they hold on from above since they aim to be temporary and thus detachable.
In my research I didn't see a ready-made product similar to what I'm aiming at: a bumpy bottom that can handle bumps on the road, that can be attached easily and not come off again, and don't interfere with the looks of the shoe.
The result this product provides can be achieved in other ways like bringing your shoes to a shoe-maker and have the bottoms changed or send it back to the companies who give this service. The upside of this method is that it gets professionally done. The downsides are that this way is much more expensive, the maintenance might cost a couple more times than the shoe, and the economically sensitive crowd won't choose this way; besides it is not so common so not a lot of people think to do it even if they can afford it. 

This product would be a ready-made alternative that overcomes these shortcomings and the user can handle by themselves easily, at an acceptable price. 


I ve searched for a number of alternatives for the sticking agent. My intention was that lt filled the cavities in both the bottom of shoe and top of the seperate sole. Filling material for wood constructions does the job efficiently but its really messy. My colorless alternative was cold silicone. 

Before sticking anything i tried on different shoes with different shapes of soles: 



 

The sole fits to most shoe bottoms. I was worried that it would have a square look but it actually turned out pretty quirky in a nice way.  Even with the sandals. The feedback from people suggested that most of the shoes looked even better with the traction soles as it gave the looks of it some weight, thus quality.  

The soles i used were one size larger than the shoes (except one) but the same size would do better as i observed. Its best that the sole is a bit larger on the sides and not on the length. 

The sole having a cavity instead of a flat surface had many benefits. The sides could flex to hold and cover different shapes of bottoms. This is also good for covering up the silicone and have a professional look. The pic below shows the sandal on flat sole and the one below shows how it fits into the sole with cavity. Also the second one shows how it don't fit perfectly but leave empty spaces on the sole. Tight flexible sides can be the solution for this. 


And of course not all models fit. But this one already had a safe grip bottom, so maybe thars why the wide bottom. 


The soles that i used were thick and this gave the shoes a bit rise and also some weight.  A thinner or less denser alternative coul8d be less weight.


For the sticking agent i had this solution: the top of the cavity on the sole would be closed with sth like aluminum. The silicone would be injected through a small hole on the side, so the agent wouldnt contact air and react untill the lid aluminum was removed. Once removed one could put their shoe on the sole and wait for some minutes. But as i was trying to plug the shoes into the soles i got certain that it would be too messy and hard that way. So the next best solution seems like, injecting the silicon from a specfic hole once the two parts are fitted together by the user.


So I was impatient to try this but this is how the silicon reacted after half an hour of sticking. It took some strength to pull it out but i was able to. The fixing time for silicone is initially 15 min and later on up to 2 days to completely solidify. Now it was still wet when i removed it. 

The front tip is normal with these soles, but the production would have high, surrounding front tip to prevent tackling on bumps. 

Some feedback i got was like this:

"I would want to try this first with my worst shoes. Because i might not do it well. And the soles will go in vain if i do it with my worst shoes since i don't wear them. "

"I wish there were no glue in this. I hate getting sticky. "

"Really nice and seems easy. Would be better if i could remove it when i want though. This is like sacrifice. Maybe changing colors once in a while would be good as well"

"I can do it but very very old people may not. Some loved one would have to do this for them. "

"I like how the shoes changed to be more powerful. They dont seem ordinary and cheap anymore. "

"This is good way to spice up the shoe wardrobe without paying an ocean for it"

"I don't know about safe grip but it seems this wah is much more comfortabe than flat bottoms. It would resist rain and cold also." 



What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Get some existing shoe soles for shoe making and turn them into attachable prototypes and try it on with different shoes, get feedback from people.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

What might be different chemichals, or ways to stick a sole to the bottom of a shoe, without extending from sides?

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

Product designer interested in positive impact design.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

"You know why we fall is a lot related with what we wear to walk. If we wear a shoe with a proper grip to the ground, it would reduce the risk by nearly 40%. But those good bottoms are only there with boots and those ugly and expensive sports shoes right? That's why we made traction soles. Now you can attach them to any of your beautifully designed daily shoes and have a better walk.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Affordability?

Traction soles makes a safer walk a lot more affordable and much easier to access for the individuals who will use them. One would get a pair of these soles at any related store and attach them to their shoes of the like. It wouldn't nearly be as expensive as getting all your shoes with good bottoms, and with a good design to it as well. These soles are practical not just for the elders, but for all people and this would contribute to the product being more widely spread and affordable.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

Locally, producing and distributing it to stores and have sales online is still a heavy way for scaling up the reaching limit of the product in a short time. But the idea of a product is very lightweight, it can be transmitted very easily. The product can be licensed to relative companies in the world for them to produce and sell in their already existing distribution channels. This would be a much faster way for the product to reach as many people as possible.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Research for user feedback (questionnaires about using the product), analyzing the number and quality of sales (weather the same user comes back for more with an appreciation and faith for the usefulness of the product).

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Getting the intellectual property rights or the product, finding knowledgeable partners for realizing this project, contacting potential producers worldwide.

24 comments

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Photo of Selina Jasmin
Team

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Photo of Naureen C
Team

Congratulations Nesibo Iremu on developing your prototype and testing it. It all looks very promising and it's good to see positive feedback was received by users testing the product.

Do you have any ideas for incorporating feedback into your product design/experience?

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Thanks Naureen. Instead of glue I'm wondering if I can find a way to completely stick the sole with some attached hook-like nails that locks and unlocks at will. If I can come up with a way that is easily fixed and covers the bottom completely (not partially) it would be far better than silicone. But if not, I wouldn't want to compromise the ease of use and safety issues. Even if this has the risk of user prejudice, in case the product is sucessful and approved by many users, the trust would overcome this perception. Still, I want to try this first for sure.

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Nesibo Iremu 

Thank you for all your hard work in this challenge and dedication.

All of the ideas posts are locked but the comments section is still open, so please feel free to look at other ideas and comment on them, seek feedback on your idea etc.

I know I have asked many ideators this question but I am asking again as some ideas pivoting in the challenge. Would you say your idea is Most Viable or Most Promising? How would the incentives associated with that Award (Most Viable/Most Promising) be helpful for you?

Spam
Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Yes I would say that. It is an easily producable product that can quickly catch on and be adapted by different suppliers. It is not spesific to elders but to all people so it has a greater customer range thus more chance in the market. To jumpstart this rise, the incentives of the award would be helpful. I will need the chance to contact potential contributors or work with mediating agents to realize this project. Also guidance on the "how" of the process will be needed. The incentives would give me the opportunity to work on the project further and reach these steps and eventually the impact results.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Hi Nesibo,thanks for a great idea. It made me think of the latest prototype by @Andrea Davila Saad @Kira Lucretia Powell team https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/shoes-just-do-it-again/ You might want to check out.

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Thanks Anne-Laure for notifying!

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Photo of Naureen C
Team

Thanks Anne-Laure for the link to this idea- there are some definite parallels.

There were two points I found interesting that would apply to Nesibo's idea:
1. Research that wearing appropriate shoes can reduce the number of falls by 36%
2. Aesthetic design was important to women e.g. did not like location of Velcro in the front part of the shoe

Spam
Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Thanks Naureen for the number and the info from the user research. It makes the base more solid.

Spam
Photo of Naureen C
Team

Hi Nesibo,

I think your idea has potential if it can be properly developed and marketed.

While I like the idea of presenting it as a product for everyone (so it won't create stigma around older adults wearing them), I believe pursuing the mass market will be difficult (especially in determining the value proposition). Instead you may want to focus on segmentation to effectively target one or two markets, particularly the older demographic as there is perceived value for them in preventing falls. Also if you manage to develop a discrete design (as you intend to) then any stigma around wearing the product shouldn't be a real issue.

As for the product itself, you mention that it may come in a range of colours. I would suggest initially focusing on the most common sole colours of white, black and brown. We need to ask will peopl be willing to purchase multiple traction soles for their different types of shoes or will they want to be able to use a pair of traction soles for multiple shoes? Possibly a clear/transparent colour option will match well with all colours of shoes and soles so it may be a good place to start.

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Thank you for the advice Naureen. I was imagining the soles to be permanently attached to each shoe so that the user wouldn't ever have to think about it again after attaching it once. So something that is not so pricey would be the aim. Soles that are detachable would requre a grip on the shoe, and they might be forgotten and not be used each time the elderly change shoes.

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Photo of Naureen C
Team

Yes I see what you mean- from a functional point of view it would be more practical to not have to constantly remove soles and swap between shoes.

Regardless of whether you pursue an industrial glue/ adhesive to bond the soles or some other material, from a user perspective I think it's just as important to make sure the adhesive method you choose is relatively easy to for customers to use. If the attachment process/instructions are too difficult or could lead to inconsistent application, there's a high risk of the soles not being attached correctly and therefore not fulfilling their intended purpose to prevent slips and falls.

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

You're right Naureen, thats what I'm trying to figure out now. Aiming for an easy, "remove the protection,press your shoe to the sole, make sure you've aligned it nicely, and let it sit for 15 min for the glue to take action." method. The question is which glue don't get activated unless it touches air, takes some time to chemically fix, and fill up the empty spaces.

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Photo of Naureen C
Team

A design that allows for some error in application (e.g. ability to reapply if it's not aligned correctly the first time) would be nice as some older adults may struggle but may be not be possible to achieve. A glue which allows some readjustment time before bonding permanently would be perfect.

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Nesibo,

We are half-way through the refinement phase and I can’t wait to see continued updates on your idea. More information can be found in the refinement toolkit which can be found at the top of the refinement phase page.

An easy first step is to complete the refinement questions which can be found by logging into your OpenIDEO account and selecting the ‘Edit Contribution’ button on the top left hand corner.

If you scroll down to the bottom, you can see the five added questions with a character limit (including spaces) to help you focus your answer. The questions start with "How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone? (what's the elevator pitch for this idea?) - 400 character limit"

In addition to answering these questions it would be helpful if you could mention how your solution fits in the market in the ‘full description’ section of your post. Who are your competitors and how is your idea unique?

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, my email address is krushton@ideo.com

Hope to see you on the refinement call this Friday at 9 am PST.

Spam
Photo of eldy wullur
Team

Hello Nesibo

It's a brilliant idea. How many times have we slipped due to shoe soles?
I suggest that this soles is also for sandals, because the bathroom that many elderly slip.
And most importantly also for the elderly to make the soles as light as possible.
Just concentrate on shoes or sandals that are preferred elderly.
The base is flat and uncomplicated, surely the shoe and sandals factory in the future
will make standard shape bottoms so easy to tie your shoe/sandals soles.
Remember when the first mobile phone produced ?? They use different chips, but now all the phones use the same chip size.

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

thx eldy, I'll keep home wear shoes in mind.

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Photo of Michael DF
Team

Hi Nesibo, what a fantastic, well considered idea. Not all elderly people have enough money to be buying  various shoes be it (sandles, runners, loafers etc) with a quality sole. This product will allow them to interchange with different shoes they already have.
Regards,
Michael DF
03 05 2017

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Thx Michael, thats what I hope. If it gets widespread, it might actually save from great pains...

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Nesibo!

Thank you for sharing another inspiring idea.

Would this be like crampons? https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Climbing-Snow-Ice-Equipment/Ice-Grippers-Non-Slip-Snow-Grips-XL/B005TUCI9C/ref=cts_sh_2_vtp?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_p=1212178027&pf_rd_r=SDG2FHFHZYJGCAMGMSG1&pd_rd_wg=GY2DW&pf_rd_s=desktop-detail-softlines&pf_rd_t=40701&pd_rd_i=B005TUCI9C&pd_rd_w=uW2ND&pf_rd_i=desktop-detail-softlines&pd_rd_r=SDG2FHFHZYJGCAMGMSG1&_encoding=UTF8

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Shortened url - goo.gl/j4rgH9

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Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Hey Kate, yes the logic is like the crampons, but I was thinking of something that wouldn't affect the looks of the shoe, so just sticks from the bottom. I'm not sure how achievable it is, since many shoes have different shape bottoms, but if they are somewhat standardized maybe with different shape soles offered this could be solved.

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Photo of Michael DF
Team

I like your idea of keeping the integrity and design of the shoe while incorporating the safety element (your product).

Regards,
Michael DF
03 05 2017

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Photo of Isabel Freedman
Team

I think this is a great product! I appreciate that it will be for all people so there will be more stigma. These are definitely more stylish than the other options as well. Great work!! Maybe add possible prices.