Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Making sure the shoe fits

Europe's footwear industry needs to exploit new technologies and develop new concepts, if it is to remain competitive. The SHOPINSTANTSHOE project was established in this context, for the benefit of EU consumers and businesses alike.
Making sure the shoe fits
Backed by the EU, (SHOPINSTANTSHOE) proposed the development of a novel footwear upper and an innovative service offering customers a personalised shoe-fitting experience. Specifically, the objective was to develop an upper for women: aesthetic, comfortable, customised, ergonomic and innovative.

To this end, project researchers began with an extensive research exercise with findings on footwear and women's feet, and dimensional parameters determining foot morphometry. They also carried out biocompatibility studies in order to ensure that the proposed use of textile composites (including shape memory alloys) is suitable for the human condition.

SHOPINSTANTSHOE results were achieved by using shape memory alloy filament, shape memory smart textile, shape memory leather composite, new personalisation shop tool and new customisable footwear upper. For the shape memory leather composite, a mathematical model was generated for simulating the behaviour of the new fabric concept, and various studies were performed before manufacturing the footwear. Development of the shop tool covered three main areas: a new measuring system, software programming and the shaping system. The latter modifies the footwear geometry and has a heating device that enables the footwear to recover its original shape when not in use.

A system validation followed completion of the shape memory leather composite, customisable footwear and shop tool prototypes. This helped formulate certain recommendations for improvements to be implemented in the post-project commercial version of the shop tool. A validation exercise carried out with 15 real users with special foot pathologies returned positive results in terms of comfort, and highlighted optimisations that could increase functional performance.

Overall, SHOPINSTANTSHOE completed its project term with promising outcomes. Going forward, an industrialisation phase is needed to refine the final customisable footwear. Following that, users will also be able to enjoy a new footwear customisation service.

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