Demonstrator of comfort and healthy footwear technologies

INESCOP is developing the first FOOTWEAR USER EXPERIENCE LAB technology demonstrator for the footwear sector, in which some of the most cutting-edge technologies in the field of health and neuromarketing are integrated. The purpose of this demonstrator is both to show the possibilities for assessing comfort in footwear and to conduct research in this area of knowledge.

In competition with design, comfort is one of the criteria that most influences the decision to purchase a pair of shoes, and from a functional point of view, it is the most important aspect. In this sense, one of INESCOP’s tasks as a footwear technology centre is to make new technologies and innovative concepts available to companies. For this reason, and in line with the Smart Specialisation Strategy of the Valencia’s Regional Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, INESCOP has set up the first technology demonstrator to evaluate footwear during real use.

The FOOTWEAR USER EXPERIENCE LAB (UX-LAB) project aims to generate knowledge and develop sufficient scientific evidence to implement in the same setting health, safety, and industrial sustainability criteria, to carry out the evaluation of one of the most commercialised consumer goods: footwear. This is always to the benefit of the end user and within the reach of companies, where they can make use of technologies to optimise the added value of their products, improving the health and well-being of the user while caring for the environment.

Bearing in mind that footwear is one of the main economic drivers of the fashion sector, with this demonstrator INESCOP intends to design an intelligent, sustainable, and inclusive strategy to analyse comfort in footwear by means of an integral evaluation that covers the foot-last-shoe triad. To achieve optimal coexistence between the foot and the footwear, the best possible match between the foot and the last that is going to be used to produce the shoe must first be obtained, validating its functionality in the real use environment for which it is intended and for the activity to be carried out by the user.

This is a demonstration space that will offer footwear companies diverse and innovative technologies for the evaluation of comfortable, healthy, and safe footwear, in a way that contributes to improving the quality of life and well-being of users. In this way, footwear companies will be able to improve their positioning and promote their economic development, increasing the value of brands and differentiating themselves from the competition based on technical and healthy criteria, building on INESCOP’s 50 years of experience.

The UX-LAB will be implemented in INESCOP’s facilities in Elda (Alicante, Spain), allowing the implementation of sustainable and healthy technologies in a totally cohesive way, where previously defined concepts will be showcased, demonstrating proximity and viability for the companies in the sector, as well as for the end users of any type of shoe.

Based on INESCOP’s previous experience, companies are already being offered to validate aspects of footwear functionality using equipment that will be integrated into this pilot lab, and other analysis methodologies will also be optimised, with the aim of having available in the same space:

  • Dimensional analysis by 3D digitisation of feet, lasts, components and footwear.
  • Kinematic and dynamic analysis using various movement analysis systems with cameras, inertial sensors, and force platforms.
  • Pressure distribution analysis using sensorised insoles, platforms, and treadmills.
  • Thermal comfort assessment using infrared thermography and thermal foot manikin, in climatic chambers.
  • Muscle fatigue and effort assessment using electromyography and a gas analyser.
  • User experience analysis through the study of perceptions and neuroscientific techniques such as electroencephalography, eye tracking and galvanic skin response.

Directly related to its demonstration effect, the UX-LAB is also intended to address the aspects of industrial sustainability, fully in line with the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Isometric projection of INESCOP’s Footwear UX-LAB

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