Patent # 11,051,577, Adjustable Footbeds for Footwear, July 26, 2021
In partnership with Nike
The pregnant body undergoes many changes in size, including the feet. The average pregnant persons foot size increases by up to a full size.
How can we design an insole that allows the shoe to adjust to changing foot sizes?
60-70% of women experience foot morphology changes
Length changes 2-10mm
Increased foot width up to 2.5 mm
Structure changes can last up to 5 months postpartum
For months, we cut apart insoles and reassembled them to find solutions that would adequately and comfortably change the size of the shoe, testing them with users that were a half size and full size difference.
We landed on the idea of a foldable insole that can expand and contract to fill int the 3 mm needed to size the shoe down a half size
The main focuses were toe box size and width, which gave the shoe an overall feel of a half size shoe change.
This was the first prototype we sent to Nike for initial concept proof. The initial idea was to have a hard plastic insole insert under the arch, which the front would flip back into. The hard area would create a pocket for it to flip back into without creating any added thickness. We came back however, and continued ideating on other ways it could collapse into itself.
COLLAPSIBLE PATTERN EXPLORATION
I began exploring ways that the insole could fold out to add thickness, but fold in without adding any thickness. I found a good way to do this was to use a pattern that could fold in on itself.
These are some of the patterns I created and wear tested. After weeks of testing and ideation we decided the egg crate pattern was best for comfort and versatility.
I created several material tests to find a material that would be both comfortable, but would hold its form under compression. We made prototypes in silicone and high density polyurethane foam. These samples were made with 3D printed molds and dyed pourable polyurethane foam.
I made these final functional prototypes and sent them to Nike. This product is currently in its factory sample stages and is going through user testing with both Nike and Handsfree labs. It's still an ongoing project, and has been issued a patent in innovative insole technology. It's still undergoing revisions, but will hopefully be ready for production here soon.