Cerebral palsy(CP) is one of the most common diseases in the world. But there is a lack of shoes for them. Zest(2022)is one-handed easy on/off running shoes for people with CP. Also, it allows people to adjust their fit precisely without shoelaces.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common diseases. According to recent research, It occurs in about 3 per 1,000 live births. I happened to meet a running club for people with cerebral palsy. There was a man with cerebral palsy. He can't control the right side of his body. He said wearing shoes is always challenging for him. I was wondering what the professional athletes think about it. I interviewed two athletes with cerebral palsy. Even for them, it is hard to wear shoes. They always ask their coach to tie the shoelaces. After several interviews, I decided to make easy on/off shoes, also it can provide a function to tighten people's own fit.
The prototypes have been developed based on wear tests and feedback from professional athletes and amateur runners with CP. Also, I can get advice during development from several experts in the footwear industry including the Lead developer of the innovation department in Swiss sportswear company On. To explore the possibilities for customized knit uppers, I created a last based on 3d scanned feet data of a person with CP.
I collaborated with several knit factories in Switzerland and Netherland to develop an engineered knit upper. Finally, I developed an innovative knit with TPU yarns that are lighter and more durable than conventional knit made of polyamide and polyester.
With the support of On, I did several tests with the final prototype in On lab, such as pressure tests, impact tests, and slow-motion video tests. In comparison tests with one of the most stable shoes they have, Zest also showed remarkable performance.
The sole is engineered based on the data obtained from tests. With the support of Autodesk, the world-leading engineering software company, and nTopology, I used generative design tools that satisfy the requirements while minimizing the use of materials. The final result is an example designed according to the athlete's physical ability with CP participating in the test.
Logo design by Minjong Kim
Photo by Yoosung Kim, Donghwan Song, and Fumi Omori