The Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV) launches a European project, 'ShopInstantShoe', Based on intelligent materials with shape memory to improve comfort and avoid the most common pathologies of the foot, such as bunions. In short, a custom shoe for every woman.

The initiative financed by the European Community through the Seventh Framework Program, aims to create high-end women's shoes that are novel, ergonomic and personalized. It also wants to prevent podiatric diseases that today pose a social problem, mainly affecting women.

"The bunion is the most common foot deformation and affects one in five women in adulthood"

From the IBV point out that the trends that mark the aesthetics and fashion in women's footwear "require a more precise adjustment to ensure the comfort and functionality of the product, but differences in the morphometry of the human foot make it very difficult to provide an adequate adjustment to each user individually and make the footwear uncomfortable and unhealthy ".

Therefore, they claim to the European footwear industry that they must continue to exploit new technologies and develop new concepts so that competitiveness continues to exist.

Project "ShopInstantShoe"

It lasts two years. It is based on creating a new leather material using as a base compounds that include alloys with shape memory. In this way, they want to be able to customize the footwear to the customer in the store.

Thus, basic measurements of the feet will be taken and in the shop the shape of the footwear will be shaped by modifying this intelligent textile located in the upper part.

With the help of a new last, it will adapt to the geometry of each woman's feet.

Six other partners participate in the project, together with the IBV, such as the Calana company from Alicante, coordinator of the project, the Valencian company Industrias del Curtido S.A. (Incusa), the French companies Texinov and Nimesis, the English company Surfgen and The UK Materials Technology Research Institute (Matri).

The Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia will be responsible for the technical coordination of the project and, among other tasks, will conduct a study to determine "which are the areas of the foot most susceptible to suffer overpressures and, therefore, the areas of the footwear cut in which we must pay more attention during the investigation to meet the objectives of the project. "

Podiatric diseases

In particular the 'hallux valgus', commonly known as bunion is the most common foot deformation and affects one in five women in adulthood. It is a deformity of the big toe or first finger that produces a lateral prominence of the bone.

Among the causes that determine its appearance, the hereditary factors are the most influential, although they can also appear due to rheumatism or other foot diseases (flat feet, cavities).

Women are more prone to bunions than men. This is explained because high heels (from 4 cm) can aggravate the bunion, as well as shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot (back of the shoe).

This pathology, along with others such as hammer toes, claw toes, metatarsalgias and ingrown toenails originate in the forefoot and are mainly caused by the prolonged use of inadequate footwear, due to the lack of correspondence between the morphometry of the foot and the footwear ".

Battling Bunions (November 2019).