Shoe assists foot at the take-off in each step.
Inspiration from Nature
Springtail insect (Collembola) has folded prongs under its belly which can send the insect flying when unfolded.
Almost all types of shoes address comfortable touchdown or landing of the foot. Even joggers and sneakers have shock-absorbent mechanisms (springs, air, etc.) which is a passive technique to improve stamina. A shoe needs to be designed for an active mode of facilitating the takeoff i.e. for a forward step which pushes the ground backward.
Leaping and jumping mechanisms are abundant in nature. But perhaps the most suitable case here is that of a springtail (Collembola). Springtail has pronged fork-like body parts which are kept hidden under its body. When insect needs to take an impressive leap forward, these prongs unlock themselves and release a huge amount of tension launching the insect into a high projectile. This strategy is an ideal principle for the forward-assistance of a shoe.
No such examples are found in the market but a number of jumping shoes are available. The technology used in Adidas SpringBlade, Bionic Boots, Nike Shox NZ, and Enko running shoes are good case studies. Reebok ARV19’s also offers some insight into design possibilities. The most remarkable technology is that of springtail itself. Its principle needs to be emulated for a new paradigm of shoe design.
There are folded pronged structures (2, 8, 13) embedded inside the sole. Pronged structures can absorb (1) and amplify (3, 4) embedded tension at every lift of the step. This gives the foot a subtle, gentle bounce from under. Sensors (12) can administer the stability of the foot on the ground and in air. And the level of the bounce can be adjusted manually (10) with an app on a smartwatch or a phone.
The following are some useful resources from the design process of this nature gadget.
Row1Column1: A Closeup of Springtail
Row1Column2: Description of Springtail’s fork
Row1Column3: An Example of Spring Shoes
Row1Column4: Adidas Springblade
Row2Column1: Proposed Concept 1 Shoes for NBA
Row2Column2: Bionic Boots
Row2Column3: Nike Shox NZ Running Shoes
Row2Column4: Enko Running Shoes
Row3Column1: Kangoo Jumps Power Shoes
Row3Column2: Nike 3D Printed Sprinters
Row3Column3: Reebok ATV19’s
Row3Column4: An Example of Spring Shoes
Row4Column1: An Example of Exoskeleton Wearable Tech
Row4Column2: Unpowered Ankle Exoskeleton
Row4Column3: Experimental Study on Ankle Exoskeletons
Row4Column4: Clutch–Spring Knee Exoskeleton
Created by Umair Zia