The only footwear designed to optimize roofing activities for professional roofers. It offers spot-on flexibility, traction support with anti-cable slip function, and reduces muscle tension that leads to long-term accumulated muscle injury prevention.
Spring 2014 | 14 weeks
STEP UP STRONG
Inspired by the ibex, a wild goat that lives on steep mountain terrain, IBEX enables roofers to work on slope in a more stable and safe way. This shoe offers features that give confidence so that roofers can be safe in a high-risk environment.
The soft textured neoprene rubber outsole offers firm grip for any roofing surface. It has patterns to adapt to different types of surfaces and cup over air hoses to keep a stable footing.
Relieve muscle tension for injury prevention
The jacked-up middle sole will enable roofers to stand on the roof with less muscle stretching and prevent accumulated muscle fatigue, which leads to serious foot injuries in the long run.
It also absorbs impact from the ground. This makes roofers less likely to develop heel pains over time and prevents calcaneus injuries
Along with foundational secondary research, I conducted field observation and in-depth user interviews with people ranging from local daily workers to the owner of a roofing company with more than ten years of professional experience. To gain first-hand experience and insights, I also climbed on the roof with boots recommended at an online roofer forum.
No More Boots
As long as footwear has ideal functions for roofing activities like flexibility and traction supports, it doesn’t have to be heavy and bulky like traditional leather boots.
Need of traction support
Since roofers work on various surfaces in unstable positions, special traction systems with cable proofing function are required to support their roofing activities effectively.
Not designed for roofing activities
Stiffness of traditional work boots hinders crouching and bending movements which roofing activities require a lot; it is also uncomfortable when roofers bend their feet.
Problem Summary + Design Criteria
Most boots in the market are not for roofing activities which require flexibility
Roofers need flexible and lightweight footwear that suits roofing activities
Accumulated muscle fatigue causes muscle inflammation like Achilles tendonitis
Easing muscle overstretching will ease foot pain and prevent inflammation
Roofers walk on different surfaces and objects: shingles, tiles, wood and cables
Traction support systems for various surfaces and cable proofing function to prevent falling accidents
Front and back parts of the ankle support hinder smooth bending and crouching
BETTER ANKLE MOVEMENT
Optimizing ankle support for roofers will give them better mobility on the roof
Although roofing activities require specific labor on slopes including walking, climbing, standing and crouching, existing construction footwear is not specifically designed for these kinds of activities. As a result, problems and pain points that roofers deal with on a daily basis, are overlooked . Informed by this finding, I developed solutions to address the issue through sketches and mock-ups.
Making it real
I created the techpack for the upper part of IBEX to indicate desired materials and colors.
Improved performance on the roof
Long-term injury prevention
Optimized grip for roofing
Lowered chance of falling accidents due to cables
Benefits of IBEX
Prototype fabricated by adidas