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ibex

FOOTWEAR FOR
PROFESSIONAL ROOFERS

 
 

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

 
 
 
 


Awards

 
 

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.

 
 
 

 

Built-in stability

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

 

 
 

RESEARCH PROCESS

 

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. 

 

 

Key Insights

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
 

 
 

STIFFNESS OF
THE  BOOTS


Most boots in the market are not for roofing activities which require flexibility

ADD
FLEXIBILITY

Roofers need flexible and lightweight  footwear that suits roofing activities

MUSCLE INFLAMMATION

Accumulated muscle fatigue causes muscle inflammation like Achilles tendonitis

RELIEVE
FOOT PAIN

Easing muscle overstretching will ease foot pain and prevent inflammation 

EXTRA
TRACTION


Roofers walk on different surfaces and objects: shingles, tiles, wood and cables

GRIP +
CABLE PROOF

Traction support systems for various surfaces and cable proofing function to prevent falling accidents

ANKLE
SUPPORT


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

 
 

FINDING SOLUTIONS

 

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

Increased comfort

 

 


Benefits of IBEX

 
 
 
 
 Upper Fabricated by Adidas 

Prototype fabricated by adidas