More Than A Feeling: How INSITE Proven Comfort™ Uses Biomechanical Testing and Data To Quantify Comfort

by | May 26, 2023 | Science and Technology

Going Beyond The Physical Properties of An Insole

What is “comfort”? Everyone perceives it differently, and a feeling can be difficult to capture in a product design. In this post, we’ll explain how we use biomechanical testing and data to put numbers behind the feeling of comfort and more accurately deliver on expectations for comfortable footwear.

Biomechanical Testing and Data Create Comfort by the Numbers

How can footwear developers and designers deliver on the majority of their footwear customers’ individual perceptions of comfort with a single pair of shoes? We know customers have specific demands when it comes to their footwear – and those demands are tied to individual perceptions of comfort, performance, and support. Some need extra support and cushion, while others want a thinner, lighter shoe.

If your footwear company is finding it challenging to meet these needs, it may be time to turn to data.

At INSITE, we rely on biomechanical testing and data to ensure top-notch results. We conduct testing with real people to analyze individual aspects of comfort as they relate to specific insole and footwear designs. We gather valuable feedback data on plantar pressure, impact, and comfort perception during different movements and activities, which informs critical decisions on insole shape, material, and design.

The result is a quality shoe you can confidently sell to customers with a message of truly proven comfort.

The Proven Comfort Method

Through our Proven Comfort process, we use data to quantify comfort and put brands ahead of traditional footwear development timelines. Our testing tools include a variety of factors and data points, including:

Plantar Pressure Testing:

The National Institute of Health defines foot plantar pressure as the “pressure field that acts between the foot and the support surface used during everyday activities.” “By conducting gait analysis and plantar pressure mapping, we’re given a clearer view of the pressure distribution capabilities of the footwear.” This testing ensures our customers receive pressure relief and proper support.

IMPACT TESTING:

We also conduct material impact testing to ensure our insoles and your footwear can reduce peak impact shock, which is especially important for injury prevention and/or recovery. “This testing method measures compression forces, shock absorption, and rebound.” Insoles informed by this testing data deliver improved rebound and shock absorption to customers to support their everyday movements and athletic activities.

Comfort Perception Testing:

“We use a 12-point psychometric survey to assess perceived comfort, with key comfort metrics including cushioning, fit, comfort, and placement.” These types of tests result in an insole shape, material, and design that provides better overall fit, foot placement, and cushioning.

A biomechanics researcher performing ergonomic testing.

Overall Foot Health is Part Insole, Part Footwear

“INSITE Proven Comfort testing is conducted at the Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence (FORCE) Laboratory, led by Dr. Christine Pollard at Oregon State University-Cascades. As a leading physical therapist and biomechanics researcher, Dr. Pollard and her team conduct cutting-edge research in the field to prevent injuries, optimize musculoskeletal function, and improve overall well-being and performance.

All INSITE insoles are made using the research processes available to us at FORCE Lab, which provides valuable insights into critical areas of ergonomic performance, including comfort, endurance, and balance.

Our testing methods involve cutting-edge approaches to understanding as much as we can about how people really move. “In addition to our Proven Comfort testing methods, we also measure critical metrics like oxygen consumption and muscle responses during certain activities to understand the best insole material, shape, and design to support the type, duration, and intensity of specific movements.  

We also use 3D motion capture to track the body’s center of gravity while wearing INSITE insoles. We know how critical it is to assess foot pressure to understand underfoot stability. All of these data points allow us to optimize INSITE insoles for balance.

Foot scan software on screen

Delivering a Better Product For Your Customers

With INSITE, you can deliver more than a well-fitting, quality shoe to your customers. You can deliver on their expectations for comfort as well. It sounds like a tall order, but with our biomechanical testing and data-driven results, our insoles ensure ultimate comfort, performance, and support.

Through our Proven Comfort Method, and our partnership with FORCE Lab, all INSITE insoles are backed by science, testing, data, and experts. Whether you’re designing a line of athletic shoes, workwear shoes, general lifestyle shoes, or orthotics, our insoles can provide the level of comfort your customers want and need.

Ready to add an INSITE insole to your next product?

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