Using Footwear Research to Prove and Improve Comfort

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Product Design, Science and Technology

“If you could quantify the feeling of comfort, imagine how that would change the way we develop footwear.” – Justin Ter Har 

At INSITE, working towards quantifying and defining that exact feeling through advanced footwear research is part of our foundational reason for being. In the words of Justin Ter Har, the Director of Research for INSITE Performance, “We’re not just a design company, we’re not just a testing company, we’re not just a manufacturing company. Insoles are what we make, but at the core of what we do is helping footwear brands improve the comfort and performance of their shoes through data.” 

Beyond quantifying and defining comfort, we work endlessly to prove it, to ensure that we can make it happen for as many people as possible. That’s where our ProvenComfort™ method comes to life: real-world testing, backed by a team of dedicated researchers and developers whose main goal is to improve the comfortability, performance, and ergonomics of footwear. 

As Justin emphasizes, “ProvenComfort is pretty much a process or a data collection method where we’re able to better collect the experience around comfort.” This method allows us to delve deeper into the subjective experience of wearing a shoe, enabling us to quantify psychological variables of comfort and validate them through physical tests and biomechanical assessments. 

Behind the Science of Footwear Research 

 In keeping with our never-ending efforts to improve the comfortability and performance of footwear with an overall target of injury prevention, we turn to experts and data as often as possible. Dr. Christine Pollard, Senior Associate Dean and the Director of the physical therapy program at OSU Cascades and the Director of their FORCE Biomechanics Lab, plays a pivotal role in helping to validate our ProvenComfort testing methods.  

The FORCE Lab’s insights into biomechanics allow us to understand not just how footwear feels, but how it affects the body biomechanically. She states, “When looking at footwear… we really want to understand biomechanically, what is the shoe doing, what’s the shoe intervention doing for these different populations?”  

This approach enables us to measure forces, assess movement patterns, and anticipate potential injury risks associated with different types of shoes. 

Speaking to the benefits of partnering with Dr. Pollard and the Force Lab, Justin remarked, “There’s a lot of robust research in different biomechanical areas in this lab, so it’s a very diverse experience lab. It’s not really just focused on footwear. And so I think that’s almost the perfect partner to work with because they’re also not just testing the elite. They’re measuring stuff that’s most impactful to everyone.”

Through rigorous biomechanical assessments and real-world testing, we aim to uncover the underlying mechanisms behind comfort and performance in footwear. Dr. Pollard’s expertise in applying physics principles to human movement and motion allows us to delve deeper into the intricacies of footwear design and its impact on comfort and performance. 

The Future of Footwear Research 

As we continue our journey in footwear research, our ultimate goal remains clear: to provide developers with the right data to make better footwear. Dr. Pollard  underscores this point, stating, “Being able to partner with industry… is really a win-win because we’re able to do that high caliber research and inform product development with our industry partners.” 

Through collaboration with industry partners and relentless pursuit of scientific knowledge, we strive to push the boundaries of footwear design and innovation through our continuous insole-crafting research. With each discovery and breakthrough, we inch closer to a future where comfort is not just a subjective experience but a quantifiable reality for all. Together, we can revolutionize the way we think about and create insoles and, subsequently, footwear that truly serves the needs of every individual. 

At INSITE, our dedication to footwear research goes beyond the surface level of comfort — it’s about transforming the way we understand, develop, and experience insoles for footwear.  

Experience the ProvenComfort™ Difference

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