The perfect running shoe – RMIT University

Dr Mike Burton, Senior Research Fellow – RMIT University One of the Sports Edge projects is actually funded by Mizuno, a Japanese sports company who produce mainly running shoes. The aim of this project was to look at the running shoes that the company produces and try and develop a new concept running shoe for a specific target user. Patrick Clifton, PhD Student – RMIT University Primarily there’s quite a significant number of running clubs and associations in Australia so initially we emailed those online invitations to their participants. The survey has a specific structure for each performance attribute where they rate the importance of the attribute, what they feel is the ideal level, what they want to see in that running shoe. Okiver Ladd, Marketing Manager – Mizuno Australia One of the biggest challenges of running shoe manufacturers is discovering what makes a person buy a running shoe. So this is a challenge that together with RMIT we’re hoping to solve. So Kansei Engineering is effectively a design strategy and effectively what it tries to do is identify the feelings and the emotional requirements of a user and try and integrate that into the product. So that’s the tricky part, that’s really where you’ve got to try and correlate the technical attributes of running shoes, the standard design parameters. How do we match those to our performance characteristics that we’ve got data from out in the field and that’s where the tricky engineering bit comes in, it’s a combination of statistics and laboratory tests and just trying to link those relationships so that we can use our ideal levels of each of these performance characteristics and then match that to a specific value of our technical design parameters thus giving us, theoretically, the perfect running shoe.

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