For people who have to use a walking aid such as crutches or a stick, getting about can be dangerous and painful. Flexyfoot, invented by a leading British designer, David Goodwin, does for walking aids what Dyson has done for the vacuum cleaner. Manufactured in the UK and launched in 2010, Flexyfoot was taken up by Boots last autumn and is available in 15 countries around the world, including Germany and Japan – a UK export success.
Shock-absorbing, anti-slip Flexyfoot is designed to replace the old fashioned ferrule (or rubber tip) on these aids and revolutionise walking for the injured or infirm. Flexyfoot gives 50 per cent more grip on floors and uneven ground surfaces than ferrules (it’s particularly good in the wet), and eases the significant aches and pains associated with constant stress and impact on joints that often leads to permanent musculoskeletal damage. With its patented air-sprung technology, Flexyfoot bends and can rotate right round, meaning users can easily turn on their walking aids.
Flexyfoot is perfect for people of all ages and levels of fitness, from sportsmen to children to the elderly, either on a temporary or permanent basis. It was developed over three years, trialled via a pioneering orthopaedic surgery unit at the BMI hospital group and tested to destruction! A leading orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Robert Simonis, acting as a consultant during the development to provide an insight into the problems patient had.
Goodwin, who designs award-winning products for such clients as London Underground to Parker Pens, and has even seen his Franke kitchen sink star in the Big Brother house, was inspired to invent Flexyfoot by his family. Both his sister, who has MS, and his 95 year old mother complained to him about the difficulties and discomfort of using their walking sticks. They also found the rubber feet wore down much too quickly and were difficult to change.
He commented: “The market is very staid and most aids are very institutional. I wanted to create a product based on great design, innovative technology, good looks and function. Funky enough for a footballer, strong enough for a soldier, but perfect for a pensioner too. Flexyfoot fits the bill.”
Flexyfoot is incredibly tough. After 300 miles of hard walking in laboratory test conditions, it had about 50 per cent more life left than a traditional ferrule, tread wear was even and all parts were still 100 per cent functional. For wintery walking, it is designed to perform perfectly at temperatures of -25 degrees Celsius.
Customer feedback says that Flexyfoot lasts much longer than a traditional ferrule in real life, up to 8 times longer. It is also simple to fit, even for weaker hands - and has a non-marking, easy-to-clean tread designed to eliminate stones and mud, meaning less mess inside. And when they do finally wear down, replacement feet are screwed on in seconds. The Irish amputee football team discovered Flexyfoot and on Irish TV, said that Flexyfoot was the secret to their success.
Flexyfoot uses suspension technology to provide improved grip and shock absorbency. When the user leans on their aid, small bellows pivot to maximise the surface area of the foot with the ground. This dramatically improves friction and reduces slippage. At the same time the air in the bellows is progressively pressurised to absorb impact and shock that would otherwise be transferred to the user. Some upmarket 4x4’s also use air spring technology to provide a smoother ride and more grip in testing conditions. The foot can also rotate 360 degrees independently, enabling the user to twist and turn to reduce the stress applied to arm and shoulder joints.
Flexyfoot comes in four collar sizes to fit the most common walking aids. It is also perfect for creating a level seat on shower stools for the disabled – and protects against damage to expensive bath and shower trays. Flexyfoot is available from www.flexyfoot.com, freefone 0800 0285 888 and selected retailers, chemists and mobility shops. Recommended retail price is £12.95 or visit the website, www.flexyfoot.com
For media enquiries, further information, pictures, case studies or interviews with David Goodwin, please contact: Nicky Rudd Padua Communications firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +44 1932 213140 or 07545 253293 www.twitter.com/nickyrudd01