Next generation safety footwear

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9 Citations (SciVal)


Safety footwear is used throughout many different industrial sectors to ensure a degree of worker safety. However, since their adoption in the 1920s, the design of safety footwear has experienced few technology advancements. Since becoming commonplace in the 1970s the majority of safety footwear is bought off-the-shelf without much thought given to the exacting user requirements or operational environment. A literature review was conducted, indicating that ongoing developments remain based upon historical concepts. The requirement for radical change is compelling due to the poor comfort, fit, aesthetic appeal offered by current designs, need for frequent replacement and lack of application specific safety footwear. In addition, both safety footwear design and manufacture continues to lag behind other types of footwear production most notably, athletic footwear. This paper introduces a radical new vision for safety-smart footwear, produced on a mass customization basis that is integrated functionally with the operational environment and various safety systems in line with Industry 4.0 philosophies of automation and digitalization. This vision of safety-smart footwear not only has the potential to support operational functions, but can help to mitigate safety risks and raise alarms. Through this, end user and operational data is continually fed back via cloud based data repositories to provide ongoing design iterations both at a customized user level and industry-specific level. By realizing the vision for safety-smart footwear presented in this paper, it is expected that benefits will include improved user comfort and fit, increased aesthetic appeal and enhanced user safety, specific to their industrial environment. This has the potential to have knock on societal impacts that go beyond the industrial environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1668-1677
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event29th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing, FAIM 2019 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 24 Jun 201928 Jun 2019


  • Customization
  • Industry 4.0
  • Personalization
  • Safety footwear
  • Safety shoes
  • Societal impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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