Senior Thesis /// ASPHALT PAVING FOOTWEAR

Hello everyone:

I thought I would follow my brother (cpvt1987: toddler footwear thesis) and use the discussion boards here at Core77 to their full advantage to get feedback on my senior thesis project: Asphalt Paving Footwear. Here is a quick background summary on the project, how it came to be, and where it is as of now.

Background:
Our father has owned a paving business for over 25 years. After more than 6 years of working summer jobs with him paving driveways and sidewalks, I thought “asphalt paving footwear” would be a unique and challenging area to tackle for my senior thesis.

Overview:
To design a footwear product for asphalt paving contractors that enhances work flow and efficiency on the job site.

Functional Criteria:

  • Provide necessary surface area to minimize footprints while walking on hot asphalt. This would allow workers to access hard-to-reach areas that require them to walk across the hot asphalt, without leaving tracks on the finished layer. While paving a driveway, it is often necessary to walk across the asphalt to get to a spot that the machinery can’t access. However, once the task is completed, more time is spent fixing the tracks made by the work boots in the asphalt. Also, there are many instances in which the tools or equipment (shovels, rakes, etc.) are on the opposite side of the driveway; so instead of walking across the hot asphalt, it is necessary to walk around the entire perimeter of the driveway to get to them, which just wastes time. This is what I mean by “enhance work flow and efficiency”.

Some other functional criteria include:

  • Heat protection (asphalt is very hot, especially in the summer)
  • Use the footwear for compacting purposes as well, in spots where the roller or compactor cannot access. The worker’s weight can be used to compact the asphalt.
  • Protect the worker’s existing boots/footwear from the damaging effects of asphalt.

Below are some pages I have assembled so far for my thesis book (please feel free to comment on the graphics/layout as well). Oh yeah…please ignore the placeholder text for now :slight_smile:.

Research Areas:

  1. Work Footwear
  2. Military Boots: durability, protection
  3. Fire Boots: heat protection
  4. Overshoes: temporary protection
  5. Snowshoes: surface area, flotation
  6. Motorsport: heat protection, ventilation, replaceable parts


OK, so here’s my process and sketches so far.

  1. I started by studying footwear in cross section, taking note of what causes boots to make footprints in hot asphalt. I became interested in the Goodyear Welt Stitch construction because of the platform it creates under the foot.

  1. Next, I started to explore different ways I can expand the surface area of the outsole in order to disperse the weight of the worker, minimizing the footprints left in the hot asphalt.

  1. I started to develop overshoe concepts that would use the expanded outsole design from the previous explorations. The overshoe concept offers these advantages:
  • it could be manufactured in general sizes (S, M, L, XL) to accommodate boots of various sizes.
  • it provides protection for the worker’s boots from asphalt, prolonging the life of the boots.
  • there is a design opportunity in the way these can be transported to the job site…pack flat & carrying case can save space in the truck tool box.

  1. I begin more ideation on the overshoe concept. I explore what zones of the work boot require protection, molded vents, entry/exit into the product, etc.

  1. I go back to exploring the outsole design in cross section. This time, I look at shaping the outsole in different ways. In the front section, the edges are curved upward and rounded. In the side section, the sole is curved to offer a “rolling motion” to minimize footprints on the asphalt.

  1. Here I begin exploring a modular concept, which is comprised of 2 parts: 1) the overshoe; 2) the wide asphalt outsole. The idea was that the worker would be able to wear the overshoe around the job site and then step into the wide sole when it was necessary to walk on the asphalt. I was looking at a friction fit and magnetic attachment (steel shank) as possible means of attachment for these parts.

  1. I took a step back and decided to evaluate the modular concept. It didn’t make sense to make the product 2 separate parts, since the protection from the asphalt is only necessary when the worker has to walk on the asphalt. So, I begin exploring 1 piece concepts again, this time focusing on making the entry/exit from the product as quick and easy as possible, while providing proper protection.


8.) OK, so this is where I am today. This is a quick sketch I did of a concept for entering and exiting the product. It basically features a sliding heel piece that allows the user to place their boot in, slide it forward to the desired fit, and then walk on the asphalt. To exit, the user simply pushes the release button. The sidewall protection curtain would be adjustable via elastic and a rear toggle. What I like about this concept is that it is very accommodating and adjustable to various boot sizes. Comments / suggestions / criticism are all welcome :slight_smile:


ski bindings

Outstanding work, Phil!

Phil_

Great boards, and nice, logical research.

A few off the top of my head thoughts.

It seems like the “snow shoe” format would work really well. It eliminates the need for sizes, and allows the product to be easily taken off, vs having a specialized shoe that will require costly sizing, and the worker would have to take them off anyway to drive and do other activities.

I did some goggles and eyewear for the military years ago, and the key problem with the military spec eyewear they had was simply that the soldiers did not want to wear them. They called them “birth control glasses” because “no one is going get laid wearing those”. Even when soldiers had order to wear them, as soon as they were out of sight of the commanding officer, they came off.

The point of the story is to address desire, even in a product like this. I think by pushing the aesthetic in kind of a military/equipment like vein, it might be perceived as “cooler” and thusly used more.

a.aeschbury

ski bindings

Thanks Alex. Yea, I have done a lot of research on entry/exit systems for this concept. My concept needs to have the same kind of lockdown as ski bindings, but it also needs to work with any kind of work boot as well. So far, I think that my last concept best addresses the quick and easy entry/exit, and boot size issues as well.

Traveler9

Outstanding work, Phil!

Thanks Ryan. Good to hear from you.

Yo

It seems like the “snow shoe” format would work really well. It eliminates the need for sizes, and allows the product to be easily taken off, vs having a specialized shoe that will require costly sizing, and the worker would have to take them off anyway to drive and do other activities.

Hi Mike, nice to hear your thoughts as well. This is exactly my rationale for pursuing my latest concept. When I presented the concept in studio, I brought up the point about how this product could be manufactured in general sizes (S, M, L, etc) to accommodate work boots, which is a lot easier than doing something in every size. My professors really liked the thinking and rationale behind that. Also, with my latest concept, I may only need two different sizes, since the system allows the worker to adjust the fit by sliding the heel forward. Good point about the worker taking them off to drive and do other activities too. My father always had 2 pairs of boots with him on the job site. He would wear 1 pair to drive there and do other things before the asphalt trucks arrived. Once the trucks arrived with the asphalt, he immediately changed to his “paving boots” (just old boots that are really gunked up with old asphalt on the sole and lower portions of the upper from walking on the asphalt). So, my “overshoe” concept looks to eliminate the need for that 2nd pair of boots by providing protection for the work boot from the asphalt and allowing for quick entry/exit when needed.


I did some goggles and eyewear for the military years ago, and the key problem with the military spec eyewear they had was simply that the soldiers did not want to wear them. They called them “birth control glasses” because “no one is going get laid wearing those”. Even when soldiers had order to wear them, as soon as they were out of sight of the commanding officer, they came off.

The point of the story is to address desire, even in a product like this. I think by pushing the aesthetic in kind of a military/equipment like vein, it might be perceived as “cooler” and thusly used more.

You are right on with this point as well. I recognized this design problem/opportunity in the beginning stages of this project, especially with the “construction worker” user group I am designing for. That’s why I started to look at “paving equipment” for design cues and inspiration. Right now I am still trying to solve the functional criteria for the product, so once I complete that I will definitely be able to tackle the aesthetics of this thing. Even now, I can see an influence on the aesthetics and form of the product from my “paving equipment” inspiration board. For example, I think that the shapes seen in the paving tool (tamper) are somewhat evident in the shape of the outsole and how it transitions to the upper (see below). I will be posting more sketches and progress during the next few days.



2.JPG

Whats up Phil,

The Padilla Brothers are dominating the boards right now. Definitely representing Connecticut!

I think that the idea of ski bindings is a good direction, but what if you could innovate a new system of adjustment. What materials exist that could be used? How can you use its application to influence its design? Nice work, keep it coming.

Hey Brent- thanks for the feedback and CT shout out :slight_smile:



I think that the idea of ski bindings is a good direction, but what if you could innovate a new system of adjustment. What materials exist that could be used? How can you use its application to influence its design?

Good thoughts. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with my latest system/adjustment concept (see my last post on march 5th). It is similar to a ski binding in that it provides lockdown in the toe and heel regions, but works in a different way. My concept features a sliding heel piece and stationary toe piece; the user places the boot in the heel, and then slides the heel forward into the toe, until the desired fit is achieved. The internal mechanism is a simple ratchet system, with a quick release button in the back. As for materials, I am looking at using silicone in the heel of the product so that it grips the boot as the user slides it forward. Silicone offers some design opportunity in how it can be molded and detailed, which I could use to really dial in the aesthetics of this product (a quick example I just googled is below). Thanks again for the feedback.

Well, I’m back with a big update and a lot of pictures. I am beginning to start the refinement stage of my design so that I can move onto some modeling and rendering (the end of the school year is approaching fast). Below, you will see my process in attempting to really dial in the aesthetics of this product. I also did a preliminary foam model of the ‘wide asphalt sole’, which you can see in the pics below. I want to make a few more foam models to try some soles with a little more curvature to them, for more of a “rolling” walking motion on the asphalt, like I have explored in my sketches. I don’t think I can test these soles on real asphalt, so right now I am thinking about conducting some tests in sand to show the difference between a regular boot footprint and the wide asphalt sole. I did a preliminary tape-up as well, and I plan to do at least a few more of those to refine the design. I am trying to incorporate the pattern splits into the product’s construction/equipment aesthetic. Everything else is explained in my sketches below, but feel free to comment/question anything I may have left out.

One last thing- I am thinking about using a Teflon treatment on the sole to prevent the asphalt from sticking to the bottom, which is always a problem. The Teflon would also provide added heat protection. Can rubber be treated with Teflon? Any advice is greatly appreciated.








did you mask the boot to generate a template for the upper, what material are you gonna do that in?

Yeah, I wanted to do a tape-up to get a “3D sketch” of my concept, and also to get a good idea of the scale for certain features. It helped me get a basic pattern to work with. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of material/textile I’m going to work with for that sidewall. I may have to try a few options.

coming along nicely.

Can you explain further the aesthetics of the patterning?. I don’t really get the very industrial embossed patterns on it. I can see of course a connection to perhaps the paving aesthetic, but doesn’t seem to fit to what I’d imagine the consumer would respond to (very un-work-boot-like, almost too modern), nor does it seem to really reinforce the utility or functional characteristics of the product…I’m not 100% sold. looks a bit robot like…

Not saying that it has to look very traditional (check some of these done by fellow coroflot-er Mark dela Cruz which I think are great and unique but yet somewhat echo the industry tradition), but maybe something more reinforcing the characteristics you’d like to present.

http://www.terrafootwear.com/exile/

Maybe I’m reading something wrong in the sketches…

I do really like your functional thoughts about the pavement lips and the easy on off. well handled and resolved.

R

Great Project! I love to see ID applied to true industrial products. A niche product with obviously justifiable benefits to a market that traditionally tends to “make do”, or do entirely “without”; aka: “construction workers”.

I’m not a footwear designer. I’ve been formally out of “Industrial Design” for a number of years but still do other forms of product development; more “industrial” in nature at this point.

What I do now, full-time, is operate heavy equipment; aka: Operating Engineer. I was looking for another line of work, I like being outdoors, and it was a fit. The last two years I was on a crew that did the dirt work and asphalt for 8 miles of dual lane freeway work; all asphalt. I can really appreciate this project; I’ve got five pairs of totally trashed out boots from this work; at $35/pair at Wal-mat; gloves … I lost track after 20 pairs.

Just an Observation:

Some material was delivered by “transfer” rigs, but most of was unloaded via a continuous train of trucks pulling “bottom-dump” hopper trailers … each of which leaves a three foot tall, four foot wide, pile about 50-75 long. A “pickup” machine follows closely behind and feeds the “screed” machine which flattens out the “matt”. Quite often workers have to traverse back and forth over the pile; usually sinking into the material up to the tops of their boots.

A few Concerns:

The “snowshoe” detail will definitely help minimize this effect, but would not eliminate it. I question if the “lip” (edge fillet) around the sole would not tend to become covered with material and try and pull the boot off (much as wet mud tries to suck of your shoes). Asphalt is going to to go over the top of this boot; no doubt about it, and constantly reaching down to pull your boot back up would be an annoyance (as if working with asphalt isn’t enough of an annoyance to begin with).

Temperature: You mentioned temperature: specifically, depending upon the type and grade, asphalt is between 225 - 310F when dropped.

Sole material: silicone; excellent ablative properties, but is soft and tends to “chunk out” easily.

Clean up: As you are aware, asphalt sticks faster than glue. Diesel fuel is the most readily available cleaning solvent; over time, silicone degrades when exposed to most hydrocarbon based solvents; elevated temperatures speed up the process.

Patterning on uppers/buckles/zippers: You know how adhesive ashphalt is… .it’s going to fill every available recess, nook and cranny, and once hard … well, it’s like rock.