Ski boot walking attachment redesign

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Acting upon the recommendations set forth in the previous report concerning problems related to walking in ski boots, this report presents further analysis of consumer needs as well as potential solutions. Skiers report near-universal annoyance at having to walk in their boots; some cited safety concerns. Most were satisfied with the trade-offs of carrying an attachment such as the WalkEZ if a significant stride benefit is to be had. The recommended solution is a boot attachment which employs translational and rotational freedoms to simulate normal foot movement despite a boot-locked ankle.


Extended Summary

The previous report stated the following:

  • Skiing is a large, well-funded industry with millions of participants each year
  • Most skiers must walk in their boots, a task which is seen as uncomfortable and dangerous.
  • The WalkEZ device provides some improvement to the gait, but additional improvement is recommended.

Therefore, this continuation of the above work contains the development of a further recommendation: a product. To arrive there, market research was considered. Skiers reported annoyance with walking, saying it was unsafe and uncomfortable. Respondents had minimal exposure to the WalkEZ, and upon trying it were "underwhelmed." The consensus was that a design providing great improvement to the step would be "worth" purchasing and carrying. However, different market groups have different needs: serious skiers demand high performance, whereas casual skiers value cost. Other needs include durability, portability, universality, and usability.

After brainstorming and generating ideas of varying impracticality, three designs were identified as feasible and worthy of further consideration. Two are attachments: one involves a sliding track, giving the boot lateral freedom; the other is a spring-damper revision of the WalkEZ, supplying angular freedom to the ankle. Pugh analyzes indicate the track and spring-damper designs are 'in the green' and merit yet further refinement.

The final solution recommendation is a product similar in nature to the WalkEZ - a combination of the track and spring-damper designs. It attaches via standard binding clamp action to the ski boot, and provides both a track and damped cushioning. Pugh analysis of the final design versus existing solutions shows it to be the winner. The next step will be to prototype this design and present it for review.

Market Research

Fourteen skiers were approached during the market research. Of the group, eight were recreational skiers and six were members of the Carnegie Mellon Ski Team. We asked them for their opinions on walking in ski boots and where they wanted to see improvements. If they were aware of any existing solutions, we requested additional opinions on those solutions. Since most of the skiers that were approached had never heard of the Walk-EZ Revolutions, we had the skiers try them on. With minor adjustments, they were all able to fit into the walking attachment. Afterward, they gave us their feedback.


There was a general agreement that walking in ski boots is uncomfortable. Most of the recreational skiers wanted to see more flexibility in the boots, specifically around the ankles. Some of their responses were:

  • “I just want to be able to bend at the ankles to get more mobility”
  • “... the main issue is the flexibility of the foot. I don’t know if this would be possible, but maybe some mechanisms that allow the sole to bend for walking so you can bend your toes a bit.”
  • “I would increase flexibility in the leg.”

Several of the serious skiers didn’t want any change on the boots that compromises the structural integrity of the boots and thus reducing the performance. By providing more flexibility to the boots, this provides less support for the ankles and thus jeopardizes the safety of the skier, especially when racing or moving quickly. Listed below were some experts' views on increasing the flexibility of the ski boot:

  • “In my experience, there's not much you can do about it…there's always a trade off between comfort and performance.”
  • “The other option is something like Tele-boots, which would have the movable toe built-in. I worry about a solution like that compromising boot response and stiffness though when in a binding along with insulation/leakage at the joint.”
  • “I'd rather have a good experience skiing than a good experience walking around.”

The skiers agreed on the need of more flexibility around the ankles area when walking in ski boots, especially when walking up and down the stairs, but maintaining the rigidity to provide the support when skiing.

Existing Solutions

Several attempts at solving this problem have been made in the past. All of them have been unsatisfactory or have created more problems than they solve. The three most common solutions to this issue are unbuckling the clips on the boots, ski-walk adjustment, and the Walk-EZ Revolutions walking attachments.


Ankle-Unlock Lever

This adjustment allows the boot's upper cuff to hinge backward. This will give the skier the room needed for a more natural walking motion. Although this is a useful feature, most skiers would choose a more solid rear support in favor of walking comfort. Higher end boots will not have this feature for the reason that ski boots are not built to flex backward because the mechanism often causes the ski boot to lack a rearward support<ref>"Ski-Walk Adjustment." All-Mountain Skier. 2002. <,M1></ref>. All of the people who have tried this feature agree that this mechanism doesn't really work, as a few skiers claimed, "The lock/unlock mechanism doesn't really make very much of a difference because it doesn't provide a very significant degree of freedom" and "I always thought locking-unlocking things don't really improve anything." It provides inconsequential degree of freedom for walking, but the smallest change in the mobility of the boot while skiing dramatically affects the way one skis.

Walk-EZ Revolutions Walking Attachment

These are clip-on attachments for the soles of ski boots that provide a safe, gripping surface and have a curved form which allows a skier to walk more naturally. The addition of a simple, subtle curve to the bottom of the Walk-EZ allows the wearer to walk around in a natural, relaxed posture - eliminating the 15-degree angle/cant automatically imposed on your spine when in ski boots<ref>"Walk-EZ Revolutions" More Inspiration.<></ref>. In addition, an ingenious double hinge allows the units to fold flat for easy storage when not attached to the bottom of the boot. Even though, this device transforms into something more compact, skiers would still rather deal with the discomfort of walking in ski boots than carrying two more things, as some skiers said, "I would love to use something like walk-ez, but I would hate to carry them while not in use, especially when you consider that you ski for several hours (in my case around 5 to 7 hours a day) and you walk for just 15-30 minutes a day" and "The down-side to this is that you have to put them on/take them off to walk in them. What if there were some kind of integrated flip-down version of this that stows away on the back of your boot or something. Might be a good start rather than lugging around extra gear in your camel-back." This was perhaps the best attempt in trying to solve the crisis in walking in ski boots.


Unbuckling the Boots

One way to walk easier in ski boots is to unbuckle the clips that fasten a skier’s foot to the boot. By unbuckling these clips, it allows a greater degree of freedom for the skier’s ankle to rotate because the shin is not held against the stiff outer shell that typically provides the support for the ankle. This outer shell protects the ankles and feet from injury while skiing but presents mostly comfort issues while walking. This practice however, becomes a hassle for inexperienced or young skiers. They would unlatch the clips to walk, and whenever they want to go back on the slopes, they would require assistance in buckling their boots back on. Although some people don't mind the hassle of unbuckling and buckling the clips, like one skier mentioned, "I find unbuckling the boots to work just fine and don't mind doing the John Wayne walk", generally speaking, this is a very inefficient way to acquire some comfort for just a simple task as walking.

Taking the Boots Off and Changing into Regular Shoes

The last existing solution to the discomfort of walking in ski boots is to simply take off the boots, store them somewhere relatively safe from being stolen, and put on regular pair of shoes. This solution is obviously the most time inefficient but also the most effective. In addition, this method risks the chance of having the pair of ski boots from being unlawfully taken when being left unattended unless you're willing to pay for a highly inflated locker space.

Initial Concepts


When we began thinking of ideas to help make walking in ski boots a little bit more comfortable, we weren't sure exactly were improvements needed to be made. We considered making new types of ski boots, propulsion systems for the ski boots, attachments to make the motion more natural, and even creating a new transportation system on the ski slopes themselves.

Ultimately, we arrived at the conclusions that new boots might be a little too expensive and inconvenient for the average skier to buy, that a propulsion system would be too dangerous and difficult to make entirely feasible, and new transportation networks on the ski slopes is too large-scale a project for this class. In the end, an attachment seemed to be the most logical solution. We judged our ideas with the following criteria:

  • Size/Weight - If the attachment is too large to fit comfortably in a small bag or in a pocket, then a majority of the target market would probably find it more annoying than helpful. Additionally, it needs to be lightweight since our market research indicates that a majority of skiers do not want to carry around a heavy set of walking attachments. Compact, minimal design is necessary for our product.
  • Durability - If the product breaks after only a few uses, it will upset the customer and probably lead to minimal use and low customer goodwill.
  • Intuitive Design - The product needs to be easy-to-use so that a potential customer can glance at it and immediately understand how they'll be using it. If it's operation procedures aren't immediately apparent, it may scare away potential customers because it appears too complicated.
  • Effectiveness - If the product doesn't work very well, no one will want to buy it and it will meet the same fate as the essentially useless Walk-EZ attachment.
  • Universal - We need a product that can be used by all people with all different boot sizes. If we exclude any market segment, not only do we lose their business, we also lose the business of people associated with those that we alienate. In addition, the attachment ideally would be able to fit on all existing boots.
  • Cost - The cost is another huge issue because many skiers don't find walking in ski boots to be too big a problem and they'll simply deal with it. If our product is cheap enough, we can reach even the market that doesn't believe in the necessity of the product.


Track Design
Track Design

The track design uses an idea similar to that of the Walk-EZ except that it allows the boot to move within the attachment, allowing for a more natural motion. The key components are as follows:

  • Front Clip/Back Clip - The front and back clips hold the front and back of the boot, respectively, in place. This allows a rigid connection between the boot and the walking attachment that ensures no slippage.
  • Tracks - The tracks allow the front and back clips to slide back and forth across the walking attachment. This allows the users boot to slide backwards a little bit when the ball of their foot would normally be rolling along the ground when walking. Within the track, there is a noticeable amount of friction to dampen the motion so that the user doesn't feel like they are sliding too much while walking.
  • Slope - The slope makes sure that the back stop doesn't go too far back and helps restore force when the foot returns to a horizontal position.
  • Front Stop/Back Stop - The front and back stops prevent the front and back clip, respectively from sliding off of the attachment.
  • Base - The base is designed based off of the Walk-EZ base. The base has a rounded bottom to make the actual step more natural and there is also tread on the bottom to help the attachment maintain its grip.

Some of the major drawbacks of the track design are that it is physically very large, probably would have durability issues, and would probably be very costly. With the giant slope on the back of the attachment and the thick base, the device would have to be obtrusively large, and our market research indicates that this is a major issue. The slope would also make it much more difficult to have a folding feature or something similar. Because the clips are stuck on a track, they would probably break or fall off with extensive use. Finally, because it is very large and requires a complex system of clips and tracks, the device would exceed the price range of the average skier.

Some positive aspects of the device are that it would probably drastically improve the motion of walking for the user and that it would be pretty adjustable and available in many different sizes. The design allows your foot to follow a much more normal path than walking with a typical ski boot.


Spring-Damper Design
Spring-Damper Design

In the spring-damper design solution, the basic idea is to make a rounded boot attachment similar to the Walk-EZ but made out of materials that help to smooth and adjust the step. The basic components of the attachment are the front and back clips and the sole. The front and back clips are used to secure the ski boot in the walking attachment. The sole is made out of alternating layers of damping foam and springy rubber.

The bottom of the attachment is rounded much like the Walk-EZ attachment, but with the help of the foam and rubber layers, a much more natural and comfortable step can be provided. The foam will allow the users boot to deform the attachment to better accommodate their boot as it goes through the motions of a typical step.

The major drawbacks of the spring-damper design are that it would be somewhat expensive due to the materials involved in its construction, and that it might be somewhat easily destroyed over time due to the foam in the sole. Because the sole contains alternating layers of foam and rubber, the materials would be somewhat costly and difficult to manufacture, thus adding to the cost to the consumer. Because foam tends to be destroyed relatively easily, the foam layers might deteriorate over time and cause a less effective and less durable attachment. Another major problem with this design is that it might be difficult to segment the attachment into two halves. Without this feature, the attachment could not be folded and thus would be inconvenient to carry.

The major positive feature of this attachment is the improvements it gives to the step of the user. With this device attached to your boots, you will roll along a much more natural path and the rubber and foam will help you deform the sole of the walking attachment to further normalize the stepping motion.

Hinged Boot

Hinged Ski Boot
Hinged Ski Boot

The existing hinged boot only has an ankle release and thus only gives your ankle increased range of motion. Walking comfortably, however, requires more than rotational freedom of the ankle. To win the other half of the battle, you need to have some flex in the foot itself. In our revised hinged ski boot design, we added another pivot joint in the toe so that your foot can flex naturally with each step.

Our design works by having two levers that can be switched to an open position. When in this open position, the normally tightly bound plates are released and able to pivot about joints in strategically placed locations. With this additional freedom, the motion of a step becomes much more natural.

The major shortcomings of this idea are that it may work less than ideally, many skiers might not opt to buy entirely new boots so that they can walk slightly more comfortably, and the boot might lose some rigidity needed for skiing. According to our market research, the existing boots with similar features really don't do a whole lot to improve the comfort of walking, so it isn't guaranteed that our revised design will help enough to warrant purchasing it. Also, according to our market research, many of the skiers felt that walking isn't an enormous problem, so unless the solution is cheap, they probably wouldn't buy it. Finally, if the locking mechanism wears out over time, the ski boots may lose the rigidity necessary to ski.

Even with all of the bad features of this design, it isn't without its merits. This design is incorporated into the boot itself, so it isn't necessary to carry any extra weight or annoying devices. Also, the added motion would probably help smooth out a step at least to some degree.

Comparison with Existing Solutions

Pugh Chart - Initial

A Pugh Chart quantitatively compares product designs based on several qualities. The chart evaluates the design's overall quality by its total score calculated by multiplying its grade in each of the categories that are weighed differently according to the category's significance to the product improvement. In general, a Pugh Chart uses the score of zero for the design that currently is the main stream in the market. The score of a new (or proposed) design is evaluated by whether the design is better, equally good, or worse compared to the in-stock design in each of the categories the product is graded on. Below is the Pugh Chart comparing four conceptual designs of the ski boot walking attachment - as described above, the score of "0" indicates that the design is indifferent from the standard walking attachment, Walk EZ.

Description WalkEZ Slider Spring-Damper Boot Hinge
Criterion Weighting Reference Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3
Physically minimal 2 0 - 0 +
Durable 1 0 - - -
Easy to Use 1 0 0 0 -
Improves step 3 0 ++ ++ +
Universal 2 0 + 0 --
Inexpensive 1 0 -- - --
+ 0 8 6 5
0 9 1 5 0
- 0 5 2 8
Totals 0 3 4 -3

Concept 1

The first conceptual design presented yields a total score of 3, implying that the design's overall quality is better than the currently existing walking attachment. The design's superior performance over the currently existing attachment and the ease for the users to attach the product to their ski boots contributes to the biggest margin of positives (8) among the three designs listed. However, the design also features very high cost, requires extra physical inputs from the users and may pose some safety issues as the design's lack of durability. Although its cost the design's biggest weakness may not be the most significant aspect of the product for the target consumer group, the high cost of the product would certainly hinder the design's appeal to a wider range of consumers. Also, the durability of the design and large amount of physical input required from the user sums up this high-risk high-reward design. While its significantly improved walking motion may bring a great customer satisfaction to some, several negative aspects of the design makes it a very risky product for the manufacturers to invest on.

Concept 2

The second conceptual design scores the overall grade of 4, which ranks the best among the three designs discussed here. Like the first design, this design features a dramatic improvement on the users' experience walking in ski boots, which is the primary objective of this product development process. Aside from its potential to gain a great customer satisfacton, the robust feature of the design made it the highest scoring design. Outside of the user's walking experience, the design does not have any significant advantage over the currently existing walking attachment. However, the design also does not have a major weakness (unlike the Concept 1) that may Jeopardize its marketability. Its slightly higher cost should not be enough reason to discourage the targeted consumer group (individuals who can afford leisure - individuals with expendable incomes) from purchasing the product especially given the significantly improved walking experience. Also, the design's durability is considered not as crucial by the targeted consumer group. Thus, its superb functionality and all-around robustness makes the Concept 2 a very attractive design.

Concept 3

The third conceptual design has the total score of -3, meaning at the very least, the overall quality of users' walking experience would not be improved by the use of this design. An interesting point to note, however, is that the design requires minimal physical input from the user, which may attract a very specific group of consumer - namely, senior skiers. Also, even though the improvement is not as dramatic as that of the previous two designs, the third design does improve the user's walking experience which is the most significant aspect among the product's overall performance. However, its incompatible design makes it extremely difficult for the users to fit the product to their ski boots - often requiring them to purchase a whole new pair of ski boots. Also, although categories such as "expense", "durability", and "ease to attach" are relatively trivial, scoring negatives in all three of them certainly hinders the design's marketability. Thus, the design does not have a stand-out feature to attract the users while several negative aspects hinder its marketability.


Based on the result of the comparisons using the Pugh Chart, the Concepts 1 and 2 both feature strong positives in the primary category of the design quality - users' walking experience.

Target Market

The end characteristics of the solution may 'assign' it to one or more ideal categories. The direct purchasers of the device can be grouped into serious skiers, casual skiers, and equipment rental companies. The tradeoffs and corresponding market segments are as follows:


Serious Skiers

Market research indicates that serious skiers are less concerned about cost than performance, and that the frequency with which they ski is relatively high. Their ideal product is:

  • High performance
  • Decently durable

Casual Skiers

Casual skiers, on the other hand, are cost-conscious above all else. They do not ski enough to require the highest durability and, with the right marketing and product reputation, are likely to employ any significant improvement. Their ideal product is:

  • Low cost
  • Good performance

Equipment Rental Companies

Rental companies rent to both casual and semi-serious skiers, and use high usage to defray the cost of equipment. Thus, an incredibly durable product would be viable for a rental company despite a high price. Accessories such as helmets and even clothing are common rentals alongside skis and boots, so it is not unreasonable to recommend a stride-improvement accessory as a good rental opportunity.

  • Very durable
  • Good performance

Selected Concept

The selected concept is a combination of Designs 1 and 2 - an effort to gain both degrees of freedom: lateral and angular. It attaches to the ski boot much like the WalkEZ does, and is designed to be sold at a slightly higher price point which reflects the vastly superior performance. It beats existing designs, and prototyping of this design is thus recommended as the next step.

Desired Traits

The strongest features of Designs 1 and 2 were their increased functionality. Specifically, Design 1 provided lateral freedom while Design 2 provided angular ankle freedom. These are our two most desired traits:

  • Lateral freedom
  • Angular freedom

While our other desired traits are weighted just as they appeared in the Pugh chart above.

Theoretical Equivalence

This design uses layers of foam and rubber to approximate dashpots and springs in parallel. As shown in the diagram above, the restoring force and damping ratios are tuned to the specific area of the boot as performance is needed.

  • During heel strike, critical damping seeks to control the impact, providing a mix of comfort and confidence.
  • During foot roll, the high restoring force ensures that minimal energy is lost during the step, and that the user has maximum control over their step.
  • During toe off, the soft material at the toe assists the rotation of the boot.

Physical Form

This design is very similar in size to the WalkEZ, though it is heavier due to the track. The track can be manufactured out of high-performance plastics and/or fiberglass to minimize weight.

The device may be unable to fold in two for storage; however, this may be an acceptable trade-off for the large performance gain.


Pugh Chart - Final

Description WalkEZ Unbuckling Unbuckling & WalkEZ Track-Spring-Damper Device
Criterion Weighting Reference Alt. Solution Alt. Solution Final Concept
Physically minimal 2 0 ++ 0 -
Durable 1 0 0 0 -
Easy to Use 1 0 - - 0
Improves step 3 0 - - +++
Universal 2 0 - - +
Inexpensive 1 0 ++ 0 --
+ 0 6 0 11
0 9 1 4 1
- 0 6 6 5
Totals 0 0 -6 6


The unbuckling design yields a total score of 0, implying that the design's overall quality is about the same compared to that of Walk EZ. The design features a huge advantage over Walk EZ in its cost and minimal physical input required from the user. However, the primary motive of this product development process - improvement of users' walking experience in ski boots - is not achieved at all by this design. In fact, the the unbuckling design results in a slightly less comfortable walking experience compared to what the Walk EZ offers. Also, the design is said to have low compatibility due to the inability of small children to properly unbuckle and rebuckle their boots. The WalkEZ and similar attachments, on the other hand, are not a problem for children to install and remove.

Unbuckling & Walk EZ

The design combining unbuckling mechanism and Walk EZ scores overall grade of -6, suggesting that the new design is most likely to be worse than the currently available solution to the problem. Ironically, the WalkEZ provides no added benefit to unbuckled boots. On top of those negativities featured in the unbuckling design, this combination has neither the advantage of low cost nor reduced physical input from the users. Thus, combining the unbuckling design and Walk EZ result in a disastrous outcome that has no advantage over the current solution (Walk EZ) and provides the users with reduced comfort level walking.

Track-Spring-Damper Device

The track-spring-damper design recieves overall grade of 6, suggesting that it is by far the best design among the three compared in this Pugh Chart. The design boasts an unbelievable improvement in the users' walking experience with three positives. Also, the design features an improved compatibility to regular ski boots which would encourage the target consumers purchasing of the project. The only significant downside of the design would be its high cost; however, as discussed in the initial Pugh Chart analyses, the cost of the product could be a trivial issue for the primary target consumers of the industry. Thus, with a dramatic improvement in two of the most important qualities of the product, improved walking experience and compatibility with ski boots makes this a highly viable design.


The Track-Spring-Damper device fared very well in the Pugh chart. It is arguably far superior to any existing solution, and there is a well-heeled, performance-minded market waiting to purchase it. Thus, we label the Track-Spring-Damper attachment to be our final recommendation for prototyping and development.


Next Steps

We recommend that the above Final Design Concept be explored as a product to manufacture. This will entail multiple prototype revisions, additional analytical work involving MATLAB models from Report 1, and analysis of prototypes and models by users.


A Gannt Chart is often used as a convinient tool to visualize a project's progress. The chart descirbes what major task(s) needs to be completed in order for the next task to begin. The Gannt Chart posted below is the projected time line of this project. Due to the duration for the ordered materials and parts to arrive, the actual manufacturing of the first prototype may not start until as late as October 13th, which would leave only a week to modify the product to the form that can be presented at the first design review. In order to stay on pace, product analyses on the first prototype are planned to be conducted in parallel with the manufacturing process. While waiting on the parts to arrive, detailed prototype designs need to be developed in order to optimize the efficiency of the manufacturing process.

Gannt Chart displaying the projected timeline for major tasks

Although every major task between now and the Final Design Exposition are laid out in the Gannt Chart above, it is a "projected" timeline for the project. Therefore, the target deadlines for some of the tasks may be subject to change.



  • Brandon Perry (Group Leader & Spokesperson)
    • Executive Summary
    • Target Markets
    • Recommendations
    • Presentation
  • Randyka Pudjoprawoto (Product Specialist)
    • Market research
    • Existing solutions
    • Brainstorming sketches
  • Taka Matsuura (Project Specialist)
    • Market research
    • Revision & editing
    • Gantt chart
  • Jarrett Valeri (Design Specialist)
    • Demand analysis
    • Idea & design development
    • Documentation
    • Concept sketches


This stage of the design process saw our team working together more often. We used each other as a wall-ball court for ideas, spinning the idea of an "Eagle-powered ski boot" into a constructive foundation for more practical designs. When done separately, workload was divided evenly among the group members.

All members performed brainstorming, sketching, and participated in authoring this report.



<references />

Brainstorming: Millions of Designs

  • Jet boots with sled bottoms
  • Boots that have removable inserts
  • Boots with removable plating to release the ankle
  • Boots with attached wheels that flip down
  • Attachment with wheels that clips onto boots
  • Attachment with jets and smooth sled-like bottom
  • Boots with removable top half
  • Attachment with energy dissipating/restoring elements
  • Attachment with a track similar to an elliptical
  • Boots with blades that fold down
  • Boot with rounded heel to create more realistic motion
  • Motorized wheel on a stick that you put in front of you with your skis on and it pulls you
  • Propeller blades on the back of sled-bottomed boots
  • Boots with treads on them powered by a motor
  • Motorized tread attachments
  • Better ski lift system to avoid walking around on the slopes
  • Moving walkways in and around the lodge to help avoid walking
  • Better poles that function like crutches
  • Skis that can be converted to cross country skis easily
  • Skis that can be used like a sled with poles to push yourself
  • Boots with springs on the bottom to bounce anywhere you need to go
  • Roller-skating design with modified wheels.
  • Inline-skating design with modified wheels.
  • Boots on skate tracks design.
  • Spring/ Damper at either end with hinge in the center design.
  • Springs no damper design.
  • Pistons with pump driven walking attachment design.
  • Levitating attachment via mini turbofans.
  • Levitating attachment via compressed air.
  • Motorized roller skating design.
  • Rotating jet engine design with wings.
  • Prosthetic foot design.
  • Skate shoes design with retractable/ folding wheels.
  • Rats powered design.
  • Walking robotic insect design.
  • Rail gun concept design on installed magnet tracks.
  • Pogo stick attachment design.
  • Piezoelectric boot shell that stiffens when there is a current and softens otherwise.
  • Bipedal robotic legs attachment design.
  • Segway with small supporting wheels in the front and back of the boot.
  • Caterpillar tracked design (tanks, snowmobile, bulldozer, etc.)
  • Hovercraft design.
  • Tortoise powered design.
  • Eagle powered design.
  • Using the momentum of light design.
  • Redirecting explosions with wheels design.
  • Fan with wheels design.
  • Compressed air with wheels design.
  • Helicopter attachment design.
  • Rocket powered with wheels design.
  • A pair of ski boots that the user can wear with normal snow boots on
  • Ski boot with flexible bottom
  • Ski boot consisting of the “footwear” part and “ankle locking collar”
  • Ski boot liner that allows some movement inside the ski boot shell
  • Modify the inside of the ski boot shell so that the ski boot liner can pivot about the center of the foot inside the boot
  • Install spring-damper configurations inside the ski boot shell
  • Install shock absorbing layers (i.e. sponge-like materials) between the bottom of ski boot shell and the liner
  • Install roller baring between the bottom of ski boot shell and the liner
  • Install spring-damper configurations to the side of the boots
  • Incorporate technologies used in “slap skate”
  • An attachment shaped like a half-circle (or a wedge with a smooth corners)
  • Install two wedges (one in front, the other in the rear)
  • Place spring-damper configuration at the center of the ski boot (along the line connecting the user’s center of gravity and the ground)
  • Place layer(s) of shock absorbing materials at the center of the ski boot
  • Place spring-damper configurations at front and the rear of the ski boot
  • Should absorb the impact the user experiences every time he/she puts his/her foot on the snow very effectively
  • Place layer(s) of shock absorbing materials at the front and the rear of the ski boot
  • Add extra straps to the WalkEZ for more stability

Animalistic Design

Three of the brainstorming reports involved animal power of ski boots. Interestingly, this proved to be very helpful for the generation of other ideas which were generally more practical.

Chelonian Power

Turtle-powered ski boots
Turtle-powered ski boots

Strapping the boot to a turtle would be a very slow way to go. Furthermore, turtles use their legs for power, letting us know we had not escaped from the leg-to-foot-to-ground concept of locomotion. Turtles are durable, except in rollovers - and heavy. This might not be the best animal to harness.

Aquiline Power

Eagle-powered ski boots
Eagle-powered ski boots

The majestic eagle would be an easy sell for patriotic consumers, regardless of the functionality - we had not previously considered pre-purchase perception as a design factor. Eagles get violent when used improperly (in situations such as this), so they would pose a safety risk. Likewise, they would be incompatible with ski designs incorporating animals smaller on the food chain. In all fairness, the probability of a skier using a ski with a rat strapped to it is astoundingly low, but the concept of compatibility still applies. Eagles are a scarce and proprietary species, and being unable to work with various standard equipment shrinks the market for their graceful soaring. A robust, diverse market would be nice.

Murine Power

Rat-powered ski boots
Rat-powered ski boots

Assuming a relatively eagle-free zone, rats could provide power to our ski boot much the same way as their gerbil relatives are reputed to provide power to many compact cars. In this vein, rat-sized exercise wheels would directly propel the skier forward. This has freed us from any walking or flapping motion obsession, but it illustrates clearly the importance of design for all audiences. Three mice - even with decent eyesight - are no match for a 300lb user's heft. If the user is rendered immobile and cannot ascend the stairs to the ski lodge dining area, he will wither away until the rats have a fighting chance at propelling him foodward. As unlikely as that amount of weight gain is, we made note of the unexpected ramifications of our design. Considering function out of context would have missed these potential benefits, features, or even dangers. So, we must thank these humble rats for reminding us of the ever-present importance of context.

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