Bioinspired kirigami metasurfaces as assistive shoe grips

Sahab Babaee, Simo Pajovic, Ahmad Rafsanjani, Yichao Shi, Katia Bertoldi*, Giovanni Traverso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Falls and subsequent complications are major contributors to morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults. Here, by taking inspiration from claws and scales found in nature, we show that buckling kirigami structures applied to footwear outsoles generate higher friction forces in the forefoot and transversally to the direction of movement. We identified optimal kirigami designs capable of modulating friction for a range of surfaces, including ice, by evaluating the performance of the dynamic kirigami outsoles through numerical simulations and in vitro friction testing, as well as via human-gait force-plate measurements. We anticipate that lightweight kirigami metasurfaces applied to footwear outsoles could help mitigate the risk of slips and falls in a range of environments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)778-786
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

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