Shoe Helper

Designers: Andy Huang, John Perkins and Alyx Rosen
Supervising Professor:  Larry Bohs

Our client, a woman with cerebral palsy and limited mobility in her legs, requires up to 30 minutes to put on her shoes.  The Shoe Helper, made from thermoplastic, consists of a shoehorn pivoting on top of a heel cup.  While the heel cup prevents the heel of the shoe from folding under, the extra-wide shoehorn supports the client’s heel and guides the foot into the shoe, regardless of the foot’s entry angle.  A string attached to the shoehorn allows the client to manipulate the hinge connecting the two plastic parts.  The top of the shoehorn also serves as a sock aid, minimizing the number of dressing aids needed.  The product is portable, adaptable to all shoes, and inexpensive to produce.  Using the device, the client now puts on both socks and shoes in under four minutes.

The client commented,  “The combo sock/shoe assist works perfectly and saves me up to 30 minutes each time I use it.  I never have to worry about the time it will take to put on shoes.  It just takes a couple of minutes at most for both shoes.  This device is life changing!”

The Shoe Helper (Figure 1) includes a shoehorn and a heel cup, connected together with a metal hinge.  Both the shoehorn and heel cup are constructed from hand-molded 1/8” thick thermoplastic.  The shoehorn guides the user’s heel and also serves as the main component of the sock aid. The heel cup provides a rigid structure that prevents the heel of the shoe from collapsing.  The widened rim allows the device to fit around a variety of different shoes.  The shoehorn and heel cup are connected via a 2” steel strap hinge, sandwiched in place with thermoplastic.  A 72” hiker’s lace is attached to the top of the shoehorn to allow for rotation.    For use as a sock aid, the string is first threaded through a thermoplastic bracket attached to the back of the heel cup, visible in Figure 2.  This allows the user to pull forcefully on the string from the heel cup end of the device.  Figure 2 shows the client using the device as a shoe helper.  Figure 3 shows the client using the device as a sock aid.  The device costs approximately $18 to replace.

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