Masterclasses for Footwear Industry Professionals

                                                    CUSHIONING - THEORY AND APPLICATIONS

                                                               Two Days / 16 contact hours

“Cushioning”, “energy return” and “comfort” are not material properties. They are the outcomes of dynamic interactions among materials, geometry, load inputs, biomechanical and psychological processes. All cushioning materials, systems and materials are non-linear so linear concepts of “soft” and “hard” are not applicable. This course is for product engineers, sports biomechanists and others with similar background seeking an advanced theoretical and practical understanding of how cushioning works. It examines the mechanical and biomechanical principles of cushioning problems, the biomechanical determination of cushioning requirements and the matching of materials and systems with applications to create optimal solutions. While focused on athletic footwear applications, the course content is also applicable to sports surfaces, body protection, helmets and other human protection problems. A small but important part of this course includes some mathematical content. Familiarity with college level math (algebra, calculus) is not required but is recommended.

In addition to class time, the course includes laboratory demonstrations and Q&A sessions. The accompanying course book provided to all attendees includes notes on all the topics covered, plus additional details, example data, test results and design templates.


I. Classes of cushioning problems
  i. Impact Attenuation;
  ii. Load distribution
  iii. Psychophysical outcomes
           (Comfort, etc.)
  iv. Cushioning performance criteria

II. Cushioning Conundrums

III. Quantification of Load & Cushioning Requirements
  i. Force, Shock, Pressure, Impulse
  ii. Impact Attenuation, Performance, Comfort

IV. Evaluating Cushioning
  i. Mechanical Methods
  ii. Biomechanical Methods

V. The Mechanics of Foams
  i. Cellular Solids
  ii. Types & Examples
  iii. Material Properties
  iv. Cushioning Properties
  v. Density effects
  vi. Temperature effects

VI. Material Characterization
  i. Material Properties
  ii. =Nonlinearity
  iii. Cushioning Performance
  iv. Energy Return

VII. A Conceptual Framework for Cushioning
  i. Tuning and Material Selection
  ii. Layers and Moderators

VIII. Cushioning and Curvature
  i. Theory
  ii. Applications

IX. Cushioning in 3D

X. Cushioning and Comfort
  i. Psychophysics
  ii. Objective evaluation of subjective responses

XI. Vibration

XII. Grading for Size & Gender

XIII. Cushioning Technologies

                                                      All courses are a maximum of ten participants