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The science of design

Some women would kill for a great pair of Manolos. Some men would easily pay more than $100 for a pair of Jordans. But what about a new pair of McGuire and Whitneys?

Temple podiatrists James McGuire and Kendrick Whitney recently joined the shoe design business with the release of their R'n'R rest and recovery shoe, the first commercially available shoe to be designed by university-backed researchers.

The R'n'R is a product of Creative Footwear Technology, a venture between the two doctors and local entrepreneur Richard Posoff that uses the latest in foot and ankle research to produce a foot-friendly therapeutic shoe.

"Most shoes on the market today are designed by artists and not scientists who know something about how the foot works," said McGuire. "Our goal was to enhance the way shoes are designed, by looking at research-based findings and put out a better shoe, one that's designed with both function and form in mind."

Commercially available shoes tend to place the most support on the arch of the foot, which throws off the body's center of gravity and keeps the foot from functioning normally. McGuire and Whitney say that the R'n'R offers an entirely new way to support the arch, and it dissipates the shock and stress experienced at the two most stressful parts of the gait cycle: heel strike and pushoff. As a result, the shoes provide a more natural gait, reduce shock and shear forces, and support the foot while still allowing a natural use of the muscles and bones.

Whitney said the shoe is a reflection of the industry's shift away from orthotic inserts that are designed to restrict foot movement.

"We want the foot to work normally, as if it was a bare foot, as nature intended," he said. "This shoe is designed to allow for a more natural function with enhanced comfort for a harsh environment."

Together, McGuire and Whitney have developed more than 30 footwear and foot care products to meet their patients' needs, but the R'n'R is their first to be sold over the counter in retail stores.

Temple's Office of Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Partnerships facilitated the business partnership, with due diligence and business plan advice provided by BioStrategy Partners in Philadelphia. Market research and business plan assistance was provided by the Fox School of Business.

"Creative Footwear Technology represents another example of Temple's commitment to support entrepreneurial efforts by its faculty," said Larry Lemanski, the university's senior vice president for research and strategic initiatives. "The company's partnership with our Office of Technology Transfer, Office of Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Partnerships, the Fox School of Business and BioStrategy Partners demonstrates how society can benefit when industry and academia work together in applying scientific findings to solve real-life problems."


Contact: Renee Cree
Temple University

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