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Partnership finds the perfect fit

Partnership finds the perfect fit

Leading New Zealand footwear company Kumfs and AUT University have embarked on a ground-breaking project which is set to improve shoe comfort for women worldwide.

AUT Commercialisation Manager, Luke Krieg, says the novel collaboration between Kumfs and AUT is a New Zealand first, in terms of seeking to unlock the secrets behind what makes a woman's shoe comfortable.

"We are providing Kumfs with world-class researchers whose findings will add real value to their business. The Government also offers a substantial tax incentive for businesses carrying out R&D either in-house or through other research providers."

Professor of Podiatry Keith Rome, who has come to AUT from the UK, and Professor Peter McNair, Director of AUT's Health and Rehabilitation Research Centre, are carrying out the research for Kumfs. The project involves exploring shoe comfort and ultimately developing a new shoe insert.

Kumfs Managing Director, Andrew Robertson, says both the partnership and research is significant.

"As a New Zealand owned company that has achieved international success based on the original, high quality footwear we make, we're pleased to be driving further innovation in this area via our partnership with AUT," he says.

"While women typically wear footwear for many hours every day, it is surprising how little research internationally has gone into the design and shape of shoes to ensure that they provide maximum comfort for the wearer." Professors Rome and McNair have completed an initial literature review and will be in the product development phase for the next 12 months.

"We anticipate that at the end of the research phase Kumfs and AUT will have developed a world-leading design prototype that will significantly enhance the comfort women experience when they purchase our footwear," Robertson says.

The link between Kumfs and AUT was established in 2003 when final year podiatry students visited the Kumfs factory in Auckland to observe the manufacturing process. Strong links have been developed since, culminating in the current research programme.


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