The Requirement for Microgravity Specific Footwear and its Impact on Space Architecture

Craig McCormack, Taylor Phillips-Hungerford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

1 Citation (Scopus)


While aboard the International Spaee Station (ISS), astronauts wear soeks on their feet, with running shoes used when on the treadmill and whilst using the bieyele. Commonplaee throughout the ISS are fabne loops and material that is wrapped in an inconsistent and ad hoe manner around mobility aids with the aim of providing comfortable restraint. However, these are not particularly universal, can be awkward to utilise, can be potentially hazardous, and can restrict use of the mobility aid to single appendage. The interior of the ISS consists of hard, smooth-surfaced materials that can also pose safety concerns and risk of injury through accidental, forceful contact. As a microgravity environment increases the amount of time it can take to heal from injuries such as bruises, mitigation of these injuries is important in providing a comprehensive approach to occupational health and safety in extreme environments. Legs and feet are the more powerful, long-duration mobilizers, yet they are largely ignored in favour of the arms and hands. The current footwear of choice, socks, compounds this by reducing the finesse that more suitably structured footwear can afford. In all aspects of specialized vocations or activities, a specific shoe or boot was created to increase a person's effectiveness at that task. The provision of footwear that can both allow for comfortable and secure restraint whilst providing adequate protection to reduce injury to the feet in a microgravity environment is a necessary step in the evolution of habitation of humans in space. This paper highlights a gap in the availability and development of microgravity-specific footwear and its potential to mitigate injury and provide appropriate personal restraint whilst also promoting a holistic approach to human-centred, design and the interrelated occupational health and safety of space architecture. By analysing relevant information that includes astronaut feedback and microgravity focussed occupational health and safety data. this paper aims to identify not only an opportunity to develop microgravity specific footwear but also a direction for its development. Copyright © 2017 by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-151085537-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event68th International Astronautical Congress 2017: 28th IAA Symposium on Space and Society - Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 Sept 2017 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Conference68th International Astronautical Congress 2017
Abbreviated titleIAC-17
Period25/09/17 → …
Internet address


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