Injury-preventing bushwalking boots

While many grey nomads love nothing better than a good bushwalk, most are pretty wary of the potential for picking up a trip-changing injury along the way.

Uneven surfaces, rock scrambles, steep inclines, cambered tracks … they all add to the potential for a fall or – more commonly – a nasty ankle injury.

While no footwear can guarantee you’re not going to trip over a random rock, or step off the edge of a cliff while you’re staring skywards at a passing wedge-tailed eagle … wearing the right shoe or boot can certainly offer you extra grip and support and help minimise the risk of a minor misadventure.

Happily, an innovative German company has been beavering away at developing new technology that can be integrated into footwear to help prevent ankle injury to bushwalkers and others.

Bushwalking boots

Berlin-based Betterguards Technology says its guiding principle is similar to that of a car seatbelt which limits extreme and sudden movement, and it says by doing so its technology can prevent torn or stretched ligaments.

Simply put, the idea is that a slim hydraulic piston which is hidden in a boot strap is connected to a second strap which goes around the ankle. When a bushwalker steps on an uneven surface and the ankle starts to roll, the piston prevents it from doing so.

ankle twisting

Uh oh! This looks like a twisted angle waiting to happen, PIC: CIzza

Betterguards says its patented technology only activates when necessary and allows full freedom of movement in normal circumstances.

Apparently, the piston set-up can react to a situation such as a rolling ankle about three times faster than a muscle would. Importantly for grey nomads who may have suffered previous injuries, Betterguards says the protection its system offers allows people the opportunity to regain confidence in their own bodies.

Professor Marc Kraft from the Berlin Institute of Technology said the Betterguards innovation combined protection and freedom of motion and delivered a ‘paradigm shift in injury prevention’.

The innovative ankle protection technology has already found its way into the Terrein Ascent hiking shoe and Betterguards hopes it will soon be adopted by other footwear companies.

  • Do you steer clear of the more tricky bushwalks because you fear picking up a trip-changing injury? Or have you previously injured yourself on a bushwalk? Would this sort of new footwear technology give you more confidence out on the trail? Email us here to share your thoughts.
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