Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bata Industrials

For the last two months the world has watched the incredible story of  the trapped Chilean miners play out on television and the internet.  There was worldwide concern for the safety of these men and worldwide relief as their amazing rescue unfolded. This is one of those situations where everyone truly wishes they could do something to help.  One group who realized they actually could help was Research and Design team at Bata Industrials Latin America.  The story of what they created to help the miners is fascinating to the staff of the Bata Shoe Museum because of the way this organization was able to use their technical knowledge to create a product which could make an immediate change to the comfort and health of the trapped miners.

While the 33 miners remained trapped underground, one of the aims of the rescuers was to try and make the miner's situation as liveable as possible until a rescue could be achieved.  One of the many discomforts the miners suffered was that their feet had become cold and painful, and many were developing fungal infections as a result of the humidity.  The Research and Development team of Bata Industrials were determined to find a way to help ease this situation.  But because of the small diameter of the tube which was the only was to access the miners, fitting a shoe down intact was not possible.  The solution for the team at Bata Industrials was to create a shoe which could be sent down in sections and then easily reassembled by the miners.

The result was the creation of a shoe that was collapsible in order to be sent down the narrow tube. The boots featured hydrofugated leather with high water resistance and flexible rubber outsoles and  outer socks which were created using a breathable membrane   As quickly as possible, these elements were created, packaged and sent down the narrow tube to the miners where they were successfully reassembled and worn the by trapped miners.  A picture of part of one of the shoes even made the front page of the Toronto Star when it was sent back up by one of the miner's as a souvenir for his waiting wife!

The Bata Shoe Museum is proud to be able to display an example of these innovative boots.  These boots show how the ingenuity of this development team proved that there really is the right footwear for any situation!

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