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SATRA’s footwear testing team

Introducing the SATRA staff members who assist customers with physical testing on footwear, components and materials.

The testing of footwear components, materials and whole shoes at SATRA is appreciated by members worldwide. This is evident from the number of requests for this service received by the team each year. All forms of footwear and related components can be tested – from children’s first shoes to high fashion styles, ‘everyday’ footwear, sports shoes and performance boots – such as are worn by firefighters.

This important assessment work is carried out by a very experienced team of personnel, many of whom have several decades of service at SATRA. These experts provide an impressive range of tests and associated services, including consultancy, the full evaluation of newly developed materials, components and whole shoes, and pass/fail reports produced against a given specification.

The SATRA footwear testing team is also called upon to solve problems faced by member companies during the manufacturing process – such as processing faults, difficulties with material incompatibility and design issues. The team regularly produces bespoke training programmes.

How it works

As an example of how member companies may use SATRA’s footwear testing services, a women’s fashion shoe manufacturer received a number of complaints from wearers who said that the shoes felt unstable and claimed that there was a risk of injury from falling over. The company provided samples to SATRA, which were tested. The results of a dissection indicated a construction fault which explained the instability. This knowledge enabled the company to ensure that faulty stock could be withdrawn from the market and future products could be made correctly.

Another service offered by SATRA’s footwear testing team is the investigation of consumer complaints. A member may send in a shoe that has been returned by a wearer who claims it is faulty. The footwear will be examined and an expert opinion provided in the form of an independent third-party report as to whether the complaint is justified or not.

The consultants

Darren Roberts is business manager for the SATRA footwear testing team and oversees all aspects of the department. An experienced footwear specialist with more than two decades’ experience in safety footwear, he advises on the interpretation of standards, especially for EC type-approval (CE marking).

Mike George holds a physics degree and has worked at SATRA since 1982. He started in shoe engineering research and now concentrates on sole properties and is one of SATRA’s recognised experts on assessing slip resistance.

Debbie Reed joined the SATRA laboratory 21 years ago and quickly rose to her present position of technologist. Debbie specialises in reporting to retailer’s specifications.

A member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Mark Southam has been at SATRA for over 40 years. He is involved in all aspects of testing in the department, including consumer legislation and arbitration of consumer complaints. Mark also presents many of SATRA’s footwear training courses and works closely with clients to develop specifications for testing.

Kala Tidball-Wykes joined SATRA in 1975. She is mainly responsible for whole shoe and component testing, and assessment to military specifications.

Lee Wilson started work in SATRA’s footwear testing team 13 years ago, before moving to the organisation’s fitting team. Lee is an expert in the field of fitting and also provides guidance to members on lasts and comfort issues.

A senior consultant in SATRA’s footwear testing group and team leader of the fitting and comfort section, Mike Wilson joined SATRA in 1978 with a degree in physics and chemistry. He is chairman of three international standards committees: CEN TC161/WG3, CEN TC289/WG2 and ISO TC137/WG2, the latter working on shoe size scale conversions and footwear fitting.

Rosie Molcher has a degree in biology and is now in her ninth year at SATRA. Her current role as a SATRA Accredited Footwear Technologist primarily covers the testing of safety footwear, and she is an expert in mould and mould prevention.

Jack Hussein has worked for SATRA for seven years, and started as a technician specialising in testing safety footwear, whole shoes and solings. For the past two years, he has been a SATRA Accredited Footwear Technologist working on safety footwear and automotive product testing.

Charlotte Fowle has a degree in Sport and Material Science, which gives her great insight into the requirements of footwear and clothing. She is an expert on artificial sports surfaces and energy return, and also has an in-depth knowledge of human biomechanics.

Verity Rainbow started work at SATRA in February 2000 as a footwear technician primarily testing soling materials. She gained experience in the testing of leather, upper materials, components and whole shoes, and in 2010, Verity was promoted to the position of laboratory supervisor responsible for organising the testing team. She subsequently became a SATRA Accredited Footwear Technologist and since 2015 has worked as a technologist in the footwear team.

Completing the team

SATRA’s state-of-the-art footwear testing laboratories are staffed by highly skilled technicians with many years’ experience. A combination of its world-class facilities and procedures conducted by industry experts keeps SATRA as the number one choice for international footwear testing.

The photograph at the top of this page shows some of SATRA’s footwear testing technicians, who perform many of the team’s important assessment procedures.

How can we help?

Please email footwear@satra.com for further information on SATRA’s footwear testing services.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 48 of the November 2017 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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