※The world's first patented product
Support for healthy way of walking to protect knee joints
Structure that evenly absorbs shock to the knee
Acting on the inner thigh muscle supporting the knee
Born from joint development of "Industry, Academy, and Medicine"!
The fin in the screw section is deformed by the body weight when the heel touches the ground, and helps to rotate the toes slightly outward with the step. With this support for the rotation movement of knee, it promotes the correct way of walking.
The shock of landing is transmitted to the knee as a burden through the heel. The SHM® feature alleviates that shock with the elasticity of its rubber. Moreover, the screw structure distributes the pressure exerted by the body weight efficiently to lessen the load.
The inner thigh muscle provides support and protection for the knee when people walk (medial great muscle). SHM® promoting the Screw Home Movement acts on the inner thigh muscle efficiently to achieve the correct way of walking.
[Patent] Patent No. 3992724 | Patent No. 10-0918230 in Korea | Patent No. ZL200680010617.5 in China | Patent No. HK1113065 in Hong Kong
＊Impression and progression from use are subject to individual differences.
＊ASAHI Medical Walk is not a medical equipment.
＊Quoted from "Function Anatomy Photography, Lower Limbs" by Ando, Eiji
＊The screw structure in the heel provides support for activities of lower limbs by its deformation due to rubber elasticity at the time of landing. The screw itself does not rotate.
People with knee troubles are increasing as more people become engaged in fitness walking. The ASAHI Corporation (industry), in collaboration with Kyushu University (academy) and medical facilities (medicine), developed the SHM® feature, which promotes the correct way of walking and prevents knee troubles. Friendly to the human body, the shoes offering this feature provide support for the knee with its genuine function and work to prevent troubles such as gonarthrosis.
＊There are about 40 million fitness walkers according to the cabinet office survey. There is a number of symptoms with knee troubles different by individuals. One study shows that there are 10 million people with knee osteoarthritis, and when including the people at the risk, it reaches 30 million. (as reported by the Department of Joint Disease Research, 22nd Century Medical and Research Center, Tokyo Hospital University).
Actively participating in researches and seminars on the subjects of shoes and health. Plays an active part in various fields, for example acting as a leading researcher in the field of moist healing, and medical service provider in motor sports at Suzuka Circuit, not to mention an advisor for shoe makers. Also appears in media such as his literary work including the book for people with knee troubles, "No more knee pains! Keep fit with ASAHI SHOES Method" (published by WANI BOOKS CO., LTD.).
ASAHI SHOES, LTD. was established in 1892 as a predecessor "Shimaya," a tailor shop in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Since that time, a wide range of shoes adopting rubber soles, including Jika-tabi, have been introduced to the world, proving popular as a brand name for "ASAHI Shoes." However, in 1998, the company was heading toward collapse due to poor performance. After that, although a reorganization plan was approved under the Corporate Reorganization Act with support from the local community and many business partners, there was an urgent need for the company to develop new hit products in order to reverse its fortunes.
In 2002, Tsukamoto, who belonged to the product development department at that time, was suddenly struck by knee pain. The doctor's diagnosis determined this was symptomatic of "osteoarthritis of the knee." Water had accumulated in the knees causing the pain, leading to difficulties in work and daily life in general. The doctor recommended endoscopic surgery, but a physical therapist advised him to adopt an exercise therapy regimen that would build up quadricep muscles although it would take time. Results proved positive: one year later he was able to walk about 10km at a speed of 5 to 6 km/h, and two years later he recovered so dramatically that he could run at 8 to 10 km/h.
Tsukamoto, who did not have any particular knowledge about the symptoms of "osteoarthritis of the knee" until then, now knows that quite a number of people suffer from the same symptoms, saying "If you feel pain in your knees, you will not want to walk, you will have difficulty in walking and you will not be able to walk." "I would like to support walking health, as a shoe manufacturer. I would like to create shoes that can prevent diseases of the knee!" With such determination, he decided to transform his ideas into the development of "shoes that would prevent knee troubles." He sought and received the backing of medical professionals and university professors, and at the same time organized a development team within the company to launch a project in earnest. The way forward, however, was not easy.
Normally, when the heel lands while walking, the bone below the knee slightly turns outward with respect to the thigh bone. This movement is called "Screw Home Movement" [abbreviation: SHM]. This movement reduces pressure on the knee and ensures stability and supportability. However, it is said that, if muscular strength decreases due to aging or the like, this rotation becomes unstable, and that in some cases knee troubles are more likely to occur by inverse rotation.
In order to develop these "shoes that contribute to correct knee movement," Tsukamoto, head of the group, Enishi, a member of the technical staff specializing in data analysis of the feet, and Yamazaki, a rubber development specialist who has developed over 1,000 kinds of shoes participated in the project. Yamazaki put in charge of development says that he had mixed feelings because he wondered to himself "were such shoes realistically developable?" Rotating knee joints with shoes was a completely new development concept.
Tsukamoto focused on shoe supports for correcting the deformed legs of children called "torque heels." Six rubber blades rotate the legs outward when an individual lands on the ground. Based on this, development of shoes with rubber blades on shoe soles began. However, the first prototype proved difficult to walk in due to the strange feeling experienced under the feet when landing. With six blades it was impossible to support adult walking. Yamazaki repeatedly studied the shape of the blades, the number of blades and the hardness of the rubber, and on and on, looking for the best combination. As a result of repeated research, and by adjusting the hardness, he found a screw shape that had the most stable effect: 12 blades and a spiral shape.
Screw position was also an important factor. Initially, the screw was installed just under the knee, but walking was not stable because excessive force was applied to the screw. Enishi, who was in charge of engineering, collected detailed data on plantar pressure exerted by weight shift while walking. He searched for the position in which the screw would work most rationally. However, he suffered a long series of setbacks in fabricating a prototype. The shoe data that had accumulated for 3 months exceeded 200 pairs of shoes. Still, Enishi continuing development without giving up finally discovered that the optimal position for the screw was just below the heel. It took well over a year for him to reach this conclusion from the start of development.
Upon completion of the design of the basic structure of the sole, the next task was a verification test for commercialization. In a collaborative effort with a total of 157 people (60 men, 97 women) assisting in the development project for 2 years, we conducted verification tests on efficacy and safety from both engineering and medical perspectives. As a result, evaluations such as "these shoes do not impede the natural movement of the knees" and "I feel less tired even if I walk a long distance" were obtained, and these evaluations were presented at various academic conferences. Based on the recommendations of experts, we officially decided to commercialize the shoes. In addition, the screw structure attached to the sole was named “SHM function taking the initials of "Screw Home Movement" which means the swiveling movement of the knees. Its orange color comes from the company name ASAHI = Rising Sun.
People tend to focus on the "SHM function" of the shoes, but many more functions are incorporated. For example, in "Medical Walk 1645," it was necessary to make shoes as light as possible to reduce pressure on the knees. To meet these needs, we divided the soles of the shoes normally made of 1 rubber part into 4 layers. We used strong rubber for the first layer coming into contact with the ground, a lightweight sponge for the second layer, and a hard resin for the third layer to stabilize the screw. The shoe has a complicated structure: 2 layers for the toe and 4 layers for the heel, and we have made every effort to reduce the pressure on the knee. In addition, as a part of "WKL001," we introduced state-of-the-art equipment and achieved high durability, stability, shock absorption by designing an easy-to-walk structure with three-dimensional design and adopting a newly formulated urethane and rubber material.
This shoe, born from Tsukamoto's desire "to walk healthy" and “to walk with healthy knees for the rest of his life," was named "ASAHI Medical Walk" as a house brand after the company name. We received, from customers who wore these shoes, many responses such as "I am glad to have found these shoes," and "I don’t want to wear any other pair of shoes." We hope that "ASAHI Medical Walk" born from engineering and experience of ASAHI SHOES, LTD., will contribute to everyone's health.