Cold feet in winter and sweaty toes during summer could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to an innovative insole developed by a self-described ‘serial inventor’.
Bruno Aubert got the idea after a medical condition left him with cold feet most winters.
He was inspired to take it further when an acquaintance told him he suffered the same fate as a result of his job.
“I have a friend who works in a cold storage logistics depot in the United States. It is -30C and he sometimes has to spend eight hours a day in the cold,” Mr Aubert told The Connexion.
“He had boots with electric heaters in them, but the battery only lasted two hours and everything had to stop while the batteries were changed.”
Person’s weight compresses the air
Mr Aubert, from Banyuls-sur-Mer in Pyrénées-Orientales, started experimenting with flexible insoles that produce heat when the air inside them is compressed – in the same way that an old-fashioned bicycle pump gets warm.
This heat is then transferred to the foot side of the sole through a one-way valve, while the other side stays cool.
“It is the person’s weight that compresses the air, so there are no extra mechanical or electrical systems needed,” Mr Aubert said.
“You just have to walk for five minutes before you start to feel the warmth.”
Just turn them over to cool feet
In summer, the insoles can be turned over and reversed left/right so the cool side is in contact with the foot.
The soles are thin enough – less than 6mm – to allow them to be inserted into most shoes without having to remove the original insole.
The first production run of the insoles, called Climfeet, sold out within days on the company’s website, even though they cost €79 a pair.
“Buyers are mainly women over 45 years old who suffer from cold feet, but there have also been a few runners and people who work outside in the winter,” Mr Aubert said.
“There have been a few delays but supplies from our partner factories are starting again.”
The insoles are made of silicon from China and assembled in France at a factory in Lyon.
Sold first two inventions
Competitive runners can expect a pair to last a year, but this extends to two years for less frequent runners or people who use them while working or standing most of the day.
His friend from the cold storage unit now has a pair and has given positive feedback.
“He says he does not have a sensation of heat, as he had with the electric insoles, but at the same time, his feet never feel cold,” said Mr Aubert.
The Climfeet insoles are Mr Aubert’s third major invention.
His first was a device to improve navigation on ships, which was sold to a large US company.
His second invention, a mini air quality sensor, also found a buyer.
Mr Aubert said he still has new ideas in his head but wants to concentrate on building Climfeet into a global company first.