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Flexyfoot Hiking Pole Review

Flexyfoot Hiking Pole

Flexyfoot was invented by product designer David Goodwin, whose design team has over 25 years of experience in creating innovative, stylish and commercially successful products.

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About Flexyfoot

The idea for Flexyfoot came about after David’s sister, an MS sufferer, complained to him about the difficulties and discomfort of using her walking stick. She found that rubber feet wore down too quickly and were very difficult to change. His mother at 95 refused to use any sort of walking aid, even after a fall, because she thought it made her look ‘old’.  Realising there was a need for walking aids of all types to be sporty and smart, David developed a flexible, safe and comfortable alternative to the humble walking stick ferrule. And so Flexyfoot made its debut.

Flexyfoot aims to transform the walking aid sector by offering real solutions to the real problems faced by those who need, or prefer, to have a little bit more stability. Flexyfoot assistive products not only look good and work well, but also have proven medical and therapeutic benefits, helping to challenge the stigma of walking aids and give safe, flexible support to those who need it.

The Flexyfoot ferrule is the result of three years of extensive research

The Flexyfoot ferrule is the result of three years of extensive research, design and development and has been created with the help of a leading orthopaedic surgeon. The Flexyfoot ferrule has been tested to the latest ISO standard for endurance and slip resistance and has had extremely positive feedback from medical professionals and the ATcare trails. Flexyfoot meets CE marking regulations, a process overseen by Dr Jed Place of Medical Device Consultants.

The Flexyfoot Hiking Pole

The concept and design originated following many requests from customers, who have frequently asked for a ferrule that would fit on the typically much narrower walking poles.

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Available in black or blue (on test here), the hiking pole has a multi-functional handle with a comfortable cork grip and is fully adjustable from 710 to 965mm, for a comfortable height no matter your stature.

Principally designed for people who do not need the load bearing functionality of a walking stick, but enjoy a stroll with the confidence and comfort that Flexyfoot provides, the hiking pole will look and feel great cross country and in urban environments.

A funky fitness tool and all the benefits of Flexyfoot? It’s a match made in hiking heaven.

As walking and hiking are pursuits that should be open to all, we think the Flexyfoot Ferrule – and Flexyfoot Hiking Pole for that matter – is an excellent idea.  Especially for that who require additional support and stability.

For further details please refer to the “First Impressions” tab or take a look at the Flexyfoot homepage, where the whole range can be purchased:

Flexyfoot

Over the years I found that walking, mainly on steep ascents / descents, has become quite a significant issue.  So much so that I relatively recently purchased walking poles to see what difference it would make.  Well, suffice to say it was somewhat of a revelation.  The knee pain suffered was reduced almost to zero, so I’m a total convert when it comes to walking aids.

The Flexyfoot Hiking Pole is more akin to a walking stick / shepherds crook than a ‘standard’ hiking pole, featuring the Flexyfoot Furrule at the bottom

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It is however very well made and perhaps offers, thanks to it’s design, a little more in the way of application and flexibility.

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With a length or height ranging from 710mm through to 965mm, there’s plenty of scope for adjustment even if you’re on the taller side.  This is beneficial if you’re reliant upon a walking aid / stick for mobility as it can be adjusted to suit whatever terrain you’re traversing.

Thanks to the Flexyfoot Ferrule, the hiking pole can cope with everything from pavements to cinder paths to fields, hills and more!

The multifunctional handle which is constructed from molded cork provides high levels of grip and comfort.

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Height adjustment is an easy operation, simple twist the two sections of the pole in opposite directions to slacken the internal mechanism and slide to the desired height and re-tighten.

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Inside the pole is a threaded / expanding stop which prevents any give once you’ve chosen your desire setting.  There’s even a clearly marked “Stop” denoting it’s maximum position.

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Going back to the molded handle, there’s even the addition of a webbed loop to ensure you don’t loose the pole if you’re walking along steep sections which also improves grip

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The molded cork provides excellent grip as well as being supremely comfortable to use

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As the Flexfoot Furrule acts like the suspension on a car, it’s not surprising to find that it provides quite a lot of shock absorption whilst on the move

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Also, the baffled section provide a huge amount of flex when walking which ensures the wide foot stays firmly on the ground providing a very stable platform of support

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The Flexyfoot Hiking Pole comes fitted with the Flexyfoot Ferrule as standard, however there are instructions on the Flexyfoot website for guidance should you wish to retro fit one of their ferrules to an existing stick or pole.

Flexyfoot Ferrule Fitting Guide

 

The Flexyfoot Hiking Pole is a great alternative to generic walking poles however is perhaps a little more limited when things get really steep.  For general walking and hiking it might just be the tool you’ve been looking for!

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Here’s an in-depth overview of the various specifications for Flexyfoot products inclusive of materials, testing and trials. There’s quite a lot of detail here but if you have additional questions regarding specifications, please do get in touch.

Specifications

Materials

Moulded from high performance polypropylene, Flexyfoot uses the unique integral hinge properties of polymers. When correctly designed, the molecules in a polypropylene hinge align themselves across the hinge line, making it almost indestructible. The more the hinge area is flexed, the stronger it becomes. The Flexyfoot bellows consists of a series of multiple hinges and has been tested to 500,000 compressions or 1M steps with a load of 50KG. That is the equivalent of 300 miles of walking!

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 ISO testing

Flexyfoot has been put through a long-term development test programme with each feature tested for performance, endurance and safety before moving to the next stage. We designed and built our own test machines at the start because there was no standard that would subject Flexyfoot to real-life conditions.

This video shows our testing rig and Flexyfoot being tested.

Life expectancy and endurance

Part way through the development, a draft standard, BS ISO 24415-2 was published by British Standards that was almost identical to the test programme that we designed and so we built a test rig that would test Flexyfoot to the draft standard. It basically ‘walks’ the walking aid while applying a load of 50kg during the compression cycle and the ferrule or tip is tested for 500,000 cycles. It cannot split or show any internal parts.

We initially carried out these tests in-house using our test rig and then asked SATRA, a highly regarded independent test house to repeat the tests on three production samples. Each sample takes around 13 days of 24 hours continued testing. The results were great; there were no splits or damage to the bellows, collar or rubber tread and the fit of the foot into the collar was as new. Tread wear was also excellent, a point raised in feedback where customers have told us that Flexyfoot lasts around 4-8 times longer than a standard ferrule (depending on the user, the aid and the conditions). We tested a standard ferrule on the rig and the tread had totally worn away on one side within 35,000 cycles!

We were also concerned about cold weather performance, which isn’t actually part of the British Standard test. With this in mind, we tested Flexyfoot at -25 degrees in a cold chamber to ensure that the cold would not make the plastic brittle and liable to cracking – and it’s not!

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Grip

Due to the fact that the entire tread makes full contact with the ground, we expected that Flexyfoot’s grip would be very significantly better than a standard ferrule that only has part of the tread in contact, particularly at first when the person is at their most unstable.

The BS ISO 24415-1:2009 test is designed to measure the grip when the ferrule makes contact with the ground at an angle of 20 degrees. This simulates someone placing a walking aid on the ground during a step. A load is applied to the ferrule while it is pushed across a glass plate and the friction between ferrule and plate is measured.

SATRA tested three production samples and compared these with a standard ferrule. Flexyfoot has at least 50% more grip than a standard ferrule and the wet surface performance was also good. These results match the feedback from our customers who say that they feel much more secure and less likely to slip particularly in the wet.

Details

With an adjustable height of between 710mm and 965mm (27.9 in and 37.9 in)

Maximum user weight 130kg (20 1/2st)

CE marking

CE marking certifies that a product has met EU consumer safety, health or environmental requirements. Flexyfoot is classified as a Class I device and so can be self-certified, as long as due diligence is observed and supporting materials are supplied. To help, we asked medical device consultant, Dr Jed Place of Medical Device Consultants, to guide us through this highly technical and detailed process.

MHRA registration

Flexyfoot was registered with the MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) in December 2009.

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The funky Flexyfoot Hiking Pole

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Including the Flexfoot Furrule

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A great alternative to traditional walking poles with the added stability of the FlexyFoot ferrule.  Strong, light and highly adjustable the Flexyfoot Hiking Pole is a well thought out and constructed walking aid which can be used in many situations across numerous terrains.

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