Product development and the added value of the new Relief Dual® Plus sectoral off-loading shoe

Interview with Regina Felix, Product Developer and QMO at DARCO (Europe) GmbH

If you look for our product developers, they are either in the live test of a new product, talking to users, or in their "boffins’ world" between foam, sole profiles and 3D printing. We talked to Regina Felix, our product developer at DARCO (Europe).

When is a DARCO product ready for market launch?

When the intended added value and benefits have been achieved and the test phase has been passed. Material composition, biomechanical processes, indications and usability all have a major influence. The bar is set very high! We also ask ourselves, what product does the market need to provide optimal care for patients?

DARCO has recently launched the Relief Dual® Plus. How did the development team approach the “plus” in performance?

The Relief Dual® Plus sectoral off-loading shoe was developed with a combination of proven and innovative features in mind. At the beginning, there is the prototype, in order to quickly have something tangible in our hands and to be able to get doctors and users on board with it. We rely on close cooperation. Thus, no development work in a quiet closet.

For the derivative Relief Dual® Plus, the task was to provide extended treatment options, especially in the rearfoot area, and at the same time to strengthen the evidence that we had already brought to the market with the well-established Relief Dual® technology of the outsole, thus reinforcing the message of “getting rid of the forefoot plateau”. In addition, we would like to further establish the combinability with other DARCO products, such as the sole systems, so that individual patient care is possible.

How long did it take to develop the Relief Dual® Plus and get it ready for sale?

The first impetus came in November 2019, and the launch took place in October 2020. Such a rapid development phase is feasible only if all departments work together.

To what extent does the everyday life of patients play a role in product development?

Through close contact with specialist retailers and doctors, we regularly receive valuable patient feedback. What might we improve? “Where’s the rub?”

With the new Relief Dual® Plus, a variably adjustable heel cap allows the shoe to be adapted to the patient’s respective heel anatomy. Not only does this provide more space and pressure relief for voluminous heel bandages, but also very narrow heels can be gripped better. This gives us more support, stability and comfort for the patient.

In everyday life, there are many heel injuries that are difficult to care for. Here we wanted to bring a “plus” in terms of care – i.e. a real benefit – to the market. Patients with such injuries should be able to move even more safely in everyday life, without pressure on the painful heels. In addition, the complete opening in all directions makes it easier to put on and take off, and the high shaft ensures a secure and stable hold. We are very interested in how the patient manages with our products in everyday life. We can draw a lot from it for our product development and the design process. The patient’s acceptance is immensely important.

Where does the product development team get its ideas?

As the saying goes: "Product development means not simply accepting problems and shortcomings, but wanting to do something better." New product ideas usually come about through a conversation with users, doctors and patients. DARCO is well networked and in close contact with its customers. Through constant exchange with DARCO colleagues in the USA, UK, India and China, our innovations are passed on to as many patients as possible worldwide.

Are there already specific plans for 2021?

Sure, there are already some development projects to expand DARCO’s product variety and to renew existing products. Stay tuned! And what else I wish for: Feel free to send questions and suggestions to the DARCO development team and of course good health to all!


> Go to Relief Dual® Plus



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