The Safety Materials for Shoes (SM4S) project is under development by a consortium and by footwear manufacturer Ropar, present on the market in over 50 countries with its Arcopedico brand and specialised in the comfort and healthcare segment. The project involves the universities of Aveiro, Porto and Minho, as well as the Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industry of Portugal (CITEVE), the Portuguese Technological Centre for the Leather Industry (CTIC), and the Centre par excellence of Engineering and Product Development in the automotive industry (CEIIA).

The researchers in fact started from one important assumption: “The ground is a contagious vehicle for transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which means that shoes in contact with it can also be a transmission vehicle for Covid-19, above all in places frequented by many people like hospitals or stores”.

The solution proposed calls for the addition of one or more antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agents in the soles of the footwear, agents that do not change the mechanical properties of the material, but which help to prevent the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, while also preventing the spread of other bacteria and fungi. This last aspect is especially important, since hospital environments are “especially conducive to transmitting viruses, bacteria and fungi” and it is here that antiviral soles can provide a special advantage to healthcare workers, who are on the front line in their jobs every day.