Sockies: DIY Tip-Toeing Prevention Socks

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About: I am an Industrial Design student at the University of Alberta. I love creating solutions that are low-tech and accessible, to help people have fun and to aspire to live healthy lives.

Sockies are a unique and simple solution that allows for children who may tip-toe walk due to cerebral palsy, autism, or by habit, to be able to create a new mind to muscle connection through playful tactics. You can make them at home, as an accessible option for tip-toe walking exercises! You can download our tracing templates we have created, to make your Sockies.

Sockies have the potential to create a game, where a child can imitate the (proper) gait of an animal, creature, or monster. Not only does the child want to wear the socks because they are fun, but they are also not stigmatized by any sort of unaesthetic rehabilitation equipment.

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare provider, nor a therapist. I am a student designer who worked with a child and his mother to experiment to create these fun socks, in order to go beyond the aesthetics of disability to help the child "feel cool" and to practice good walking. You may use these socks and exercise ideas at your will to aid your child in practicing healthy walking habits.

Step 1: Materials

To get started on making your own Sockies for your child(ren), you'll need these materials:

  • Pre-purchased socks that fit your child.
  • Plasti- Dip (can be purchased at your local hardware store, (Home Depot or Canadian Tire, etc.), or online)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Pen

Tips:

  • Plasti-Dip has a strong scent.
  • Only paint on the exterior of the sock.

Step 2: ​Printing Template

These templates will work for children's socks sizes 7-11.

Print out one of the templates attached, whichever pattern you like best. Print onto letter size paper (8.5”x11”, standard printer paper).

Step 3: ​Cutting Out Cardboard Sock Inserts

Cut out the oval-shaped sock inserts from the paper template.

Trace the 2 oval shaped templates using a pen or pencil onto the cardboard.

Cut out the cardboard pieces. Place pieces into the sock, so that the sole of the foot is now flat and the fabric is stretched.

Step 4: ​Cutting Out and Tracing Foot Print Pattern

Cut out the foot print pattern from the paper template. It is best to cut it out by making the pattern as a "hole" in the paper, rather than cutting the template out as "pieces". This keeps the toe shapes the right distance from the sole shape while tracing.

Use tape to stick the footprint pattern onto the sole of the sock. Use a ball-point pen or pencil crayon to trace the pattern.

Step 5: ​Painting With Plasti-Dip!

The Plasti-Dip will sink into the fabric, and so this will take several layers.

Start by painting an outline around the perimeter, and then cover the traced area. Do a full layer on each foot.

Wait about 20-30 mins until the Plasti-Dip is not tacky anymore, then paint the next layer.

Keep painting until your desired thickness of rubber plastic is achieved! I did about 4 layers. We decided to get creative and try out some crazy patterns in the last picture. You can too! We found that the socks that worked the best to prevent tip toe walking were the footprint ones, that covered the entire sole of the foot.

Step 6: Your Socks Are Ready!

Wait at least 24 hours, and your socks are ready to play with!

Step 7: PART 2: Creating a Sockies Pathway (optional)

Now that you have your sockies, you can either use them on their own to practice good walking, or you can follow the rest of this instructable to create a walking pathway. Use these exercises to help them with their tip-toeing habit.

Materials:

  • Large roll of paper
  • Any combination of these materials: paint, crafting felt, colored paper, markers,
  • Glue or tape
  • Scissors

Step 8: Map & Colour Your Pathway

Use a large roll of paper, and draw a path of alternating circles in a walking fashion.

Fill these circles in with colour! You can either cut out circles of felt or coloured paper, or, fill in the circles with paints or markers. Get creative designing this for your kids favourite colours!

ALTERNATIVE: if you have the time, you can use the stencils that were cut out to trace the footprint pattern on to your child’s sock instead of creating circles.

Step 9: Practice Walking!

Put on the child’s sockies.

Use this pathway as a way to get your child to, “practice their stomping!” It can become a game. Use this pathway as a way for your child to practice planting the entire sole of their foot on the circles, or walking on their heels (walk without using the balls of their feet).

Your child can do their favourite, “monster walk,” “doggie walk”, “alien walk,” “walk like their favourite _____ character,” etc.

Plasti-Dip is also washable, so if you feel like getting messy, you can use the acrylic paint to paint over the Plasti-Dip footprint, and to get your child to stomp with their full foot to make crazy footprints all over the paper.

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    4 Discussions

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    jetah

    2 months ago

    I assume you use the can of Plasti-Dip and not the spray can?
    Can you estimate how long the pattern last?

    1 reply
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    tbloemenjetah

    Reply 2 months ago

    Hi there, thanks for commenting! Yes I used the can of Plasti-Dip and used a paint brush to apply it to the sock. I'm not sure how well the spray can would work, but if you printed the template on to thicker paper and tape it down really good it might work.

    On the Plasti-Dip website, they say that it can last for up to 3 years, and new fresh coats can easily be applied. The kid might try to pick it off, but I tried to test if it would hold up and it is quite difficult to pick. I think because it bonds all around the fibres of the fabric.
    https://www.iplastidip.ie/about/faqs/