In the winter of 2013/14, Chris Gould at Creation Covers put time aside for winter development into toe straps. The extensive testing of the different types of strap for different purposes showed many things, but one of them was that everybody has personal preference.
Chris decided that for him, padded were a less comfortable solution to the pain of hiking out, as the straps ended up being a bit more slippery underfoot, making for toes that had to be curled up to hold position.
The reason for this is that in order to make padded straps, the foam padding has some give. This coupled with whatever covers the padding being inherently less grippy than the webbing itself gives a less secure lock for your feet. The downside of this is that to maintain traction on padded straps, your foot has to be hooked upwards at a greater angle, often with the toes curled up too to keep your feet under the straps. This tires out your shins and expends energy that could otherwise be utilised somewhere else.
The reality was that the strap itself takes a lot of abuse, as do your feet when using them, so for a lot of people the idea of padded straps is a good solution. Whatever the conclusion from the testing, many people like padded straps for reasons other than the grip between boot and strap.
The best way to show off our straps and explain why they are made the way they are was from the testing that Chris Gould did. There are 3 types of strap, each with a different design and purpose.
Creation’s plain strap is 2 layers of webbing sandwiching a 2 strips of 12 ounce dacron. This is glued together and sewn through in 5 rows of zig zag stitch. Over the top of that are 5 rows of stright stitching. The zig zag provides support, stiffness and a balanced strap that won’t stretch, come out of shape or bunch up. The straight stitching locks over the top of the zig zag to provide durability for the stitching and a longer lasting finish.
The strap can be finished with soft loops as show, eyelets or push fit pipe to hold them in place. They can also be screwed on. The below image shows a pipe to use as a support for shock cord used to lift the strap up.
Our padded straps are designed with the same principals in mind. The ends of the strap are under the same loadings and abuse as the plain straps, so are made in the same way. Each end is strengthened and stiffened with the extra Dacron sewn in as well as the stitching to support it all. The padding is a 10mm closed cell foam, so that it absorbs as little water as possible. The outer of the padding is in Weathermax, as this is a perfect material for the job. It is soft, forgiving and comes in a range of colours, but at the same time it is waterproof, UV stable and has excellent abrasion resistance.
Rubber backed straps do a similar job to the plain straps, with the addition of a layer of rubber sewn to the underside of the strap. This provides a very stable strap, with possibly a little more grip as well.
Our toe straps have been used on Merlin Rocket, Moth, GP14, Enterprise, Mirror, Osprey, Solo, British Moth, RS boats, Europe, Fireball, Firefly, Graduate, Javelin, Phantom, Topper, Laser, Scorpion, OK, 505 and Wayfarer to name but a few! There is constant development, so the latest thinking can go into your straps and onto your boat.
Chris Gould can make a set of straps for your boat to your spec. Please contact him through the contact form, or ring 07910291507 with any questions or to place an order