In 1980 Joe and his family went to Bob and Patty’s house after church for Sunday dinner. While sitting in the dining area Joe picked up a crude looking rubber cup with what appeared to be some type of sand paper on the bottom of the cup. “What’s this?”, Joe asked. “I make those for Patty so she won’t fall down on the ice and snow” said Bob, an engineer by trade specializing in quality control. A post polio victim, Patty had used Canadian forearm crutches since the age of four. Crutches were her only form of mobility and falling while using them was not an option as far as Bob was concerned. Joe became inquisitive and began asking all types of questions.
As the questions were asked, Bob went into the back of the house and brought out a box of gadgets all for the purpose of preventing the tips on Patty’s crutches from slipping on snow and ice. Joe was amazed at the amount of things people had tried to keep the tips from slipping on ice and snow. The one Joe was most interested in was a spike that attached to the side of the crutch shaft and flipped down so the spike was under the tip. Bob explained how the tip being a sharp point works great on frozen ground but was inadequate on ice and cement. Plus, it was dangerous! “Think about how small of an area you have on the ground at any one time, just that tiny tip” he said. "Now look at the amount of area with the "boot” as he called it. Tons of questions and answers were exchanged from that point throughout dinner. After dinner Joe made the suggestion that he and Bob should make these things and sell them. “If you know how to make them Bob, I know how to sell them” said Joe. It was that statement that created Hi-Trac Industries and brought SnowBoots to the market. Finally a non-slip solution for crutch and cane users throughout the world.
Patty and many others that use mobility devices such as canes and crutches loved and bought SnowBoots, but the problem still remained that Patty and those like her would still fall on wet surfaces like tile, wood floors and polished concrete. According to Patty the worst conditions were found in fast food restaurants where there could be an oily film on the floor and when wet, made it really slippery. Patty gave the orders to Bob and Joe. Create a tip that won’t slip on wet surfaces.
It was just a matter of time before Bob came up with the perfect design and rubber compound to make a crutch tip that increased Patty's traction on wet surfaces. Of course Bob and Joe had the world’s best quality control agent on staff. Patty would voluntarily walk on the most slippery surfaces she could find to test the product. From tile floors around a pool to wet soapy water on the floor of kitchen tile, the testing went forward. (Patty reminds Joe all the time that Bob had her walk behind the Zamboni on the ice rink at OSU to test SnowBoots.) Patty had a few demands for RainGuard crutch and cane tips. First, she wanted the tip to grip as best possible. Next she wanted the tip to NOT make black marks on her floors. She also demanded the tips to easily be changed. She wanted them lightweight and she wanted the tips to last. A tall order for Bob. However, with his extensive knowledge of rubber and tire design after working in the GM lab for years, Bob had the knowledge and expertise he needed to design the perfect tip. Patty tested and approved, the RainGuard non-slip crutch and cane tip was perfected.
Joe has done his job as well. He and Patty coordinate and process the orders they receive over the Internet from all over the world and he also helps keep this website up to date.
In April of 2013, Bob passed to a better world and now looks down upon Patty and Joe as they continue to provide the best non-slip cane and crutch tips ever developed. The two families process and ship orders every day and hope someday to make their company a full time venture and employ the handicapped.
Their business depends a great deal on “word of mouth advertising”, so if you know anyone using a cane or crutches, even if temporarily, please tell them about RainGuard and SnowBoots. They can be purchased on our website or on Amazon.
God bless you for reading this. We keep all our handicapped friends in our prayers and hope that they never fall.