Rigid-bottomed shoe with skate attached
United States Patent 2147455

This invention relates to shoes and like articles of apparel or equipment for the human body, and particularly to such apparel and equipment used or applied for special purposes, recreational or otherwise. An important field for the application of the invention is that of orthopedics. One...

Murray, Alan E.
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Murray, Alan E.
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Other Classes:
36/71, 280/11.12
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This invention relates to shoes and like articles of apparel or equipment for the human body, and particularly to such apparel and equipment used or applied for special purposes, recreational or otherwise. An important field for the application of the invention is that of orthopedics.

One object of the present invention is the provision of pieces of apparel or equipment, of metal or other relatively rigid material, which conform exactly to the curves and lines of a portion of the wearer's body. A further object is the provision of such articles so as to conform to the body when the latter is in a correct posture, in order that the relatively rigid appliance, when worn, will serve to maintain the adjacent portion of the wearer's body in such correct posture. Another object is the provision of articles of apparel and equipment of relatively rigid nature, which are of a contour exactly conforming to the wearer's body. Other and further objects, features and advantages will appear from the description which follows.

The present invention is illustrated as applied to the construction of ice skating equipment, but many other applications will be apparent.

For example, the invention might be applied to shoes for toe dancing, and various other recreational or professional activities, or to corrective shoes or other orthopedic appliances. In fact, the subject of the present invention may be employed whenever it is desired to form a rigid appliance exactly conforming to the body of a wearer.

In certain activities, such as skating and dancing, it is important to have shoes which maintain the closest possible contact with the foot of the wearer, and which maintain the foot, or portions thereof, in the proper posture for the particular activity as well as in a healthy, non-fatiguing posture. In the particular application which is hereinafter described, it is shown how to construct a skating shoe so that the foot is given and maintained in a position of strength, and at the same time, the rigid portion of the shoe is fitted so exactly to the shape of the foot that it might almost be said to be a part thereof, and the skate attached directly to the foot. It will be recognized that the foregoing represent ideal conditions for skating, in which the joints of the foot, below the ankle, are moved only to a very slight extent. In a shoe for toe dancing, on the other hand, the present invention could be applied only to the toe portion of the shoe, as the joints of the foot must be given free play. The manner of applying the invention to other uses will be apparent from the description which follows, together with the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is a side view partly in elevation, partly in section, illustrating the first step in the method of the present invention; Fig. 2 is a perspective of the negative impression or mold resulting from the initial step of the method, after removal from the foot; Fig. 3 is a vertical longitudinal section of the negative impression or mold made by the method of the present invention; Fig. 4 is a vertical longitudinal section of the positive impression taken from the negative of Fig. 3; Fig. 5 is a vertical transverse section of a die and swage block used in pressing a sheet of material into the form of the lower part of the negative impression of Fig. 3; Fig. 6 is a view, partly in elevation and partly in section, of a skate to which is attached the metal slipper formed as in Fig. 5; Fig. 7 is a bottom view of the combination of Fig. 7; Fig. 8 is a side elevation of a complete skate and shoe combination constructed according to the present invention; and Fig. 9 is a fragmentary transverse section on line 9-9 of Fig. 8.

In applying the present invention to a skate and shoe construction, it is desirable to form a rigid member, which may be called the slipper, the inner surface of which conforms substantially exactly to the contours of the sole, lower heel, and lower portions of the toes of the wearer's foot. It is impracticable to form a one-piece rigid slipper extending upward substantially beyond the point of maximum breadth of the foot, because of the difficulty of inserting the foot in such a slipper. However, if desired, the slipper may be made in two or more parts, which: are then welded or otherwise suitably joined. . A suitable slipper for the present purposes may be of substantially the height of that illustrated in Fig. 6. In order to take the initial impression used in forming the slipper, a sock 10 (Fig. 1) is placed upon the foot, and several stitches are taken between each pair of adjacent toes, so as to draw the top and bottom of the sock partially together between the toes. The foot is then placed as seen in Fig. 1, with the ball and toes upon a low block II slanting slightly upward toward the ends of the toes, the heel being supported by an adjustable block 12 at a height calculated to place the foot in the optimum position for skating, depending somewhat upon the individual in question. While the foot is so placed, the technician who is making the impression may make various adjustments in the posture of the foot, to correct faults or improve the posture from a skating standpoint. The upper part of the foot, still enclosed in the sock, is then covered with a plastic material such as one of the gypsum base materials commonly used, and which does not harden too quickly. The plastic material impregnates the sock, which acts as a binder, and the layer of material so formed may be pressed with the fingers, into close contact with the foot. After the upper part of the plaster-saturated sock has hardened thus binding the foot in the chosen position, the foot is lifted and plaster applied to the under side, the operator exercising care to see that the sock and plastic material are brought into intimate contact with the foot, and that the arches and toes of the foot are in a proper position when the material hardens. The mold or negative impression 13, resulting from these operations, is illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3. This mold is removed from the foot by slitting it down the front, as shown. The slit is then closed with gummed tape, or the like, and the mold is then filled with plaster or other suitable casting material, which is allowed to harden, after which the mold 13 is broken away, leaving a positive cast 14 (Fig. 4) of the lower part of the foot.

The cast of the foot so formed may be corrected or improved by accenting the curves separating the toes, or by modifying the arches of the foot, or in any other way which seems desirable, and any imperfections are removed. It may also be enlarged uniformly by dipping or spraying with varnish or similar material, in order to insure that the final slipper will be large enough to accommodate a layer of lining material in addition to the foot and hose of the wearer.

In carrying out the foregoing steps it is important that the operator determine the center line of balance of the leg and foot of the skater, and mark it upon the cast. One method of doing this may be briefly described. The skater places his bare foot upon a relatively narrow edge or blade, and balances himself, determining by trial the optimum position of the foot upon the blade.

The line which the blade leaves on the foot may then be marked with ink and the foot inserted in the slipper-like negative impression previously made, causing the ink to leave a corresponding mark in the negative impression. If this mark is darkened with an indelible pencil, or other similar means, the mark will be transferred to the positive cast when made. The center line of balance so indicated upon the cast will be useful in properly placing the skate beneath the slipper in the final combination.

The next step is to construct a male die 15 having a working surface exactly similar to that of the cast 14, and a swage block 16 having a female die of similar shape but sufficiently larger to accommodate a sheet of metal 17 which is to be swaged into the slipper 18 of Figs. 6 and 7.

The operations of forming the dies and swaging the metal need not be described in detail, as this technique is well understood by those skilled in the art.

The metal used to form the slipper 18 should be light, strong, and capable of assuming and retaining an accurate impression. Certain alloys now used in swaging dental plates and other articles are suitable, but any metal having the foregoing characteristics may be used. It is also possible to use a material other than metal, such as one of the many synthetic resins or other moldable plastics now in general use, some of which have great strength. In this case, of course, the material is not swaged but may be cast or pressed in a manner suitable to the particular material used.

After the slipper 18 is formed, it may be finished off by polishing, and the edges may be ground or trimmed to the proper contours. The center line of balance may then be marked on the bottom of the slipper by reference to the cast 14, upon which the center line of balance has been marked as described above. The slipper is then ready to be attached to a skate 20 (Fig. 6).

The skate may be one of the several types used for speed or figure skating or hockey. Some are made with integral solid stanchions 19 (Fig. 6), while others are made with tubular stanchions, flanged for attachment to the shoe. In order to attach the skate 20 to the slipper 18, it is necessary to provide the stanchions 19 with saddles 21, conforming to the underside of the slipper at 25. the ball or heel, as the case may be, and arranged at the proper height above the skate blade. The height above the blade will be determined by the size of the foot and by the position of the foot when the initial impression is made. A person with a large foot requires greater clearance above the skating surface, hence the stanchions 19 must be longer. The relation of the length of the heel stanchion to that of the ball stanchion is of course determined by the vertical adjustment of the heel during the taking of the initial impression.

In the case of skates with integral stanchions, the saddles 21 may be separately cast and welded to the stanchions. In the case of tubular stanchions, the material of the stanchions themselves may, if desired, be flanged out to form the saddles. In either case, the saddles may be spot welded or otherwise joined to the bottom of the slipper, thus securely uniting skate and slipper. The toe piece 22 of the skate is similarly joined to the curved forward end of the slipper 18.

If desired, the latter may be provided with a curved extension 23 forming a species of socket for the large toe of the wearer. This extension may conveniently be cast separately and welded to the slipper.

In uniting the skate 20 and slipper 18 it is important that the blade of the former be placed exactly vertical and precisely beneath the center line of balance of the skater's leg and foot, which has been determined and marked as set forth above.

After the skate and slipper have been joined as described, a shoe of any desired character may be built around the slipper, as illustrated in Figs. 8 and 9. In the case of a metallic slipper 18, it is desirable to line the slipper inside and out with thin layers 24 and 25 of felt or other suitable insulating material glued or otherwise secured to the slipper. These, together with the rigid slipper 18, take the place of the usual stiff counter member, which is omitted. The outer covering of leather 26 may then be sewed or otherwise secured beneath the slipper and extended upwardly to form the usual upper. A thin leather or cloth lining 27 may be secured inside the shoe if desired.

As a result of the steps described, it will be seen that there has been constructed a skate and shoe 75.

combination providing a foot receiving portion which is securely joined to the skate and which substantially exactly conforms to the wearer's foot, gripping it tightly and, in effect, securing the skate directly to the skater's foot, with the blade of the skate accurately positioned along the center line of balance of the skater's leg and foot.

It has been determined that with a construction of this nature, the skater has a much greater control of his movements than with the ordinary skate and leather shoe combination. At the same time, the foot is maintained in a position of strength, facilitating the mechanics of skating and reducing fatigue.

1 It will be apparent that the exact technique outlined above need not be followed. As one example of a possible modification thereof, the entire skate and slipper combination might be cast integrally, instead of being separately formed and joined together. In this case the swaging operation would be omitted. Casting may also be employed in forming parts of or additions to the slipper, where it is desirable to reinforce it, or to form parts not easily swaged.

It may be desirable to form the rigid slipper 18 of two or more parts, for purposes of strengthening it or improving its function. Thus, for hockey skates, a piece of material may be swaged or otherwise formed into the shape of the upper side of the toes, and welded or otherwise joined to the slipper 18. A separate piece conforming to the upper heel or other portion of the foot may be similarly employed.

It is also apparent that the method outlined may easily be applied to the construction of other types of shoes, such as dancing shoes and corrective shoes, and to orthopedic appliances generally.

The invention is not limited to the use of any particular materials, and any suitable materials may be employed in place of those named.

The terms and expressions employed herein are used for purposes of description and not of limitation. It is recognized that many modifications of the construction disclosed may be made within the scope of the present invention.

What I claim is: 1. In a skate and shoe combination, a rigid slipper constructed to conform closely to the contours of the lower portion of the foot, an insulating lining for said slipper, a member of pliable material enclosing said slipper and extending upwardly to form the upper part of said shoe, and a skate rigidly secured to the under side of said slipper.

2. In a skate and shoe combination, a rigid slipper constructed to conform closely to the contours of the lower portion of the foot, an insulating lining for said slipper, a member of pliable material enclosing said slipper and extending upwardly to form the upper part of said shoe, and a skate rigidly secured to the under side of said slipper, said skate being arranged directly beneath the center line of balance of the wearer's foot. ALAN E. MURRAY.