Title:
Jumping shoe
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A jumping shoe includes a pair of spring platforms, extending downward under the heel of the user and under the ball of his foot. Each spring platform includes a guiding structure, a sliding platform mounted to slide on the guiding structure, and a spring pushing the sliding platform downward. Preferably, the sliding movement is obtained through the use of an inner cylinder sliding within a cavity of an outer cylinder.



Inventors:
Hajianpour, Mohammed A. (Coral Springs, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/810774
Publication Date:
07/04/2002
Filing Date:
03/16/2001
Assignee:
HAJIANPOUR MOHAMMED A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/27
International Classes:
A43B13/18; A63B25/10; (IPC1-7): A43B3/10; A43B13/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARNOLD III, TROY G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD V. DAVIDGE (Plantation, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A shoe comprising: an upper a sole attached to said upper, wherein said sole and said upper together extend around a foot receiving cavity, and wherein said sole includes a first portion extending under a heel of a human foot placed within said foot receiving cavity and a second portion extending under a ball and toes of said human foot placed within said foot receiving cavity; and first and second spring platforms, wherein said first spring platform extends downward from said first portion of said sole, wherein said second spring platform extends downward from said second portion of said sole, and wherein each said spring platform includes a guiding structure attached to said sole, a sliding platform slidably mounted on said guiding structure and having a downwardly exposed contact surface, and a spring applying a force between said guiding structure and said sliding platform to hold said sliding platform down.

2. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said guiding structure of a platform within said first and second spring platforms includes a hollow outer cylinder, and said sliding platform of a platform within said first and second spring platforms includes an inner cylinder sliding within a said outer cylinder.

3. The shoe of claim 2, wherein said inner cylinder includes an outward extending flange, and said outer cylinder includes an inward extending bushing portion engaging said outward extending flange to limit downward movement of said inner cylinder within said outer cylinder.

4. The shoe of claim 2, wherein a portion of said inner cylinder is hollow, and said spring includes a compression spring extending within said hollow portion of said inner cylinder and within said hollow outer cylinder.

5. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said guiding structure of a platform within said first and second spring platforms includes an inner cylinder, and said sliding platform of a platform within said first and second spring platforms includes a hollow outer cylinder sliding over said inner cylinder.

6. The shoe of claim 5, wherein said inner cylinder includes an outward extending flange, and said outer cylinder includes an inward extending bushing portion engaging said outward extending flange to limit downward movement of said outer cylinder over said inner cylinder.

8. The shoe of claim 5, wherein a portion of said inner cylinder is hollow, and said spring includes a compression spring extending within said hollow portion of said inner cylinder and within said hollow outer cylinder.

9. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said spring of a spring platform within said first and second spring platforms includes a compressing spring extending around said guiding structure.

10. The shoe of claim 1, wherein a spring platform within said first and second spring platforms additionally comprises a flexible bellows extending around said guiding structure and around a portion of said sliding platform.

11. The shoe of claim 1, wherein a spring platform within said first and second spring platforms includes: a hollow outer cylinder; an inner cylinder sliding within said hollow outer cylinder; and an adjustable valve allowing a flow of air into a cavity within said hollow outer cylinder.

12. The shoe of claim 1, wherein a spring platform within said first and second spring platforms includes: a hollow outer cylinder; an inner cylinder sliding within said hollow outer cylinder; and a check valve opening to allow a flow of air into a cavity within said hollow outer cylinder and closing to prevent a flow of air from said cavity within said hollow outer cylinder.

13. A spring platform for attachment under a shoe sole, wherein said spring platform comprises: a guiding structure for attachment to said sole; a sliding platform slidably mounted on said guiding structure, having a downwardly exposed contact surface; and a spring applying a force between said guiding structure and said sliding platform to hold said sliding platform down.

14. The spring platform of claim 13, wherein said guiding structure includes a hollow outer cylinder, and said sliding platform includes an inner cylinder sliding within a said outer cylinder.

15. The spring platform of claim 14, wherein said inner cylinder includes an outward extending flange, and said outer cylinder includes an inward extending bushing portion engaging said outward extending flange to limit downward movement of said inner cylinder within said outer cylinder.

16. The spring platform of claim 14, wherein a portion of said inner cylinder is hollow, and said spring includes a compression spring extending within said hollow portion of said inner cylinder and within said hollow outer cylinder.

17. The spring platform of claim 13, wherein said guiding structure includes an inner cylinder, and said sliding platform includes a hollow outer cylinder sliding over said inner cylinder.

18. The spring platform of claim 17, wherein said inner cylinder includes an outward extending flange, and said outer cylinder includes an inward extending bushing portion engaging said outward extending flange to limit downward movement of said outer cylinder over said inner cylinder.

19. The spring platform of claim 17, wherein a portion of said inner cylinder is hollow, and said spring includes a compression spring extending within said hollow portion of said inner cylinder and within said hollow outer cylinder.

20. The spring platform of claim 13, wherein said spring includes a compressing spring extending around said guiding structure.

21. The spring platform of claim 13, additionally comprising a flexible bellows extending around said guiding structure and around a portion of said sliding platform.

22. The spring platform of claim 13, wherein a spring platform includes: a hollow outer cylinder; an inner cylinder sliding within said hollow outer cylinder; and an adjustable valve allowing a flow of air into and out of a cavity within said hollow outer cylinder.

23. The spring platform of claim 13, wherein a spring platform includes: a hollow outer cylinder; an inner cylinder sliding within said hollow outer cylinder; and a check valve opening to allow a flow of air into a cavity within said hollow outer cylinder and closing to prevent a flow of air from said cavity within said hollow outer cylinder.

Description:

[0001] This application claims the benefits of Provisional Application No. 60/258,794, filed on Dec. 29, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to a shoe having a pair of sliding mechanisms biased by means of mechanical springs and/or pneumatic cylinders for use in jumping and exercising.

[0004] 2. Background Art

[0005] The patent literature includes a number of descriptions of shoes or boots in which springs are placed between the wearer's foot and the ground. Since most of these prior art devices are concerned with improving comfort during walking and jogging, not with providing a different kind of jumping exercise experience, most of these devices provide for small spring deflections associated used to cushion shock loading of the foot.

[0006] A number of these devices provide for the application of a spring only within the heel portion of the shoe, with the spring being placed between a pair of plates, pivotally or flexibly attached at the front of the shoe or in the middle of the shoe, which spread apart toward the heel of the shoe, where the spring is placed. Such devices are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,435,079 and U.S. Pat. No. Des. 434,548, which show a tapered coil spring centered within the heel; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,743,028, which shows seven individual coil springs arranged in a pattern in an insert within the heel of an athletic shoe. Other such devices are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,325, which shows a coil torsion spring extending side-to-side within the heel, to be twisted when the heel is stepped upon; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,894,934, which shows pivoted plates in the rear part of the shoe being held in a pivoted condition by an elastic belt and pulled into a relatively flat condition when the heel is stepped upon. U.S. Pat. No. 4,843,737 shows an shoe having a heel including a pair of semi-elliptical spring plates held in a deflected condition by internal, horizontal extension springs. U.S. Pat. No. 4,771,554 shows a heel including a pair of flexible plates separated by an elastomeric pad. U.S. Pat. No. 5,596,819 shows a replaceable shoe heel spring assembly including a leaf spring. U.S. Pat. No. 5,797,198 shows a shock-absorbing device, used within a shoe, having a pivoted heel plate that is held in an upwardly angled position by a torsion spring.

[0007] Other patents described other spring mechanisms undergoing relatively small deflections to absorb shocks and increase walking comfort. For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,435,079 and 5,282,325 further show the use of vertically-sliding, spring-biased, heel blocks, with U.S. Pat. No. 5,435,079 showing a ladies' high heel shoe having a hollow heel enclosing a coil compression spring and a block engaging the ground; and of U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,325 showing a slidably mounted bottom portion of a relatively low heeled shoe being held down by a torsion spring. Other patents describe the use of a number of coil compression springs along all or at least a large part of the area of the sole of a shoe. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,042,175 and 4,030,213 describes such springs being placed in a number of cavities extending along a flexible sole. U.S. Pat. No. 5,513,448 describes the use of such springs mounted within a box in the bottom sole. U.S. Pat. No. 5,701,685 describes a mechanism using hinged and curved spring members held in place by elastic bands, between widely separated portions of a Z-shaped platform to absorb and release the impact energy of the user.

[0008] While the devices described in the patents referenced above provide cushioning for walking and jogging, what is needed is a pair of shoes with spring devices undergoing large deflections for use in jumping exercises.

[0009] Other patents describe spring mechanisms designed for large deflections, such as those that may be encountered in running and jumping exercises. However, a rocking motion of the foot is permitted and encouraged; there is no sliding mechanism forcing the portion of the mechanism touching the ground to move vertically relative to the rest of the mechanism, as in your invention. Examples of such mechanisms are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,492,374 and 5,916,071, which include semi-elliptical leaf springs extending between the shoe sole and the ground, and in U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,124, which shows a shoe sole formed as a Z-shaped member having a diagonal member extending downward between the toe and the heel. The members may have concave shaped surfaces to encourage front-to-rear rocking. While the large deflections possible with the spring mechanisms of such devices can provide for use in jumping exercises, the design of such mechanisms to encourage rocking movements on the ground may reduce a level of stability of the user's footing during such exercises. What is needed is a shoe having spring mechanisms with large deflection capabilities for jumping exercises with improved stability provided by preventing angular misalignment between the shoe sole and the portion of the spring mechanisms touching the ground.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,138 describes a spring shoe device that fits under the shoe and around the shin of the user. The upper part is pivoted on the part extending under the shoe in alignment with the user's ankle, and a toe portion is also separately pivoted. The spring tends to keep the foot in an extended condition. While this device is particularly configured to store and release energy during jogging, what is needed are mechanisms bouncing with both the heel and toe of the user through relatively large deflections during a jumping exercise.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,087,037 describes a self-contained pneumatically elevating recreational exercise device using an air cylinder as an extendable air spring that is secured to a horizontal surface or stand. The user's body is secured to the air cylinder by a safety harness. This concept is also applied to an unsecured toy pogo stick embodiment. An aspirating check valve may be used to admit air at the top of the stroke, producing added elevation with each vigorous leaping effort. What is needed is a mechanism applying such a valve within a spring platform of a jumping shoe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] A first objective of the invention is to provide a shoe with spring mechanisms undergoing large deflections to facilitate the use of the shoe in jumping games and exercises.

[0013] A second objective of the invention is to provide a shoe with spring mechanisms having downward-facing contact surfaces which slide vertically to prevent twisting and rocking.

[0014] A third objective of the invention is to provide a shoe having independent spring mechanisms extending below both the heel and ball of the wearer's foot so that exercising with the shoe can be similar to ordinary walking, with weight being placed alternately on the heel and ball or toe of the foot.

[0015] According to a first aspect of the invention, a shoe is provided, including an upper, a sole attached to the upper, and first and second spring platforms. The sole is attached to the upper, with the sole and the upper together extending around a foot-receiving cavity. The sole includes a first portion extending under a heel of a human foot placed within the foot receiving cavity and a second portion extending under a ball and toes of the human foot placed within the foot-receiving cavity. The first spring platform extends downward from the first portion of the sole, and the second spring platform extends downward from the second portion of the sole. Each spring platform includes a guiding structure attached to the sole, a sliding platform slidably mounted on the guiding structure and having a downwardly exposed contact surface, and a spring applying a force between the guiding structure and the sliding platform to hold the sliding platform down.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] FIG. 1 is a partly sectional side elevation of a jumping shoe built in accordance with a first version of the invention;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a partly sectional side elevation of a jumping shoe built in accordance with a second version of the invention;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a partly sectional side elevation of a jumping shoe built in accordance with a third version of the invention; and

[0019] FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical cross section of the jumping shoe of FIG. 1, showing an optional additional application of a valve arrangement therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] FIG. 1 is a partially sectional side elevation of a shoe 2 built in accordance with a first version of the invention. The shoe 2 includes a conventional upper 3, which may be fastened with laces, with latching closures, or with VELCRO closures, and a sole 4. The upper 3 and the sole 4 together define a foot-receiving cavity 6 into which a human foot, indicated by dashed lines 8, may be inserted. The sole 4 includes a first portion 10, extending under the heel of a human foot inserted into the foot-receiving cavity 6, and a second portion 12, extending under the toe and ball of such a foot.

[0021] A first spring platform 16 is attached to the first portion 10 of the sole 4, extending downward therefrom, and a second spring platform 17 is attached to the second portion 12 of the sole 4, extending downward therefrom. Each spring platform 16, 17 includes a guiding structure 18 and a sliding platform 20, which in turn includes an inner cylinder 22 sliding within an outer cylinder 24 extending downward as a part of the guiding structure 18. A flange 26 of the guiding structure 18 is fastened to the shoe sole 14 by means of a number of rivets 28. The inner cylinder 22 is slidably mounted within a bushing portion 30 of the outer cylinder 24, with downward motion of the inner cylinder 22 being limited by contact between a flange 32 of the inner cylinder 22 and the bushing portion 30 of the outer cylinder 24. A compression spring 34 pushes the sliding platform 20 downward. The lower end of each sliding platform 20 is preferably formed as a disk 36, having a downward-facing contact surface 37 for contact with the ground. Preferably, the two spring platforms 16, 17 extend under the heel and ball of the wearer's foot, which are particularly configured to carry his weight during normal standing and walking. Also, this arrangement provides alternately placing weight on the heel and ball or toe of the foot as in normal walking.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a partly sectional elevation of a jumping shoe 38 built in accordance with a second version of the invention. In this version, the compression spring 34 of the version of FIG. 1 inside the cylinders 22, 24 is replaced by a larger compression spring 38 extending around the cylinders 22, 24, with similar elements being afforded like reference numerals in both FIGS. 1 and 2. A flexible bellows 40, which may be composed of an elastomeric material, is added to shield the spring 38. Also, in the example of FIG. 2, a relatively thick elastomeric disk 42 replaces the disk 36. One or both ends of the spring 38 may be formed outward to fit into an adjacent hole 44, maintaining the alignment of the spring 38.

[0023] FIG. 3 is a partly sectional elevation of a jumping shoe 46 built in accordance with a third version of the invention. In this version, the stationary guiding structure 46, fastened to the shoe sole 4, includes an inner cylinder 48, while the sliding platform 50 includes an outer cylinder 52, mounted to slide over the inner cylinder 48, and a disk 54.

[0024] The cylinders 22, 24 of FIGS. 1 and 2 and cylinders 48, 52 of FIG. 3, being slidably mounted to one another, serve to guide the movement of the disks 36, 42, 54 touching the ground relative to the shoe. These disks 36, 42, 54 are constrained to move vertically and to remain horizontal, increasing the stability of the shoe during vigorous jumping exercises. In this way, the rocking and tilting movements of the foot, easily occurring with various prior art devices are prevented in the present invention. The cylinders 22, 24 and cylinders 48, 52, being slidably mounted to one another, further serve to provide the functions of an air cylinder, providing an additional downward force, due to air compression, aiding the force provided by the compression spring 34, 38, and providing damping with the movement of air into and out of the space within the cylinders.

[0025] The sliding operation of the cylinders 22, 24 and 48, 52 depends in part on this movement of air into and out of this space within the cylinders. This air movement may occur entirely through gaps between adjacent surfaces of the mating cylinders. Alternately, a valve arrangement may be added to provide for such air movement.

[0026] FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical cross-sectional view of the first version of the invention, otherwise as shown in FIG. 1, showing the application therein of an optional valve arrangement including a check valve 56 and an adjustable valve 58. The check valve 56 is provided to allow the inward movement of air, into a cavity 60 within the outer cylinder 24, with a downward movement of the sliding platform 20 (shown in FIG. 1), relative to the outer cylinder 24, while preventing an outward flow of air from the cavity 60. These purposes are achieved by holding a ball 62 against an outer opening 64 of the check valve 56 with a compression spring 66. As the sliding platform 20 is rapidly moved downward, a resulting reduction in pressure within the cavity 60 pulls the ball 60 away from the opening 64, allowing an inward movement of air. On the other hand, when the sliding platform 20 is moved upward, relative to the outer cylinder 24, increasing the pressure within the cavity 60, the ball 60 is held against the opening 64, so that air cannot escape through the check valve 56. In this way, the check valve 56 provides the user with an opportunity to increase the pressure within the cavity 60, changing the feeling experienced when jumping, by vigorous jumping exercises. The feeling experienced while jumping can also be changed by turning a knob 68 of the adjustable valve 58, so that a needle 70 extending within a threaded hole 72 is moved toward or away from an orifice 74 leading to the cavity 60.

[0027] Both the check valve 56 and the adjustable valve 58 may be used together, as shown in the example of FIG. 4, either the check valve 56 or the adjustable valve 58 may be used alone, or the jumping shoe may be built without including either of the valves 56, as shown in the examples of FIGS. 1-3.

[0028] Jumping shoes built in accordance with the invention are preferably made available in matched left and right pairs.

[0029] While the invention has been described in its preferred versions with some degree of particularity, it is understood that this description has been given only by way of an example, and that many changes may be made in the form and combination of parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.