Title:
Walking boot having a detachable upper reinforcement, and reinforcement for such a boot
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A walking boot with a high upper, of the type having a tongue made of two lower and upper portions corresponding to the instep and to the lower leg, respectively, of a user wearing the boot. The tongue includes a structure that fastens a tongue reinforcement that extends along at least a part of the two portions of the tongue to increase the rigidity thereof.



Inventors:
Farys, Yves (Saint-Jorioz, FR)
Badegruber, Alois (Epagny, FR)
Application Number:
10/115962
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
04/05/2002
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/50.1
International Classes:
A43B23/26; (IPC1-7): A43B23/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A walking boot comprising: a tongue comprising a lower portion corresponding to an instep of a wearer of the boot and an upper portion corresponding to a lower leg of the wearer of the boot, the tongue further comprising a detachable tongue reinforcement and a structure that fastens the detachable tongue reinforcement to extend along at least a part of the lower and upper portions of the tongue to increase a rigidity of the tongue.

2. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the tongue reinforcement is in the form of an angle, the angle comprising two arms extending along respective portions of the tongue.

3. A boot according to claim 2, wherein the tongue reinforcement is fastened on the tongue in the area of free ends of each of the arms.

4. A boot according to claim 2, wherein the tongue reinforcement comprises, in an area of a junction of the two arms, a preferred zone of bending about a transverse axis.

5. A boot according to claim 2, wherein the tongue reinforcement comprises softened lateral wings on at least one of the two arms.

6. A boot according to claim 3, wherein the structure to fasten the reinforcement on the tongue are constituted of two gussets into which the two free ends of the arms of the reinforcement are inserted.

7. A boot according to claim 6, wherein the free ends of the arms of the reinforcement are each received at a bottom of a corresponding gusset of the tongue.

8. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the fastening structure is arranged on an outer surface of the tongue.

9. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the reinforcement extends up to an upper end of the tongue.

10. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the upper portion of the boot upper has a more flexible construction than the lower portion of the upper.

11. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the upper comprises, between a lower portion and an upper portion, a more flexible zone that promotes bending of the foot in an area of the ankle.

12. A boot according to claim 1, wherein the boot comprises a rigid sole.

13. A boot according to claim 12, wherein the sole of the boot is capable of receiving ice crampons.

14. A detachable tongue reinforcement for a walking boot with a high upper, said reinforcement comprising: two arms forming an angle, each of the two arms having free ends provided to cooperate with corresponding means for fastening the tongue of the boot.

15. A tongue reinforcement according to claim 14, comprising, in an area of a junction of the two arms, a preferred zone of bending about a transverse axis.

16. A tongue reinforcement according to claim 14, further comprising softened lateral wings on at least one of the two arms.

17. A tongue reinforcement according to claim 14, wherein at least one of the two arms has a curved profile in cross-section.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is. based upon French Patent Application No. 01 04909, filed Apr. 6, 2001, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety, and the priority of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. ยง119.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to walking shoes, and more particularly climbing boots.

[0004] 2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

[0005] In a known manner, walking shoes, and especially climbing or hiking boots, have a sole on which a relatively high upper, i.e., an upper that extends above the user's ankle, is mounted. The advantage of high ankle boots lies in particular in good foot retention and proper ankle protection.

[0006] The upper of such boots is most often made of a thick textile or leather so as to ensure a fairly good rigidity and, therefore, good foot retention.

[0007] However, during a walk, especially when climbing a mountain, the user has to deal with various terrain. Thus, during the approach, the climber most often walks on terrain that does not make it too difficult to advance, especially trails or paths where the risks of slipping or being injured are minimal. To advance on these relatively even terrains, it is advantageous that the boot have a certain flexibility to enable adequate movement of the ankle joint and to ensure walking comfort.

[0008] When the terrain is uneven, for example when advancing on rocks, the need for a very efficient foot retention becomes preponderant. Indeed, on this type of terrain, the foot is often supported on the ground only by a portion of the sole, often because the support surfaces offered by the ground are very small. It is then essential that the foot be properly retained in order to prevent the walker from losing his or her balance, even if he/she takes support on the ground by an offset portion of the sole. The ideal boot must then have good rigidity, including in the area of the ankle joint

[0009] Finally, in particular during climbing, the user sometimes must attach ice crampon plates beneath his/her soles. These crampon plates are preferably used with boots having rigid soles, i.e., soles that virtually do not bend under the user's weight. Such crampon plates make it possible to advance on very steep, even quasi-vertical icy walls when climbing vertical ice, where the user is supported on the wall only by front crampons that project forward of the boot, almost horizontally. in this situation, the user's weight is applied at the rear of the boot, straight above the heel, whereas the only support of the boot on the wall occurs at the front end of the boot. Therefore, there is a substantial unbalance between the weight and the support, which the user must compensate, in particular by means of the calf muscle. One understands that it is then advantageous that the boot be relatively rigid in the area of the ankle so that a portion of the bending forces is distributed on the remainder of the foot, the boot forming a sort of square or angle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Therefore, an object of the invention is to propose a walking boot or a climbing boot, which makes it possible to advance under the best conditions on various types of terrain which one may encounter during a single trip or hike in the mountains.

[0011] To this end, the invention proposes a walking boot, of the type having a tongue made of two lower and upper portions corresponding to the instep and to the lower leg, respectively, of a user wearing the boot, wherein the tongue includes a structure to fasten a tongue reinforcement that extends along at least a part of the two portions of the tongue to increase the rigidity thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0012] Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the detailed description that follows, and which is better understood with reference to the annexed drawings, in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a boot according to the invention, in which the tongue reinforcement is shown before being fastened on the tongue;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a view similar to that of FIG. 1, in which the reinforcement is shown as fastened on the tongue;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a detailed longitudinal cross-sectional view of the tongue provided with its reinforcement;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing the use of a boot according to the invention, provided with an attached crampon plate, when climbing vertical ice;

[0017] FIGS. 5 and 6 are transverse cross-sectional views of the reinforcement along the lines 5-5 and 6-6 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] FIGS. 1 and 2 show a walking boot 10 particularly adapted to climbing, and even more particularly adapted to climbing vertical ice.

[0019] The boot includes a sole 12 that is overlaid by an upper 14 in which a lower portion 16, beneath the zone of the ankle, and an upper portion 18, which extends around and above the ankle, are distinguished. The boot also includes a tongue 20 that extends under the upper 14, beneath the lacing 22 which makes it possible to adapt the fitting room of the boot to the user's foot. The tongue 20 thus has a lower portion 24 that extends front-to-rear of the boot, along a direction substantially inclined upward and rearward along the lower portion 16 of the upper 14, and which is adapted to come in support substantially on the user's instep. The tongue 20 further has an upper portion 26 that vertically extends the lower portion 24 upward along the upper portion 18 of the upper 14, and which is adapted to come in support against the front of the user's lower leg, i.e., against the lower part of the tibia. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the tongue 20 is a padded flexible tongue. The upper 14 of the boot is made of materials having a certain flexibility, such as fabric, leather, non-woven synthetic materials (such as PVC), possibly combining many of these materials. It can also include more rigid reinforcements made of a plastic or composite material, for example, in the area of the heel or of the toes, for example. However, this upper 14 cannot be compared to a rigid shell.

[0020] Conversely, in the example of embodiment shown in the drawing figures, the sole 12 is a rigid sole, i.e., a sole that does not become deformed, or that becomes deformed very slightly under the user's weight. Moreover, as can be seen in FIG. 4, the sole 12 includes grooves 30, 32, at the front and rear, for fixing a crampon plate 31 that enables one to move along an icy terrain, and even to climb vertical ice.

[0021] In the example of boot shown, one can see that the upper portion 18 and lower portion 16 of the upper 14 are separated by an intermediate zone 28 that is relatively more flexible than the upper and lower portions. This construction provides the boot with greater flexibility around the ankle, as compared with a conventional high upper construction in which the two portions are arranged in the continuity of one another. In the example shown, which is more particularly optimized for climbing vertical ice, this greater flexibility occurs both in the direction of a bending about a longitudinal axis and in the direction of a bending about a transverse axis to allow for multidirectional supports. However, in the context of a climbing boot that is more particularly optimized for advancing on rocks and icy slopes, one can preserve a maximum of rigidity during bending of the ankle about a longitudinal axis,. and to provide a greater flexibility during bending about a transverse axis to make it easier to walk during the approach.

[0022] According to the teachings of the invention, the tongue 20 includes a structure to fasten a detachable tongue reinforcement 34 that is adapted to reinforce the rigidity of the tongue 20 during bending about a transverse axis corresponding substantially to the main journal axis of the ankle.

[0023] As can be seen in the drawing figures, this reinforcement 34 is in the form of a angle including a lower arm 36 and an upper arm 38 adapted to extend against the lower portion 24 and the upper portion 26, respectively, of the tongue 20. When free, these two arms 36, 38 together form an angle substantially equivalent to that formed between the lower and upper portions of the tongue 20.

[0024] As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, each of the two arms 36, 38 has a curved profile, in transverse cross-section, so as to conform to the profile of either the instep or the tibia.

[0025] More particularly, the lower arm 36 of the reinforcement 34 has, starting from the junction zone 40 of the two arms, a transverse width that tends to decrease progressively towards the front end of the lower arm 36.

[0026] Conversely, starting from the junction zone 40, the transverse width of the upper arm tends to increase progressively towards the upper end of the arm 38.

[0027] Preferably, the lateral edges of each of the arms 36, 38, respectively, are sufficiently flexible not to risk creating hard spots capable of causing a discomfort, or even an injury. In this example, the lateral edges of the arms 36, 38 are formed by softened wings 42, 44 which have a reduced thickness in relation to the thickness of a central portion 46, 48 of the arms 36, 38.

[0028] Indeed, the central portion 46, 48 of the arms 36, 38 is adapted to provide the reinforcement 34 with a certain bending strength, especially bending about a transverse axis parallel to the junction zone 40 of the two arms. It is noted that the curved profile of the arms 36, 38 and of the junction zone 40 reinforces the flexural strength of the reinforcement.

[0029] In the example shown, the junction zone 40 has three transverse grooves 50. Due to these transverse grooves 50, the junction zone 40 is a preferred bending zone that makes it possible to efficiently control the flexional deformation of the reinforcement.

[0030] Indeed, the reinforcement 34 is adapted to be fixed on the outer surface of the tongue 20 by the free ends of its lower 36 and upper 38 arms.

[0031] To this end, one can see that the tongue 20 includes two blind gussets 52, 54 sewn on the outer surface of the tongue 20. The upper gusset 54 is made in the form of a flexible band having substantially the same transverse width as the upper end of the upper portion 26 of the tongue 20, and a height on the order of approximately two to four centimeters. The edges of the band 54 are sewn on the tongue, except its transverse lower edge 56 so as to form a blind gusset open downward.

[0032] Comparably, the lower gusset 52 is made in the form of a band sewn by its edges, except its rear edge 58, on the lower portion 24 of the tongue 20, to form a blind gusset open rearward. However, the lower gusset 52 is not arranged at the front end of the tongue 20, but substantially in the middle of the lower portion 24 thereof. This zone corresponds substantially to the front of the instep of the user who is wearing the boot.

[0033] The position of the gussets S2, 54 is such that the developed length of the tongue between the bottom of the two gussets is substantially equal to the developed length of the reinforcement 34.

[0034] As can be seen in FIG. 1, the boot according to the invention can be used without the reinforcement. It then has a maximum flexibility which ensures comfort, for example for undertaking an approach.

[0035] When the user wishes to have a more rigid boot, it is only necessary to insert the free ends of the arms 36, 38 of the reinforcement 34 into the corresponding gussets 52, 54. Of course, to this end, it is necessary to deform the tongue and/or the reinforcement, Once positioned, the reinforcement is transversely wedged, and it is longitudinally blocked on the tongue at its two ends.

[0036] The rigidity of the tongue 20, and therefore of the upper portion of the boot upper, is therefore increased Indeed, when the user bends his/her leg forward in relation to the foot, the lower part of the tibia comes in support on the upper portion of the tongue, therefore indirectly on the upper arm 38 of the reinforcement 34 which is biased forward.

[0037] However, the lower arm 36 of the reinforcement is then in support on the user's instep, with the lower portion of the tongue therebetween. Thus, the two arms are flexionally biased toward one another, but the stiffness of the reinforcement 34 opposes this bending movement of the ankle. Due to the presence of the transverse grooves 50, the bending of the reinforcement is concentrated in the predetermined junction zone 40 that is opposite the bending zone of the user's foot, so that the reinforcement 34, even when bent, does not run the risk of creating excess pressure on the user's foot.

[0038] In this regard, it is noted that the reinforcement is inserted between the lacing 22 and the user's foot, such that it also plays a role of distributing the pressure generated by the lacing.

[0039] The geometry of the reinforcement 34 and, more particularly, the incurved disposition of the arms 36, 38, makes it possible to increase the overall bending strength of the reinforcement, without the arms being too rigid. The latter therefore retain the ability to locally conform to the morphology of the foot during the lacing, especially in the area of the softened lateral wings 42, 44. Similarly, the overall stiffness of the reinforcement attached on the upper is increased due to the fact that the ends of its arms 36, 38 are longitudinally blocked at the bottom of the corresponding gusset 52, 54. Indeed, during the forward bending of the reinforcement, a flying buttress effect occurs, which opposes this bending.

[0040] Of course, the overall rigidity of the boot depends upon the rigidity of the upper and that of the reinforcement A single pair of boots can possibly be offered with a plurality of reinforcements of various stiffnesses.

[0041] The reinforcement 34 can be made out a plastic material, for example by injection molding or compression molding. Thus, it can be made of a thermoplastic material, possibly loaded with mineral fibers, such as glass fibers. To obtain a more rigid reinforcement, one can choose to make it out of a composite material including webs of woven or non-woven glass, aramid or carbon fibers impregnated with a thermosetting resin, such as an epoxy resin.