Title:
Cleated overshoe and snowshoe with binding for accepting same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleated overshoe and snowshoe with a binding for accepting the overshoe. The overshoe includes a fastener for tightening the overshoe around a shoe. The overshoe also has a sole with one or more claws. The claws have apertures for receiving tabs or similar protrusions. The claws fit into a step-in binding on the snowshoe. The snowshoe has an outer frame, a decking, and a decking strap and the step-in binding is secured to the decking strap. The binding has a connection point for coupling each claw of the overshoe to the binding. In one embodiment, the binding also includes a base plate, a lift mounted to the base plate, a heel plate mounted to the lift, and a latch tab mounted to the heel plate. The latch tab is movable between a locked position and an unlocked position. In the locked position, the latch tab secures the claws of the overshoe in a position where the claws are coupled to the connection point.



Inventors:
Perkins, William J. (Leadville, CO, US)
Kitterman, Gary (Franklin, WI, US)
Application Number:
09/952472
Publication Date:
03/20/2003
Filing Date:
09/14/2001
Assignee:
Ideal Parts, Inc. (Franklin, WI)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
280/623
International Classes:
A63C13/00; (IPC1-7): A63C9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLEBE, GERALD B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Donald J. Ersler (Brookfield, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A footwear device comprising: an overshoe having a fastener supported by the overshoe for tightening around a shoe, a sole, and a cleat projecting from the sole; and a snowshoe having a binding, the binding having a connection point for coupling the cleat of the overshoe to the binding.

2. A footwear device according to claim 1, wherein the overshoe includes a shell made from an insulating material formed in the shape of a foot.

3. A footwear device according to claim 1, wherein the fastener includes a notched strap and a buckle adjustable in a plurality of latching mechanisms.

4. A footwear device according to claim 1, further comprising a second cleat projecting from the sole.

5. A footwear device according to claim 4, wherein the binding has a second connection point for coupling the second cleat to the binding.

6. A snowshoe comprising: an outer frame; a decking supported by the outer frame; and a step-in binding assembly supported by the decking, the step-in binding assembly having a connection point, the connection point having an aperture with a protrusion.

7. A snowshoe according to claim 6, further comprising a decking strap secured to the outer frame and wherein the step-in binding assembly is secured to the decking strap.

8. A snowshoe according to claim 7, wherein the step-in binding assembly includes a front plate and a base plate and the decking strap is positioned between the front plate and base plate.

9. A snowshoe according to claim 8, wherein the step-in binding assembly includes a second connection point.

10. A snowshoe according to claim 9, wherein second connection point includes a protrusion.

11. A snowshoe according to claim 7, further comprising a cleat mountable to the snowshoe.

12. A snowshoe according to claim 11, wherein the cleat is securable to the decking of the snowshoe.

13. A snowshoe according to claim 12, further comprising a second cleat mountable to the snowshoe.

14. A snowshoe according to claim 13, wherein the second cleat is secured between the decking of the snowshoe and the decking strap.

15. A snowshoe according to claim 9, further comprising an overshoe having first and second cleats, wherein the first cleat is securable to the connection point and the second cleat is securable to the second connection point.

16. A snowshoe according to claim 7, wherein the step-in binding assembly includes a lift and a heel plate.

17. A snowshoe according to claim 16, wherein the heel plate has a plurality of positions, the heel plate being operable to adjust for varying sizes of shoes.

18. A snowshoe according to claim 17, further comprising a latch tab connected to the heel plate.

19. A snowshoe according to claim 18, wherein the latch tab is movable between a locked position and an unlocked position.

20. A snowshoe according to claim 19, wherein the step-in binding assembly includes a second connection point.

21. A snowshoe according to claim 20, wherein second connection point includes a protrusion.

22. A snowshoe according to claim 21, further comprising an overshoe having first and second cleats, wherein the first cleat is securable to the connection point and the second cleat is securable to the second connection point.

23. A snowshoe according to claim 22, wherein the latch tab in the locked position prevents release of the first and second cleats from the connection point and the second connection point.

24. A snowshoe according to claim 23, wherein the latch tab in the unlocked position allows release of the first and second cleats from the connection point and the second connection point.

25. A snowshoe assembly comprising: an outer frame; a decking supported by the outer frame; a step-in binding assembly supported by the decking and having multiple connection points; and an insulated over boot having first and second cleats and selectively mountable to the step-in binding assembly.

26. A snowshoe assembly according to claim 25, wherein the step-in binding assembly includes a base plate mounted to the decking, the base plate having a first and second side, a lift portion mounted to the first side of the base plate, a heel plate mounted to the lift portion, and a front plate mounted to the second side of base plate.

27. A snowshoe assembly according to claim 26, further comprising a selectively positioned latch tab mounted to the base plate, the latch tab being movable among a plurality of positions.

28. A snowshoe assembly according to claim 27, wherein the latch tab is movable between a locked position and an unlocked position.

29. A snowshoe assembly according to claim 28, wherein the latch tab in the locked position prevents release of the first and second cleats from the step-in binding assembly.

30. A snowshoe assembly according to claim 28, wherein the latch tab in the unlocked position allows release of the first and second cleats from the step-in binding assembly.

31. A footwear device comprising: an overshoe having two flaps, a fastener for tightening the overshoe around a shoe, a sole, and a cleat projecting from the sole, the cleat having an aperture for receiving a protrusion.

32. A footwear device according to claim 31, wherein the overshoe has a toe portion, a calcaneus portion, a talus portion, and a metatarsals portion, and the fastener is positioned between the talus portion and metatarsal portion.

33. A footwear device according to claim 31, wherein the overshoe has an upper portion, the upper portion being made of a single piece.

34. A footwear device according to claim 31, wherein the fastener includes a ratcheting mechanism.

35. A footwear devices according to claim 34, wherein the fastener includes a buckle and a notched strap.

36. A footwear device according to claim 31, wherein the overshoe is made from an insulating material formed in the shape of a foot.

37. A footwear device according to claim 31, further comprising a second cleat projecting from the sole.

38. A footwear device comprising: a connector that is sized and configured to attach to a shoe, the connector having an interface that is selectively connectable to a binding of a foot operated device.

39. A footwear device according to claim 38, further comprising a fastener being mountable to the connector, the fastener being operable to attach the connector to the shoe.

40. A footwear device according to claim 39, wherein the connector is a cleat for traversing slippery surfaces.

41. A footwear device according to claim 40, wherein the binding is a step-in snowshoe binding.

42. A footwear device according to claim 41, wherein the fastener is a strap.

43. A footwear device according to claim 41, wherein the fastener is a friction grip.

44. A footwear device according to claim 38, wherein the connector is a cross-country ski mount.

45. A footwear device according to claim 44, wherein the binding is a cross-country ski binding.

46. A footwear device according to claim 38, wherein the connector is a bicycle pedal mounting bracket.

47. A footwear device according to claim 46, wherein the binding is a bicycle pedal binding.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to snowshoes and other footwear designed for outdoor, cold weather activity. More particularly, the invention relates to a cleated overshoe designed to be placed over athletic footwear and a snowshoe with a binding that accepts the cleated overshoe.

[0002] In general, snowshoes are designed to enable a wearer to walk in snow without sinking. Over the years, numerous snowshoes have been developed and used. Most snowshoes have attaching members or other bindings for connecting a regular shoe or hiking boot to the snowshoe. This allows a user to put on the snowshoes when traversing deep snow and remove the snowshoes and walk in their regular footwear when traversing harder, ice covered or snow-packed surfaces, which snowshoers commonly encounter. In the past, wearers would remove their snowshoes and attempt to traverse the terrain in their regular footwear. However, typical shoes and boots offer unsatisfactory traction on slippery surfaces.

[0003] In response to this problem, some snowshoes have been designed to accept boots with crampons or spiked plates attached thereto. Snowshoes that accept boots with crampons allow the user to walk in snow without sinking and walk on slippery surfaces after removing the snowshoe. However, boots with crampons tend to make snowshoes bulky and clumsy to use. Crampons can also adversely affect how a snowshoe is attached to a snowshoer's footwear.

[0004] Securing a wearer's foot to a snowshoe that accepts crampons depends on two fastening mechanisms: a crampon buckle and a snowshoe strap. Both fasteners must be secured to enable proper use of the snowshoe. Since two fasteners are used, the chance of the snowshoe releasing from the wearer's foot is increased as compared to fastening a non-crampon-equipped shoe to a snowshoe, which generally requires a single fastening mechanism.

[0005] Another deficiency of known snowshoes relates to the bindings and harnesses used to secure a wearer's shoe or boot to the snowshoe. Most harnesses are flimsy and have weak fasteners that tend to wear out quickly and require frequent maintenance or replacement.

[0006] In addition to crampon-accepting snowshoes, some attempts have been made to increase the traction of regular footwear such that when snowshoes are removed, the wearer's shoes or boots adequately grip slippery surfaces. Slip-on traction accessories consisting of elastic bands with metal spikes or protrusions have been developed to reduce slippage on ice and packed snow. Yet, using these devices is awkward because they typically must be put on and removed in conjunction with removing and putting on snowshoes, which requires a great deal of footwear manipulation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, there is a need for footwear that can be used both on hard winter surfaces as well as soft snow surfaces without requiring a user to unduly manipulate or change footwear when surface conditions change. In one embodiment, the invention provides a footwear device having an overshoe. The overshoe includes a fastener that tightens the overshoe around a shoe. The overshoe also includes a sole, and two claws projecting from the sole. The claws provide traction for the overshoe on hard winter surfaces.

[0008] The overshoe is designed to be used by itself or in combination with a snowshoe. The snowshoe has a decking stretched across an outer frame. The decking supports a step-in binding assembly having two connection points. Each connection point has a tab or protrusion. The protrusion inserts into an opening in the claw of the overshoe. The binding assembly includes a latching assembly for securing the claws of the overshoe to the binding assembly. The latching assembly is automatically activated upon the insertion of the protrusions of the binding assembly into the openings of the claws and disengaged by manually pulling a latch lever upwards and lifting the overshoe off of the binding assembly.

[0009] Numerous variations of the invention can be described in general terms as a footwear device comprising a connector that is sized and configured to attach to a shoe, the connector having an interface that is selectively connectable to a binding of a foot operated device. Several specific examples are described herein.

[0010] As is apparent from the above, it is an advantage of the invention to provide a cleated overshoe and snowshoe with a binding for accepting the same. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is side, perspective view of a snowshoe and overshoe of the invention.

[0012] FIG. 2 is perspective view of a snowshoe of the invention.

[0013] FIG. 2A is partial perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention.

[0014] FIG. 2B is a partial perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a partial, plan view of a binding of the snowshoe shown in FIG. 2.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the binding shown in FIG. 3 in a first position.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the binding shown in FIG. 3 in a second position.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a footwear device of the invention.

[0019] FIG. 6A is a sectional view of an footwear device of the invention.

[0020] FIG. 6B is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of an footwear device of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 6C is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of a footwear device of the invention.

[0022] FIG. 6D is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of a footwear device of the invention.

[0023] FIG. 6E is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of a footwear device of the invention.

[0024] FIG. 6F is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of a footwear device of the invention.

[0025] FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6.

[0026] FIG. 7A is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6A

[0027] FIG. 7B is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6B.

[0028] FIG. 7C is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6C.

[0029] FIG. 7D is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6D.

[0030] FIG. 7E is a bottom view of the footwear device shown in FIG. 6E.

[0031] FIG. 8 is a partial, plan view of the binding of snowshoe shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0032] FIG. 9 is cross-sectional, front view of a cleat of an overshoe inserted in a binding and taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8.

[0033] FIG. 10 is an end view of a release mechanism of the binding shown in FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0034] Before embodiments of the invention are explained, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0035] FIGS. 1 and 2, illustrate a snowshoe 11 embodying the invention. The snowshoe 11 includes an outer frame 12 that defines an area 13. The outer frame 12 supports a decking 14 that is stretched across the area 13 and wrapped around the outer frame 12. The decking 14 is fastened to itself in several locations by means of fasteners 16.

[0036] Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the decking 14 includes a main decking 18, an upper decking 20, and a decking strap 22. The main decking 18 bears the majority of the weight delivered to the snowshoe during operation. Therefore, it is positioned in a location under the user's foot. In the preferred embodiment, the main decking 18 is made of a resilient, durable material such as PVC coated nylon, but the main decking 18 can be made from other materials known to those skilled in the art. The upper decking 20 is positioned at the front of the snowshoe frame 12. The decking strap 22 is positioned between the main decking 18 and upper decking 20. The decking strap 22 wraps around the outer frame 12 and is fastened between the main decking 18 and upper decking 20 by means of fasteners 24. The strap 22 is made of a flexible material secured around the outer frame 12 such that it may be twisted in a direction generally perpendicular to the main decking 18.

[0037] Referring to FIG. 2, the snowshoe also includes a first pair of decking claws 21 and a second pair of decking claws 23. The first pair of decking claws 21 are mounted on the underside of the main decking 18 by fasteners 16. The second pair of decking claws 23 are mounted between the strap 22 and the upper decking 20. The first and second pairs of decking claws 21 and 23 give the snowshoe extra traction on slippery surfaces.

[0038] Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the snowshoe 11 also includes a step-in binding or binding assembly 26 fastened to the decking strap 22. The step-in binding assembly 26 includes a base plate 28, a front plate 30, a lift 32, and a heel plate 35. The front of the base plate 28 is positioned under the decking strap 22, while the front plate 30 is positioned on top of the decking strap 22. The front plate 30, strap 22, and base plate 28 are fastened together to secure the step-in binding assembly 26 to the strap 22. In an alternate embodiment, the base plate 28 and the front plate 30 can be a single piece and fastened to the decking strap 22, rather than two separate pieces sandwiching the decking strap 22. An aperture 33 is located within the front plate 30. Two protrusions 34 of the front plate 30 extend into the aperture 33 towards the rear of the snowshoe 11. The aperture 33 receives and provides a connection point for a front cleat or claw 36 (see FIG. 7) of an insulated overshoe 38. The protrusions 34 insert into openings 40 within the front claw 36 (the claws and the insulated overshoe will be discussed below). The lift 32 is positioned on the rear portion of the base plate 28 and provides an elevated location for resting the heel of the overshoe 38 and a place to mount the heel plate 35. The heel plate 35 is mounted to the top of the lift 32 and has two protrusions 42 extending towards the rear of the snowshoe 11. The two protrusions 42 insert into openings 44 in a rear cleat or claw 46 of the insulated overshoe 38 (see FIG. 7). The two protrusions 42 provide a second connection point to the binding assembly 26. Although openings 40 and 44 are shown in the preferred embodiment, recesses or notches can also be used to achieve the desired connection point.

[0039] Referring now to FIG. 2A, the binding assembly 26 can be mounted to the snowshoe 11 by other means than the decking strap 22. In this embodiment, a bar or hinge 134 is pivotally mounted to the outer frame 12. The hinge 134 has a mounting portion 138 and a cylindrical portion 140 on each side of the mounting portion 138. The cylindrical portion 140 inserts into two round apertures 142 in the outer frame 12, one aperture 142 on each side of the outer frame 12. The base plate 28 is mounted to the bottom of the mounting portion 138 and the front plate 30 is mounted to the top of the mounting portion 138. The base plate 28 and front plate 30 can be mounted to the hinge 134 by welding, bolting, riveting, screwing, or any other means of fastening known to those skilled in the art. The base plate 28, hinge 134, and front plate 30 can also be molded as one piece and pivotally mounted to the outer frame 12. The base plate 28 and front plate 30 can also be a single piece and mounted to the hinge 134 by welding, bolting, riveting, screwing, or any other means of fastening known to those skilled in the art.

[0040] Referring now to FIG. 2B, the binding assembly 26 can be mounted to the snowshoe 11 by yet another means. In this embodiment, a pair of straps 144 are wrapped around the outer frame 12, one strap 144 on each side of the outer frame 12. A bar 146 is mounted between the straps 144 by means of fasteners 148. The fasteners 148 can be bolts, rivets, screws, or any other means of fasteners known to those skilled in the art. The base plate 28 is mounted to the bottom of the bar 146 and the front plate 30 is mounted to the top of the bar 146. The base plate 28 and front plate 30 can be mounted to the bar 146 by welding, bolting, riveting, screwing, or any other means of fastening known to those skilled in the art. The base plate 28, bar 146, and front plate 30 can also be molded as a single piece and mounted to the straps 144. The base plate 28 and front plate 30 can also be a single piece and mounted to the bar 146 by welding, bolting, riveting, screwing, or any other means of fastening known to those skilled in the art. The straps 144 are made of a flexible material secured around the outer frame 12 such that it may be twisted in a direction generally perpendicular to the main decking 18.

[0041] Referring now to FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, the step-in binding assembly 26 is pivotal about the decking strap 22, hinge 134, or pair of straps 144. This enables the snowshoer to lift their heel, such that the binding assembly 26 gives little resistance to a walking or running motion. The binding assembly 26 includes a latching assembly 48 fastened to the main decking 18. The latching assembly 48 selectively secures the insulated overshoe 38 to the heel plate 35. The latching assembly 48 includes a latch base 52, a latch tab 54, and a latch lever 56. The latch base 52 is mounted to the main decking 18 and is positioned behind the binding assembly 26 towards the rear of the snowshoe 11. The latch tab 54 is mounted to the top of the latch base 52 and extends toward the rear portion of the binding heel plate 35, where it contacts the rear claw 46 of the insulated overshoe 38 and prevents the overshoe 38 from disengaging the binding assembly 26. The latch lever 56 is fastened to the top of the latch tab 54 and extends toward the rear of the snowshoe 11. When the latch lever 56 is pulled upward and away from the decking 14 (as shown in phantom in FIG. 4), it forces the latch tab 54 downward toward the decking 14, allowing the rear claw 46 of the insulated overshoe 38 to disengage from the binding assembly 26.

[0042] As noted above and referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the snowshoe 11 also includes an insulated overshoe 38 attachable to the step-in binding assembly 26. The overshoe 38 is designed to slip-over a regular shoe such as a running or athletic shoe. In one embodiment, the overshoe 38 has a shell 58 generally formed in the shape of a foot. Preferably, the shell is made of an elastic and insulated material such as neoprene. The shell 58 has a toe portion 58a, a calcaneus or heel portion 58b, a talus portion 58c, and a metatarsals portion 58d. The shell 58 has an opening 59 and two flaps 59a and 59b. A fastener 60 tightens the shell 58 to the shoe of a user and closes the flaps 59a and 59b. In the embodiment shown, the fastener 60 is a ratcheting mechanism having a notched strap 61 affixed or positioned between the talus portion 58c and the metatarsal portion 58d. A buckle 62 may be adjusted along the strap 61 in plurality of locking positions to accommodate shoes of varying sizes. The overshoe 38 also has a sole or support base 63 and a mid-sole 150 (See FIG. 6A). The support base 63 is positioned on the underside of the overshoe 38, wraps around the mid-sole 150, and is fastened to the shell 58 by adhesives (not shown). The support base 63 seals a seam 152 mounting the shell 58 to the mid-sole 150 to prevent separation of the shell 58 and mid-sole 150. The support base 63 is preferably made of a more durable material than the shell 58, therefore the support base 63 providing a solid surface for contacting the ground. The support base 63 also includes tread protrusions 70 molded into the bottom of the support base 63. The tread protrusions 70 provide traction for the overshoe 38 on slippery surfaces. A front claw 36 and a rear claw 46 are mounted to the support base 63 by means of fasteners 64. Preferably, the front and rear claws 36 and 46 are made of metal, but the front and rear claws 36 and 46 can be made of many materials, such as, but not limited to rubber and plastic. The front claw 36 is generally positioned under the front portion or sole portion of the overshoe 38, while the rear claw 46 is generally positioned under the rear portion or heel portion of the overshoe 38. The front claw 36 and rear claw 46 each have two openings 40, 44 respectively therein for receiving the protrusions 34, 42 respectively from the binding assembly 26.

[0043] As shown in FIGS. 8-10, the front claw 36 inserts into the aperture 33 of the front plate 30 on the binding assembly 26. The protrusions 34 of the front plate 30 insert into the openings 40 in the front claw 36. When the front claw 36 is inserted into the aperture 33 of the front plate 30, the rear claw 46 falls behind the heel plate 35 of the binding assembly 26. Upon movement of the overshoe 38 forward, the protrusions 42 on the heel plate 35 insert into the openings 44 of the rear claw 46. When the overshoe 38 is moved forward, the rear claw 46 slides in-between the lift 32 of the binding assembly 26 and the latch tab 54 of the latching assembly 48 (as best seen in FIG. 2). The latch tab 54 prevents the rear claw 46 from moving toward the rear of the snowshoe 11. This prevents the protrusions 34 and 42 of the front plate 30 and heel plate 35 from exiting the openings 40 and 44 of the front claw 36 and rear claw 46, respectively. This provides a secure coupling between the overshoe 38 and the step-in binding assembly 26. To uncouple or release the overshoe 38 from the binding assembly 26, the latch lever 56 of the latching assembly 48 is pulled upward, away from the decking 14 (as shown in FIG. 4). The upward motion of the latch lever 56 forces the latch tab 54 downward below the rear claw 46 of the overshoe 38. When the latch tab 54 is in this position, the rear claw 46 and overshoe 38 are free to move toward the rear of the snowshoe 11. Upon rearward movement, the protrusions 34 and 42 of the front plate 30 and heel plate 35, respectively, withdraw from the openings 40 and 44 allowing the over boot 38 to disengage from the binding assembly 26.

[0044] One advantage of the insulated overshoe 38 is that it can be used without the snowshoe 11. The binding assembly is designed such that a snowshoe can quickly and easily secure and release the overshoe 38 in and from the snowshoe 11. When released from the snowshoe 11, the overshoe 38 may be used to traverse ice covered or snow-packed surfaces. Its relatively low weight and sleek design allow easy travel with little resistance. The front claw 36 and rear claw 46 provide traction on hard slippery surfaces where the floatation of the snowshoe 11 is not required. When floatation is required, a user wearing the overshoe 38 can simply step into the binding 26 of the snowshoe 11. Thus, the snowshoe 11 facilitates travel over both soft snow surfaces and hard-packed, slippery surfaces.

[0045] After traversing snow or ice covered surfaces with the overshoe 38, the apertures 40, 44 may be packed with snow. The binding assembly 26 is designed to be self cleaning, such that the protrusions 34, 42 push snow out of the apertures 40, 44, respectively, to ensure a secure connection between the overshoe 38 and the binding assembly 26. Likewise, the apertures 40, 44 scrape off any snow or debris that has accumulated on the protrusions 34, 42.

[0046] Referring to FIGS. 3, 6B, and 7A, an alternate embodiment of a footwear device or cleat skeleton 72 that is attachable to the step-in binding assembly 26 is illustrated. The cleat skeleton 72 is designed to slip-over a regular shoe such as a running or athletic shoe. The cleat skeleton 72 includes a body portion 74, a fastener 76, a front cleat 78, and a rear cleat 80. The body portion 74 includes a talus portion 82 and a metatarsal portion 84. The fastener 76 tightens the cleat skeleton 72 to the shoe of a user. In the embodiment shown, the fastener 76 is a ratcheting mechanism having a notched strap affixed or positioned between the talus portion 82 and the metatarsal portion 84. A buckle 88 may be adjusted along the strap 86 in plurality of locking positions to accommodate shoes of varying sizes. The front cleat 78 and a rear cleat 80 are mounted to the cleat skeleton 72 by means of fasteners 64. The front cleat 78 is generally positioned under the front portion or sole portion of the cleat skeleton 72, while the rear cleat 80 is generally positioned under the rear portion or heel portion of the cleat skeleton 72. The front cleat 78 and rear cleat 80 each have two openings 92, 94 respectively therein for receiving the protrusions 34, 42 respectively from the binding assembly 26.

[0047] Referring to FIGS. 3, 6C, and 7B, yet another embodiment of a footwear device or cleat accessory 96 that is attachable to the step-in binding assembly 26 is illustrated. The cleat accessory 96 is designed to selectively mount to a regular shoe such as a running or athletic shoe. The cleat accessory 96 includes a pair of fasteners or a pair of friction grips 98, a front cleat 100, and a rear cleat 102. The friction grips 98 are mounted to the front and rear cleat 100, 102 and has side members 104 that extend upward from the front and rear cleats 100, 102. The friction grip side members 104 are made of a rigid and flexible material, such as, but not limited to plastic and metal. The user's shoe is positioned between the side members 104 of the friction grip 98, wherein the side members 104 squeeze the shoe. The side members 104 squeeze the shoe enough to ensure that the cleat accessory 96 will not fall off of the user's shoe during use. The friction grips 98 are mounted to the front and rear cleats 100, 102 by means of fasteners 64. The front cleat 100 is generally positioned under the front portion or sole portion of the user's shoe, while the rear cleat 102 is generally positioned under the rear portion or heel portion of the user's shoe. The front cleat 100 and rear cleat 102 each have two openings 108, 110 respectively therein for receiving the protrusions 34, 42 respectively from the binding assembly 26.

[0048] Referring to FIGS. 6D and 7C, this embodiment of a cleat accessory 112 includes many of the same features as the cleat accessory 96 except the cleat accessory 112 uses a front strap fastener 114 and a rear strap fastener 116 instead of the friction grips 98 to selectively mount the cleat accessory 112 to a running or athletic shoe and the cleat accessory 112 includes a body portion 118. The front and rear strap fasteners 114, 116 are mounted to the body portion 118 of the cleat accessory 112. The front strap 114 is mounted to a front portion or sole portion of the body portion 118 and wraps around a metatarsal portion of the user's shoe. The rear strap 116 is mounted to a rear portion or heel portion of the body portion 118 and wraps around a talus portion of the user's foot.

[0049] Referring to FIGS. 6E and 7D, an alternate embodiment of an overshoe 120 is illustrated. In this embodiment, the overshoe 120 contains all of the same features as the overshoe 38 (see FIGS. 6 and 7, claws 36, 46 not shown in FIGS. 6E and 7D), plus the front and rear claws 36, 46 are selectively removable and a toe clamp 122 for mounting to a cross-country ski is selectively mountable to the overshoe 120. The removable front and rear claws 36, 46 (see FIGS. 6 and 7) are mounted to a support base 124 of the overshoe 120 by fasteners 64. The toe clamp 122 is selectively mountable to the support base 124 of the overshoe 120 by using the same fasteners 64 that are used to mount the removable front claw 36 (see FIGS. 6 and 7) to the support base 124 of the overshoe 120. The toe clamp 122 mounts to typical step-in clamp bindings found on most cross-country skis.

[0050] Referring to FIGS. 6F and 7E, yet another alternate embodiment of an overshoe 128 is illustrated. In this embodiment, the overshoe 128 contains all of the same features as the overshoe 38 (see FIGS. 6 and 7, claws 36, 46 not shown in FIGS. 6F and 7E), plus the front and rear claws 36, 46 are selectively removable and a bicycle cleat 130 for mounting to a bicycle pedal is selectively mountable to the overshoe 128. The removable front and rear claws 36, 46 are mounted to a support base 132 of the overshoe 128 by fasteners 64. The bicycle cleat 130 for selectively mounting the overshoe 128 to a bicycle pedal is attachable to the support base 132 of the overshoe 128 by using the same fasteners 64 that are used to mount the removable front claw 36 to the support base 132. The bicycle cleat 130 is mountable to commonly available pedal systems.

[0051] Alternate embodiments of the snowshoe can be derived from the preferred embodiment and still be covered under the present invention. The front and heel plate of the binding assembly could have recesses therein and the front and rear claws of the overshoe could have protrusions thereon, such that the protrusions of the front and rear claws insert into the recesses of the front and heel plate, respectively, of the binding assembly. Also, the number of recesses and protrusions on the binding assembly and overshoe can be varied. Other alternative embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and are within the intended scope of the present invention. Thus, the present invention is to be limited only by the following claims.