Title:
Sports boot, particularly for skiing, skating or snow-boarding
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sport boots, particularly for skiing, skating, or snow-boarding, in which an opening, a rear portion (3), and an opposed front portion (4) are identified, comprises a support element (5) which is provided substantially in the region of the opening (2d), and which can pivot between a first position, in which it is close to the rear portion (3), and a second position, in which it is towards the front portion (4), as well as connection means (6) between the support element and the front portion for bringing about pivoting of the support element as a result of forward bending of the front portion.



Inventors:
Sartor, Mariano (Montebelluna (TV), IT)
Pellegrini, Alfred (Montebelluna (TV), IT)
Application Number:
10/507665
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
01/10/2003
Assignee:
TECNICA S.p.a. (Giavera Del Montello (TV), IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/118.2
International Classes:
A43B5/04; A43B7/20; (IPC1-7): A43B5/04
View Patent Images:
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20040194341Shoe having a contoured bottom with small particles bonded to the lowest extending portions thereofOctober, 2004Koo
20080141561SPORTS SHOE SUCH AS A SKI BOOT OR SUCHLIKEJune, 2008Battilana et al.
20090217548IMPACT-ATTENUATING ELEMENTS REMOVABLY MOUNTED IN FOOTWEAR OR OTHER PRODUCTSSeptember, 2009Leedy et al.
20080072461Cushioned orthoticMarch, 2008Howlett et al.



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CASTELLANO PLLC (Great Falls, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A sports boot, particularly for skiing, skating or snow-boarding in which an opening, a rear portion, and an opposed front portion are identified, the boot comprising a shell, a bootleg pivotably mounted to the shell and a support element structurally independent from the shell and the bootleg, said support element being provided substantially in the region of the opening, and being pivotable between a first position, in which it is close to the rear portion, and a second position, in which it is moved towards the front portion, characterized in that connection means are provided between the support element and the front portion to directly connect the support element to the front portion for pivoting the support element from the first to the second position as a result of a forward bending of the front portion.

2. A boot according to claim 1 in which the support element is fixed to the rear portion outside the opening so as to move the rear portion towards the front portion as a result of the pivoting between the first and second positions.

3. A boot according to claim 2 in which the rear portion comprises a region of preferential deformability for permitting the movement of the rear portion towards the front portion.

4. A boot according to claim 3 in which a first, substantially vertical slit, open at the top of the opening, is provided in the region of preferential deformability.

5. A boot according to claim 4 in which the side edges of the first slit are turned outwards.

6. A boot according to claim 3 the region of preferential deformability constitutes a seat for housing the support element

7. A boot according to claim 6 in which the support element is coupled with the seat in a condition of resilient preloading.

8. A boot according to claim 1 in which guide means are provided and are active between the rear portion and the support element in order to guide and limit the pivoting between the first and second positions.

9. A boot according to claim 1 in which the support element is fixed to the shell of the boot, on which the rear portion is defined.

10. A boot according to claim 9 in which at least one lateral slit is provided on the shell to favour the flexibility of the shell in the region of the opening.

11. A boot according to claim 9 in which the support element is articulated to the shell.

12. A boot according to claim 1 in which the support element is fixed inside the opening so as to move away from the rear portion as a result of the pivoting between the first and second positions.

13. A boot according to claim 12 in which the support element is articulated on the bootleg or on the shell of the boot.

14. A boot according to claim 13 in which the support element is articulated on the bootleg or on the shell by pin fixing means mounted on opposite sides of the rear portion.

15. A boot according to claim 13 in which the support element is adjustable in height relative to the bootleg or to the shell.

16. A boot according to claim 1, comprising an inner boot provided inside the bootleg, preferential yielding regions being provided in the inner boot so that a top portion of the inner boot can follow the pivoting of the support element as a result of the forward bending of the front portion and of the consequent pivoting of the support element.

17. A boot according to claim 16 in which the preferential yielding region comprises a rear vertical slot open at the top of the inner boot.

18. A boot according to claim 16 in which the preferential yielding region is located at ankle level.

19. A boot according to claim 16 in which the support element is fixed to the inner boot.

20. A boot according to claim 19 in which the support element is fixed to the inner boot on the side opposite the front portion.

21. A boot according to claim 1 in which the connection means comprise a first strap connected to the front portion and to the support element.

22. A boot according to claim 21 in which the first strap is wrapped around the support element on the side remote from the front portion.

23. A boot according to claim 22 in which the first strap is closed around the rear portion and is guided through a pair of guides provided on respective opposite sides of the support element, the first strap being tightened by a second strap guided between the guides and closed around the front portion.

24. A boot according to claim 23 in which the ends of the first strap are closed onto the support element adjustably and releasably.

25. A boot according to claim 24 in which the ends are closed by touch-close pull fastening means.

26. A boot according to claim 23 in which the first strap is wrapped around the rear portion in a direction (A) which is offset relative to the direction (B) in which it is also wrapped around the support element.

27. A boot according to claim 22 in which the first strap is restrained, at a first of its ends, on the bootleg or on the shell and carries, at its free end remote from the support element, a guide ring through which is guided a second strap which is closed around the front portion in order to tighten the first strap as a result of a bending of the front portion.

28. A boot according to claim 27 in which the second strap is restrained by a first of its ends on the bootleg or on the shell, is wrapped around the bootleg, extending through the guide ring for a first time, and is then closed onto itself, extending through the guide ring for a second time.

29. A boot according to claim 28 in which the second strap is restrained on the bootleg or on the shell on the inside thereof, the bootleg or the shell having a recess in the region of the opening to allow the second strap to extend between the inside and the outside of the bootleg or of the shell.

30. A boot according to claim 22 in which the connection means comprise a lever mechanism active on the bootleg in order to tighten the first strap.

31. A boot according to claim 30 in which a first end of the first strap is fixed to the bootleg, the opposite end of the first strap being fixed, on the opposite side of the support element, to one of the components of a lever fastening mounted on the bootleg.

32. A boot according to claim 31 in which the lever fastening component is mounted slidably on the bootleg.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a sports boot, particularly for skiing, skating, or snow-boarding, according to the characteristics set out in the preamble to the main claim.

TECHNOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

When practising these sports, it is known to use sports boots comprising a shell and a bootleg with a rigid structure. However, although on the one hand sports boots of this type help significantly to protect the sportsperson's feet and ankles, on the other hand, they are not very suitable for following his movements in use. This problem appears in particular when it is necessary to bend the leg forwards, for example, when performing a turn. As a result of the bending, a space is in fact created between the leg and the rear portion of the bootleg (or of an inner boot housed therein), which leads to less precise control of the equipment, as well as the undesirable possibility of snow entering the boot. This limitation is particularly evident with sportspersons who have quite thin legs, for whom it is sometimes not possible to achieve a fit of the upper part of the bootleg against the calf, even in rest conditions. A sports boot having the features outlined in the preamble of the main claim is disclosed in EPA 371915, in EPA 477817 and in the U.S. Pat. No. 4,888,889.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The problem underlying the present invention is to provide a sports boot, particularly for skiing, skating or snow-boarding, which is designed structurally and functionally to overcome the limitations explained above with reference to the prior art mentioned.

This problem is solved by the present invention by means of a boot formed in accordance with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The characteristics and the advantages of the invention will become clearer from the detailed description of some preferred embodiments thereof, described by way of non-limiting example with reference to the appended drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 are schematic side elevational views of a sports boot produced in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, in a first operative position and in a second operative position, respectively,

FIG. 3 is a view in partial section, taken on the line III-III of FIG. 1,

FIG. 4 is a perspective side view of a detail of the boot of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 is a cutaway front view of the detail of FIG. 4, taken on the line V-V of FIG. 3,

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 1 with a different arrangement of an element of the boot,

FIG. 7 is a schematic side elevational view of a sports boot produced in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention,

FIGS. 8 to 11 are schematic, perspective, side elevational or rear elevational views of respective variants of a component of the boot of FIG. 1,

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of the component of FIG. 10 formed in accordance with a variant of the boot of the present invention,

FIG. 13 is a partial view of a third embodiment of the boot according to the invention,

FIG. 14 is a partial perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the boot according to the invention,

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the boot of FIG. 14 from above,

FIG. 16 is a side elevational view of a fifth embodiment of the boot according to the invention,

FIG. 17 is a side elevational view of a detail of the boot of FIG. 16,

FIG. 18 is a section taken on the line XVIII-XVIII of FIG. 17,

FIGS. 19 to 21 are schematic views of variants of the boot of FIG. 16, from above, and

FIG. 22 is a side elevational view of a further variant of the boot of FIG. 16.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

With reference initially to FIGS. 1 to 6, a first embodiment of a sports boot formed in accordance with the present invention, is generally indicated 1. The boot 1 is a ski boot and comprises a shell la with a rigid structure, to which is fixed a bootleg 2 in relation to which, and also with reference to the normal use of the boot 1, an opening 2a and, adjacent thereto, a rear portion 3 and a front portion 4, are identified in the boot 1. In this description, in particular with reference to the embodiments described below, the definition of the extent of the terms “front portion” and “rear portion” is not limited to the bootleg 2, but also extends to the corresponding front and rear regions of the boot 1. In particular, the front portion 4 may also include the front region of an inner boot inserted in the bootleg 2, and the rear portion may include the rear region of the shell as described below in the third and in the fifth embodiments of the invention, respectively.

According to a principal characteristic of the invention, in the region of the opening 2a of the boot 1, there is a support element 5 which can pivot between a first operative position, in which it is close to the rear portion 3 (FIG. 1, and broken line in FIG. 2), and a second operative position, in which it is moved towards the front portion 4 (solid line in FIG. 2).

The support element 5 in this first embodiment is housed inside the bootleg 2, has a rigid structure, and is substantially cradle-shaped with a curvature similar and corresponding to that of the rear portion 3 of the boot 1.

The boot 1 also comprises connection means, generally indicated 6, acting between the support element 5 and the front portion 4 so as to bring about the pivoting of the support element 5 between one operative position and the other as a result of any forward movement of the front portion 4.

The connection means 6 in turn comprise a first strap 7 which is wrapped around the support element 5, between the latter and the rear portion 3, so that, as a result of tensioning of the first strap 7, the support element 5 is moved from the first operative position to the second.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention shown in particular in FIG. 3, the first strap 7 is closed around the rear portion 3 after being guided through a pair of guides 8 provided on opposite sides of the support element 5, respectively. The ends 9a, 9b of the first strap 7 are advantageously closed onto the support element 5 in a protected and concealed position. For this purpose the support element 5 has, in a central position, a through-hole 10 through which the ends 9a, 9b of the first strap 7 are led onto a surface 5a of the support element 5 facing the front portion 4.

The connection means 6 also comprise a second strap 11 which is advantageously guided through the guides 8 and closed onto itself around the front portion 4 so as to tighten the first strap 7 as a result of a forward movement thereof. The degree of tensioning both of the first strap 7 and of the second strap 11 are intended to be adjustable by the user, preferably by means of touch-close pull fastening means, indicated 12 and 13, respectively. When the front portion 4 is bent forwards because of the bending performed by the sportsperson, for example, when executing a turn, the movement of the front portion brings about translation, in the same direction, of the second strap 11 and of the first strap 7, connected thereto by means of the pair of guides 8. The tensioning of the first strap 7 leads to pivoting of the support element 5 from the first operative position to the second. The support element 5 thus remains close to the sportsperson's leg, following it in its movement and taking up the variation in cross-section which occurs in the region of the opening 2a as a result of the forward bending of the front portion 4. Contact between the sportsperson's leg and the boot 1 is thus maintained around the entire periphery of the leg.

It should be noted that, in the embodiment described, the amplitude of the pivoting of the support element 5 is increased by the particular arrangement of the two straps 7, 11, guided by the guides 8.

FIG. 6 shows the boot 1, in which the first strap 7 is arranged in an alternative manner to that described above. It is wrapped around the rear portion 3 of the bootleg and onto the support element 5 in a manner such that the respective directions of wrapping, indicated A and B in FIG. 6, are offset relative to one another. This arrangement advantageously enables the pressure exerted on the sportsperson's leg by the first strap to be distributed over a larger area.

A second embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 7 which shows a sports boot 20 in which details thereof which are similar to those of the boot 1 of the previous embodiment are identified by the same reference numerals. In the boot 20, a lever mechanism is provided for tensioning the first strap 7 and connecting it to the front portion 4. The first strap 7, the central portion of which is interposed between the support element 5 and the rear portion 3, is restrained, at its first end 9a, inside the bootleg 2 and, at its opposite end 9b, on a component 21 of a lever fastening provided on the bootleg 2. The lever fastening is of conventional type and is shown only partially in FIG. 7. The end 9b and the component 21 (constituting, for example, the base of the fastening) are connected to one another by means of a pin or a rivet 22 guided for sliding through a through-slot 23 provided in the bootleg 2. It is thus possible to adjust the tensioning of the first strap 7.

It should be noted that, in this solution, the path of the first strap 7 is advantageously entirely inside the bootleg 2.

In conventional manner, both the boot 1 and the boot 20 comprise an inner boot 25, housed in the bootleg 2 and made of soft material in order to house the sportsperson's foot and leg comfortably. According to a characteristic of the present invention which tends to favour constant contact between the sportsperson's leg and the boot, preferential yielding regions are provided on the inner boot 25 to enable its top portion 26 to pivot simultaneously with the pivoting of the support element 5.

FIGS. 8 to 11 show various alternative embodiments of inner boots (all indicated 25) which have been developed to respond to this functional requirement. In FIG. 8, for example, the inner boot 25 is open in its front region in which it has a front tongue 27 which is separated from the remaining portion 28 of the bootleg so that the bootleg can pivot freely to a certain extent, relative to the tongue 27. In FIGS. 9 and 10, the preferential yielding regions, indicated 29 and 30 respectively, extend at ankle level in a direction parallel to the plane defined by the sole of the inner boot and transversely relative thereto towards an instep region thereof, respectively. In the embodiment of FIG. 11, the preferential yielding region is constituted by a vertical slot 31 extending at the rear and open at the top of the inner boot 25. In this latter embodiment, the inner boot 25 comprises a rear tongue 32 fixed, for example, by stitching 33, to the rear portion 34 of the inner boot, to cover the vertical slot 31. The tongue 32 enables the user's leg to be housed adequately and comfortably in the various operative conditions of the inner boot 25. The inner boot described in this last embodiment with reference to

FIG. 11 is that which is most preferred for use in the boots according to the invention.

In FIGS. 8 to 11, respective arrows F indicate the movements of the preferential yielding regions brought about as a result of the pivoting movement of the support element 5 between the first and second positions of FIGS. 1 and 2, which pivoting movement in turn is indicated by respective arrows G.

In the preferred embodiments described up to now, the support element 5 is articulated to the bootleg 2. In particular, it is fixed pivotably to the bootleg 2 by pin fixing means 35 which are provided on the opposite sides of the rear portion 3 and which permit pivoting between the above-described operative positions, by rotating about an axis X. The height of the support element 5 relative to the bootleg 2 is preferably also adjustable, owing to the provision of holes 36 formed at different heights in the support element 5, each hole being able to house the fixing pins 35.

With reference to FIG. 12, the teaching of the present invention can also be implemented by the fixing or incorporation of the rigid support element 5 directly to or in the inner boot 25, in a position facing the rear portion 3 of the bootleg. In this case, the preferred configuration of the connection means 6 is that described above with reference to FIG. 7, in which the first strap 7 (partially indicated in broken outline in FIG. 12) is inside the bootleg and is tightened by means of a lever mechanism.

In a third embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 13, in which similar details of a boot 50 are indicated by the same reference numerals as in the previous embodiments, the front part of the bootleg 2 has a lowered shape so that the second strap 11, which is tightened between the guides 8 and the front portion 4, fits closely around the top portion 26 of the inner boot 25, in particular around a front region 26a identified thereon. In this case, the bending of the front portion 4 resulting from the forward loading of the sportsperson's weight is transmitted to the support element 5 by the connection means 6, directly by the movement of the front region 26a of the inner boot 25.

FIGS. 14 and 15 show a boot, generally indicated 100, constituting a fourth embodiment of the invention, in which similar details are indicated by the same reference numerals as in the previous embodiments.

The first strap 7 of the boot 100 is restrained inside the bootleg 2 by means of a rivet at a first 9a of its ends and carries a guide ring 108 at the opposite, free end 9b. A first end 11a of the second strap 11 is also restrained inside the bootleg 2, on the opposite side to the end 9a of the first strap, the second strap being led out of the bootleg 2 through the guide ring 108 in order to extend around the entire opening 2a and to be led back through the guide ring 108 and is finally closed onto itself by means of touch-close pull fastening means 13. It should be noted that the combination of the straps 7, 11, in which the second strap 11 extends through the guide ring 108 twice, permits a more stable arrangement of the straps around the bootleg 2.

To enable the second strap 11 to extend from the inside of the bootleg 2 to the outside, the profile of the bootleg 2 in the region of the opening 2a has a recess 109a to which a symmetrically opposed recess 109b corresponds.

In the rear portion 3 of the boot, the second strap 11 may also be led into the bootleg 2 through suitable slots 110 formed therein.

A fifth embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 16 to 22 showing a boot 200 the components of which are indicated by the same reference numerals as in the previous embodiments.

The boot 200 comprises a shell la to which a bootleg 2, which extends only partially around the shell la, is articulated in the front portion 4 of the boot. The shell la has, in the rear portion 3 of the boot which is not covered by the bootleg 2, a region of preferential deformability defining a seat 201 delimited at its opposite sides by ribs 202. The boot 200 further comprises a support element 5 fixed to the outside of the shell la close to the rear portion 3 so as to be housed in the seat 201. As in the previous embodiments, the support element 5 can pivot towards the front portion 4 as a result of a forward bending thereof.

To allow the support element 5 to pivot, the shell la has a first slit 203 extending substantially vertically along the seat 201 and open at the top of the opening 2a. The side edges 204 of the first slit 203 are preferably turned outwards (see FIG. 18) so as to constitute rear shock-absorbing elements of the boot 200 and to prevent water entering the boot through the first slit 203. The pivoting of the support element 5 relative to the shell 1a is advantageously guided and limited by guide means provided between them and comprising, for example, a pair of pins fixed firmly to the support element 5 and engaged for sliding in respective eyelets 205 formed in the shell la. The support element 5 is preferably coupled with the shell la in a condition of resilient preloading.

The flexibility of the shell la can also advantageously be increased by the provision of a pair of symmetrical lateral slits 206, the depth of which may be selected in dependence on the desired degree of flexibility (variants shown in broken outline, indicated 206a, 206b in FIG. 17).

The support element 5 may be connected to the shell la by means of a fixed connection, for example, by means of a boss 207 provided at its end remote from the opening 2a, below the slit 203. In this case, the pivoting of the support element 5 is permitted by utilizing the intrinsic flexibility of the material of which it is made.

As in the previous embodiments, the support element 5 is connected to the front portion 4 of the boot by connection means which can adopt all of the configurations described above. They may therefore be of the type described with reference to the boot 1, or the boot 100, which are shown schematically by way of example in FIGS. 19 and 20, respectively, or may even comprise a strap 210 anchored in a central region of the support element 5 on the side facing the shell 1a, extending to the exterior thereof through a pair of holes 211, a first 212 of its ends being guided through a guide ring 213 fixed to the opposite end (see FIG. 21).

In a variant of the boot 200, shown in FIG. 22, the support element 5 is articulated to the shell la by means of a pair of rivets 215 aligned to define the pivot axis of the support element 5, and the bootleg 2 is also closed around the rear portion 3 below the seat 201.

The boot 200 is preferably equipped with an inner boot 25 of the type described above with reference to FIG. 11, in which the preferential yielding zone is constituted by a vertical slot 31, the configuration of which is similar to the first slit 203.

During forward bending of the boot 200, and hence during the corresponding and simultaneous pivoting of the support element 5, the shell la is deformed in the region of the slits 203, 206 so as to follow the progress of the bending. It should be noted that, in this way, no empty spaces are created between the user's leg and the rear portion 3 of the boot, permitting even more precise control during turning and also preventing the undesired entry of snow into the boot.

The present invention thus solves the problem posed with reference to the prior art mentioned, at the same time offering many other advantages, amongst which is improved sensitivity in the control of turns for the sportsperson.