Title:
Skates having instep protectors
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A skate includes an outer shell, an inner boot, an instep protector and a frame assembly. The outer shell includes a lower shell and an upper shell pivotally mounted on the lower shell. The lower shell includes an outsole with a front, a rear and a bottom, a toe protector integrally formed at the front and an ankle protector integrally formed at the rear of the outsole. The inner boot having a vamp is removably mounted in the outer shell. The instep protector made of thermoplastic elastomer is mounted on the lower shell of the outer shell corresponding to the vamp of the inner boot. The frame assembly is attached to the bottom of the outsole. Consequently, the instep protector imparts flexibility to the skate and protection to the foot so that the foot will feel comfortable and have precise control during skating.



Inventors:
Lin, Henkel (Houli Hsiang, TW)
Application Number:
10/844937
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/12/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B5/16; A43C5/00; A63C17/02; A63C17/06; A63C17/14; (IPC1-7): A63C17/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BOTTORFF, CHRISTOPHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENTTM.US (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A skate having an instep protector, and the skate comprising: an outer shell comprising a lower shell comprising an outsole with a front, a rear and a bottom; a toe protector integrally formed at the front of the outsole; and an ankle protector integrally formed at the rear of the outsole; an upper shell pivotally mounted on the ankle protector; and at least one buckle device mounted on the upper shell; an inner boot having a vamp mounted in the outer shell; an instep protector made of thermoplastic elastomer and mounted on the lower shell of the outer shell corresponding to the vamp of the inner boot; and a frame assembly attached to the bottom of the outsole.

2. The skate as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outer shell further comprises a front connection seat and a rear connection seat respectively formed on the bottom at the front and the rear of the outsole, and each of the front and the rear connection seats has multiple inner transverse through holes; and the frame assembly comprises a frame having multiple outer transverse holes aligned respectively with the inner transverse through holes in the connection seats; multiple wheels rotatably mounted in the frame; a rear stop attached to the frame at the rear of the outsole; and multiple fasteners respectively held in each pair of aligned inner and outer transverse holes to unite the frame and the outsole through the connection seats.

3. The skate as claimed in claim 2, wherein the fasteners are rivets.

4. The skate as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ankle protector has at least one through hole to achieve a lightweight outer shell.

5. The skate as claimed in claim 2, wherein the ankle protector has at least one through hole to achieve a lightweight outer shell.

6. The skate as claimed in claim 5, wherein the instep protector comprises two side half casings positioned alongside the vamp of the inner boot, and each of the side half casings has multiple eyelets arranged in pairs; and a lace extended sequentially through the pairs of eyelets to draw together the side half casings.

7. The skate as claimed in claim 6, wherein each of the side half casings of the instep protector further has multiple ventilation through holes for ventilation and to achieve a lightweight instep protector.

8. The skate as claimed in claim 7, wherein the thermoplastic elastomer is thermoplastic polyurethane.

9. The skate as claimed in claim 8, wherein the inner boot is removably mounted in the outer shell.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to skates, and more particularly to skates such as roller skates, in-line skates or ice skates having flexible instep protectors to protect feet from impacts during a period of skating.

2. Description of Related Art

With reference to FIG. 4, a conventional skate in accordance with the prior art comprises an inner boot (50), an outer shell (51) and a frame assembly (52). The inner boot (50) is made of soft material such as leather or the like and is used for the foot to be comfortable. The inner boot (50) is held in the outer shell (51). The outer shell (51) has a shoe-shaped profile with a sole and is made of hard plastic to impart the rigidity necessary for support. The frame assembly (52) is attached to the sole of the outer shell (51).

Even though the rigid outer shell (51) also protects the foot inside the inner boot (50) from impacts during a period of skating, the foot will not feel comfortable because of the rigid outer shell (51). The foot, especially the instep of the foot experiences discomfort after a certain amount of skating. For some extreme actions, such as jumping, speed skating or rapid turning, the insteps will be easily injured by the rigid outer shell (51).

With reference to FIG. 5, another type of conventional skate in accordance with the prior art improves the aforesaid shortcomings and comprises an inner boot (60), an upper shell (61) and a frame assembly (62). The inner boot (60) is made of soft materials such as leather or the like to provide a feeling of comfort for the feet and is held by the upper shell (61).

The upper shell (61) is made of rigid material(s) and protects the heel and the ankle of the foot. The frame assembly (62) is attached to the upper shell (61) and comprises four in-line wheels for moving very quickly on smooth surface.

The rigid upper shell (61) holds the inner boot (60) and does not cover the instep portion of the inner boot (60) so that the instep of the foot inside the inner boot (60) will feel comfortable. However, the rigid upper shell (61) does not protect the instep of the foot from being injured as a person wears the skates to do activities. The insteps of the feet easily encounter impacts and may be injured when skating.

Furthermore, for extreme sports skaters, skating activities involving jumping, speed skating and rapid turning acts need especially good control of the skates. The conventional skates cannot provide well controlled sensations of the skates for the skaters because the soft inner boot (60) weakens the stiffness of the entire skates.

To overcome the shortcomings, the present invention provides an improved skate having an instep protector to mitigate or obviate the aforementioned problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The main objective of the invention is to provide a skate having a flexible instep protector to protect the foot from impacts during skating, yet the flexible instep protector still provides comfort as well as strength to the entire skate to ensure precise control of the skate.

A skate in accordance with the present invention includes an outer shell, an inner boot, an instep protector and a frame assembly. The outer shell includes a lower shell and an upper shell pivotally mounted on the lower shell. The lower shell includes an outsole with a front, a rear and a bottom, a toe protector integrally formed at the front of the outsole and an ankle protector integrally formed at the rear of the outsole. The inner boot having a vamp is removably mounted in the outer shell. The instep protector made of thermoplastic elastomer is mounted on the lower shell of the outer shell corresponding to the vamp of the inner boot. The frame assembly is attached to the bottom of the outsole. Consequently, the instep protector imparts flexibility to the skate and protection to the foot so that the foot will feel comfortable and have precise control of the skate.

Other objectives, advantages and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a skate in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the skate in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an instep protector of the skate in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a conventional skate in accordance with the prior art; and

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of another type of conventional skates in accordance with the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A skate in accordance with the present invention may be a roller skate, an in-line skate or an ice skate. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, for convenient illustrative purposes only, an in-line skate in accordance with the present invention comprises an inner boot (10), an outer shell (20), an instep protector (30) and a frame assembly (40).

The inner boot (10) is removably mounted in and held by the outer shell (30) and the instep protector (30), and has a vamp (101) covering the instep of a foot inside the inner boot (10).

The outer shell (20) is rigid and comprises an upper shell (21), a lower shell (22) and a buckle device (23). The lower shell (22) comprises an outsole (221), a toe protector (222), an ankle protector (223) and two hinges (228). The outsole (221) has a front, a rear and a bottom. The toe protector (222) is integrally formed at the front of the outsole (221). The ankle protector (223) is integrally formed at the rear of the outsole (221) and has two through holes (227). The through holes (227) have respectively streamline profiles and are defined alongside the ankle protector (223) to reduce weight of the entire outer shell (20).

The outer shell (20) further comprises two connection seats, i.e. a front connection seat (224) and a rear connection seat (225), that are respectively formed on the bottom at the front and the rear of the outsole (221). Each of the connection seats (224, 225) has multiple inner transverse through holes (226) to connect the frame assembly (40).

The upper shell (21) is pivotally mounted on the ankle protector (223) with the hinges (228) and has a top with a top opening. The buckle device (23) is attached to the upper shell (21) adjacent to the top and is used to narrow the top opening of the upper shell (21) to clamp and hold the inner boot (10) in position.

With further reference to FIG. 3, the instep protector (30) is attached to the lower shell (22) and covers the vamp (101) of the inner boot (10). The instep protector (30) is made of thermoplastic elastomer, TPE such as thermoplastic polyurethane, TPU so that the instep protector (30) will provide flexibility for comfort. The instep protector (30) comprises two side half casings (31). The side half casings (31) are positioned alongside the vamp (101) of the inner boot (10), and each of the side half casings (31) has multiple eyelets (311), multiple ventilation through holes (312), a hinge hole (313) and multiple lower through holes (314).

The eyelets (311) of each side half casings (31) are arranged in pairs and are used for a lace (315) that passes sequentially through the pairs of eyelets (311) to draw the side half casings (31). The ventilation through holes (312) allow ventilation of the inner boot (10) and reduce the weight of the entire instep protector (30). The hinge holes (313) are respectively aligned with the hinges (228) to receive the aligned hinge (228). The lower through holes (314) are used to unite the instep protector (30) and the outsole (221) with fasteners, such as rivets.

The frame assembly (40) comprises a frame (41), four wheels (42), a rear stop (43) and multiple fasteners, such as rivets (44). The frame (41) has multiple outer transverse holes (411) aligned respectively with the inner transverse through holes (226) in the connection seats (224, 225). The rivets (44) are respectively extended through each pair of aligned inner and outer transverse holes (226, 411) to unite the frame (41) and the outsole (221) through the connection seats (224, 225). The wheels (42) are rotatably mounted in the frame (41) and are arranged in an in-line configuration. The rear stop (43) is attached to the frame (41) to bring the moving skates to a halt. A person skilled in this art will recognize how to assemble the frame assembly (40) without further description.

Since the entire instep protector (30) is made of thermoplastic elastomer, the instep protector (30) will impart flexibility to the skate so that the foot will feel comfortable when skating. The instep protector (30) will strengthen the entire skate to protect the instep of the foot and transform the weakness of the conventional skates. The skaters who wear the skates in accordance with the present invention will acquire precise control and improved sensation of the skates.

Furthermore, the lower shell (22) has the toe protector (222) and the ankle protector (223) that are integrally formed on the outsole (221) to protect the toes and the ankle of the foot when skating.

Even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts within the scope of the appended claims.