Title:
Sports boot
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A boot including a sole, an upper, and a mechanism for tightening the upper, the mechanism for tightening the upper including keepers, at least one lace, a device for blocking at least one strand of the lace, as well as a handle for pulling the strand, the boot also including a device for removably affixing the handle to the upper. A storing device allows storing the portion of the strand that extends between the blocking device and the handle.



Inventors:
Peruzzo, Giustiano (Montebelluna (TV), IT)
Application Number:
11/346253
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/03/2006
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/54
International Classes:
A43B5/04; A43B23/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAYS, MARIE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A boot comprising: a sole; an upper; a mechanism to tighten the upper, said mechanism comprising: at least one lace, said one lace comprising at least one strand; a plurality of lace guides; a device for blocking at least said one strand of the lace; and a handle for pulling the strand; a device for removably affixing the handle to the upper; a storing device allowing a portion of the strand extending between the blocking device and the handle to be stored.

2. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the removable affixation device and the storing device are the same device.

3. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the removable affixation device includes a male element and a female element, the male element being located on the handle or on the upper, the female element being located on the upper or on the handle, the affixing being carried out according to the male-female reversible nesting principle.

4. A boot according to claim 3, wherein: the male element includes a projection; and the female element includes a body that demarcates an open cavity.

5. A boot according to claim 4, wherein: the handle includes an elongated body with a generally arched shape.

6. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the handle is affixed to each of the two strands of the lace.

7. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the handle is affixed on the lateral side, in the upper portion of the upper.

8. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the blocking device is affixed to the tongue of the upper.

9. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the handle is affixed on the lateral side in the high portion of the upper.

10. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the blocking device is affixed to the tongue of the upper.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. ยง119 of French Patent Application No. 05.01123, filed on Feb. 4, 2005, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an article of footwear and, specifically, to a sports boot, and, more specifically, to a sports boot adapted to be retained on a sports apparatus.

More specifically, the invention relates to boots of the aforementioned types for use in the fields of endeavor such as snowsurfing or snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, including mountain climbing and glacier traveling, skating, including inline skating, skateboarding, and others.

2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

For certain fields of sport, it is advantageous that the boot be flexible.

In the field of snowboarding, for example, a flexible or supple boot makes it easier to walk or execute acrobatic figures while steering the board.

In a known manner, a boot extends longitudinally between the heel and the toe. The boot includes a sole, an upper, and a means for tightening the upper. The latter can include keepers, at least one lace, a device for reversibly blocking at least one strand of the lace, as well as a strand traction handle. The boot can also include a device for removably affixing the handle to the upper. This structure facilitates the use of the boot.

Indeed, the tightening of the boot is achieved simply by two coordinated actions, namely, tensioning the lace by traction on the handle, on the one hand, and maintaining the tension in the area of the keepers by putting the blocking device in a blocking position, on the other hand. Loosening of the boot results from the blocking device being put in an unblocking situation.

After the boot is tightened, the handle is affixed to the upper so as not to hinder walking or the steering of the apparatus, i.e., the snowboard. Consequently, prior to the loosening of the boot, the handle is separated from the upper.

For affixing the handle to the upper, the prior art has proposed to associate a lug to a main body to form the handle. The lug is an extension piece that allows fixing the body to the upper of the boot. It suffices to position the handle in the area of the opening of the upper, such that the main body is outside and the lug slides inside. A simple push positions the handle on the upper, the latter ending up pinched between the body and the lug. Retaining the handle on the upper prevents hindrance from various obstacles. The resulting advantage is a comfortable use of the boot.

However, it sometimes appears that a non-active portion of the lace that connects the blocking device to the handle becomes hindered by an obstacle. A strand of the lace may be loose and get caught in a projecting obstacle.

In snowboarding, for example, the boot can pass over a bush in the snow. There, a branch can rub against the boot. Sometimes, the branch becomes inserted between the upper and a strand of the lace. This can induce an III-timed unhooking of the handle or hinder the steering.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the invention is to overcome the aforementioned drawback by providing a boot that improves upon boots of the prior art. Thus, one of the objects of the invention is to reduce substantially, or even eliminate, the risk of hindrance between a non-active portion of lace and an obstacle. In other words, the invention aims at preventing the portion of the lace that extends from the blocking device to the handle from becoming hooked to an obstacle.

To this end, the invention proposes a boot including a sole, an upper, and a mechanism for tightening the upper, the mechanism for tightening the upper including lace keepers or guides, at least one lace, a device for blocking at least one strand of the lace, as well as a handle for tensioning the strand, the boot further including a device for removably affixing the handle to the upper. A storing device for the boot according to the invention allows the portion of the strand that extends between the blocking device and the handle to be stored.

Thus, this portion of the strand is not loose in the sense that it is not separated from the upper once the storing is done. As a result, the non-active portion of the lace can hardly ever, or not ever, become hindered by an obstacle. In particular, it is very unlikely that a projecting obstacle could become hooked to a strand of the lace. Among the resulting advantages is that the handle is better retained on the upper and the rider has greater freedom to steer the sports apparatus, such as the snowboard.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will be better understood from the following description, with reference to the attached drawings showing, by way of a non-limiting embodiment, how the invention can be embodied, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a boot according to the described embodiment, in a case where the handle is not affixed to the upper;

FIG. 2 is a partial enlargement of FIG. 1 showing part of the device for affixing the handle to the upper;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the handle of the boot FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section showing the handle affixed to the upper;

FIG. 5 is similar to FIG. 1, in a case where the handle is affixed to the upper, and where the portion of the strand of lace that extends between the blocking device and the handle is not stored;

FIG. 6 is similar to FIG. 5, in a case where the portion of the strand is stored.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The embodiment described hereinafter relates more particularly to a snowboard boot. However, the invention applies to other fields such as those mentioned above.

FIGS. 1 to 6 illustrate an embodiment of the invention.

As shown in FIG. 1, a snowboard boot 1 is adapted to receive the user's foot.

In a known manner, the boot 1 includes an external sole 2 and an upper 3. The boot 1 extends lengthwise between the heel 4 and the toe 5, or front end, and widthwise between a lateral side 6 and a medial side 7.

As shown, the upper 3 includes a lower portion 10 provided to surround the foot, and an upper portion 11 provided to surround part of the lower leg. However, it could also be provided for the upper to only include a lower portion.

The boot 1 is structured so as to allow a good rolling movement of the foot when walking and the tilting of the lower leg when steering the board. It is for this reason that the sole 2 and the upper 3 are relatively flexible.

However, the boot could be provided to be more rigid in order to facilitate certain steering styles or certain practices.

The upper 3 includes an outer envelope 12 that includes a lateral quarter 13 and a medial quarter 14, and a tongue 15. The tongue connects the quarters 13, 14 to one another to provide the outer envelope 12 with continuity. However, it could be provided not to use any tongue. In such a case, the quarters 13, 14 can remain separated or can be superimposed, overlapped.

A tightening mechanism is provided to reversibly tighten the outer envelope 12.

The tightening mechanism includes keepers or guides 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 affixed to the quarters 13, 14 of the outer envelope 12, and possibly in the vicinity of the tip 5, at the junction of the quarters 13, 14.

Certain keepers 21, 22, 25, 26, are relatively long, whereas others, 20, 23, 24 are short. Each of the long keepers 21, 22, 25, 26 is similar to a solid body in which a passage is provided. Each keeper is made of plastic material, for example. Nylon or polyamide can be used. The short keepers are each made in the form of a loop. This loop can be obtained by a folded piece of a strap. A lining with a low friction coefficient can be arranged inside the loop.

The invention also encompasses the provision of any other keeper structure.

The first tightening mechanism also includes a lace 30 that follows a path marked out by the keepers. For example, the lace 30 alternately crosses a keeper on the lateral quarter 13 and a keeper on the medial quarter 14, in the lower portion 10 as well as in the upper portion 11 of the upper 3. Other alternative paths/patterns are also encompassed for the lace 30.

According to the present embodiment, the lace 30 is arranged so that it is tensioned by traction on a lateral strand 31 and on a medial strand 32. The two strands 31, 32 are joined to form a loop 33. It suffices to pull on the loop 33 to tension the lace 30. The result is a tightening of the outer envelope 12 due to the lateral quarter 13 and the medial quarter 14 coming closer to one another.

It could alternatively be provided that each strand 31, 32 remain free. In such a case, one would have to pull on each of the strands 31, 32.

A reversible blocking device 33 is provided to maintain the tightening of the outer envelope 12 after the lace 30 has been tensioned. The blocking device 33 acts on the two strands 31, 32 of the lace 30. However, one could alternatively provide that the reversible blocking device 33 act on only one strand 31, 32, or that there be one blocking device per strand.

The reversible blocking mechanism 33 is affixed to the tongue 15, but could be located elsewhere.

By way of example, the blocking device 33 includes a rotational axle of a blocking member, as well as a hollow body 34, a cavity of which defines at least one path for the passage of each lace strand, on the one hand, and a housing for the blocking member, on the other hand, the blocking member having a circular shape and being free in rotation about the axle, itself movable in a plane that is substantially parallel to the blocking member; the device operating by cooperation of the blocking member with each path for the blocking of each lace strand through a wedging effect, a control member 35 allowing biasing the rotational axle of the blocking member for a displacement in a direction for blocking or unblocking the lace strand(s).

The blocking device 33 is not shown in detail in the figures as it is well known to one having ordinary skill in the art, for example, from U.S. Pat. No. 4,807,333.

A traction handle 45 is provided to facilitate the traction of the loop 33. The handle 45 is affixed to the lace 30, that is, to each of the two strands 31, 32, as is better understood by means of FIG. 3.

The handle 45 includes an elongated body 46 that extends between a first end 47 and a second end 48. The body 46 is relatively rigid and made, for example, of a plastic material such as polyethylene, polyurethane, polyamide, or the like. The body 46 has a generally arch shape for better grip. The body 46 is also provided with a middle section greater that is greater than that of a lace strand 31, 32 to reduce the pressure exerted on the users hand. The affixing of the lace strands 31, 32 requires two passages 49, 50 provided in the body 46, in the area of the ends 47, 48, respectively, as well as two knots 51, 52 made on the strands 31, 32, respectively. The strands 31, 32 extend through the passages 49, 50, and the knots 51, 52 prevent a relative separation of the handle 45 from the strands 31, 32. Thus, the junction of the strands 31, 32 is indirect since it is carried out by means of the body 46. However, a direct junction could also be provided.

According to the first embodiment of the invention, the boot 1 also includes a device 53 for removably affixing the handle 45 to the upper 3. This retains the handle on the upper when walking or when steering an apparatus.

According to the invention, a storing device 53 allows storing the portion of the strand 31, 32 that extends between the blocking device 33 and the handle 45. The object of this arrangement is to prevent a lace strand 31, 32, located between the blocking device 33 and the handle 45, from being loose. In other words, one must avoid creating a space, or at least too large a space, between a lace strand 31, 32 and the upper 3 of the boot 1.

Initially, the affixing is carried out according to the principle of male-female reversible nesting.

As seen clearly in FIG. 3, a male element 60 of the device 53 is affixed to the body 46 to complete the handle 45. The male element 60 includes a projection 61, which includes a foot 62 and a head 63. The foot 62 connects the projection 61 to the body 46, and the head 63 demarcates an enlarged free end of the projection 61.

The foot 62 and the head 63 each have a cross-section similar to a square, the sides of which are convex.

The projection 61 projects with respect to a concave surface 64 of the body 46 of the handle 45, and is located substantially midway between the passages 49, 50.

The projection 61 and the body 46 form a unitary, i.e., one-piece, element, but it could also be provided to fix one to the other by any means.

To receive the handle 45, the upper 3 is provided with a female element 70, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The female element 70 of the device 53 includes a body 71, the periphery of which is extended by a shoulder 72. The body 71 and the shoulder 72 form a unitary, i.e., one-piece, element; but it could alternatively be provided that one be associated with the other by any means. The female element 70 is made, for example, of a plastic material, or of an elastic material such as rubber.

The body 71 demarcates an open cavity 73 that includes a chamber 74 for receiving at least part of the projection 61, as well as an inlet 75 for the projection 61 to access the chamber 74. The inlet 75 has a reduced cross-section with respect to that of the chamber 74. The shapes of the respective cross-sections of the inlet 75 and of the chamber 74 are complementary to those of the foot 62 and of the head 63 of the projection 61. In this case, the cross-sections of the entrance 75 and chamber 74 are each similar to a square, the sides of which are concave.

The cross-section of the inlet 75 is substantially the same as the cross-section of the foot 62 of the projection 61, an advantage that will be better understood hereinafter.

The female element 70 is kept on the upper 3 in the area of the shoulder 72. The latter 72 is, for example, affixed to a cover 76 by a means shown in the form of a stitch. Any other suitable means could also be used. The cover 76 itself is affixed to the upper 3 by any means, such as gluing, stitching, or the like. The cover 76 can be made of a plastic material, or of a supple material such as leather or a fabric.

The affixing of the handle 45 to the upper 3 is carried out by inserting the male element 60 in the female element 70. More specifically, the projection 61 extends through the inlet 75, so that the head 63 ends up in the chamber 74. A simple manual push suffices. Indeed, the inlet 75 is reversibly elastically deformable. The latter 75 deforms with each passage of the head 63, when the latter enters the cavity 73, to recover its initial shape after the passage of the head 63.

The separation of the handle 45 from the upper 3 is carried out according to the same principle. A simple manual traction on the handle 45 suffices. The inlet 75 reversibly deforms with each passage of the head 63, when the latter exits the cavity 73, to recover its initial shape after the passage of the head 63.

As can be better understood by means of FIGS. 1, 5, and 6, the removable affixation device 53 allows affixing the handle 45 to a predetermined location on the upper 3. In this case, this location is on the lateral side 6, in the upper portion 11 of the upper 3. A resulting advantage is a good accessibility for the user.

Other locations could alternatively be provided.

The storage of the strands 31, 32 of the lace 30 here calls for the winding principle. In the context, and to simplify, the removable affixation device 53 merges with the storing device. According to the embodiment described, the two devices for removably affixing and for storing, are the same device 53.

Due to the convex surfaces of the projection 61 and the concave surfaces of the open cavity 73, it is possible to rotate the handle 45 with respect to the upper 3. The rotation is carried out about an axis constituted by the projection 61.

After having tightened the upper 3 and affixed the handle 45 to the upper 3 without rotating it, as seen in FIG. 5, the strands 31, 32 of the lace 30 are loose. The strands 31, 32 hang between the blocking device 33 and the affixing device 53. In this case, it is very difficult, or even impossible, for an outside element to be inserted between the upper 3 and a strand 31, 32. As a result, the steering of the apparatus is not hindered.

After rotation, the position of the handle 45 remains stable. This is due to the respective shapes of the projection 61 and of the cavity 73. The concave and convex surfaces, if they allow rotation, also determine a series of hard spots that oppose the rotation. Consequently, the handle 45 rotates in close succession. This allows obtaining as many stable positions as there are hard spots. A resulting advantage is the ease with which the tension of the strands 31, 32 is adjusted.

When stored, the strands 31, 32 are wound around the male 60 and female 70 elements, that is around the projection 61 and the body 71. The strands 31, 32 are wound between the body 46 of the handle 45 and the upper 3. This keeps them visible, which advantageously allows for a visual control of the winding.

From a general standpoint, the invention is embodied from materials and implementation techniques known to the one having ordinary skills in the art.

The invention is not limited to the embodiment described hereinabove, and includes all technical equivalents within the scope of the claims that follow.

In particular, although the male element 60 of the movable affixing device 53 is located on the handle 45, it could alternatively be located on the upper 3. Consequently, if the female element 70 is located on the upper 3, it could alternatively be located on the handle 45.

It could be provided to store only one lace strand or, in the case a plurality of laces are used, to store more than two lace strands.

Other structures could be provided for the removable affixation device. For example, a device including a bayonet-type mechanism could be provided.

Also, the storing of the strands could be carried out otherwise than through winding, through folding in a cavity, for example.





 
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