Title:
Cleat for athletic shoe
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf cleat and system includes cleats having a base and a plurality of barbs. Each barb preferably has a proximal end supported by the base and a distal end extending generally perpendicular from the base. A perpendicular surface is formed by the distal end extending from the base and preferably counters rotational movement of a shoe in a plane generally parallel to the ground during a golf swing. At least some of the barbs preferably have an angular surface between the distal end and the base.



Inventors:
Peake, Frederick B. (Silver Spring, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/269471
Publication Date:
05/10/2007
Filing Date:
11/07/2005
Assignee:
Peake, Frederick B.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20130091740Footwear SoleApril, 2013Jones
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20040194342Sandals and flip-flops with non-slip foot surfaceOctober, 2004Steinberg
20080047166Arch support with ribbed surfaceFebruary, 2008Conforti et al.



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf cleat comprising: a base; plurality of barbs having a proximal end supported by said base and a distal end extending generally perpendicular to said base; and wherein, at least some of said barbs have an angular surface between said distal end and said base and a perpendicular surface substantially opposite said angular surface that extends between said distal and proximal end that counters rotational movement of a shoe in a plane at least generally parallel to the ground during a golf swing.

2. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein said angular surface creates an angle of between about 40 to 50 degrees with said base.

3. The golf cleat of claim 2, wherein said angle is about 45 degrees.

4. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein said base is circular and has an outer edge.

5. The golf cleat of claim 4, wherein said plurality of barbs is located substantially along said outer edge of said base, and said angular surface extends at least substantially circumferentially of said base.

6. The golf cleat of claim 5, wherein said barbs include an outer surface, and wherein at least one of said barbs has an outer surface that extends less than about 10° relative to a longitudinal axis extending perpendicularly to said base.

7. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein the cleat is substantially self-cleaning.

8. The golf cleat of claim 7, wherein the cleat removes debris when rotated in a direction substantially oppositely to the rotational movement that causes the cleat to grip the ground.

9. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein said base and said plurality of barbs are integrally formed.

10. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein said angular surface extends circumferentially in one direction when said shoe is a left footed shoe and said angular surface extends in an opposite direction for a right footed shoe.

11. The golf cleat of claim 10, wherein said opposite direction for said right footed shoe is counterclockwise from said distal end to said proximal end when looking down through the top of said shoe.

12. The golf cleat of claim 1, wherein said golf cleat is made from an elastomeric material with sufficient stiffness so that, during at least a segment of the swing, the barbs engage the ground and substantially do not roll over.

13. A golf cleat comprising: a base having a back surface and a ground surface located opposite the back surface; a means for removably securing said golf cleat to a bottom sole of a golf shoe extending from said back surface of said base; a plurality of barbs having a proximal end connected to said ground surface of said base and a distal end extending generally perpendicular to said ground surface of said base wherein, at least some of said barbs have an angular surface at least generally between said proximal and distal ends and substantially creating an angle in a range of about 40 to 50 degrees between said ground surface of said base and a perpendicular surface opposite said angular surface that extends between said distal and proximal end so as to counter rotational movement of a shoe during a golf swing.

14. The golf cleat of claim 13, wherein said base and said plurality of barbs are integrally formed.

15. The golf cleat of claim 13, wherein said angle of said angular surface is about 45 degrees.

16. The golf cleat of claim 13, wherein said golf cleat is made from an elastomeric material with sufficient stiffness so that, during at least one segment of the swing, the barbs engage and release the ground without rolling over.

17. A golf cleat system comprising: a plurality of at least one of left and right golf cleats, said plurality of golf cleats connected to a sole of at least one corresponding golf shoe, said cleats having a plurality of barbs oriented to resist rotation of the shoe; and wherein said left golf cleats resist counter clockwise rotation and said right golf cleats resist clockwise rotation of corresponding ones of the user's feet during a golf swing.

18. The golf cleat system of claim 17, wherein said plurality of golf cleats on a left shoe further comprise a base and said plurality of barbs each have a proximal end connected to said base, a distal end extending generally perpendicular to said base forming a perpendicular surface, and an angular surface between said distal end and said base, wherein said perpendicular surface of said barb resists counterclockwise movement; and said plurality of golf cleats on a right shoe further comprise a base and said plurality of barbs each have a proximal end connected to said base, a distal end extending generally perpendicular to said base forming a perpendicular surface, and an angular surface between said distal end and said base, wherein said perpendicular surface of said barb resists clockwise movement.

19. The golf cleat system of claim 17, wherein a bottom of said left shoe comprises a front portion and a rear portion, and said plurality of golf cleats of said left shoe comprise a plurality of front portion golf cleats and a plurality of rear portion golf cleats, wherein said plurality of front portion cleats is connected to said front portion of said bottom to resist counterclockwise rotation of said front portion of said bottom and said plurality of rear portion cleats is connected to said rear portion of said bottom sole to resist counterclockwise rotation of said rear portion of said bottom; and a bottom of said right shoe comprises a front portion and a rear portion, and said plurality of golf cleats of said left shoe comprise a plurality of front portion golf cleats and a plurality of rear portion golf cleats, wherein said plurality of front portion cleats is connected to said front portion of said bottom to resist clockwise rotation of said front portion of said bottom and said plurality of rear portion cleats is connected to said rear portion of said bottom sole to resist clockwise rotation of said rear portion of said bottom.

20. The golf cleat system of claim 17, wherein said golf cleats are disposed at both the forward and rear portions of the at least one corresponding golf shoe.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention is directed to apparatus for improving traction, balance and stability during a golf swing, and more particularly, a cleat for attachment to the sole of a golf shoe configured to resist the rotational movement of a golfer's foot during a swing.

2. Description of Related Art

The game of golf presents participants with a unique mixture of challenge and recreation. Overall, golf is widely embraced by the international population and there is a continual desire to overcome the challenges inherent in the game thus increasing a golfer's enjoyment of the sport.

With an ever increasing population of golfers, professional and recreational alike, the sophistication of golf equipment has grown by leaps and bounds all in an effort to simplify this difficult sport. Golf clubs have taken advantage of different materials, such as graphite, and shapes to increase power and accuracy. Golf balls are also now made from a multitude of materials offering a golfers improved distance and accuracy. Even golf apparel has changed to keep the golfer comfortable and allow unrestricted movement of the golfer's body during a swing. Golf shoes too have seen an evolution over the life of the sport in material selection and design. The reason for this change in golf shoes can best be appreciated by first understanding a proper golf swing and then a review of at least partially advantageous golf shoes.

A proper golf swing requires a good foundation, stability and balance, each of which is made more difficult due to the great deal of rotational movement in the body of a golfer. Note that, the description of a golfer's swing is often described hereinafter for a right handed golfer. As will be appreciated, the principles of a golf swing operate similarly for a left handed golfer. At the beginning, a right-handed golfer's weight is evenly distributed between both sides of a golfer's body. During the backswing the golf club is swung back towards the foot furthest from the pin, the rear foot. As the golf club travels back towards the rear foot, the golfer's upper body begins to rotate and thus the club follows, sweeping up and out a generally circular path. This, in turn, causes a rotation of the hips (rear) which influences the rear leg and ultimately the rear foot. Looking down, the front portion of a golfer's rear foot is apt to rotate out and the back portion of the rear foot is apt to rotate in, thus resulting in an overall clockwise (counter-clockwise for a left-handed golfer) rotation of the rear foot. The backswing continues until the club head reaches a desired point from which a downswing will impart a preferred force on the golf ball.

The golfer is now ready to begin the downswing during which the golf club will sweep out a similar circular path traversed through the backswing until it strikes the ball. As the golfer executes the downswing, the cleats of the golfer's shoes preferably brace the golfer. Unfortunately, however, known soft spike-type cleats provide only minimal bracing, as the cleats often times “roll over” or otherwise give as the torque of the golfer's body during a swing exerts forces thereon, as described further below.

During the follow through the golf club is carried forward and up causing a rotation in the upper body opposite the rotation of the backswing. During both the downswing and follow through weight is shifted towards the front leg. This action too causes a rotation in the front leg and ultimately the front foot. Looking down, the front portion of a golfer's front foot is apt to rotate out and the back portion of the front foot is apt to rotate in, thus resulting in an overall counterclockwise (clockwise for a left-handed golfer) rotation of the front foot.

Spikes in the bottom sole of a golf shoe preferably operate to improve traction during these swing movements. If the spikes are successful then a golfer may see improved distance and accuracy. Many attempts have been made at designing spikes to serve this purpose each with inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Originally, golf shoes were made with metal spikes attached to the bottom soles. These spikes provided an adequate brace against the different forces of each foot associated with a golf swing. However, extending substantially entirely orthogonally to the sole of the shoe, such spikes do little to counter the above-described rotational movement of the golfer's feet. Moreover, these metal spikes often leave spike marks behind causing excessive damage to the golf course, especially the greens. In fact, many golf courses have taken the step of banning golfers from using metal spikes on their shoes. Therefore, though providing generally adequate bracing capabilities, a great deal of effort has gone into developing alternative material spikes that provide improved bracing capabilities while minimizing the divots left behind.

Many attempts have been made at using rubber spikes in the bottom sole of a golf shoe. These spikes have provided some bracing capabilities, and are more green friendly, but generally lack stiffness. Specifically, as noted previously, such spikes have a tendency to “roll-over” during play, and therefore do not adequately counter rotational movement of a golfer's foot. Moreover, as a result, the spikes often break or fray and thus have to be replaced all too frequently.

As a golfer walks a golf course and the surrounding areas he encounters a multitude of surfaces; grass, sand, mud, rock, and cement, to name a few. Grass and mud often get caught in the spikes, especially as they roll over, thus causing the bracing provided by the shoes to be further compromised. With respect to harder surfaces, they have a tendency to wear down rubber spikes more quickly. For example, cement is likely the most damaging surface and it is often encountered when the golfer is entering and leaving the course.

Most of these spikes have a circular base with multiple barbs extending from the base to the ground. Often these barbs are placed peripherally around the outside edge of the circular base forming a spike. However, many of these spikes have blunt, bulky barbs that are unable to penetrate the plethora of surfaces encountered on a golf course. In sum, these spikes cannot provide adequate resistance to the rotational movement of a golfer's feet associated with a golf swing.

What is missing in the field of golf shoes and spikes is an apparatus which is appropriately designed to allow a golfer's shoe to engage one or more types of surfaces encountered on a golf course, provide improved bracing (e.g., minimize “roll over”), and resist and release appropriately in response to rotational movement of a golfer's feet during a golf swing, while also being readily retrofittable to most any golf shoe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, the foregoing and other objects and advantages are obtained by a golf cleat with a base and a plurality of barbs. Each barb has a proximal end supported by the base and a distal end extending generally perpendicular from the base, although it may also extend at an acute angle with the base. A perpendicular surface is formed by the distal end extending from the base and is positioned to counter the rotational movement of a shoe in a plane generally parallel to the ground during a golf swing. At least some of the barbs have an angular surface between the distal end and the base. Preferably, the angular surface creates a circumferential angle that is between 40 and 50 degrees with the base. More preferably, the circumferential angle is approximately 45 degrees. The angular surface is not necessarily meant to be formed solely as a straight line, single angle surface. The angular surface may be a multiple angle, parabolic, or arcuate surface. Moreover, the present barbs, in contrast to the barbs of known cleats, have substantial thickness throughout a majority of their length and do not extend significantly outwardly from the perimeter of the base of the cleat. As a result, the present barbs are less likely to “roll over.”

In use, a golfer's shoe is in contact with any commonly encountered ground surface mentioned above. When a golfer prepares to swing a golf club he will firmly plant his feet on the ground. At this point the distal ends of the plurality of barbs on the golf cleat will pierce the ground surface below. The distal end is generally a point, but all that is required is that the distal end is narrower than the proximal end of each barb. Therefore, it is easier for the barb to slide into the ground surface below given its relatively narrow distal end and wider proximal end. Once engaged and as the golfer begins the backswing, the rear foot will experience the rotational forces mentioned above. As a result of this rotation, the perpendicular surface of the plurality barbs will be forced against the ground. Furthermore, the angled surface of the barbs allows the golf cleat to dig deeper into the ground during rotation, which in turn provides more resistance in the perpendicular surface. Preferably, the barbs deflect very little during this process and therefore provide adequate resistance to the rotational forces associated with a golf swing. The rotational forces encountered in the front foot during the downswing and follow through are also resisted primarily by the perpendicular surface of the plurality of barbs in this same manner. Importantly, as a cleat system it is configurable to be readily retrofitted to any golf shoe available with a simple change of cleats.

In accordance with an aspect of the invention the golf cleat has a circular base with an outer edge. A plurality of barbs is preferably placed along the outer edge of the circular base and the angular surface extends at least substantially circumferentially of the base. In one embodiment, there is an even number of barbs such that each barb is placed opposite an identical barb. In yet another embodiment, the angular surface extends circumferentially in one direction for a left footed shoe and in an opposite direction for a right footed shoe. Preferably, the angular surface of the plurality of golf cleats for the left shoe extends clockwise from the distal end to the proximal end when looking down through the top of the shoe. Therefore, the angular surface of the plurality of golf cleats for the right shoe extends counterclockwise from the distal end to the proximal end when looking down through the top of the shoe. Furthermore, the plurality of barbs may be integrally formed with the base. In such an embodiment, the base and plurality of barbs are preferably made from an elastomeric material with sufficient stiffniess to 1) engage the ground and maintain the integrity of the angle to prevent the force of rotation from rolling the barb over, and 2) release the ground upon completion of the golf swing.

According to another aspect of the invention the base has a means for removably securing the golf cleat to the bottom sole of a shoe. Preferably, in yet another embodiment of the invention, the means for removably securing the golf cleat to the bottom sole of the shoe is a threaded screw.

According to another embodiment of the invention, a golf cleat has a base, a means for removably securing the golf cleat to the bottom sole of a shoe, and a plurality of barbs. The base has a back surface and a ground surface located opposite the back surface. The means for removably securing the golf cleat is located on the back surface of the base. Each barb has a proximal end connected to the ground surface and a distal end extending generally perpendicular from the ground surface. At least some of the barbs have an angular surface generally between their proximal and distal ends, which creates an angle with the ground surface that is preferably between 40 and 50 degrees. More preferably, this angle is approximately 45 degrees. In order to increase simplicity and ease of manufacture, preferably the barbs and base are integrally formed. The golf cleat may also be manufactured from an elastomeric material with sufficient stiffness to engage the ground. Furthermore, with respect to one aspect of the invention, the means for removably securing the golf cleat to the shoe is preferably a threaded screw.

In still another embodiment, the invention is a golf cleat system. A left shoe has a bottom sole and a plurality of removable golf cleats connected to the bottom sole. Each golf cleat has a plurality of barbs that are preferably all oriented to resist counterclockwise rotation of the shoe. A right shoe has a bottom sole and a plurality of golf cleats connected to the bottom sole. Each golf cleat has a plurality of barbs that are configured and oriented to resist clockwise rotation of the shoe. Together, the shoes prevent rotational movement of a golfer's foot during a golf swing. These golf cleats may also be made from an elastomeric material

According to one aspect of the invention, all the golf cleats on each shoe have a base and a plurality of barbs. Each barb has a proximal end connected to the base and a distal end extending generally perpendicular from the base. This forms a perpendicular surface. The barbs also have an angular surface between the distal end and the base. The perpendicular surface of the barbs on the left shoe preferably resist counterclockwise movement and the perpendicular surface of the barbs on the right shoe preferably resist clockwise movement.

According to still another aspect of the invention, each bottom sole of the shoes has a front and rear portion and each plurality of cleats have a plurality of front portion golf cleats and a plurality of rear portion golf cleats. The plurality of front portion golf cleats is connected to the front portion of the bottom sole and the plurality of rear portion golf cleats is connected to the rear portion of the bottom sole. On the left shoe, the plurality of front portion cleats resist counterclockwise rotation of the front portion of the bottom sole and the plurality of rear portion cleats resist counterclockwise rotation of the rear portion of the bottom sole. On the right shoe, the plurality of front portion cleats resist clockwise rotation of the front portion of the bottom sole and the plurality of rear portion cleats resist clockwise rotation of the rear portion of the bottom sole.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the following figures, wherein like numerals designate like elements, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf cleat according to one preferred embodiment illustrating the downward facing surface of the cleat;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a golf cleat according to one preferred embodiment illustrating the back side of the cleat;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side elevation view of a golf cleat according to one preferred embodiment; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of golf shoes incorporating golf cleats according to the preferred embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A golf cleat 10 according to one preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 1-3. The golf cleat 10 preferably includes a base 12, a threaded screw 14, and, in this embodiment, eight barbs 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30. The base 12 has two oppositely opposed surfaces, the ground surface 32 and the back surface 34. The threaded screw 14 is preferably attached to the back surface 34. This allows a user to removably secure the golf cleat 10 into a threaded receiving hole in the bottom sole of a shoe (not shown), for ready replacement of the cleats with any conventional golf shoe.

The eight barbs 16-30 are connected to the ground surface 32 and centered around a hub 36. Each barb 16-30 is identical and therefore it is understood that a description of one barb 16 is sufficient to describe all barbs 16-30. Barb 16, best seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, preferably has a minor surface, the rear surface 38, and four main surfaces, the perpendicular surface 40, the angular surface 42, the radial surface 44, and the outer surface 46. All of these surfaces may be either planar or curved and still serve as an effective cleat according to the preferred embodiments to resist the rotational forces associated with a golf swing.

The rear surface 38 (FIGS. 1 and 2) is simply a step from the ground surface 32 to the angular surface 42. It is preferably a relatively small step generally positioned perpendicular to the ground surface 32. The height between the distal end 48 and proximal end 50 may vary greatly and the golf cleat will still finction as intended. For example, the rear surface 38 can be completely eliminated and the golf cleat 10 would still function properly and resist the rotational forces associated with a golf swing.

The perpendicular surface 40 (best seen on barb 20) is a surface that is generally perpendicular with the ground surface 32, but it is also understood that the two surfaces could form an acute angle in another embodiment of the invention. The perpendicular surface 40 is between the distal end 52 and the proximal end 54 of the barb 16. It preferably serves as the resisting surface when the rotational forces associated with a golf swing are encountered, e.g., as the user's shoe, and thus cleats, rotate in a direction “X” shown in FIG. 1.

The angular surface 42 preferably extends from the distal end 48 of the rear surface 38 to the distal end 52 of the barb 16. However, if the rear surface 38 is not a part of the barb 16 then the angular surface 42 preferably extends between the proximal end 54 and distal end 52 of the barb 16. The radial surface 44 preferably begins at the hub 36 and rises to the distal end 52 of the barb 16. The outer surface 46 (best seen on barb 26) preferably extends from the outer edge 56 of the ground surface 32 to the distal end 52 of the barb 16.

Taken together, these surfaces form a claw-like barb 16, which is generally constructed of a material that has a stiffness sufficient for engaging the ground and resisting the rotational forces associated with a golf swing. For example, any conventional non-rubbery elastomeric material (i.e., sufficient stiffness to counter roll over tendencies) may be employed. The distal end 52 of the barb 16 is preferably a relatively narrow surface, which allows it to be inserted into a multitude of different surfaces encountered on a golf course. The girth of the barb 16 generally increases from the distal end 52 to the proximal end 54. This increase in girth provides a larger portion of the perpendicular surface 40 to resist the rotational forces associated with a golf swing. It also provides a greater amount of material to support the perpendicular surface 40 thereby increasing the overall resistance of the barb 16. In addition, because outer surface 46 extends substantially perpendicularly to the base 12 of the barb, it has less of a tendency to “roll over” break off and grip ground debris, thus facilitating high integrity ground gripping, longevity and consistent performance throughout a round without continual cleaning of the cleats.

Moreover, the present barbs, in contrast to the barbs of known cleats, have substantial thickness throughout a majority of their length and do not extend significantly outwardly from the perimeter of the base of the cleat. As a result, the present barbs are less likely to “roll over.” Notably, outer surface 46 may extend slightly outwardly of the perimeter of the base to provide a more broad gripping base. Preferably, surface 46 is curved as shown, and at least a major portion thereof extends substantially perpendicularly to base 12. As a result, the present cleats have less of a tendency to roll over and become clogged with ground debris. Whether curved or not, the majority of surface 46 preferably extends at an angle no more than about 15° relative to a longitudinal axis extending perpendicularly to base 12 of the cleat, and more preferably, less than about 5° relative to the longitudinal axis.

Ridges 58 may be added to the barb 16 in the form of vertical steps along the radial surface 44 near the distal end 52 of the barb 16, but are not required. The ridges 58 may come in a variety of forms other than shown, such as arcuate steps or steps that are only cut part way into the radial surface. The latter embodiment would therefore provide additional, minor perpendicular surfaces to resist rotational movement of the shoe. Furthermore, in another embodiment the ridges are preferably formed as horizontal steps thus adding additional, minor perpendicular surfaces.

When the barb 16 encounters a force against the perpendicular surface 40 the barb 16 is deflected such that the angle between the perpendicular surface 40 and the ground surface 32 becomes slightly obtuse. However, this is only a minor deflection because, for example, the girth of the barb 16 and material provide it with a stiffness sufficient to resist these common forces. Therefore, properly arranged golf cleats of the present embodiment will resist the rotational forces of the shoes commonly associated with a golf swing. Furthermore, when the golfer wishes to disengage the cleat from the ground no additional motion other than a simple step is required due to the narrowing shape of the barb 16 from the proximal end 54 to the distal end 52.

Operation of the cleats is shown more generally in FIG. 4. Note that FIG. 4 is a schematic view illustrating only a few exemplary cleats of the preferred embodiment and that the invention is operable with all arrangements of golf shoe cleats (including disposing cleats throughout the sole of the shoes). Moreover, though described in connection with a right-handed golfer, the cleats are operational with the same improved performance when used by left-handed golfers. Notably, this is so using the same cleats formed to extend oppositely for the left and right shoes of the golfer, as shown in FIG. 4. In use, tip 52, which may be sharp or slightly blunt as shown, of the barbs of cleat 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, which is designed for the user's right shoe 20, pierces the ground as the user addresses the ball. Similar cleats 10′ are preferably also employed in the user's left shoe 72. Once set, the user begins her backswing while her back foot (shoe 70), e.g., right foot for a right handed golfer, rotates clockwise looking down through the shoe in a plane substantially parallel to the surface being engaged (e.g., the ground), as illustrated by arrow RCW. As a result, cleats 10 similarly rotate (arrow XCW) so as to cause cleats 10 to dig into or “claw” the ground, leading with perpendicular surface 40 of the barbs. As a result, resistance to the natural clockwise movement of the right foot is provided to greatly improve traction of the golfer's foot. The opposite occurs for the front (left, in this case, for a right-handed golfer) foot (shoe 72), with the barbs of cleats 10′ having a sloped surface formed oppositely to the barbs of the cleats 10 of the back foot, as shown in FIG. 4.

On the downswing, the back shoe 70 (and corresponding cleats 10) continues to rotate clockwise (RCW), while the lead or front shoe 72 (left shoe for a right handed golfer) rotates counter-clockwise (arrow RCCW in FIG. 4). The cleats 10, 10′ of the back and front shoes 70, 72 similarly rotate, as shown by arrows XCW and XCCW, respectively. In response, the barbs of cleats 10, 10′ (formed oppositely as shown in FIG. 4), further engage the ground to resist the corresponding clockwise/counter-clockwise movement of the shoes, respectively, thus stabilizing the golfer as she comes through the ball. As the user finishes her swing and relaxes, returning her feet to a position square to the ball, the claw-like barbs readily release.

Importantly, the cleats 10, 10′ are disposed not only on the forward portions 74, 74'of the shoes 70, 72, but on the rear portions 76, 76′as well, as shown in FIG. 4, functioning as described above. Such an arrangement of cleats 10, 10′ substantially optimizes traction.

The barbs 16-30 and base 12 of the golf cleat 10 are preferably molded around a standard metal screw 14. The hub 36 is also formed from a molded plastic that provides a cavity for the head of the threaded screw 14. However, it is also envisioned that the threaded screw 14 could be formed from a plastic of sufficient strength to serve as a means for removably securing the golf cleat in the bottom sole of a shoe. Therefore, the entire golf cleat in one embodiment is preferably made from a single piece of molded plastic.

Overall, the present cleat operates to provide superior bracing performance as a golfer executes a golf swing by incorporating cleats that “dig” into the ground as the golfer's body rotates, and appropriately release as the swing is completed. More particularly, the cleats of the left and right shoes are specifically designed to be circumferentially angled to “dig and release” from the ground as the user's feet rotate generally oppositely during different segments of the swing. The cleats can be readily retrofitted to any golf shoe (i.e., the golfer need not buy new shoes), and have far superior wear characteristics due primarily to their increased stiffness compared to conventional elastomeric cleats. The cleats are specifically designed for left and right shoes, as noted above, and allow greatly improved bracing performance during body rotation of either left or right-handed golfers over conventional replaceable cleats. Notably, improved performance is realized independent of the lie of the ball, the conditions of the course or the varied surfaces encountered during play. Moreover, given that the cleats efficiently grip and release the ground, they generally release grass, and other debris, and are thus essentially self-cleaning. This improves the golfer's grip and stability throughout the round over conventional spikes that tend to build up grass/debris along their surfaces due to, for example, the tendency of their “rubbery” barbs to roll over and trap debris. In the end, the present preferred embodiments virtually eliminate the need to use a brush or other apparatus to scrape the spikes clean. Rather, a simple counter-gripping rotation of each foot is typically all that is needed to clean the spikes.

While this invention has been described with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, various features of the embodiments are interchangeable with various similar features of other disclosed embodiments. Thus, all of the features disclosed with respect to each embodiment can be applied to the other embodiments to achieve desirable results. Accordingly, the preferred embodiments of the invention as set forth herein are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.