Title:
Shoes having deployable traction elements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shoe including: a body; a lower surface disposed on the body for contact with the ground; and at least one deployable traction element associated with the lower surface and having a retracted and a deployed position, the at least one deployable traction element providing additional traction when the at least deployable traction element is in the deployed position.



Inventors:
Rastegar, Jahangir S. (Stony Brook, NY, US)
Spinelli, Thomas (East Northport, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/478713
Publication Date:
01/03/2008
Filing Date:
07/01/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/61, 36/59R
International Classes:
A43C15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060162192Two-layer sports boot part with deformation zoneJuly, 2006Roux et al.
20090119949Footwear for three-beat rhythm walkingMay, 2009Song
20090013555WATERPROOF SAFETY FOOTWEARJanuary, 2009Vitulli
20040107603Kind of indoor cloth wrap soleJune, 2004Wei
20090000153Ventilated FootwearJanuary, 2009Grimmeisen
20080005933Customization System for an Article of FootwearJanuary, 2008Auger et al.
20080127522Article of Footwear for Weight LiftingJune, 2008Crowley et al.
20050278976Footwear accessory device and method of accessorizing an article of footwearDecember, 2005Bry
20060207125Clear material security footwearSeptember, 2006Dana III
20030140522Footwear and a method for making the sameJuly, 2003Liu
20080110061Novelty footwear item with flaskMay, 2008Ritter



Primary Examiner:
LALLI, MELISSA LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas Spinelli (Northport, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shoe comprising: a body; a lower surface disposed on the body for contact with the ground; and at least one deployable traction element associated with the lower surface and having a retracted and a deployed position, the at least one deployable traction element providing additional traction when the at least deployable traction element is in the deployed position.

2. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the at least one deployable traction element comprises: a first member attached to the shoe; a second member rotatably attached to the first member; and one or more spikes associated with the second member.

3. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured to provide traction on ice.

4. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured to provide traction on snow.

5. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured for football.

6. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured for golf.

7. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured for baseball.

8. The shoe of claim 2, wherein at least some of the one or more spikes are configured for soccer.

9. The shoe of claim 2, wherein the first member is associated with the lower surface by attachment with a fastener.

10. The shoe of claim 2, wherein the first member is associated with the lower surface by embedding at least a portion of the first member in a corresponding hole in the lower surface.

11. The shoe of claim 2, wherein the lower surface is on a heel of the shoe.

12. The shoe of claim 11, wherein the lower surface on the heel of the shoe is adjacent a sole of the shoe.

13. The shoe of claim 1, wherein a heel of the shoe has a recess for holding the second member when the at least one deployable traction element is in the deployed position.

14. The shoe of claim 1, further comprising a spring locking element associated with the at least one deployable traction element to bias the at least one deployable traction element to stay in either the deployed or the retracted positions.

15. A method for providing traction for a shoe, the method comprising: deploying at least one spike from a surface of the shoe such that the at least one spike provides additional traction when the at least one spike is in a deployed position; and retracting the at least one spike into a retracted position in which the at least one spike does not substantially provide the additional traction.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising configuring the at least one spike to provide traction on at least one of ice and snow.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising configuring the at least one spike for at least one of football, golf, baseball and soccer.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising biasing the at least one spike to stay in either the deployed or the retracted positions.

19. An athletic shoe comprising: a body; a lower surface disposed on the body for contact with the ground; and at least one deployable traction element associated with the lower surface and having a retracted and a deployed position, the at least one deployable traction element providing additional traction when the at least deployable traction element is in the deployed position, wherein the at least one spike is configured for at least one of football, golf, baseball and soccer.

20. The athletic shoe of claim 19, wherein the at least one deployable traction element comprises: a first member attached to the shoe; a second member rotatably attached to the first member; and at least one spike associated with the second member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to shoes and attachments thereto, and more particularly to shoes having deployable traction elements.

2. Prior Art

Shoes that are worn by most people are prone to slippage on ice, snow, grass and other slippery surfaces. Shoe manufacturers have attempted to make the bottom surface of the shoes such that they better grip the ground surface. Shoes with protruding surfaces of various geometry are fabricated that increase resistance to slippage by digging into the snow and other surfaces that allow certain level of penetration by these protruding elements. However, for highly slippery surfaces, particularly those surfaces that are relatively hard and slippery and therefore resistant to penetration at relatively low pressure levels such as ice or hard snow, the aforementioned protruding surfaces cannot produce an adequate amount of traction. This is particularly the case since such protruding surfaces are commonly made of synthetic polymers that are relatively soft and used to make the shoe bottom and heel. As a result, the wearer can still slip on ice and the like.

To increase pressure between the aforementioned protruding elements and the ground surface, such elements have to be made with small surface area, i.e., to distribute the supporting weight over a small surface area to achieve a high contact pressure. To support the resulting pressure, the protruding elements, have to be constructed with relatively rigid and high strength materials such as steel or high stiffness and strong synthetic materials as relatively sharp “spikes”. During the walking over ice or other similar hard and slippery surfaces, the sharp spikes “dig” into the surface of the ice or hard snow, and provides for a significant traction between the shoe and the ice surface, thereby allowing the wearer to walk without slipping. Hereinafter, all protruding elements that are provided to increase traction between the shoe and the ground surface by “digging” into the surface such as ice or hard snow, are referred to as “spikes”, irrespective of whether they are integral part of a base plate, etc., or not.

A user wearing a shoe with the bottom surface covered with the aforementioned relatively sharp spikes can walk over ice, hard snow or the like with relative safety with little possibility of slippage. However, the user can wear the shoe only when on ice or the like. Wearing such spiked shoes can easily damage rugs, scar hard wood floors or other coverings indoors and would actually be unsafe over concrete and other similar hard surfaces since they would have a significantly lower friction than their aforementioned (softer) protruding elements. In addition, the spikes can damage asphalt and loose its sharpness. It is therefore desirable to wear such spiked shoes while walking over ice, hard snow or other similar surfaces and not indoors or over other outdoor surfaces.

A need therefore exist for methods and devices that would enable a person to wear shoes that are equipped with the aforementioned spikes to provide traction on ice, hard snow and the like, and returning the shoes to a no-spike wearing condition for use on other surfaces where such spikes are no longer needed for safe walking.

Such methods and devices may also be used in sports such as golf to allow the wearer to walk freely off the course, such as in the clubhouse and have appropriately spiked shoes for walking on grass. As a result, a wearer does not to carry an extra shoe and does not have to exchange shoes before going into the grass covered field.

Such methods and devices may also be used to provide traction for devices such as walkers, canes, crutches, and the like, where the user can use then to reduce the chances of slipping over ice, hard snow and the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a shoe is provided. The shoe comprising: a body; a lower surface disposed on the body for contact with the ground; and at least one deployable traction element associated with the lower surface and having a retracted and a deployed position, the at least one deployable traction element providing additional traction when the at least deployable traction element is in the deployed position.

The at least one deployable traction element can comprise: a first member attached to the shoe; a second member rotatably attached to the first member; and at least one spike associated with the second member. The one or more spikes can be configured to provide traction on ice or snow. At least some of the one or more spikes can be configured for football, golf, baseball or soccer. The first member can be associated with the lower surface by attachment with a fastener. The first member can be associated with the lower surface by embedding at least a portion of the first member in a corresponding hole in the lower surface. The lower surface can be on a heel of the shoe. The lower surface on the heel of the shoe can be adjacent a sole of the shoe.

A heel of the shoe can have a recess for holding the second member when the at least one deployable traction element is in the deployed position.

The shoe can further comprise a spring locking element associated with at least one deployable traction element to bias the at least one deployable traction element to stay in either the deployed or the retracted positions.

Also provided is a method for providing traction for a shoe. The method comprising: deploying at least one spike from a surface of the shoe such that the at least one spike provides additional traction when the at least one spike is in a deployed position; and retracting the at least one spike into a retracted position in which the at least one spike does not substantially provide the additional traction.

The method can further comprise configuring the at least one spike to provide traction on at least one of ice and snow.

The method can further comprise configuring the at least one spike for at least one of football, golf, baseball and soccer.

The method can further comprise biasing the at least one spike to stay in either the deployed or the retracted positions.

Still further provided is an athletic shoe comprising: a body; a lower surface disposed on the body for contact with the ground; and at least one deployable traction element associated with the lower surface and having a retracted and a deployed position, the at least one deployable traction element providing additional traction when the at least deployable traction element is in the deployed position, wherein the at least one spike is configured for at least one of football, golf, baseball and soccer.

The at least one deployable traction element can comprise: a first member attached to the shoe; a second member rotatably attached to the first member; and at least one spike associated with the second member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the apparatus of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of a first embodiment of a traction surface element shown on a front portion of a shoe.

FIGS. 2a-2e illustrate different configurations for a spike used with the traction surface element of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of a second embodiment of a traction surface element shown on a front portion of a shoe.

FIG. 4 illustrates a sectional view as taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of a third embodiment of a traction surface element shown on a front portion of a shoe.

FIG. 6 illustrates a sectional view as taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of a fourth embodiment of a traction surface element shown on a rear portion of a shoe.

FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of a fifth embodiment of a traction surface element shown covering a shoe.

FIGS. 8a and 8b illustrate variations of a sectional view of a spike fastened to a lower portion of the traction surface element of FIG. 8.

FIG. 9 illustrates a partial side view of a deployable spike shown deployable from a heel of the shoe and in a retracted position.

FIG. 10 illustrates the deployable spike of FIG. 9 shown in a deployed position.

FIGS. 11a-11c illustrate variations of the deployable spike of FIGS. 9 and 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Although the present invention is applicable to numerous types of shoes, it is particularly useful in the environment of shoes for providing traction during walking on snow and ice. Therefore, without limiting the applicability of the present invention to shoes and attachments for providing traction on shoe and ice, it will be described in such environment. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the shoes and attachments of the present invention can be utilized for general uses and for providing traction for sports, such as on golf shoes and baseball, soccer and football cleats.

The present invention provides spikes of various sizes and shapes that are distributed with some pattern and density over the bottom of shoes. The wearer is, however, able to remove or otherwise retract the spikes at will and with minimal effort. As a result, the user is provided with shoes with high traction over slippery surfaces such as ice, hard snow and the like, and is able to turn the shoe into a regular shoe that could be worn on any other surface where traction is not needed.

One embodiment is shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, at least one spike covered “sheet” of appropriate geometry is attached to the bottom of the shoe by certain quick on-off means such as a strap, elostomeric element(s), string(s), or any one or combination of elements using shoelaces, buttons, Velcro® and/or buckles and the like. Hereinafter, any such spike covered sections are referred to as “traction surface elements.” The aforementioned attachment means are preferably designed to easily and quickly apply the traction surfaces to the shoe and take them off.

In the schematic of FIG. 1, a traction surface element 10 is shown to consist of a base element 11, to which at least one spike 12 (shown separately in FIG. 2) with relatively sharp tips is fixed. The base element 11 is preferably strong enough to resist the forces applied to the spikes during walking, particularly in compression and bending and may be made from a variety of materials, such as thin plastics, metals and leather. In most situations, the maximum load that the spikes 12 experience is in bending by moments that tend to bend them to their flat position under the shoe. For these reasons, the spike 12 can be designed with a large enough “head” 13 (e.g., as a large circular disc, since the direction of maximum applied bending moment to the spikes is relatively random) to resist the aforementioned bending action, and a stem portion 14 to minimize its contact surface with the ground. A large surface area for the spike head 13 can also distribute the axial load over the surface of the base element 11. In one embodiment, the spikes 12 can be an integral part of the base element 11 of the traction surface element 10. Alternatively, the spikes 12 may be removably or fixedly disposed on the base element 11, such as by any number of methods known in the art, including a threaded stud arrangement similar to that shown in FIG. 8a below. The stem 14 can be configured in any way known in the art, such as being long and somewhat sharp for snow as is shown in FIG. 2a, such as being short and relatively sharp for ice as is shown in FIG. 2b, such as being rounded as is known in the art of football and soccer cleats as is shown in FIG. 2c, such as being plate-like as is known in the art of baseball spikes as is shown in FIG. 2d, or have a number of prongs as is known in the art of golf shoes as is shown in FIG. 2e. In addition, the surface of the base element that is in contact with the shoe can be rough and/or made out of high friction material to minimize the chances of slippage.

In the schematic of FIG. 1, one traction surface element 10 is shown to be attached to the shoe 20 with two straps 15 using buckles 16 to firmly hold the straps onto the shoe. It is appreciated by those familiar with the art that as was previously mentioned, other means and methods of attachment known in the art may also be employed that could hold the traction surface element 10 to the shoe. As an example, one of the straps 15 may be replaced with an elastic element that may or may not require a buckle 16. It is noted that in general, the primary force (moment or torque) that tends to separate the traction surface element 10 from the bottom surface of the shoe is the shearing and peeling forces. In addition, more than one such traction surface element 10 may be applied to each shoe. The traction surface elements 10 may cover any portion of the bottom surface of the shoe, including the heel surface, and may even be sized to cover the entire bottom surface of the shoe (including the heel).

In another embodiment, the traction surface elements are designed to snap onto the shoe. One such embodiment is shown in the schematic side view of FIG. 3 and the cross-sectional view of FIG. 4 as taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, the traction surface element 30 is designed to snap onto mating surfaces provided on the shoe 20. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the traction surface element is provided with male elements 32 that snap into recesses 31 provided on the shoe. It is noted that the provision of elements for snap on parts to achieve assembly are very well known in the art, and the elements 31 and 32 shown in the schematics of FIGS. 3 and 4 are shown by way of example only. Such male elements 32 can be made of a resilient material, such as plastic, that allows for plastic deformation such that the elements can be disposed in the recesses 31. Although the recesses 31 are shown as being specially provided on the shoe, they can also be naturally occurring recesses, such as the recess that occurs between the heel and body of the shoe and can also be provided on other surfaces of the shoe, such as the heel and/or sole of the shoe. Furthermore, the male elements 32 can be made integral with the base element 11. It should therefore be appreciated by those skilled in the art that any other available method of constructing the snapping components may be used instead of those shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Furthermore, the shoe 20 can be provided with a male element and the traction surface element can be provided with a mating female element. In addition, snapping element designs allow for easy and quick assembly and disassembly of the traction surface element on and off the shoe by the user. For example, the user can “step into” the traction surface element and use his or her weight to deform the male elements 32 until they mate with the corresponding recesses 31 (or vice versa). In a variation of the present embodiment, the snap on traction surface element 30 may also be equipped with straps 15 and buckles 16 shown in the schematic of FIG. 1 (or any other aforementioned type of strapping elements) to better secure it to the shoe. As discussed above with regard to the embodiment of FIG. 1, the traction surface element 30 can be provided on other or all bottom surfaces of the shoe and the spikes 12 may take on other forms, such as those discussed above with regard to FIGS. 2a-2e.

In yet another embodiment, the traction surface element 40, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, is designed to snap on most shoes. In the side view schematic of FIG. 5 and the cross sectional view of FIG. 6 as taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5, at least one pair of elastic side grips 41 are provided to nearly conform to the shape of the shoe. The contacting surfaces of the grips are preferably coated with relatively non-slip material. The grips are formed with bias inward such that upon attachment of the traction surface element 40 to the shoe, the grips provide a certain level of pressure on the shoe surface and thereby reduce the chances that the traction surface element 40 coming off the shoe during walking. It is appreciated by those familiar with the art that numerous other gripping devices may also be utilized in the present embodiment. In a variation of the present embodiment, the snap on traction surface element 40 may also be equipped with straps 15 and buckles 16 shown in the schematic of FIG. 1 (or any other aforementioned type of strapping elements) to better secure it to the shoe. The elastic side grips 41 can be made of resilient materials such as plastic or spring steel and may further be coated with the non-slip material which may also serve to protect the elastic side grips 41 from damaging the shoe. The elastic side grips 41 may also be made integral with the base element 11. Although the elastic side grips 41 are shown engaging the body of the shoe, they may also engage other portions of the shoe, such as the sides of the sole and/or heel. As discussed above with regard to the previous embodiments, the traction surface element 30 can be provided on other or all bottom surfaces of the shoe and the spikes 12 may take on other forms, such as those discussed above with regard to FIGS. 2a-2e.

In yet another embodiment shown in FIG. 7, a traction surface element 50 is held tightly to the shoe 56 by a pair of side straps 51 (the opposite side strap not shown in FIG. 7 but being substantially similar to the one shown) that extend past the shoe and are held tightly around the leg 57 (or if a boot is worn in place of a shoe, the top of the boot) by a strap 52. The strap 52 is shown to be held in position with the buckle 53. The spikes 54 are attached to the base plate 55 of the traction surface element 50. The strap 52 may be an integral part of the side straps 51. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other means such as Velcro may be used instead of the buckle 53. The side straps 51 may be any number of materials known in the art, such as leather or fabric and may cover most or all of the bottom surface of the shoe as shown in FIG. 7 or only portions thereof. Furthermore, the spikes 54 may take on other forms, such as those discussed above with regard to FIGS. 2a-2e.

In yet another embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the spikes 60 can be fixed to the bottom portion 61 (base element) of a shoe cover, such as an elastomer shoe cover, such as rubber galoshes 62 worn over the shoe 63 (boot). Such galoshes are well known in the art, such as those bearing the trade name Totes®. The galoshes stretch over the bottom of the shoe and protect the shoe surfaces from wear, moisture and/or debris (such as fresh grass clippings). The shoe cover can be other materials such as cloth or canvas. As shown in FIG. 8a, the spikes 60 can be removably fastened to the galoshes (or any of the other base elements disclosed herein) by providing a counter bore 67 in the upper surface of the bottom portion 61 of the galoshes. The spike head 13 has a threaded stud 64 which is inserted through a hole 69 in the bottom portion 61. A washer 65 and a thin nut 66 which matingly engages the threaded stud 64 secures the spike 60 to the galoshes. The thin nut 66 can be flush with the upper surface of the bottom portion 61. The spike 60 can also be fixedly secured to the bottom portion 61 of the galoshes (or any of the other base elements disclosed herein) with a crimped fastening means as shown in FIG. 8b wherein an end of the stud 68 is peaned or otherwise enlarged to provide a holding means. In such a configuration, the spikes can be permanently fixed to the galoshes by providing a stud and crimping or other enlargement of the head of the stud over the washer such that it becomes larger than the hole in the washer. The spikes can also be adhered to the bottom surface 61 of the galoshes without any fastener, such as with an adhesive, as is well known in the art. The spikes 60 can also be integrally formed with the bottom portion 61 of the galoshes. As discussed above with regard to the previous embodiments, the traction surface element 30 can be provided on other or all bottom surfaces of the shoe and the spikes 12 may take on other forms, such as those discussed above, namely, configured for snow, ice, soccer, football, baseball or golf, as those discussed above with regard to FIGS. 2a-2e. Although the bottom portion 61 is shown with a heel and spikes 60 on portions other than the heel, the spikes 60 can also be provided on the heel portion or only on the heel portion. Furthermore, the bottom portion 61 can be substantially flat without a heel portion. The covering can be a single color such as black, white or any other color or can be ornamented so as to appear as a sport shoe, such as having sport logos and/or other indicia. The indicia can make the covering appear to be an actual sport shoe, such as mimicking the stitching and shoelaces that appear on sports shoes. The covering can be multi-colored so as to also appear as the sport shoe, such as a black sole and white upper body, or white and brown upper body.

Another method of providing traction surface elements is provided where the spikes are retractable into a housing, such as the sole and/or heel of the shoe, or on a surface of the shoe, and are deployed by the user. The spikes may be those discussed above, such as being configured for snow, ice, football, baseball, soccer and golf. The deployment (and retraction) mechanism may require certain manual action or an action of the leg (foot). The deployment (retraction) action can be simple and easy to perform, particularly considering the harsh environment in which they have to be operated. In addition, since water, snow, ice, dirt, sand, etc., are almost always present, the mechanism can be capable of operating without hindrance in all such environments. The primary objective is to eliminate the need to change shoes and/or the need of putting the traction surface elements on when needed and taking them off when they are not needed (and possibly the need to carry around the traction surface elements in case they are needed).

In one embodiment of the present invention, the spikes are assembled into the shoe and are deployed or retracted at will by the user. In one such embodiment, the assembly is an integral part of the shoe. A side view of one embodiment is shown schematically in FIG. 9. This embodiment of the deployable and retractable surface traction device 70 consists of two main components 71 and 72, which are attached together with a hinge 79. The member 71 can be a plate that is attached to the side of the heel 73 of the shoe 74, e.g., by at least one nail, screw or other fastener 75. At least one spike 80 is attached to the member 72, shown in its retracted position in FIG. 9. The spike 80 can be any material known in the art and can be fixedly or removably secured to the member 72 or integrally formed therewith. To deploy the surface traction device 70, the member 72 is rotated in the direction of the arrow 81 brought to rest on the bottom surface of the heel 73 as shown in FIG. 10. The device 70 is preferably equipped with spring locking elements 79a to bias the member 72 to stay in either a deployed (FIG. 10) or a retracted position (FIG. 10). Such spring locks for hinged elements are well known in the art and are attached to the hinge with springs that are biased to hold the moving member in one or more positions.

The member 71 can be made as an angle 76 as shown in the side view of FIG. 11a, and is attached to the heel 73 by two set of nails (screws) 77 to more firmly attach the component 76 to the heel 73. However, the heel 73 can also have a recess 82 to receive the angle 76 as shown in FIG. 11b or the device 70 of FIG. 9. This is usually the case if the shoes are also worn on surfaces such as wood floors where there is a chance that such exposed (usually metallic or hard plastic) components and nails to damage the surface of the flooring. Alternatively, the member 71 (indicated as 83) is embedded in the heel 73 of the shoe as shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 11c and may be removable for replacement thereof.

Alternatively, attachment housing with the retractable spikes can be attached to the shoe by the user using, for example, one of the attachment methods described in the embodiments of FIGS. 1-8. Furthermore, the spikes can be deployed from the sides of the shoe/boot and not just from the heel. The spikes can also deploy outward from one or all sides of the shoe, so as to act as a snow shoe thereby allowing a person to walk better out of the snow without having to take off or put on snow shoes. Deployment of the spikes can be by kicking the front of the shoe, kicking the back of the shoe or by a twisting action, such as by twisting the front-most portion of the sole or the rear-most portion of the heel.

Although the spikes shown in the figures are shown in two-dimensional rows, they can be disposed in any pattern on the base elements, such as patterns that are used in golf, baseball, football, and soccer shoes. The spikes can also be proved in a variety of sizes, such as being very small for ice and longer for snow.

While there has been shown and described what is considered to be preferred embodiments of the invention, it will, of course, be understood that various modifications and changes in form or detail could readily be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the invention be not limited to the exact forms described and illustrated, but should be constructed to cover all modifications that may fall within the scope of the appended claims.