Title:
SHOE SOLE WITH LOOSE FILL COMPARTMENTS SEPERATED BY ARCH SUPPORT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shoe is provided with an outsole that contacts the ground, an insole upon which a foot rests, and a midsole located between the outsole and the insole. The midsole cushions the wearer's foot by providing a loose fill material in a front compartment on which the toes and ball of the foot of the wearer rest and a heel compartment on which the heel of the wearer rests. The front compartment is divided into at least two sub compartments to keep the loose fill evenly distributed. The front compartment and the heel compartment are separated by an arch support section of the midsole, which provides relatively rigid support for the arch of the wearer's foot.



Inventors:
Hottinger, Michael (Greendale, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/859572
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/30A, 36/11.5
International Classes:
A43B3/12; A43B13/18; A43B13/42
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEHRKE & ASSOCIATES, S.C. (WAUWATOSA, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shoe comprising: an outsole; an insole; and a midsole located between the outsole and the insole, wherein the midsole provides a loose fill material for cushioning in a front compartment and a heel compartment in the midsole of the shoe.

2. A shoe according to claim 1, wherein the front compartment and the heel compartment are separated by an arch support section of the midsole.

3. A shoe according to claim 2, wherein the loose fill material is crumb rubber.

4. A shoe according to claim 3, wherein a portion of the loose fill material is adhesively bound together to form a composite layer of crumb rubber.

5. A shoe according to claim 1, wherein the front compartment is divided into at least two sub compartments.

6. A shoe according to claim 5, wherein each of the sub compartments and the heel compartment are filled with the loose fill material.

7. A shoe according to claim 6, wherein the loose fill material is crumb rubber.

8. A shoe according to claim 1, wherein the shoe includes an athletic shoe, a casual shoe, a boot, a sandal or a dress shoe.

9. A shoe according to claim 1, wherein the insole is polymer foam lined with a fabric cover.

10. A shoe according to claim 1, wherein the outsole is manufactured from elastomer styrene-butadiene rubber, leather, or synthetic material.

11. A shoe comprising: an outsole; an insole; and a midsole located between the outsole and the insole, wherein the midsole provides a loose fill material for cushioning in a front compartment and a heel compartment of the midsole of the shoe, wherein the loose fill material is bound together with an adhesive.

12. A shoe according to claim 11, wherein the front compartment and the heel compartment are separated by an arch support section of the midsole.

13. A shoe according to claim 12, wherein the loose fill material is crumb rubber.

14. A shoe according to claim 13, wherein the loose fill material forms a composite layer of crumb rubber.

15. A shoe according to claim 11, wherein the front compartment is divided into at least two sub compartments.

16. A shoe according to claim 15, wherein each of the front sub compartments and the heel compartment are filled with the loose fill material.

17. A shoe according to claim 16, wherein the loose fill material is crumb rubber.

18. A shoe according to claim 11, wherein the shoe includes an athletic shoe, a casual shoe, a boot, a sandal or a dress shoe.

19. A shoe comprising: an outsole; an insole; and a midsole located between the outsole and the insole, wherein the midsole absorbs provides a loose fill material for cushioning in a front compartment and a heel compartment in the midsole of the shoe, wherein the front compartment is divided into at least two sub compartments and each of the compartments is filled with the loose fill material, and wherein the front compartment and the heel compartment are separated by an arch support section of the midsole.

20. A shoe according to claim 19, wherein the loose fill material is crumb rubber.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Continuation in Part Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/905,144 filed on Dec. 17, 2004. These applications are herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the comfort and support in the sole of a shoe. In particular, the present invention relates to a shoe with a midsole that is partially filled with a loose fill material such as crumb rubber derived from rubber tires for shock absorption, cushioning, energy return, added comfort and stability.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Dress, casual and athletic shoes generally include an upper portion and an inner lining that cover the top of the foot, a counter placed between the upper portion and the lining to provide rigidity at the heel, an insole upon which the foot rests, an outsole which contacts the ground surface and a midsole portion that is positioned between the insole and outsole.

A filler is a material that fills the compartments, if present, formed in the midsole when the midsole and the outsole are connected. The outsole is the bottom portion of the shoe that contacts the ground or floor surface that is usually manufactured from leather, rubber or any of several suitable synthetic materials. A scrim is a thin flexible sheet of fabric or plastic film that may be either glued or sewn over the loose fill compartments to create a top for the compartments.

The manufacture of shoes using conventional construction methods is a complicated and expensive process. In this regard, improvements are sought to simplify the construction process and cost of materials that corresponding decrease the cost of manufacturing the shoe, while maintaining all of the functionality of the shoe.

In the prior art, most improvements in shoe design have focused on the midsole. The midsole is a shoe's main cushioning system. In early athletic shoes, midsoles did not exist. Early basketball shoes had some rubber cushioning inside them, but nothing as advanced and innovative as the modern midsole found in every type of shoe from walking shoes to basketball shoes. These innovations range from improved foam midsoles to very complicated air and fluid systems. While these increasingly complicated midsoles may improve performance, the cost to manufacture these shoes has increased dramatically.

Thus, there is a need in the art for a shoe having a less expensive midsole construction with a lower density while providing adequate cushioning and stability for every type of shoe or boot.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a shoe with superior comfort, performance and stability by loose fill located in compartments in the midsole located in the heel and front of the shoe. This object is met by the present invention by constructing a shoe with a midsole that has compartments where the wearer's heel, ball of the foot and toes would normally rest. These compartments are filled with a loose fill. A scrim may be sewn or glued into place above the compartments to form a top for the compartments. The loose fill may also be held in place by the use of adhesives. An arch support section separates the front compartment from the heel compartment and is made of the same material as the rest of the midsole. The arch support provides relatively rigid support to improve the shoe's comfort and stability. In addition, by separating the front compartment and the heel compartment, the cushioning provided by the loose fill may be targeted to the locations where a wearer experiences the highest impact forces while moving, namely the heel and the ball of the foot and toes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

A clear understanding of the various advantages and features of the present invention, as well as the construction and operation of conventional components and mechanisms associated with the present invention, will become apparent by referring to the exemplary, and therefore non-limiting, embodiments illustrated in the following drawings which accompany and form a part of this patent specification.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shoe;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the shoe;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the heel of a shoe; and,

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the midsole of a shoe with compartments and sub compartments to contain the fill in the shoe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, the present invention includes generally a shoe 10 having an outsole 12, a midsole 14, and an insole 16. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, shoe 10 is any shoe including but not limited to an athletic shoe, a casual shoe, a boot, a sandal, or a dress shoe.

Outsole 12 of shoe 10 is commonly made from a variety of materials including elastomer styrene-butadiene rubber or a carbon fiber rubber. Lying on the bottom side of shoe 10, outsole 12's main purpose is to provide friction and durability. Different treads on outsoles 12 define shoe 10's purpose. For example, on an athletic shoe, waffle-studded treads act like support columns to absorb and dissipate impact.

Just above outsole 12 is midsole 14. Midsole 14 absorbs impact by cushioning but also returns energy to the wearer of the shoe 10. Above midsole 14 is insole 16. Insole 16 is commonly made from polymer foam lined with a fabric cover. The main purpose of insole 16 is to provide comfort and shock absorption at impact, largely in the heel section of shoe 10.

Referring to FIGS. 2-3, in order to reduce manufacturing costs associated with the current complex systems used for midsoles, the midsole 14 of shoe 10 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a loose fill material 18 instead of a continuous section of material normally found in midsole 14. Loose fill 18 is placed in compartments at the heel 22 and front 20 of the midsole 14.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, material 18 is a crumb rubber. Other materials such as ground rubber, plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene resin, polyethylene foam, polyurethane foam or ethylene vinyl chloride (EVC) are available new or recycled and are able to provide stability and cushioning properties similar to crumb rubber. Such materials can be formed or shredded into pellet-like shapes similar to crumb rubber. Natural materials such as sand or buckwheat hulls may also serve as loose fill, but they may have different characteristics than crumb rubber.

Shredding scrap tires makes crumb rubber and it is a particulate material free of fiber and steel. It is generally made commercially available in 50-pound bags or 2000-pounds bulk bags. The size of the rubber particles is graded. The finest one can be as small as about 0.2 mm (Mesh −80) and below. Crumb rubber is light in weight and is durable. From the safety consideration, crumb rubber is a non-toxic and inert material.

In addition to crumb rubber fill material 18 being inexpensive to use in the manufacturing of shoe 10, since it is a recycled material, use of crumb rubber helps to reduce the number of scrap tires that otherwise go to landfills or other kinds of waste storage facilities.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention that includes a front compartment 20, a heel compartment 22, and an arch support 26 section of the midsole separating the front compartment 20 from the heel compartment 22. The arch support 26 section separates the front compartment 20 from the heel compartment 22 and is made of the same material as the rest of the midsole. The arch 26 support provides relatively rigid support to improve the shoe's comfort and stability. By separating the front compartment 20 and the heel compartment 22, the cushioning provided by the loose fill 18 may be targeted to the locations where a wearer experiences the highest impact forces while moving, namely the heel and the ball of the foot and toes.

The divider 24 is designed to prevent the loose fill material from collecting within one area of the midsole. It may have a T shape, Y shape (not shown) or any other shape which will ensures the even distribution of fill material 18 in the front compartment 20 and guards against uneven compaction of material 18. To further guard against uneven distribution of material 18, fill material 18 may include an adhesive that binds the loose crumb rubber 18 together to some extent. Not shown is a scrim that may be glued or sewn over the top of the front compartment 20 and the heel compartment 22. It would serve as a top to contain the loose fill. The scrim, present, would be under the insole.

The scope of the application is not to be limited by the description of the preferred embodiments described above, but is to be limited solely by the scope of the claims that follow. For example, a composite sheet of crumb rubber including a binding adhesive may be used in place of loose fill crumb rubber to fill midsole 14 of shoe 10 without departing from the scope of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.