Title:
SINGLE LACE BOOT WITH MULTIPLE COMPRESSION ZONES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a single lace boot with multiple compression zones. In one embodiment, the present invention is a boot having a first side and a second side opposing the first side. The boot also has an upper zone located near a top portion of the first side and the second side, a middle zone located below the upper zone, and a lower zone located below the middle zone. Furthermore, the boot has a plurality of lacing mechanisms located on the first side and the second side and a single lace with a first end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the upper zone and a second end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the lower zone.



Inventors:
Kim, Martin Shane (Burlington, VT, US)
Abadjian, Joseph Haroutioun (Oceanside, CA, US)
Fishbein, Jonathan L. (Vista, CA, US)
Park, Tae Hun (Vista, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/014583
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
01/15/2008
Assignee:
DC SHOES, INC. (Vista, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/50.1, 36/50.5
International Classes:
A43B5/04; A43C11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SNELL & WILMER LLP (OC) (COSTA MESA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A boot comprising: a first side; a second side opposing the first side; an upper zone located near a top portion of the first side and the second side; a middle zone located below the upper zone; a lower zone located below the middle zone; a plurality of lacing mechanisms located on the first side and the second side; and a single lace with a first end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the upper zone and a second end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the lower zone.

2. The boot of claim 1 wherein the middle zone includes an upper portion and a lower portion.

3. The boot of claim 2 wherein the single lace is fed through the plurality of lacing mechanisms.

4. The boot of claim 3 wherein the single lace further includes an upper zone control portion.

5. The boot of claim 4 wherein the upper zone control portion includes a loop of the single lace positioned adjacent to the first side of the upper zone.

6. The boot of claim 5 wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a first direction, the upper zone and the upper portion of the middle zone are compressed.

7. The boot of claim 6 wherein the single lace further includes a lower zone control portion.

8. The boot of claim 7 wherein the lower zone control portion includes a loop of the single lace positioned adjacent to the second side of the upper zone.

9. The boot of claim 8 wherein when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the first direction, the lower zone and the lower portion of the middle zone are compressed.

10. The boot of claim 9 further comprising: a first lace lock located on the first side, wherein the upper zone control portion is fed through the first lace lock; and a second lace lock located on the second side, wherein the lower zone control portion is fed through the second lace lock.

11. The boot of claim 10 wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a second direction, the upper zone control portion is secured to the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the second direction, the lower zone control portion is secured to the second lace lock.

12. The boot of claim 11 wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a third direction, the upper zone control portion is released from the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the third direction, the lower zone control portion is released from the second lace lock.

13. A boot comprising: a first side; a second side opposing the first side; an upper zone located near a top portion of the first side and the second side; a middle zone located below the upper zone, the middle zone including an upper portion and a lower portion; a lower zone located below the middle zone; a plurality of lacing mechanisms located on the first side and the second side; and a single lace fed through the plurality of lacing mechanisms with a first end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the upper zone and a second end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the lower zone, the single lace including an upper zone control portion and a lower zone control portion.

14. The boot of claim 13 wherein the upper zone control portion includes a loop of the single lace on the first side of the upper zone and when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a first direction, the upper zone and the upper portion of the middle zone are compressed.

15. The boot of claim 14 wherein the lower zone control portion includes a loop of the single lace on the second side of the upper zone and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the first direction, the lower zone and the lower portion of the middle zone are compressed.

16. The boot of claim 15 further comprising: a first lace lock located on the first side, wherein the upper zone control portion is fed through the first lace lock; and a second lace lock located on the second side, wherein the lower zone control portion is fed through the second lace lock.

17. The boot of claim 10 wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a second direction, the upper zone control portion is secured to the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the second direction, the lower zone control portion is secured to the second lace lock, and wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a third direction, the upper zone control portion is released from the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the third direction, the lower zone control portion is released from the second lace lock.

18. A boot comprising: a first side; a second side opposing the first side; an upper zone located near a top portion of the first side and the second side; a middle zone located below the upper zone, the middle zone including an upper portion and a lower portion; a lower zone located below the middle zone; a plurality of lacing mechanisms located on the first side and the second side; and a single lace fed through the plurality of lacing mechanisms with a first end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the upper zone and a second end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the lower zone, the single lace including an upper zone control portion including a loop of the single lace on the first side in the upper zone, wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a first direction, the upper zone and the upper portion of the middle zone are compressed, and a lower zone control portion, including a loop of the single lace on the second side in the upper zone, wherein when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the first direction, the lower zone and the lower portion of the middle zone are compressed.

19. The boot of claim 18 further comprising: a first lace lock located on the first side, wherein the upper zone control portion is fed through the first lace lock; and a second lace lock located on the second side, wherein the lower zone control portion is fed through the second lace lock.

20. The boot of claim 19 wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a second direction, the upper zone control portion is secured to the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the second direction, the lower zone control portion is secured to the second lace lock, and wherein when the upper zone control portion is pulled in a third direction, the upper zone control portion is released from the first lace lock and when the lower zone control portion is pulled in the third direction, the lower zone control portion is released from the second lace lock.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY UNDER 35 U.S.C. §119

The present Application for Patent claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/885,345 filed on Jan. 17, 2007, entitled “SINGLE LACE BOOT WITH MULTIPLE COMPRESSION ZONES,” and assigned to the assignee hereof and hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present invention relates to a single lace boot with multiple compression zones.

2. Related Art

Winter sports such as snowboarding or skiing require an extreme amount of control from the feet. This intense focus on the feet also puts an extremely large amount of forces and stress on the feet. Thus, the boots a user wears is critical to the user's performance and also to the comfort of the user's feet. Without boots that fit properly, snowboarders or skiers, for example, won't be able to maximize their performance and skills and also have the potential for feet and bodily injuries. However, feet come in all different shapes and sizes and traditional boots do not customize the fit of the snowboarding or skiing boots for each user. Therefore, there is a need for boots capable of customizing its fit to the user's feet.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the present invention is a boot having a first side and a second side opposing the first side. The boot also has an upper zone located near a top portion of the first side and the second side, a middle zone located below the upper zone, and a lower zone located below the middle zone.

Furthermore, the boot has a plurality of lacing mechanisms located on the first side and the second side, and a single lace with a first end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the upper zone and a second end secured to one of the plurality of lacing mechanisms in the lower zone.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features, objects, and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a boot;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a boot;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a boot;

FIG. 4 depicts a lace lock;

FIG. 5 is a cut away view of a lace lock;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a boot;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a boot;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a boot;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a boot; and

FIG. 10 is a front view of a boot with only one zone control portion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Methods and systems that implement the embodiments of the various features of the invention will now be described with reference to the drawings. The drawings and the associated descriptions are provided to illustrate embodiments of the invention and not to limit the scope of the invention. Reference in the specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” is intended to indicate that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least an embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” or “an embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Throughout the drawings, reference numbers are re-used to indicate correspondence between referenced elements. In addition, the first digit of each reference number indicates the figure in which the element first appears.

FIG. 1 is a front view of the boot 2 and FIGS. 2 and 3 are side views of the boot 2. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the boot 2 has a first side 48 and a second side 46. Although in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, the first side 48 is associated with a lateral side and the second side 46 is associated with a medial side, they can be reversed so that the first side 48 is associated with the medial side and the second side 46 is associated with the lateral side.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, the boot 2 also has an upper zone 4, a middle zone 6, and a lower zone 8, which encompasses both the first side 48 and the second side 46. The middle zone 6 comprises a top portion and a bottom portion. The upper zone 4 is located near a top portion of the first side 48 and the second side 46 on the boot 2, the middle zone 6 is located below the upper zone 4, and the lower zone 8 is located below the middle zone 6 and near the bottom of the boot 2. The lower zone 8 is also located on top of a vamp 10.

There are also a plurality of lacing mechanisms 22, 24, 30, 34, 36, 58, and 76 on the first side 48 and a plurality of lacing mechanisms 26, 28, 32, 38, 40, 42, 44, and 78 on the second side 46. The lacing mechanisms can include, but are not limited to, lace loops, lace locks, and tubing. The lacing mechanisms can also include more or less of the lace loops, lace locks, and/or tubing as shown in FIG. 1, for example, one or more lace loops, lace locks, and/or tubing can be omitted or added to the lacing mechanisms shown in FIG. 1 while still maintaining the spirit and scope of the invention. Furthermore, the lacing mechanisms shown in FIG. 1 can be replaced by other types of lacing mechanisms.

In FIG. 1, the lacing mechanisms 24, 30, 32, and 38 are lace loops, the lacing mechanisms 26, 28, 34, 36, 40, 42, 58, 76, and 78 are tubing, and the lacing mechanisms 22 and 44 are lace locks. The lace loops are also known as “ghillies.” The tubing may be made of a material such as leather, vinyl, cloth, plastic, or rubber. In one embodiment, the tubing may be made of a plastic waterproof material. The lace locks 22 and 44 are positioned on the upper zone 4. The lace locks 22 and 44 may be positioned on the upper zone 4, the middle zone 6 and/or the lower zone 8.

A single lace 12 having a first end 54, a second end 50, an upper zone control portion 16, and a lower zone control portion 14 is fed through the plurality of lacing mechanisms. The term “single lace” means only one lace, which is unbroken and undivided. Portions of the single lace 12 can be, for example, internally laced within the boot 2. For example, the tubing 42 can be embedded within the boot 2 or formed by the boot 2 and thus a portion of the single lace 12 may be internally laced within the boot 2. The tubing 42 is used to hold or guide the single lace 12. Also, for example, between the lace lock 22 and the tubings 58 and 76, the single lace 12 may be internally laced within the boot 2 as shown by the dashed lines.

The first end 54 of the single lace 12 is secured to the lace loop 24, which is secured to the upper zone 4 of the boot 2. The second end 50 of the single lace 12 is secured to the lace loop 38, which is secured to the lower zone 8 of the boot 2. The first end 54 and the second end 50 can be secured to the lace loop 24 and the lace loop 38, respectively, by a variety of ways, including but not limited to, tying a knot, utilizing a clamp, or sewing the single lace 12 onto itself or onto the boot 2. In FIG. 1, the first end 54 is secured to the lace loop 24 by a knot 56 and the second end 50 is secured to the lace loop 38 by a knot 52.

Although FIG. 1 shows the first end 54 located on the first side 48 and the second end 50 located on the second side 46, both the first end 54 and the second end 50 can be located on the first side 48 or the second side 46. Also, the first end 54 can be located on the second side 46 and the second end 50 can be located on the first side 48.

The upper zone control portion 16 includes a loop of the single lace 12 on the first side 48 of the upper zone 4. When the upper zone control portion 16 is pulled in a first (e.g., upward) direction, the upper zone 4 and the upper portion of the middle zone 6 are compressed because the single lace 12 tightens these areas of the boot 2.

The upper zone control portion 16 can also optionally have, for example, a grip 20 to aid in gripping the upper zone control portion 16. The grip 20 may be made of a flexible or hard plastic or rubber material. The grip 20 can include, for example, a lace clip 21, which can be attached to a portion of the boot 2 to reduce the movement of the single lace 12 when the boot 2 is in motion.

The lower zone control portion 14 includes a loop of the single lace 12 on the second side 46 of the upper zone 4. When the lower zone control portion 14 is pulled in a first (e.g., upward) direction, the lower zone 8 and the lower portion of the middle zone 6 are compressed because the single lace 12 tightens these areas of the boot 2.

The lower zone control portion 14 can also optionally have, for example, a grip 18 to aid in gripping the lower zone control portion 14. The grip 18 may be made of a flexible or hard plastic or rubber material. The grip 18 can include, for example, a lace clip 19, which can be attached to a portion of the boot 2 to reduce the movement of the single lace 12 when the boot 2 is in motion.

The grips 18 and 20 can be, for example, a padded handle, a plastic cover, or any other type of device suitable to aid the user in gripping the single lace 12 and/or protecting the single lace 12.

FIG. 10 is the boot 2 with only one zone control portion. In one embodiment, the boot 2 includes only one zone control portion, such as only one of the lower zone control portion 14 or the upper zone control portion 16. For example, if the boot 2 includes only one zone control portion, then pulling the one zone control portion compresses the upper zone 4, the middle zone 6, and the lower zone 8. For example, the lace lock 22 and the upper zone control portion 16 can be removed and the single lace 12 can pass through the lacing mechanism 58 directly into the lacing mechanism 76. Also, the tubing 42 can be shortened so that the lacing mechanisms 40 and 78 are positioned in the middle zone 6. This allows the lower zone control portion 14 to more evenly tighten the upper zone 4, the middle zone 6, and the lower zone 8.

FIG. 4 depicts one embodiment of the lace lock 44 and FIG. 5 depicts a cut away view of one embodiment of the lace lock 44. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the lace lock 44 has a plurality of locking teeth 80 that form two V-shaped grooves and eyelets 82. The single lace 12 is fed through a first eyelet 82, looped upward, and then through a second eyelet 82 to form the lower zone control portion 14. Both V-shaped grooves run from a first (i.e., outer) side 86 to a second (i.e., inner) side 88. The first side 86 of the V-shaped groove is the larger side of the V while the second side 88 of the V-shaped groove is the smaller (i.e., narrower) side of the V. Thus, there is more space for the single lace 12 towards the first side 86 and less space for the single lace 12 towards the second side 88. When the single lace 12 fits into the V, the single lace 12 is locked by the plurality of locking teeth 80 and when the single lace 12 is on the outside of the V, the single lace 12 is released from the plurality of locking teeth 80.

When the lower zone control portion 14 is pulled in a first direction 60, which is substantially straight up, then the lower zone 8 and the lower portion of the middle zone 6 are compressed because the single lace 12 tightens these areas of the boot 2.

When the lower zone control portion 14 is pulled in a second direction 68, which is substantially backwards, then the lower zone control portion 14 becomes engaged with the plurality of locking teeth 80 towards the second side 88. However, when the lower zone control portion 14 is engaged with the plurality of locking teeth 80, any tension such as stretching of the boot 2 or pulling of the single lace 12 increases the engagement of the lower zone control portion 14 with the plurality of locking teeth 80.

When the lower zone control portion 14 is pulled in a third direction 84, which is substantially upwards and forwards, the lower zone control portion 14 is disengaged from the plurality of locking teeth 80 and is located near the first side 86. Although FIGS. 4 and 5 depict the lace lock 44, the lace lock 22 has a similar construction utilizing the single lace 12 and the upper zone control portion 16.

FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9 depict the boot 2 in operation. In FIG. 6, a user places his leg 70 into the boot 2. The boot 2 has an optional release tab 74 attached to the single lace 12. Although only one release tab 74 is shown, two or more release tabs 74 can be utilized.

In FIG. 7, the user grabs the grips 20 and 18 with hands 72 and pulls the upper zone control portion 16 and the lower zone control portion 14 in a first direction 60, which is substantially upwards. As seen through arrows 62, 64, and 66, this tightens the upper zone 4, the middle zone 6, and the lower zone 8.

In FIG. 8, the user grabs the grip 20 with hand 72 and pulls the upper zone control portion 16 in a second direction 68, which is substantially backwards. This engages the upper zone control portion 16 with the lace lock 22. Although not shown, the user can also grab the grip 18 with hand 72 and pull the lower zone control portion 14 in a second direction 68, which is substantially backwards, to engage the lower zone control portion 14 with the lace lock 44.

In FIG. 9, the user grabs the grips 20 and 18 with hands 72 and pulls the upper zone control portion 16 and the lower zone control portion 14 in a third direction 84, which is substantially upwards and forwards. This disengages the upper zone control portion 16 and the lower zone control portion 14. This then allows for the tension within the single lace 12 to be relaxed and for the user to remove his leg 70 from the boot 2 or adjust his leg position within the boot 2. To aid the user in relaxing the tension of the single lace 12, the user can pull on the release tab 74, which is attached to the single lace 12.

The previous description of the disclosed examples is provided to enable any person of ordinary skill in the art to make or use the disclosed apparatus. Various modifications to these examples will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the principles defined herein may be applied to other examples without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosed apparatus. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive and the scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.