Title:
INTERCHANGEABLE MIDSOLE SYSTEM FOR FOOTWEAR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention discloses an interchangeable midsole for use in the manufacture of shoes. The embodiments of the invention allow for greater rigidity, durability, and comfort for shoes to be used in every day life and in extreme sports as well as impact and abrasion protection for the wearer's feet, no matter what the wearer is doing. One or more embodiments of the invention are adapted to provide skateboard riders with increased durability and comfort in their riding shoes. Furthermore, because the novel midsole design is interchangeable among various shoe soles and uppers, the manufacturer is able to adapt various shoe designs and configurations around the common midsole.



Inventors:
Pelsue, David (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Fleming, Vincent (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/625792
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/22/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/28, 36/34R, 36/35B, 36/71
International Classes:
A43B3/24; A43B13/18; A43B19/00; A43B21/00; A43B21/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hankin Patent Law, APC (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An interchangeable midsole for shoes, comprising: a cushioning pad for insertion into shoes, one or more raised portions extending above the sole of the shoe, said one or more raised portions comprised of a rigid or semi-rigid material, such that said one or more raised portions provide impact and abrasion protection to the wearer's foot.

2. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said one or more raised portions are comprised of a plastic sheet.

3. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said one or more raised portions are exposed to the exterior of the shoe through cut-outs in the sole or upper of the shoe.

4. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 3, wherein said one or more raised portions feature an abrasion resistant coating.

5. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 4, wherein said one or more raised portions feature a grip coating.

6. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said cushioning pad features a heel pad, said heel pad being comprised of a generally compressible material.

7. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel pad is a pneumatic heel pad.

8. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel pad is comprised of foam.

9. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel paid is hydraulic or otherwise fluid filled.

10. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said cushioning pad features a heel pad and a front pad, said heel and front pads being comprised of a generally compressible material.

11. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel and front pads feature a pneumatic system for absorbing shocks.

12. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel and front pads feature a foam system for absorbing shocks.

13. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 6, wherein said heel and front pads feature a hydraulic or other fluid filled system for absorbing shocks.

14. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said one or more raised portions extend across the area of the foot covering one or more toes.

15. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said one or more raised portions extend across the area of the foot covering one or more toes and the outside upper foot.

16. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said one or more raised portions extend across the area of the foot covering one or more toes, the outside upper foot, and portions of the heel of the foot.

17. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 1, wherein said raised portions extend across the outer midfoot of the wearer.

18. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 17, wherein said one or more raised portions are comprised of flat sheets.

19. An interchangeable midsole for shoes according to claim 17, wherein said one or more raised portions are comprised of two or more vertically extending sections.

20. An interchangeable midsole for shoes, comprising: a cushioning pad for insertion to shoes, said cushioning pad featuring two or more grooves of less thickness than the thickness of said cushioning pad, said two or more grooves allowing the easier articulation and flexing of said midsole.

21. A shoe, comprising: a sole, an upper, and a midsole, said midsole featuring one or more raised portions extending above the sole of the shoe, said one or more raised portions comprised of a rigid or semi-rigid material, such that said raised portion provides impact and abrasion protection to the wearer's foot.

22. A shoe according to claim 21, wherein said sole is generally formed as a cupsole and said sole and/or upper feature one or more cut-outs, and said one or more raised portions of the midsole extend through said one or more cut-outs in said sole and/or upper such that said one or more raised portions are exposed to the exterior of the shoe.

23. A shoe system featuring interchangeable midsoles, comprising: a shoe sole and shoe upper, said shoe sole and shoe upper being configured to be compatible with multiple midsoles, at least one of the said interchangeable midsoles featuring a raised portion extending above the sole of the shoe, said raised portion comprised of a rigid or semi-rigid material, such that said raised portion provides impact and abrasion protection to the wearer's foot.

24. A shoe system featuring interchangeable midsoles according to claim 23, wherein said shoe sole is generally formed as a cupsole and said sole and/or the upper of said shoe feature one or more cut-outs, and one of the said one or more raised portions of the midsole extend through said one or more cut-outs in said sole and/or upper such that said one or more raised portions are exposed to the exterior of the shoe.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates, generally, to footwear; more particularly, to an interchangeable midsole system for sports shoes, which allows the manufacturer and designer to configure the shoe's midsole to particular sports applications.

BACKGROUND

Sport shoes are generally comprised of soles, midsoles, insoles, and uppers. The sole or cupsole is the bottom of a shoe, which supports the wearer's foot and comes in contact with the ground. It usually consists of several layers, and is usually a separate piece from the upper shoe. The midsole is a layer that is situated between the insole and the sole, found in some shoes. Often it will provide cushioning and shape to the insole. The insole is the exterior bottom of the shoe, which sits directly beneath the foot. Many shoes have removable and replaceable insoles, and extra insoles are often added for comfort or health reasons.

Interchangeable parts have been developed in a number of applications on shoes, in order that the wearer or manufacturer may customize shoe components. U.S. Pat. No. 3,526,976 to Jacobs, for example, discloses an interchangeable sports shoe to which may be attached cleats, roller-skates, or other such sports attachments. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,410,841 to Hilgendorf discloses a shoe with interchangeable soles, which allows a single shoe to be fitted with multiple soles that are adapted to be worn on different surfaces and materials. In this manner, these patents disclose the use of interchangeable parts as a means of increasing the usability of a single shoe for different applications.

Several other patents disclose means of using interchangeable parts in order to increase a shoe's longevity or to allow the wearer to customize the shoe's comfort settings. U.S. Pat. No. 6,915,596 to Grove et al., for example, discloses a shoe with a separable upper and sole structure, such that, when the sole of the shoe becomes worn, the sole may be independently replaced.

Also, a variety of soles may be used with a single upper in order to allow the user to customize the sole used in a particular application. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,175,946 to Tsai, U.S. Pat. No. 5,343,637 to Schindler, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,529 to Serna disclose means by which shoe components may be selected and customized to an individual's comfort settings. Tsai's invention discloses an insole with a recess in its heel for receiving a variety of pneumatic buffers. The pneumatic buffers, in turn, may be selected based upon the wearer's desired settings. Similarly, Schindler's device discloses a shoe that features interchangeable elastic inserts to the shoe's insoles that may be changed or customized based upon the wearer's particular desires. Serna's shoe also discloses a means of interchangeably inserting a variety of shock absorbing cassettes that allow the wearer to adjust the cushioning elements of the shoe.

Another class of interchangeable shoe systems operates by allowing the wearer to reconfigure the shoe by using varied midsole inserts. U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,280 to Halliday, for example, discloses a shoe with interchangeable including an interchangeable midsole that is removably mounted to the sole of the shoe. In this manner, Halliday discloses a means for allowing the user to customize the shoe to his or her individual needs. Other such shoes are disclosed by U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,779,417 and 6,023,859, both to Burke et al., which disclose a removable midsole insert for shoes that allows the wearer to quickly and easily replace inserts for improved lateral heel stability.

Another such midsole insert is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 6,536,137 to Celia, which discloses a midsole insert that allows the wearer greater comfort. Celia's insert is further adaptable for use with insulated materials, for cooling a wearer's foot in warm environments, and with hydrophilic urethane for insulating the wearer's foot in cool environments.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,976,332 to Halliday also discloses a system of interchangeable midsoles for footwear. In particular, Halliday's device discloses a means by which the user may assemble footwear using a variety of components and adapted to the wearer's particular needs. In summary, while the above devices disclose means of interchanging shoe components for improved comfort or durability, none of the above devices discloses an interchangeable shoe sole that is particularly suited to the sport of skateboarding.

Other shoes have been developed, which are particularly suited to the stresses and wear encountered by the sport of skateboarding. Skateboarding shoes, for example, usually use reinforced uppers that are tailored to withstand the stresses caused by skateboarding tricks such as the “ollie” or “ollie-pop.” As part of the ollie, when the rider is in the air, he or she slides his or her front foot forward against the skateboard deck to drag the board higher into the air and level the skateboard deck. This motion causes unique wear to the skateboarder's shoe because the upper-front portion of the shoe is forced against the skateboard deck, which usually has a rough, sandpaper-like texture.

One shoe design that is adapted to use by skateboarders is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 6,922,916 to Potter, which discloses a footwear wear indicator. Potter's patent discloses a multi-colored, multi-layered sole for shoes that allows the wearer to evaluate the wear to different portions of the shoe by observing the color of the portions. Another shoe design that is adapted to improve the performance of skateboarding shoes is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 6,931,768 to Baek, which discloses a skateboard shoe with a sole of varying thickness. Baek's patent discloses a shoe that is well adapted to the pressures encountered in skateboarding by featuring a sole with four sole pads of different hardness values. Baek, however, fails to disclose a midsole that is interchangeable among a plurality of uppers and shoe soles, thus, allowing the manufacturer to use the same sole with a number of shoe midsole configurations.

Thus, there remains a long felt need in the art for a skateboarding shoe midsole that allows the manufacturer to customize different shoe upper and sole configurations while maintaining improved resistance to the stresses and wears encountered in the sport of skateboarding.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the invention is directed towards improving upon the above shortcomings by disclosing a skateboarding shoe midsole that improves upon the durability of the shoe while remaining adaptable to a wide variety of shoe uppers and soles. Thus, the interchangeable midsole allows a skateboard shoe manufacturer to develop a wide variety of shoes around a common, effective midsole design.

This invention is directed towards significantly increasing the utility of the midsole by increasing its functionality for skateboarding purposes and allowing it to be interchangeable among a variety of shoe uppers and shoe soles. It should be noted that the shoe's configuration may be selected by the manufacturer, in order to allow the various types of shoes to be selectively customized for particular applications, styles, and designs. It should be further noted that the interchangeable midsoles contemplated by this invention may be practiced with sport shoes, work shoes, comfort shoes, or any other type of shoe known in the art.

In one embodiment of the invention, the interchangeable midsole comprises a flat surface that includes two or more flex grooves, comprised of depressions or cut-outs in the surface of the midsole. The flex grooves allow the midsole to more easily articulate as the shoe is stretched under the pressures of walking and sports activities. This interchangeable midsole may be used with a variety of shoe uppers and soles.

In another embodiment of the invention, particularly adapted to the sport of skateboarding, the interchangeable midsole features raised areas in the toe and “ollie” area. For the purposes of this disclosure, the “ollie-area” shall refer to the area on the outer side and top foot areas adjacent to the toes that are often impacted or scraped during “ollie” type skating maneuvers. In this embodiment of the invention, the midsole extends above the cupsole of the invention in order to allow greater abrasion and impact protection to the wearer's foot from impacts commonly encountered in the sport of skateboarding.

In a variation on the above invention, sections of the cupsole and upper are removed, such that the midsole of the shoe is exposed to the exterior of the shoe. This allows the midsole material to directly contact any materials coming in contact with the shoe, such as a skateboard. These areas of the midsole may be coated with abrasion resistant and/or grip applications, in order to enhance the shoe's performance in the sport of skateboarding. Also, in one embodiment of the invention, the interchangeable midsole, which absorbs the majority of the shoe's shock and wear, may be replaced without the need to replace the entire shoe.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, the interchangeable midsole features a heel pad that is comprised of a material of greater compressibility than the material from which the midsole is formed. Using this second, more compressible material at the heel of the shoe allows the shoe to better protect the foot of the wearer against shock and impact. In another embodiment of the invention, in addition to the heel pad, the midsole also features a front pad, which aids in absorbing shock and protecting the foot of the wearer.

In another embodiment of the invention, the midsole extends above the cupsole in order to allow greater stability to the shoe. One such embodiment, which improves upon the shoe's stability, comprises a midsole that includes the toe and “ollie” guards discussed above, in addition to a heel guard. Another such embodiment includes a raised portion that protects the sides of the middle of the foot. This protection may be by one, two, or more vertically extending members. These and other embodiments may be practiced in the manner discussed above, by removing sections of the cupsole and/or upper such that the midsole is exposed to the exterior of the shoe.

In should be noted that the practice of any of the above embodiments in tandem or other combination remains within the contemplation of the invention. What is more, the principles of the invention may be practiced with any of the materials commonly used in the art of shoe design, including, but not limited to: air filled midsoles, gel-filled midsoles, rubber insoles, plastic midsoles, foam midsoles, ethylene vinyl acetate midsoles, polyurethane midsoles, and other such materials known and used in the art.

In summary, one embodiment of the invention comprises a novel interchangeable midsole for sport shoes wherein the midsole extends above the cupsole in order to provide additional protection to the wearer's foot. Further embodiments include variations wherein cutouts in the shoe's cupsole and upper allow the midsole to be exposed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3A is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe cupsole and midsole featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3B is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4A is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4B is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe cupsole and midsole featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various aspects of one or more embodiments of the invention. However, one or more embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, and/or components have not been described in detail so as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of embodiments of the invention.

While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. Also, although not explicitly recited, one or more embodiments of the invention may be practiced in combination or conjunction with one another. Furthermore, the reference or non-reference to a particular embodiment of the invention shall not be interpreted to limit the scope the invention.

In the following description, certain terminology is used to describe certain features of one or more embodiments of the invention. For instance, “shoe” refers to any of the various coverings for the human foot including shoes, boots, sandals, and similar such items known within the art; “midsole” refers to any midsole, insole, or other middle layer of the sole of a shoe; and “cupsole” refers to any shoe sole or other underside of a shoe or boot, or similar such device known within the art.

FIG. 1 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. A shoe 100 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 105, the interchangeable midsole 110, and the upper 115. The interchangeable midsole 110 features flex grooves 120 in order to allow increased flexibility and comfort for the wearer.

FIG. 2 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. A shoe 200 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 205, the interchangeable midsole 210, and the upper 215. The interchangeable midsole 210 features a rigid toe-guard 220 and ollie-guard 225 in order to protect the foot of the wearer from abrasion and/or impact commonly encountered in the sport of skateboarding.

FIG. 3A is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe cupsole and midsole featuring one embodiment of the invention. The cupsole 305 features numerous cut-outs 315, 320, and 325, in order that portions of the midsole 310 may be exposed. In this embodiment of the invention, the interchangeable midsole 310 features a toe-guard 330, ollie-guard 335, and heel-guard 340, which are exposed through the cut-outs 315, 320, and 325, respectively. Thus, the invention allows elements of the interchangeable midsole 310 to be exposed.

FIG. 3B is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. The shoe 300 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 305, the midsole 333, and the upper 340. In this illustration, the toe-guard 330 and the ollie-guard 335 are exposed through an opening 315 of the sole 305. In this manner, the exposed portions of the midsole 333 allow greater impact and abrasion protection to the wearer's foot.

FIG. 4A is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. A shoe 400 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 405, the midsole 415, and the upper 420. The cupsole 405 in this embodiment of the invention features a cut-out 425 such that the ollie-guard 410 on the midsole 415 may be exposed.

FIG. 4B is an illustration from a perspective view of a shoe cupsole and midsole featuring one embodiment of the invention. The cupsole 405 in this illustration features a cut-out 415, which allows portions of the midsole 410 to be exposed. This embodiment of the invention includes a midsole 410 that features additional support and protection of the wearer's foot. The inner-foot support 420 is formed as a plate that extends upwards to cover the inside of the mid-foot. The outer-foot support 425 is formed as two forks that extend upwards to cover the outside of the mid-foot.

FIG. 5 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. A shoe 500 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 505, the interchangeable midsole 510, and the upper 515. The interchangeable midsole 510 features a rigid toe-guard 525 and ollie-guard 530 in order to protect the foot of the wearer from abrasion and/or impact commonly encountered in the sport of skateboarding. The interchangeable midsole 510 further features a cushioning heel-pad 520 formed of compressible material in order to protect the wearer's heel from impacts encountered in the sport of skateboarding.

FIG. 6 is an illustration from an exploded, perspective view of a shoe featuring one embodiment of the invention. A shoe 600 is illustrated along with its constituent parts, including the cupsole 605, the interchangeable midsole 610, and the upper 615. The interchangeable midsole 610 features a cushioning heel-pad 620 and cushioning pad adjacent to the midfoot 625, both formed of compressible material in order to protect the wearer's heel from impacts encountered in the sport of skateboarding.