Title:
Shoe with lacing system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shoe has a quick-tighten lacing system with a shoelace partially wound around lacing control elements in a pair of rows between an ankle opening and a toe. The lacing system has one or two locking elements for enabling a quick tightening of the shoelace.



Inventors:
Carroll, Robert (South Hamilton, MA, US)
Azevedo, Aaron (Newburyport, MA, US)
Rouse, Mike (San Diego, CA, US)
Egne, Brian (Cardiff, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/069270
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
02/08/2008
Assignee:
ZuitSports, Inc. (Vista, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/712.4, 24/712.1
International Classes:
A43C11/00; A43C7/00
View Patent Images:
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20080250671WADING BOOT WITH STRATEGIC STUD PLACEMENTOctober, 2008Walsh et al.
20050028402Micro-support cushioning systemFebruary, 2005Miller
20070094893Disposable flip-flop with exfoliating and moisturizing functionsMay, 2007Flores
20060026867Cushioned insoleFebruary, 2006Polcek
20060021261Footwear incorporating piezoelectric energy harvesting systemFebruary, 2006Face
20080086909Insole for sports shoes, particularly for golfApril, 2008Raspini



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
Having described the invention, I claim:

1. A shoe comprising: a sole; an upper attached to the sole, the upper having a forward or toe portion and an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion; and a lacing system on the upper, the lacing system including: at least one shoelace; a plurality of first lacing control elements disposed in a first row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; a plurality of second lacing control elements disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; a first locking element at an upper end of one of the first row and the second row; and a second locking element at a bottom end of the one of the first row and the second row, the at least one shoelace extending on an outer side of the upper between the first locking element and the second locking element and along a zigzag or snaking path between the first row and the second row.

2. The shoe defined in claim 1 wherein the shoelace is the only lace of the lacing system.

3. The shoe defined in claim 2 wherein the shoelace extends in an endless loop.

4. The shoe defined in claim 1 further comprising a finger grip attached to the shoelace between the first locking element and the second locking element.

5. The shoe defined in claim 1 wherein each of the first locking element and the second locking element permit a sliding of the shoelace in one direction through the respective locking element and prevent a sliding of the shoelace in an opposite direction through the respective locking element.

6. The shoe defined in claim 1 wherein the one of the first row and the second row is the second row, the first locking element and the second locking element being disposed on the lateral side of the upper, the shoelace extending on the lateral side of the upper between the first locking element and the second locking element.

7. A shoe comprising: a sole; an upper attached to the sole, the upper having a forward or toe portion and an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion; and a lacing system on the upper, the lacing system including: at least one shoelace; a plurality of first lacing control elements disposed in a first row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; a plurality of second lacing control elements disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; and a locking element disposed centrally on the upper in one of the first row and the second row, the at least one shoelace extending along a zigzag or snaking path between the first row and the second row and through the locking element, the at least one shoelace having a first end attached to the upper at an upper end of the other of the first row and the second row, the at least one shoelace having a second end attached to the upper at a lower end of the other of the first row and the second row.

8. The shoe defined in claim 7 wherein the shoelace is the only lace of the lacing system.

9. The shoe defined in claim 8 wherein the shoelace extends along a first portion of the snaking path upwardly of the locking element and along a second portion of the snaking path downwardly of the locking element.

10. The shoe defined in claim 7, further comprising a finger grip attached to the shoelace along a looped section of the shoelace at the locking element.

11. The shoe defined in claim 7 wherein the locking element permits a sliding of the shoelace in one direction through the locking element and prevents a sliding of the shoelace in an opposite direction through the locking element.

12. The shoe defined in claim 7 wherein the lacing system has no lacing knot, the locking element being the only lace-cinching component of the lacing system.

13. A shoe comprising: a sole; an upper attached to the sole, the upper having a forward or toe portion and having an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion of the upper; and a lacing system on the upper, the lacing system comprising: a plurality of lacing control elements disposed in an eye row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; a plurality of lacing control elements disposed in an eye row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper; an endless loop shoelace having a portion extending in a zigzag pattern between the medial and lateral eye rows; a locking mechanism at a first one of the medial and lateral eye rows; two segments of the shoelace extending out of the zigzag pattern from the first one of the eye rows and through the locking mechanism, whereby the two lace segments can be pulled outward through the locking mechanism to tighten the portion of the lace that is in the zigzag pattern.

14. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism constitutes one of the lacing control elements of the first one of the eye rows.

15. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism does not constitute one of the lacing control elements of the first one of the eye rows.

16. A shoe as set forth in claim 15 wherein the locking mechanism is outside of the first one of the eye rows.

17. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism comprises a device having two passages formed in one body for the two lace segments.

18. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism comprises two distinct, spaced apart locking devices for the two lace segments.

19. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism is at the top of the first one of the eye rows.

20. A shoe as set forth in claim 13 wherein the locking mechanism is at an intermediate location on the first one of the eye rows.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This utility application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/900,289, filed Feb. 8, 2007, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a shoe. More particularly, this invention relates to a shoe with a lacing system for quick tightening of a lace. The invention is of particular usefulness in sporting activities wherein quick donning of the shoe is desirable. In some races, the racing participants must don a pair of shoes during the sporting event. For example, after a swimming portion of a triathlon competition, a participant must put on a pair of shoes suitable for running. It is desirable to minimize the time required to tighten the laces and secure the shoes to the user's feet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A shoe comprises, in one aspect of the invention, a sole, an upper attached to the sole, and a lacing system on the upper. The upper has a forward or toe portion and an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion. The lacing system includes at least one shoelace, a plurality of first lacing control elements, a plurality of second lacing control elements, a first locking element and a second locking element. The first lacing control elements are disposed in a first row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The second lacing control elements are disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The first locking element is positioned at an upper end of the first row or the second row of lacing control elements, while the second locking element is positioned at a bottom end of the same row of lacing control elements. The shoelace extends on an outer side of the upper between the first locking element and the second locking element and along a zigzag or snaking path between the first row and the second row of lacing control elements.

A shoe comprises, in a second aspect of the invention, a sole, an upper attached to the sole, and a lacing system on the upper. The upper has a forward or toe portion and an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion. The lacing system includes at least one shoelace, a plurality of first lacing control elements, a plurality of second lacing control elements, and a locking element. The first lacing control elements are disposed in a first row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The second lacing control elements are disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The locking element is disposed centrally on the upper in one of the rows of lacing control elements. The shoelace extends along a zigzag or snaking path back and forth between the first row and the second row and through the locking element. The shoelace has a first end attached to the upper at an upper end of the other of the rows of lacing control elements. The shoelace has a second end attached to the upper at a lower end of the other of the first row and the second row.

In a third aspect of the invention, a shoe includes a sole and an upper attached to the sole. The upper has a forward or toe portion and has an ankle opening in a rear or heel portion of the upper. The shoe also includes a lacing system on the upper. The lacing system includes a plurality of lacing control elements disposed in an eye row extending on a medial side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The lacing system also includes a plurality of lacing control elements disposed in an eye row extending on a lateral side of the upper from the ankle opening towards the forward portion of the upper. The lacing system also includes an endless loop shoelace having a portion extending in a zigzag pattern between the medial and lateral eye rows. The lacing system further includes a locking mechanism at a first one of the medial and lateral eye rows. Two segments of the shoelace extend out of the zigzag pattern from the first one of the eye rows and through the locking mechanism, whereby the two lace segments can be pulled outward through the locking mechanism to tighten the portion of the lace that is in the zigzag pattern.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an athletic shoe incorporating a lacing system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of another athletic shoe incorporating a modified lacing system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of another athletic shoe incorporating a modified lacing system in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 3

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a shoe with a lacing system for quick tightening of a lace. The invention is applicable to shoes and lacing systems of different types and configurations. As representative of the invention, FIG. 1 illustrates a shoe 10 The shoe 10 includes a sole 12 (midsole or insole visible from top), an upper 14 attached to the sole, and a lacing system 16 on the upper. The upper 14 has a forward or toe portion or vamp 18 and an ankle opening 20 in a rear or heel portion. The lacing system 16 includes a shoelace 22 extending in an endless loop and along a zigzag or snaking path between ankle opening 20 at the top and the forward portion or vamp 18 at the bottom.

Lacing system 16 includes first lacing control or holding elements in the form of hooks or eyelets 24 disposed in a first row extending on a medial side 26 of the upper 14 from ankle opening 20 towards the forward portion or vamp 18 of the upper. Lacing system 16 also includes second lacing control or holding elements in the form of hooks or eyelets 28 disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side 30 of the upper 14 from ankle opening 20 towards the forward portion or vamp 18 of the upper.

Lacing system 16 further includes a first locking element 32 and a second locking element 34. Locking element 32 is positioned at an upper end of the lateral row of lacing control elements 28, while locking element 34 is positioned at a bottom end of the same row of lacing control elements 28. A segment 36 of shoelace 22 extends on an outer side of upper 14 between locking elements 32 and 34. Segment 36 is provided with a finger grip 38 in the form of a slotted sleeve.

Shoelace 22 is partially wound around the lacing control elements 24 and 28 so that the lacing control elements provide direction changes of the shoelace along its snaking path. Lacing control elements 24 and 28 enable a sliding of shoelace 22 against the lacing control elements during a lace tightening operation.

As depicted in FIG. 1, shoelace 22 is the only lace of lacing system 14 and extends in an endless loop. However, it is possible for shoelace 22 to be segmented, that is, to have opposite ends that are fastened to upper 14 (see embodiment of FIG. 2), for example, in a middle location along the medial row of lacing control elements 24. Alternatively, it is possible for shoelace 22 to include two or more discontinuous lacing segments (not shown) each fastened at one end to upper 14. In any event, a single pulling on shoelace segment 36 away from shoe upper 14 (and away from the other foot of the user), serves to tighten shoelace 22 from a lower end and an upper end simultaneously. Pulling on lace segment 36 draws it in an outward direction through locking elements 32 and 34.

Lacing system 16 has no lacing knot. Locking elements 32 and 34 are the only lace cinching components of lacing system 16.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, another shoe comprises a sole 52 (midsole or insole visible from top), an upper 54 attached to the sole, and a lacing system 56 on the upper. Upper 54 has a forward or toe portion or vamp 58 and an ankle opening 60 in a rear or heel portion.

Lacing system 56 includes a shoelace 62 that may extend in a single continuous segment along a snaking or zigzag path from an upper end 64 to a lower end 66. Shoelace ends 64 and 66 are fastened to shoe upper 54 via clamping or crimping members 68 and 70. Alternatively, shoelace 62 may include an upper segment 72 attached to shoe upper 54 at upper end 64 and further include a lower segment 74 attached to shoe upper 54 at lower end 66. Lacing system 56 includes first lacing control elements 76 disposed in a first row extending on a medial side 78 of upper 54 from ankle opening 60 towards the forward portion 58 of the upper. Lacing system 56 also includes second lacing control elements 80 disposed in a second row extending on a lateral side 82 of upper 54 from the ankle opening 60 towards the forward portion 58 of the upper. A locking element 84 is disposed centrally on upper 54 in lateral row of lacing control elements 80. Shoelace 62 (whether a single segment or multiple segments 72 and 74) extends along a zigzag or snaking path back and forth between the lacing control elements 76 in the medial row and the lacing control elements 80 in the lateral row and out through locking element 84.

Shoelace 62 is partially wound around lacing control elements 76 and 80 so that the lacing control elements enable direction changes of the shoelace along the snaking path. Typically, lacing control elements 76 and 80 are eyelets or hooks. The illustrated embodiment shows tubular eyelets.

A finger grip such as an arcuate sleeve (see FIG. 1) may be attached to shoelace 62 along a looped section 86 of the shoelace extending outwardly from locking element 84. The looped section 86 of shoelace 62, optionally with the finger grip, extends from locking element 84 and is large enough for the insertion of a finger for purposes of pulling the lace through the locking element.

In the embodiments of FIG. 1 and 2, each locking element 32, 34, 84 permits a sliding of the shoelace 22 or 62 in one direction (outwardly) through the locking element and prevents a sliding of the shoelace in an opposite direction (inwardly) through the locking element. The locking elements 32, 34, 84 may be provided with release mechanisms (such as spring-loaded teeth) (not shown) that may be actuated to enable a drawing of the shoelace 22 or 62 in the inward direction, for purposes of loosening the lace. As another example, the locking mechanism shown in FIG. 1 is a teardrop shaped hole—the lace when pulled gets caught in a narrow part of the opening, then won't back out. To loosen the lace, one moves it physically to the larger part of the opening.

Lacing systems 16 and 56 have no lacing knot. The user need not tie the shoe lace 22, 62. Instead, locking elements 32, 34, 84 are the only lace cinching components of the lacing systems 16, 56. To tighten the shoelace 22, 62, it is only necessary to pull once on the shoelace segment 36 or looped section 86, that extends from the locking elements 32, 34, 84. Pulling on the lace 22, 62 draws it in an outward direction through the locking element or elements 32, 34, 84. The lacing system of the present invention enables a user to simultaneously and separately tighten an upper portion of the lace (e.g., segment 72) and a lower portion of the lace (e.g., segment 74).

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate a shoe 102 and lacing system 104 that are a third embodiment of the invention. Parts of the shoe 102 that are the same as the corresponding parts of the shoe shown in FIG. 2 are given the same reference numerals, with the suffix “a” added to distinguish them.

The lacing system 104 includes a plurality of lacing control elements 106 (FIG. 4) disposed in a medial eye row 108 extending on a medial side 78a of an upper 54a, from an ankle opening 60a towards a forward portion 58a of the upper. The lacing system 104 includes a plurality of lacing control elements 110 disposed in a lateral eye row 112 extending on a lateral side 82a of the upper 54a, from the ankle opening 60a towards the forward portion 58a of the upper.

The eyes 106 and 110 in each eye row 108 and 112, respectively, are preferably wheels or pulleys that are rotatable under the influence of force applied by shoelace to minimize resistance and thus enhance distribution of lacing force. As one example, one suitable commercially available part is a lace wheel available from North American Industrial Fastener Co. as part number RR002A. Other wheels may be suitable. Also, the eyes 106 and 110 need not be wheels.

The lacing system 104 also includes a shoelace 120. The shoelace 120 is an endless loop shoelace having a major portion 122 extending in a zigzag pattern between the medial and lateral eye rows 108 and 112, respectively. As discussed below, two segments 124 and 126 of the shoelace 120 extend out of the zigzag pattern.

A locking mechanism 130 is disposed at a first one of the medial and lateral eye rows 108 and 112, respectively. In the illustrated embodiment, the locking mechanism 130 is disposed at the lateral eye row 112 and takes the place of, or constitutes, one of the lacing control elements in the lateral eye row.

The particular locking mechanism 130 that is illustrated is representative of the different types of locking elements that can be used. As one example, a suitable locking mechanism is a commercially available part known as a lace lock and available from North American Industrial Fastener Co. as part number FCL2D. Other lace locks may be suitable. This particular lace lock has two relatively movable parts between which are defined two passages. A spring or other biasing means is disposed between the two parts.

The two segments 124 and 126 of the shoelace 120 extend out of the zigzag pattern from the lateral eye row 112 and through the passages in the locking mechanism 130. The segments 124 and 126 terminate in a lace end 132, such as a lace end available from North American Industrial Fastener Co. as part number CS21.

When no force is applied to the two parts of the lace lock 130, the spring urges them apart, and a lace engaging structure, such as ratchet teeth, on at least one of the parts engages the lace segments 124 and 126 to prevent retrograde movement through the lock. When the two parts of the locking mechanism 130 are pushed together against the biasing force, the passages open up and the lace segments 124 and 126 can move back into the zigzag pattern to loosen the lacing system 104.

Thus, the two lace segments 124 and 126 can be pulled outward through the locking mechanism 130 to tighten the portion of the shoelace 120 that is in the zigzag pattern. The shoelace 120 can then be released, and it will lock. When it is desired to release the lock 130, in order to loosen the shoelace 120, the two parts of the lace lock are pushed together.

The locking mechanism 130 could be located at any one of a number of different positions along either eye row 108 or 112. For example, the locking mechanism 130 could be located at an intermediate position along the eye row 112, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this position, the tightening force may be distributed more uniformly through the zigzag section of the shoelace 120, to provide a more even adjustment. Alternatively, the locking mechanism 130 could be located at the top of the eye row, as shown in phantom in FIG. 4. This position facilitates providing the loosest top laces, which facilitates putting the foot into the ankle opening 60a. As a still further alternative, the locking mechanism 130 could be a double mechanism, as in FIG. 1, with two distinct lock devices spaced apart along the shoe upper.

Various embodiments with various features have been illustrated and described. The invention includes different combinations of those features.