Title:
ARMOURING/REINFORCING APPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH A SPORTS SKATE OR SHOE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a retrofit appliqué kit for use with a sport skate and which includes a plurality of reinforcing articles, each exhibiting the features of flexibility and rigidity, and which are secured to exterior locations associated with the sport skate in order to provide localized protection and impact resistance. In one embodiment, the reinforced appliqués each exhibit an upper flexible rubber layer and a second rigid metal or aramid fiber based composite exhibiting a carbon backbone. In a further embodiment, a plurality of Keviar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments are secured along the sides and rear of each hockey skate. A Kevlar mat tongue is securely fastened in place over a laced skate, by looping the straps around the underside of the skate boot through an aperture configured between the boot and the blade portion.



Inventors:
Demmers, Jeff (Lake Orion, MI, US)
Young, Mark A. (Clinton Township, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/098742
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
04/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, JAMES J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (TROY, MI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A retrofit appliqué kit for use with a sport skate, comprising: at least one three dimensional article exhibiting the features of flexibility and rigidity; and said article being secured to an exterior location associated with the sport skate to provide localized protection and impact resistance to a user.

2. The appliqué kit as described in claim 1, said at least one article exhibiting a specified shape and size and further comprising a first flexible layer and a second rigid layer.

3. The appliqué kit as described in claim 2, said flexible layer including at least a rubber.

4. The appliqué kit as described in claim 2, said rigid layer including at least one of a metal or an aramid fiber based composite exhibiting a carbon backbone.

5. The appliqué kit as described in claim 1, further comprising at least one of a UV, heat or oxygen based input for curing an initially soft appliqué into a hardened end state upon being applied to an exterior location of the skate.

6. The appliqué kit as described in claim 1, further comprising at least a further reinforced tongue appliqué portion affixed to a front and upper extending surface of the skate.

7. The appliqué kit as described in claim 1, said article exhibiting a specified shape and size and further comprising a Kevlar impregnated carbon fiber material.

8. The appliqué kit as described in claim 7, each of said articles further comprising a substantially planar mat shaped portion.

9. The appliqué kit as described in claim 8, further comprising a plurality of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments secured at locations along both sides and rear of each skate.

10. The appliqué kit as described in claim 9, further comprising a chemical adhesive for securing each of said mats in a selectively removable fashion.

11. The appliqué kit as described in claim 9, further comprising said mats being permanently secured through the use of at least one of adhesives and in-molding techniques associated with said skate.

12. The appliqué kit as described in claim 9, further comprising a Kevlar mat tongue portion including front apertures for receiving a first looped portion of a skate lace, upon fully lacing the skate, said tongue portion is securely fastened in place by looping associated straps around an underside of the skate boot and through an aperture configured between the boot and an underside extending blade portion and secured in place by inter-engaging clip ends associated with said straps.

13. A retrofit appliqué kit for use with a hockey skate, comprising: a plurality of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments secured at locations along both sides and rear of each skate; and a Kevlar mat tongue portion including front apertures for receiving a first looped portion of a skate lace and, upon fully lacing the skate, said tongue portion being securely fastened in place by looping associated straps around an underside of the skate boot.

14. The appliqué kit as described in claim 13, further comprising a chemical adhesive for securing each of said mats in a selectively removable fashion.

15. The appliqué kit as described in claim 13, further comprising said mats being permanently secured through the use of at least one of adhesives and in-molding techniques associated with said skate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Non-Prov of Prov (35 USC 119(e)) application 60/910,368 filed on Apr. 5, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a sports skate or shoe which can be either produced or retrofitted with reinforcing/armoring portions or appliqués secured upon the shoe at vulnerable locations associated with a user's foot or ankle. Such appliqués can include multiple layered articles (e.g. flexible rubber and rigid Kevlar), as well as other thermoplastic and heat/light curable materials which provide critical impact protection to the user.

In a further embodiment, the external appliqué can take the shape of a Kevlar impregnated carbon fiber mat, such as 3/16″ in thickness. A the external appliqués are provided in the form of a number of individual mat sections which are secured at various locations associated with the skate and including the toe, sides, heel and, with the inclusion of a composite reinforced tongue secured to a top of the skate, provides impact protection at various locations around the skate.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Athletic footwear such as hockey skates are well known in the relevant art. A problem associated with such conventional skates is the possibility of injury which can be caused by a wearer of the skate being struck by such as a heavy rubberized hockey puck traveling at a high rate of speed.

A few examples of toe or end cap protectors are known in the art, these attempting to protect one high risk area associated with the hockey skate. Examples of reinforced toe cap devices are shown in Staples U.S. Pat. No. 3,814,453, Wang U.S. Pat. No. 5,832,633 and Yang U.S. Pat. No. 7,032,329.

Hoshiza U.S. Pat. No. 5,498,033 teaches a skate boot with molded plastic overlay which is sewn or otherwise secured to the boot of the skate, wrapping around the heel of the boot from the medial to the lateral side of the ankle. The overlay increases the rigidity of the rear of the skate while adding impact resistance. To facilitate dorsal and plantar flexion, the plastic overlay includes several cut-out areas which allow for a controlled amount of flexion about a lateral axis such as the heel flex cut-out area and slide flex cut-out areas on either side of the instep. Flexible inserts are installed in the cut-out areas to maintain extra impact protection while permitting flexion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a retrofit appliqué kit for use with a sport skate and which includes a plurality of reinforcing articles, each exhibiting the features of flexibility and rigidity, and which are secured to exterior locations associated with the sport skate in order to provide localized protection and impact resistance, such as in response to being struck by a heavy rubberized hockey puck traveling at high speed. In one embodiment, the reinforced appliqués can each exhibit a first flexible layer and a second rigid layer, the flexible layer including at least a rubber and the rigid layer at least one of a metal or an aramid fiber based composite exhibiting a carbon backbone.

Additional features include at least one of a UV, heat or oxygen based input for curing an initially soft appliqué into a hardened end state, and such as upon the same being applied to a desired reinforcing exterior location of a conventional skate. A reinforced tongue appliqué portion is likewise affixed to a front and upper extending surface of the skate.

According to a second preferred embodiment, a plurality of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments are secured along the sides and rear of each hockey skate. The flexible and planar shaped mat construction can exhibit such as a 3/16″ Kevlar impregnated carbon fiber and which exhibits the necessary properties of flexibility and controlled rigidity for securing to exterior contoured surfaces of the skate. Such can include securing the mat portions utilizing a chemical adhesive, such as in a selectively removable fashion. Alternatively, the mat layers can be pennanently secured, such as again through the use of other types of adhesives or through in-molding techniques associated with the fabric/canvas skate surface.

A Kevlar mat tongue portion is again provided and may include such as front apertures for receiving a first looped portion of the skate. Upon fully lacing the skate, the tongue portion is securely fastened in place by looping the straps around the underside of the skate boot through an aperture configured between the boot and the blade portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the attached drawings, when read in combination with the following detailed description, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side plan view of a skate incorporating the reinforcing appliqués according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rotated perspective view illustrating an alternate variant of the present design, and which provides a composite reinforced tongue;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view illustrating a composite construction of a reinforcing appliqué including both rubber and aramid fiber (e.g. Kevlar) based layers;

FIG. 4 is a succeeding sectional illustration of an arcuately configured reinforcing appliqué in the form of a flexible/rubberized under-layer with an overlaying rigid material;

FIG. 5 is an illustration of a pair of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments which are secured along a selected side of the hockey skate;

FIG. 6 is a perspective of a skate incorporating the mat constructed reinforcing attachments shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is top view of a forward portion of the skate in FIG. 6; and

FIG. 8 is a sectional perspective of the strap attachable tongue illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1, illustrated at 10 is a side plan view of a skate 12 incorporating a plurality of reinforcing appliqués, see as further shown at 14, 16, 18 and 20, according to one preferred embodiment of the present inventions. As shown, the appliqués are strategically positioned such that they protect various locations of a user's foot and lower ankle (not shown however understood to include the bridge of the foot, the ankle bone and the like) and which are particularly vulnerable to injury in response to a velocity impact of such as a hardened rubber hockey puck or other like sports ball.

As previously described, the present invention teaches a sports skate or shoe which can be either produced or retrofitted with reinforcing/armoring portions or appliqués secured upon the shoe at vulnerable locations associated with a user's foot or ankle. Such application can include a number of different possibilities, ranging from affixing the appliqués with rivets or other mechanical fasteners, to the use of strong adhesives or other chemical-type fasteners.

As will also discussed in additional detail, the application of a curing step of some defined type may be used in order to both incorporate a desired shaping to the appliqué, as well as firmly anchor it to the desired location of the sport skate. It is also contemplated that the sofi and rigid composite layers can be pre-heated or otherwise preformed to favor a specific non-planar shape or configuration, and which will facilitate greater ease of attachment to the desired surface location of the skate through any of the attachment protocols described herein. As will be further described in detail, such appliqués can include multiple layered articles (e.g. flexible rubber and rigid Kevlar), as well as other thermoplastics, and which can further be cured upon application with the input of such as UV light, oxygen, heat or the like in order to provide critical impact protection to the user.

Referring to FIG. 3, a sectional view illustrates a composite construction of a reinforcing appliqué according to one preferred embodiment of the inventions: this including both rubber 22 and aramid fiber 24 (e.g. Kevlar) based layers. The commercially known composite Kevlar is constructed from such strong, heat-resistant fibers formed of polymer with repeating aramidic fiber groups branching from a carbon backbone, such as is used in materials for bullet proof vests, radial tires and the like.

As is further contemplated, these appliqué constructions can be either heat or light activated and such that, upon being applied to an exterior located surface of the sport shoe or skate (again as referenced in FIG. 1), the individual appliqués 14, 16, 18, 20 will conform and harden to the exterior surface of the skate 12 in a manner so as to provide localized protection (e.g. impact cushioning and resistance) and upon the incidence of such as hockey pucks or other hard sport-ball items. While an ice skate is illustrated in the embodiment of FIG. 1, it is understood that other sport skate or shoe designs, not limited to in-line roller blades or the like, may be alternatively utilized along with the exterior appliqués and within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 4 presents a further succeeding sectional illustration of an arcuately configured reinforcing appliqué, this in the form of a flexible/rubberized under-layer 26 with an overlaying rigid material 28. As described previously, the rigid layer can again include such as a Kevlar based material, however can also incorporate a durable metal (e.g. steel or aluminum) within the contemplated scope of the invention and in order to establish the dual requirements of flexibility and durability/impact resistance, and in particular relating to the user's tissue and bone structure associated with the foot and lower ankle.

The illustration of FIG. 4 is intended to show that the appliqués can be constructed with the flexible and rigid composite layers reversed (i.e. with the soft layer contacting the exterior surface of the skate/sport shoe and the hard/rigid layer exteriorly exposed), and without substantial sacrifice of effectiveness. The cross sectional view of FIG. 4 is further intended to illustrate that such appliqués can be preformed in a desired configuration, following which they may be cured (again by UV, heat or oxygen) and in order to provide a durable and ergonomically appropriate application to the skate exterior. In certain applications, an effectively attached appliqué on its soft side and provide an additional degree of force deflection or cushioning, given the ability of the appliqué to deflect or move upon being impacted by a puck or other hard object.

With reference to FIG. 2, an additional feature contemplates the application of a composite reinforced tongue, see at 30, built into the skate 12. The tongue 30 can mimic the composite material construction of either of the appliqués shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, and is intended to be secured to the front and upper contoured locations of the skate 12, such as along at least front 32 to rear 34 locations in which the skates existing laces are utilized in order to secure the reinforced tongue in place. The application of such a tongue portion 30 protects against the likelihood of injury resulting from a puck being shot head on against the skater's foot and lower ankle.

Referring now to FIG. 5, an illustration is shown at 36 and 38 of a pair of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments, and which are secured along a selected side of a hockey skate 40 as further shown in FIG. 6. The mat attachments can exhibit a planar configuration or, as shown, can exhibit an angled or bent edge. According to this embodiment, a plurality of Kevlar impregnated mat constructed reinforcing attachments are secured along both the sides and rear of each hockey skate, and as additionally shown by rear positioned reinforcing mats 42 and 44 and pair of opposite side secured attachments (not shown in FIG. 6 but evident at 46 and 48 in the overhead view of FIG. 7).

Each flexible and planar shaped mat exhibits any thickness (such as a 3/16″ thick layer in a preferred embodiment) Kevlar impregnated carbon fiber and which exhibits the necessary properties of flexibility and controlled rigidity and which enable the mat elements to be secured to exterior contoured surfaces of the skate 40. As is known in the art, the commercial identification of Kevlar refers to such as aramid fibers, these being strong, heat resistant fibers formed of polymer with repeating groups branching from a carbon backbone, and used in such known materials as bullet proof vests, radial tires (polyaramid) and the like.

Options for securing the mat portions to the surface locations of the skates can include utilizing a chemical adhesive, such as in a selectively removable fashion. Alternatively, the mat layers can be permanently secured, such as again through the use of other types of adhesives or alternatively through the application of in-molding (or heat staking) techniques associated with the fabric/canvas skate surface.

A Kevlar mat tongue portion 50 is again provided, which is likewise constructed of a Kevlar impregnated carbon fiber mat and which may include such as front apertures 52 for receiving a first looped portion 54 of a skate lace. Upon fully lacing the skate (again FIG. 6), the tongue portion 50 is securely fastened in place by looping associated straps 56 and 58 around the underside of the skate boot and through an aperture configured between the boot and an underside extending blade portion 60 and secured in place by inter-engaging clip ends 62 and 64 associated with said straps.

In addition to the embodiments disclosed, other types of reinforcing elements can be provided which provide exterior protection or armoring of such as a hockey skate, and which protect against such as the impact of a rubberized hockey puck fired at high speed.

Having described my invention, other and additional preferred embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains, and without deviating from the scope of the appended claims. These include incorporating such lightweight reinforcing appliqués into such as wrist or knee pad protectors, these perhaps including a flexible fabric base upon which individualized appliqués are provided along the same conceptual lines as described in reference to the preferred embodiments illustrated herein.