Title:
Adjustable Arch Support
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user includes footwear to be worn by the user, a flexible bladder member to expand and contract to provide variable support to the arch of the user, a pump member to communicate with the flexible bladder member to provide pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member. The flexible bladder member is integral with the footwear, and the pump member is integral with the footwear. The pump member is external to the footwear, and the footwear system includes a release valve to release the fluid from the flexible bladder member.



Inventors:
Roth, Randall (Plano, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/778288
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/16/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/88, 36/29
International Classes:
A43B7/22; A43B7/14; A43B13/20
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BAYS, MARIE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILSON DANIEL SWAYZE, JR. (PLANO, TX, US)
Claims:
1. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user, comprising: a footwear to be worn by the user; a flexible bladder member to expand and contract to provide variable support to the arch of the user; a pump member to communicate with the flexible bladder member to provide pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member.

2. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the flexible bladder member is integral with the footwear.

3. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the pump member is integral with the footwear.

4. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the pump member is external to the footwear.

5. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the arch support footwear system includes a release valve to release the fluid from the flexible bladder member.

6. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the pump member is connected to the flexible bladder by a first passageway.

7. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 5, wherein the release valve is connected to the flexible bladder by a second passageway.

8. An arch support footwear system for supporting an arch of a user as in claim 1, wherein the flexible bladder only supports the arch of the user.

9. A method for providing arch support of a user, comprising: wearing a footwear by the user; expanding and contracting a flexible bladder member to provide variable support to the arch of the user; pumping a pump member to communicate with the flexible bladder member to provide pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member.

10. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the flexible bladder member is integral with the footwear.

11. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the pump member is integral with the footwear.

12. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the pump member is external to the footwear.

13. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the arch support footwear system includes a release valve to release the fluid from the flexible bladder member.

14. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the pump member is connected to the flexible bladder by a first passageway.

15. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 13, wherein the release valve is connected to the flexible bladder by a second passageway.

16. A method for providing arch support of a user as in claim 9, wherein the flexible bladder only supports the arch of the user.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an article of footwear and more particularly to footwear that provides arch support.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

US Patent Application 20040049947 discloses an article of footwear which includes a vamp, a lower support connected to the vamp and at least one insert mounted in the lower support and which includes an airtight casing having a plurality of elements positioned therein which are elastically deformable such that the biomechanics of the foot of the user are optimized.

US Patent Application 20030208929 discloses a shoe sole, in particular for a sports shoe, where the sole includes a cartridge cushioning system that includes a load distribution plate and deformation elements disposed in a forefoot region of the sole to provide support and/or cushioning to the forefoot. The shoe sole may include a second cartridge cushioning system that includes a second load deformation plate and functional elements disposed in a heel region of the sole to guide the foot into a neutral position after the first ground contact.

US Patent Application 20020053146 discloses an article of footwear with a bladder system providing cushioning and dynamic motion control in a multi-bladder system. The bladder system gives the needed amount of motion control by stiffening a portion of the footwear in response to the individual user's side-to-side motion. When used in the heel, the bladder system takes into consideration a center-of-pressure pathway of the foot to increase medial stiffness in response to lateral-to-medial rotation of the foot, so the more a user pronates, the stiffer the medial portion of the footwear is made. The bladder system provides comfort and control without the extra weight and bulk of prior art support structures. The bladder system dynamically changes the stiffness of a portion of the footwear when pressure is applied thereto, and returns to equilibrium when the pressure is removed.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,200,955 discloses an article of footwear that incorporates an upper and a sole structure secured to the upper. The sole structure includes a midsole and an outsole. The midsole defines an aperture with a first sidewall, and the midsole includes an insert positioned within the aperture. The insert has a second sidewall, with at least a portion of the second sidewall being spaced from the first sidewall to define a space between the first sidewall and the second sidewall. The outsole is secured to the midsole, and the outsole defines a ridge that is positioned within a lower portion of the space and between the first sidewall and the second sidewall.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,477,792 discloses a method of manufacturing a vapor-permeable composite insole, including the steps of gluing at least one pad of vapor-permeable textile material to a respective work area of a first layer of flexible material, and applying a second layer of relatively soft material to area or areas of the first layer, not affected by the pad or pads. The method includes also the step of obtaining at least one through opening at the work area of the first layer. The step of gluing at least one pad to a respective work area of the first layer is realized on at least a work area located at the ball or sole portion of said insole.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,457,261 discloses a midsole including a heel cup having a semi-rigid upper plate, a lower plate composed of a material that is softer than the upper plate, and at least one telescopic shock absorber between the upper and lower plates. The telescopic shock absorbers have one portion that collapses into a second portion when the shock absorber is loaded or compressed. On release of the load, the shock absorbers of the invention return only a controlled portion of the compressive load originally applied. A second embodiment has a translucent heel cup and shock absorbers and a lamp for illuminating the heel cup and shock absorbers.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,367,172 discloses a shoe designed for active wear is described having a distinctive outsole. The outsole has a peripheral wall delimiting a plantar region, a heel region and an arch region of the outsole. A cavity formed in the plantar region has a shape including a floor and an inner periphery defined by a plurality of ribs that form a structure with a series of combs articulating with the peripheral wall of the outsole. A cushioning pad is located within the cavity and molded-in-place to the inner periphery and the floor of the cavity to form an integral functional part of the outsole.

SUMMARY

The present invention is a pneumatically adjustable arch support that is beneficial for foot, ankle, knee, hip, and back pain, all of which can often become chronic from improper foundational support. The present invention is beneficial for foot and back pain, which has been caused by standing for extended periods of time. The present invention provides proper foot support and provides a pain-free environment for the feet. The present invention provides a good foundation to decrease the likelihood of developing degenerative arthritis of the ankles, knees, and hips along with relieving lower back pain. The present invention will decrease the likelihood of developing Plantar Fascitis and heel spurs.

In any biomechanical situation, the adjustment of the position of the related anatomical area aids in improving circulation and decreasing inflammation. It has been shown that human beings benefit from changing positions. A person staying in the same position for extended periods of time results in joints especially the spinal column that are adversely affected and supportive soft tissues become inflamed and start to hurt. Blood flow is occluded in the areas with extended periods of pressure being applied. This is seen in bedridden patients if they are not turned periodically. These patients develop bedsores due to the diminished blood flow to the areas that are being compressed.

An adjustable arch foot support is built into the shoe with an on-board air pump which is also built into the shoe will allow the person to adjust the arch periodically. This can be done without requiring the shoe to be taken off simply by pumping in air or other fluid with a small air bladder or letting air out with the release of a small valve.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which, like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the footwear of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of the footwear of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of the footwear of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an arch support footwear system 100 of the present invention including footwear 101 to be worn by a user. The footwear 101 may be a man's, woman's or child's shoe and may be a shoe, boot, sandal, sneaker, moccasin, slipper or any other type of footwear adaptable to the teachings of the present invention. The arch support footwear system 100 includes a flexible bladder member 108 which is integral with the footwear 101 and which can expand and contract in order to provide for adjustable support for the user of the footwear 101. When the flexible bladder member 108 expands generally in the vertical direction, the flexible bladder member 108 raises the flexible insole member 116 and provides support for the insole of the user of the footwear 101. When the flexible bladder member 108 contracts generally in the vertical direction, the flexible bladder member 108 lowers the flexible insole member 116 and removes the support for the insole of the user of the footwear 101. The footwear 101 additionally includes an integral pump member 102 which is integral with the footwear 101 to allow the user of the footwear 101 to expand the flexible bladder member 108 without the use of additional tools and without the need to be at a specific location. The integral pump member 102 includes a flexible member 104 to allow the user to generate pressure of a fluid which may be air or gel or other appropriate types of fluid and includes a valve 106 to transmit the pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member 108. FIG. 1 illustrates the integral pump member 102 positioned at the back of the footwear 101, but the integral pump member 108 could be positioned on the front of the footwear 101 or on the side of the footwear 101 or any other location on the footwear 101.

The integral pump member 108 is connected to the flexible bladder member 108 by a first passageway 112 to transmit the pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member 108 to expand the flexible bladder member 108. A second passageway 114 which could be the same as the first passageway 112 connects the flexible bladder member 108 with a release valve member 110 in order to release the pressurized fluid from the flexible bladder member 108 when the user wishes to contract the flexible bladder member 108. Consequently, the user of the footwear 101 can expand the flexible bladder member 108 by activating the integral pump member 102 to provide support to the insole area of the user's foot. This support can be lessened or removed by activating the release valve member 110 to contract the flexible bladder member 108. This support is for the insole area of the user's foot and does not extend to other areas of the user's foot.

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective of the arch support shoe system 100 including the footwear 101 which includes the flexible insole member 116, the flexible bladder member 108 and the flexible member 104.

FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of the footwear 300 of the present invention. In FIG. 3, an external pump member 120 cooperates with a third passageway 122 in order to supply the pressurized fluid to the flexible bladder member 108. The external pump member 120 is detachably connected to the third passageway 122, and the third passageway 122 includes a valve 124 in order to maintain the pressure in the flexible bladder member 180.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed.