Title:
BOOT WITH IMPROVED TIGHTENING OF UPPER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A boot including a sole and an upper, the boot extending length-wise from a heel to a front end, and height-wise from the sole to an upper end, the boot having an opening for foot insertion, and including a lateral portion, a medial portion, as well as a tightening device, the tightening device including a first linkage, a second linkage, as well as connections of the linkages to the upper. The first linkage runs from one portion to the other, in the area of the instep. The second linkage passes through an initial sliding connection located on one of the portions, then through a first intermediate sliding connection located on the other portion, then extends along the upper by going around the heel, between the sole and the upper end, so as to arrive at a fixed end connection located on that of the portions which carries the initial connection.



Inventors:
Cabanis, Louis (Rumilly, FR)
Application Number:
12/256219
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/22/2008
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A.S. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/115, 36/50.1
International Classes:
A43B5/04; A43C11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BARNETT, DEVIN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A boot comprising: an external sole; an upper; a length extending from a rear of a heel to a front end, and a height extending from a lower part of the sole to an upper end of the upper; the upper comprising: an opening for foot insertion; a lateral portion; a medial portion; a tightening including a first linkage, a second linkage, and connections for securing the linkages to the upper; the first linkage running from an instep area of one of the lateral and medial portions to another of the lateral and medial portions; the second linkage passing through an initial sliding connection located on one the lateral and medial portions, then through a first intermediate sliding connection located on another of the lateral and medial portions, then extending along the upper by extending around the heel, height-wise between the external sole and the upper end of the upper, and to a fixed end connection located on the one of the lateral and medial portions which carries the initial sliding connection.

2. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the tightening device includes a series of lateral connections, a series of medial connections, a first intermediate connection located on the lateral portion of the upper, and an end connection located on the medial portion of the upper.

3. A boot according to claim 2, wherein: the lateral portion of the upper has a lateral edge, which demarcates the opening of the upper in an area of a lateral side; the lateral connections are affixed to the upper in the area of the lateral edge; the medial portion of the upper has a medial edge demarcating the opening of the upper in an area of a medial side; the medial connections are affixed to the upper in the area of the medial edge; the first intermediate connection is located height-wise between the lateral sole and the opening; the end connection is located between the external sole and the opening.

4. A boot according to claim 3, wherein: a first of the lateral connections is located in a vicinity of the upper end of the boot; a remainder of the lateral connections successively extend in a direction toward the front end; a first of the medial connections is located in a vicinity of the upper end of the boot; a remainder of the medial connections successively extend in a direction toward the front end; length-wise, the first intermediate connection is arranged between the upper end and the front end; and length-wise, the end connection is at a front of the heel.

5. A boot according to claim 3, wherein: height-wise, the first intermediate connection is located between the sole and the lateral edge; and height-wise, the end connection is farther from the sole than the intermediate connection, but not as far from the sole as the first medial connection.

6. A boot according to claim 2, wherein: the series of lateral connections successively includes a first connection, a second connection, a third connection, and a fourth connection, the lateral connections being sliding connections; the series of medial connections successively includes a first connection, a second connection, a third connection, and a fourth connection, the first, second, and third medial connections being sliding connections, the fourth connection being fixed.

7. A boot according to claim 6, wherein: the first linkage successively extends through the first lateral connection, the second medial connection, the third lateral connection, the third medial connection, and the fourth lateral connection, and then arriving at the fourth medial connection; the second linkage successively extends through the first medial or initial connection, the second lateral connection, and then the first intermediate connection, and then arriving at the end connection.

8. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the initial sliding connection and the end connection are arranged on the medial portion of the boot.

9. A boot according to claims 6, wherein: the fixed fourth connection is arranged below the lacing zone and on a side of the front end.

10. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the first linkage includes a lace strand; the second linkage includes a lace strand extended by a strap.

11. A boot according to claim 1, further comprising: a mechanism for fastening the boot to a sports apparatus.

12. A boot according to claim 1, further comprising: a flap for covering a lower portion of the opening.

13. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the opening is structured and arranged to expand farther when the linkages are loose, compared to prior art boots.

14. A boot according to claim 1, wherein: the upper comprises a top portion extending above a wearer's ankle, and a bottom portion; at least the upper comprises a flexible material; the first and second linkages are adapted to be selectively moved to a tightened state and a slackened state; at least flexibility of the flexible material of the top portion of the upper, coupled with the second linkage being in the slackened state, comprise means for expanding the opening for foot insertion, whereby the flexible material of the top portion of the upper flexes rearwardly during said slackened state of the second linkage.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. ยง119 of French Patent Application No. 07 07410, filed on Oct. 23, 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an article of footwear, i.e., a boot, and, particularly, a sports boot, and more particularly to a boot adapted for skiing, walking, or any of a plurality of other activities, including sports activities.

Such boots can be used in fields such as cross-country skiing or telemark skiing, walking or running on flat terrain or in mountainous areas, mountaineering, snowboarding, snowshoeing, roller skating, skateboarding, cycling, ball-playing sports, and the like.

2. Description of Background and Other Information

A boot can have a low upper or a high upper. A boot can also be relatively flexible or more rigid. In any case, however, the user's foot should be adequately supported. Indeed, good foot support in the upper results in a more efficient use.

For example, adequate support in a flexible boot, such as boots used in cross country skiing, facilitates the transmission of sensory information or the rolling movement of the foot. A device for tightening the upper is adapted to support the user's foot, especially in the area of the instep.

Conventionally, a tightening device includes a linkage, such as a lace, on the one hand, and connections for the linkage/lace to the upper. These connections are defined as keepers that are associated with lateral and medial portions or quarters of the upper. The lace follows a path along which it runs alternatively from one quarter to the other. Thus, it suffices to pull on the lace to bring the quarters closer together and to tighten the upper. Then, blocking the lace keeps the upper tightened.

One objective that a good tightening device must achieve is holding the foot in its entirety inside the boot. In other words, ill-timed movements of the foot within the boot, especially in the area of the heel, should be avoided.

Indeed, when the foot moves in the upper, in the area of the heel or elsewhere, the sensory information or steering forces (if the boot is used in connection with a ski or snowboard, e.g.) are transmitted less precisely. Consequently, one's performance, especially in sports, is adversely affected.

Moreover, repeated foot movements in the upper can translate into friction that causes injuries to the foot.

To improve foot support in the upper, known tightening devices have been intended to increase the tightening efficiency. For this reason particularly, laces slide minimally in the keepers, thereby facilitating the tensioning of the boot. As a consequence, the foot is more tightly held in the area of the instep and/or in the area of the metatarsus. This means that the foot is biased toward the sole with greater force.

However, known boots have been found to provide incomplete foot support. Unwanted foot movements are often observed in the area of the heel.

In addition, putting on or removing such boots is not always easy.

In other words, the comfort of a boot, and the ability to adequately support a boot, particularly during use in various sports environments, remains important and desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the above, the invention provides for a more comfortable boot, whether considered in a static mode or in a dynamic mode. Indeed, it is desirable for the user, whether at rest or in motion, to have pleasant sensations, such as those generated when cross-country skiing, walking, or while engaged in other activities.

In addition, the invention improves foot support in the boot or, in other words, the invention reduces, or even eliminates ill-timed foot displacements in the boot.

Further, the invention improves putting on and removing the boot, in the sense that it is desirable to facilitate the passage of the foot into or out of the upper.

To this end, the invention provides a boot including a sole and an upper, the boot extending lengthwise from a heel to a front end, and height-wise from the sole to an upper end, the boot having an opening for foot insertion, and including a lateral portion, a medial portion, as well as a tightening device provided to reversibly reduce the size of the opening, the tightening device including a first linkage, a second linkage, as well as connections for the linkages to the upper.

The boot according to the invention includes a first linkage running from one portion to the other, in the area of the instep, and the second linkage passes through an initial sliding connection located on one of the portions, then through a first intermediate sliding connection located on the other portion, then extends along the upper by going around the heel, between the sole and the upper end, so as to arrive at a fixed end connection located on that portion of the upper that carries the initial connection.

Each of the linkages is tensioned, and is reversibly kept tensioned by any known means. For example, the first and second linkages can include lace strands provided to be tied together. In this case, each linkage is tightened by manual traction thereon. A knot then keeps the linkages in tension. Tightening can be equal or differentiated between the linkages. This is why the tightening device according to the invention makes it possible to tighten the instep zone, on the one hand, and the heel zone, on the other hand, with the desired intensity.

The tightening device enables a specific distribution of the tightening on the upper and, therefore, on the user's foot, because it tightens two zones of the boot, namely that of the instep and that of the heel.

The tightening device also enables a better tightening and, therefore, a better support, in the area of the heel.

An advantage resulting from the above is good foot support. Indeed, movement of the foot within the boot is either eliminated or rendered insignificant. As a result, the transmission of sensory information and steering forces is improved.

Another advantage associated with the tightening device is the consequence of the tightening action. Indeed, a dual phenomenon is observed when the linkages are loosened. The lateral and medial portions of the upper move apart in the area of the instep, and the top portion of the upper, plumb with the heel, can bend, or flex, rearward in the area of the opening.

This means that the opening expands further when the two linkages are loosened, compared to known boots of the prior art.

As resulting advantage, it is much easier to put on and remove the boot, because there is increased space for passage of the foot.

Generally speaking, the boot according to the invention offers greater comfort, whether in static mode or in dynamic mode, i.e., whether the wearer is in motion or not.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will be better understood from the description that follows, with reference to the annexed drawings showing, by way of non-limiting examples, how the invention can be embodied, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of a boot according to a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a view, similar to FIG. 1, showing a device for tightening the boot upper;

FIG. 3 is a perspective schematic view, in the context of FIG. 2, showing the path followed by the linkages of the tightening device;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the boot as schematically shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a schematic top view of the boot of FIG. 3, in the case in which the tightening device is not tightening the upper;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view, similar to FIG. 5, in the case in the which the tightening device is tightening the upper;

FIG. 7 is a perspective front view of a boot according to a second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The first embodiment described hereinafter relates more particularly to boots intended for the practice of cross-country skiing or telemark skiing. However, the invention applies to other fields, such as those mentioned above.

A first embodiment is described hereinafter with reference to FIGS. 1 to 6.

As shown in FIG. 1, a cross-country ski boot is provided to receive the user's foot.

As known, the boot 1 includes an upper 3 and an exterior sole 2, i.e., a walking sole. The boot 1 extends lengthwise from a rear end 4, or heel, to a front end 5, or tip, and width-wise between a lateral side 6 and a medial side 7.

As shown, the upper 3 includes a lower portion 10, provided to surround the foot, as well as a top portion 11, provided to surround the ankle. However, an upper could be envisioned to have only a lower portion, i.e., the boot thereby having a low upper.

According to the first embodiment being described, the boot 1 extends height-wise from the bottom surface of the sole 2 to an upper end 12, i.e., up to the free end of the top portion 11 of the upper 3.

The boot 1 is structured so as to enable proper bending of the leg, i.e., to enable a good rolling movement of the foot, as well as the transmission of sensory information and steering forces. Thus, the upper 3 is relatively flexible. The sole can be relatively rigid, for example, for performing skating steps, as in cross-country skiing, or it can be much more flexible, for example for performing alternative steps.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the boot 1 includes a lateral portion 15 and a medial portion 16. The portions 15, 16 include quarters that are adapted to cover the foot.

The portions 15, 16 are affixed to the sole by means of any of a number of known techniques, such as an adhesive, stitching, or an equivalent technique. The portions 15, 16 are arranged such that the boot 1 has an opening 17 for inserting the foot. The opening 17 extends from the upper end 12 toward the front end 5, to a front region, such as that shown in the drawing. On the side of the upper end 12, the opening 17 has an upper subdivision 18 adapted to allow the foot to pass through, and also to surround the ankle after the boot has been fully inserted within the boot. The opening 17 has a lower subdivision 19 that enables the size of the opening and the size of the fitting volume to vary in the area of the instep, between the upper end 12 and the front end 5. The upper 18 and lower 19 subdivisions of the opening 17 are continuous with one another, i.e., the upper and lower subdivisions communicate with each other to create a single foot insertion/removal opening 17.

The upper 3 additionally includes a tongue 20, which is arranged between the lateral 15 and medial 16 portions of the upper, in the area of the lower subdivision 19 of the opening 17, in order to provide the upper 3 with continuity between the lateral and medial portions. However, in a particular alternative embodiment, the tongue could be omitted, in which case, the portions 15, 16 can remain separate, perhaps in abutment when closed, or superimposed, such as overlapping. Alternatively, the lateral and medial portions of the upper could be transversely connected via a gusset.

In addition, and as an optional feature, the boot 1 includes a flap 25 provided to reversibly cover all or part of the lower subdivision 19 of the opening 17. The flap 25 extends from one portion 15, 16 to the other to improve the imperviousness of the boot.

According to the first embodiment, the flap 25 is fixedly connected to the medial portion 16. A reversible closure 26 makes it possible also to affix the flap 25 to the lateral portion 15. For example, the reversible closure 26 includes a slide fastener, such as a zipper. However, any other structure known in the art for such purpose could be provided to obtain the closure. For example, a series of snap fasteners could be used.

The boot 1 further includes a tightening device 30, provided to reduce the size of the opening reversibly. In other words, the tightening device 30 makes it possible to tighten the upper 3 reversibly, i.e., selectively tighten or loosen the upper.

As can be understood particularly with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the tightening device 30 includes first and second linkages 31, 32, or laces, as well as connections 33 to 42, connecting the linkages to the upper 3. Such connections, as described further below, can be either connections by which the linkage is fixed relative thereto (referred to as a fixed connection) or by which the linkage can slide relative thereto as the wearer tightens or loosens the linkage (referred to as a sliding connection).

According to the invention, the first linkage 31 runs from one portion 15, 16 of the upper to the other in the area of the instep, i.e., in the area of the lower subdivision 19 of the opening 17, and the second linkage 32 passes through an initial sliding connection 37 located on one of the portions 15, 16 of the upper, then through a first intermediate sliding connection 41 located on the other portion of the upper, and then extends along the upper 3 by going around the heel 4, between the sole 2 and the upper end 12 of the boot, to arrive at a fixed end connection 42 located on that portion of the portions 15, 16 that carries the initial connection 37.

This structure makes it possible to apply a reversible tightening of the upper 3, toward the instep, in the area of the subdivision 19 of the opening 17, on the one hand, and around the heel or the ankle, i.e., toward the rear end or heel 4, on the other hand. In other words, it is possible to adjust the tightening on the user's foot selectively. This makes it possible, for example, to take into account the morphology of the wearer or the need for support or the desired comfort.

More precisely, with particular reference to FIG. 3, the tightening device 30 includes a series of lateral connections 33 to 36. This series itself successively includes a first connection 33, a second connection 34, a third connection 35, and a fourth connection 36. The particular number of connection in the illustrated embodiment is non-limiting. Although there are four connections in this case, it could be otherwise, as a series can have more or less than four connections.

The lateral connections 33 to 36 are arranged on the lateral portion 15 of the upper of the boot 1. More specifically, the lateral portion 15 has a lateral edge 50, which demarcates the opening 17 in the area of the lateral side 6. The lateral connections 33 to 36 are affixed to the upper 3 in the area of the edge 50. The first connection 33 is located in the vicinity of the upper end 12 of the boot, near the intersection of the subdivisions 18, 19 of the opening 17. The other lateral connections here, namely, the second 34, third 35, and fourth 36 connections, extend successively toward the front end 5 and away from the upper end 12 of the boot.

All of the lateral connections 33 to 36 are sliding connections. As such, as will be further described below, each lateral connection 33 to 36 includes a closed keeper. It is shown that such a keeper enables a linkage 31, 32 to slide through, while maintaining the latter in the area of the connection. One or several of the connections could alternatively be provided to include an open keeper or a hook. The latter also enables the linkage to slide, while also allowing the linkage to be separated from upper temporarily from such connections.

Similarly, the tightening device 30 includes a series of medial connections 37 to 40. This series itself successively includes a first connection 37, a second connection 38, a third connection 39, and a fourth medial connection 40. Once again, the number of connection in the illustrated embodiment is not limiting to the invention. There are four connections according to the embodiment shown, but this number could more or less than four.

The medial connections 37 to 40 are arranged on the medial portion 16 of the boot 1. More specifically, the medial portion 16 has a medial edge 51, which demarcates the opening 17 in the area of the medial side 7 of the upper. The medial connections 37 to 40 are affixed to the upper 3, in the area of the edge 51. The first connection 37 is located in the vicinity of the upper end 12 of the upper 3, i.e., near the intersection of the subdivisions 18, 19 of the opening 17. The other medial connections, in this case the second 38, third 39, and fourth 40 connections, extend successively toward the front end 5 and away from the upper end 12 of the boot.

The first 37, second 38, and third 39 medial connections are sliding connections, whereas the fourth connection 40 is fixed. Once again, the sliding connections 37 to 39 include a closed keeper, although an open keeper can be used. With respect to the fixed connection 40, as further described below, the connection 40 permanently affixes the linkage 31 to the upper 3. According to the first embodiment, the connection 40 fixes the linkage 31 to the upper 3 by means of stitching. However, adhesive, crimping, knotting, or any equivalent expedient could alternatively be provided. The fixed connection 40 is arranged below the lacing zone, or at the end of the lacing zone, and toward the front end 5.

Although the tightening device 30 is mainly located along the edges 50, 51 of the lower subdivision 19 of the opening 17, the tightening device 30 further includes a first intermediate connection 41, the function of which is described hereinafter. This connection 41 is located on the lateral portion 15, according to the first embodiment. More specifically, the intermediate connection 41 is located, height-wise, between the sole 2 and the opening 17, i.e., between the sole 2 and the lateral edge 50. The intermediate connection 41 is therefore farther from the lateral edge 50 than the lateral connections 33 to 36. This also means that the intermediate connection 41 is closer to the sole 2 than the lateral connections 33 to 36. Length-wise, the intermediate connection 41 is arranged between the upper end 12 and the front end 5 of the boot. According to the first embodiment of the invention, the intermediate connection 41 is longitudinally located between the first connection 33 and the fourth connection 36, for example, in the area of the third connection 35, or between the third connection 35 and the fourth connection 36, i.e., in the front end region of the lacing zone.

The intermediate connection 41 is a sliding connection, in the sense that it enables the linkage 32, or lace, to slide. According to a first embodiment, the intermediate connection 41 includes a keeper, which is closed, but could alternatively be open.

The tightening device 30 finally includes an end connection 42, which is a fixed connection. The function of this connection 42 is further described hereinafter. This end connection 42 is located on the medial portion 16 according to the first embodiment. In fact, the intermediate connection 41 and the end 42 connection are located on two opposite portions 15, 16, respectively, of the upper, one of which is lateral and the other medial.

Height-wise, the end connection 42 is located between the sole 2 and the opening 17, i.e., between the sole and the upper end 12. As shown more clearly in FIG. 4, the end connection 42 is height-wise farther from the sole 2 than the intermediate connection 41, but not as far from the sole as the first medial connection 37. It can also be said that the end connection 42 is positioned substantially at the intersection between the lower portion 10 and the top portion 11 of the upper 3.

Length-wise, the end connection 42 is at the front of the heel 4, or in the front region of the heel, but rearward of the lateral connections 33 to 36 and the medial connections 37 to 40. In fact, the end connection 42 is plumb with the upper subdivision 18 of the opening 17, i.e., vertically below the upper end of the opening 17. However, the connection 42 could alternatively be provided to be further forward, for example plumb with the first medial connection 37, or even farther forward.

Now that the arrangement of the connections 33 to 42 has been explained, the paths of the linkages 31, 32, as well as their actions, will be described.

With reference particularly to FIGS. 2 to 4, the first linkage 31 includes a lace strand 55 that is made using any known technique, and from any appropriate material. For example, the lace 55 can comprise interweaved synthetic and/or natural fibers.

The first linkage 31 extends between a free end 56, provided to be reversibly biased in traction or in tension, and a fastening end 57. The first linkage 31, or lace 55, is provided to tighten the top of the upper 3. To this end, the first linkage 31 runs from one portion 15, 16 of the upper to the other. According to the first embodiment, and in a non-limiting manner, the first linkage 31 or lace strand 55 successively extends through the first lateral connection 33, the second medial connection 38, the third lateral connection 35, the third medial connection 39, the fourth lateral connection 36, and then arrives at the fourth medial connection 40. Because the fourth medial connection 40 is fixed, as shown, the first linkage 31 is attached thereto via its fastening end 57. At the front of the lacing zone, the linkage 31 slides in all of the other connections 33, 35, 36, 38, and 39. Thus, by pulling on its free end 56 by hand, for example, the first linkage 31 is tensioned up to its fastening end 57. Consequently, the lateral 15 and medial 16 portions of the upper are biased toward one another, at least in the area of their respective edges 50, 51. This means that the tension of the first linkage 31 tightens the upper 3 around the foot, in the area of the instep, along the series of lateral connections 33 to 36 and medial connections 37 to 40. Loosening of the tension exerted on the first linkage 31 causes the upper 3 to become loosened.

The second linkage 32 includes, for example, a lace strand 60 that is extended by a strap 61. Here again, the lace 60 can comprise interweaved synthetic and/or natural fibers. The strap 61 can be formed, for example, from a band that includes fibers, or a flexible synthetic material.

The second linkage 32 extends from a free end 62, provided to be reversibly biased in traction or in tension, up to a fastening end 63. The second linkage 32 is provided to tighten the rear of the upper 3, in the area of the heel 4. To this end, the second linkage 32 runs from an upper portion 15, 16 to the same portion by extending around the heel 4. It can also be said that the second linkage 32 extends around the upper 3, beneath the upper subdivision 18 of the opening 17 for inserting the foot. According to the first embodiment, and in a non-limiting manner, the second linkage 32 successively extends through the first medial connection 37, the second lateral connection 34, the first intermediate connection 41, and then arrives at the end connection 42. Because the end connection 42 is fixed, the second linkage 32 is attached thereto via its fastening end 63. The linkage 32 slides in all of the other connections 34, 37, and 41. The first medial connection 37 is the initial connection for the travel of the second linkage 32. Thus, by pulling on its free end 62 by hand, for example, the second linkage 32 is tensioned up to its fastening end 63. Consequently, the heel 4 is tightened between the sole 2 and the upper subdivision 18 of the opening 17. This means that the tension of the second linkage tightens the upper 3 around the foot, in the area of the heel. The tightening of the second linkage 32 biases the foot toward the front of the boot. Indeed, the first intermediate linkage 41 is a return, in the sense that, due to its location on the upper, it directs the tension exerted on the linkage 32 toward the front. The tightening of the second linkage 32 also biases the heel toward the sole 2. Indeed, the end connection 42 is farther from the sole 2, height-wise, than the first intermediate connection or return 41. Thus, in a path between the heel 4 and the intermediate connection 41, the second linkage 32 is inclined. In fact, the second linkage 32 descends toward the sole 2, from the heel 4 to the return 41. As a result, the second linkage 32 biases the heel 4 of the boot, and thereby the user's heel, toward the front end 5 as well as toward the sole 2. This enables good support of the heel in the boot. Consequently, steering forces and sensory information are transmitted with more accuracy.

In addition, certain technical details specific to the first embodiment are described below.

For example, the lace strand 60 is connected to the strap 61 in the area of a junction 64, which is done by any known technique. Stitching is suitable; however, adhesive, knotting, or any equivalent technique can be used. The junction 64 is located between the first intermediate connection 41 and the end connection 42. However, the junction 64 is in the vicinity of the first intermediate connection 41. As a result, the strap 61 extends around the entire heel 4, providing a tightening force that is distributed better on the upper 3. The tightening is better distributed especially as the strap 61 is wide with respect to a lace.

The end connection 42 is also obtained by means of any known technique. Although the second linkage 32, more specially the strap 61 in this case, is sewn to the upper 3 to make the end connection 42, one could alternatively or additionally use other techniques, such as adhesive, welding, knotting, or any equivalent.

With respect to the path of the second linkage 32, according to the illustrated embodiment, the linkage 32 passes via the second lateral connection 34. This passage is an additional guide for the travel of the second linkage 32, i.e., the travel of the lace strand 60 in this case. However, this guide 34 is not mandatory. In fact, the lateral connection 34, i.e., the guide, positions the second linkage 32 with respect to the first 31, in the area of the foot insertion opening 17, so as to keep each of the linkages functioning easily. Indeed, one is prevented from hindering the other, for example by friction.

Further, because the boot is adapted selectively to be affixed or removed from a sports apparatus (such as a ski, for example), the boot 1 includes a mechanism for fastening thereto, such as a binding. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the boot 1 includes a first transverse pin 71 and a second transverse pin 72, arranged in the area of sole 2 toward the front end 5 for connection to such mechanism or binding.

Alternatively, only one of the pins 71, 72, or other fastening member, can be provided for connection to the mechanism/binding.

Further still, the boot 1 is shown to include a device 73 for blocking the linkages 31, 32. The device 73 is well-known to one of ordinary skill in the art, and is therefore not described here in detail. The device 73 reversibly retains the first 31 and second 32 linkages to one another, in the area of their respective free ends 56, 62. The blocking device is not mandatory. Alternatively, keepers with reversible blocking or a mere knotting of the free ends 56, 62 could be used to maintain the tension or the tightening of the linkages 31, 32.

Consequently, and as can be understood with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the upper 3 can be sometimes tightened and sometimes loosened.

In FIG. 5, the linkages 31, 32 are slack, i.e., not tensioned. Consequently, the edges 50, 51 of the opening are spaced apart; and the second linkage 32 extends around the heel 4 without tightening it. Thus, the upper 3. Is loose. Therefore, it is possible to put on or remove the boot by passing the foot through the opening 17. Compared with known boots, this operation is further facilitated due to the fact that the top portion 11 of the upper is flexible, and that the second linkage 32 is slack. As a result, the top portion 11 temporarily deforms or flexes toward the rear, plumb with the heel, in order to further expand the foot insertion opening 17 when the foot passes through.

Conversely, in FIG. 6, the linkages 31, 32 are tensioned, as indicated by the arrows F1, F2 with respect to the tensioning of the linkages 31, 32. In this case, the edges 50, 51 are closer to one another; the second linkage 32 extends around the heel 4 and tightens it. Thus, the upper is tightened. The tightening is adjusted by the user for the instep, on the one hand, and for the heel, on the other hand, in order to provide an adapted foot support, as explained above.

A second embodiment of the invention is now described with reference to FIG. 7. For reasons of convenience, the elements shared with the first embodiment are designated by the same reference numerals.

The second embodiment comprises a boot 1 with a tightening device 30. The tightening device includes a first linkage 31, a second linkage 32, lateral connections 33 to 36, medial connections 37 to 40, a first intermediate connection 41, and an end connection 42, not shown in FIG. 7 but corresponding to that of the first embodiment.

The boot 1 according to the second embodiment is not provided with a flap, a blocking device, or connection(s) for fastening the boot to a binding. This boot is adapted, for example, for walking, or for operating a snowshoe.

For example, the boot 1 includes an additional connection or guide 80 for the second linkage 32. This guide is located on the upper 3, on the lateral side 6, plumb with the upper subdivision 18 of the opening 17. The guide 80 maintains the linkage 32 on its nominal trajectory.

The invention is embodied from materials and according to implementation techniques known to one of ordinary skill in the art.

The invention is not limited to the particular embodiments illustrated and described hereinabove, and encompasses all of the technical equivalents that fall within the scope of the claims that follow.

In particular, in any case, the structure of a tightening device can be inverted, in the sense that the specific characteristics associated with a medial side can be applied to a lateral side, and vice versa.

The number of various connections, guides, or passages for the linkages 31, 32, can be increased or decreased.