Title:
HEAT MOLDABLE SPORT SHOES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sport shoe comprises a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and an attachment system to secure the user's foot therein, the sport shoe having, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having at least four generally transversally-oriented strips in the upper portion, including tightening strips receiving the attachment system externally and having a heat-moldable layer internally, and flexibility strips, the tightening strips and flexibility strips being in longitudinally alternating succession, at least a section of the flexibility strips being heat moldable layer free.



Inventors:
Garneau, Louis (Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, CA)
Plourde, Rene (Quebec, CA)
Gingras, Denis (Saint-Nicolas, CA)
Application Number:
12/128079
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
05/28/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
12/142P, 36/93, 36/115
International Classes:
A43B5/00; A43B23/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100043255EXTERNAL SOLE LINER AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING AND USING THE SAMEFebruary, 2010Trevino
20050166422Shoe with an articulated spring-loaded outsoleAugust, 2005Schaeffer et al.
20070137065Inflatable sole for shoeJune, 2007Vera
20080222918INSOLE CUSHION AND COMPOSITE FOOT-BEDSeptember, 2008Hesse
20080289225Hem and clothing protectorNovember, 2008Ali et al.
20080019119Footwear Illumination AssemblyJanuary, 2008Marston
20090025256DUAL ZIPPER BOOT CONSTRUCTION METHOD AND SYSTEMJanuary, 2009Bizzo
20080150259ARTICLE INCLUDING A STRAP FOR RETAINING OR TIGHTENING A FOOT OR A BOOTJune, 2008Veyrat-charvillon
20050005478Interchangeable athletic shoe cover padJanuary, 2005James
20080179859Motorcycle foot peg and boot cleat assemblyJuly, 2008Boehmke et al.
20030037462Toe cap made of long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic resin for safety shoe and method for the production thereofFebruary, 2003Tanaka et al.



Foreign References:
EP11638602001-12-19
CA2472741A12003-07-31
Primary Examiner:
COLLIER, JAMESON D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP (MONTREAL, QC, CA)
Claims:
1. A sport shoe comprising: a sole; an upper portion having a heat moldable layer, a bottom outer edge on an outer side of the shoe and a bottom arch edge on an arch side of the shoe, opposed to the bottom outer edge, and defining an entrance aperture, the bottom outer and arch edges being attached to the sole; at least two shoe tighteners mounted to the upper portion, frontwardly of the entrance aperture, the shoe tighteners defining tightening segments extending from the bottom outer edge to the bottom arch edge, the heat moldable layer extending on the outer side and the arch side of the tightening segments, at least two of the shoe tighteners being spaced apart and defining therebetween a flexibility segment extending from the bottom outer edge to the bottom arch edge, at least a section of the flexibility segment being heat moldable layer free.

2. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least a section of the tightening segments overlapped externally by one of the shoe tighteners comprises a section of the heat moldable layer.

3. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the heat moldable free section has a closed shape figure surrounded by the heat moldable layer.

4. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein heat moldable layer extends upwardly from the bottom arch edge and from the bottom outer edge in the tightening segments.

5. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the tightening segments have an area and more than 50% of the tightening segment area comprises a section of the heat moldable layer.

6. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper portion has a fastening section, extending between the arch side and the outer side, and the fastening section comprises a heat moldable layer free section extending along a longitudinal axis of the sport shoe.

7. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper portion has a fastening section, extending between the arch and the outer sides, the flexibility segment comprises a heat moldable layer free section located having a first portion extending in the outer side and a second portion extending in the fastening section.

8. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the heat moldable layer free section is a tetragon narrower than the shoe tighteners.

9. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the heat moldable layer free section has an area ranging between 300 and 15000 square millimeters.

10. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, comprising at least one of the heat moldable layer free sections located on the arch side and at least one heat moldable layer free sections located on the outer side.

11. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, comprising at least one heat moldable layer free section between each of the shoe tighteners.

12. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 1, wherein the shoe tighteners have two opposed edges spaced-apart from the bottom outer edge and the bottom arch edge.

13. A cycling shoe comprising: an upper portion defining an inner space sized and shaped to receive a foot of a rider therein, the upper portion having a toe box, a heel cage and a middle section extending between the toe box and the heel cage, the middle section having an inner layer, an outer layer, and a discontinuous heat moldable layer extending between the inner and the outer layers, the cycling shoe having a longitudinal axis extending from the heel cage to the toe box; and tightening straps mounted to the upper portion, in the middle section, and defining tightening strips extending from an arch end of the upper portion to an outer end of the upper portion, the heat moldable layer extending upwardly from the arch end and from the outer end in the tightening strips, the tightening straps being spaced apart from one another along the longitudinal axis and defining tightening discontinuity strips in between the tightening strips, the tightening discontinuity strips extending from the arch end of the upper portion to the outer end of the upper portion, the heat moldable layer being discontinuous over a flexibility area located in at least one of the tightening discontinuity strips.

14. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein at least a section of the tightening strips overlapped externally by one of the tightening straps comprises a section of the heat moldable layer.

15. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein the flexibility area has a closed shape figure surrounded by the heat moldable layer.

16. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein each of the tightening strips have an area and more than 50% of the tightening strip area comprises a section of the heat moldable layer.

17. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein the upper portion has a fastening section, extending between an arch side and an outer side, and the fastening section comprises a flexibility area extending along the longitudinal axis, the flexibility area being heat moldable layer free.

18. A cycling shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein the upper portion has an arch side, extending upwardly from the arch end, an outer side, extending upwardly from the outer end and opposed to the arch side, and a fastening section, extending between the arch and the outer sides, at least one flexibility area having a first portion extending in the outer side and a second portion extending in the fastening section.

19. A cycling shoe as claimed in claim 13, wherein the flexibility area has an area ranging between 300 and 1500 square millimeters.

20. A cycling shoe as claimed in claim 13, comprising at least one flexibility area between each of the tightening straps.

21. A method for manufacturing a cycling shoe, comprising: assembling an inner layer, an outer layer, and a discontinuous heat moldable layer extending between the inner and the outer layers to define a middle section of a cycling shoe upper portion having an arch side and an opposed outer side; mounting at least two shoe tighteners to the upper portion of the cycling shoe in the middle section, spaced-apart from one another for defining tightening strips and tightening discontinuity strips in between the tightening strips, the tightening strips and the tightening discontinuity strips extending from a lower arch edge of the upper portion to a lower outer edge of the upper portion; and aligning at least one discontinuity of the heat moldable layer in at least one of the tightening discontinuity strips to provide flexibility to the middle section; aligning a section of the heat moldable layer with the arch side of the tightening strips; and aligning a section of the heat moldable layer with the outer side of the tightening strips.

22. A method as claimed in claim 21, comprising aligning at least one heat moldable layer discontinuity in the arch side.

23. A method as claimed in claim 21, comprising aligning at least one heat moldable layer discontinuity between each of the shoe tighteners.

24. A sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and an attachment system to secure the user's foot therein, the sport shoe having, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having at least four generally transversally-oriented strips in the upper portion, including tightening strips receiving the attachment system externally and having a heat-moldable layer internally, and flexibility strips, the tightening strips and flexibility strips being in longitudinally alternating succession, at least a section of the flexibility strips being heat moldable layer free.

25. A cycling shoe as claimed in claim 24, comprising at least one heat moldable layer free section located between the toe box and a first one of the tightening strips in the longitudinal succession.

26. A sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having an arch side extending upwardly from a lower arch edge, an opposed outer side extending upwardly from a lower outer edge, and a fastening section extending between the arch side and the outer side, the middle section including internally a heat-moldable layer extending upwardly from the lower arch edge and from the lower outer edge towards the fastening section, the middle section having at least four generally transversally-oriented strips including tightening strips receiving an attachment system externally to secure the user's foot therein and flexibility strips, the tightening strips and flexibility strips being in longitudinally alternating succession, at least a longitudinally extending area of the fastening section extending along the four transversally-oriented strips being heat moldable layer free.

27. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 26, wherein the attachment system overlaps externally the heat moldable free longitudinally extending area of the fastening section.

28. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 26, wherein at least a section of each of the flexible strips located on one of the arch side and the outer side being heat moldable layer free.

29. A sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having an arch side extending upwardly from a lower arch edge and an opposed outer side extending upwardly from a lower outer edge, the middle section including a first flap extending upwardly from one of the lower arch edge and the lower outer edge towards the opposite one of the lower arch edge and the lower outer edge and secured to the opposite one through a resilient band, the resilient band extending from a front end of the middle section, proximate to the toe box, to approximately an opposite end of the first flap, the resilient band preventing formation of improper folds of the first flap when the user's foot is inserted in the inner space.

30. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 29, wherein the resilient band is made of a relatively thin elastic material.

31. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 30, wherein the relatively thin elastic material comprises Lycra®.

32. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 29, wherein the first flap is an outer flap extending from the lower outer edge.

33. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 29, comprising a second flap extending upwardly from the opposite one of the lower edges, overlapping a section of the first flap, and secured to the first flap.

34. A sport shoe as claimed in claim 33, comprising a fastening section extending between the arch side and the outer side and wherein the second flap is secured to the first flap in the fastening section via shoe tighteners.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to sport shoes and, more particularly, it relates to a sport shoe having a thermoformable upper portion.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

In relatively high performance sport shoes, such as cycling shoes for instance, a layer of a heat moldable polymer is added to provide a custom fit around the athlete's feet. Heat molding is known to improve comfort and thereby lower fatigue of the feet.

However, the heat moldable layer rigidities the sport shoes and rigid shoes are harder to tighten to the feet and obtain the desired tightening adjustment. Consequently, sport shoes are conceived with only particular sections of the shoe that are heat moldable and thus custom fit.

For instance, for cycling shoes, a layer of a heat moldable material has been applied to the outer side of the upper portion, opposed to the arch side, and the heel. Thus, the arch side and the fastening section, extending between the outer and the arch sides, are heat moldable layer free and provide flexibility to the resulting shoe for tightening purposes. However, they are not custom fit around the athlete's feet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an aim to address the above mentioned issues.

According to a general aspect, there is provided a sport shoe comprising: a sole; an upper portion having a heat moldable layer, a bottom outer edge on an outer side of the shoe and a bottom arch edge on an arch side of the shoe, opposed to the bottom outer edge, and defining an entrance aperture, the bottom outer and arch edges being attached to the sole; at least two shoe tighteners mounted to the upper portion, frontwardly of the entrance aperture, the shoe tighteners defining tightening segments extending from the bottom outer edge to the bottom arch edge, the heat moldable layer extending on the outer side and the arch side of the tightening segments, at least two of the shoe tighteners being spaced apart and defining therebetween a flexibility segment extending from the bottom outer edge to the bottom arch edge, at least a section of the flexibility segment being heat moldable layer free.

According to a general aspect, there is provided a cycling shoe comprising: an upper portion defining an inner space sized and shaped to receive a foot of a rider therein, the upper portion having a toe box, a heel cage and a middle section extending between the toe box and the heel cage, the middle section having an inner layer, an outer layer, and a discontinuous heat moldable layer extending between the inner and the outer layers, the cycling shoe having a longitudinal axis extending from the heel cage to the toe box; and tightening straps mounted to the upper portion, in the middle section, and defining tightening strips extending from an arch end of the upper portion to an outer end of the upper portion, the heat moldable layer extending upwardly from the arch end and from the outer end in the tightening strips, the tightening straps being spaced apart from one another along the longitudinal axis and defining tightening discontinuity strips in between the tightening strips, the tightening discontinuity strips extending from the arch end of the upper portion to the outer end of the upper portion, the heat moldable layer being discontinuous over a flexibility area located in at least one of the tightening discontinuity strips.

According to another general aspect, there is provided a method for manufacturing a cycling shoe. The method comprises: assembling an inner layer, an outer layer, and a discontinuous heat moldable layer extending between the inner and the outer layers to define a middle section of a cycling shoe upper portion having an arch side and an opposed outer side; mounting at least two shoe tighteners to the upper portion of the cycling shoe in the middle section, spaced-apart from one another for defining tightening strips and tightening discontinuity strips in between the tightening strips, the tightening strips and the tightening discontinuity strips extending from a lower arch edge of the upper portion to a lower outer edge of the upper portion; and aligning at least one discontinuity of the heat moldable layer in at least one of the tightening discontinuity strips to provide flexibility to the middle section; aligning a section of the heat moldable layer with the arch side of the tightening strips; and aligning a section of the heat moldable layer with the outer side of the tightening strips.

According to another general aspect, there is provided a sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and an attachment system to secure the user's foot therein, the sport shoe having, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having at least four generally transversally-oriented strips in the upper portion, including tightening strips receiving the attachment system externally and having a heat-moldable layer internally, and flexibility strips, the tightening strips and flexibility strips being in longitudinally alternating succession, at least a section of the flexibility strips being heat moldable layer free.

According to still another general aspect, there is provided a sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having an arch side extending upwardly from a lower arch edge, an opposed outer side extending upwardly from a lower outer edge, and a fastening section extending between the arch side and the outer side, the middle section including internally a heat-moldable layer extending upwardly from the lower arch edge and from the lower outer edge towards the fastening section, the middle section having at least four generally transversally-oriented strips including tightening strips receiving an attachment system externally to secure the user's foot therein and flexibility strips, the tightening strips and flexibility strips being in longitudinally alternating succession, at least a longitudinally extending area of the fastening section extending along the four transversally-oriented strips being heat moldable layer free.

According to a further general aspect, there is provided a sport shoe comprising a sole and an upper portion attached to the sole and defining an inner space with the sole, and having an entrance opening for receiving a user's foot therethrough, into the inner space, and, in longitudinal succession, a heel cage, a middle section, and a toe box, the middle section having an arch side extending upwardly from a lower arch edge and an opposed outer side extending upwardly from a lower outer edge, the middle section including a first flap extending upwardly from one of the lower arch edge and the lower outer edge towards the opposite one of the lower arch edge and the lower outer edge and secured to the opposite one through a resilient band, the resilient band extending from a front end of the middle section, proximate to the toe box, to approximately an opposite end of the first flap, the resilient band preventing formation of improper folds of the first flap when the user's foot is inserted in the inner space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a cycling shoe in accordance with an embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 1, showing the outer side of the shoe;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 1

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 1 wherein the upper layer is partially removed;

FIG. 5 is an outer side perspective view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 1 wherein the upper layer is partially removed;

FIG. 6 is an arch side perspective view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 1, wherein the upper layer is partially removed;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a cycling shoe in accordance with another embodiment wherein the upper layer is partially removed and the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections are divided in several sub-sections;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the cycling shoe in accordance with another embodiment wherein the upper layer is partially removed and having an alternate heat moldable layer discontinuity pattern;

FIG. 9 is an outer side perspective view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 8 wherein the upper layer is partially removed;

FIG. 10 is an arch side perspective view of the cycling shoe shown in FIG. 8, wherein the upper layer is partially removed; and

FIG. 11 is a rear perspective view, partly sectioned, of the cycling show shown in FIG. 1, wherein a section of the arch side is removed.

It will be noted that throughout the appended drawings, like features are identified by like reference numerals.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Now referring to the drawings and, more particularly, referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a cycling shoe 10 having a sole 12 and an upper portion 14 extending upwardly from the sole 12 and mounted thereto with conventional techniques.

The upper portion 14 defines an inner space 16 (FIG. 3) and an entrance opening 18 sized and shaped to receive a foot of a rider therein. The upper portion 14 has an arch side 20, an opposite outer side 22, and a fastening section 23 extending between the arch side 20 and the outer side 22.

The upper portion 14 extends longitudinally from a toe box 24, i.e. the front of the shoe containing the rider's toes, and a heel cage 26, which wraps around the back or the rider's heel. A shoe longitudinal axis 28 is defined and extends between the toe box 24 and the heel cage 26. A middle section 30 of the upper portion 14 extends between the toe box 24 and the heel cage 26.

The middle section 30 includes a tightening section 32, frontwardly of the entrance opening 18. The tightening section 32 extends between the arch and the outer sides 20, 22 of the shoe 10.

In the tightening section 32, an outer flap 33 extends from a lower outer edge 46 to approximately the middle of the arch side 20 and is secured to a lower arch edge 44 through an elastic band 34 (FIG. 11), as it will be described in more details below in reference to FIG. 11. An arch flap 35 extends from the lower arch edge 44 towards the outer side 22 to approximately the middle of the tightening section 32. The arch flap 35 overlaps a section of the outer flap 33 extending in the arch side 20 and the fastening section 23. The outer flap 33 and the arch flap 35 are secured together via shoe tighteners, as it will be described in more details below.

It is appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment, the arch flap 35 can extend from the lower arch edge to approximately the middle of the outer side 22 and the outer flap 33 can extend from the lower outer edge 46 towards the arch side 20 and overlap a section of the arch flap 35. In this embodiment, the arch flap 35 can be secured to the lower outer edge 46 through an elastic band 34. It is also appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment, the shoe 10 can include a shoe tongue 34 extending over the tightening section 32.

Three tightening straps 36, as shoe tighteners, and, more particularly, an upper tightening strap 36a, a middle tightening strap 36b, and a lower tightening strap 36c, are mounted to the upper portion 14 in the tightening section 32. Complementary portions of each tightening straps 36 are respectively mounted to the outer flap 33 and the arch flap 35. Each tightening strap 36 extends from the arch side 20 to the outer side 22. As shown in FIG. 2, in an embodiment, the tightening straps 36b and 36c have a fixed end 38 pivotally mounted to the outer flap 33, extends towards the arch side 20, engage an elliptic free ring 40 mounted to the arch flap 35, which has a pair of opposing, linear catching portions, and folds back towards the outer side 22. Each tightening strap 36b and 36c includes a pair of hook-and-loop type gripping elements, such as “VELCRO®” for securing the upper portion 14 in a selected tightened configuration.

The upper tightening strap 36a includes a buckle 37 and, more particularly, a ratchet buckle to securely stabilize the rider's foot in the inner space 16 and allow subtle tightening adjustments. It is appreciated that the rachet buckle 37 can be replaced by any buckle that offers precise adjustments or that the upper tightener 36a can be buckle free.

In alternate embodiments, the three tighteners 36 can be similar, different or any combination thereof. Each tightener 36 can include a buckle 37 or a pair of hook-and-loop type gripping elements.

In alternate embodiments, the shoe tighteners can extend in the opposite direction, i.e. their fixed end 38 is mounted to the arch flap 35, the shoe 10 can include more or less shoe tighteners in the tightening section 32, and the shoe tighteners can differ from the ones described above in reference with FIGS. 1 and 2. The shoe 10 can include a combination of various types of shoe tighteners. Moreover, the fixed ends of the straps can be offset from one another to prevent pressure points. It is thus appreciated that alternate attachment system can be used.

The tightening straps 36 are spaced apart from one another along the shoe longitudinal axis 28. They define tightening strips 42 (or segments), transversally oriented, which extend from a lower arch edge 44 (inner end), located at the junction of the sole 12 and the arch side 20 of the upper portion 14, to a lower outer edge 46 (outer end), located at the junction of the sole 12 and the outer side 22 of the upper portion 14.

The tightening strips 42 are aligned with the tightening straps 36, i.e. the attachment system is externally received in the tightening strips. In the embodiment shown, the shoe tighteners 36 have two opposed tightener edges 43 (shown in dashed lines), substantially parallel to one another, extending along a shoe tightening curved axis 50, which is substantially perpendicular to the shoe longitudinal axis 28. The tightener edges 43 and their extensions define the boundaries of the tightening segments 42 along the shoe longitudinal axis 28.

Tightening discontinuity strips 48 (or flexibility segments or strips) are defined between the tightening strips 42, since the tightening straps 36 are spaced apart from one another along the shoe longitudinal axis 28. The tightening strips 42 and the tightening discontinuity strips 48 are in a longitudinally alternating succession. Consequently, the tightening discontinuity strips 48 are also spaced apart from one another along the shoe longitudinal axis 28. Their boundaries along the shoe longitudinal axis 28 correspond to the boundaries of the tightening segments 42.

The tightening strips 42 and the tightening discontinuity strips 48 extend substantially parallel to one another, in a longitudinally alternating succession, and along the shoe tightening curved axis 50. The tightening strips 42 are the sections that compress the rider's foot in the inner space 16 and prevent or at least minimize relative movement of the foot in the inner space 16. On the opposite, the tightening discontinuity strips 48 are sections that provide flexibility to the upper portion 14 of the shoe 10.

In the embodiment shown, the tightener edges 43 extend parallel to one another. Therefore, the tightening segments 42 have substantially a uniform width along their entire length. However, in an alternate embodiment, it is appreciated that the tightener edges 43 can either be convergent or divergent and the tightening segments 42 can have a variable width along their length.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown that the upper portion 14 has an outer layer 52, an inner layer 54, opposed to the outer layer 52, and a discontinuous heat moldable layer 56 extending between the outer and the inner layers 52, 54. As it will be described in more details below, the outer layer 52 and the heat moldable layer 56 are discontinuous over flexibility areas of the middle section 30, i.e. in these heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58, the upper portion 14 is heat moldable layer free and outer layer free and includes solely the inner layer 54. It is appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment, in the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58, the inner layer 54 can be directly juxtaposed to the outer layer 52, i.e. the upper portion 14 is solely heat moldable layer free.

It is appreciated that the upper portion 14 can include more material layers. For instance and without being limitative, it can include a synthetic or natural leather layer, a PVC layer, a polyester microfiber layer, a polyurethane layer or any combination thereof.

The heat moldable layer 56 is located between at least two material layers, i.e. the inner and the outer layers. The heat modable layer 56 is laminated on both faces.

The outer layer 52 is the outer layer of the shoe 10. In embodiments, it is made from leather, synthetic or natural. In a particular embodiment, it is made from synthetic micro-fibre leather, made from 100% wt polyester, for its lightweight, durability, breathability, water resistance, and relatively easy care. It can also be made of other materials such as, and without being limitative, any appropriate thermal insulative material or impervious membranes. The thickness of the outer layer 52 can vary between 1.5 to 3 mm.

The inner layer 54 is the inner lining of the shoe 10. In embodiments, it is made from superposed layers of nylon mesh fabric, which can be made from 100 wt % polyester, for its high breathability and lightness, and foam material for its padding properties. For example, the foam material layer can be sandwiched between two nylon mesh fabric layers. It can also be made of other materials such as and without being limitative any appropriate padding material, foam, mesh, polyurethane, a foam and mesh laminate, or any combination thereof. The thickness of the inner layer can vary between 1.5 to 5 mm.

The heat moldable layer 56 extends between the outer layer 52 and the inner layer 54. It is made of a thermoformable material and, in an embodiment, a thermoformable polymer. Therefore, the upper portion 14 of the shoe can be formed to the rider's foot for a custom fit, as it will be described in more details below.

In an embodiment, the heat mouldable layer 56 is made of EVA (Ethylene vinyl-Acetate), urethane or Teflon™, for instance.

The thickness of layer 56 can range between 0.4 mm and 0.8 mm (16 to 32 mils). A thicker thermoformable layer 56 is heavier, less flexible for tightening purposes but harder to deform once thermoform. On the opposite, a thinner thermoformable layer 56 is lighter, more flexible for tightening purposes but easier to deform once thermoform.

The upper portion 14 of the shoe 10, including or not the sole 12, can be anatomically fitted to the rider's foot by heat molding means such as a conventional or specialized oven. The upper portion 14 is heated to a temperature to cause the heat moldable layer 12 to become pliable. It is appreciated that the temperature and heating time varies in accordance with the heat moldable layer material and its thickness. In an embodiment, for an urethane heat moldable layer having 0.6 mm (24 mils), the shoe, including the heat moldable layer, can be heated at a temperature ranging between 65 and 135° C. for 5 and 30 minutes. The upper portion 14 can be anatomically fitted to the rider's foot by placing the foot in the inner space 16 and allowing the heat moldable layer 56 to cool and harden in a shape conforming to the rider's foot. If a thermoplastic polymer is used as heat moldable material, the same molding process can be repeated several times.

Referring now to FIGS. 4-6, there is shown the shoe 10 wherein the outer layer 52 is partially removed, i.e. it is removed over the middle section to show the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 but the tightening straps 36 are shown to show the tightening segments 42 and the tightening discontinuity strips 48.

As mentioned above, the heat moldable layer 56 is discontinuous over heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 or flexibility areas. Most of the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 are located in the tightening discontinuity strips 48 of the middle section 30. Therefore, a section of the tightening discontinuity strips 48 is heat moldable layer free and outer layer free.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 can extend in the tightening segments 42. The heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 in the tightening segments 42 can be continuous with the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 in the tightening discontinuity strips 48 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 in the tightening discontinuity strips 48 are shown in dashed lines since they are covered by the shoe tighteners.

These discontinuities of the heat moldable layer 56 increases the flexibility of the shoe upper portion 14 for tightening purposes. The heat moldable layer 56 rigidities the outer portion 14 and makes it harder for the rider to tighten the shoe 10 over its foot. Subtle tightening adjustments are thus prevented.

By creating flexibility areas in the tightening discontinuity strips 48, i.e. heat moldable layer free sections 58, more flexibility is provided for tightening purposes. Moreover, the middle section 30 of the shoe upper portion 14 can still be formed to the rider's foot for a custom fit.

Furthermore, providing a heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58 along the longitudinal axis 28 of the shoe 10 and partially covered by the shoe tighteners provides more flexibility for tightening purposes since this section can be compressed, if needed.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 are substantially elongated areas aligned along the shoe tightening curved axis 50. In the embodiment shown in reference to FIGS. 4-6, one heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58, having a tetragon shape such as a substantially rectangular shape, is provided on one side 20, 22 of the shoe 10 in one tightening discontinuity strip 48. In an alternate embodiment, several smaller heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 can be provided on one side 20, 22 of the shoe 10 in one tightening discontinuity strip 48, as it will be described in more details below in reference to FIG. 7.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 are narrower than the tightening strips 46. Similarly, in an embodiment, the tightening discontinuity strips 48 are narrower than the tightening strips 46. In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 do not extend to either the lower arch edge 44 or the lower outer edge 46. In an embodiment, the width of the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 is substantially similar to the width of the tightening discontinuity strips 48, i.e. they extend over substantially the entire tightening discontinuity strip width.

It is appreciated that a relative narrow section of the heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58 can partially extend over in the tightening strip 46.

The heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 can be located either on the arch side 20, the outer side 22 or centrally in the tightening section 32. They can also extend partially over two or three sections. For instance and without being limitative, a section of one heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58 can extend over the outer side 22 and the remaining section can extend over the tightening section 32.

As mentioned above, the middle section 30 can include other heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 than the one located in the tightening discontinuity strips 48. In the embodiment shown in reference to FIGS. 4-6, two heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 are located in the middle section 30, frontwardly of the tightening section 32.

In an embodiment, at least a section of the tightening segments 42, overlapped externally by one of the shoe tighteners 36, includes heat moldable material. The heat moldable layer discontinuity sections can have a closed shape figure surrounded by the heat moldable material.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer 56 extends upwardly from the bottom arch edge and from the bottom outer edge in the tightening segments 42 and each of the tightening segments 42 have an area and more than 50% of the tightening segment area includes the heat moldable material.

Referring back to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is shown that, to provide aeration between the inner space 16 and the exterior of the shoe 10, through holes 60 extend continuously through the outer layer 52, the inner layer 54 and the middle heat moldable layer 56, i.e. they are free of outer, inner and middle layers 52, 54, 56. They have a first port opening on the inner space 16 and a second port, opposite to the first port, opening on the exterior of the shoe 10. Through holes 60 increase the breathability of the upper portion 14 of the shoe 10.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 are located between the shoe tighteners and have a length ranging between 2 mm to 12 mm. In another embodiment, the length of the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 ranges between 5 and 1200 mm and, in another alternate embodiment, its length ranges between 10 and 1100 mm. The width of the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 58 ranges between 5 and 500 mm and, in another alternate embodiment, its length ranges between 10 and 50 mm. It is appreciated that the heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58 extending along the longitudinal axis 28 is typically longer than the heat moldable layer discontinuity section 58 extending along the shoe tightening curved axis 50. In an embodiment, its length can range between 500 mm to 1200 mm and, in an alternate embodiment, between 700 and 1000 mm.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown an alternate configuration for the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections. As for FIGS. 4-6, the outer layer is partially removed. The features are numbered with reference numerals which correspond to the reference numerals of the previous embodiment in the 100 series. In this alternate embodiment, several smaller heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 158 are provided on one side 120, 122 of the shoe 110 in one tightening discontinuity strip 148, as shown in FIG. 7. Thus, each heat moldable layer discontinuity section 158 has a smaller area.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-10, there is shown another alternate configuration for the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections. As for FIGS. 4-7, the outer layer is partially removed. The features are numbered with reference numerals which correspond to the reference numerals of the previous embodiment in the 200 series. In this alternate embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 258 are provided on each side 120, 122 of the shoe 210. On the opposite of shoe 10, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections 258 do not extend in the tightening section 32.

Referring now to FIG. 11, there is shown that the outer flap 33, which extends from the lower outer edge 46 to approximately the middle of the arch side 20, is secured to a lower arch edge 44 through an elastic band 34. The elastic band 34 extends from approximately the beginning of the middle section 30, proximate to the toe box 24 to approximately the opposite end of the outer flap 33. The elastic band 34 prevents the formation of improper folds of the outer flap 33 when the rider's foot is inserted in the inner space 16. The elastic band 34 can be made of any relatively thin elastic/resilient material such as stretch fabrics (Lycra®, for instance).

As mentioned above, in an alternate embodiment, the arch flap 35 can extend from the lower arch edge to approximately the middle of the outer side 22 and the outer flap 33 can extend from the lower outer edge 46 towards the arch side 20 and overlap a section of the arch flap 35. In this embodiment, the arch flap 35 can be secured to the lower outer edge 46 through an elastic band 34.

In an embodiment, the elastic band has a similar width than the flap 33, 35 to minimize improper fold formation.

The embodiments of the invention described above are intended to be exemplary only.

It is appreciated that the heat moldable layer discontinuities can be applied to other sport shoes than cycling shoes.

It is appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment, a substitute material layer can extend between the outer layer and the inner layer in the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections.

In an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections can be wider than the tightening strips or the tightening discontinuity strips can be wider than the tightening strips. Similarly, in an embodiment, the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections can extend to the lower arch edge and/or the lower outer edge. In an embodiment, the width of the heat moldable layer discontinuity sections can be different than the width of the tightening discontinuity strips.

The scope of the invention is therefore intended to be limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.