Title:
Bicycle Shoe Strap Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bicycle shoe strap assembly that closes about a throat opening of a bicycle shoe. The strap assembly includes a pad and a first strap and a second strap that extend from generally opposite sides of the pad. Each strap is securable to the shoe in a variety of positions so as to align the pad in a generally centered positioned over the arch of a rider's foot. It is envisioned that the second strap be constructed to engage the shoe at a number of locations or that the second strap be replaceable with other second straps wherein each second strap is securable to the shoe at dissimilar discrete locations.



Inventors:
Martin, Daniel Joshua (Madison, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/252569
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
10/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43C11/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARNETT, DEVIN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bicycle shoe strap assembly comprising: a pad; first securing means located near one end of the pad and second securing means located near another end of the pad; a first strap portion having a number of ribs configured to pass through the first securing means and a head portion that engages the first securing means; and a second strap portion constructed to cooperate with the second securing means and removably extending from the another end of the pad, the second strap portion being configured to engage a mount body that is permanently affixed to a shoe, the first strap portion and the second strap portion securable to the shoe so as to generally laterally center the pad with respect to an arch of a rider's foot.

2. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 1 wherein the second strap portion includes an opening that engages the mount body and is replaceable with another second strap portion that has an opening configured to engage the mount body, the opening of the second strap portion and the another second strap portion being offset different distances from an end of a respective second strap portion that engages the second securing means.

3. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 1 further comprising a number of openings formed in the second strap portion, each opening being configured to cooperate with a post associated with the mount body.

4. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 1 wherein the second strap portion includes a tab that cooperates with one of a number of openings associated with the mount body.

5. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 4 further comprising a living hinge between the tab and the second strap portion such that the tab is movable relative to the second strap portion.

6. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 1 wherein the mount body further comprises a post configured to engage an opening formed in the second strap portion and a pocket configured to receive a section of the second strap portion that extends beyond the post.

7. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 6 wherein the second strap portion translates in a first direction to engage the post and a second direction that is generally perpendicular to the first direction to engage the pocket.

8. A bicycle shoe strap system comprising: a pad; a loop positioned at each end of the pad; a first strap having a number of ridges constructed to pass through one of the loops; and a second strap and a third strap that individually cooperate with the other loop, each of the second strap and third strap having a head that is incapable of passing through the other loop and a hole formed through the strap that is offset from the head, the hole formed in the second strap being offset from the head a different distance than the hole formed in the third strap.

9. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 8 wherein each head includes a projection that cooperates with a respective loop to orient one of the second strap or the third strap in a direction that is generally transverse to a longitudinal axis of the respective strap.

10. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 8 wherein one of the second strap and the third strap are disposable as determined by a user.

11. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 8 wherein the first strap includes a head that is constructed similar to the head of each of the second and third straps and that engages the loop in a generally mirror image with respect to one of the second and third straps.

12. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 8 further comprising a mount that is secured to a shoe and that includes a post and a pocket, the post being configured to engage the hole of a respective second or third strap so as to fix the position of the respective strap with respect to the mount.

13. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 12 wherein the mount is located nearer an instep side of the shoe than the pad.

14. The bicycle shoe strap system of claim 8 further comprising a buckle that includes a ratchet and that is attached to a shoe and that tightens the strap system across a wearer's arch as the buckle is closed.

15. The bicycle shoe strap assembly of claim 8 wherein at least one of the pad, first strap, and second strap are replaceable.

16. A bicycle shoe comprising: a sole configured to cooperate with a pedal of a bicycle an upper extending from the sole to generally encircle a foot of a user; a buckle attached to a first side of the upper; a mount body attached to a second side of the upper; and a strap assembly extending between the first and second sides of the upper proximate an ankle of a user and comprising: a pad; a first strap extending from a first end of the pad, the first strap having a plurality of ribs and being constructed to cooperate with the buckle to secure the first end of the pad relative to the upper; and a second strap extending from the second end of the pad and constructed to cooperate with the mount body to secure the second end of the pad relative to the upper; and wherein the first strap and the second strap can be secured to the upper in a variety of positions to center the pad across an arch of the foot of a user.

17. The shoe of claim 16 wherein the pad includes a loop at each end thereof, each loop being configured to slidably cooperate with one of the first strap and the second strap.

18. The shoe of claim 17 wherein each loop includes a recess and each of the first strap and second strap includes a projection to index each loop relative to a respective strap.

19. The shoe of claim 16 further comprising a post extending from the mount body constructed to cooperate with a hole formed in the second strap.

20. The shoe of claim 19 wherein the second strap is further defined as one of a number of straps that each have one hole or a single strap having a number of holes.

21. The shoe of claim 19 further comprising a nipple extending from an end of the post in a crossing direction relative to a longitudinal axis of the post.

22. The shoe of claim 19 further comprising a loop extending from the mount body proximate the post and on a side of the post generally opposite the pad.

23. The shoe of claim 16 wherein the sole further comprises a cleat constructed to cooperate with the pedal.

24. The shoe of claim 16 further comprising another shoe having a generally mirror construction of the first shoe.

25. The shoe of claim 16 further comprising a tab movably connected to the second strap.

26. The shoe of claim 25 further comprising a projection extending from an end of the tab and configured to cooperate with an opening formed in the mount body.

27. The shoe of claim 25 wherein the tab is connected to the second strap by a living hinge.

28. The shoe of claim 16 further comprising at least one hook and loop closure positioned nearer a toe of the shoe than of the strap assembly.

29. A method for forming a throat closure of a bicycle shoe comprising the steps of: providing a strap assembly having a pad with first and second straps extending from opposite sides thereof; and securing the first strap to the bicycle shoe at one of a variety of positions and securing the second strap to the bicycle shoe at one of a variety of positions to generally center and snug the pad across an arch of a foot of user.

30. The method of claim 29 wherein securing the first strap includes operating a buckle that cooperates with a number of ribs of the first strap.

31. The method of claim 29 wherein securing the second strap includes engaging a post with one of a plurality of pockets.

32. The method of claim 29 wherein the second strap is further defined as one of a single strap having a number of holes or a number of replaceable straps that each have one hole.

33. The method of claim 32 further comprising locating each one hole or each hole of the number of holes at a different location along a length of each of the replaceable straps or the single strap, respectively.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to bicycle shoes and, more particularly, to an adjustable strap assembly for forming the throat closure of the shoe so that a padded portion of the strap assembly can be generally centered over the arch of a rider's foot or adjusted to the lateral sides of the throat opening to satisfy a rider's preference.

During operation of a bicycle, the interaction between the feet of a rider and the pedals of the bicycle communicate a majority of the energy of the rider to the bicycle. Understandably, the interaction between the foot, the rider's shoes, and the pedal can dramatically affect ride performance as well as rider comfort. During extended rides, shoes that do not fit properly or improperly cooperate with the pedals of a bicycle can generate sores or blisters on a rider's feet due to undesired inaction of the shoe with more tender areas of the foot.

In an attempt to mitigate these effects, many manufacturers provide a variety of shoe sizes in a variety of shoe widths. Although many shoes are provided in variety of sizes and widths, many riders can only approximate a desired fit and must tune the fit of the shoe with the laces and/or straps. With respect to bicycle shoes having strapped closures, commonly, one or more hook and loop straps traverse the tongue groove formed between the opposite sides of an upper of the shoe. One side of the strap is secured to a first side of the upper and the strap is passed through an eyelet that is secured to another side of the upper on the opposite side of the tongue groove. As the wearer pulls the end of the strap, the sides of the upper are tightened or snugged about the user's foot as the strap slides through the eyelet. When the desired compression is achieved, the user overlays the hook and loop portions of the strap to secure the opposite sides of the upper at a desired position. Although such straps are adequate for the forward portions of the tongue groove, a throat portion of the shoe closure, or that portion where the rider's ankle enters the shoe, requires greater padding and flexibility than such a closure offers.

Commonly, the throat closure of a bicycle shoe includes a strap and a pad area configured to be generally aligned with the tongue groove. The strap commonly extends from one side of the upper to another. One side of the strap is secured to a first side of the upper and a second side of the strap is constructed to cooperate with a buckle assembly that is secured to the opposite side of the upper. Although such a configuration provides a generally more flexible throat closure than the over-lying portions of a hook and loop strap, the strap assembly is not without its respective drawbacks.

As the user manipulates the buckle assembly to achieve the desired closure pressure, the pad attached to the strap translates to nearer the buckle or outward side of the upper. Such operation can result in the undesirable positioning of the pad to the lateral sides of a given riders' foot. Furthermore, although a number of shoes and widths are provided, not all feet that have similar sizes and widths are the same. For instance, the arch one rider's foot may extend higher than that of a rider having a foot of a comparable size. As the throat strap of the shoe is generally positioned over the arch of the foot, and there is great deal of movement and flexure of the foot structures proximate the throat opening during a pedaling operation, improper positioning of the padded area of the strap relative to the arch of the foot of the rider can result in a severally uncomfortable or irritating fit of the shoe with respect to individual riders.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to have a shoe closure or strap assembly and method of forming a throat closure of a shoe wherein both ends of the strap cooperate with the shoe in an adjustable manner so that individual users can select a preferred strap orientation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a bicycle shoe strap assembly and method of forming a throat closure of a bicycle shoe that overcomes one or more of the aforementioned drawbacks. A bicycle shoe strap assembly according to one aspect of the invention includes a pad, a first strap, and a second strap. The first and second straps pass through loops that are formed on generally opposite ends of the pad. The first strap includes a number of ridges that are constructed to pass through the first loop. The second strap is constructed to pass through the second loop and extend in an opposite direction with respect to the first strap. The first strap is constructed to engage a buckle that secures the first strap to a bicycle shoe and the second strap is constructed to engage a mount body that secures the second strap to the bicycle shoe. Each of the first strap and the second strap are securable to the shoe in a number of positions to generally center the pad across an arch of a foot of a wearer. Such a strap assembly allows the pad to be positioned to correspond to the anatomy of individual wearers.

A further aspect of the invention usable with one or more of the above aspects is to provide a buckle assembly that cooperates with the first strap. The buckle assembly preferably includes a catch that cooperates with the ribs of the first strap. Preferably, the buckle assembly includes a ratchet that cooperates with the number of ribs so that a user can conveniently snug the strap across the top of the foot. Preferably, the ratchet tensions the opposite sides of an upper of the shoe such that the shoe slightly compresses about the foot.

Another aspect of the invention usable with one or more of the above aspects is to form a number of openings in the second strap or provide the second strap in a number of discrete portions with a single opening formed in each portion. Each opening cooperates with a post that extends from a shoe such that the second strap can be secured to the shoe in a variety of positions. Alternatively, the strap includes a projection that cooperates with a number of openings formed in a mount body secured to the shoe. Preferably, if the strap includes a projection, the projection is secured to the strap with a living hinge. Such constructions also allow the second strap to be secured to the shoe in a number of positions.

Another aspect of the invention useable with one or more of the above aspects is that one or more of the pad, first strap, and second strap is replaceable. Preferably, the shoe assembly includes at least one hook and loop strap that provides closure pressure forward of the strap assembly.

A further aspect useable with one or more of the above aspects is to form a sole of the shoe to have a cleat configured to engage a bicycle pedal. Preferably, each shoe of a pair of shoes has generally mirror image constructions of one another.

A method of forming a shoe throat closure in accordance with one or more of the aspects above includes providing a strap assembly having a pad with first and second straps extending from opposite sides thereof. The first strap and the second strap are each secured to the bicycle shoe at one of a variety of positions to generally center and snug the pad across an arch of a foot of user.

These and various other features and advantages of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings illustrate one preferred embodiment presently contemplated for carrying out the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a left foot bicycle shoe having a strap assembly according to a first embodiment present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 1 removed from the shoe;

FIG. 3 is a partially rearward elevation view of an instep portion of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 2 with an instep strap secured to the shoe;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 with the instep strap disengaged from the shoe;

FIG. 5A is a plan view of one embodiment of an instep portion of the strap assembly with the instep strap in the orientation shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5B is a view similar to FIG. 5A of another embodiment of the instep portion of the strap assembly according to the present invention;

FIG. 5C is an elevation view of a mount according to another embodiment of the invention that allows passage of a terminal end of the instep strap into the shoe;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the instep portion of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is an elevation view of a right foot bicycle shoe showing the portion of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 2 that extends to the outward side of the bicycle shoe and which cooperates with a buckle assembly;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of that which is shown in FIG. 7 with the outward strap of the strap assembly disengaged from the buckle assembly;

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 2 of a strap assembly according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a partially rearward elevation view of an instep portion of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 9 with an instep strap secured to a shoe;

FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 10 wherein the instep strap has been disengaged from the shoe; and

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the instep portion of the strap assembly in the orientation shown in FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows a bicycle shoe 20 having a strap assembly 22 according to one embodiment of the invention. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, bicycle shoe 20 includes an upper 24 that extends in an upward direction from a sole 26. Preferably, a cleat 27 is formed on an underside of sole 26 and configured to cooperate with a bicycle pedal. Upper 24 extends from sole 26 in a generally continuous manner from a toe portion 28 to a heal portion 30 of shoe 20. Upper 24 includes a first or outward side 32 and a second or instep side 34. As used herein, outward refers to a direction generally away from the instep areas shoe 20. Sides 32, 34 of upper 24 are generally separated by a groove or tongue slot 36 and a heal opening or throat 38 of shoe 20. Strap assembly 22, as well as one or more optional straps 40, 42, are secured to the generally opposite sides 32, 34 of upper 24 to maintain a generally snug engagement between upper 24 and the foot of a wearer. Preferably, optional straps 40, 42 include a hook and loop interface 44 and cooperate with an eyelet 46 to provide a convenient and repeatably operable closure strap. As shown in FIG. 1, strap assembly 22 is positioned nearer throat 38 than optional straps 40, 42.

Referring to FIG. 2, strap assembly 22 includes a pad 50 and a first or outward strap 52 and a second or instep strap 54 which extend from generally opposite ends 56 of pad 50. Straps 52, 54 engage the opposite sides 32, 34 of upper 24 so as to secure throat 38 snuggly about the ankle of a rider. A securing means or loop 58 is positioned at each of ends 56 of pad 50 and engages one of outward strap 52 or instep strap 54. Preferably, straps 52, 54 slidably cooperate with a respective loop 58. Each of straps 52, 54 include a head 60, 62 that cannot pass through a respective loop 58. Loops 58 and heads 60, 62 each include a contoured interface 64, 66 respectively that generally aligns a respective strap 52, 54 with an axis of pad 50 that generally laterally crosses the foot of the wearer.

Outward strap 52 includes a body 68 that extends beyond loop 58. As described further below with respect to FIGS. 7 and 8, body 68 of strap 52 operatively engages a buckle assembly 94. A number projections or ridges 70 are formed along the length of body 68 and interact with the buckle assembly to provide a variable offset of head 60 relative to upper 32 of shoe 20. Such a construction allows pad 50 to be variably positioned with respect to instep side 32 of shoe 20.

Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, instep strap 54 also includes a generally elongate body 72. Body 72 extends from head 62 and at least one hole 74 formed through body 72. Alternatively, instep strap 54 includes a number of perforations or holes 74 formed through body 72. Instep strap 54 slidably cooperates with a mount or mount body 76 that is secured to instep side 34 of upper 24 of shoe 20. In that embodiment wherein instep strap 54 includes more than one hole 74, instep strap 54 is securable to mount body 76 in a variety of positions such that the position of pad 50 can be adjusted relative to instep side 34 of shoe 20. Alternatively, as discussed further below with respect to FIGS. 5A and 5B, where instep strap 54 includes one hole, a number of instep straps 54 can be provided wherein hole 74 is offset a different distance from head 60 for each respective strap. A user merely selects the strap having the hole that provided the desired positioning of pad 50.

Referring to FIGS. 3-6, mount body 76 is secured to instep side 34 of upper 24 of shoe 20. Mount body 76 includes a projection or post 80 that cooperates with holes 74 formed in body 72 of instep strap 54. A tab or nipple 82 extends from post 80 in a crossing direction relative to a longitudinal axis of the post, or a direction that post 80 extends from mount body 76. As shown in FIGS. 5A and 6, nipple 82 overlies a portion of body 72 of instep strap 54 when post 80 is engaged with one of holes 74. The interaction of post 80 and nipple 82 with the holes 74 of instep strap 54 prevents the inadvertent disengagement of instep strap 54 from mount body 76.

In one embodiment, a closed loop or pocket 88 extends from mount body 76 proximate post 80 and receives that portion of strap 54 that extends beyond post 80. Pocket 88 further reduces the potential of strap 54 inadvertently disengaging with post 80 and maintains the portion of instep strap 54 which extends beyond post 80 in relatively close proximity to upper 34 of shoe 20. Furthermore, pocket 88 prevents inadvertent contact of strap 54 with adjacent structures of the bicycle during use. Alternatively, as described further below with respect to FIG. 5C, shoe 20 could be constructed to include an opening or slot for receiving that portion of strap 54 which extends beyond post 80. Another alternative of pocket 88 is discussed further below with respect to FIG. 9 wherein the pocket is formed with alternate longitudinal open ends such that the instep strap can pass entirely through the pocket. Each of these configurations reduces the potential of strap 54 undesirably extending beyond close proximity to shoe 20.

Still referring to FIG. 5A, when it is desired to remove strap 54 from mount body 76, displacement of strap 54 in a downward direction, indicated by arrow 90, allows hole 74 of instep strap 54 to clear nipple 82 such that strap 54 can be deflected in an outward direction, indicated by arrow 92 (FIG. 2). The deflection of instep strap 54 in an outward direction beyond post 80 allows instep step 54 to clear post 80 such that the instep side of the strap assembly can be removed or repositioned relative to shoe 20. Once strap 54 is disengage from post 80, strap 54 can be translated in a direction toward the top of the wearer's foot, indicated by arrow 97 (FIG. 5), thereby disengaging strap 54 from pocket 88. As shown in FIG. 5A, post 80 and nipple 82 are configured to cooperate with each of holes 74 formed in instep strap 54 so as to provide a variable offset between head 62 of instep strap 54 and mount body 76. Such a construction allows a wearer to individualize the position of pad 50 with respect to instep side 34 of upper 24.

An instep strap 54′ according to another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 5B. As shown in FIG. 5B, to provide the multi-positionable connectability of the instep strap, instep strap 54′ includes a pair of strap portions 220, 222 that each includes a single opening 224, 226 formed along a length of the respective strap portions 220, 222. Each strap portion 220, 222 includes a head 228 and a body 230 that cooperate with the loop of pad 50 in a manner similar to that described above with respect to FIG. 5A.

However, each opening 224, 226 is offset a different distance, indicated by arrows 232, 234 from the head 228 of each respective strap portion 220, 222. Such a construction alters the position of pad loop 58 relative to mount 76 depending upon which strap portion 220, 222 is engaged therewith. It is appreciated that although instep strap 54′ is shown as having two different strap portions, more strap portions could be provided so as to increase the adjustability of instep strap 54′. It is further appreciated that providing instep strap 54′ as multiple distinct strap portions, increases manufacturing adjustability of the positions of holes 224, 226 as compared to instep strap 54. That is, by providing holes 224, 226 in separate bodies 230, holes 224, 226 can be positioned so as to partly overlie one another. Were such an orientation provided with instep strap 54, one or ordinary skill in the art would appreciate the strap 54 would not cooperate with post 80 and tab 82 in a more desirable snug fashion.

With respect to FIG. 5B, although instep strap 54′ provides a degree of adjustability at least as great as instep strap 54 with the provision of increasing numbers of strap portions, it is envisioned that after a rider who has selected a desired strap portion 220, 222, may simply discard as unusable the remaining strap portion(s) with respect to the specific rider. Additionally, in the event strap 54′ becomes damaged or does not cooperate with mount 76 and/or loop 58 of pad 50, similar to strap 54, it is envisioned that strap 54′ be replaceable with respect to individual rider's preferences.

FIG. 5C shoes a mount 210 according to another embodiment of the invention. Each of straps 54, 54′ and strap portions 220, 222 are constructed to cooperate with mount 76 as shown in FIG. 5A or mount 210 shown in FIG. 5C. Such a construction provides manufacturing and user flexibility in both the construction of shoe 20 and the construction of straps 54, 54′.

As shown in FIG. 5C, mount 210 includes a post 212 having a tab 214 similar to mount 76. An opening 216 is formed in shoe 20 proximate a location comparable to the location of pocket 88 of mount 76. Opening 216 is associated with a pocket 217 interior to shoe 20. Pocket 217, like pocket 88, is sized and shaped to receive a terminal end of one of straps 54, 54′ or strap portions 220, 222. Understandably, opening 216 could be formed as an integral portion of mount 210 or separate therefrom. Opening 216 is constructed to receive that portion of strap 54, 54′ or strap portions 220, 222 that extends beyond post 80, 212. Understandably, as pocket 217 allows a terminal end of strap 54, 54′ to pass into shoe 20, additional padding or the like may be provided interior to shoe 20 and proximate pocket 217 so as to reduce the potential of adverse rider interaction with the terminal end of the strap disposed in pocket 217.

Mounts 76, 210 are each configured to cooperate with one of either of instep straps 54, 54′ thereby increasing the functionality of the shoe closure system. That is, each closure system facilitates the replaceability of each of shoes 20 and straps 54, 54′ independent the other of the shoe of strap. Such a configuration allows a user to more closely tailor the shoe closure system to their individual preferences.

FIG. 7 shows outward strap 52 engaged with a buckle assembly 94 albeit in a right foot shoe orientation as compared to the left foot shoe orientation shown in FIGS. 1-6. Understandably, shoe strap assembly 22 is constructed to cooperate with either of a right foot shoe or a left foot shoe such that the shoes are generally mirror image constructions of one another. That is, strap assembly 22 can be configured for cooperation with either of a right foot shoe or a left foot shoe simply by orienting outward strap 52 and instep strap 54 with respect to pad 50 such that the straps 52, 54 interact with a mount body or buckle assembly associated with the respective side of the show.

Preferably, buckle assembly 94, as well as optional straps 40, 42 are oriented to be manipulated by a common hand of the user. More preferably, buckle assembly 94 and straps 40, 42 are operated by the same hand of a user as is associated with the foot. That is, each of buckle assembly 94 and optional straps 40, 42 are oriented so that a user can manipulate the mechanisms of the right foot with their right hand and the mechanisms of the left foot with their left hand. Such a construction allows a rider to conveniently adjust their footwear while riding if necessary.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, buckle assembly 94 includes a catch 96 and a ratchet 98 that each cooperates with ribs 70 extending from body 68 of outward strap 52. As shown in FIG. 8, buckle assembly 94 includes a base 100 that is secured to outward side 32 of upper 24. A pivot 102 secures catch 96 to base 100. Catch 96 includes a release 104 and a stop 106. A spring is positioned generally behind catch 96 and biases stop 106 toward base 100 of buckle assembly 94. Stop 106 cooperates with one of a number of grooves 108 between respective ribs 70 of outward strap 52 to generally fix the position of strap 52 relative to base 100.

Ratchet 98 includes a handle 110 that is operationally connected to an operator 112. Rotation of handle 110 in a closing direction, indicated by arrow 114, biases operator 112 into engagement with one or more of grooves 108 of outward strap 52 and translates outward strap 52 in a closing direction, indicated by arrow 116. Handle 110 includes an opening 118 that generally corresponds to a size and a shape of catch 96. During the closure of strap assembly 22, outward strap 52 passes through buckle assembly 94 such that stop 106 interacts with one or more of grooves 108 thereby loosely fixing the position of strap assembly 22 relative to a user's foot. User manipulation of handle 110 in direction 114 translates outward strap 52 further in direction 116 such that stop 106 can interact with a rib 70 and groove 108 nearer pad 50 thereby providing a desired compression of strap assembly 22 across a top surface of the foot.

To open strap assembly 22, release 104 is displaced toward base 100, indicated by arrow 105, so that catch 96 rotates about pivot 102. When release 104 is depressed, stop 106 disengages from a respective groove 108 and rib 70 of outward strap 52 such that outward strap 52 can be freely translated in a release or opening direction, indicated by arrow 120, relative to buckle assembly 94. Translation of outward strap 52 in direction 120 enlarges throat 38 or the area associated with the ankle opening of bicycle shoe 20 so that the foot can be removed from shoe 20.

In use, strap assembly 22 allows pad 50 to be generally centrally positioned over the arch area of a rider's foot generally independent of the features of any given wearer's foot. As each of outward strap 52 and instep straps 54, 54′ can be secured to the generally opposite sides of upper 32 at a variety of positions, strap assembly 22 satisfies comfort and fit requirements of a variety of feet shapes and a variety of individual wearer preferences. For example, strap assembly 22 can readily satisfy the fit requirements associated with similar sized feet that have different arch characteristics. The adjustability of both of outward strap 52 and instep strap 54, 54′ allows strap assembly 22 to also satisfy variations in wearer preference with respect to the position of pad 50 relative to their foot. That is, strap assembly 22 can accommodate riders having similar sized feet but a preference to having the pad offset to one of an inward or instep step or an outward side of the arch area of the foot. Further, the adjustable interface of each side of strap assembly 22 with shoe 20 provides a strap assembly that is applicable across a variety of bicycle shoe platforms as well as a wide range of overall bicycle shoe sizes.

FIGS. 9-12 show a shoe strap assembly 150 according to another embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 9, similar to strap assembly 22, strap assembly 150 includes a first or outward strap 152 and a second or instep strap 154 that extend from generally opposite ends 156, 158 of the pad 160. A loop 162, 164 is formed at each of ends 156 158 of pad 160. Each loop 162, 164 engages a head 166, 168 of a respective strap 152, 154. An interface or contour 170 is formed between each respective loop 162, 164 and head 166, 168 pair.

Similar to shoe 20, outward strap 152 includes a number of ridges 172 and grooves 174 and cooperate with a buckle assembly 176. Buckle assembly 176 includes a catch 178 that has a release 180 and a stop 182. Buckle assembly 176 includes a ratchet 184 having a handle 186 with an opening 188 formed therethrough. Opening 188 is generally constructed to correspond to catch 178 such that catch 178 is accessible when handle 186 is in a closed position. The operation and interaction between buckle assembly 176 and outward strap 152 are generally similar to that as described above with respect to strap assembly 22.

Instep strap 154 includes a projection or post 190 that is movably connected to instep strap 154. Preferably, post 190 is attached to instep strap 154 by a pivotable member such as a living hinge 192. Instep strap 154 is constructed to slidably cooperate with a mount or mount body 194 that is secured to shoe 20. Mount body 194 includes a number of openings or holes 196, 198, 200 that are generally aligned along a longitudinal axis of a mount body 194. Each of holes 196, 198, 200 is constructed to snap fittingly cooperate with post 190 of instep strap 154. Referring to FIGS. 10-12, an end 202 of instep strap 154 is constructed to pass through a channel 204 of mount body 194. As instep strap 154 is engaged with mount body 194, post 190 is deflected in a downward direction, as indicated by arrow 208 (FIG. 12) to pivot about living hinge 192 such that post 190 can engage a respective opening 196, 198, 200 of mount body 194. It is appreciated that during engagement and disengagement of instep strap 154 from mount body 194, post 190 may be repeatably deflected so as to engage a desired opening 196, 198, 200 of mount body 194. That is, post 190 may need to be deflected to allow translation of instep strap 154 relative to channel 204 of mount body 194 until post 190 engages a desired one of openings 196, 198, 200.

Although mount body 194 is shown as having two generally open ends that accommodate the passage of instep strap 154 entirely through the channel 204 of mount body 194, it is appreciated that mount body 194 could include a lower closed end similar to mount 210 (FIG. 5A) or accommodate passage of the terminal end of instep strap 154 into shoe 20 similar to the configuration of mount 210 and pocket 217 (FIG. 5C). Understandably, wherein mount body 194 includes a closed end nearer the sole of shoe 20, post 190 can be positioned longitudinally along strap 154 nearer a terminal end 223 of strap 154 such that terminal end 223 of strap 154 does not interfere with the closed end of mount body 194 when it is desired for post 190 to cooperate with hole 196 nearest the sole of shoe 20.

Regardless of the specific configuration of mount body 194, similar to strap assembly 22, strap assembly 150 is adjustable with respect to mount body 194 as well as buckle assembly 176 thereby providing lateral or side to side adjustment of pad 160 relative to the foot of a rider. Although it is envisioned that pad 160 be generally centered across the top of the arch of the foot of the rider, the adjustability of the various strap assemblies allows a rider to individualize the configuration of the strap assembly for a desired fit and comfort.

The present invention has been described in terms of the preferred embodiment, and it is recognized that equivalents, alternatives, and modifications, aside from those expressly stated, are possible and within the scope of the appending claims.





 
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