US 20010013157 A1
Device to close footwear and to clamp said footwear to sports equipment such as snowboards, skates or similar, comprising at least a first strip element provided with attachment means able to cooperate selectively with a plurality of mating constraining seatings made on a second strip element to achieve a desired degree of closure for said footwear or clamping thereof onto said equipment, said constraining seatings being associated with respective identification elements to identify the different degree of closure/clamping which said constraining seatings are able to achieve.
1. Device to close footwear or to clamp said footwear to any sport equipment such as snowboards, skates or the like, comprising at least a first strip element provided with attachment means able to selectively cooperate with a second strip element having a plurality of mating constraining seatings to achieve a desired degree of closure of said footwear or clamping thereof onto said sport equipment, wherein said seatings are arranged aligned with each other and close together, and wherein identification elements are associated to said constraining seatings to identify the different degree of closure or clamping which said constraining seatings are achieved, said identification elements defining a graduated scale increasing from one end to the other of said second strip element.
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 The invention concerns a device to close footwear and to clamp it to sports equipment such as snowboards, skis, skates or suchlike, on which the user rests his feet.
 The invention is able both to allow to close the footwear, in particular ski-boots, and also to selectively clamp the footwear onto the sports equipment, allowing a quick and easy adjustment of the closing/clamping constraint.
 The state of the art includes devices employed to close footwear, in particular ski-boots, and/or to clamp said footwear onto sports equipment such as snowboards, skates or similar.
 The devices normally comprise two strip elements which can be associated with each other and attached on opposite sides of the footwear or the seating on which the user's foot rests.
 A first strip element is provided with attachment means (such as a lever, a pin or similar) able to cooperate selectively with a plurality of mating constraining seatings (such as teeth, holes or suchlike) made on the second strip element.
 The footwear is closed or clamped by coupling the attachment means to a specific constraining seating which is chosen according to the degree of closure/clamping desired.
 It is not always easy for the user to chose the most appropriate constraining seating, however, and even when it has been identified, it is difficult to recognize it in subsequent uses.
 In fact, every time the user has to close the footwear or clamp it on the equipment, he is obliged to choose the constraining seating only according to his own memory; this choice is therefore very often wrong, or in any case improper, and obliges the user either to use the footwear and equipment incorrectly or to continuously adjust the device, with considerable loss of time and interruptions to the sports activity.
 The present Applicant has devised and embodied this invention to overcome these shortcomings and to obtain other advantages.
 The invention is set forth and characterized in the main claim, while the dependent claims describe other characteristics of the invention.
 The purpose of the invention is to achieve a device to close footwear, and to clamp the latter to sports equipment, which will allow maximum flexibility in adjustment, and will permit the user, once the most appropriate degree of closure/clamping has been defined, to reconfigure the device to the same degree easily and immediately, in subsequent uses too.
 Another purpose of the invention is to embody a closing and clamping device which is simple and economical, but at the same time effective and safe.
 The device according to the invention comprises two strip elements; the first is provided with attachment means able to cooperate selectively with a plurality of mating constraining seatings made on the second in order to achieve a defined degree of closure/clamping.
 According to the invention, the constraining seatings are associated with respective identification elements to identify the different degree of closure/clamping which they are able to achieve.
 This allows the user to easily memorize the identification element corresponding to the degree of closure/clamping most suitable for him and therefore to immediately recognize the identification element when the footwear or sports equipment, with which the device is associated, is subsequently used.
 In a preferential embodiment, the constraining seatings are arranged aligned with each other and close together, and the relative identification elements, all together, define a graduated scale.
 In a first form of embodiment, the identification elements consist of letters or numbers arranged in progressive order.
 According to a variant, they consist of different colors.
 According to another variant, they consist of symbols, images or graphic motifs which are easy to memorize and recognize.
 These two last solutions are particularly advantageous if the users are people who are not able to comprehend and recognize the alphanumeric characters shown on the device, such as for example children not yet able to read or people from countries which use alphanumeric characters which are different from those shown.
 These and other characteristics of the invention will become clear from the following description of a preferred form of embodiment, given as a non-restrictive example, with reference to the attached drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 shows a device according to the invention employed to close a ski-boot;
FIG. 2 is a part view of a detail of a snowboard provided with two devices according to the invention;
FIG. 3 is a three-dimensional view of the closing/clamping device according to the invention;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal section of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 shows a variant of FIG. 3.
 With reference to the attached drawings, a closing and clamping device 10 according to the invention is shown in two different applications in FIGS. 1 and 2.
 In FIG. 1 the device 10 is associated with an article of footwear 12, consisting of a ski-boot, to ensure it is closed, in this case in cooperation with laces 22.
 In FIG. 2, instead, two devices 10 are associated with an attachment 15 of a sports equipment 11, for example a snowboard, and allow to clamp an article of footwear 12 into a supporting seating 13 defined by the attachment 15 itself.
 The device 10 comprises two strip elements 14 a and 14 b able to be attached on opposite sides of the article of footwear 12 or the attachment 15 and able to be associated with each other.
 A first strip element 14 a is provided with a buckle 16 equipped with an attachment lever 17 and a drawing lever 18.
 The attachment lever 17 is associated with elastic means, not shown here, able to keep it thrusting downwards.
 The second strip element 14 b is provided with a toothing 119 comprising a plurality of teeth 19 on which the attachment lever 17 is able to selectively engage due to the thrust of the relative elastic means.
 According to a characteristic feature of the invention, the toothing 119 has a graduated scale, in this case increasing from the free end to the fixed end of the second portion 14 b, so that each tooth 19 is marked with a respective identification element 20 in this case on the upper side.
 In the embodiments shown here, the identification elements 20 consist of alphanumeric elements 21; to be exact, numbers in the case of FIGS. 1-3 and letters in the embodiment shown in FIG. 5.
 According to a variant which is not shown here, the identification elements 20 consist of different colors.
 According to another variant, the identification elements 20 consist of symbols or figures which are easy to memorize and recognize.
 To close the article of footwear 12 or to clamp the article of footwear 12 to the equipment 11, the user inserts the second strip element 14 b inside the buckle 16 and, acting on the drawing lever 18, causes the two strip elements 14 a and 14 b to be superimposed, taking the attachment lever 17 to engage on the desired tooth 19 according to the degree of closure/clamping required.
 Once the most appropriate tooth 19 on which to engage the attachment lever 17 has been identified, the user can easily memorize the identification element 20 shown thereon, in this case by observing it through an aperture 18 a made on the drawing lever 18, so that in subsequent uses he is able to recognize the previously chosen tooth 19 easily and immediately.
 In this way the closure and/or clamping of the article of footwear 12 is obviously the most suitable for the requirements of the user, so he is not obliged to continuously interrupt his sporting activity in order to adjust the device 10.
 The user also has the option of choosing two or more closure/clamping positions, depending on the changing conditions under which the sporting activity is carried out (for example according to the type of route to be followed, the different consistency of the snow, etc.).
 It is obvious, however, that modifications and/or additions may be made to the closing and clamping device 10 as described heretofore, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
 Thus the strip elements 14 a and 14 b can be made differently and can be provided for example with pin-type clamping means able to be inserted into constraining seatings consisting of holes which have the identification elements 20 at the side.
 It is also obvious that, although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, a skilled person shall certainly be able to achieve many other equivalent forms of the closing and clamping device, all of which shall come within the field and scope of the invention.