US 20030046829 A1
A shoe comprising an upper sole (11) receiving the user's foot, an intermediate sole (12), a bottom support (13) and linking mechanism (14) for detachably linking the bottom support (13) to the intermediate sole (12). The linking mechanism (14) comprise protuberances (15) inclined at an angle or relative to the vertical and designed to be inserted in recesses (16). The shoe further comprises a locking mechanism (19) formed by an elastic catch (21) co-operating with a locking rod (22). The elastic catch can be released from the locking rod to separate the intermediate sole (12) from the bottom support (13).
1. A shoe consisting of an upper, an intermediate sole integral with said upper, and a bottom support detachably joined to the intermediate sole, said shoe further comprising a means for connecting the intermediate sole to the bottom support, said connecting means comprising at least one projection and at least one recess, each projection cooperating with a recess, characterized in that said projections (15) comprise an axis (17, 17′) forming a non-null angle α with the vertical (18) on a contact plane between the intermediate sole (12) and the bottom support (13).
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 The present invention concerns a shoe comprising an upper, an intermediate sole, and a bottom support that is detachable from the intermediate sole, said shoe further comprising a means for attaching the intermediate sole to the bottom support. said attachment means comprises at least one projection and one recess, each projection cooperating with a recess.
 Numerous types of shoes with an intermediate sole and a bottom support formed of an interchangeable sole already exist. They are described in German Utility Model Publication No. DE 297 15 533, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,528,951, and in International Patent Application No. WO-86/04489.
 The shoes described in these three documents comprise an intermediate sole connected to a shoe forming the shoe upper which accommodates the wearer's foot, and an interchangeable sole which contacts the ground. These two soles have a means for detachably connecting them to each other. For this purpose, one of the soles has projecting elements and the other sole has recesses that cooperate with the projections. Some of these are used for positioning and some for locking.
 To ensure these two functions, positioning the interchangeable sole on the intermediate sole is a compound operation: that is, it consists of a rotational movement followed by translational movement, or two translational movements in different directions.
 In order for these compound movements to take place and for the soles to be positioned and locked in place, the projections and the recesses have complex shapes, requiring expensive, complicated manufacturing procedures, primarily due to the necessity of using drawer molds.
 The present invention proposes a solution to the problems of prior art shoes with interchangeable soles by offering a shoe that is simple to use and inexpensive to manufacture.
 These objectives are met by the shoe as defined in the preamble and characterized in that said projections comprise an axis which forms a non-null angle α with the vertical plane on a contact surface between the intermediate sole and the lower support.
 According to a preferred embodiment, the shoe comprises at least two projections, with the axes of the projections all being parallel to one another.
 According to a first embodiment, said projections are essentially cylindrical in shape with their axes parallel to the generatrix of the cylinder.
 According to a second embodiment, said projections are essentially truncated in shape, with their axes passing through the center of the directrix and through the tip of a cone containing said projection.
 According to a third embodiment, said projections are curved, with their axes tangent to the free distal extremity of the projection.
 The angle formed between the axis of each projection and the vertical on said contact surface between the intermediate sole and the lower support ranges from 10° to 80°.
 The shoe may preferably comprise a means for locking the intermediate sole to the lower support.
 Said locking means may comprise at least one flexible catch or hook held by a flexible plate that is movable within a plane containing a straight line parallel to the axis of at least one of the projections.
 The shoe advantageously comprises an housing cooperating with said flexible hook, said housing preferably comprising a locking bar.
 According to a specific embodiment of the invention, the flexible hook is detachable.
 According to a first embodiment, the projections are connected to the intermediate sole.
 According to a second embodiment, the projections are connected to the bottom support.
 The bottom support may consist of a sole, a sports board, or a device with wheels.
 The present invention and its features will be better understood with reference to the attached drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a view of the top of a bottom support adapted to a shoe according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view of the bottom of an intermediate sole of the shoe according to the invention;
FIG. 3 is an exploded cross-section of a first embodiment of the shoe;
FIG. 4 is a cross-section of a second embodiment of a shoe with an interchangeable sole according to the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a specific embodiment of a detail of the invention; and
FIG. 6 also illustrates a specific embodiment of a detail of the invention.
 With reference to these drawings, shoe 10 comprises an upper 11 to accommodate the wearer's foot, and an intermediate sole 12 integral with upper 11. This shoe cooperates with a bottom support 13. The shoe further comprises a means 14 for detachably connecting intermediate sole 12 and bottom support 13.
 The connecting means 14 advantageously comprises at least one projection 15 and a recess 16 cooperating with this projection. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, five projections 15 are provided for positioning and maintaining the intermediate sole on the bottom support. Three of these are located near the front of the shoe and the other two are at the back. These projections are cylindrical or conical and have a longitudinal axis 17 angled from the vertical 18 on the plane of the sole or the plane of contact between the intermediate sole and the bottom support. This longitudinal axis 17 forms an essentially identical angle α relative to the vertical for each projection on the plane of the shoe so that the axes 17 of each projection are essentially parallel to one another. This angle α advantageously ranges from 10° to 80°.
 In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, each projection 15 may have a curved, conical shape. In this case the angle α is defined by axis 17′ passing through the center of gravity of the cone and through its free extremity.
 Intermediate sole 12 or bottom support 13 comprise connection recesses 16. These recesses 16 are complementary in shape to projections 15 and are located opposite the projections so that engaging projections 15 in recesses 16 ensures that the sole is correctly positioned and maintained relative to the support.
 The shoe further comprises a means 19 for locking intermediate sole 12 to bottom support 13. This locking means comprises a locking device 20 which may be formed of a flexible hook 21 cooperating with a locking bar 22 formed in the sole or in the bottom support.
 In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, flexible hook 21′ is detachably connected to the sole. This embodiment has various advantages. First, since the flexible hook is a part that is subjected to mechanical stress, it is possible for it to break. In that case, it can be replaced while still keeping the other parts of the shoe. Secondly, it is possible to select material better adapted to stress, such as nylon.
 Sole 12 or support 13 comprising recesses 16 also have a housing 23 which receives hook 21 of locking means 19. Housing 23 is angled in such a way that when projections 15 are introduced inside recesses 16, hook 21 is also automatically introduced inside housing 23. At the end of the introduction movement, hook 21 rests against locking bar 22 and prevents the sole from involuntarily separating from its support.
 Since the axes 17 of projections 15 are parallel, introducing the projections into the recesses is accomplished with a simple translational motion in the direction defined by the axes.
 When the user wishes to separate the two soles, he or she displaces flexible hook 21 so that it is no longer held in place by locking bar 22; next, projections 15 and hook 21 are removed from recesses 16 and housing 23 with a simple translational motion.
 In the embodiments described, the locking means 19 is made of one piece 24 which is independent of the sole or the support. This allows the piece to be made of material that is more rigid than the material constituting the soles. Piece 24 holding projections 15 is then attached to sole 12 or to support 13 with glue, solder, or some other means that ensures satisfactory bonding between the two pieces.
 The bottom support may be a removable sole or sports board such as a snowboard, a surfboard, a snow ski, or a water ski, for example. This support could also be a wheeled device such as a skateboard or a sole mounted on wheels to form roller skates when the shoe is attached to that support.
 Connecting means 14 may be attached to intermediate sole 12 as well as to interchangeable sole 13. However, if recesses 16 are formed in the intermediate sole 12, the shoe can be used without support 13. This would allow one pair of shoes to have soles of several heights available for use.
 Depending upon the material used in the soles, the connecting means may also form an integral part of one of the soles, that is, independent piece 24 would not exist.
 Since the sole and the support can be connected with a simple translational movement, changing the support is particularly practical and easy. Furthermore, the manufacturing process is also simple since the molds can be opened in the direction of translation, eliminating the need for complex, expensive molds, particularly drawer molds.
 Both the number and the position of the projections can be modified as long as the positioning and maintenance functions are not affected. The projections may be shaped differently from those described above. For example, the base of the projection may be curved in almost any manner, with the distal portion of the projection having a shape that is homothetic to that of the base. The axis of the projection is defined as the homothetic axis.