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Publication numberUS20040221481 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/431,874
Publication dateNov 11, 2004
Filing dateMay 7, 2003
Priority dateMay 7, 2003
Also published asWO2004101001A2, WO2004101001A3
Publication number10431874, 431874, US 2004/0221481 A1, US 2004/221481 A1, US 20040221481 A1, US 20040221481A1, US 2004221481 A1, US 2004221481A1, US-A1-20040221481, US-A1-2004221481, US2004/0221481A1, US2004/221481A1, US20040221481 A1, US20040221481A1, US2004221481 A1, US2004221481A1
InventorsPaul Regen
Original AssigneeRegen Paul Lewis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Systems and methods for ventilation of footwear
US 20040221481 A1
Abstract
A ventilation system for an article of footwear has a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the article of footwear. The system is characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line into the inner volume of the article of footwear, which has a cooling effect as well as pumping away noxious odors and eliminating a bacteria-friendly environment.
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Claims(40)
What is claimed is:
1. A ventilation system for a shoe, comprising:
a gas-motive device;
an inlet line to the gas-motive device; and
an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe;
characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line into the inner volume of the shoe.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition.
3. The system of claim 1 wherein the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the outlet line communicates through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein the outlet line communicates through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe.
6. The system of claim 2 further comprising one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action.
7. The system of claim 2 wherein the inlet and the outlet lines are the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.
8. The system of claim 2 arranged to place the bladder under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
9. The system of claim 2 arranged to place the bladder under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
10. The system of claim 1 further comprising a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.
11. An article of footwear comprising:
a sole region for underlying a user's foot;
an upper region for engaging a user's foot in use, to stabilize the footwear on the user's foot, and defining an inner volume around the user's foot; and
a ventilation system including a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe;
characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line into the inner volume.
12. The article of footwear of claim 11 wherein the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition.
13. The article of footwear of claim 11 wherein the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air.
14. The article of footwear of claim 11 wherein the outlet line communicates through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe.
15. The article of footwear of claim 11 wherein the outlet line communicates through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe.
16. The article of footwear of claim 12 further comprising one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action.
17. The article of footwear of claim 12 wherein the inlet and the outlet lines are the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.
18. The article of footwear of claim 12 arranged to place the bladder under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
19. The article of footwear of claim 12 arranged to place the bladder under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
20. The article of footwear of claim 11 further comprising a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.
21. A method for ventilating a shoe, comprising the steps of:
(a) incorporating a gas-motive device having an inlet line and an outlet line into the shoe, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe; and
(b) operating the gas motive device to move gaseous material drawn from the inlet line into the inner volume of the shoe.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition, such that shifting a user's weight onto an off an area over the bladder operates the bladder as a bellows pump.
23. The method of claim 21 wherein the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air.
24. The method of claim 21 wherein the outlet line communicates through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe.
25. The method of claim 21 wherein the outlet line communicates through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe.
26. The method of claim 22 further comprising one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action.
27. The method of claim 22 wherein the inlet and the outlet lines are the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.
28. The method of claim 22 arranged to place the bladder under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
29. The method of claim 22 arranged to place the bladder under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
30. The method of claim 31 further comprising a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.
31. A ventilating insert for an article of footwear, comprising:
a region shaped for insertion into the article of footwear, and having a portion for underlying at least a part of a user's foot; and
a ventilation system including a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device positioned in the portion underlying at least a part of the user's foot, the outlet line communicating through the region shaped for insertion into the article of footwear;
characterized in that the gas-motive device is operated by the user in walking or running, such that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line through the insole-shaped region.
32. The insert of claim 31 wherein the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition.
33. The insert of claim 31 wherein the inlet line communicates to outside the article of footwear, and the gaseous material is ambient air.
34. The insert of claim 31 wherein the inlet line communicates through a breathing tongue connected and positioned to lie behind a user's heel with the insert in an article of footwear.
35. The insert of claim 11 wherein the outlet line communicates through a porous inner panel of the insole-shaped region.
36. The insert of claim 32 further comprising one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action.
37. The insert of claim 32 wherein the inlet and the outlet lines are the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the article of footwear, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.
38. The insert of claim 32 arranged to place the bladder under a user's heel, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
39. The insert of claim 32 arranged to place the bladder under the forward area of a user's foot, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.
40. The insert of claim 31 further comprising a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the article of footwear is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is in the field of footwear primarily for humans, and pertains more specifically to apparatus and methods for ventilating footwear in use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is very well-known that there are many problems associated with footwear for people. Among these problems are many associated with perspiration and with the close enclosure typically provided by most kinds of shoes and other footwear. For example, in prolonged use the environment surrounding a user's foot in most footwear may become elevated in temperature and moist from perspiration, which provides a suitable breeding environment for bacteria, and often leads to unpleasant odors, discomfort, and in some cases to uncomfortable blisters and/or rashes. These problems are typically more pronounced with such as athletic footwear.

[0003] What is clearly needed in the art is apparatus and methods for ventilating footwear in use by causing air or other gases to be circulated between a user's foot and the surrounding footwear.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention a ventilation system for a shoe is provided, comprising a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe. The system is characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0005] In some preferred embodiments the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition. Also in some preferred embodiments the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air. In some embodiments the outlet line communicates through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe, and in others the outlet line communicates through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0006] In some embodiments there are one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action. In some cases as well, the inlet and the outlet lines may be the same line, or both may go the inner volume of the shoe, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0007] In some cases the arrangement is to place the bladder under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder. In other cases arrangement is to place the bladder under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.

[0008] In an alternative embodiment of the invention there is a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid,semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir. This feature allows deodorants, perfumes, antibiotics, and the like to be administered into the inner volume of the shoe around a user's foot while the user is using the shoe, walking or running.

[0009] In another aspect of the invention an article of footwear is provided, comprising a sole region for underlying a user's foot, an upper region for engaging a user's foot in use, to stabilize the footwear on the user's foot, and defining an inner volume around the user's foot, and a ventilation system including a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe. The footwear is characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line into the inner volume.

[0010] In some preferred embodiments the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition. Also in some preferred embodiments the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air. The outlet line may communicate through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe, or through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0011] In some embodiments there are one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action. Also in some embodiments the inlet and the outlet lines are the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe. In some cases the bladder will be under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder. In other cases the bladder may be under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.

[0012] In an alternative embodiment there is a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.

[0013] In yet another aspect of the invention a method for ventilating a shoe is provided, comprising the steps of (a) incorporating a gas-motive device having an inlet line and an outlet line into the shoe, the outlet line communicating to an inner volume of the shoe; and (b) operating the gas motive device to move gaseous material drawn from the inlet line into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0014] In some preferred embodiments the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition, such that shifting a user's weight onto an off an area over the bladder operates the bladder as a bellows pump. Also in some preferred embodiments of the method the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air. In some embodiments as well, the outlet line communicates through a manifolding system to several points into the interior of the shoe, or in some embodiments through porous inner panels for distributing air into the inner volume of the shoe. There may be one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action.

[0015] In some embodiments the inlet and the outlet lines may be the same line, and gaseous material is then alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe. In some cases the bladder will be under the heel of the shoe, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder, and in other cases the bladder will be under the forward area of the shoe toward the toe region, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder.

[0016] In another alternative embodiment there will be a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.

[0017] In yet another aspect of the invention a ventilating insert for a shoe is provided, comprising a region shaped substantially as the insole of a shoe, for underlying a user's foot, and a ventilation system including a gas-motive device, an inlet line to the gas-motive device, and an outlet line to the gas motive device, the outlet line communicating through the insole-shaped region. The insert is characterized in that gaseous material is drawn from the inlet line and pumped via the outlet line through the insole-shaped region.

[0018] In preferred embodiments the gas-motive device is a hollow and deformable bladder device with structural integrity to return the bladder after deformation to an un-collapsed condition. Also in preferred embodiments the inlet line communicates to outside the shoe, and the gaseous material is ambient air.

[0019] In some embodiments the inlet line communicates through a breathing tongue connected and positioned to lie behind a user's heel with the insert in a shoe, and also in some embodiments the outlet line communicates through a porous inner panel of the insole-shaped region.

[0020] There may be in the insert one or more one-way valves in the inlet or the outlet lines for controlling the direction of pumping action. Further the inlet and the outlet lines may be the same line, and gaseous material is alternately drawn from the inner volume of the shoe, and urged into the inner volume of the shoe.

[0021] In some cases the insert is arranged to place the bladder under a user's heel, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the heel area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder, while in other cases the arrangement is to place the bladder under the forward area of a user's foot, such that walking or running action placing a user's weight on the forward area alternately collapses and un-collapses the bladder. Further still, there may be a reservoir connected to the inlet line to the gas motive device, the reservoir holding one or more of a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, such that gaseous material drawn into the gas-motive device for transfer into the inner volume of the shoe is integrated with the contents of the reservoir.

[0022] In various embodiments of the invention, several of which are described in enabling detail below, for the first time a system is provided that ventilates a shoe, a piece of footwear, solving a long-standing problem.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0023]FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a representative athletic shoe showing innovative internal apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0024]FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the shoe of FIG. 1 with a portion of the sole of the shoe cut away to show the eternal elements outlined in FIG. 1.

[0025]FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the shoe of FIG. 2 illustrating the elements of apparatus 103 in more detail.

[0026]FIG. 4 is a bottom view of a shoe similar to the shoe of FIG. 3, in an alternative embodiment of the invention.

[0027]FIG. 5 is a bottom view of a shoe similar to the shoes of previous figures, but with yet a different arrangement of elements.

[0028]FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of a shoe similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2, to illustrate another element in a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0029]FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of a shoe having a separate ventilator apparatus placed therein, in an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

[0030]FIG. 8a is a side elevation view of the separate ventilator apparatus of FIG. 7.

[0031]FIG. 8b is a plan view of the separate ventilator apparatus of FIG. 8a, illustrating further detail of the constituent elements.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0032]FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a representative athletic shoe 101 showing innovative internal apparatus 103 within a lower sole structure 102 according to an embodiment of the present invention. In a preferred embodiment of the invention apparatus 103 draws air from outside the shoe and pumps that air into the interior of the shoe around a user's foot. In this preferred embodiment manipulation of apparatus 103 is by the action of the user in walking or running with the shoe.

[0033]FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the shoe of FIG. 1 with a portion of the sole of the shoe cut away to show the eternal elements of apparatus 103 outlined in FIG. 1. In this embodiment a pumping bladder 104 is positioned against a stop structure 109 in the heel area of shoe 101. This bladder is a gas-motive device as is further described below. An air inlet line 105 communicates through a one-way valve 106 with outside environment through the sole structure 102 in the heel of the shoe. The active direction of valve 106 is toward bladder 104, so depression of bladder 104 will close valve 106, preventing expulsion of air through line 105; and expansion of bladder 104 will cause air to be drawn into the bladder through line 105 and valve 106.

[0034] Bladder 104 in this simple case is a hollow, flattened circular structure with enough structural integrity to assume a fully-expanded shape in the absence of force on the heel of the shoe; that is, when a person is not supporting his/her weight on the heel area of the shoe. Bladder 104 in this embodiment also communicates through a one-way valve 107 and a line 108 forward and upward through the insole of shoe 101 into the interior of shoe 101. The active direction of one-way valve 107 is toward the interior of the shoe from bladder 101, such that action of bladder 104 being depressed by a person shifting weight to the heel area of the shoe will force air in the bladder through valve 107 into the interior of shoe 101.

[0035]FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of shoe 101 of FIG. 2 illustrating the elements of apparatus 103 in more detail. In this embodiment bladder 104 feeds through a line 112 through one-way valve 107 into a tee 111 which connects by lines 113 to separate elbows 110 and to individual lines 108 on opposite sides of the shoe. The lines and connections can be plastic-molded lines, elbows and tees, and in some cases pieces of flexible and/or semi-flexible tubing such as Tygon™ plastic tubing. Also, there are many sorts of one-way valves that may be suitable, such as flapper valves and ball valves that are commercially available for one-way fluid applications. There are many possibilities.

[0036] In operation with the arrangement and elements of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3, when a user takes a walking or a running step, transferring the user's weight onto the heel area of shoe 101, bladder 104 gets depressed to some extent, depending on the resiliency of bladder 104, the weight of the user, and the force of the action, and possibly other variables. The depression of the bladder reduces the internal volume of the bladder, one-way valve 106 is urged closed, and air in the bladder is urged through one-way valve 107, through the tubing system including lines 108, and into the internal volume of the shoe.

[0037] As the same user continues to walk or run, and takes another step, for example, shifting the user's weight to the opposite foot, which may have a similarly-enabled shoe, bladder 104, by virtue of its structural integrity, assumes its fully-expanded, as-molded shape, which expands the internal volume of the bladder to a greater volume than it has when the user has his/her weight in the heel area of the shoe. The expansion of bladder 104 closes one-way valve 107 and opens one-way valve 106, and outside air is drawn into bladder 104 through line 105.

[0038] Thusly, walking or running action causes air to incrementally be pumped through the shoe around a user's foot, effectively ventilating the shoe. The pumping action reduces the ambient temperature in the volume of the shoe around the user's foot, moves away any stagnant air, and reduces or eliminates all of the problems described above in the Background section stemming primarily from the conventional lack of ventilation.

[0039]FIG. 4 is a bottom view of a shoe 114 similar to shoe 101 described above, in an alternative embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment bladder 104 with inlets and outlets, and one-way valves 106 and 107 are arranged just as in Shoe 101 previously described. Rather than individual tubings 108 as shown for shoe 101, shoe 114 has a single manifold 115 having a series of openings 116 which communicate upward through the inner sole of the shoe into the interior volume of the shoe. The action in use is essentially the same, and the manifold provides a different distribution of air into the interior of the shoe.

[0040] In other alternative embodiments of the invention different manifolds and manifold systems may be used to distribute air into the shoe in a variety of different patterns, including by, for example an inflatable insole connected to one or more manifolds from the bladder, which insole may have a porous upper surface below the user's foot, such that air pumped into the shoe may diffuse through the special insole over all or a substantial portion of the bottom of the shoe. Such porous insoles may be extended also as porous linings on the sides of the inside of the shoe, and even some top portions, so outside air my be provided and relatively evenly distributed with a shoe so equipped.

[0041]FIG. 5 is a bottom view of a shoe 117 similar to shoes 101 and 114, but with yet a different arrangement of elements. In this embodiment bladder 104 is positioned near the front of the shoe substantially where a user would apply weight from the forward area of the foot just behind the toes. In many applications this position, or a similar position might be preferable to the heel position described above. In this case an inlet line 118 protrudes to the front through one-way valve 106, and lines 119 deliver pumped air to two positions just in front of the heel area. It will be apparent to the skilled artisan that a wide variety of manifolding schemes may be employed from this position of the bladder, just as described above for the heel position of the bladder, including such as porous insoles and the like.

[0042]FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of a shoe 122 similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2, to illustrate another element in a preferred embodiment of the invention. In shoe 122 the inlet line from bladder 104 extends from the heel area into a reservoir 120 having a cap or plug 121, which may be opened to place a solid, semi-solid or liquid perfume, deodorant, fungicide, or anti-bacterial agent, or any combination, into reservoir 120. Air is then drawn into bladder 104 through or around the agent in the reservoir, and the air thusly pumped into the interior of the shoe is then treated accordingly, providing even further advantages for the user. It will be apparent to the skilled artisan that such a reservoir and such agents may be arranged and enabled in a variety of ways, and is broadly applicable to all of the various arrangements of pumping elements and manifolds previously described.

[0043] It will be apparent to the skilled artisan that there are many alterations that may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, there are alternative apparatus for pumping air or other gases than the bladder shown as an example. Some may be powered by the user's action, and some may be powered by, for example, electromotive devices for pumping air or other gases. In the latter case, one-way valves may not be necessary. In some case restrictive valves and devices may be used to tune the amount of air pumped. Air may be drawn in from outside the shoe, or drawn from the interior of the shoe to create a re-circulating effect, which may be useful when using the embodiment shown by FIG. 6, or a similar arrangement, to preserve, for example, the material added by the reservoir. In this alternative embodiment one might draw air from one end of the shoe, add a deodorant or other material, and return the deodorized air to the other end of the shoe. In an alternative embodiment a relatively large volume bladder may be used with a single line into the shoe without a: valve, such that air is alternately pumped into and drawn out of the shoe. There are very many possibilities.

[0044] In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, illustrated in FIG. 7, FIG. 8a and FIG. 8b, a shoe ventilation system is provided, incorporated in an insole for a shoe, such that the unique apparatus may be inserted into virtually any existing shoe to provide the functions and advantages described above relative to FIGS. 1-6. It should be understood that the example of an insole as an insert is not limiting, and the features described may also be provided for an arch support, or in other sorts of inserts that may be used. The idea is to provide the features of the invention in an aftermarket device as well as in footwear OEM.

[0045]FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of a shoe 701 having a separate ventilator apparatus 702 placed therein, much in the manner that a person would place an insole or an arch support, for example, into a shoe.

[0046]FIG. 8a is a side elevation view of apparatus 702 removed from shoe 701, and also showing further constituent elements of apparatus 702. FIG. 8b is a plan view of apparatus 702 of FIG. 8a, illustrating further detail of the constituent elements. Apparatus 702 has equivalent elements to the system previously described, which is built into the sole region of a shoe. There is, for example, a portion 710 that lies in the bottom of the shoe, just as is common for an insole. Portion 710 is connected to a breathing tongue 703 which will lie substantially vertically in the shoe behind a user's heel. Breathing tongue 703 is a substantially flat element having an internal cavity for conducting air from outside the shoe, through a one-way valve 706 into a pump bladder 707 built into or molded into the device. Pump bladder 707 operates by virtue of a user's shifting of weight, just as previously described for other embodiments, and urges air from the bladder into a region 709 within portion 710.

[0047] Portion 710 in this embodiment has a matrix of small openings through the upper surface of region 710 to allow air to be urged into the volume inside a shoe surrounding a user's foot. As a person walks or runs, air is pumped from outside the shoe into the inner volume of the shoe, providing beneficial effect, as also described in more detail above.

[0048] Also is previously described for other embodiments, the apparatus described relative to FIGS. 7 and 8 may also pump air from inside to inside, may have a reservoir for fungicide, disinfectant, deodorant, etc., and may be implemented in a broad variety of ways, including having a powered pump rather than a mechanically-operated pump. This innovation provides a product useful in the footwear aftermarket, as it can be used with existing footwear.

[0049] The method and apparatus of the invention is to be allowed the broadest possible interpretation under examination. The spirit and scope of the invention is limited only by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7331121 *Jan 19, 2005Feb 19, 2008Chie-Fang LoInflatable shoe sole
US7578074 *Sep 29, 2005Aug 25, 2009Ridinger Michael RShoe ventilation and shock absorption mechanism
US8146268 *Jan 28, 2009Apr 3, 2012Sears Brands, LlcShoe having an air cushioning system
US8893403 *Sep 24, 2013Nov 25, 2014Wilhelm MöhlmannSole construction having an air pumping device
US20140013632 *Sep 24, 2013Jan 16, 2014Msc Schweiz AgSole Construction Having an Air Pumping Device
EP1994843A1 *May 16, 2008Nov 26, 2008SSL Healthcare Italia S.p.A.Forced ventilation footwear
WO2006021883A2 *Sep 16, 2005Mar 2, 2006Springtime Dev S AVentilation system and device for shoes
WO2007032037A1 *Jul 24, 2006Mar 22, 2007Springtime Dev S AAeration system and device for shoes
WO2008083734A1 *Oct 5, 2007Jul 17, 2008Voltabo AnstaltBactericidal, fungicide and/or deodorising sole for shoes
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/3.00B, 36/29
International ClassificationA43B7/06
Cooperative ClassificationA43B7/081, A43B1/0045
European ClassificationA43B7/08B, A43B1/00D