US 20050097780 A1
Footwear having a lace fastening is described and comprises an opening having a first edge and a second edge which are juxtaposed and which each have a plurality of lacing eyes, between which at least one lace of the fastening extends, and a tongue-form flap extending along the edges at the location of the opening. The footwear also comprises at least one lace-locking device secured to the flap in a position between the edges, so that respective ends of the at least one lace that extend through corresponding end lacing eyes of the fastening are locked in the device with a selected tensioning in order consequently to close the fastening with the desired degree of tightening.
1. Footwear having a lace fastening, comprising an opening having a first edge and a second edge which are juxtaposed and which each have a plurality of lacing eyes between which at least one lace of the fastening extends, and a tongue-form flap extending along the edges at the location of the opening, said fastening further comprising at least one lace-locking device secured to the flap in a position between the edges, so that respective ends of the at least one lace which extend through corresponding end lacing eyes of the fastening are locked in the said device with a selected tensioning in order consequently to close the fastening with a desired degree of tightening.
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an upper defining an opening having juxtaposed first and second edges and lacing eyes positioned along said edges through which at least one lace can extend, said upper having a tongue-form flap extending along said edges at said opening; and
at least one lace-locking device secured to said flap in a position between said edges of said opening, said device being configured to receive respective ends of the lace from end lacing eyes and to lock the ends of the lace with a selected tensioning.
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The present invention relates to footwear having a lace fastening.
The invention is applicable particularly, although not exclusively, to the technical field of sports footwear, such as footwear for snowboarding, trekking, skating and the like, in which the upper is typically in the form of an elongate ankle-boot having a front lace fastening suitable for guaranteeing quick and effective tightening and equally quick and effective loosening, in addition to ensuring homogeneous closure along the edges of the access opening of the footwear.
In order to close such a fastening, the known solutions generally provide for one or more constricting devices that are suitable for locking the ends of the laces and that are fitted to the lateral flanks of the upper or are free relative thereto.
A principal object of the invention is to provide footwear having a lace fastening in which the fastening is rendered more effective in ensuring improved locking of the foot with respect to the footwear, in particular when the edges of the footwear are tightened together with the central tongue on the user's foot.
A further object is to render the locking of the lace ends quick and reliable and the loosening thereof equally quick and easy.
Yet another object is to produce footwear which ensures that the fastening is tightened even in the absence of knotting between the ends of the laces, for an easier operation of closing and opening the fastening.
Those objects and others too, which will appear hereinafter, are achieved by the invention by footwear produced in accordance with the aspects of the present invention as described and claimed.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become clearer from the detailed description, below, of a preferred embodiment thereof illustrated by way of non-limiting example with reference to appended drawings.
According to one exemplary aspect of the invention, footwear is provided having a lace fastening. The lace fastening includes an opening having a first edge and a second edge which are juxtaposed and which each have a plurality of lacing eyes between which at least one lace of the fastening extends. The lace fastening also includes a tongue-form flap extending along the edges at the location of the opening. The lace fastening further includes at least one lace-locking device secured to the flap in a position between the edges, so that respective ends of the at least one lace which extends through corresponding end lacing eyes of the fastening are locked in the device with a selected tensioning in order consequently to close the fastening with the desired degree of tightening.
A preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of non-limiting example with reference to the appended drawings, in which:
FIGS. 6 to 8 are perspective diagrammatic views of the footwear of the previous Figures in various operative fastening positions.
Referring to the mentioned drawings, footwear produced in accordance with the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral 1. The footwear 1 is of the type used for the sport of snowboarding, but it will be appreciated that the invention is applicable equally effectively to the production of footwear of other types.
The footwear 1 comprises an upper 2 with a sole 3 and an opposed entrance 4 for the fitting-on of the footwear. An opening 5 is formed in the upper 2 and its juxtaposed edges are indicated 5 a, 5 b. A flap in the form of a tongue 6 extends from the lower portion 7 of the opening 5 as far as the entrance 4 and is optionally provided with padding 8.
Numeral 9 indicates a first lacing eye provided in the opening 5 at the location of the lower portion 7 thereof. Respective pluralities of lacing eyes are also fitted in corresponding and facing positions on the respective edges 5 a, 5 b. By convention, the lacing eyes on the edge 5 a are all marked 10 a, while the lacing eyes on the edge 5 b are all marked 10 b, except for the pair of end lacing eyes of the fastening (at the location of the entrance 4) which are marked 11 a, 11 b, respectively, for each corresponding edge.
One or more laces of the fastening extend through the above-mentioned lacing eyes. In the example described, the fastening provides for a pair of laces 12, 13, the arrangement of which between the lacing eyes may be, for example, of the same type as that described in Italian patent application PD2003A000083 in the name of the same applicant, to which reference should be made for any details not expressly mentioned herein. It will be appreciated that the footwear 1 can provide for the engagement in the lacing eyes 9, 10 a,b and 11 a,b of a single lace in accordance with arrangements of a conventional type, although the configuration described represents a preferred choice.
In the selected configuration, the two laces 12, 13 extend through alternate lacing eyes of the two series of lacing eyes in a manner such that, between two lacing eyes of the same edge through which the first lace extends, there is at least one lacing eye of the same edge through which the second lace extends. Both of the laces 12, 13 also extend through the lacing eye 9, which is in the form of a double channel, and through the two end lacing eyes 11 a, 11 b. In the configuration described, it is also provided that the free extremities of the laces 12, 13 are joined to each other at the ends to form a closed loop in which those extremities form respective grips 14 suitable for facilitating the pulling and tightening of the fastening.
According to a principal feature of the invention, the footwear 1 comprises a lace-locking device 15 for locking the ends of the laces 12, 13. To be more precise, the lace-locking device 15 is secured to the tongue-form flap 6 in a position between the edges 5 a, 5 b, in a region close to the entrance 4 for the fitting-on of the footwear.
The lace-locking device 15 comprises two respective juxtaposed portions 16 a, 16 b which are substantially plate-shaped and which are joined centrally by an intermediate narrowed portion 16 c so that the portions 16 a,b have respective surfaces 17 a, 17 b, which face each other along at least part of the outer contour of the intermediate portion 16 c and which define respective grooves for accommodating and locking the laces of the fastening, as will emerge in detail in the further course of the description.
The portions 16 a-c of the device 15 are advantageously produced in one piece with one another, for example by molding plastics material, and may also be integral with a further widened plate-shaped base 18 which extends from the side of the portion 16 a and which is provided for securing the lace-locking device 15 to the tongue 6.
A pair of opposite groove portions 19 a, 19 b extending substantially in a direction parallel with the direction of the extension of the edges 5 a, 5 b is defined between the surfaces 17 a, 17 b. Those groove portions 19 a, 19 b are also connected to each other by a third groove portion 19 c (
At the location of the opposite end of the portions 19 a,b, the lace-locking device has a widely curved depression 19 d (
Numeral 20 (
In particular, pairs of projecting tooth-like formations 20 are provided in a position facing each other inside the corresponding groove portion. At the stage of closing the fastening, the ends of the laces 12, 13 are tensioned by pulling actions exerted by way of the grips 14 until the desired tension is reached. Subsequently, the ends of the laces exiting from the respective end lacing eye 11 a, 11 b are brought in the direction towards the corresponding opposed edge 5 b, 5 a as illustrated in
It should be noted that the extension of the groove portions 19 a-c associated with the ends of the laces 12, 13 is such as to provide a surface for relative locking by friction sufficient to keep the laces tensioned in the lace-locking device 15 with the selected fastening tension without therefore requiring any further application of knots or bows between the ends of the opposite laces. This therefore advantageously results in greater practicality and ease for the user in the operations of closing and opening the fastening. In that case, the free ends of the laces, beyond the locking portions of the device 15, can simply be placed in a suitable pouch (not shown) formed, for example, in the portions of the upper that are close to the edges 5 a, 5 b of the footwear, at the location of the entrance 4. Alternatively, however, those ends could be knotted together and placed at the location of the depression 19 d at the top of the lace-locking device 15.
It will also be observed that the depth of the grooves 19 a-c is chosen in such a manner as to permit the accommodation of two or more laces, each of which is lockable by surface friction against the walls of the respective groove, in order to ensure the closure of the fastening irrespective of the number of laces of the selected configuration.
It should also be observed that, owing to the fact that the lace-locking device 15 is secured to the tongue 6 of the footwear, during the tightening of the fastening, both the footwear edges 5 a, 5 b and the tongue 6 are tightened at the same time on the user's foot, giving efficient and improved locking of the footwear.
In addition, the provision of only a single lace-locking device 15 arranged to lock all of the laces exiting from the end lacing eyes 11 a, 11 b of the fastening permits advantageous structural simplifications and ease of use for the user, at the same time ensuring reliability and efficiency in closing the fastening.
The invention therefore achieves the proposed objects, obtaining the above-mentioned advantages over the known solutions.