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Publication numberUS20060101674 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/991,665
Publication dateMay 18, 2006
Filing dateNov 18, 2004
Priority dateNov 18, 2004
Publication number10991665, 991665, US 2006/0101674 A1, US 2006/101674 A1, US 20060101674 A1, US 20060101674A1, US 2006101674 A1, US 2006101674A1, US-A1-20060101674, US-A1-2006101674, US2006/0101674A1, US2006/101674A1, US20060101674 A1, US20060101674A1, US2006101674 A1, US2006101674A1
InventorsJoseph Ungari
Original AssigneeNike International Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article of footwear with powered elements and shaped power source
US 20060101674 A1
Abstract
An article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, and a woven fabric of light elements forming a portion of the upper. In another embodiment, an article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, and a light fiber forming a stitching line on a portion of the upper. In a further embodiment, an article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, a powered element on one of the upper and sole assembly, and a power source operably connected to the powered element, with the power source received in one of the upper and the sole assembly and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
Images(3)
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Claims(66)
1. An article of footwear comprising, in combination:
an upper;
a sole assembly secured to the upper; and
a woven fabric of light elements forming a portion of the upper.
2. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric forms an alphanumeric character.
3. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric forms a symbol.
4. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric comprises side light fibers.
5. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric comprises at least one optical fiber.
6. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric comprises an electroluminescent material.
7. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric includes a plurality of colors.
8. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric is configured to flash on and off intermittently.
9. The article of footwear of claim 1, further comprising a power source operably connected to the woven fabric, received in one of the upper and the sole assembly, and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
10. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source is a battery.
11. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source has at least one curved surface.
12. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source has a compound curved surface.
13. The article of footwear of claim 9, further comprising a heel counter secured to a rear of the upper, the power source having a shape that conforms substantially to a surface of the heel counter.
14. The article of footwear of claim 13, wherein the power source is positioned between the heel counter and the upper.
15. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the sole assembly comprises an outsole and a midsole.
16. The article of footwear of claim 15, wherein the power source is contained within the midsole.
17. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source is positioned about an ankle opening of the upper.
18. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source is a flexible thin layer electrochemical cell.
19. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein the power source is a molded lithium-ion battery.
20. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the woven fabric comprises a plurality of light elements and selected ones of the light elements are illuminated intermittently to produce a moving image.
21. The article of footwear of claim 20, further comprising a controller connected to the light elements.
22. An article of footwear comprising, in combination:
an upper;
a sole assembly secured to the upper;
a woven fabric comprising light conducting fibers and forming a portion of the upper; and
a battery operably connected to the woven fabric, received in one of the upper and the sole assembly, and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
23. The article of footwear of claim 22, wherein the woven fabric comprises a plurality of light elements and selected ones of the light elements are illuminated intermittently to produce a moving image.
24. The article of footwear of claim 23, further comprising a controller connected to the light elements and the battery.
25. An article of footwear comprising, in combination:
an upper;
a sole assembly secured to the upper; and
a light fiber forming a stitching line on a portion of the upper.
26. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber forms an alphanumeric character.
27. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber forms a symbol.
28. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber comprises side light fibers.
29. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber comprises at least one optical fiber.
30. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber comprises an electroluminescent material.
31. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber includes a plurality of colors.
32. The article of footwear of claim 25, wherein the light fiber is configured to flash on and off intermittently.
33. The article of footwear of claim 25, further comprising a power source operably connected to the light fiber, received in one of the upper and the sole assembly, and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
34. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source is a battery.
35. The article of footwear of claim 29, wherein the power source has at least one curved surface.
36. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source has a compound curved surface.
37. The article of footwear of claim 33, further comprising a heel counter secured to a rear of the upper, the power source having a shape that conforms substantially to a surface of the heel counter.
38. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source is positioned between the heel counter and the upper.
39. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the sole assembly comprises an outsole and a midsole.
40. The article of footwear of claim 39, wherein the power source is contained within the midsole.
41. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source is positioned about an ankle opening of the upper.
42. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source is a flexible thin layer electrochemical cell.
43. The article of footwear of claim 33, wherein the power source is a molded lithium-ion battery.
44. An article of footwear comprising, in combination:
an upper;
a sole assembly secured to the upper; and
a light fiber forming a stitching line on a portion of the upper; and
a battery operably connected to the light fiber, received in one of the upper and the sole assembly, and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
45. An article of footwear comprising, in combination:
an upper;
a sole assembly secured to the upper;
a powered element on one of the upper and sole assembly; and
a power source operably connected to the powered element, received in one of the upper and the sole assembly, and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.
46. The article of footwear of claim 45, further comprising at least one additional powered element operably connected to the power source.
47. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source is a battery.
48. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source has at least one curved surface.
49. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source has a compound curved surface.
50. The article of footwear of claim 45, further comprising a heel counter secured to a rear of the upper, the power source having a shape that conforms substantially to a surface of the heel counter.
51. The article of footwear of claim 50, wherein the power source is positioned between the heel counter and the upper.
52. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element comprises a plurality of light elements and selected ones of the lighted elements are illuminated intermittently to produce a moving image.
53. The article of footwear of claim 52, further comprising a controller connected to the light elements and the power source.
54. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the sole assembly comprises an outsole and a midsole.
55. The article of footwear of claim 54, wherein the power source is contained within the midsole.
56. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source is positioned about an ankle opening of the upper.
57. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source is a flexible thin layer electrochemical cell.
58. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the power source is a molded lithium-ion battery.
59. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element is on an exterior surface of one of the upper and sole assembly.
60. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element comprises a light fiber.
61. The article of footwear of claim 60, wherein the light fiber is an optical fiber.
62. The article of footwear of claim 60, wherein the light fiber is a side light fiber.
63. The article of footwear of claim 60, wherein the light fiber comprises a stitching line on the upper.
64. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element comprises a woven fabric of light elements forming a portion of the upper.
65. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element comprises an LED.
66. The article of footwear of claim 45, wherein the powered element is a pedometer.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to an article of footwear, and, in particular, to an article of footwear with powered elements such as light elements and a power source shaped to conform to a portion of the article of footwear.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Articles of footwear have been known to include devices that require a power source in order to run. Examples of such devices include light elements, e.g., lights such as LED's, optical fibers, and electro-luminescent (EL) materials. Such electrically powered elements can provide functional advantages and aesthetic appeal, as well as enhanced visibility and, therefore, safety for the user. Known power sources for such devices are typically batteries, which are bulky and typically have simple cylindrical or rectangular cubic shapes. Batteries with such bulky sizes and shapes do not mate with or conform well within the complex geometry of articles of footwear. Placing batteries on the exterior of a shoe creates problems of bulk and interference with the opposing shoe as well as external objects.

It would be desirable to provide an article of footwear with a light element on an upper where the illumination of the light element on a portion of the upper is provided by the actual thread of a woven fabric. It would also be desirable to provide a power source for powered elements that is shaped to conform to a portion of the article of footwear and which reduces or overcomes some or all of the difficulties inherent in prior known devices. Particular objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that is, those who are knowledgeable or experienced in this field of technology, in view of the following disclosure of the invention and detailed description of certain preferred embodiments.

SUMMARY

The principles of the invention may be used to advantage to provide an article of footwear with one or more powered elements such as light elements, and a power source shaped to conform to a portion of the article of footwear. In accordance with a first aspect, an article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, and a woven fabric of light elements that forms a portion of the upper.

In accordance with another aspect, an article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, and a light fiber forming a stitching line on a portion of the upper.

In accordance with a further aspect, an article of footwear includes an upper, a sole assembly secured to the upper, a powered element on one of the upper and sole assembly, and a power source operably connected to the powered element, with the power source received in one of the upper and the sole assembly and having a shape that conforms substantially to a portion of one of the upper and the sole assembly.

Substantial advantage is achieved by providing an article of footwear with light elements and/or powered elements and a power source shaped to conform to a portion of the article of footwear. In particular, enhanced aesthetic appeal can be provided, safety for the user can be improved, and such a power source can reduce the bulk typically associated with batteries used in footwear for powered elements.

These and additional features and advantages of the invention disclosed here will be further understood from the following detailed disclosure of certain preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an article of footwear in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view, in exploded form, of an alternative embodiment of a power source of the article of footwear of FIG. 1, shown adjacent a heel counter of the article of footwear.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of an alternative embodiment of an article of footwear in accordance with the present invention.

The figures referred to above are not drawn necessarily to scale and should be understood to provide a representation of the invention, illustrative of the principles involved. Some features of the article of footwear with light elements and powered elements and a power source depicted in the drawings have been enlarged or distorted relative to others to facilitate explanation and understanding. The same reference numbers are used in the drawings for similar or identical components and features shown in various alternative embodiments. Articles of footwear with light elements and powered elements and a power source as disclosed herein would have configurations and components determined, in part, by the intended application and environment in which they are used.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention may be embodied in various forms. A preferred embodiment of an article of footwear 10 in accordance the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. Footwear 10 includes a sole assembly 12 and an upper 14 secured to sole assembly 12. Upper 14 forms an interior void that comfortably receives a foot and secures the position of the user's foot relative to sole assembly 12. The configuration of upper 14, as depicted, is suitable for use during athletic activities. Accordingly, upper 14 may have a lightweight, breathable construction that includes multiple layers of leather, textile, polymer, and foam elements adhesively bonded and stitched together. For example, upper 14 may have an exterior that includes leather elements and textile elements for resisting abrasion and providing breathability, respectively. The interior of upper 14 may have foam elements for enhancing the comfort of footwear 10, and the interior surface may include a moisture-wicking textile for removing excess moisture from the area immediately surrounding the foot.

For purposes of general reference, footwear 10 may be divided into three general portions: a forefoot portion 16, a midfoot portion 18, and a heel portion 20. Portions 16, 18, and 20 are not intended to demarcate precise areas of footwear 10. Rather, portions 16, 18, and 20 are intended to represent general areas of footwear 10 that provide a frame of reference during the following discussion.

Sole assembly 12 includes a midsole 22 to which upper 14 is secured, and an outsole 24, which may include a tread pattern (not shown) for added traction. An insole (not shown) may be positioned within upper 14 above midsole 22.

Footwear 10 includes one or more powered elements 25. Each powered element 25 is positioned on or in one of upper 14 or sole assembly 12. In certain embodiments, a powered element 25 may be a light element, such as a light fiber presented as a stitching line 27. As illustrated here, stitching line 27 is an alphanumeric character on upper 14. The stitches of stitching line 27 may be formed of, for example, light conducting or light emitting fibers such as optical fibers or electroluminescent material. In certain preferred embodiments, side light fibers may be used, which emit light along at least a portion of their length. In such an embodiment, the illumination provided on the upper is provided by the actual thread forming stitching line 27.

Each powered element 25 is powered by a power source 26. Stitching line 27 is operably connected to power source 26 by a cable 28. Power source 26 may be a battery in certain preferred embodiments. Power source 26 is molded or otherwise formed to have a desired shape. Power source 26 is advantageously shaped to substantially conform to one or more surfaces of a portion of footwear 10. This helps to reduce the bulk typically associated with a battery, and allows power source 26 to be placed in a portion of footwear 10 without increasing the profile of footwear 10. Thus, in many embodiments power source 26 will have one or more curved surfaces and such curved surfaces may be compound curved surfaces.

In the illustrated embodiment, power source 26 is positioned within padding 30 positioned about an ankle opening 32 of footwear 10. In such an embodiment, power source 26 is substantially cylindrical, and, more preferably, a curved cylindrical member.

In certain preferred embodiments, as illustrated in FIG. 1, footwear 10 includes a plurality of powered elements 25. Another embodiment of a powered element 25 taking the form of a light element is a woven fabric 34 of light elements that forms a portion of upper 14. Woven fabric 34 is seen here as forming a symbol, but it is to be appreciated that woven fabric 34 can take any desired shape and/or form any desired pattern. Woven fabric 34 can be formed of light conducting or light emitting fibers such as optical fibers, electroluminescent material, side light fibers, etc. Suitable side light fibers for forming woven fabric 34 can be provided by Fiberstars Inc. In such an embodiment, the illumination provided on upper 14 is provided by the actual thread of woven fabric 34. Woven fabric 34 is connected to power source 26 by a cable 36.

Another example of a powered element 25 is a pedometer 38, which is secured to upper 14 and has a display 40 to indicate to the user the number of miles that they have walked or run. Pedometer 38 is connected to power source 26 by cable 42. Other suitable powered elements 25 that can be powered by power source 26 will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.

In certain preferred embodiments, as seen in FIGS. 2-3, footwear 10 is provided with a heel counter 29 in heel portion 20. Power source 26 may be formed to conform to an exterior surface of heel counter 29, and is positioned between heel counter 29 and heel portion 20 of footwear 10.

Additional embodiments of powered elements 25 are illustrated in FIG. 3, in which a first powered element 25 is provided in heel portion 20 of midsole 22 and comprises an LED 44, which is connected to power source 26 by a cable 46. A second powered element 25 is provided on upper 14 and comprises a stitching line 48 that takes the form of a symbol. Stitching line 48 is connected to power source 26 by a cable 50. It is to be appreciated that powered elements 25 can take any desired shape, including alphanumeric characters as seen in FIG. 1, designs, border stitching or randomly positioned elements.

Another preferred embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 4-5. In this embodiment, powered element 25 provides the appearance of a moving image. Powered element 25 comprises a plurality of light elements 52, which combine to produce an image. In the illustrated embodiment, light elements 52 combine to produce an image of a runner. The individual light elements 52 can be powered on and off at different times to produce an image that appears to move. In the embodiment illustrated, a figure of a runner is illuminated in a first position in FIG. 4 and in a second position in FIG. 5. When selected light elements 52 are sequentially lit in rapid fashion, the image provided by light elements 52 appears to be moving. Thus, in this embodiment, when a series of images are sequentially illuminated, a person running appears on footwear 10. As illustrated here, only two lighted images of the runner are shown, however, it is to be appreciated that more than two lighted images can be used. It is to be appreciated that the number of light elements 52 as well as the number of lighted images formed by the illuminated light elements can vary, with the greater the number of illuminated light elements and the greater the number of sequential images used increases the resolution and fluidity of the moving image. It is to be appreciated that the illuminated light elements 52 that comprise the moving image may be made of any light element, such as those described above.

The sequencing of the illumination of the light elements 52 of the moving image is managed by a controller 54, which is positioned between power source 26 and light elements 52, and connected to each by a cable 56. Controller 54 may be a microprocessor, or “chip”, or any other suitable control mechanism suitable for controlling the operation of a light element. Suitable controllers will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.

In certain preferred embodiments, powered elements 25 taking the form of light elements are provided with multiple colors. An individual powered element 25 may be a single color with other powered elements 25 having different colors, or an individual powered element 25 may comprise multiple colors. In certain embodiments, powered elements 25 may flash on and off intermittently, providing greater visibility for the user aesthetic appeal.

In certain preferred embodiments, power source 26 is a flexible thin layer electrochemical cell. Suitable flexible thin layer electrochemical cells can be supplied by Power Paper of Petah Tikva, Israel. In other embodiments, power source 26 may be a molded lithium-ion battery, which can be configured to conform to a surface of a portion of footwear 10. Suitable lithium-ion batteries can be supplied by Stone Battery Industries Corp. of Taipei, Taiwan.

In light of the foregoing disclosure of the invention and description of the preferred embodiments, those skilled in this area of technology will readily understand that various modifications and adaptations can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. All such modifications and adaptations are intended to be covered by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7789520 *Sep 7, 2007Sep 7, 2010Kristian KonigElectroluminescent communication system between articles of apparel and the like
US7794101Nov 12, 2008Sep 14, 2010Matthias Joseph GalicaMicroprocessor enabled article of illuminated footwear with wireless charging
US7866066Sep 7, 2007Jan 11, 2011Forbes Brandon FFootwear device with scrolling light emitting diode display
US8056269Nov 15, 2011Nike, Inc.Article of footwear with lighting system
US8058837Feb 11, 2009Nov 15, 2011Nike, Inc.Charging system for an article of footwear
US8356430Feb 11, 2010Jan 22, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating an illuminable fluid-filled chamber
US8528235Sep 23, 2011Sep 10, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear with lighting system
US8544197Feb 11, 2010Oct 1, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating an illuminable panel
US8684121 *Nov 14, 2011Apr 1, 2014Acton, Inc.Wearable mobility device
US20120285756 *Nov 15, 2012Peter TreadwayWearable mobility device
WO2009145863A1 *Apr 24, 2009Dec 3, 2009Brandon ForbesFootwear device with scrolling light emitting diode display
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/137
International ClassificationA43B23/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43B3/001, A43B1/0027, A43B3/0005
European ClassificationA43B3/00E10, A43B1/00C, A43B3/00E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 1, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: NIKE, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:UNGARI, JOSEPH L.;REEL/FRAME:016211/0361
Effective date: 20041110