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Publication numberUS20060179685 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/350,845
Publication dateAug 17, 2006
Filing dateFeb 10, 2006
Priority dateFeb 11, 2005
Also published asCN1817260A, EP1690462A1
Publication number11350845, 350845, US 2006/0179685 A1, US 2006/179685 A1, US 20060179685 A1, US 20060179685A1, US 2006179685 A1, US 2006179685A1, US-A1-20060179685, US-A1-2006179685, US2006/0179685A1, US2006/179685A1, US20060179685 A1, US20060179685A1, US2006179685 A1, US2006179685A1
InventorsRene Borel, Pierre Marechal, Laurent Marechal
Original AssigneeSalomon S.A.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lacing device for sports footwear
US 20060179685 A1
Abstract
An article of footwear provided to receive the user's foot and including a lacing device, the lacing device including a lace, at least two guides provided to enable a lace to slide relative thereto within a lacing zone, and a blocker capable of blocking relative movement of the lace, the blocker including a control member to unblock the lace. The article of footwear has an open position, facilitating insertion of the user's foot, and a tightened position firmly retaining the foot within the article of footwear. The switch from the open position to the tightened position is carried out via a traction on the lace, and the switch from the tightened position to the open position is carried out via a traction on the control member of the blocker.
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Claims(11)
1. An article of footwear adapted to receive a wearer's foot, said article of footwear comprising:
a lacing device comprising:
a lace;
at least two lace guides for guiding said lace within a lacing zone, said lace being adapted to slide along said lace guides;
a blocker capable of blocking said lace against movement relative to said blocker, said blocker comprising a control member to unblock the lace;
said article of footwear transitionable between an open position, in which insertion of the wearer's foot is facilitated, and a tightened position, in which the wearer's foot is firmly retained in the article of footwear;
transition from the open position to the tightened position being carried out by a traction on the lace, and transition from the tightened position to the open position being carried out by a traction on the blocker control member.
2. An article of footwear according to claim 1, wherein:
traction exerted on the lace to transition from the open position to the tightened position, as well as the traction exerted on the control member to transition from the tightened position to the open position, is substantially vertically oriented when the footwear rests on a substantially horizontal surface.
3. An article of footwear according to claim 1, further comprising:
a mechanism to removably fix the blocker to the article of footwear, so that said transition to and from said open and tightened positions of the article of footwear can be carried out with one hand of the wearer, and so that a sub-assembly formed by the lace and the blocker can be detached from the article of footwear without use of any tool.
4. An article of footwear according to claim 3, wherein:
said mechanism to removably fix the blocker includes a cover, said cover including an inside opening, the blocker being nested within said opening.
5. An article of footwear according to claim 1, further comprising:
an upper comprising:
a longitudinal opening;
a tongue positioned over said longitudinal opening, said tongue including a lower zone at least partially covering an instep zone, an upper zone at least partially covering a lower part of the wearer's leg, and an intermediate zone located between said lower zone and said upper zone;
said blocker of said lacing device being connected to the intermediate zone of said tongue.
6. An article of footwear adapted to receive a wearer's foot, said article of footwear comprising:
a lacing device adapted to selectively tighten and loosen the article of footwear on the wearer's foot, said lacing device comprising:
a lace;
at least two lace guides for guiding said lace within a lacing zone, said lace being adapted to slide along said lace guides;
a blocker capable of blocking said lace against movement relative to said blocker, said blocker comprising a blocking member and a body, said blocking member being movable inside the body;
a mechanism to removably fix said blocker to the article of footwear so that tightening and loosening of the article of footwear on the wearer's foot can be carried out by one hand of the wearer, and so that a sub-assembly formed by the lace and the blocker can be detached from the article of footwear without use of any tool.
7. An article of footwear according to claim 6, wherein:
said mechanism to removably fix the blocker includes a cover, said cover including an opening, said blocker being nested within said opening.
8. An article of footwear according to claim 6, wherein:
said blocker includes a control member, said control member being constructed and arranged whereby a traction exerted on said control member unblocks said lace.
9. An article of footwear according to claim 8, wherein:
said blocker further includes a return mechanism adapted to bring said control member back into a blocking position of said lace.
10. An article of footwear according to claim 7, wherein:
said opening is positioned substantially in a flexion crease area; and
said cover further includes a tunnel, said lace passing within said tunnel following exit from said blocker.
11. An article of footwear according to claim 8, further comprising:
an upper comprising:
a longitudinal opening;
a tongue positioned over said longitudinal opening, said tongue including a lower zone at least partially covering an instep zone, an upper zone at least partially covering a lower part of the wearer's leg, and an intermediate zone located between said lower zone and said upper zone;
said blocker of said lacing device being connected to the intermediate zone of said tongue.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of French Patent Application No. 05.01417, filed on Feb. 11, 2005, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to sports footwear provided with a lacing device and including a lace blocker.

2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

U.S. Pat. No. 6,775,928 discloses an article of footwear for an inline roller skate, including an upper provided with a lacing device which brings two panels of the lower portion of an upper closer to one another. Between the two panels is a tongue that extends from the front of the article of footwear up to the top of the footwear. Each of the two panels includes a plurality of keepers arranged in the lower portion only. The lacing device also includes a lace and a lace blocker. The lace blocker is fixed to the top of the tongue. The article of footwear further includes a guide that is fixed to the tongue under the blocker, and which directs the lace toward the blocker.

The aforementioned article of footwear and, in particular, the described mechanism therefor, has numerous drawbacks. Fixing the lace blocker on the top of the tongue renders the device inefficient due to the distance that exists between the lace exit out of the lacing zone, in the area of the two panels of the lower portion of the upper, and the high position of the blocker. A traction on the lace tends to bring the blocker closer to the guide, which results in bending the upper portion of the tongue. If the tongue is stiffened to prevent bending, comfort is impaired.

Furthermore, the laces used for footwear always have a certain elasticity. The portions of the lace itself that are located between the guide and the blocker are of no use for the tightening per se, as they do not bring the two opposite panels closer to one another. However, they do affect the general extension of the lace, which is due to the elasticity inherent in the latter.

Furthermore, the permanent fixing of the blocker to the top of the tongue makes it very difficult to replace a broken lace, and even impossible to replace the blocker when it is damaged.

Finally, the use of the lacing device as described in this patent application is not ergonomic insofar as the user has to exert pressure on the blocker's button to release the lace and must sustain this pressure during the entire time necessary to switch from the footwear's tightened position to the open position, from which the user can remove his/her foot. Moreover, the pressure that the user must exert on the button is not natural as it is substantially parallel to the tongue and directed upward of the tongue.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the instant invention is to propose a lacing device that makes it possible to overcome the limitations of the known prior art devices. More particularly, the object of the invention is to provide a footwear provided with an optimized lacing device.

Another object of the invention is a footwear having a high upper and provided with a tightening means that uses a lace/blocker assembly and allows tightening as well as loosening with one hand.

The object of the invention is achieved with a footwear provided to receive the user's foot and including a lacing device that has at least two keepers, provided to enable a lace to slide, as well as a blocker that is capable of wedging the lace, the blocker including a control member that unlocks the lace, the footwear having an open position allowing the insertion of the foot and a tightened position from which the foot is firmly retained in the footwear. The footwear is characterized in that the switch from the open position to the tightened position is carried out with a traction on the lace, and in that the switch from the tightened to the open position is carried out with a traction on the blocker's control member.

Advantageously, only traction forces are required from the user to open or tighten the footwear.

Advantageously, the footwear according to the invention includes means for removably fixing the blocker to the footwear, so that the footwear tightening and opening stages can be carried out with one hand, and so that the sub-assembly constituted by the lace and the blocker can be dismounted from the footwear without having to use a tool.

The object of the invention is also achieved with a footwear provided to receive the user's foot and including a high upper that has a lower portion provided with a lacing device, an upper portion adapted to enclose the lower part of the user's leg, and a tongue extending from the lower portion to which it is fixed up to the top of the upper portion; the tongue including a lower zone located in the area of the lower portion, an upper zone located in the area of the upper portion, and an intermediate zone located between the lower and the upper zones; the lacing device including at least two keepers provided to enable a lace to slide and a blocker that is capable of wedging the lace, characterized in that the blocker is fixed on the intermediate zone of the tongue.

The object of the invention is also achieved with a footwear provided to receive the user's foot and including a lacing device that has at least two keepers provided to enable a lace to slide and a blocker capable of wedging the lace, the blocker including a blocking member that is movable inside a body, characterized in that the footwear includes means for removably fixing the blocker to the footwear, so that the footwear tightening and loosening stages can be carried out with one hand, and so that the lace/blocker sub-assembly can be dismounted of the footwear without using any tool.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood from the following description, with reference to the attached drawings, which illustrate exemplary embodiments for carrying out the invention, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a footwear according to a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the outer surface of the cover, which is the visible surface when employed on an article of footwear, for retaining the lace blocker;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the hidden surface of the cover for retaining the lace blocker;

FIG. 4 is a view of the blocker;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the footwear during the tightening stage;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the footwear during the loosening stage;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a footwear according to a second embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 8 is a detailed view of the second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an article of footwear 1 according to a first embodiment of the invention. Any reference to the article of footwear 1 hereafter as a boot or shoe is made for convenience and not as a limitation beyond that encompassed by article of footwear, except as needed to implement the particular constructions described and illustrated. For example, in the particular construction shown in FIGS. 1-6, the article of footwear includes an upper that extends above the ankle and might be regarded as a boot. The particular construction shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the article of footwear is shown to include a low upper and might be regarded as a shoe.

More particularly, in FIG. 1 the article of footwear or boot 1 is part of an inline roller skate that includes a frame 2 provided with four wheels 3. The boot 1 includes a sole to which an upper 4 is affixed extending upwardly therefrom. The lower portion of the upper 4 includes a lateral section 5 opposite a medial section 6. Bringing the two sections closer together enables the inner volume of the boot to be adjusted, thereby tightening the upper against the user's foot. To carry out the tightening, a lacing device—which includes a plurality of keepers or lace guides 10, a lace 11, and a lace blocker 12—is positioned in the lower portion of the upper 4. The lace guides 10 are distributed on each of the edges of the opposite lateral and medial sections. The strands of the lace 11 alternately pass within, or along, one of the guides 10 fixed to the medial section 6, then within or along one of the guides fixed to the lateral section 5, where such alternate passing forms a lacing zone. Upon exit from the lacing zone, the two strands of the lace 11 enter the blocker 12.

The tongue 9 includes a lower zone 7 adapted to cover the top of the user's foot, and which is in turn covered by the passages of the strands of the lace 11 between the lace guides 10. The tongue 9 also includes an upper zone 8 provided to enclose the anterior portion of the user's lower leg. Between the lower zone 7 and the upper zone 8, the tongue 9 includes an intermediate zone 14 which, when the user's foot is inserted in the boot, is located in the vicinity of the flexion crease of the boot, i.e., the flexion crease of the ankle's articulation.

The blocker 12 is kept in place on the tongue in the intermediate zone 14 thereof by means of a cover 13, the cover being fixed to the tongue 9. In the example shown, the cover is sewn on the tongue 9. This is not limiting, and the cover can be affixed to the tongue in any other way known to those skilled in the art. It is also within the scope of the invention for the cover 13 to be made integral or in one piece with the tongue 9.

The blocker 12 is located directly at the exit of the lacing zone; the two strands of the lace 11 pass from the two highest-positioned lace guides 10 to the blocker 12 without any intermediate member. Thus, the tension loss due to the lace's elasticity is minimized.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the cover 13 and, more particularly, the outer surface thereof, i.e., the visible surface when the cover is affixed to or is made with the tongue 9. FIG. 3 also shows a perspective view of the cover 13 and, more particularly, the hidden surface thereof when the cover is affixed to or is made with the tongue 9. The cover 13 includes a housing or tunnel 15, in the extension of which an opening 16 is located. The opening 16 is proportioned so as to allow the blocker 12 to nest, or be housed, therein. The lower edge of the opening 16 is provided with a slightly projecting lug 17, which secures the nesting of the blocker 12. To prevent the blocker 12 from being driven inside the tunnel when the user exerts a traction on the lace 11, two abutments 18 are positioned at the base of the tunnel. The cover's general contour has a generally triangular shape with a lower portion thinner than the upper portion as oriented in FIGS. 2 and 3.

FIG. 4 shows the blocker 12. The blocker 12 includes a body 19 with an internal volume including two inclined ramps opposite each other, which are adapted to receive the two strands of the lace 11. A blocking member 20 is provided to slide between the two inclined ramps. The blocking member 20 includes a toothed, lower end portion 21 that wedges the two strands of the lace—thereby blocking the lace against movement relative to the blocker—and an upper end portion 22 adapted to be connected to a control member 23 (see FIG. 1). The blocking member 20 also includes a slider 24 received in a slide 25, such as a slot, of the body. The movement of the slider 24 in the slide 25 enables the blocking member 20 to take various positions with respect to the body 19, from a blocking position up to a completely open position. A leaf spring 26 is arranged between the blocking member 20 and the body 19, resulting in the retaining and the return of the blocking member 20 in the blocking position. This leaf spring 26 transversely extends through the slider 24, and its two ends are received in two recesses located on opposite sides of the slide 25.

FIG. 5 shows the tightening stage. After having placed his/her foot in the boot, the user/wearer only exerts a traction on the loop of the lace 11. The blocker 12 is kept nested within the cover 13 by means of the abutments 18. Inasmuch as the traction exerted on the lace 11 is stronger than the force returning the leaf spring 26, the two strands of the lace drive the blocking member 20 upward by way of friction. As soon as the tension on the lace 11 is released, the leaf spring 26 brings the blocking member 20 back to the blocking position, which results in wedging the two strands of the lace and securing the tightening of the footwear. As has just been described, therefore, the tightening stage can be carried out by the same hand that exerts the traction on the loop of the lace 11, shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 shows the opening stage. As shown, the user grabs the control member 23 and exerts on the latter a traction that is directed toward both the top and the front, i.e., forwardly and upwardly, as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 6. First, the movement of the control member 23, which is directly linked to the blocking member 20, undoes the wedging of the strands of the lace 11. Second, there is no longer a relative movement between the blocking member 20 and the body 19, and the slider 24 is abutted against the upper end of the slide 25. Thus, the traction on the control member 23 generates an upward and forward movement of the blocker 12 and the tongue 9. In turn, the tongue 9 acts on the strands of the lace 11 that can freely slide in the blocker 12 and the lace guides 10 as long as the user exerts a traction on the control member 23. At the end of the opening stage, the boot is in the open position, that is, with the tongue completely detached from the remainder of the upper so as to facilitate the withdrawal of the foot from the boot. As is the case for the tightening, the opening stage of the boot can be carried out with the same hand that manipulates the control member 23.

Furthermore, as is the case with the tightening phase, the opening stage is carried out by means of a traction movement. Because of this, the boot according to the first embodiment of the invention is particularly ergonomic. Indeed, it is easier for the user to exert a force by traction than by pressure. In the instant case, in the tightening stage as in the opening stage, the user can take advantage of the muscular force of the arm, which exerts the traction, possibly the muscular force of his/her upper body, but also the force of his/her leg.

In case the lace is broken, one will choose in this embodiment to replace the sub-assembly constituted by the lace 11 and the blocker 12. To do so, the user himself/herself or the technical support technician first removes the blocker 12 from its nesting in the opening 16 of the cover 13. Then, the control member 23 is disassembled from the upper end portion of the blocking member 20. It must be noted that this disassembly is necessary only when the control member 23 is too large to go through the tunnel 15. Rather than a handle, such as provided in the first embodiment shown here, a control member in the form of a loop made of a flexible strap, which can easily go through the tunnel, can be employed. The blocker 12 is finally completely removed from the opening 16 of the cover 13, the upper loop of the lace 11 passes through the tunnel, and it only remains to remove the lace 11 from all the lace guides 10.

The lacing device according to the invention enables a simple and ergonomic manipulation since only one hand is necessary for tightening as well as for loosening.

FIG. 7 shows an article of footwear according to a second embodiment of the invention. The article of footwear is shown as a low upper, or shoe, that includes a lacing device. The lacing device comprises a plurality of lace guides 10, a lace 11, and a blocker 12. The blocker 12 includes a control disk 27, which must be pressed down in order to switch, or transition, from the “blocking” state to the “unblocking” state. Advantageously, the blocker 12 is a bi-stable blocker, which can remain in a blocked position, but also in an unblocked position, without having to maintain the pressure on the control disk. Another ergonomic advantage of the blocker lies in the fact that the pressure that the user must exert on the control disk is natural since it is directly perpendicular to the tongue.

FIG. 8 shows a detail of the blocker 12 to be fixed on the tongue 9 of the shoe. The blocker 12 is clipped onto a support 28. The support 28 includes an anchoring plate that is embedded inside the material of the tongue (as depicted in FIG. 7) and that ensures the retention of the anchoring plate as well as a cylindrical portion with a shape complementary to the outer contour of the blocker 12, so that the outer contour of the blocker 12 can be received in the cylindrical portion. Lips 29 project from the inner surface of the cylindrical portion, only one lip being visible in FIG. 8, there being a lip diametrically opposed to the visible lip. When the blocker is nested in the support 28, the lips 29 are positioned within the grooves 30 arranged on the periphery of the blocker 12. The blocker 12 is thusly kept in place on the tongue 9. Due to the elastic deformation of the walls of the cylindrical portion, a traction exerted on the lace 11 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the tongue, frees the lips 29 from the grooves 30. The blocker 12 can thus be separated from the tongue.

The use of the article of footwear, or shoe, of FIGS. 7 and 8 can be described as follows. After having inserted his/her foot within the shoe, the user pulls on the lace 11. The tightening occurs automatically as the blocker 12 remains nested in the support 28, as the strands of the lace 11 are wedged by the pressure applied by downwardly facing edges of the disk 27 toward the upwardly facing edges of the cylindrical portion of the support 28 at the entry and exit of the blocker 12. In order to remove his/her foot from the shoe, the user applies a pressure on the control disk with the forefinger, for example, to free the lace from having been wedged by the blocker. Simultaneously, the user slides his/her thumb under the tongue and moves the tongue upwardly and away from the upper of the shoe. Thus, with a single manipulation and only one hand, the user can loosen the lace from the blocker and open the article of footwear for removal of his/her foot.

The invention is not limited to the several embodiments described hereinabove as examples, but encompasses any equivalent embodiment.

LIST OF ELEMENTS

The following is a list of reference numerals, appearing in the attached drawing, together the corresponding elements included in the foregoing description:

  • 1. article of footwear
  • 2. frame
  • 3. wheels
  • 4. upper of the article of footwear
  • 5. lateral section of the article of footwear 1
  • 6. medial section of the article of footwear 1
  • 7. lower zone of the tongue 9
  • 8. upper zone of the tongue 9
  • 9. tongue
  • 10. lace guide
  • 11. lace
  • 12. blocker
  • 13. cover
  • 14. intermediate zone of the tongue 9
  • 15. tunnel
  • 16. opening
  • 17. lug
  • 18. abutment
  • 19. body of the blocker 12
  • 20. blocking member
  • 21. lower end portion of the blocking member 20
  • 22. upper end portion of the blocking member 20
  • 23. control member
  • 24. slider
  • 25. slide
  • 26. leaf spring
  • 27. control disk
  • 28. support
  • 29. lip
  • 30. groove
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7401423 *Nov 23, 2005Jul 22, 2008The Burton CorporationLace system for footwear
US7770268 *Nov 29, 2004Aug 10, 2010Deeluxe Sportartikel Handles GmbHClaming device for shoelaces or similar fastener means
US8448953 *Nov 21, 2011May 28, 2013John Wayne Feddersen, Jr.Cowboy skate boot and cover
US8782926 *Jun 8, 2010Jul 22, 2014Kabushiki Kaisha KurebuFootwear having a lacing system
US8806778Aug 9, 2013Aug 19, 2014Kabushiki Kaisha KurebuFootwear having lacing system connecting footwear and inner lining
US20120017469 *Jun 8, 2010Jan 26, 2012Kabushiki Kaisha KurebuFootwear
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/50.1, 36/115
International ClassificationA43B5/16, A43C11/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43C11/20, F16G11/04, A43C7/00, A43C7/08, F16G11/10, A43C11/008
European ClassificationA43C11/00D, A43C7/08, F16G11/04, A43C11/20, F16G11/10, A43C7/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 6, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: SALOMON S.A., FRANCE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOREL, RENE;MARECHAL, PIERRE ALEXIS;MARECHAL, LAURENT;REEL/FRAME:017429/0156;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060327 TO 20060328