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Publication numberUS20070107268 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/446,432
Publication dateMay 17, 2007
Filing dateJun 2, 2006
Priority dateNov 11, 2005
Also published asWO2007058881A2, WO2007058881A3, WO2007058881A8
Publication number11446432, 446432, US 2007/0107268 A1, US 2007/107268 A1, US 20070107268 A1, US 20070107268A1, US 2007107268 A1, US 2007107268A1, US-A1-20070107268, US-A1-2007107268, US2007/0107268A1, US2007/107268A1, US20070107268 A1, US20070107268A1, US2007107268 A1, US2007107268A1
InventorsThomas Seeman, Stephen Pasternak
Original AssigneeThomas Seeman, Pasternak Stephen M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable surface sole for bowling and other shoes
US 20070107268 A1
Abstract
For virtually any kind of shoe, regions at the front and/or back of the heel and/or forsesole can be raised or lowered relative to the remainder of that bottom surface. In this manner, one or both of a friction or pronation adjustment can be made at the front, back, or lateral side of the foresole or heel. An adjustment device is operatively associated with one region in one of a first (foresole) or second (heel) weight bearing bottom surface, for raising and lowering the region relative to the bottom surface surrounding the region, thereby adjusting the overall texture of the weight bearing bottom surface.
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Claims(32)
1. A shoe having an adjustable weight bearing bottom surface, comprising:
an upper supported by a sole extending generally along a longitudinal centerline, said sole having an arch, a foresole defining a first, weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally forward of the arch, and a heel defining a second weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally behind the arch, each of said first and second weight bearing bottom surfaces formed by contiguous regions which collectively establish an overall texture, respectively, for each of said first and second weight bearing bottom surfaces; and
an adjustment device operatively associated with one of said regions in one of said first or second weight bearing bottom surfaces, for raising and lowering said one region relative to the bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby adjusting the overall texture of said one weight bearing bottom surface.
2. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said adjustment device has a drive member at least partially embedded in the sole and operatively associated with said one region, and an actuator connected to the drive member and accessible when the shoe is held in one hand, such that manual adjustment of said actuator raises or lowers said one region relative to the bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby adjusting the overall texture of said one bottom weight bearing surface.
3. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said one region is a distinct pad and the adjustment device selectively raises or lowers the pad.
4. The shoe of claim 3, wherein the pad comprises at least one cleat.
5. The shoe of claim 3, wherein the shoe is a bowling shoe and the pad is in the heel.
6. The shoe of claim 3, wherein the shoe is a bowling shoe and the pad is in the foresole.
7. The shoe of claim 3, wherein at least one pad is in each of the heel and the foresole.
8. The shoe of claim 3, wherein the adjustment device selectively raises or lowers the entire pad the same distance.
9. The shoe of claim 3, wherein the pad is substantially centered on the centerline and comprises a plurality of cleats at least some of which are situated laterally of the centerline.
10. The shoe of claim 3, wherein a drive member is embedded in the foresole on each lateral side of the centerline such that respective pads can each be adjusted individually.
11. The shoe of claim 2, wherein
said sole includes an exterior outsole having said bottom weight bearing surfaces and a midsole between the upper and the outsole;
said drive member spans said mid sole and outsole; and
said actuator selectively expands or contracts said drive member to push or pull said one region away from or toward the midsole.
12. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said one region comprises ripples having a nominal amplitude, and said adjustment varies the amplitude.
13. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said one region is a distinct pad having ripples of nominal amplitude, and said adjustment varies the amplitude.
14. The shoe of claim 1, comprising a plurality of said adjustment devices with respective regions distributed as distinct pads that can be raised or lowered, on the foresole.
15. The shoe of claim 1, comprising a plurality of said adjustment devices with respective regions distributed as distinct pads that can be raised or lowered, on the heel.
16. The shoe of claim 14, wherein at least one pad is situated on each side of the centerline.
17. The shoe of claim 15, wherein at least one pad is situated on each side of the centerline.
18. The shoe of claim 1, wherein said one region has an exposed surface of one type of material and the bottom surface surrounding the adjustable region is a different material.
19. The shoe of claim 18, wherein one material is leather and the other material is synthetic.
20. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is a bowling shoe.
21. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is a driving shoe.
22. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is a court shoe.
23. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is a hiking shoe.
24. The shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is a field game shoe.
25. A shoe having a sole extending generally along a longitudinal centerline, said sole having an arch, a foresole defining a first, weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally forward of the arch, and a heel defining a second weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally behind the arch, said first weight bearing surface having an overall nominal texture, wherein the improvement comprises:
said first weight bearing surface having at least one distinct region that is adjustable to a plurality of fixed positions relative to the first bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby altering the overall nominal texture of said first bottom surface.
26. The shoe of claim 25, comprising:
an adjustment device having a drive member at least partially embedded in the foresole and operatively associated with said one region, and
an actuator connected to the drive member and accessible when the shoe is held in one hand, such that manual adjustment of said actuator raises or lowers said one region to one of said fixed positions relative to the first bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby altering the overall nominal texture of said first bottom surface.
27. The shoe of claim 26, wherein the manual adjustment raises or lowers said one region the same distance.
28. The shoe of claim 26, wherein the manual adjustment raises or lowers said one region with a bowed profile.
29. A shoe having a sole extending generally along a longitudinal centerline, said sole having an arch, a foresole defining a first, weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally forward of the arch, and a heel defining a second weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally behind the arch, said second weight bearing surface having an overall nominal texture, wherein the improvement comprises:
said second weight bearing surface having at least one distinct region that is adjustable to a plurality of fixed positions into and out of the second bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby altering the overall nominal texture of said second bottom surface.
30. The shoe of claim 29, comprising:
an adjustment device having a drive member at least partially embedded in the heel and operatively associated with said one region, and
an actuator connected to the drive member and accessible when the shoe is held in one hand, such that manual adjustment of said actuator raises or lowers said one region to one of said fixed positions relative to the second bottom surface surrounding said one region, thereby altering the overall nominal texture of said second bottom surface.
31. The shoe of claim 30, wherein the manual adjustment raises or lowers said one region the same distance.
32. The shoe of claim 30, wherein the manual adjustment raises or lowers said one region with a bowed profile.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), of U.S. Provisional App. No. 60/735,796 filed Nov. 11, 2005.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention pertains to performance footwear, especially walking and athletic shoes, and most particularly, bowling shoes.
  • [0003]
    As has been recognized for a number of years, and as discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,907,682, experienced bowlers often desire that each of the left and right shoes exhibit different characteristics, especially with respect to sliding friction on the smooth, wooden or synthetic floors typically present in the approach region of a bowling lane. Moreover, even for one or the other of the left or right shoe, such bowler typically desires a different sliding characteristic on the foresole portion verses the heel portion of that shoe sole. In yet a further customization, the bowler may desire that the friction characteristics of each foresole and heel be adjustable depending on, for example, the surface characteristics of the bowling center in which a particular competition is staged, the day-to-day changes in temperature and humidity in the bowling center, or increase in confidence as the bowler warms up and reaches peak performance during the course of a match.
  • [0004]
    One technique for permitting a bowler to adjust the friction characteristics of one or both shoes, even during competition, is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,542,198. The concept described therein provides for replaceable foresole and heel surface elements of different configurations and performance characteristics. Although this technique has enjoyed some commercial success, it has the disadvantages of requiring a bowler to carry a kit of varying replacement pads and, even with such a variety of pads, each adjustment increment is a step change, without continuous adjustability. A related technique is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,662,475 and 6,662,476.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    According to an aspect of the present invention, the effective friction of the shoe is adjusted by changing the position, especially raising or lowering, a region of the bottom surface of the heel and/or foresole.
  • [0006]
    For virtually any kind of shoe, regions at the front and/or back of the heel and/or forsesole can be raised or lowered relative to the remainder of that bottom surface. In this manner, one or both of a friction or pronation adjustment can be made at the front, back, or lateral side of the foresole or heel.
  • [0007]
    An adjustment device is operatively associated with one region in one of a first (foresole) or second (heel) weight bearing bottom surface, for raising and lowering the region relative to the bottom surface surrounding the region, thereby adjusting the overall texture of the weight bearing bottom surface.
  • [0008]
    In general, the shoe comprises an upper supported by a sole extending generally along a longitudinal centerline. The sole has an optionally recessed arch, a foresole defining a first, weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally forward of the arch, and a heel defining a second weight bearing bottom surface longitudinally behind the arch. Each of the first and second weight bearing surfaces are formed by contiguous regions, such as central, front, and lateral regions, which together establish overall floor or ground contact characteristics for each of the first and second weight bearing surfaces. By adjusting surface irregularities in at least one region of the heel or foresole, the overall ground contact characteristics are likewise adjusted. For convenience, the term “texture” will be used to refer to the pattern of irregularities in the floor or ground contact surface of the heel or foresole.
  • [0009]
    Viewed from a different perspective, the first and/or second weight bearing surface has an overall nominal or reference texture, and at least one, optionally distinct, region is adjustable to a plurality of fixed positions or orientations relative to the surrounding surface, thereby altering the overall texture of the bottom surface. For example, some adjustable regions can be made from a different material than the surrounding surface of the heel or foresole, and the degree of adjustment of the region determines the relative contribution of the various heel or foresole surfaces to the overall sliding or friction performance of, e.g., a bowling shoe.
  • [0010]
    Lateral adjustment can alter the effective friction characteristics of the shoe and the time dependent friction force resulting from a bowler's unique weight transfer in the foot bed during the course of completing the delivery of the bowling ball. Such adjustment can affect the area of the foresole or heel that first contacts the floor, the total area of the foresole or heel in contact with the floor during a stroke, and the weight distribution over the heel or foresole.
  • [0011]
    The ability to adjust the heel or foresole, front-to-back and side-to-side can also provide benefits in other performance characteristics that do not depend significantly on the user's sensitivity to sliding friction, but do depend on comfort or safety. In this respect, the present invention can provide pronation adjustment at the exterior of the sole, whether or not sliding and/or braking are important performance considerations.
  • [0012]
    Another advantage achievable with the present invention, is the ability to effectuate a reverse inclination on either the heel or foresole. Bowling, athletic, and other performance shoes, as well as street shoes, are universally manufactured with the main weight bearing, ground contacting surfaces of the heel in substantially the same plane as the main weight bearing, ground contacting surfaces of the foresole. In other words, the foresole and heel lie flat on a flat surface. As an example with an adjustable heel according to the invention, the neutral adjustment position can correspond to the conventional coplanar relationship between the heel and the foresole, but with adjustment options the back region of the heel weight bearing surface can be effectively raised or lowered. This added capability can be attractive to some bowlers who have unusual approaches, foot shapes, or braking tendencies.
  • [0013]
    The adjustment device can have a drive member at least partially embedded in the heel or foresole and operatively associated with at least one of the regions of the heel or foresole. An actuator is connected to the drive member for raising or lowering at least a portion of the region relative to the bottom surface surrounding the raised or lowered surface of the region, thereby adjusting the overall texture of the bottom surface. The adjustable portion of a region can be a distinct pad and the adjustment device selectively raises or lowers the pad. The pad can have one or more cleats.
  • [0014]
    The adjustment device is preferably accessible as the sole faces the user's hand or a tool in the user's hand. Alternatively, the adjustment device can be accessed at an upstanding lateral surface of the heel, such as at the back rim. Actuation of the device can be by any means under the control of the end-user of the shoe. An adjustable plug, jack, lever or the like can be pushed or extended through the footbed or mid sole, to extend a pad in the heel or foresole. An air injection pump or other diaphragm or bladder-type member can likewise be used for this purpose.
  • [0015]
    The adjustment device can take a variety of forms. In one embodiment, one disc is embedded in a base portion of the sole, such as in the midsole, and another disc is embedded in a movable pad of the sole, with a threaded bore for receiving a worm screw or the like that has its drive end accessible at the exterior of the sole. With a screw driving device such as an Allen wrench or the like, the user can readily displace the disc in the movable pad relative to the stationary disc in the base of the sole, thereby raising or lowering the pad. This can be implemented for continuous adjustment, or be ratcheted for repeatable stepwise adjustment.
  • [0016]
    In another form, the adjustment device could be a disc interposed between the base portion of the sole and the movable pad in the sole, mounted for rotation with an arc of the disc accessible externally for rotation by the user. The disc has a variable thickness that cams the pad up or down.
  • [0017]
    It should thus be appreciated that an important aspect of the invention is that the exposed surface of the sole, i.e., one or both of the heel or foresole, is adjusted, not the footbed or other shoe component that conforms to the wearer's foot. The purpose of the adjustment is to increase or decrease the surface area of the sole, or the particular regions of the sole, that contact the ground or floor. The footbed remains in the same relation to the shoe centerline, but the exposed surface of the adjusted sole portion changes. This adjustment can affect the timing of when certain portions of the sole contact the ground, which of multiple materials contact the ground and in what sequence, and how the weight of the wearer is distributed on various portions of the foresole and heel.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is a plan view of the bottom of a bowling shoe for the left foot, having an adjustment pad in the foresole and an adjustment pad in the heel, substantially centered on the shoe centerline;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2 is a section view along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, showing an adjustment mechanism for raising or lowering the heel pad relative to the surrounding bottom surface;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3 is a section view through line 3-3 of FIG. 1, showing an adjustment device and associated pad in the foresole, that function substantially the same as the actuation device and pad shown in FIG. 2;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 1, showing two adjustment pads in the foresole, situated laterally of the shoe centerline and independently adjustable in the manner described with respect to FIGS. 2 and 3;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 1, showing larger pads which carry a plurality of cleats, with the pads adjustable relative to the remaining bottom surface of the foresole and heel, in a manner analogous to that described with respect to the foregoing figures;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 6 is a plan view of the bottom surface of the heel portion of a shoe, showing a pad with a rippled surface which is deformable to alter the texture and thus effective friction;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 7A is a schematic cross sectional view of the textured surface of the pad in FIG. 6, during a first, or nominal condition;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 7B is a schematic view similar to FIG. 7A, showing this region compressed by the adjustment means, resulting in the amplitude of the ripple structure increasing, while the spacing decreases, thereby altering the friction; and
  • [0026]
    FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment whereby the foresole or heel can be deformed inwardly or outwardly.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0027]
    FIG. 1 shows the bottom of a bowling shoe 100, having an overall sole comprising a foresole, a heel, and an intermediate arch. The foresole and heel define front and back weight bearing bottom surfaces, whereas the arch is typically recessed and functions primarily to distribute the wearer's weight to the foresole and heel. Each of the foresole and heel has contiguous regions, such as front and back regions, as well as central and lateral side regions. It should be understood that the term “region” refers to a general sub-area or location on the foresole or heel, and that a front region may extend toward a side, a side region may extend toward the front or back, etc.
  • [0028]
    Adjustable pads 102, 104 can be provided in the foresole and/or the heel, and made of the same or different material than the main bottom surface, for adjusting one or both of the friction and weight distribution aspects of the shoe.
  • [0029]
    The adjustment device 106 shown in FIG. 2 is substantially similar to that shown and described in the U.S. patent application filed on even date herewith, entitled “Variable Friction Sole for Bowling and Other Shoes”, in the name of Stephen M. Pasternak, which claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/735,795 filed Nov. 11, 2005, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Other actuation devices and configurations described in that application may be adapted for use in the present invention.
  • [0030]
    Without intending to be limited, FIGS. 1 and 2 show the pad 104 in the forward region of the heel with a central opening in the bottom surface, and the adjustment device 106 substantially embedded within the outer portion 112 of the heel. A disc or the like 108 is seated for rotation against the base portion of the heel 114, and another disc 110 is situated between disc 108 and the pad 104, while fixed to the pad. A rim 118 defines an upright, substantially cylindrical cavity that surrounds at least disc 110 and extends close to the underside of heel base 114. In the illustrated embodiment the adjusting worm screw 120 is accessible through the pad 104, having a slot or the like at the exposed end. The other end of the screw is fixed to passive disc 108 for co-rotation while the screw body threadably engages the active disc 110. Turning the screw advances the disc 110 relative to disc 108, thereby pushing (or in the opposite direction pulling) the pad 104 outward or inward relative to the surrounding surface 122 of the exposed lower surface of the heel. In a typical shoe, an upper 116 is a secured to the sole. In FIG. 2, the heel comprises portions 114 and 112; portions 112 and 114 are attached and upper 116 is attached to heel portion 114. Optionally, the screw or similar actuation component could be accessible through the foot bed 124.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 3 schematically illustrates the pad 102 in the foresole substantially centered along the shoe centerline, with actuation options within the phantom lines similar to those described above.
  • [0032]
    Preferably, the surface characteristics of the pads 102, 104 are different from the characteristics of the surrounding bottom surface 122, 126. If made of the same basic material, the pad and surrounding surface can have different texture. Generally, however, the pad would be made of a different material, e.g., one would be a synthetic or rubber material, whereas the other would be leather. Under most circumstances, the surface area of the pad or pads occupies about 35 to 65 percent of the total bottom surface of the foresole (or heel), with about 50 percent preferred.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment 200 where the pads 202, 204 are situated on either lateral side of the centerline, in the foresole. Each of these pads can be the same as, or variations of the pads and actuator shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. One or two pads can optionally be situated in the center or forward regions of the foresole.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment 300 where larger pad or platform 302 supports a plurality of cleats 304 that extend outwardly, for example, in a hiking or similar boot. In this instance, the adjusting device 306 adjusts the platform 302 into and out of the shoe, whereas the cleats 304 provide the texture, thus effective friction, for the foresole and/or heel.
  • [0035]
    In the embodiment 400 of FIGS. 6 and 7, the adjustable region 402 comprises a large pad with ripples 404 having nominal amplitude whereby the adjustment varies the amplitude. FIG. 7A shows a nominal amplitude B and spacing A, whereas FIG. 7B shows that compression along the direction indicated by the arrow, increases the amplitude B′ while decreasing the spacing A′ between peaks. This can be accomplished in one embodiment, by providing actuating screws 406, 408 or the like at one or both of the front and back rims of the heel. One of ordinary skill can provide appropriate seating and confinement of the rippled material, such as rubber or the like, and any intermediate attachment points to a frame or the like in the base of the heel, to assure that during compression, the pad does not undergo a gross buckling or warping.
  • [0036]
    Alternatively, as shown schematically in FIG. 8, an elongated pad extending, for example, from front to back or from side to side of the heel or foresole, can be rigidly secured at both ends while having some degree of flexibility in the center, such that an actuating device at the center produces a gross bowing that alters the curvature relative to the nominal curvature. In FIG. 8, this embodiment 500 is implemented in a heel 502 having a base portion 504 and an adjustable pad portion or the like 506, which are nominally flush with each other along an interface line 508. The exposed, weight bearing surface 512 is normally flat (or of nominal curvature). The forward and back ends of the portions 504, 506 are rigidly connected together, but the central regions are connected by an adjustment device 510, of a type analogous to that shown in FIG. 2, whereby separation of the discs causes a bowing of the outer, pad portion 506 thereby moving the interface line 508′ and the exposed bottom surface 512′.
  • [0037]
    The FIG. 8 embodiment is in many ways analogous to the other embodiments in that the elongated pad 506 defines a narrow or strip-like region extending front to back of the weight bearing bottom surface of the heel, and the adjustment raises or lowers the pad. The pad can be distinct, in particular, a strip of different material, or the pad can be integral with the remainder of the bottom surface. In the latter variation, the change in position of the adjusted region forms a continues bulge or the like, rather than a step change. This can also occur with the embodiment of FIG. 6, wherein the actuating forces via screws 406, 408 not only change the amplitude of the ripples, but may also produce a slight bowing of the rippled pad.
  • [0038]
    It should be appreciated that the foregoing embodiments can be implemented with only one adjustment device per pad, but for larger pads two devices enhance stability and offer greater precision. Two or more pads can be used in combination, at different projection heights from the surrounding surfaces, for even more flexibility in fore/aft and lateral adjustment. The invention can be used in other types of performance shoes, including but not limited to shoes used in court games, such as basketball or tennis, field games, and walking shoes, driving shoes, hiking shoes etc.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7866064 *Feb 16, 2007Jan 11, 2011Nike, Inc.Interchangeable pod system
US8074376May 4, 2011Dec 13, 2011Skechers U.S.A. Inc. IiSpinning shoe
US8104193Mar 7, 2011Jan 31, 2012Skechers U.S.A., Inc. IiSpinning shoe
US8250781Dec 6, 2010Aug 28, 2012Nike, Inc.Interchangeable pod system
US8341855Mar 29, 2011Jan 1, 2013Skechers U.S.A., Inc. IiSpinning shoe
US8516720Jan 31, 2011Aug 27, 2013Nike, Inc.Interchangeable pod system
US8813394Jun 29, 2011Aug 26, 2014Etonic Holdings, LlcBowling shoe outsole with interchangeable pads
US20080196274 *Feb 16, 2007Aug 21, 2008Nike, Inc.Interchangeable Pod System
US20110072688 *Dec 6, 2010Mar 31, 2011Nike, Inc.Interchangeable Pod System
US20150320142 *May 6, 2014Nov 12, 2015Bradley HandelmanBowling shoe kit
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/130, 36/59.00R, 36/39
International ClassificationA43C15/00, A43B21/24, A43B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43C15/00, A43B5/005, A43B3/24, A43B13/36, A43B3/246
European ClassificationA43B3/24D, A43B3/24, A43B5/00G, A43B13/36, A43C15/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 2, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ETONIC WORLDWIDE LLC,MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SEEMAN, THOMAS;PASTERNAK, STEPHEN M.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060514 TO 20060531;REEL/FRAME:017954/0208