US 20070252351 A1
Footwear comprising a detachable wheel assembly such that a wheel protrudes from a first face of the wheel assembly and is recessed from a second, opposite face of the wheel assembly. An engaging mechanism detachably engages the wheel assembly in a first orientation in which the wheel protrudes from the bottom of the wheel assembly, or in a second position in which the wheel is recessed from bottom of the wheel assembly and thereby from the supporting surface. The footwear may also have a skid pad to enable a user to come to a gradual stop rather than an abrupt stop.
1. Footwear comprising
a sole comprising a recessed portion, the recessed portion comprising a cavity,
a detachable wheel assembly for mounting in the recessed portion of the sole, comprising a wheel mounted to an axle, such that the wheel rotatably protrudes from a first face of the wheel assembly and is flush with or recessed from a second, opposite face of the wheel assembly, and
an engaging mechanism disposed in the recessed portion of the sole and having at least one engaging member for detachably engaging the wheel assembly in a first orientation in which the first face of the wheel assembly forms a bottom of the wheel assembly or in a second orientation in which the second face of the wheel assembly forms a bottom of the wheel assembly,
whereby in the first orientation the wheel protrudes from the bottom of the wheel assembly to contact a supporting surface and in the second orientation the wheel extends into the cavity and is flush with or recessed from the supporting surface.
2. The footwear of
3. The footwear of
The present invention relates to footwear. In particular, the invention relates to footwear having at least one wheel for rolling.
There have been a variety of mechanisms developed to allow a person to roll on footwear, for use by children and adults alike. Some footwear is made specifically for rolling, for example integral roller skates, including “in-line” skates, which are permanently equipped with wheels. While roller skates are particularly adapted for allowing the user to roll or skate, and are thus useful both for sport and as a mode of transport, they are at best awkward to wear indoors and not viable for wear in places where rolling is not permitted or where rolling is not possible (for example on soft grass or coarse gravel).
Thus, when used as a mode of transport a user must typically carry along normal footwear and switch to the normal footwear where rolling is unsafe or not permitted, such as in many malls or professional offices, or to travel over ground unsuitable for rolling. For convenience, there has been developed wheeled footwear having removable wheels. This is somewhat more practical for use as a mode of transport, as the wheels can simply be removed in places where rolling is not permitted or practical. However removal often requires the use of tools or strenuous effort. Moreover, the wheel assemblies must be carried around by the user when not in use, which is inconvenient.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,406,038 issued Jun. 18, 2002 to Adams, which is incorporated herein by reference, teaches a heeling apparatus that includes a shoe with a wheel built into the heel that allows one to roll on smooth ground. In such a heeling apparatus the wheel is not able to be easily removed to allow a user to walk normally. Since the installed wheel permanently protrudes below the bottom of the heel, it is not possible for the user to walk normally without removing the wheel.
Further, a user of such wheeled shoes comes to a stop from rolling by placing the front sole portion of the shoe on the supporting surface. Such an action often leads to abrupt and sudden stops, which can cause a user to tumble over. This may lead to a variety of injuries.
In drawings in which similar references are used in different figures to denote similar components and which illustrate by way of example only a preferred embodiment of the invention,
The present invention provides footwear, for example a shoe 10, that has a detachable wheel assembly 14 so that the footwear that can be used for either walking normally or for rolling along a surface by raising the forepart of the footwear so that only the wheel 16 contacts a supporting surface. The invention will be described and illustrated in the context of a shoe 10, however it will be appreciated that the principles of the invention can be applied to any type of footwear and the invention is not intended to be limited to any particular type of footwear.
As shown in
The detachable wheel assembly 14 comprises a wheel 16 mounted to an axle 17 (shown in
In the preferred embodiment the wheel assembly 14 is engaged to the recessed portion 12 by an engaging mechanism comprising at least one engaging member or clip 22 projecting from the sole 11 in the recessed portion 12. In the preferred embodiment, four engaging clips 22 project from the sole 11, generally evenly distributed about the periphery of the the recessed portion 12. The engaging clips 22, preferably formed from a sturdy, rigid or semi-rigid plastic such as nylon, are aligned with complementary slots 24 disposed about the housing 20 of the wheel assembly 14 and comprise snap-fit openings 25 into which the stems 32 of pins 30, shown in
To attach the wheel assembly 14 to the sole 11, the slots 24 are aligned with the engaging clips 22 and the wheel assembly is depressed toward the sole 11. The slots 24 serves as guides, aliging the snap-fit openings 25 with the stems 32 of pins 30, and as the wheel assembly gets close to the sole 11 the pins 30 slide into the entrance of the complementary openings 25 as shown in
To securely engage the pins 30 in the openings 31, the pins 30 may include a stationary washer 34 a and a movable washer 34 b slidably received on the stem 32, with a spring 38 therebetween, as shown in
In use, when the wheel assembly 14 is in the first orientation in which the wheel 16 protrudes from the bottom of the wheel assembly 14, by raising the forepart portion of the sole 11 the user can roll along the supporting surface, and stop by lowering the forepart portion of the sole 11 so that both the forepart of the sole 11 and the wheel 16 contact the supporting surface. To switch to a walking mode, the wheel assembly 14 is detached by pulling or prying it away from the sole 11, reversing its orientation, and reattaching the wheel assembly 14 to the sole in the second orientation in which the wheel 16 is flush with or recessed from the bottom of the wheel assembly 14, thereby providing a walking surface on the sole 1 1 of the footwear 10. In the second orientation the wheel 16 projects into a cavity 13, extending into the recessed portion 12 of the sole 11, as shown in phantom in
In the preferred embodiment the forepart region of the sole 11 is augmented by a skid pad 40, shown in
Various embodiments of the present invention having been thus described in detail by way of example, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the invention. The invention includes all such variations and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims.