Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20070283595 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/309,453
Publication dateDec 13, 2007
Filing dateAug 9, 2006
Priority dateAug 29, 2005
Publication number11309453, 309453, US 2007/0283595 A1, US 2007/283595 A1, US 20070283595 A1, US 20070283595A1, US 2007283595 A1, US 2007283595A1, US-A1-20070283595, US-A1-2007283595, US2007/0283595A1, US2007/283595A1, US20070283595 A1, US20070283595A1, US2007283595 A1, US2007283595A1
InventorsDonald Bright
Original AssigneeBright Donald A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
X-Shaped Pillar Sole for Footwear Traction and Comfort
US 20070283595 A1
Abstract
A sole (10) for footwear has a plurality of x-shaped pillars (30), preferably made of rubber or other elastomer. The x-shaped pillars (30) are vertical columns in the cross-sectional shape of an “X” having a wider base towards the inside of the footwear and extending, preferable in steps, to a narrower cross-section at the walking surface. The x-shaped pillars are preferably aligned longitudinally on the sole so that the arms of the x-shaped pillar face forward, rearward and to both sides of the footwear. This longitudinal orientation is preferred because it promotes gripping the engaged surface along the vertices of the x-shaped pillar, providing enhanced traction in the longitudinal and lateral directions. One embodiment has a plurality of channels (20) or cut throughs on a frame surrounding the x-shaped pillars and extending from the base of the x-shaped pillars through the frame to permit ejection of matter engaged between the x-shaped pillars. The sloped x-shaped pillars (30) compress with the weight of a person walking and inherently eject entrained matter filling the space between the arms of x-shaped pillars.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(11)
1. A sole for footwear comprising, a plurality of x-shaped pillars that extend from a wide base to a narrower terminus wherein said terminus forms an approximate planar wear surface.
2. The sole of claim 1 wherein the x-shaped pillars are aligned so that arms of the x-shaped pillar face approximately forward and rearward of a longitudinal axis of the footwear.
3. The sole of claim 1 further comprising a frame of elastomeric material surrounding the sole having an end at the approximate planar wear surface.
4. The sole of claim 3 wherein the frame is shaped with a plurality of channels extending from the base of the x-shaped pillars through the frame to permit ejection of matter engaged between the x-shaped pillars.
5. The sole of claim 3 wherein the frame is extended inwardly comprising a depressed transitional portion containing shortened x-shaped pillars that have a terminus at the wear surface.
6. The sole of claim 1 further comprising one or more recesses, each centered on a x-shaped pillars and each recess having a connection to receive a spike.
7. The sole of claim 1 further comprising an integral heel segment having x-shaped pillars wherein the thickness of the heal segment is greater than the thickness of a front segment of the sole.
8. The sole of claim 7 wherein the integral rear heal segment has a plurality of holes extending from the top of the sole to a point above a plane defined by the bases of the x-shaped pillars in the rear heal segment.
9. The sole of claim 1 further comprising an attachment heel.
10. The sole of claim 1 wherein the x-shaped pillars rise from the base in steps to the terminus.
11. The sole of claim 1 wherein the x-shaped pillars are made of elastomeric materials.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of provisional application 60/712,111 filed Aug. 29, 2005, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

In the field of soles for footwear, a sole that enhances traction in slippery conditions and is comfortable for the user.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

Prior art in footwear soles feature parallel rows of nubs, various grid designs, chambers and protuberances having pyramidal, inverted cone and stepped designs. None of the prior art teaches that improved comfort for therapeutic effect and enhanced traction can be achieved using a sole employing x-shaped pillars that resist slipping in the longitudinal and lateral directions.

Representative of prior art with parallel rows of nubs is U.S. Pat. No. 4,378,641 to Arthur S. Tarlow on Apr. 5, 1983 for a boat shoe and sole. Tarlow teaches a side wall to the ribs and the ribs having a length that meets the plane of the side wall. However, this type of prior art does not teach enhanced resistance to slippage using x-shaped pillars, as in the present invention. Tarlow does not offer benefits in resisting slippage in the lateral or sideways directions, as in the present invention. The present invention does not employ the ribs disclosed in Tarlow and is distinct in its x-shaped pillars. The present invention is further distinguished in that it teaches channels through the sidewall to permit matter to be ejected to the environment surrounding the sole.

Representative of the prior art grid and chamber design is U.S. Pat. No. 2,909,271 to S. A. Taylor on Sep. 24, 1956, which teaches a grid of intersecting ribs and chambers to provide gripping power and self-cleaning. The present invention does not use chambers or intersecting ribs, but rather is the opposite in that no ribs are utilized and no chambers are created because any cavity formed by x-shaped pillars is in open communication with the environment surrounding the sole.

While stepped protuberances are disclosed in the prior art, for example in Taylor above, none of the prior art has been found to teach or disclose an x-shaped pillar.

Accordingly, the present invention will serve to improve the prior art of footwear soles by employing a plurality of x-shaped pillars to provide improved comfort for therapeutic effect and enhanced traction by resisting slipping in both the forward and sideways directions.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A sole for footwear has a plurality of x-shaped pillars, preferably made of rubber or other elastomer. The x-shaped pillars are vertical columns in the cross-sectional shape of an “X” having a wider base towards the inside of the footwear and extending, preferable in steps, to a narrower cross-section at the walking surface. In a framed embodiment, the x-shaped pillars are confined within a frame of elastomeric material around the outer edge of the shoe. Other embodiments are frameless and the x-shaped pillars extend to the edge of the sole. The frameless embodiments have an option to add screw-in, or press-in spikes, which may be metallic or non-metallic spikes. In the framed embodiment, the outer, or wear, surfaces of the frame and x-shaped pillars define an approximate plane constituting the walking surface of the sole. The preferred embodiment also has x-shaped pillars in a thicker heal segment, which constitute an added walking surface of the sole. The x-shaped pillars are preferably aligned longitudinally on the sole so that the arms of the x-shaped pillar face forward, rearward and to both sides of the footwear. This longitudinal orientation is preferred for traction because it promotes gripping the engaged surface along the vertices of the x-shaped pillar in both the longitudinal and lateral directions, especially on icy, wet, oily and greasy surfaces. The sloped x-shaped columns compress with the weight of a person walking and inherently shed or eject entrained matter filling the space between the arms of x-shaped pillars when in use on muddy, sandy or particulate surfaces. The framed embodiment has a plurality of channels or cut throughs on the frame extending from the base of the x-shaped pillars through the frame to permit ejection of matter engaged between the x-shaped pillars. The unique x-shape pillar arrangement provides comfortable cushioned footwear having improved traction on particulate and slippery surfaces.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The figures depict examples of the invention and are not intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention, which are defined by the claims.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a front segment of a sole.

FIG. 2 is a perspective of a sole with a heel.

FIG. 3 a side view of a sole with holes and channels.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view a sole having a heel segment with holes.

FIG. 5 is a plan view showing an enlarged portion of a front segment of a sole.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a sole having fewer x-shaped pillars extending across the wear face of the sole.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention is a sole for footwear having a plurality of x-shaped pillars. The term footwear is used intentionally to broadly include shoes, boots, sandals, slippers and anything worn on a foot that is intended to contact the ground.

The x-shaped pillars are essentially columns having a cross-sectional shape of an x. These columns extend vertically from a wide base to a narrower terminus, which forms an approximate planar wear surface of the sole. In the preferred embodiment, the x-shaped pillars rise from the base in discrete steps to the terminus. This stepped configuration to the x-shaped pillars (30) is shown in perspective in two embodiments, one in FIG. 6 and one in plan view in FIG. 5.

In the preferred embodiment, the x-shaped pillars are made of elastomeric material that compresses under the weight of a person wearing footwear employing the sole and quickly return to the original uncompressed shape when released. It is well known that such elastomeric materials can be made to compress to varying degrees under pressure. However, aside from the fact that some level of compressibility is preferred, it is expressly intended that invention include both incompressible and compressible x-shaped pillars. For compressible x-shaped pillars, the invention includes all levels of compressibility from almost zero compressibility to the maximum achievable compressibility.

For the preferred embodiments, the amount compressibility in the x-shaped pillars will vary with the footwear application for which the sole is intended to be employed. For example, very little compressibility would be needed for a soccer shoe where comfort over a long period of time is of less concern and slippery hard surfaces are not usually encountered. FIG. 6 shows such an embodiment having fewer x-shaped pillars (30) extending across the sole (10). This embodiment is intended to bite into the surface and grip in all directions and would be suitable for similar applications employed on grass, dirt, mud, snow and ice.

On the other hand, where the footwear application is for lengthy use during the day when comfort is a higher priority or when the expected use is on slippery, hard surfaces, then, greater compressibility of the x-shaped pillars would perform remarkably better to add comfort and traction. FIG. 1 through FIG. 5 show embodiments for this kind of application. Restaurant service personnel are typical of those who would be standing on the sole for long periods and would benefit from a therapeutic effect of greater compressibility. Slippery, hard surfaces that are wet or oily, for example, may be also found in restaurants and in boating applications.

The quantity of the x-shaped pillars on a given sole is also a function of the footwear application for which the sole will be used. Relatively few x-shaped pillars, as in FIG. 5, would better serve the soccer application. Numerous x-shaped pillars, as in FIG. 2, would better serve the restaurant application. Generally, the larger the profile of the x-shaped pillar, the harder the composition of elastomeric material in the preferred embodiments.

The sole may provide for the use of a regular heel, that is, an attachment heel made of solid material. Alternatively, in the preferred embodiments, the sole is an integral unit with both a heel segment and a front segment having x-shaped pillars.

FIG. 1 is close-up view of the wear surface of a sole (10). The terminus or wear surface of the x-shaped pillars (30) are shown with a white x. The x-shaped pillars are aligned so that arms of the x-shaped pillar face approximately forward and rearward of a longitudinal axis of the footwear. This orientation of the x-shaped pillars is preferred because it enhances the gripping power or traction of the sole when in use. The arms of the x-shaped pillars tend to direct the surface being walked upon toward the vertices of the x, which enhance griping power of the sole in the longitudinal and lateral directions. Slipping in two dimensions is, thus, inhibited by the x-shaped pillars.

FIG. 2 and FIG. 6 are examples of integral soles (10) that might be employed in the above restaurant and soccer examples, respectively. FIG. 2 shows numerous x-shaped pillars (30) covering the wear surface of the sole, including both the heel segment and the front section. As can be seen in FIG. 2, the heel segment is typically thicker than the front segment of the sole.

FIG. 6 shows significantly fewer x-shaped pillars extending across the wear face of the sole, which in this case extends across the entire width of the sole. FIG. 6 shows a sole with six circular recesses, each such recess (60) being centered on an x-shaped pillar Each such recess (60) has a connection to receive a screw-in, or press-in spike.

When the sole is viewed in an upside down perspective, as generally shown in FIG. 2, the x-shaped pillars are broad at their base and narrower at their tops; the tops forming the wear face of the sole. The x-shaped pillars are not connected to each other except at the base, which forms the platform from which all the x-shaped pillars extend. Thus, the plurality of x-shaped pillars may also be described as forming interconnected funnel-like cavities between the pillars such that when the pillars compress during use, they tend to squeeze out any material occupying the cavities.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view an integral sole having a heel segment with a plurality of holes (40) extending from the top of the sole to a point above a plane defined by the bases of the x-shaped pillars in the heal segment. The holes (40) provide added flexure to the heel segment during use and thus enhances comfort of the user.

FIG. 5 shows a close-up of a portion of a front segment of a sole (10) having a frame (55) of elastomeric material surrounding the sole. The frame has an end at the approximate planar wear surface. The frame (55) is extended inwardly comprising a depressed transitional portion (50) containing shortened x-shaped pillars that have a terminus at the wear surface. The x-shaped pillars (30) within the area surrounded by the transitional portion (50) rise from the wide base in three steps to the narrower terminus. In this example, the x-shaped pillars atop the transitional portion (50) have a height equal to the top step in the three-step x-shaped pillar (30). The transitional portion (50), if used, provides added support and minumizes deflection of the x-shaped pillars. A preferred embodiment of the sole for use on sandals and beach thongs would not utilize a transitional portion (50).

The frame (55) is shaped with a plurality of channels (20) extending from the base of the x-shaped pillars through the frame to permit ejection of matter engaged between the x-shaped pillars. Thus, when a person compresses the x-shaped pillars any matter within the funnel-like cavities is squeezed and tends to eject from the sole through the channels (20).

FIG. 3 shows a side view of a sole (10) with a plurality of holes (40) and channels (20).

The above-described embodiments including the drawings are examples of the invention and merely provide illustrations of the invention. Other embodiments will be obvious to those skilled in the art. Thus, the scope of the invention is determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20120060394 *May 20, 2010Mar 15, 2012Hyuk Soo KwonHuman body-balancing footwear capable of preventing knock-knees and providing cushioning suitable for the weight of wearer
US20130283641 *Apr 27, 2012Oct 31, 2013Nike, Inc.Sole Structure and Article of Footwear Including Same
WO2015038321A1 *Aug 26, 2014Mar 19, 2015Nike Innovate C.V.Article of footwear comprising outsole with stepped projections
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/25.00R, 36/34.00R
International ClassificationA43B13/14
Cooperative ClassificationA43B13/223, A43B13/181, A43B3/0052
European ClassificationA43B3/00S30, A43B13/18A, A43B13/22B