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Publication numberUS20080313928 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/517,722
Publication dateDec 25, 2008
Filing dateSep 8, 2006
Priority dateSep 8, 2006
Publication number11517722, 517722, US 2008/0313928 A1, US 2008/313928 A1, US 20080313928 A1, US 20080313928A1, US 2008313928 A1, US 2008313928A1, US-A1-20080313928, US-A1-2008313928, US2008/0313928A1, US2008/313928A1, US20080313928 A1, US20080313928A1, US2008313928 A1, US2008313928A1
InventorsRoger R. Adams, Michael G. Staffaroni, Jong Sang Choi, K. D. Seol, Jong-Kyu Song
Original AssigneeAdams Roger R, Staffaroni Michael G, Jong Sang Choi, Seol K D, Jong-Kyu Song
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wheeled footwear with spring suspension system
US 20080313928 A1
Abstract
An exemplary wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system is provided. In one embodiment, the footwear includes an upper, a midsole positioned in a midsole region, and an outsole. The spring suspension system is positioned in the midsole region of the footwear, and includes plurality of spring members, each having a first end and a second end, a top layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the first end, and a bottom layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the second end. The bottom layer may include an opening or openings formed in the bottom layer that may receive at least a portion of a wheel or wheels that may be positioned below the top layer and operable for rolling.
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Claims(36)
1. A wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system comprising:
a footwear with an upper, a midsole positioned in a midsole region, and an outsole; and
a spring suspension system positioned in the midsole region, the spring suspension system including:
a plurality of spring members, each having a first end and a second end,
a top layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the first end, and
a bottom layer positioned adjacent the outsole, the bottom layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the second end, and including an opening formed in the bottom layer and the outsole that may surround at least a portion of at least one wheel that is positioned to roll in the opening.
2. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the midsole region includes a forefoot region, an arch region, and a heel region, and wherein the spring suspension system is positioned at least partially in the heel region of the midsole.
3. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the spring suspension system is positioned at least partially in the heel region of the midsole, and at least partially in the arch region of the midsole.
4. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the spring suspension system is positioned at least partially in the heel region of the midsole, at least partially in the arch region of the midsole, and at least partially in the forefoot region of the midsole.
5. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the outsole includes a flexible forefoot portion, and wherein the flexible forefoot portion of the outsole is adjacent a flexible midsole portion positioned at least partially in the forefoot region of the midsole.
6. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein a portion of the midsole is positioned at least partially in the heel region of the midsole above the top layer of the spring suspension system.
7. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 6, wherein the portion of the midsole positioned at least partially in the heel region of the midsole above the top layer of the spring suspension system is a cushioned portion of the midsole.
8. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the bottom layer of the spring suspension system has a back end and a front end, and the top layer of the spring suspension system has a back end and a front end, and wherein the back end of the bottom layer extends towards the back end of the top layer.
9. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 8, further comprising:
a tab portion that extends between the back end of the bottom layer and the back end of the top layer.
10. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 9, wherein the tab portion is flexible.
11. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 8, wherein the portion of the outsole positioned adjacent the back end of the bottom layer is a heel stop.
12. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 8, wherein the back end of the bottom layer couples with the back end of the top layer.
13. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the bottom layer of the spring suspension system has a back end and a front end, and the top layer of the spring suspension system has a back end and a front end, and wherein the front end of the bottom layer extends towards the front end of the top layer.
14. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 13, further comprising:
a support member positioned between the front end of the bottom layer and the front end of the top layer.
15. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 13, wherein the support member is a support wedge.
16. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein at least one of the plurality of spring members including:
a coiled spring;
a dampening member positioned within the coiled spring; and
a spring cover positioned around at least a portion of the coiled spring and the dampening member.
17. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 16, wherein the spring cover is clear.
18. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 16, wherein the spring cover is opaque.
19. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 16, wherein the spring cover is shaped at least partially in a bellows shape.
20. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the top layer includes a plurality of stops provided to retain one end of the plurality spring members, and wherein the bottom layer includes a corresponding plurality of stops provided to retain the opposite end of the plurality of spring members.
21. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the outsole includes a flexible forefoot portion, and further comprising:
a wheel positioned in the opening formed in the bottom layer of the spring suspension system and supported below the top layer of the spring suspension system, and operable to allow a user of the rolling footwear to walk on a surface using the flexible forefoot portion of the outsole, and to transition to a heel rolling state by rolling on the surface using the wheel positioned in the opening by elevating the forefoot portion above the surface, and wherein the spring suspension support provides shock absorption between at least a portion of the top layer and the bottom layer.
22. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 21, further comprising a plurality of wheels positioned in one or more openings formed in the bottom layer of the spring suspension system.
23. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein clearance between the top of the wheel and the top plate is greater than the spring stop clearance when the stops of the top layer and the bottom layer do not allow any more compression of the spring members.
24. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the bottom layer of the spring suspension system includes a second opening that may receive at least a portion of a second wheel.
25. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the opening of the bottom layer of the spring suspension system may also surround at least a portion of a second wheel that is positioned to roll in the opening.
26. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the top layer includes a plurality of stops operable to minimize lateral movement of the first end of the plurality of spring members, and the bottom layer includes a plurality of stops operable to minimize lateral movement of the second end of the plurality of spring members.
27. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 26, wherein the plurality of stops of the top layer are a separate structure or structures from the top layer.
28. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 26, wherein the plurality of stops of the bottom layer are a separate structure or structures from the bottom layer.
29. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 26, wherein the plurality of stops of the top layer are a separate structure or structures from the top layer, and wherein the plurality of stops of the bottom layer are a separate structure or structures from the bottom layer.
30. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 26, wherein a plurality of stops of the top layer each include an end, and a plurality of stops of the bottom layer each include an end, and wherein the end of the stops of at least a plurality of the stops of the top layer are positioned adjacent the ends of the corresponding stops of the bottom layer.
31. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, wherein the wherein the plurality of spring members is six.
32. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the wheel is removably coupled to the bottom layer.
33. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the wheel is retractably coupled to the bottom layer.
34. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 2, wherein the wheel is permanently coupled to the bottom layer.
35. The wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system of claim 1, further comprising:
a plug operable to fill at least a portion of the opening.
36. A wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system comprising:
a footwear with an upper, a midsole positioned in a midsole region, and an outsole; and
a spring suspension system positioned in the midsole region, the spring suspension system including:
a plurality of spring members, each having a first end and a second end,
a top layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the first end, and
a bottom layer operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the second end, wherein the top layer includes a back portion and a front portion, and the bottom layer includes a back portion and a front portion, and the front portion of the top layer extends towards the front portion of the bottom layer, and wherein the midsole includes a forefoot portion and a heel portion, and the spring suspension system is positioned primarily in the midsole.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), this application claims priority from, and hereby incorporates by reference for all purposes, U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/715,740, entitled Footwear with Spring Suspension System, naming Roger R. Adams, Michael G. Staffaroni, Jong Sang Choi, K. D. Seol, and Jong-Kyu Song as inventors, and filed Sep. 8, 2005.

This application is also related to, and hereby incorporates by reference for all purposes, U.S. Pat. No. 6,406,038, and including various issued patents related to U.S. Pat. No. 6,406,038 that all depend from a common application, which is U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/127,459 filed Apr. 1, 1999.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field footwear, including rolling or wheeled footwear and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to a wheeled footwear with spring suspension system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use and popularity of the HEELYS® brand wheeled footwear with the “wheel(s) in the heel” has been exceptional around the world, and has spawned an entirely new activity enjoyed around the world. The superior craftsmanship and quality of the HEELYS® brand rolling footwear has resulted in the capability to provide larger wheels, which in turn provides greater user control, performance and satisfaction, while still maintaining the precise tolerances required of the HEELYS® brand wheeled footwear with the wheel or wheels rolling in the heel. Unfortunately, these close tolerances have heretofore prohibited the introduction of any suspension and cushioning to the footwear that could accommodate wheeled footwear, including wheeled footwear similar to the HEELYS® brand wheeled footwear, or wheeled footwear with wheels in or adjacent both the heel and the forefoot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

From the foregoing it may be appreciated that a need has arisen for a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system that provides greater comfort, feel and enhanced performance in footwear, rolling footwear, skates, and/or inline skates. The present invention may be employed in conventional footwear, such as athletic footwear, to provide enhanced comfort, support and overall footwear performance. In accordance with the present invention, a spring suspension system is provided that substantially eliminates one or more of the disadvantages and problems outlined above.

According to an exemplary aspect of the present invention, a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system is provided. The footwear has an upper, a midsole positioned in a midsole region, and an outsole. The footwear may also be divided into a heel portion, an arch portion, and a forefoot portion. The spring suspension system is positioned in the midsole region of the footwear, and includes plurality of spring members, each having a first end and a second end, a top layer, plate or member operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the first end, and a bottom layer, plate or member operable to support at least a portion of the plurality of spring members at the second end. The bottom layer may include an opening formed in the bottom layer that may receive at least a portion of a wheel that is positioned below the top layer, and is operable for rolling on a surface.

The various embodiments and implementations of the present invention may provide a profusion of potential technical advantages and benefits. A technical advantage of the present invention may include the capability to provide a safe and secure platform for rolling footwear.

Another technical advantage of the present invention may include the capability to provide improved footwear comfort and performance.

Other technical advantages may be readily apparent to one skilled in the art after review of the following figures and description associated herewith.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following brief description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and detailed description, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the back of a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system positioned in the heel area of the midsole of the footwear, according to one implementation of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective/cutaway view of the spring suspension system that illustrates how a plurality of spring members may be positioned relative to the top layer with a plurality of stops and corresponding stops of the bottom layer having an opening;

FIG. 3 is a partial side view of a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system that illustrates an embodiment of the present invention showing the outline or cutout view of one position of a wheel;

FIG. 4 is a side, cutaway view of the spring suspension system, similar to FIG. 3, that illustrates how the stops of the top layer and the corresponding stops of the bottom layer may be implemented in an alternative embodiment to minimize the lateral movement of the spring members, and how the spring member may be positioned between the top layer and the bottom layer, according to one implementation of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a back, cutaway view of the spring suspension system with a wheel that illustrates how the stops of the top layer and the stops of the bottom layer may surround or encase the spring members, according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 6A is a perspective view and a side, cutaway view of the spring member with the dampening member positioned within the steel or metal spring, according to one implementation of an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6B is a side, cut-away view of the spring member with the dampening member positioned within the spring, according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a side, cutaway view of the spring suspension system similar to FIG. 4;

FIGS. 8A-8B are a series of views of a spring member, including a spring cover, according to one implementation;

FIGS. 9A-9b are a series of side views of an implementation of a wheeled footwear with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole;

FIG. 10 is a side view of a wheeled footwear with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole that illustrates a flexible forefoot;

FIG. 11A-11 b are a series of bottom views of an implementation of a wheeled footwear with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole with the wheel in the opening and with the wheel removed;

FIGS. 12A-12 b are a series of heel bottom views of an implementation of a wheeled footwear with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole with the wheel removed and the opening being filled with a heel plug; and

FIG. 13 is a back view of an implementation of a wheeled footwear with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It should be understood at the outset that although an exemplary implementation of the present invention is illustrated below, the present invention may be implemented using any number of techniques, whether currently known or in existence. The present invention should in no way be limited to the exemplary implementations, drawings, and techniques illustrated below, including the exemplary design and implementation illustrated and described herein. Additionally, the drawings contained herein are not necessarily drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the back of a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system 10 positioned in the heel area or region of the midsole of the footwear, according to one implementation of the invention. A plurality of spring members 16 are illustrated surrounded by and between stops 22 (also referred to as cups) from a top layer 14 and stops 22 (which may be implemented as cups or columns) of a bottom layer 12. The stops 22 may be implemented as separate structures or as multiple structures positioned together. In other embodiments the spring members may only be partially surrounded by the stops 22 of the top layer and the stops 22 of the bottom layer. In other embodiments, the stops 22 may be implemented as columns or extensions used to retain or impair the movement of a spring member at one end.

The spring members 16 may include, in certain embodiments, a dampening member 30 positioned within a spring, such as that shown in FIG. 6 and described more fully below. The top layer 14 is shown with a rise portion (or wheel indentation portion) to serve as additional clearance for a wheel that may be provided, either permanently, removably or retractably, as could be provided using numerous configurations known to one of ordinary skill in the art, coupled to the bottom layer 12, preferably through an opening 24(shown partially in FIG. 1 and more fully in FIG. 2), using axles coupled at junctions 26 (shown below in FIG. 2) of the bottom layer 12.

A tab 20 may be provided that, in one embodiment is flexible, that connects or nearly connects the bottom layer 12 to the top layer 14 at a back end of the two layers. In the embodiment shown, the tab 20 is positioned to prevent a user from using the toe of one shoe to push down too hard on the bottom layer 12 when using the toe of one shoe to assist with taking off the other shoe as is commonly done. The tab 20 may completely couple to the back ends of the two layers or it may almost connect or may be in engaging contact without being fully connected. For example, a tab indentation 18 is shown at the back end of the top layer 14 that is operable to receive the top of the tab 20. In certain embodiments, the tab 20 may flexibly couple with the tab indentation 18 of the top layer 14. The present invention is not limited to the tab 20 of the bottom layer 12, or the tab indentation 18 of the top layer 14.

The top layer 14, in the one embodiment of FIG. 1, includes a front end that is shown curving or extending down to a front end of the bottom layer 12. In this manner, the spring suspension system 10 may be positioned entirely or partially in a midsole portion of a footwear, such as partially or entirely in a heel region of the midsole or the sole of a footwear, or throughout a forefoot region, arch region and/or heel region of the midsole portion of the footwear to provide openings for wheels for the wheeled footwear to function a in-line skate, in one embodiment, as skates in another embodiment, or as heeling wheeled footwear, such as the HEELYS® branded footwear.

In other embodiments, the spring suspension system 10 may be modular and may be inserted and removed from an appropriately configured footwear. In still other embodiments, the opening in the bottom layer 12 may be filled with a cover or plug, as shown in a subsequent FIGURE and as described below, when the wheel is not present. Further, an outsole will preferably be positioned on the bottom of the bottom layer 12 to provide wear resistance and proper or desired traction.

In operation, the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12 are moveably coupled through the plurality of spring members 16 to provide additional spring, cushion, and/or dampening to the user. The wheel, in a preferred embodiment, but not by way of limitation, may be attached to the bottom layer 12 such that the top of the wheel may move up and down relative to the top layer 14. In one embodiment, the rise or wheel indentation portion, the top of which may be seen in FIG. 1, may be used to provide additional clearance for the top of the wheel to move while not coming in contact with the top layer 14. In other embodiments, the rise or wheel indentation may be an opening to allow the wheel to extend above the top layer 14. The rise or indentation provides the additional capability for the spring suspension system to provide even more clearance and corresponding suspension. In a preferred embodiment, the clearance from the top of the wheel to the corresponding portion of the top layer 14 is greater than the maximum movement between the top layer 12 and the bottom layer 14 that is provided through the plurality of spring members 16, the dampening members 30, and the plurality of stops 22. This provides substantial stability and comfort to the user, while also providing additional safety in the implementation of the spring suspension system. In other embodiments, the opening 24 (shown in FIG. 2) in the bottom layer 12 may provide room for two wheels or two openings 24 may be provided in the bottom layer 12.

FIG. 2 is a side perspective/cutaway view of the spring suspension system 10 that illustrates how a plurality of spring members 16 may be positioned relative to the top layer 14 with a plurality of stops 22 and corresponding stops 22 of the bottom layer 12 shown, in this embodiment, with the opening 24. A coupling at junction 26 is shown for an axle of a rotatable wheel to removably couple to the bottom layer 12 while being at least partially positioned within the opening 24 and partially between the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12. The tab 20 at the back end of the bottom layer 12 is shown operable to be positioned at the tab indentation 18 at the back end of the top layer 14. The tab indentation 18 is shown implemented with a cut-out portion operable to receive or engage the tab 20 as the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12 move up and down relative to one another.

FIG. 3 is a partial side view of a wheeled footwear with a spring suspension system 10 that illustrates an embodiment of the present invention showing the outline or cutout view of one position of a wheel 28, and a plurality of spring members extending between the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12, while being retained in stops 22. In other embodiments the stops 22 may be columns, tabs, or members used to restrain the spring member 16 or to minimize the movement of the spring member 16.

The tab 20 is shown angled or extending behind the wheeled footwear. In other embodiments, the tab 20 may extend from the tab indentation 18 of the top layer 14 to the bottom layer 12 as a solid piece. An outsole 82 may be provided on the underside of bottom side of the bottom layer 12 to provide a desired texture and surface to the bottom of the footwear. The angled portion of the tab 20 as shown at heel brake 80 may include the outsole 82 to assist with breaking or stopping after rolling on the wheel 28. In other embodiments, additional wheels may be provided next to or side-by-side to wheel 28, or in front of or in back of the wheel 28.

A spring cover 84 is illustrated in FIG. 3. This may be provided as a clear, semi-opaque or opaque member, that is preferably made of a polymer, plastic or resilient material. As will be shown in FIGS. 8A-8C, the spring member 16, with a dampening member provided within the spring of spring member 16, may be provided within the spring cover 84. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 8A-8C, the spring cover 84 is a bellows or ribbed type shape to allow the spring member 16 to deform and extend as needed while the spring cover 84 flexes accordingly and stays in place.

FIG. 4 is a side, cutaway view of the spring suspension system, similar to FIG. 3, that illustrates how the stops 22 of the top layer 14 and the corresponding stops 22 of the bottom layer 12 may be implemented in an alternative embodiment to minimize the lateral movement of the spring members 16, which are shown with a dampening member 30 and a spring 32, and how the spring members 16 may be positioned between the top layer and the bottom layer, according to one implementation of the present invention.

The stops 22 of the bottom layer 12 are shown in sliding engagement with the corresponding stops 22 of the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12. The distance 86 shows the maximum amount that the spring member 16 may be compressed before the stops 22 come in contact with one another. This may be referred to as “bottoming out” the suspension system. The weight of the user and the corresponding force provided from the ground compress the spring members 16. When additional force is applied, such as when the user is performing jump or other movement, the spring suspension system may reach the bottoming out condition. In a preferred embodiment, the distance between the top of the wheel 28 and the top plate 14 (or the distance through an opening in the top plate 14 until reaching a solid surface) is greater than the distance 86. In this manner, the spring suspension system 10 keeps the wheel from ever contacting a surface or bottoming out, which could create a safety concern.

FIG. 5 is a back, cutaway view of the spring suspension system 10 with the wheel 28 that illustrates how the stops 22 of the top layer 14 and the stops 22 of the bottom layer 12 may surround or encase the spring members 16, according to the one embodiment of the present invention also illustrated in FIG. 4. The spring members 16 include a spring 32 and a dampening member 30, which is made of a material, such as a foam or plastic, that provides mechanical dampening. The wheel 28, which is preferably made of a urethane, such as a polyurethane, is shown positioned through the opening 24 of the bottom plate 12 and coupled to the bottom plate at or adjacent each axle end through a removable junction 26. In this embodiment, but not by way of limitation, the majority portion of the wheel 28 is positioned within the spring suspension system 10, between the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12, while a smaller portion of the wheel 28 resides below the bottom of the bottom layer 12 for rolling on a surface. In other embodiments, the wheel 28 is permanently (or semi-permanently) affixed to the bottom plate through a member or coupling, which may be provided in any number of configurations known to one of ordinary skill in the art. In still other embodiments, the wheel 28 is coupled to the spring suspension 10 through a coupling that allows the wheel, or a portion of the wheel, to be rollingly positioned below the bottom of the bottom layer 12, such as is shown in FIG. 5, and operable to be retracted into the opening of the spring suspension system 10 so that the wheel does not rollingly extend below the bottom of the bottom layer 12, and the outersole, not specifically shown in FIG. 5, but preferably applied or positioned below the bottom of the bottom layer 12.

FIGS. 6A is a perspective view and a side, cutaway view of the spring member 16 with the dampening member 30 positioned within the steel or metal spring 32, according to one implementation of an embodiment of the invention. In other embodiments, the spring 32 is made of a non-metallic material and the dampening member 30 may extend above and/or below the spring 32.

FIG. 6B is a side, cutaway view of the spring member 16 with the dampening member 30 positioned within the spring 32, according to an embodiment of the invention. This provides stability, dampening and spring. Various other configurations of the spring member 16 may be used in the present invention, and would be recognized and available to one of ordinary skill in the art. The spring member 16 is preferably visible to the user in operation, either through a clear or semi-clear cover, or without a spring cover.

FIG. 7 is a side, cutaway view of the spring suspension system 10, similar to FIG. 4. The spring suspension system 10 may be entirely in the heel of the footwear, partially in the heel and partially in the arch and/or forefoot of the footwear. The wheel 28, in some implementations, may be removed and a heel plug inserted to keep debris from entering the opening where the wheel resided. In certain implementations of the present invention, the capability to view both the wheel 28 and the spring members 16 provides enhanced visual appeal.

FIGS. 8A-8B are a series of views of a spring member 16, including a spring cover 84, according to one implementation. FIG. 8A is a side view of a semi-opaque spring cover 84 that is implemented in a bellows configuration. FIG. 8B illustrates the spring cover 84 being filled with a coiled spring 32 and a dampening member 30, such that the spring 32 and the dampening member 30 can be partially seen through the semi-opaque spring cover 84. Finally, FIG. 8C, similar to FIG. 8B, illustrates the spring 32 and the dampening member 30 inserted more fully into the spring cover 84, which in a preferred embodiment is flexible, yet resilient to return back to its original or relaxed state.

FIGS. 9A-9 b are a series of side views of an implementation of a wheeled footwear 100 with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole 94B. The spring suspension system, similar to spring suspension system 10, is located below a portion of the midsole 94B in the heel region. A support member, such as support wedge 90, is shown connected to the front end to the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12. A plurality of spring members 16 are shown positioned between the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 12.

The wheeled footwear 100 is shown implemented as a heeling apparatus with one or more wheels in the heel. The wheeled footwear 100 includes an upper 92, a midsole 94, which is shown with the midsole in the forefoot region 94A and the midsole above the spring suspension system 10 in the heel region 94B. An outsole 98 is shown with the outsole positioned in the forefoot region at 98A and the outsole positioned on the bottom of the bottom layer 12 in the heel region at 98B. The heel brake 80 is shown where he outsole covers the portion of the back end of the bottom plate of the spring suspension system 10. In certain implementations, the outsole at the heel brake may be made of a wear resistant material. The wheel 28 can be clearly viewed under the wheeled footwear 100, and through the spring members 16, in this embodiment. FIG. 9B illustrates the wheeled footwear 100 with the wheel 28 having been removed from the opening.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a wheeled footwear 100 with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole that illustrates a flexible forefoot 102. This allows the user to walk or run normally, just as in normal athletic shoes or tennis shoes, and then to roll on the wheel or wheels when desired.

FIGS. 11A-11 b are a series of bottom views of an implementation of the wheeled footwear 100 with the spring suspension system 100 implemented in a heel region of the midsole with the wheel in the opening and with the wheel removed in FIG. 11B. In FIG. 11B, the footwear 100 is shown with out the wheel, and the general areas, which cannot always be precisely defined, include a forefoot 102, an arch 104, and a heel 106. The wheel 28 is shown positioned in the opening at junction 26.

FIGS. 12A-12 b are a series of heel bottom views of an implementation of the wheeled footwear 100 with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole with the wheel removed and the opening being filled with a heel plug 200. This allows this implementation of the footwear 100 to function as high quality, athletic footwear with spring suspension, that can be easily and conveniently converted to wheeled footwear with a spring suspension.

FIG. 13 is a back view of an implementation of the wheeled footwear 100 with the spring suspension system implemented in a heel region of the midsole. The heel brake 80 can be seen, along with the plurality of spring members 16 and the midsole 94B positioned above the spring suspension system.

Spring members having different mechanical/elastic properties may be used in the present invention to provide a comfort/feel/performance desired by a user of a particular weight for a certain activity. It should also be understood that the present invention is not limited to rolling, and may be implemented in conventional footwear, such as athletic footwear, and may be implemented in other sporting footwear such as baseball, soccer and/or football cleats or shoes, as well as basketball, rugby and lacrosse footwear for improved performance.

Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the present invention, a footwear with spring suspension system that satisfies one or more of the advantages set forth above. Although the preferred embodiment has been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, and alterations can be made herein without departing from the scope of the present invention, even if all of the advantages and benefits identified above are not present. For example, the various embodiments and examples shown in the drawings and descriptions provided herein illustrate that the present invention may be implemented and embodied in numerous different ways that still fall within the scope of the present invention, whether expressly shown herein or not. For example, the various elements or components may be combined or integrated in another system or certain features may not be implemented. Also, the techniques, systems, sub-systems, and methods described and illustrated in the preferred embodiment as discrete or separate may be combined or integrated with other systems, designs, techniques, or methods without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the spring suspension system can be placed in a variety of locations, including locations not specifically discussed herein. Other examples of changes, substitutions, and alterations are readily ascertainable by one skilled in the art and could be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7757411 *Apr 25, 2007Jul 20, 2010Wolverine World Wide, Inc.Shock absorbing footwear construction
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Classifications
U.S. Classification36/103, 280/11.25, 36/35.00R, 36/27, 280/11.24, 36/28
International ClassificationA43B13/18, A43B21/24, A63C17/08, A43B13/28, A63C17/04, A43B13/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63C17/20, A63C17/0046, A43B5/1633, A43B13/182, A63C17/08
European ClassificationA63C17/00G, A43B5/16M, A43B13/18A1, A63C17/20, A63C17/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 18, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: HEELING SPORTS LIMITED, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:STAFFARONI, MICHAEL G.;ADAMS, ROGER R.;CHOI, JONG SANG;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018649/0880;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050802 TO 20050803