US 2884646 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 5, 19 59 R. ALBER BLADDER STRUCTURE j ori inal Fild June '1; 1955 I INVENTOR. ROBE/W AZ 55/? v United States Patent BLADDER STRUCTURE Robert Alber, St. Anton, Austria, assignor to Alcosa- Etablissement, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, a company of Liechtenstein Original application June 1, 1955, Serial No. 512,461, now Patent No. 2,774,152, dated December 18, 1956. Divided and this application December 12, 1956, Serial No. 627,857
1 Claim. (Cl. 2-232) The present invention relates to a bladder assembly for sportswear which is equipped with a valve for inflating a bladder to contain a medium, such as air, the bladder being constructed to be applicable to a foot of the wearer, so as to extend around the sides and the back of a foot above the heel.
This application is a divisional of my application Serial No. 512,461, filed in the United States Patent Otfice on June 1, 1955, now Patent No. 2,774,152 granted Decem' ber 18, 1956.
The bladder assembly is primarily designed for sports wear, in particular for use in connection with ski trousers boots.
Ski boots have been known which use foam rubber pads outside the leather lining of the boots. Such pads are mostly designed to eliminate the difliculties frequently encountered in lacing ski boots with double uppers which are relatively stiff. Such foam rubber pads protect the constricted foot against undue pressure and other forces.
Other bladder structures heretofore known aim at applying a pressure against the instep of the foot of the wearer in order to press the same against the insole of the boot, the bladder leaving the outer ankle uncovered while providing an inflatable portion completely surrounding it.
Since all techniques of modern skiing demand, however, a forward lean of the body or vorlage, which causes pressure on the front of the skiers foot, any device intended to apply yet more pressure from above so as to push the foot downward and backward into the boot in addition to all the pressure already exerted on the front of the foot by vorlage or lacing, completely defeat the aim of allowing free circulation and avoiding concentrated pressure points on the top of the foot.
Articles of footwear, particularly boots, having airfilled side and heel portions are already known. In such arrangements, the entire surface of a foot is embraced or covered by cells which can be filled with air. This known arrangement is designed particularly to protect the wearer of the boot against cold feet. Another design is known in which the padding extends around the side and heel portions of a boot, which padding acts as a lining to be inflated with air. The lining surrounds the heel portion of the foot and also covers the side portions thereof below the ankle. The aim to this latter design is to eliminate pressure or friction areas frequently present in boots of this type. By enclosing the heel portion of the foot by an air cushion, possible unevennesses in the leather are prevented from contacting the foot proper.
Modern skiing techniques at present require the ski to be attached to the foot almost rigidly. The first prerequisite, i.e. rigid attachment of the ski to the boot, is achieved by a binding designed in accordance with all the refinements of modern mechanics, so that the ski is rigidly held by the boot. This gives rise to a new difficulty. So far it has been impossible with conventional means to fit a boot rigidly, yet resiliently to the foot as required. The first difliculty arises from the impossibility of assodating intimately enough the upper of the boot formed of strong double leather to the foot.
As has already been stated, foam rubber pads were, therefore, designed to remedy this difficulty. But even when such pads fit the shape of the foot, this cannot be adequately achieved because of differences in the position and shape of the ankle and a perfect adaptation to such shapes appears impossible, even with custom-made boots. Moreover, the shape varies always with the required movements in skiing. This also prevents that these pads assume a shape which is desirable and adequate. This difliculty is so serious that owing to stresses a somewhat narrow foot can slide out of the boot at least in the heel portion when the attachment of the ski to the boot is elficient. This cannot be avoided even with padding arranged around the heel portion and the foot portions below the angle since it is particularly the wide portions of the heel that are surrounded by the air cushion, thus in no way assuring an efiective obstacle to pulling the foot out of the boo-t.
The present invention obviates the disadvantages described by the provision of means affording the covering of the foot of the wearer independently of the wearers shoe or boot, which covering will fit and extend over the area of the ankle and over the area above the heel of the foot.
It is an object of the present invention to provide means facilitating the filling of the spaces existing between the leather of the boot and the outer surface of the foot of the wearer, in particular portions above the heel, whereby the covering or bladder has two lobe-shaped portions, which are interconnected by a bridge-shaped portion cornmunicating with the interior of said lobe-shaped portions.
It is another object of the present invention to provide means ensuring the incorporation or connection of the bladder structure in or with a stocking, sock, trousers leg or any other foot covering and its firm retainment on the foot when the latter is fitted into a ski boot.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide means envisaging a bladder structure with equal or compensating air pressure on both sides of the foot, molding about the ankle and heel bones and thus supporting same as well as cushioning them from harsh contact with the often hard sides of the ankle shaft portion of the boot.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide means conducive to a very efficient bladder structure which affords free circulation of air through a bridge or connecting portion of the lobes of the bladder especially during vorlage position, so that constant pressure is exerted on both sides of the foot at the ankle and adjacent the Achilles tendon and heel spur area.
These and other objects of the invention will become further apparent from the following detailed description, reference being made to the accompanying drawing, showing preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawing:
Fig. 1 illustrates schematically and in perspective a bladder structure embodying the invention, seen in applied condition of a wearers foot.
Fig. 2 is an enlarged side elevational view, partly in section, of the bladder of Fig. 1 as applied to a sock for retainment on a wearers foot.
Fig. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines 33 of Fig. 2.
Fig. 4 is a somewhat enlarged side elevational view of the bladder structure of Fig. 1 as applied to a trousers leg, some parts being broken away and other parts being shown in section.
Fig. 5 is an elevational view with parts broken off and showing on a reduced scale the bladder of Fig. 1 applied to a trousers leg.
Referring now more particularly to the drawing there is shown in Fig. 1 a hollow bladder made of rubber, plastic or plastic composition having two inflatable air cushions forming lobe sections 11 and 12 and a hollow connection or bridge portion13 interconnecting said lobe sections 11 and 12. A valve 14 of conventional construction extends rearwardly and upwardly from bridge portion 13 and is employable to deflate or inflate the lobe sections 11 and 12, whereby air may circulate and stream from one lobe section to the other via bridge portion 13, wherever air is most needed to fill hollows created by the ankle motions.
The forward ends 11a, 12a of the bladder 10 may me held together in position by any suitable means, such as rubber bands or the like or as shown in Fig. 2 through a retainer unit 15. The retainer unit 15 has an opening 16 through which valve 14 extends exteriorly of said unit 15. Retainer unit 15 possesses a cross strap 17 extending below the arch of the foot and over a sock 18a on the foot 18 so as to secure bladder 10 in place. It is preferred to manufacture retainer unit 15 from any suitable flexible material capable of retaining bladder 10 in position about the ankle bones and adjacent the region of the Achilles tendons of the wearers foot.
In Fig. 3 there are apparent the air-filled lobe sections 11, 12 inserted in retainer unit 15 and held against the ankle bones at 19, 20 at the foot 18. Unit 15 has the cut-out 15a extending above the heel bone.
Fig. 5 shows the foot 18 of the wearer provided with a legging 21 having the cross-strap 22. Within the legging there is inserted said bladder 10, the legging having the opening 23 through which valve 14 projects rearwardly and outwardly of legging 21.
Fig. 4 shows on an enlarged scale bladder 10 as enclosed by the legging 21, strap 22 being omitted.
It may be realized that the lobe sections 11 and 12 are made from rubber sheets or sheets of plastic materials or compositions and are united together along a seam 10a, thus leaving the hollow air-cushion forming lobe sections 11 and 12. Lobe sections 11 and 12 are somewhat longer at the respective bases 11b and 12b, the front edges 11a and 12a slanting upwardly toward the upper edge 10b, as clearly seen in Fig. 1.
It is well understood that any suitable retainer means either separate from the bladder 10 or united with the latter may be employed to hold the lobe sections in place.
Valve 14 may be positioned substantially centrally of the connecting or bridging portion 13, may be arranged sidewardly or adjacent to the latter and in close proximity of the lobe sections 11 and 12, if desired.
It can thus be seen that there has been provided in accordance with the present invention a bladder made from expansible and elastic material so shaped and located that it will cushion those parts of a body portion which are exposed to outside pressure on the one hand and which are movable relative to other body parts on the other hand, whereby a fluid medium will always be transferred to those locations of the respective body parts for protective, cushioning and other purposes.
The bladder according to the invention is characterized by flexible superposed sheet means connected together along the periphery thereof to form therebetween spaced hollow lobe portions terminating in front ends, and bridging means intermediate said hollow lobe portions and in communication with the latter for distributing a fluid in said hollow lobe portions, and retaining means operatively connected with said lobe portions for retaining the latter with the front ends in predetermined position.
Various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and it is intended that such obvious changes and modifications be embraced by the annexed claim.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed .as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent, is:
A bladder assembly for sportswear comprising, in combination with a trouser leg, a bladder including flexible superposed sheet means connected together along a predetermined outline to define hollow lobe portions terminating in spaced outer front ends and a hollow bridging portion extending above the heel of a wearers foot intermediate and interconnecting said hollow lobe portions at only the upper rear parts thereof and in communication with the upper parts of said hollow lobe portions for distributing a fluid in said hollow lobe portions, said trouser leg comprising retaining means operatively connected with said lobe portions and completely encompassing said sheet means for maintaining said bladder with the outer front ends in operative position, said retaining means being arranged in said operative position to extend between said hollow lobe portions opposite said bridging portion and forwardly of the outer front ends of said lobe portions and further including means extending across the arch of a wearers foot to secure said lobe portions in said operative position, said bridg ing portion being provided with valve means extending above said lobe portions, said retaining means being provided with an opening therethrough, said valve extending through said opening.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 746,338 Keen Dec. 8, 1903 2,177,116 Persichino Oct. 24, 1939 2,488,382 Davis Nov. 15, 1949 2,638,601 Bullard May 19, 1953 2,638,690 Bullard May 19, 1953 2,645,865 Town July 21, 1953 2,774,152 Alber Dec. 18, 1956