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Publication numberUS3142910 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 4, 1964
Filing dateNov 18, 1959
Priority dateNov 18, 1959
Publication numberUS 3142910 A, US 3142910A, US-A-3142910, US3142910 A, US3142910A
InventorsBeth Levine
Original AssigneeBeth Levine
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Footwear with heel-follower
US 3142910 A
Images(1)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 4, 1964 B. LEVINE FOOTWEAR wrm HEEL-FOLLOWER Filed Nov. 18, 1959 FIG. 5

a y o 5 Tw M W; M m

United States Patent 3,142,910 FOQTWEAR WlTH HEEL-FOLLOWER Beth Levine, 59 W. 12th St., New York, N.Y. Filed Nov. 18, 1959, Ser. No. 853,957 Claims. CI. 36-25) This invention relates to improvements in footwear and more particularly to an improvement in the general sole structure of a shoe.

A shoe sole structure usually consists of a forward or ball portion, a middle or shank portion and a rear or heel portion. In walking, considerable diificulty and discomfort arises from the circumstance that as the shoe is flexed in walking, a separation results between the shoe and the foot of the wearer. This separation occurs immediately to the rear of the flex line of the sole in the region of the ball portion of the shoe and increases progressively as the heel of the shoe is approached, at which point a very pronounced separation is manifested. This repeated contact and separation results in a slapping action which is a source of considerable discomfort and fatigue in walking. This condition is even more pronounced in womens high-heeled shoes and is particularly annoying when open-back shoes are worn. When heel or ankle straps are employed for functional or aesthetic purposes, the constant variation of the tension on these parts causes a constant shifting action which rubs or abrades the ankle and foot of the wearer resulting in considerable discomfort.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a shoe arrangement wherein the separation of the wearers foot from the sole structure during walking is eliminated and a portion thereof is kept in constant contact with the sole of the foot of the wearer.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a shoe structure wherein provision is made for maintaining a portion thereof in constant contact and in supporting relation with respect to the arch and heel as well as the ball of the foot of the wearer and also reducing rubbing contact between the foot of the wearer.

It is also an object of this invention to provide an arrangement wherein portions of the shoe are elevated in differing degrees during the walking process in order to provide maximal foot comfort during walking and while the shoe is worn.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a shoe with a heel-follower structure co-extensive with the shoe sole which is resiliently maintained in constant contact with the arch and heel of the wearer and which is adapted to have secured thereto decorative elements as well as functional securing means.

In order to achieve these and other objects, a shoe is provided with a heel-follower which is coextensive with the foot of the wearer and resiliently biased into constant contact with the arch and heel portions of the foot. Provision is also made for resiliently raising the shank and heel structures of the shoe itself.

Other and further objects, benefits and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the description thereof contained in the annexed specification or will otherwise become obvious. It will be understood that the invention here disclosed may be employed for other purposes to which the structure and arrangement are adapted.

In the accompanying drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a shoe, partly in section, incorporating the instant invention and depicting the wearers foot in the process of stepping forward and flexing about the ball portion;

FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the spring member for raising the heel-follower and the shank and heel of the shoe foundation structure shown in FIGURE 1;

3,142,919 Patented Aug. 4., 1964 ice FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of another form of resilient element for raising the heel-follower and shank and heel portion of the shoe;

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a shoe incorporated in the instant invention; and

FIGURE 5 is a side elevational fragmentary view illustrating a form of the invention in which only a heel-follower arrangement is employed.

The embodiment of this invention illustrated in FIG- URE 1 comprises a shoe foundation designated generally by the numeral 10 which has secured thereto, in a manner to be hereinafter described, a heel-follower designated by the numeral 11. Heel-follower 11 extends the length of the shoe and is supported in resilient contact with the sole of the foot 12 of the wearer. The sole structure of shoe foundation 10 comprises an outer sole 23 and an innersole 24 which embody a tread or ball portion 13 which underlies the toe and ball region of the foot and provides a relatively plane bearing surface for ground engaging contact. Extending from the ball portion 13 of the sole and underlying the arch region of the foot of the wearer is a relatively stiff shank portion 14 which is disposed intermediate the ball and heel portions of the sole. As is evident, the heel portion 15 underlies the heel of the wearer and has secured thereto an elevating structure in the form of a ground engaging heel 16. A rigid shank stiifener 17 is disposed intermediate the inner and outer soles and is secured at one end to the heel portion of the shoe structure as at 18 extending forwardly along the shank portion 14 thereof. The forward end of shank stiffener 17 terminates at the juncture of the ball and tread portions of the shoe sole structure at which juncture the break or flex line 19 of the shoe is established. The shank stiffener provides the requisite stiflening structural support for the shoe, bridging the region betwen the ball and heel portions thereof. The shoe upper 20 may be of any form desired and may be of open or closed toe type. The instant invention also makes possible improved treatment of the portion of the shoe upper in the heel region thereof, as will more clearly appear hereafter.

The shoe comprising the instant invention is additionally provided with a structure which, for convenience, is generally designated herein as a heel-follower 11. As may be seen from FIGURES 1, 4 and 5, heel-follower 11 is superposed on the sole structure of the shoe foundation 10, advantageously extending the full length of the shoe and being of a corresponding configuration as the shoe sole outline. The heel-follower 11 is advantageously formed of a blank or sheet 21 of flexible material, such as soft leather or the like, which is provided with a layer of stiffening material 22 beginning at a point past the flex line 19 of the shoe sole. The layer or ply of reinforcing or stiffening material 22 is of a more rigid leather, fiberboard or the like. The heel-follower 11 being co-extensive with the shoe sole is thus provided with a flexible ball portion 25 which overlies the corresponding portion of the shoe sole as well as the flex line 19 thereof, and with a relatively rigid shank portion 26 and heel portion 27 which similarly overlies the corresponding portions of the shoe sole structure. The ball portion 25 of heel-follower 11 is adhered or otherwise secured to the ball portion 13 of the shoe sole while the shank and heel portions 26 and 27 thereof remain unattached. As a consequence, a hinge or line of flexure 28 is established for the heelfollower 11 in the region of the flex line 19 of the shoe sole structure.

A flexible resilient element which is advantageously in the form of a flat spring 29, is interposed between the sole structure and the heel-follower. The forward end of spring 29 is clamped in position in the ball portion of the shoe at a point in front of the flex line thereof, the rear part of said spring member 29 overlying a substantial portion of the shank structure of the shoe and advantageously extending in the region of the heel portion thereof. The rear end of spring member 29 is secured to the underside of the heel-follower, as by means of a staple 30. The forward end of said spring is bent at an angle, as indicated at 31, so that it resiliently maintains the heel-follower at a materially steeper angle of inclination with respect to the ball portion of the shoe than the angle of inclination of the shank portion of the shoe foundation structure when the heel and ball portions thereof are in ground engagement. The strength and configuration of the spring 29 are such that it resiliently maintains the shank and heel portions of the heel-follower 11 in contact with the undersurface of the corresponding portions of the wearers foot at all angles of inclination to which the shoe may be subjected when worn and in use. It will be apparent that the spring member 2? comprises a flat cantilever spring arrangement which is clamped in the ball portion of the shoe and forms a resiliently flexible support for the heel-follower. The foot contacting surface of the heel-follower 11 may advantageously be provided with a padding material at various points or with arch supporting means for additional foot comfort. Furthermore, covering material may be applied to the surfaces or edges thereof in order to provide the desired aesthetic appeal and to hide the spring element and other portions thereof from View. It may also be desirable to provide depending decorative elements, such as netting or the like, to obscure the space formed between the sole of the shoe foundation structure and the heel-follower from view when these elements are separated from each other, as during the walking process.

It will be apparent from the foregoing that the upper surface of the heel-follower is maintained in constant contact with the undersurface of the foot of the wearer in all attitudes assumed by the foot while the shoe is worn or used. The ball portion of the foot of the wearer is in constant contact with the ball portion of the heelfollower. The resilient biasing action of spring 29 flexes the heel-follower along the region of the flex line of the shoe foundation and maintains the shank and heel portions of the heel-follower in constant contact with the corresponding portions of the foot of the wearer. As a consequence of this, the separation between the foot and the shoe is eliminated and the abrasive, as Well as the slapping action, particularly pronounced in backless shoes, is eliminated. A very distinct feeling of security and foot comfort is engendered by the constant pressure of the shank and heel portions of the heel-follower against the arch and heel of the wearer so that there is a distinct arch supported effect and feeling produced which is highly conducive to wearing comfort. Furthermore, the sock-liner, and particularly the heel portion thereof, may have secured thereto any desired form of shoe upper or foot embracing means, such as for example, various forms of straps, as illustrated by way of example in FIGURE and indicated by the numeral 39. Heretofore, straps of this type have been a particular source of discomfort due to the fact that considerable abrasive action occurs in this region. Since the attachment of such foot embracing structures to the heel-follower will cause them to follow the foot movement with the corresponding movement of the heelfollower, it is apparent that the abrasive action is minimized and, in effect, completely eliminated. Similar comfort features are introduced into the shoe where a full counter is provided to enclose the heel of the wearer. An additional beneficial feature produced by the instant structure is that the device may be employed in connection with both open and closed toe shoes. Since the spring member 29 is required to lift a relatively small load in the form of the shank and heel portions of the heel-follower, it cant advantageously be made of a relatively thin and soft spring material so that it may be readily deflected in use without impairing the ability of the heel-follower to follow the foot movement and to maintain contact with the sole of the foot of the wearer at all times. The employment of this type of spring material facilitates the general construction of the shoe.

The structure heretofore described may be modified by incorporating additional means for imparting a degree of resilient elevation to the shank and heel portions of the shoe foundation. The elevation of the shank and heel portion of the foundation reduces the separationbetween the heel-follower and the sole structure thereof. This reduction of the separation during walking permits the wearer to more readily orient with respect to the ground and provides an increased awareness of the location of the heel tread surface with respect to the ground while walking. In order to accomplish this elevation, a leaf spring member 32 is secured to the sole structure of the shoe foundation. This spring element is more particularly illustrated in FIGURE 2. The forward end of spring element 32 is clamped in position in the ball portion of the shoe at a point forward of the hex line 19 of the shoe foundation It), as by means of staple 33, which also clamps spring 29 in position and overlies a substantial part of the shank portion 14 of the foundation advantageously extending into the region of the heel portion 15 thereof. The rear end of resiliently flexible spring member 32 is secured to the shoe foundation as along the upper surface of innersole 23, as by means of staple 34. The forward end of spring member 32 is bent at an angle, as indicated at 35, so that it resiliently maintains the shank and heel portions of the sole structure of the shoe foundation at a materially steeper angle of inclination with respect to the ball portion of the shoe than the angle of inclination of the shank portion of the shoe foundation structure when the heel and ball portions thereof are in ground engagement. The strength and configuration of spring 32 are such that it resiliently maintains the shank and heel portions of the shoe foundation 10 elevated to the aforesaid steeper angle when no load is placed thereon without causing it to contact the undersurface of the heelfollower. The degree of elevation imparted to the shank and heel portions of the shoe is therefore less than the degree of elevation imparted to the heel-follower by its associated spring 29. Consequently, as walking occurs and the shank and heel of the foot of the wearer are elevated to a steeper angle of inclination than would be the case in normal standing, the shank and heel of the shoe foundation assume an intermediate position being elevated from the ground and out of contact therewith without contacting the undersurface of the heel portion of the heel-follower. This condition is illustrated in FIGURE 1, which shows the foot of the wearer in the process of being flexed as in walking and wherein, although the heel-follower remains in resiliently biased contact with the shank and heel portions of the foot of the wearer, the corresponding portions of the shoe foundation are merely elevated to an intermedite point. FIG- URE 1 would also generally correspond to the general position of the parts of the shoe when off the foot of the wearer, the heel-follower being at a steeper angle of inclination than the angle of inclination of the shank and heel portions of the shoe foundation and both being at a steeper angle of inclination than when the full weight of the wearer is placed upon the shoe, as in standing, in which condition the tread of the heel in contact with the ground plane 37 and the confronting surfaces of the innersole and heel-follower would be in contact due to the full loading of the springs.

A modified form of the double spring arrangement is illustrated in FIGURE 3, wherein, instead of using independent fiat springs, a single strip of strip material 36 is bent upon itself to form the bight 38 and the upper and lower springs are bent to the configuration heretofore described to form upper and lower springs 29A and 32A respectively, each of which has a forward end bent at an angle, as indicated at 31A and 35A, respectively.

While I have here shown and described a preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be apparent however that this invention is not limited to this embodiment and that many changes, additions and modifications can be made in connection therewith without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as herein disclosed and hereinafter claimed. Having described my invention what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. In an article of footwear, a. shoe foundation structure including a sole structure having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion, a heel provided on the undersurface of said heel portion, a first resilient leaf element extending from said ball to said heel portion to normally bias said heel to a position above the plane of said ball portion, a heel follower having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion overlying the corresponding portions of said sole structure, said heel follower being secured to said sole structure only in the region of the respective ball portions thereof, and a second resilient leaf element provided on said heel follower and biasing the latter away from said sole structure.

2. In an article of footwear, a shoe foundation structure including a sole structure having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion, a heel provided on the undersurface of said heel portion, a first resilient leaf element extending from said ball to said heel portion to normally bias said heel to a position above the plane of said ball portion, a heel follower having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion overying the corresponding portions of said sole structure, said heel follower being secured to said sole structure only in the region of the resepective ball portions thereof, and a second resilient leaf element provided on said heel follower and biasing the latter away from said sole structure, both of said resilient elements being inclined relative to the plane of said first mentioned ball portion, and said second resilient element having a larger degree of elevation than said first resilient element.

3. In an article of footwear, a shoe foundation structure including a sole structure having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion, a heel provided on the undersurface of said heel portion, a first resilient leaf element extending from said ball to said heel portion to normally bias said heel to a position above the plane of said ball portion, a heel follower having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion overlying the corresponding portions of said sole structure, said heel follower being secured to said sole structure only in the region of the respective ball portions thereof, and a second resilient leaf element provided on said heel follower and biasing the latter away from said sole structure, both of said resilient elements being inclined relative to the plane of said first mentioned ball portion, and said second resilient element having a larger degree of elevation than said first resilient element, the inner ends of said resilient elements being disposed between the ball portion of said heel follower and the ball portion of said sole structure and being secured to said latter ball portion.

4. In an article of footwear, a shoe foundation structure including a sole structure having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion, a heel provided on the undersurface of said heel portion, a first resilient leaf element extendbnig from said ball to said heel portion to normally bias said heel to a position above the plane of said ball portion, a heel follower having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion overlying the corresponding portions of said sole structure, said heel follower being secured to said sole structure only in the region of the respective ball portions thereof, and a second resilient leaf element provided on said heel follower and biasing the latter away from said sole structure, both of said resilient elements being inclined relative to the plane of said first mentioned ball portion, and said second resilient element having a larger degree of elevation than said first resilient element, the inner ends of said resilient elements being disposed between the ball portion of said heel follower and the ball portion of said sole structure and being secured to said latter ball portion, said heel follower having a flex line at the juncture of the shank and ball portions thereof, said sole structure having a flex line at the juncture of the shank and ball portions thereof, said inner ends extending forwardly of the flex lines of said heel follower and sole structure.

5. In an article of footwear, a shoe foundation structure including a sole structure having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion, a heel provided on the undersurface of said heel portion, a first resilient leaf element extending from said ball to said heel portion to normally bias said heel to a position above the plane of said ball portion, a heel follower having a ball portion, a shank portion and a heel portion overlying the corresponding portions of said sole structure, said heel follower being secured to said sole structure only in the region of the respective ball portions thereof, and a second resilient leaf element provided on said heel follower and biasing the latter away from said sole structure, both of said resilient elements being inclined relative to the plane of said first mentioned ball portion, and said second resilient element having a larger degree of elevation than said first resilient element, the inner ends of said resilient elements being disposed between the ball portion of said heel follower and the ball portion of said sole structure and being secured to said latter ball portion, said heel follower having a flex line at the juncture of the shank and ball portions thereof, said sole structure having a flex line at the juncture of the shank and ball portions thereof, said inner ends extending forwardly of the flex lines of said heel follower and sole structure, said inner ends being integral.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 773,628 Crawford Nov. 1, 1904 1,746,069 Butzen Feb. 4, 1930 2,008,060 Daniels July 16, 1935 2,121,261 Reily June 21, 1938 2,407,498 Johnson Sept. 10, 1946 2,442,007 Johnson May 25, 1948 2,967,362 Montoscurro Jan. 10, 1961 FOREIGN PATENTS 472,735 France Aug. 17, 1914 887,223 France Aug. 2, 1943 905,244 France Apr. 9, 1945 954,918 France a June 20, 1949 613,754 Great Britain Dec. 2, 1948

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US773628 *Mar 30, 1904Nov 1, 1904Frederick A HoytShank-stiffener.
US1746069 *Sep 10, 1927Feb 4, 1930Joseph ButzenAppliance for boots and shoes
US2008060 *May 27, 1933Jul 16, 1935Daniels Claude HShoe and arch supporter therefor
US2121261 *Dec 5, 1935Jun 21, 1938John G NovakSpring shank for shoes
US2407498 *Nov 8, 1944Sep 10, 1946Harry H JohnsonShoe
US2442007 *Aug 31, 1946May 25, 1948Johnson Harry HShoe with shank spring and stiffener
US2967362 *Aug 15, 1957Jan 10, 1961Joseph MontoscuroInsole construction for a shoe
FR472735A * Title not available
FR887223A * Title not available
FR905244A * Title not available
FR954918A * Title not available
GB613754A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3359660 *Aug 4, 1965Dec 26, 1967Marcel NadaudHeel construction
US3400474 *May 12, 1967Sep 10, 1968Jack TendlerAccessory device for shoe heel and shoe construction embodying said device
US3464126 *Apr 8, 1968Sep 2, 1969Sarkissian Vahe BShoe with a hinged mechanically adjustable heel
US4392266 *Jan 15, 1982Jul 12, 1983Bush Universal, Inc.Molded shanks
US4461101 *Feb 22, 1983Jul 24, 1984Bush Universal, Inc.Molded shanks
US5138776 *Dec 26, 1990Aug 18, 1992Shalom LevinSports shoe
US5185943 *Sep 20, 1991Feb 16, 1993Avia Group International, Inc.Athletic shoe having an insert member in the outsole
US5255451 *Sep 3, 1991Oct 26, 1993Avia Group International, Inc.Insert member for use in an athletic shoe
US6247249Jun 7, 1999Jun 19, 2001Trackguard Inc.Shoe system with a resilient shoe insert
US6449878Mar 10, 2000Sep 17, 2002Robert M. LydenArticle of footwear having a spring element and selectively removable components
US6601042May 17, 2000Jul 29, 2003Robert M. LydenCustomized article of footwear and method of conducting retail and internet business
US7016867May 21, 2002Mar 21, 2006Lyden Robert MMethod of conducting business including making and selling a custom article of footwear
US20110314705 *Jun 23, 2010Dec 29, 2011Lu Kuo-MingElastic shoe heel structure of a shoe
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/92, 36/76.00R, 36/105, D02/961, 36/37
International ClassificationA43B21/32, A43B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43B21/32
European ClassificationA43B21/32