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Publication numberUS3372495 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 12, 1968
Filing dateJun 27, 1966
Priority dateJun 27, 1966
Publication numberUS 3372495 A, US 3372495A, US-A-3372495, US3372495 A, US3372495A
InventorsFinn John J
Original AssigneeJohn J. Finn
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Boot with fit adjustment means
US 3372495 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 12,- 1968 v J. J. FINN BOOT WITH FIT ADJUSTMENT MEANS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 27, 1966 R m. Na wk mfi J M B ATYDRNZY March 12, 1968 J. J. FINN BOOT WI-TH FIT ADJUSTMENT MEANS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 27, 1965 I NVENTOR. Jaim J 6522:?

ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,372,495 BOOT WITH FIT ADJUSTMENT MEANS John J. Finn, 60 E. 32nd St., Chicago, Ill. 60616 Filed June 27, 1966, Ser. No. 560,615 3 Claims. (CI. 36-25) This invention relates to foot coverings such as boots, shoes and the like. More particularly it is concerned with boots or shoes with means to assure a tight and snug fit, said means comprising broadly an inflatable bladder disposed in the instep area.

It is a matter of common knowledge and experience that ill-fitting boots or shoes lead to disabling foot problems, especially blisters. Well known is the tendency in too large boots to rub up and down against the heel at the counter area causing irritation, pain and in many cases infection. Often, the simple expedient of tightening the laces in the boot or shoe will force the heel back against the counter and prevent rubbing. However this is not entirely satisfactory since in many cases where the boots are even slightly oversized there is a tendency for the laces to work loose again during walking, especially if the laces become wet, and it is necessary for the wearer frequently to relace them tightly.

Special mention is made of the urgent need to provide a snug and tight fit in sporting boots, such as skate boots, but especially ski boots. Here it is essential to avoid injury by insuring that the heel of the wearer is forced down into snug contact with the sole of the boot. This minimizes twisting of the foot in the boot, avoiding a cause of foot cramp. Furthermore, although it is not immediately obvious, it appears to be more desirable in a skiing accident for the ski to break away from the shoe than for the ski to carry the shoe away from the wearers foot. Modern ski bindings are designed to provide for the ski to break away under stress, leaving the shoe securely on the wearers foot, but this function is frustrated when the forces holding the shoe on the foot are less than those in the usual springs holding the shoe to the ski.

For many years ski boots commonly were provided with an upper including the familiar lacing and tongue arrangement in the instep area. If the wearers foot and the size of the boot were reasonably matched, it was only necessary to lace the boot tightly to keep the wearers heel snugly against the sole of the boot and to tighten the laces fairly frequently, as required. If, however, the boot was even slightly oversized it usually happened that there was not enough latitude in the lacing to force the heel down firmly enough.

It was then proposed to modify the single lace boot by including an inner row of lacing. These boots were put on and secured by lacing an inside row tightly over the tongue, then lacing the outer row over all to help keep the inner row tight. While this did reduce the frequency of need for stopping to tighten the laces, if the boot became wet it loosened nevertheless and the skier was required to stop and relace one or even both sets in each boot often in adverse and uncomfortable circustances.

It has also been proposed to include in the construction of ski boots various strap arrangements which pass either forwardly from the heel over the instep of the foot or backwardly from the shank over the area on the back of the foot opposite the top of the heel bone. While these means to improve the fit of the boot are fairly elfective, there is a marked tendency for the straps to loosen and require retightening as frequently as if reliance was made solely on laces and, if the boot is too large in the first instance, so much pressure may have to be exerted by the straps in keeping the heel firmly on the sole that circulation of blood in the foot is hampered and frostbite becomes a problem.

A primary object of the instant invention is to provide an improvement in boots or shoes which insures that the heel of the wearer is firmly forced against the sole of the boot or shoe. A further object is to eliminate the need to tighten laces periodically. Still another object is to eliminate the need for a second row of laces to help keep a first row tight. Another object is to obviate the need to rely on integral straps over the instep or over the heel with their attendant disadvantages. A further object is to provide improved fit in boots or shoes which are not even closed by laces at all, but by means such as simple straps and fasteners or quick opening clamps. Yet another object is to provide a snug and safe fit in a semirigid and relatively inexpensive boot, made not from stitched leather as in the usual case of a flexible boot but from molder polymeric materials. An additional object of this invention is to provide enough latitude in size adjustment to permit even an oversized sporting boot to be worn safely and eifectively.

With these objects in view the invention consists, essentially, in providing a boot having a sole and an upper with a means for preventing the wearers heel from rising from the sole of said boot, said means comprising an inflatable bladder disposed between the instep of said upper and the instep of said wearers foot.

The invention consists also in certain details of construction and novelties of combination, all of which will be fully described hereinafter and pointed out in the claims.

The drawings form a part of this specification and illustrate typical embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ski boot including a laced closure and constructed in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 2 is a transverse section on the line 22 of FIG 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a ski boot including a closure comprising a plurality of strap fastening means and constructed in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 4 is a transverse section on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment comprising a ski boot having a substantially one-piece semirigid outer shell and including a slightly modified inflatable bladder constructed according to this invention.

FIG. 6 is a transverse section on the line 66 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an inflatable bladder of a type especially useful with the boots of FIGS. 1 and 3.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an inflatable bladder of a type especially useful with the boot of FIG 5.

In FIG. 1 is shown an embodiment which is a laced boot including an upper 1 and a sole 3. The upper conventionally is fabricated from stitched leather and the sole from cowhide or polymeric material or the like. Also visible are laces 7 and eyelets 9 by which closure across the instep is achieved. An area 5 defined by dotted lines shows the position of the bladder disposed in the boot. FIG. 7 shows a suitable bladder 17 embodying a valve 11 located optionally as shown by dotted lines to be near the toe of the boot. The bladders useful in this invention can be constructed of any air tight material flexible enough to conform to the shape of the foot and the inner instep portion of the upper. Especially suitable are rubber and rubberlike plastics. Sulfur cured soft rubber or butyl rubber such as are used in automobile tire inner tubes function extremely well. Valve 11 is provided in the bladder to permit inflation or deflation as desired. An especially suitable valve is the spring loaded type substantially similar to those familiarly found in pneumatic tires or tubes for automobiles. FIG. 2 is a transverse section looking down showing how the inflatable bladder 17 is disposed and secured relative to the tongue 15 and area 19 indicated by the dotted lines shows the general position assumed by the bladder after inflation assuming that the wearers upper instep is present. While it is not essential it is desirable to secure, as by cementing, the bladder to the tongue; this prevents sliding during insertion of the foot into the boot. Also seen in FIG. 2 is an optional inner liner 13 which can be of leather or similar material. In use, the wearers foot is placed in the boot and the laces secured and tied. Air is forced into valve 11 either by a pump or from a pressure vessel or by similar obvious means (not much pressure is required) until the bladder expands and forces the wearers heel snugly against the sole of the boot. Of course, as would be obvious, so much pressure as to cause an adverse effect on the circulation is not employed-merely enough is used to assure a snug fit. When it is desired to remove the boot, the pressure is released by venting valve 11, the laces are loosened and the foot is lifted out.

In FIG. 3 is shown an embodiment which is a boot closed with a plurality of strap fastening means 20 which comprise strap fasteners of any desired shape or construction. Also shown is an area 5 defined by dotted lines showing the position of bladder 17 disposed in this embodiment and an alternative location of valve means 11 located near the wearers ankle. FIG. 4 is a transverse section looking toward the heel showing bladder 17 overlapping tongue somewhat and indicating that the bladder is adapted to conform when inflated to the shape of the wearers metatarsal arch.

In FIG. 5 is shown a further valuable embodiment comprising a boot with an outer shell of substantially one-piece semi-rigid construction and wherein the bladder defines a T-shaped area 21 indicated by dotted lines. This embodiment is ideally of molded plastic construction, suitable materials being high density polyethylene, polypropylene or fiberglass-reinforced polyesters and the like. It is especially suitable for rental use being easy to clean and each boot being adaptable to a rather wide range of foot sizes. In this embodiment, as is more clearly shown by FIG. 8, bladder serves as a tongue. This inflatable bladder is T-shaped and permits the top of the T partially to encircle and provide extra support for the wearers ankle. In FIG. 6 is shown a view looking downward into the rigid boot and there is seen optional liner 13 and an optional backing cushion 23 which assists in providing reasonable heel fit at the sides and counter and which suitably is a resilient material such as foam rubber. To assist in obtaining the desired semirigidity there can be provided a rigid laminated construction, indicated by shading in FIG. 5, covering the instep arch and back. And in this embodiment, the entrance port is somewhat larger than that of the ordinary boot, allowing easy entrance of the normal foot.

In all of the novel constructions according to this invention it is desirable not to cover the wearers toes with the bladder since to maintain good circulation the toes should be free to Wiggle. Accordingly, the bladder should be disposed so to exert pressure primarily on the wearers instep which, in the conventional sense is the arched part of the human foot in front of the ankle joint and, also, the upper portion of this part. In an anatomical sense, the same area lies between the toe joint and the bottom of the leg bone and includes the arch formed by the tarsals or ankle bones and the metatarsals or instep bones, but not the phalanges or toe bones.

When the term instep is used in association with boot in the appended claims it is also used in its conventional sense and means that part of the upper of the boot or shoe over the wearers instep. The term tongue as used herein and in the appended claims contemplates a flap under the lacing or buckles of a boot or shoe, which is usually fastened to the upper at the toe portion and which may or may not be fastened to the upper along its long sides.

It will be understood that there may be various other possible embodiments of the invention, and that the invention should not be limited to the specific constructions herein shown or described except to the extent which may be required by the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a boot having a sole and an upper, means for preventing the wearers heel from rising from the sole of of said boot comprising an inflatable bladder disposed tween the instep of said upper and the instep of said wearers foot, said bladder covering completely all space under the vent area and being an integral part of said upper and wherein the instep of said boot includes a laced closure and a tongue under said lacing and wherein said bladder is secured to the underside of said tongue and is substantially coextensive therewith, said bladder including a valve means for inflation and deflation.

2. In a boot having a sole and an upper, means for preventing the wearers heel from rising from the sole of said boot comprising an inflatable bladder disposed between the instep of said upper and the instep of said wearers foot, said bladder covering completely all space under the vent area and being an integral part of said upper and wherein the instep of said boot includes a plurality of strap fastening means and a tongue under said fastening means and wherein said bladder is secured to the underside of said tongue and is substantially coextensive therewith, said bladder including valve means for inflation and deflation.

3. In a boot having a sole and an upper, means for preventing the wearers heel from rising from the sole of said boot comprising an inflatable bladder disposed between the instep of said upper and the instep of said wearers foot, said bladder covering completely all space under the vent area and being an integral part of said upper and wherein the said boot includes an outer shell of substantially one-piece semi-rigid construction and wherein said inflatable bladder is T-shaped, the bottom of the T starting at a point above about the wearers toe joint then extending rearwardly and upwardly to a point opposite about the top of the T continuing in a sidewardly then rearwardly direction between the said boot and the forward half of said wearers ankle, said bladder including valve means for inflation and deflation.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,63 8,690 5/ 1953 Bullard 3671 2,774,152 12/1956 Alber 3671 FOREIGN PATENTS 727,355 12/1963 Canada. 1,145,907 10/1957 France.

632,702 7/ 1936 Germany.

PATRICK D. LAWSON, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2638690 *May 29, 1950May 19, 1953Iii Edward P BullardArticle of footwear
US2774152 *Jun 1, 1955Dec 18, 1956Alcosa EtsArticle of footwear
CA727355A *Feb 8, 1966Rieker And CoSki boot
DE632702C *Jul 13, 1936Konrad FitzenbergerHochschaeftiger Stiefel mit Pressluftkissen am Fussreihen
FR1145907A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification36/117.6, 36/71, 36/54
International ClassificationA43B5/04
Cooperative ClassificationA43B5/0407
European ClassificationA43B5/04B2