US 3590410 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  inventor Michael Peter Shields Enclno, Calif.  Appl. No. 747,956  Filed July 26, 1968  Patented July 6,1971  Assignee Walk-0n Corporation Hollywood, Calll.
 BOOT TREE 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 12/1205  Int. C1,. A43d 5/00 , Field of Search 36/75, 7.6; 12/ 1 20.5
 References Cited 7 UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,251,468 8/1941 Smith 36/32 2,479,187 8/1949 Tomlin l2/120.5
FOREIGN PATENTS 308,027 9/1918 Germany 36/7.5 80,394 3/1919 Switzerland... 36/75 306,615 4/1955 Switzerland 36/75 Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson Arlorney- Lyon & Lyon ABSTRACT: A boot and shoe tree having a platform for rigidly receiving the bottom of a boot or shoe in a flat position, means for adjusting the length of the tree to the length of the boot or shoe, means for attaching the boot or shoe to the platform; the tree being curved upwardly toward the boot or shoe at the forward and rearward ends thereof so as to enable the boot or shoe to be worn and readily walked in while attached to the tree.
PATENTEUJUL Elan 3590.410
SHEEI 1 [1F 2 fi-"VENTOR, MICHAEL PEI'ER SHIELDS A7TOQNE Y PATENTEDJUL 6197i 3590.410
SHEET 2 UF 2 WVFNTOR I) MICHAEL. PETER. su-uzws UATTOE/VEY BOOT TREE The present invention relates to a boot tree, and more particularly to a boot tree for fastening shoes or boots in a rigid position along their external bottom surfaces.
Shoe or boot trees for maintaining a boot or shoe in a flat rigid position to preserve the boot or shoe from deterioration have taken many forms in the prior art. For example, the Allsop Pat. No. 3,210,787 discloses a boot tree upon which a boot or shoe is placed and held in a rigid, flat position with external clips. This particular form of boot tree is especially adapted for keeping ski boots in a flat rigid position to prevent deterioration when the boot is not in use. It is well known that ski boots deteriorate rapidly and become useless if they are not held in a flat position when not being used on the ski itself.
All known prior art external boot trees have been used only for the storage and maintenance of the boot and none has ever been designed which permits the required rigidity of the boot to prevent deterioration, yet allows the wearer to walk in the boot while the tree is applied.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved boot tree.
Another object of this invention is to provide a boot tree especially adapted to use in preserving and maintaining ski boots.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a boot tree which maintains the rigidity of a ski boot and yet allows the wearer to walk in the boot.
Still further objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent in the subsequent description in this specification and the accompanying drawings.
in the Drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ski boot with the boot tree of this invention applied.
FIG. 2 is a perspective top view of the boot tree of this invention with the boot removed.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the boot tree applied to a boot, and
FIG. 4 is a representation of a pair of the boot trees of this invention with carrying hanger.
The above and other objects of this invention are in part accomplished by a boot and shoe tree comprising a platform for rigidly receiving the bottom of a boot or shoe in a flat position, means for adjusting the length of the tree to the length of the boot or shoe, means for attaching the boot or shoe to the platform; the tree being curved upwardly toward the boot or shoe at the forward and rearward ends thereof so as to enable the boot or shoe to be worn and readily walked in while attached to the tree.
The device of this invention is an extemal-sole type of boot tree having adaptable potential, light of weight, simple to operate, and especially designed for convenient attachment to shoes or boots (ski and others) to facilitate walking in footwear having a rigidly flat sole. To perform the function of conventional boot trees, the device of this invention, which possesses a degree of applicable range to various forms of both rigid and soft-sole footwear, is designed additionally to prevent deterioration of ski boots caused by walking in them, protect against slipping while walking in boots on ice and slick surfaces, and permit boots to be carried individually or clamped together as a pair, as the used may elect.
Patterned somewhat on the general outline of a sandal, the boot tree of this invention is constituted of a rigid material such as metal, plastic, wood or the like, that is divided into fore and aft sections joined by a slide-rule principle, thereby providing longitudinal extension and adjustment against constant tension which may be supplied by one or more strong embedded elastic bands.
In a specific embodiment two pieces of plastic are fitted together so that one or more projections from one piece slide into one or more corresponding cavities in the other piece. A clamping device such as a spring recoil or other expansionconstraction device is employed to pull the two pieces of the boot tree together by applying constant tension to the boot.
The boot tree of this invention may be anchored to the boot sole by sturdy bail-shaped devices, hinged in the plastic construction at both toe and heel ends of the tree. Optionally, the tree may be anchored to the boot sole by means of stretchable material affixed to the tree and formed to follow the contours of the boot.
The bottom surface of the boot tree is beveled or rounded convexly at toe and heel to permit a slight rocking action with each step, and optionally rounded concavely in the center to decrease slippage and provide more traction, thus facilitate walking in boots while the soles are kept rigidly flat within the tree. The convex and concave under surface of the tree may be soled with a textured, nonskid material.
Since ski boots have a rigidly flat sole which will not--and must not-bend at the heel or ball of the foot, walking in them becomes an awkward, flatfooted operation. The provision of the walk-on boot tree of this invention makes walking much easier and more comfortable.
Application of the walk-on boot tree of this invention reduces the hazard of slipping while walking in ski boots on snow, ice and other slick surfaces, which is responsible for so many broken bones at ski resorts. The walk-on tree gives two main advantages from the standpoint of safety: the bottom surface which may be of textured, rubberlike material, tends to grip the ice in a manner somewhat similar to that of a snow tire. And because one is able to walk in a more natural and therefore less awkward or foreign manner, he has better control, more maneuverability, and improved opportunity to recover his balance if he starts to slip.
Ski boots are costly. However, they will last longer if whatever walking is done in them occurs while the walk-on boot tree of this invention is applied because the deterioration to the boot usually resulting from walking in them is obviated. Ordinarily the natural action of the foot in walking tends to make the boot bend and lose the absolute flatness of sole demanded in attaching the boot to the ski. The tree of this invention prevents such bending and the resultant breaking down of the boot that otherwise would require the expense of replacement.
Because the use of the walk-on boot tree of this invention minimizes the discomfort of wearing ski boots, the skier who uses the device will get more out of his skiing experience. This saves him the annoyance of having invested in the vacation only to be forced to sit on the sidelines because his feet are blistered or sore from the unyielding nature of his boots, painfully experienced while walking in them. The characteristically dynamic skier will quickly recognize that the small investment in the walk-on boot tree helps insure his getting his money's worth out of the far larger investment he has made in getting to the skiing area.
One of the appeals of skiing is the freedom and grace with which one almost flies down a slope. Unfortunately, there is no possible way of walking gracefully while wearing ski boots. Application of the walk-on boot tree of this invention however, permits walking with considerable less awswardnessan advantage especially appealing to women.
The greatest difficulty in fitting new ski boots, regardless of quality, is that the buyer is unable to get the proper feel of the boot, due to his inability to walk except with unnatural awkwardness, difficulty or outright pain. Thus the skier is unable to maneuver in a fashion to allow him to judge whether size and fit are proper. Application of the walk-on boot tree alleviates this problem In addition'to the patron, the ski shop also benefits .thereby, not only through being enabled to provide more satisfaction to the client but also by decreasing damage to the shops floor area, whether carpeted or otherwise, ordinarily resulting from boots.
The task of breaking in new ski boots is recognized by skiers as little less than an abomination. The use of the walk-on boot tree reduces discomfort and breaking-in time. Using this device, the enthusiast will develop exercises he can do while wearing boots to assist him in adjusting to the feel of the new boots and adapt to the weight difference they impose.
Ski boots are only one useage for the walk-on boot tree of this invention. Other applications include boots which could benefit (through offering additional sole insulation) workers in such business as electrical installation, blacktop, kilns, rubber factories, and the like. The boot tree of this invention may also be used with golf shoes by the provision of suitable soles in the top surface, or by making the top surface of an easily puncturable elastic material.
Referring now in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows generally a ski boot with the boot tree 11 which forms a platform for the boot 10 attached at the heel and toe thereof through the heel retainer 12 and toe retainer 13. As best shown in FIG. 2, the boot tree may be composed of a forward portion 21 and a rearward portion 22. As illustrated, the forward portion 21 is equipped with channel extensions 23 and 24 which slide in and out of channels 25 and 26 in the rearward portion 22. The boot tree is held together and is made self-adjusting by the resilient bands 27 which are connected to the interior portions of the toe and heel retainers 13 and 12. The toe and heel retainers are in the form of generally D" shaped pieces which may be bent open for installation through the holes 14 in the forward and rearward portions of the boot tree. In order to facilitate assembly of the unit, the forward and rearward portions'are assembled in three distinct pieces. These are the central portions 28 and 29 which contain grooved or cutout portions that form the holes 14 after the top section 30 is fastened in place by any convenient manner. Thus, the toe and heel retainers 12 and 13 need not be in the form of an open D" so long as they are bent into an arcuate shape as shown at 31 to retain the resilient bands 27.
The channel member extension 23 contains longitudinal grooves 24 which extend into the central portion 28 of the forward section 21 of the boot tree for permitting easy extension and retraction of the elastic bands 27.
As best shown in FIG. 3, the toe retainer 13 is so located (by location of the groove or hole 14) that the forward extremity 41 of the boot tree 11 is approximately coextensive with the forward edge of the boot sole 42. In a similar fashion the trailing edge 43 of the boot tree is approximately coextensive with the rearmost portion 44 of the boot heel.
The body ofthe boot tree 11 may be made of metal, wood, a hard synthetic material or any other rigid material of suitable weight. Along the entire lower periphery of the boot tree is a layer of resilient material such as any material normally used as the sole of a shoe or boot. The under portion of the resilient layer 15 may be grooved or may contain thread as illustrated by the numeral 16.
A salient feature of the present invention is that the forward end 41 and trailing end 43 of the boot tree 11 are curved upwardly from the bottom surface to the forward and trailing edges of the boot sole and heel respectively. This curvature and the resilient underlining of the boot tree allow the boot tree to be affixed to the boot while the boot be still on the foot of the wearer, and enables the wearer to walk with the tree attached to the boot in a comfortable and relatively normal fashion. Thus with the boot tree of this invention the wearer of the boot is able to preserve the flat condition of the bottom of the boot without taking the boot off. Because the tree may be attached to the boot while on the skier's foot the necessity of 1 changing shoes after removing the ski is eliminated. This respondin to the holes 17 in the boot tree. A U" bracket 55 is inserte through the holes 17 and 54 and held in place by the wing nuts 56 on the threaded ends 57 of the "U" bracket 55. To insure stability of the carrying hanger a second U" bolt 58 may be provided to project through the holes 18. The U" bracket 58 is held in place and secured to the boot tree by means of the wing nuts 59 and the threaded ends 60 of the U" bracket 58.
In an alternative embodiment (not illustrated), the bottom of the rear portion 22 may be indented to follow generally the contour of the bottom of the boot or shoe, thus forming an instep and heel portion. This may be accomplished by forming a concave section just below the instep of the shoe. The purpose of the concave indentation is to provide a surface (such as the forward vertical edge of a shoe heel) to help decrease the chances of slipping and to increase the traction of the bottom surface 15.
Further,.as an alternate to the carrying arrangement shown in FIG. 4, provision may be made for attaching a cord or strap to each of the foot trees to facilitate their being carried by hand, or over the shoulder. This may be accomplished, for example, by the provision of eyelets l9 projecting from the center of the toe retainer 13, or heel retainer 12, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 2.
While particular embodiments of this invention have been shown and described, it is not intended to limit the same to the exact details of the construction set forth and it embraces such changes, modifications and equivalents of the partsand their formation and arrangements as come within the purview of the appended claims.
1. A boot and shoe tree comprising a platform curved upwardly at the forward and rearward ends thereof:
means for adjusting the length thereof;
said means comprising longitudinal slidable rails restrained by resilient means between said upwardly curved forward and rearward ends.
2. A boot and shoe tree comprising a platform for rigidly receiving the bottom of a boot or shoe in a flat position, means for adjusting the length of said tree to the length of said boot or shoe, means for attaching said boot or shoe to said platform; said tree being curved upwardly toward said boot or shoe at the forward and rearward ends thereof so as to enable said boot or shoe to be worn and readily walked in while attached to said tree.
3. A boot and shoe tree to be attached to the bottom of the boot or shoe to hold the sole thereof in a rigid flat configuration comprising;
an expandable platform to accommodate a large range of sizes of boots for shoes; I means for restraining the toe of said boot or shoe of the front of said platform end;
means of the rear of said platform for restraining the heel of said platform;
a sole member below said expandable platform;
said sole being curved upwardly at and toward the toe and heel portion of said boot or shoe so that said boot or shoe may be constrained in said rigid configuration and still be walked on;
means provided for attaching a pair of said trees sole to sole for storage of a pair of said boots or trees.
4. The boot and shoe tree of claim 3 wherein;
means are provided at the heel portions for carrying said trees.