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Publication numberUS3599351 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 17, 1971
Filing dateFeb 4, 1970
Priority dateFeb 4, 1970
Publication numberUS 3599351 A, US 3599351A, US-A-3599351, US3599351 A, US3599351A
InventorsCheck Donald R
Original AssigneeSports Technology
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ski boot with rigid outer shell
US 3599351 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Donald R. Check Bloomington. Minn. 2| i Appl. No. 8,455

[72] inventor,

I 54] SK] BOOT WITH RIGID OUTER SHELL izclai simwin ri e 21 t. 36/2.5AL

i511 im.c|...........v v A43b00/00 [so rieidorsemhmflunh,....i sea/2.5a, 2.5AL

( 56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,050,874 8/1962 Silombra 36/2.5AL

3,483,638 12/1969 Baso .t

Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson Attorney-Bugger Peterson Johnson & Westman ABSTRACT: A ski boot having a rigid outer shell comprising a sole and an upper boot portion including side members extending upwardly along the lower leg of the wearer in one rigid assembly. The shell is closed at the rear and is open to the front of the lower leg The opening extends forwardly over the instep toward the toe of the shell to permit the foot to be inserted into the shell An inner boot is provided which holds and pads the foot Forward movement of the leg is resisted elastically with a resilient band extending across the open end of the rigid shell in front of the lower leg.

PATENTED mm n91:

' sum 1' 0r 2 SKI BOOT WITH RIGID OUTER SHELL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to rigid shell ski boots.

2. Description of the Prior Art The advance in rigid-shelled ski boots has revolutionized skiing. Shells made of rigid material, such as metaland fiberglass-reinforced resins that are extremely rigid and not flexible, and similar materials have given the skier new dimensions in control, skiability and comfort. However, cost has become a major factor in that the rigid construction results in a very high-priced boot. Part of the cost problem is in the use of pivoted or hinged access doors and hardware for pivoting the cuff portions of the boot to the lower parts of the boots for ankle and lower leg movement.

Rigid shell ski boots, such as that shown in Werner et al. US. Pat. No. 3,325,920, utilize hinged doors for permitting foot access to get good foot control and make the boot closely fit on the foot.

F renchPat. No. 1,391,829 also shows various boots having hinged doors. In addition this French patent discloses a boot having rigid side portions, and a cutout at the forward portion of the ankle cuff to permit the leg to move forward slightly.

In addition, the patent to Franet, US. Pat. No. 3,486,247 shows a boot having a hinged rear entry door andrigid members along the sides of the lower leg for lateral support.

For skiers of moderate ability it has been found that a compromise between the foot fit and the good rigid lateral support can be achieved with the reduction of cost by nothaving an access door that is hinged as such, but instead utilizing means for retaining the foot with an inner foot while having an extremely rigid outer shell providing lateral support for the ankle and lower leg of the wearer. This reduces cost, and while the lateral support is firm, the boot does permit forward movement of the leg. Resistance to forward movement of the leg is controlled through the use of a band that goes around the front of the ankle and fastens with respect to the rigid shell. The band is elastomeric or elastic to give resistance to forward movement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a rigid shell ski boot having in one piece, a sole, a foot portion, lateral side members extending up above the ankle of the wearer and a closed rear portion, whereby foot access is provided through a front opening by leaving the front portions of the upper part of the boot open, as well as portions above the instep of the boot. An inner boot with means for securing the foot to the inner boot and with respect to the shell is provided so that good lateral support is present and foot access is provided through an opening that does not have a hinged door. The inner boot is fixed in place, and includes provided means for inserting holddown pads into pockets just above the heel to improve heel holddown A holddown strap across the instep in combination with a rigid tongue having a foam pad on the side that is against the leg to distribute forces from the strap is used to obtain good heel holddown. An elastic band that is attached to the rigid upwardly extending lateral side portions, extends across the front of the opening when the leg is in place in the foot to elastically resist movement of the leg in forward bending.

Suitable cover members and snow-excluding members can be provided as desired. The boot shell can be molded, usually in half shell sections, and made into'an integral assembly by bonding the sections together very quickly. The inner boot can be separately assembled, and fixed into place in the rigid shell so that good skiing control can be achieved with economy of manufacture.

No doors are provided covering the foot access openings, but an elastomeric member or band is used for controlling force-resisting forward leg movement to give a good skiing feel" for flexing of the lower leg.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 .is a side elevational view of a ski boot made according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the device of FIG. 1 as viewed from an opposite side thereof;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary top sectional view taken as on line 3-3 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 shown with a lower movement-resisting band in open position showing how foot access is achieved to the boot, and with a heel holddown strap in its closed position; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an inner boot shown removed from the boot even though the inner boot is normally held securely in place within the outer shell.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A ski boot illustrated generally at 10 comprises a rigid outer shell assembly 11. The shell assembly has a rigid sole member 12, a foot-receiving portion 13, and an upper cuff portion 14. The cuff portion 14 is rigid with the foot-receiving portion and with the sole so that the entire assembly is rigid. The cuff portion includes lateral side members 15 and 16 that extend upwardly along the sides of the ankle and lower leg of the wearer, and a curved rear member 17 joins the lateral side portions so that the cuff is a U-shaped assembly around the ankle and the lower leg of a wearer, closed at the rear and open at the front. The side members 15 and 16 therefor are spaced apart to receive a leg between them, and are completely open between the forward edges 15A and 16A of these lateral side portions. This open area thus is as wide as a leg, and extends downwardly and forwardly to form a foot access opening 19 extending forwardly so that the foot-receiving portion is open for a substantial distance over the instep area of the boot. This is perhaps best seen in FIG. 3 where the forward line 18 of the opening shows the extent of the forward opening. It can be seen that the foot access opening 19 goes forwardly a substantial distance. The opening extends forwardly to the area to the rear of the toes of a wearer. Thus a large opening is provided in the rigid outer shell. The rigid outer shell can be made of fiberglass-reinforced resin, metal, molded rigid plastic or other suitable material that gives good lateral support to a foot, and can be made into contoured or irregular shapes such as the foot-receiving portion 13.

A foot-receiving inner boot assembly illustrated generally at 20 is provided on the interior or the shell. The foot-receiving inner boot is made of soft leather so that it is flexible and has a sole that forms the insole of the boot when assembled. The inner boot is fastened securely to the inner surface of the sole of the shell. The sole of the inner boot is adhesively fixed to the inner surface of the sole 12 of the shell so that the inner boot cannot be removed once assembled. However in FIG. 5 the inner boot is shown removed for sake of illustration of the boot.

The inner boot includes foot-receiving portion having a forward opening 21. Over the instep area of the boot, some type of a tightening device such as a lace 22 extending through eyelets is provided. This would only be a speed lace of two or three eyelets. A woven stretchable material that would tend to keep the opening 21 closed over the instep area such as lycra spandex can also be used instead of a lace, although the lace gives more adjustability and can be more tightly secured. A tongue member 23 is provided on the interior of the inner boot and this is fixed to the lower part of the inner boot in conventional manner. The tongue member includes a relatively stiff backing member 24, which normally would be a heavy leather section, and has a foam pad 25 on the side of this heavy leather section adjacent the lower leg so that the foam pad bears against the-leg. A covering of softleather 26 can be made over this foam pad on the interior of the tongue. A pocket can also be provided on the interior of the tongue to permit adding padding to the tongue, if desired. The backing member 24 extends only partly down the tongue and at a junction about at line 23A the tongue becomes flexible for good fitting. The inner boot is filled with a layer of foam padding 26 throughout the foot and ankle parts, and this is used for cushioning the foot against the shell as well as providing for a good fit. The padding can be soft polyfoam or foam rubber conventionally used in ski boots. The pad 25 on the tongue is more firm than the padding in the inner boot itself, and can be made of Ensulite" brand foam, made by Uniroyal, Incorporated, Mishawaka, Indiana.

In order to enhance the holddown qualities of the heel of the boot, extra foam blocks can be glued to the inner surface of the outer shell in the heel area before the inner boot is fastened in place. The outer cover of the inner boot 20 is provided with slits or openings 27 along the lateral side members above the anklebone area. These slits open into interior pockets formed in the inner boot on the outside of the foam padding 26, and small pillows or pieces of padding shown in dotted lines at 27A can be inserted through these slits 27 to fill up space in the area to the rear of the anklebone, and just above the heel of the wearer in order to enhance the heel holddown characteristics or to size the upper cuff down to fit the leg of a wearer. The upper part of the inner boot, for example the portions above the heel area, are left free from the outer shell, and are not fastened against the lateral side members 15 and 16 so that the cuff part 28 of the inner boot can be pulled away from the lateral side members 15 and 16 to permit insertion of additional padding in through the slits 27 for heel holddown improvement. The pads can be made up of small pillows of material having outer covers and a filling, or can be pieces of foam cut to the desired shape and size. The forward members of the cuff part 28 of the inner boot hold relatively little foam and are made so that they will fold together around the front of the tongue 23, as shown in FIGS. and 3 to help give a snug fit against the leg.

When the inner boot is inside the outer shell it is securely fastened in place. It can be seen that the lace 22 is to the rear of and accessible through the forward portion of the opening in the shell. The free end of lace 22 is to the rear of the line 18 of the shell opening. In order to hold the foot in the boot, a heel holddown strap assembly is providedJThe strap assembly includes a first strap section 33 which is fixed with a pin or suitable member 34 to the boot to the rear of and below the junction between the lower leg and the instep ofa wearer. The strap portion 33 has a D ring 35 fastened to the free end thereof, and this is of size to come up over the forward part of the foot just at the rear of the instep and at the forward edge of the lower leg, in the area where the leg and the footjoin. In addition, another strap section 36 is provided, and this is fixed to the rigid outer shell with a rivet 37 on an opposite side from the strap section 33, and is of length so that it can slidably pass through the ring 35 like a pulley, the section 36 loops so that it will slide through the ring 35. Strap section 36 has a clamping or latch ring 38 attached thereto at its free end. Strap section 36 can be adjustably fastened with respect to its length to this ring 38 if desired, to permit changing the effective length of the strap. The ring 38 is made to be utilized with an overcenter clamp 39. The clamp 39 has a lever that has lugs for receiving the ring, and which is pivoted onto the bracket in a conventional manner so that when the ring is placed on the lever, and goes overcenter, the strap section 36 can be tensioned, thereby pulling on section 33 through the ring 35. The strap sections bear against the inner boot, and specifically against the rigid backing member 24 for the tongue assembly. The clamp assembly 39 is ofa design known in ski boot art, and the lever and clamp assembly are fixed to the lateral side member 16 of the outer shell.

The strap assembly provides for adjustability in fitting so that it can be clamped tightly to pull the foot rearwardly and downwardly to give heel holddown. In the clamp assembly 39 the lever and the clamp base stay with the shell, and the ring 38 merely slips over the lever, hooks in a lug, and then the lever is flipped to its position as shown in FIG. 2 to go overcenter and hold the strap in section 36 tightly. It can be seen that even with the strap assembly securedin place,*the lower leg of a wearer can be moved about the ankle joint forwardly in the open area between the edges 15A and 16A against the tongue.

In order to elastically resist this forward movement and provide a resilient resistance to movement of the leg which will permit the leg to be moved and bent and flexed when skiing, an elastomeric band assembly illustrated at 45 is utilized. The elastomeric band assembly is fastened as at 46 with suitable means on the interior of the cuff to the lateral side member 15 and on the interior thereof. The band 45, as shown, is of a height substantially equal to the height of the lateral side members themselves, although a relief is cut out as at 47 to clear the area where the strap section 33 and 36 bear against the tongue.

The free end of the band 45 has a fastening member 48 fixed thereto, so that the member 48 pulls evenly all along the free edge of band 45. A single overcenter clamp member 49 is attached to this fastening member 48, and is pivotally mounted as at 42 to this member. Clamp member 49 is adjustable on a threaded shank 51 and is made so that the ends will hook into and engage a latch member 52 fixed to the lateral side member 16 adjacent the rear portions thereof, the clamp goes overcenter so that it will snap into place and securely hold the band 45 covering the space between the forward edges 15A and 16A of the lateral side members. The adjustability of the threaded shank 51 provides for the regulation of tension in the band 45. The band 45 is made of a suitable elastomeric material havinga controlled stretch, and it can be selected so that it has the desired amount of resistance to forward movement, and yet will stretch to permit some movement. Different skiers will want more resistance to forward movement of the leg than others, and the elastomeric band 45 is selected to give a desired range. By adjusting the tension in the elastomeric material band 45, the resistance can be varied. Different elastomeric materials also can be selected to give different ranges of resistance to forward movement.

The elastomeric band 45 bears against the cuff portion 28 of the inner boot, and therefore against the backing 24 of the tongue to force the pad 25 of the tongue against the leg of the wearer and securely hold the foot in place. Note that the band goes to the outside of side portion 16 when closed.

A cover member illustrated generally at can be attached to the band on the outside thereof, and is fixed as at 61 along the lower ends of the opening in the outer shell. The cover 60 as shown includes a tuck or fold portion 62 that can be folded up over the instep area of the boot, and then folded closed as shown in FIG. 1. The cover member 60 may be a synthetic fabric that is waterproof, abrasion resistant and is used merely for covering the opening that provides foot access to the shell. The cover 60 fits inside the shell opening and includes fastening strips that go on the inside of the shell and are sealed thereto around the opening. The attachment of the cover 60 can be made with adhesives or the like.

The cover member 60 is fastened along the inner surfaces of the side member 15, along with the band 45, and around the lower edge of the foot-receiving opening as previously explained. The lower end portion of the folded-over part where the tuck member 62 is placed carries Velcro brand hook and loop tape fastener strips illustrated at 65 and 66, so that the lower edge illustrated at 67 of the cover can be securely fastened down against the shell with the Velcro brand strips to keep the unit waterproof. The holddown strap section 36 extends outwardly underneath the cover, as shown in FIG. 2, and is fastened before the unit is put into place. In addition, it is possible to use a stretchable lycra-type fabric to cover the shell opening in the instep area. A separate fabric band would a then be used to cover the forward-facing part of the opening between edges 15A and 16A, in combination with the elastomeric band.

A band of material illustrated at 70 can be attached to the upper portions of the fabric cover and can hold a suitable snap fastener for fastening around the leg of the wearer'to fit snugly around the wearers leg and.exclude snow from the cuff of the boot.

The outer shell provides a large open area for foot access. The tongue can be pulled outwardly through the opening 21 of the inner boot, and then the foot can be slid into place quickly. The lace 22 is tightened and fastened, or if other devices over the instep are used for holding the opening partially closed, such as an elastic member, a lace need not be used. The strap sections 33 and 36 are fastened together quickly by threading the end member 38 of strap section 36 through the loop or ring 35, and fastening the overcenter clamp 39. The final step in closing the boot is to bring the elastic or resilient band 45 around the front of the lower leg, fastening the clamp 49 with respect to the hook 52 under the desired tension, and then securely putting down the lower edge 67 of the outer cover with the Velcro tape strip fasteners 65 and 66 to waterproof it. The boot is then ready to wear and use. If additional fitting is desired, the forward cuff portions 28 of the inner boot can be pulled away from the side portions and 16 and pads slid into the slits 27 to take up any space over the heel area to achieve good heel holddown.

The tongue 23 can be relieved at its flexure point 23A by cutting a relief window into the backing member 24 as shown in FIG. 5

The boot shells can be molded quickly, made into two halves and then made as a complete unit. There is no need for a hinged cuff because the elastic or elastomeric band 45 provides resistance to forward movement elastically, and is much different than a leather strap across the front which does not stretch to any substantial degree at all and rather merely restricts forward movement in any opening in a ski boot. The open instep area provides quick access, and the inner boot fastening means holds the instep area securely. The heel holddown strap of the present invention also exerts force rearwardly and downwardly to hold the heel in the rear of the boot, and this together with the additional feature of having pads that can be inserted into the inner boot through the slits 27 for heel holddown makes the unit very usable for skating. The foam pads fixed to the interior of the shell for improved heel holddown also keep the heel of the wearer away from the shell for comfort.

It can be seen that the sole of the boot includes members at the front and rear for fastening to a ski binding by providing ledges for these bindings.

The inner boot extends upwardly above the lateral side portions 15 and 16, and the rear portion 17 for distributing forces on the leg against the upper edges of these members. This provides for cushioning of the leg, including rearward lean of the leg. Also the lateral side members are canted to the side about 5 starting at the anklebone area. This can be seen in FIG. 3. The side members 15 and 16 tilt sideways (toward the bottom of the drawings as shown) to accommodate the tilt of the lower leg found on most people.

A U-plastic insert 71 can also be slipped between the shell and the inner boot. This is shown in FIG. 1 and in dotted lines in FIG. 5. This plastic insert is somewhat flexible (i.e. semirigid) and resilient and distributes force along the leg without hurting the leg. The insert can be used on other rigidshelled boots between the shell and the padding.

While a speed lace 22 is shown, it is to be understood that the laces on the inner boot can go all the way to the top of the cuff section if desired. The speed laces as shown are desirable for simplicity of operation.

The strap assembly comprising sections 33 and 36 can, if desired, be fastened with a buckle at the instep area, for example ring 35 can be replaced with a buckle.

The holddown of the outer cover also can be made with snap fasteners or the like along the lower edge of the cover in place of the Velcro strips 65 and 66.

Different size outer shells can be made, and final sizing for the wearer can be done by varying the thickness of the padding in the inner boot and also the insole support may be moved up or down by changing the supported position of the insole. The pads 27A also aid in proper sizing of the boot.

What I claim is:

1. A ski boot comprising a rigid boot outer shell including a foot portion to enclose the foot of a wearer below the ankle, and having integral upwardly extending side portions of rigid material located on the sides of a lower portion of the leg of a wearer, and enclosing the rear portions of the leg of a wearer for a distance above the ankle of the wearer, said side portions being spaced apart, and having forward edges defining sides of a front opening, means padding the foot of a wearer with respect to the outer shell, a member closing the opening between the edges of the side portions, said member comprising an elastic band fastened between said side portions to resist forward movement of the leg of the wearer between said side portions with a desired amount of elastic resistance.

2. The combination as specified in claim 2 wherein said member comprises a band fixed along one edge to one of said side portions, and releasable clamp means to releasably fix the other end of said band to the other of said side portions.

3. The combination as specified in claim 1 wherein said means padding the foot of a wearer comprises an inner boot member, said inner boot member including opening means for inserting additional padding into said inner boot in the area above the heel of the wearer, said inner boot being free from the side portions of said shell to permit inserting said additional padding in the heel area.

4. The ski boot of claim 1 including means defining a continuous opening extending from the front opening between the side portions forwardly from the junction between the side portions and the foot-enclosing portion of the boot a substantial distance to permit insertion of the foot of a wearer into the foot portion of said outer shell.

5. The combination as specified in claim 4 and an outer cover member fixed to said shell, said cover member being movable from a position wherein it covers said continuous opening to a position wherein said cover will release to permit a foot to be inserted into said continuous opening.

6. The combination as specified in claim 4 wherein said inner boot includes a forward inner boot opening, and lace means tightenable across the instep of the wearer, said lace means being accessible through said continuous opening to tighten onto the foot of a wearer.

7. The combination as specified in claim 6 wherein said inner boot includes a tongue member having a portion thereof that includes a relatively stiff backing member and a cushion pad against the leg of the wearer, said stiff backing member extending downwardly along the forward portion of the leg of the wearer and for a portion over the instep of a wearer, and adjustable strap means bearing against said backing member to urge said tongue and pad against the leg and rear instep portions of the foot of a wearer.

8. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said adjustable strap means comprises a first strap section attached to said shell adjacent one side of the foot, a second strap section attached to the shell adjacent a second side of said foot, said first strap section having a ring at the free end thereof, said second strap section being of size to pass through said ring, and releasable clamp means for clamping the free end of said second strap section to exert a force on said first strap section and said second strap section in direction against said tongue member.

9. A ski boot comprising a unitary rigid shell section including a sole member, a foot-receiving portion fixed to said sole member and a rigid cuff section comprising a U-shaped member having forward edges spaced apart and open to the front, and closed to the rear, integral with and fixed to said foot-receiving portion and said sole, said shell defining an opening extending from between said forward edges downwardly over the instep area of said shell to permit a foot to be inserted into said shell, and elastomeric retainer means for elastically resisting movement of the lower leg of said wearer between the forward edges of the cuff section of said shell.

10. The combination as specified in claim 9 wherein said elastomeric retainer means comprises a band extending along the forward portions of the lower leg of the wearer.

11. The combination as specified in claim 9 and means padding the foot of a wearer comprises an inner boot member 12. The ski boot of claim l l and a separate semirigid U- shaped insert positioned between the culf portion of the inner boot and the cuff section of said shell at the rear portion thereof and extending partially along the sides thereof.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Pa 351 Dated August 17, 1971 Invent0r(s) Donald h k It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

On the cover sheet [73] "Sports Technology, Inc. South Edina, Minn." should read Sports Technology, Inc., Edina, Minn.

Signed and sealed this 15th day of February 1972.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M. FLETCHER,JR. ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents JRM 301050 USCOMM-DC 60376-5 69 i U 5 GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 959 0-36533

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3050874 *Jan 9, 1961Aug 28, 1962Superga Societa Per AzioniRubber ski shoe
US3483638 *Feb 14, 1967Dec 16, 1969Loris BasoMethod for the manufacture of buckle-type ski boots
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3795991 *Feb 5, 1973Mar 12, 1974Boerjesson Ab BrdrSki boot
US3798800 *Dec 21, 1972Mar 26, 1974Rathmell RSki boot with latchable guided heel holder
US3883964 *Jul 5, 1974May 20, 1975Olin CorpSki boot with adjustable instep plate
US4510703 *Dec 17, 1982Apr 16, 1985Harrison EiteljorgSki boot
US4534122 *Dec 1, 1983Aug 13, 1985Macpod Enterprises Ltd.Fit and support system for sports footwear
US4539763 *Dec 19, 1983Sep 10, 1985Raichle Sportschuh AgAthletic footwear, in particular a ski boot
US4638578 *Apr 16, 1985Jan 27, 1987Eiteljorg Ii HarrisonSki boot
US5276983 *Jun 12, 1991Jan 11, 1994Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating a backtab pull and tongue pull
US5406721 *Apr 20, 1992Apr 18, 1995Marcolin; AlessandroSports shoe structure
US5553402 *Dec 5, 1994Sep 10, 1996Tecnica SpaSki-boot with improved padding and slidable tongue
US5632105 *Feb 2, 1996May 27, 1997Salomon S.A.Ski boot incorporating adaptable upper
US6178665Jun 12, 1997Jan 30, 2001Macpod Enterprises Ltd.Fit and support system for the foot
DE2712001A1 *Mar 18, 1977Sep 29, 1977Salomon & Fils FSkistiefel mit einem system zum halten des fusses, das durch schliessen eines teils des stiefels betaetigt wird
EP0114209A1 *Nov 2, 1983Aug 1, 1984Raichle Sportschuh AGSports shoe, especially a ski boot
EP0674856A1 *Mar 20, 1995Oct 4, 1995NORDICA S.p.AForm-fitting adapter, particularly for sports shoes
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/117.9, 36/119.1
International ClassificationA43B5/04
Cooperative ClassificationA43B5/0405
European ClassificationA43B5/04B