US 3656245 A
A cleat particularly useful for shoes worn by participants in sporting events to provide improved engagement with the surface on which the sporting event takes place and including a grouping of projections having relatively blunt nonpenetrating ends adapted to engage the surface with limited penetration thereof, such grouping including a plurality of projections disposed in spaced-apart relation with respect to each other and in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each of the projections having a cross sectional area which is small with respect to the transverse dimension of its respective grouping.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Wilson [451 Apr. 18, 1972  ATHLETIC SHOE CLEAT 3,512,275 5/1970 Leavitt ..36/67 1)  Inventor: Henry ll. Wilson, 533 View Park Drive, Primary Examiner patrick D. Lawson xnoxvlue Tenn' 37920 Attorney-Fitch, Even, Tabin & Luedeka  Filed: Sept. 8, 1970 21 A l N 70 347  ABSTRACT 1 pp. A cleat particularly useful for shoes worn by participants in v sporting events to provide improved engagement with the sur-  U.S. Cl. ..36/67 D face on which the sporting event takes place and including a  Int. Cl ..A43c 15/00 grouping of projections having relatively blunt nonpenetrating  Field of Search ..36/67 A, 67 D, 59 R ends adapted to engage the surface with limited penetration thereof, such grouping including a plurality of projections 5 References Cited disposed in spaced-apart relation with respect to each other and in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each UNITED STATES PATENTS of: the projections having a cross sectional area \vhich is small 1,857,975 5/1932 Reynolds ..36/59R 3:325: 2? m "ansverse d'mensm respecme 2,185,397 l/l940 Birchfied .....36/67 D 3,466,763 9/1969 Levin ..36/67 D 11 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 181912 3,656,245
SHEET 1 [1F 2 [arswfar l/e/z/y A. M75012 ATHLETIC SHOE CLEAT larly to cleat constructions.
It is well known among athletes and their coaches, trainers and doctors that the conventional conical shaped cleat, such as the common football cleat, employed on athletic shoes is undesirable in several respects. For example, these prior art cleats are significantly tapered so that the cleat will readily penetrate turf or similar playing surfaces, the length of the tapered cleat being sufficient to permit adequate penetration of the playing surface for the athlete to establish good engagement with the playing surface and obtain the necessary traction to permit rapid and severe cutting, darting, running or similar body movements. The length of this prior art cleat positions the shoe significantly above the playing surface and this, together with the degree of penetration developed by these tapered cleats, has been found frequently to cause twisting or overturning of the ankles or knees of athletes and resultant distressful pain or permanent injury.
.Artificial turf, such as Tartan Turf manufactured by 3M Company, presents additional problems with the prior art cleats employed on athletes shoes. The usual artificial turf 7 Such artificial turf is notably expensive and intended to have a very long useful life. Desirably therefore, the cleats used on the shoes of athletes participating in sporting events conducted on artificial turf will not damage the turf. Because of their respective small cross sectional areas, the prior art cleats each develop a very large pressure which is exerted against the artificial turf and results in damage to the turf. It is not permissible, therefore to utilize the relatively penetrating cleats of the prior art when playing on artificial turfs.
It has also been found that the cleats employed heretofore on natural turfs will not develop the desired traction when employed on artificial turf. Further, when an athlete runs, jumps, etc. on artificial turf, its solidity causes bruising forces to be exerted against the athletes foot with the result that the athletes foot becomes sore, particularly at the prior art cleat locations on his shoes, due to his foot absorbing the full shock ofimpact resulting from jumping or running on the artificial turf and which the prior art cleat is incapable of distributing over an expansive area.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved cleat which is particularly useful on athletic shoes. It is 50' a further object to provide an athletic shoe cleat for use on playing surface comprising artificial turf. It is another object of the present invention to provide a demountable athletic shoe cleat of improved construction.
FIG. 1 is a bottom view of an athletic shoe fitted with a plurality of cleats embodying features of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view of the cleated shoe of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a demountable cleat as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of a demountable cleat embodying various features of this invention;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of the demountable cleat shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view, partly in section, depicting one means for demountably attaching the cleat shown in F IG. 3 to a shoe; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an athletic shoe having a plurality of cleat clusters integrally formed with the outsole of the shoe.
Broadly stated, the present invention comprises a shoe cleat particularly useful for shoes worn by participants in sporting events to provide improved engagement with the playing surface on which the sporting event takes place and including a from the shoe in the direction of the playing surface, the projections having relatively blunted non-penetrating tips adapted to engage the playing surface with limited penetration of the playing surface by the projections. The preferred grouping comprises a plurality of projections disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to each other and ,in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each of the projections having a cross sectional area which is small with respect to the transverse dimension of its respective grouping. Preferably these projections are symmetrically clustered about the central axis.
Each shoe provided with cleats in accordance with the present disclosure preferably possesses a plurality of groupings of projections (clusters) on each shoe outsole. For example, the usual football shoe will include seven clusters on each outsole, two clusters on the heel portion of the shoe and five clusters on the toe portion of the shoe. It is contemplated that the clusters may be formed integrally with the outsole or may be demountably secured to the outsole.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is depicted a football shoe 10 including an outsole 11 having secured thereto a plurality of cleats 12. A side view of this shoe 10 with the cleats 12 is shown in FIG. 2. The cleats depicted in FIGS. 2 and 3, are demountably secured to the outsole 11. This feature is desirable for purposes of replacing damaged or worn cleats or for converting existing cleated shoes to improved shoes. It is contemplated, however, that the cleat disclosed herein may be integrally formed with the outsole of a shoe. A perspective view of a shoe 20 having a cleat 21 integrally formed with the outsole 22 is provided in FIG. 7. For purposes of description, the discussion herein will be directed primarily to a demountable cleat.
One embodiment of the demountable cleat l2 disclosed herein is depicted in FIG. 3 and comprises a plurality of projections 13 extending generally perpendicularly from a circular base 14 and preferably having rounded relatively blunted tips 15. These projections 13 are preferably disposed in concentric array around a central and preferably larger projection 16 which is also provided with a rounded, blunted, nonpenetrating tip 17. Preferably the vertical axis of this central projection 16 serves also as the axis about which the projections 13 are arrayed. In the preferred cleat, these projections are symmetrically clustered about the central axis as well as in concentric array. The lateral projections 13 preferably are each joined to the central projection 16 by means of web 18 for purposes to be discussed hereinafter. Further, each of the lateral projections 13 may be reinforced by longitudinally extending reinforcing gussets 19 which may be conveniently integrally formed with the base 14 and which converge toward the tip 15 of each projection.
A further embodiment of a demountable cleat in accordance with the present invention is depicted in FIG. 4 and comprises a circular base 14 from which extends a plurality of projections 13. These projections 13 are also disposed in a concentric array about a central projections 16 and joined thereto by web means 18. Each of the lateral projections 13, in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, are provided with a tip 15 which is generally rounded, hence blunted and non-penetrating. Distinctive to the sloping walls of the tapered projections shown in FIG. 3, the concentrically arrayed projections depicted in FIG. 4, possess generally vertical walls and are individually of generally constant cross sectional area along their height. Because of this constant dimension of these projections, each projection possesses inherent lateral strengthening thereby obviating the use of the lateral gussets 19 as depicted in FIG. 3. Additionally, the concentrically arrayed projections l3 depicted in the embodiment of FIG. 4 are preferably arcuate in their transverse dimension, that is, their respective transverse dimensions preferably curve along a circular line concentric to the axis (vertical axis of the central projection) of the array. This curved structure and the conical geometries depicted in FIG. 3 have been found to provide the grouping of projections extending generally perpendicularly desired turf penetration and engagement as will be described hereinafter. Moreover, the curved geometry enhances the strength and rigidity of the projections. Cleats of the kind depicted in FIG. 4 are preferred for use on the heel of a shoe so that as an athlete moves backward, a football quarterback for example, the limited penetrability of the cleat prevents hangup of the shoe at the heel.
Each of the projections 13 of the cleat disclosed herein represents an area of contact with the playing surface. Preferably each grouping includes not less than three projections evenly spaced from each other and symmetrically clustered in a generally concentric array about a central axis. This central axis may comprise the vertical axis of a further central projection but need not be so embodied. By arraying the plurality of relatively small projections concentrically about an axis as disclosed herein, each of the cleats includes a plurality of generally evenly spaced-apart points of contact with the playing surface. As a consequence of this cluster of the areas of contact with the playing surfaces about a central axis, the cleat disclosed herein provides stabilized contact between the shoe and the playing surface. This stabilization is in the form of a more expansive contact with the playing surface as distinguished from the single point of contact found in the prior art cleat. This feature maintains the athlete s foot in a plane more nearly parallel to the playing surface and has been found to reduce the propensity of the players foot to overturn with resultant injury due to twisting or pulling of the muscles and ligaments of the players leg as a consequence of an overturned foot. Moreover, these plural points of contact embodied in each of the cleats disclosed herein enhances the distribution of the athletes weight over a wider area of his foot, thus essentially eliminating the pressure points in the prior art which produced sore spots on the athletes foot, especially after long periods of play.
The preferred rounded tips provided on the several projections which comprise each cleat have been found to also reduce the frequency of injury occurring as a consequence of the cleat hanging or snagging on the turf of the playing surface. This result is obtained herein in part by the rounded tip which is void of protuberances or sharp edges which hang or snag in the turf. This desired result is also obtained in part by the limited penetration of the turf by the disclosed cleat. More specifically, the rounded tips of the disclosed cleat are relatively blunt, yet preferably are not square cut, and their number and geometry reduces the depth to which the cleat can dig into or bury itself within the turf. In particular, this feature is important on those playing fields comprising artificial turf which are damaged by cleat penetration. The desired limitation of the depth of penetration accorded by the disclosed cleat is partly provided by means of the relatively large central conical projection 16 referred to hereinbefore and whose vertical axis is coincident with the axis for the concentrically arrayed projections. This projection also is preferably rounded on its tip. To insure adequate engagement between the cleat and turf, those projections arrayed around the central projection may be of lesser diameter than either the central projection or the prior art projections. By positioning these smaller diameter projections laterally of an axis (with or without a central projection), the more penetrating portions of the cleat are disposed in position to best engage the turf as the players foot is intentionally tilted to dig in for executing a movement.
The rounded and relatively blunt tips of the several projections, even though they penetrate the turf by a limited amount, provide relatively large areas of frictional engagement with the turf, particularly the fibrous matter of artificial turfs, and give good traction to the player. The exterior surfaces of the individual tips, due to their rounded and/or conical geometry, comprise increased surface area, particularly on the sides of the projections, for contacting the fibrous matter of the turf and against which the lateral forces, developed by the running,
cutting or other similar movement of the athletes foot, are exerted to obtain the desired traction.
The area available for contact between the cleat and turf is also increased in the disclosed cleat by the webs l8 joining the several projections as described hereinbefore. These webs 18 also serve the function of interconnecting the concentrically arrayed projections with the central projection thereby strengthening both the individual projections and the cleat itself. Still further, they aid in limiting the degree of penetration of the turf by the cleat thus assisting in reducing the possibility of the cleat damaging the turf or of the cleat hanging or snagging in the turf with possible overturning of the athletes foot.
In one preferred embodiment of the cleat disclosed herein, the circular base may be about h-inch thick and about 1% inches in diameter with the several projections extending perpendicularly therefrom about %-inch to make the cleat extend a total of about y-inch from the outsole. One desirable radius for the tips of the concentrically arrayed projections is %-inch and a desirable radius for the central larger projection is about 3/ 16-inch. The central projection may be 9/l6-inch diameter at its base with the concentrically arrayed projections each being about 5/16 inch diameter at their base.
One acceptable material for use in the manufacture of the disclosed cleat is a hard rubber having a hardness of the order of (A" scale) as measured by a Shore Durometer. The cleat conveniently may be manufactured by conventional molding techniques. The usual extant athletic shoe is provided with a plurality of male screws 24, FIGS. 5 and 6 embedded in the outsole for receiving a demountable cleat. Accordingly, the disclosed cleat advantageously may be molded about a female nut 23 thereby providing a convenient means for demountably joining the cleat to the shoe while making maximum use of existing shoe structure.
Cleats made from hard rubber by conventional molding techniques were mounted on one of a pair of conventional football shoes as depicted in FIG, 1. The other shoe of the pair was fitted with the conventional prior art cleats of hard, tough plastic (so-called poly cleats). These cleated shoes were worn by a football player who performed a series of running, cutting, stopping, jumping and like maneuvers on a Tartan Turf playing surface. These maneuvers were continued for about two hours. At the end of this time, the cleats on both shoes were examined. The prior art poly cleats were noted to have worn about l/l6 inch off their height while the cleats disclosed herein showed substantially no indication of wear. This noted wear resistance was reaffirmed by mounting one of the disclosed cleats in a drill press and rotating it about 20,000 revolutions while held in contact with Tartan Turf with a pressure of about 9 pounds. Only very slight wear of the cleat was noted and the Tartan Turf showed no damage. As reported by the subject football player, no indication or tendency of the disclosed cleats to hang or snag in the turf was noted. Further, the cleats disclosed herein were observed to provide a better gripping action with the turf and provided noticeably improved traction as compared to the prior art cleats.
After his 2 hours of testing the cleated shoes referred to above, the football player reported noticeable soreness on the bottom of the foot having the shoe with the prior art cleats but no such soreness of the foot having the shoe having the cleats disclosed herein. As a further matter, the subject complained of pain in the shin area of that leg associated with the prior art cleated shoe. No such complaint was made concerning the other leg, which indicates a strong likelihood that the common malady of athletes, known as shin splints, may be reduced in either its frequency of occurrence or in its severity through use of the disclosed cleats.
The superior performance of the cleats disclosed herein is in large measure attributed to the improved physical structure of the cleat as noted hereinbefore. The use of a slightly resilient material, that is, hard rubber, in the manufacture of the cleat is felt to increase the benefits obtaining through use of the disclosed cleat. As noted above, a rubber cleat having a Shore Durometer hardness value of about 100 (A scale) has been found preferable. Other hardness values may be satisfactory but the hardness should be sufficient to impart rigidity to the cleat. Hardness .values of a magnitude such that the cleat becomes brittle or unyielding under normal conditions of use by an athlete, however, are not desirable.
The foregoing described use of a single pair of existing football shoes in combination with both the disclosed cleat and prior art cleats without alteration of either shoe structure (all cleats were merely screwed onto existing studs embedded in the plastic outsole of the shoe), indicates a further feature of the disclosed cleat. By far the majority of the present playing fields are natural turf, even though artificial turfs are rapidly gaining in popularity. Consequently, many athletic teams still are outfitted with cleats designed specifically for use on natural turfs. When such teams visit a playing field having artificial turf, it has been the practice heretofore that the home team is required to furnish the visiting team with appropriately cleated shoes. Obviously such practices require an expensive inventory of shoes on the part of the home team and puts the visiting team at a disadvantage due to their having to play in unfamiliar and sometimes improperly fitted shoes. Because the disclosed cleat is compatible with existing shoes, a home team needs only to stock a supply of the relatively inexpensive disclosed cleats and merely substitute cleats on the shoes of visiting team players thereby converting the visiting players own familiar shoes into shoes compatible with the artificial turf.
While preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the disclosure, but rather, it is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. For example, as noted hereinbefore, it is contemplated that the disclosed cleat may be integrally formed, as by molding, with the shoe, particularly with the outsole of the shoe.
What is claimed is:
1. A shoe cleat adapted to be attached to the sole of a shoe and particularly useful for shoes worn by participants in sporting events to provide engagement with an artificial turf playing surface on which the sporting event takes place comprising a grouping of projections extending generally perpendicularly from said shoe sole and having relatively nonpenetrating generally spherical termini adapted to engage said playing surface with limited penetration thereof by said projections, said grouping comprising a plurality of projections disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to each other and in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each of said projections having a cross sectional area which is small with respect to the transverse dimension of said grouping.
2. The shoe cleat of claim 1 and including means for demountably joining said cleat to said shoe.
3. The shoe cleat of claim 1 wherein at least said projections are formed of a hard rubber.
4. The shoe cleat of claim 3 wherein said cleat possesses a Shore Durometer hardness of the order of 100 as measured 6 using the "A scale.
5. The shoe cleat of claim 1 and including a projection extending generally perpendicularly from said shoe sole and disposed centrally of said generally concentric array of projections.
6. The shoe cleat of claim 5 wherein said central projection is of generally conical configuration having its major axis coincident with the axis of said generally concentric array of projections.
7. The shoe cleat of claim 5 and including web means joining each of said projections of said generally concentric array to said central projection.
8. A demountable shoe cleat particularly useful for shoes worn by participants in sporting events to provide engagement with an artificial turf playing surface on which the sporting event takes place comprising a base portion including a face portion adapted to abut the outsole of said shoe when said cleat is mounted on said shoe, a grouping of pro ections extending generally perpendicularly from said base portion opposite said face portion, said projections having relatively nonpenetrating generally spherical termini adapted to engage said playing surface with limited penetration thereof by said projections, said grouping comprising a plurality of projections disposed in spaced-apart relation with respect to each other and in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each of said projections having a cross sectional area which is small with respect to the transverse dimension of said grouping.
9. The demountable shoe cleat of claim 9 and including a projection extending generally perpendicularly from said base element and disposed centrally of said generally concentric array of projections.
10. The demountable shoe cleat of claim 10 including web means joining said generally concentrically arrayed projections to said central projection.
11. A shoe for use by participants in sporting events to provide engagement with an artificial turf playing surface on which the sporting event takes place comprising an outsole,
a plurality of cleat clusters disposed on said outsole and adapted to engage said playing surface, each of said cleat clusters including a grouping of projections extending in a direction generally perpendicular to said outsole and having relatively nonpenetrating generally spherical termini adapted to engage said playing surface with limited penetration thereof by said projections, said grouping comprising a plurality of projections disposed in spaced-apart relation with respect to each other and in a generally concentric array about a central axis, each of said projections having a cross sectional area which is small with respect to the transverse dimension of said grouping.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE "CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent NO. 3,656, 245 Dated April 18, 1972 Inventor(s) Henry H. Wilson It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby correctedas shown below:
- Claim 9, line 30, change "claim 9" to -claim 8--;
Claim 10, line 34, change "claim 10" to -claim 9--.
Signed arid sealed this 29th day of August 1972.
(SEAL) Attes t 2 EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR.
ROBERT 'GOTTSCHALK Attesti ng Officer Commissioner of Pater F OHM PO-1050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 u.s. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 0-365-334