US 3755926 A
A snowshoe harness fabricated substantially of flexible lightweight material with the exception of buckles and the like wherein the wearer's boot is securely held in position. The securement of the boot is accomplished without placing a compressive force upon the toes and thus impairing circulation. The flexibility of the material allows the harness to be secured to a relatively fixed portion of the snowshoe and still allow the harness to pivot relative to the shoe, while at the same time providing a continual bias or torsion bar effect tending to return the wearer's boot to proper contact with the snowshoe.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Schonbrnn Sept. 4, 1973 SNUWSHOE HARNESS Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson  inventor: David M. Schonbrun, 15047 Linden g 'g y 1- Seed Dowrey and Ave., Seattle, Wash. 98133 0 ense  Filed: May 1, 1972 ABSTRACT  Appl No; 248,979 A snowshoe harness fabricated substantially of flexible lightweight material with the exception of buckles and the like wherein the wearer's boot is securely held in  36/2'5 AB position. The securement of the boot is accomplished  1131. C]. A43!) without placing a compressive force upon the toes and  Field Of Search 36/25 R, 2.5 AB thus impairing circulation The flexibility of thg mate rial allows the harness to be secured to a relatively fixed References and portion of the snowshoe and still allow the harness to UNITED STATES PATENTS pivot relative to the shoe, while at the same time pro- 2,420,261 5 1947 Nadeau 36/25 AB viding a Continual bias or torsion bar effect t nding to 2,619,742 12/1952 Cumming 36/25 AB return the wearers boot to proper contact with the 3,555,707 1/1971 Sharratt et al.... 36/25 AB snowshoe.
6 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures SNOWSHOE HARNESS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Snowshoes comprising a frame enclosing an area which is criss-crossed with a lacing of rawhide orother material are well known in the art. Harnesses are required to secure the users boots to the snowshoes so he will have control of them at all times both on a level surface and while traveling over sloping terrain.
In walking on snowshoes, the wearer needs to lift the front end of the snowshoe at the start of a step and move the snowshoe forward. At the end of each step the front end of the snowshoe is lowered again and the user's foot pivots forwardly on the ball of the foot causing the heel of the users boot to be lifted from the snowshoe surface i.e. upwardly from the lacing, as the user advances the other snowshoe to its forwardmost position. As the users boot is pivoted forwardly, the toe of the boot is somewhat tilted downwardly into an opening normally provided in the lacing for this purpose.
Since snowshoes are used on sloping terrain as well as on the level a satisfactory harness must provide complete and continuous control of the snowshoe at all times, both for travel on the level and on inclines, including side slopes. When used on an incline sloping laterally of the direction of travel the strain on the harness is severe. The heel of the users boot tends to swing in the direction of the downward slope and if this occurs the control of the snowshoe decreases and so it is imperative that the wearer be able to control lateral movement of the heel portion.
Snowshoe harnesses of the prior art have been unsatisfactory, failing to provide continuous control. The prior art includes harnesses comprising flexible straps which are unsatisfactorily designed for the reason noted above, and harnesses which employ a rigid U- strap intended to fit forwardly along the sides of the users boot in addition to extending around the heel. Such U memberS have been found to be inadequate to withstand the torsional strain to which they are subjected when the user is crossing an incline sloping transversely of the direction of travel. The pressure of the boot against one side of a rigid U-member when traversing an incline is very tiring and causes wear on the side of the boot.
Other prior art harnesses particularly those of Harold Howe, US. Pat. Nos. 2,821,031, 2,987,834, 3,000,117, 3,060,600 and No. Re. 25,472 have embodied the principal of holding the heel of the boot rigid by either a flexible means, 2,821,031, or a rigid means as taught in the other references.
Another of the problems with the prior art harnesses is the width of snowshoe which is necessary to provide the rigid structure necessary for the Howe approach to the problem. After many hours on the shoe the straddle leg position becomes extremely tiring and therefor is a definite drawback of this type of harness.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a snowshoe harness which is capable of providing complete and continuous control of the snowshoe and yet is extremely lightweight and versatile.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a snowshoe harness which is adaptable to any size boot as well as to any snowshoe, such that it may be readily and rapidly interchanged between users and snowshoes.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a snowshoe harness wherein the users boot is held firmly in position providing proper control and yet there is no compressive force upon the foot of the user and thus does not squeeze the foot which would cause a decrease in circulation and thus increase the possibility of frost bite.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a snowshoe harness wherein the boot is held within the harness and the harness is held in position on the snowshoe by one continuous strap means such that the control of the shoe is partially a function of the degree of tightness to which the strap is secured. Further, the stress generated during use of the shoe is transmitted from the back of the boot to the snowshoe or vice versa tending to increase the tension and preventing further relative movement.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a snowshoe harness wherein the attachment of the harness to the snowshoe allows pivotal movement of the boot and harness about a horizontal axis at the point of attachment and yet continuously provides a bias to return the boot and shoe to proper contact position supplying a torsion bar effect greatly improving the control.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. l is a perspective view showing the inventive harness as secured to a snowshoe with a boot shown in phantom.
FIG. 2 is a side view of the inventive harness showing the relative relationship of the boot, the harness and the snowshoe.
FIG. 3 is a partial view showing the interconnection between the harness and the shoe itself.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS As can be seen in FIG. 1 the harness is adapted to be used upon a snowshoe having an outer frame 2 which may be made of ash, plastic or any other suitable lightweight durable material. The space between the sides of the frame is filled by webbing 4 which generally will be secured to the side rails of the frame 2 as well as one or more cross bars 6 to add stability to the webbing. As can be seen in FIG. l the webbing includes an opening or space at the front end of the shoe defined by the frame 2 cross bar 6 and toe cord 8. The webbing, braces and frame allow the wearer to walk on top of deep snow without significantly sinking into the snow.
The harness itself, as can be seen in the FIGS. comprises, when flat a toepiece 10, which is of unitary construction having a pair of opposite ears l2 and a forwardly extending tongue M. As can be seen in the Figure when the harness is assembled the tongue 14 is bent rearwardly to underlie the outermost portion of the ears 12 which are secured about the toe of the boot. It is to be noted that the ears l2 and the tongue 14 all have eyelets 16 therein, said eyelets being so placed that when assembled they will be axially aligned when secured. The placement and cooperation of the holes in the ears 112 and tongue 14 is critical to the proper operation of the present harness in that when these elements are properly secured, the wearers boot is held against movement within the harness and there is no compressive pressure upon the wearers boot. As seen in FIG. 1 the toe piece when assembled has ears l2 overlying the tongue M and a cord 18 is threaded therethrough to assure that the ears 12 remain in constant relative position with respect to each other as well as to the tongue and thus does not impair circulation in the wearers foot.
The toe piece is secured in position upon the snowshoe and the boot of the wearer is secured to the toe piece by means of a unitary continuous strap which extends about the heel of the boot 22 and then forwardly on opposite sides of the boot to pass inwardly through a generally vertical slot 24 in toe piece 10 and then outwardly again through a generally vertical slot 26. The fact that the strap 20 extends through the two generally parallel slots 24, 26 tends to retain the strap in a generally vertical orientation, that which it must assume when passing around the heel of the boot and causes a frictional interlock between the strap and the harness. The strap 20 then twists through approximately 90 and extends laterally outwardly, as best seen in FIG. 3, and passes through a metallic stabilizing ring 28 prior to passing over a portion of the webbing or other stable horizontal element 30 of the snowshoe itself. The strap 10 then passes again through the stablizing ring 28 and passes through a generally horizontal slot 30 in the bottom of toe piece 10, passes across the upper inner portion of the toe piece and out through a slot corresponding to 30. The strap 20 generally follows the same path as hereinabove described to again return about the heel of the boot. The strap 20 has a quick release buckle 32 which allows not only rapid attachment and release of the snowshoe but further allows the wearer to provide adequate tension in the strap as to be described hereinafter.
A second strap 34 is provided which has transverse slots 36, 38 therein. The strap 20 passes through slots 36 and 38 and strap 34 is passed around the instep of the boot 22 and over the upper portion of the boot to be secured in place by the rapid release buckle 40. The strap 34 serves to retain the strap 20 in appropriate position and thus allows the wearer to have proper security.
The preferred material used for the hereinabove described harnesses is poromeric and is waterproof, fungus proof, rodent proof and is non-elastic thus assuring proper fit and constant securement even under adverse conditions. As can be seen in FIG. 2, when the boot is properly placed within the harness it will be urged forwardly into the toe piece so that the toe of the boot contacts the tongue 14. The strap 20 is then pulled tightly about the heel of the boot holding the boot in position and preventing forward and rearward movement of the boot. It is to be noted, however, that since the cars 12 are secured to the toe piece 14 in such a manner that there is no circumferential pressure on the toes there is no danger of impaired circulation and frost bite.
The wearer secured strap 20 putting a significant amount of tension thereon and this tension passes the entire length of the strap 20 and puts an equivalent amount of tension upon the outwardly extending portions of strap 20 which pass through the rings 28 and then around a portion 30 of the snowshoe itself. This strain tends to pull the strap 20 into a uniplanar configuration and the greater the tension placed upon the strap 20 the more bias is placed into the outwardly extending ears as shown in FIG. 3.
As can be seen in FIG. 3 the strap 20 goes from the vertical configuration around the heel to the generally horizontal configuration whereat it passes and is connected to the snowshoe. This placement of strap 20 involves a twisting of the material and the tension once placed upon this portion makes the outwardly extending portion as seen in FIG. 3 act in the same fashion as a torsion bar assuring constant proper control of the snowshoe. The tension upon strap 20 also prevents the harness from moving relative to the shoe since the tension places a strong frictional force upon the toepiece where the strap 20 passes therethrough preventing lateral movement thereof and as can readily be seen the portion of the strap 20 which extends between the sides of frame 2 prevents forward and rearward movement of the harness relative to the snowshoe.
Once the wearer has properly secured within the harness he is capable of rapidly and easily moving the shoe in the rocking motion necessary for travel and yet is not subjected to undue fatigue because of excess weightv The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
l. A harness for use upon a snowshoe having a rigid encircling frame member comprising:
a toe portion having a front, sides and a bottom to cradle the toe of a wearers boot,
first strap means of single adjustable length for passing around the heel of the wearers boot, secured to the toe portion and extending laterally outwardly therefrom on both sides for securement to the snowshoe adjacent the side frames, said strap means permitting the boot to be secured against the front of the toe portion preventing relative movement therebetween without placing an encircling pressure upon the wearers foot, the tightness of the strap determining the tension upon the later ally outwardly extending portions second strap means secured to the first strap means and configured to encircle the boot upper, holding the first strap means fixed relative to the boot assuring that the boot will be retained within the harness whereby the wearer retains complete control of the shoe but does not incur excess weight, the harness being flexible and versatile and readily adjustable to any size or shape of boot and the foot of the wearer is not subjected to a compressive pressure which reduces circulation and increases the probability of frostbite and yet the lateral control of the shoe is greatly increased.
2. A harness as in claim 1 wherein the first strap means is a single elongated strap which is secured to the toe portion which allows longitudinal movement of the strap relative to the toe portion but prevents lateral relative movement thereof.
3. A harness as in claim 2 wherein the first strap means is secured to the toe portion upon each side and again at the bottom of the toe portion thereby preventing relative movement when the strap portion is fastened.
4. A harness as in claim I wherein the toe portion is adjustable to discrete positions to permit a securement and cradling of the toe portion and prevent the possibility of a too tight lace which could result in impaired circulation and frost bite.
5. A harness for use upon a snowshoe comprising a toe piece for securing the toe of a boot to the snowshoe without applying an encircling compressive pressure, a unitary main strap means secured to the sides of the toe widely spaced attachment enhancing lateral control.
6. A harness as in claim 5 and further including an instep strap secured to the main strap and encircling the boot to fixidly secure the main strap means relative to the boot.