|Publication number||US3877158 A|
|Publication date||Apr 15, 1975|
|Filing date||Apr 29, 1974|
|Priority date||Apr 29, 1974|
|Publication number||US 3877158 A, US 3877158A, US-A-3877158, US3877158 A, US3877158A|
|Inventors||Mccutchan Ii Blaine R|
|Original Assignee||Mccutchan Ii Blaine R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (2), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [191 McCutchan, II
[ Apr. 15, 1975 LEG SUPPORT FOR SKIERS  Inventor: Blaine R. McCutchan, II, 4550 Central Ave. NE, Hilltop Trailer Ct., Lot No. 1259, Minneapolis, Minn. 55421  Filed: Apr. 29, 1974  Appl. No.: 465,063
Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Merchant, Gould, Smith & Edell  ABSTRACT An accessory for use inside ski boots for rearwardly branching a skiers legs. The accessory comprises an elongated leg portion which extends generally from the skiers upper ankle to the calf and is flexibly curved to conform to the back side of the calf and ankle. The accessory further comprising a heel portion which extends transversely forward of the leg portion and defines a socket to receive the users heel and be held in place thereby. The leg and heel portions are connected by a centrally disposed strip of material the lateral dimension of which is substantially less than that of the leg portion. The strip of material is flexible and constructed to permit forward and rearward flexing movement of the leg portion relative to the heel portion, while preventing upward and downward movement and sideward flexing movement of the leg portion relative to the heel portion. The leg portion further comprises first and second lobes which extend downward on each side of the connecting strip in forward relation thereto to overlie the users ankle bones and to slide thereover as the leg portion flexes forwardly or rearwardly.
9 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures LEG SUPPORT FOR SKIERS The invention is directed to an accessory for use inside ski boots for rearwardly bracing a skiers legs.
As with most sporting activities. the sport of skiing continuously undergoes changes in technique. both subtle and substantial. and at both recreational and competitive levels. One particularly significant change has occurred in development of sitting back on the skis which. from the broad standpoint. affords better control and quicker response.
Development of this technique has been attended by a commensurate change in skiing equipment. most notably in ski boots. which have become higher backed and more rigid. and with accessories which cooperate with the ski boot to brace the skier from rearward movement.
The subject invention is of the latter type. and is specifically directed to such an accessory which fits inside the boot behind the users heel. ankle and calf. Although devices of this type are presently known and available. they fall within one of two categories and are subject to drawbacks and problems which have not as yet been solved. In the first category are bracing acces sories which are constructed to fit on the outside ofthe ski boot. Such an approach initially raises the problem of how to rigidly secure the accessory to the boot. since significant rearward forces are exerted on the device. Secondly. since the device is outside the boot and the boot top has a substantial thickness immediately behind the ankle. it is impossible for the device to contact and offer support to the skiers leg at that point. This is ordinarily accompanied by a concentrating of forces at the higher point of engagement on the skiers leg.
which is capable of causing discomfort. An example of this type of device is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 31165.6 1 9. issued to Brent E. Bray on May 20. 1972 for a Skier Leg Support.
The second category of devices is typified by the Skier's Brace of US. Pat. No. 3.7l().484. issued to Kent A. Heitzinger on Jan. 16. 1973. This type of device is inserted into the ski boot behind the skiers leg. and by its nature solves to some extent the problem of rigid cooperation with the boot and leg. However. the accessory is not anchored and is therefore capable of upward. downward and side-to-side movement, which deters it from properly bracing the skier. It is also possible for such unwanted movement to result in substantial discomfort to the skiers foot and ankle by reason of engagement with the edge of the device. Further. even if anchored. the Heitzinger accessory could cause such discomfort due to engagement by the edge of the device.
The inventive bracing accessory herein disclosed and claimed is-also constructed for insertion into the ski boot behind the skiers leg. The accessory comprises an elongated leg portion of such length to extend generally from the users upper ankle to the calf. and is both flexibly constructed and curved to conform thereto. In order to anchor the accessory within the boot. a heel portion is included which extends transversely forward of the elongated leg portion and defines a socket to receive the users heel and be held in place thereby. The leg and heel portions are interconnected by a thin strip of material which precludes upward. downward and side-to-side flexing movement of the leg portion relative to the heel portion. but which permits the leg portion to flex forwardly and rearwardly relative to the heel portion as is necessary with the skiers body movement.
In order to insure total comfort to the skier. I also provide a pair of lobes which extend downwardly from the leg portion on either side of the connecting strip and in forward relation thereto. As such. the lobes overlie the user's ankle bones and slide relative thereto through all movements of the skier.
The inventive accessory is fully capable of providing anchored. rigid bracing support to the skier in total comfort.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation ofa skier's lower leg and foot in a ski boot. with the inventive bracing accessory inserted into the boot behind the skiers leg (hidden portions being represented by phantom lines);
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the inventive bracing accessory;
FIG. 3 is a frontal view of the bracing accessory prior to formation into the desired form;
FIG. 4 is a rear elevation depicting the relationship of the bracing accessory to the skiers leg. ankle and foot; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the bracing accessory.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. I discloses a typical ski boot 1l.a skier's lower leg 12 and foot 13 and the inventive bracing accessory 14 which is inserted into the boot ll behind the lower leg 12 and foot 13.
With additional reference to FIG. 2. accessory 14 comprises an elongated leg portion 15. a heel portion 16 and a connecting portion 17.
Leg portion 15 is of such length to extend generally from the users upper ankle to a predetermined point on the back side of his calf (see also FIG. 4). It is to be understood that the overall length of leg portion 15 can be varied within the scope of the invention. in order to accommodate and offer bracing support to skiers of different size. as well as to adapt the accessory to various conditions.
Leg portion 15 is longitudinally concave and preferably formed from flexible. self-supporting material to generally conform to the user's leg and ankle. Preferably. the edges of leg portion 15 taper upwardly and rearwardly. as at l8.v to define a rounded top 19 which offers full supporting comfort to the skiers calf.
The lowest part of leg portion 15 terminates in a pair of lobes 20. the specific structure and function of which are described in further detail below.
Connecting portion 17 consists of a strip of material of substantially lesser lateral dimension than the leg portion 15. The connecting strip 17 is centrally disposed. extending downwardly from the lower edge of the leg portion 15 into integral connection with the upper central edge of the heel portion 16 to overlie and conform to the user's Achilles tendon. Connecting portion 17 is flexibly constructed to permit forward and rearward flexing movement of theleg portion 15 relative to the heel portion 16, but prevents upward. downward or side-to-side flexing movement of the leg portion 15 relative to the heel portion 16. As such. the connecting portion 17 transmits and transfers the stabilizing effect of the heel portion 16 of the leg portion 15.
Heel portion 16 is essentially horizontally disposed: i.e.. it extends transversely forward of the essentially vertical dimension of leg portion 15. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4. and with specific reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. heel portion 16 has curved sides which extend forward from the connecting portion 17 and are interconnected by a bottom to define a heel socket 21 which receives and generally conforms to the skiers heel and is thereby held in place within the boot 11. As is shown in FIG. 3. the curved sides are defined by a pair of later ally extending tabs 22 each of which is recessed as at 23. The bottom of heel portion 16 is defined by a downwardly extending central tab 24 and a pair of tabs 25 which respectively extend downward from the ends of the side tabs 22. Bottom forming tabs 24 and 25 are bent forwardly about the bend lines indicated in FlG. 3 and are interconnected in planar relation after the necessary curvature of side tabs 22 has been accomplished. Such interconnection is preferably by an adhesive or by fusion. although mechanical interconnection would obviously be possible.
An alternate heel portion 16a is shown in FIG. 5. which essentially consists of a solid cup with curved sides 22a interconnected by a concave bottom 24a to define a socket 21a which comfortably conforms to the skier's heel.
Generally speaking. the heel portion 16 of FIGS. 1-4 is intended for use with ski boots which employ a removable boot shell or liner which the skier wears. In such cases. the heel portion 16 is inserted between the shell and boot. The heel portion 16a may be used with ski boots which do not have removable liners; and, as such. is inserted for direct engagement with the skiers foot.
With reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, lobes 20 extend downwardly on each side ofthe connecting strip 17 and in forward relation thereto. The lobes are defined in part by recesses 26, which extend upwardly on either side of the connecting strip 17. As constructed. the lobes 20 overlie the skiers ankle bones and slide relative thereto throughout all the skiers movements.
In the preferred embodiments. the accessory l4 is formed from a sheet of high density polypropylene which offers the desired flexing characteristic over an extended temperature range while providing the necessary rigidity to rearwardly brace the skiers legs. Either of the two embodiments disclosed may be formed by punching or cutting the shape from a sheet of the preferred material. with subsequent formation into the configurations shown. The heel portion 16:! in the embodiment of FIG. 5 can also be separately molded in order to obtain the necessary heel curvature and thereafter secured to the connecting strip 17a either mechanically or by bonding.
In operation. the accessory 14 can either be inserted into the ski boot 11 prior to insertion of the foot. or it may be placed on the foot for simultaneous positioning within the boot 11. With the boot fastened. the leg portion 15 is capable of a limited degree of forward and rearward flexing relative to the connecting portion 17. while at the same time offering the requisite bracing to the back of the skiers calves. thus permittting the skier to "sit back" on his skis and execute the aforementioned turning techniques.
1. An accessory for use inside the boots of a skier for rearwardly bracing the skiers legs. comprising:
a. an elongated concave leg portion of predetermined length chosen to extend upwardly from approximately the users upper ankle to the calf. the leg portion being essentially concave over its length and flexibly constructed to generally conform to a substantial portion of the back side of the user's calf and upper ankle;
b. a heel portion extending generally transversely forward of the elongated leg portion and configured to receive the users heel and be held in place within the user's boot thereby.
c. and means connecting the leg portion to the heel portion so as to permit rearward to forward flexing movement of the leg portion relative to the heel portion while essentially precluding upward and downward movement of the leg portion relative to the heel portion.
2. The accessory defined by claim I, wherein the connecting means is centrally connected to the lower leg portion. and the leg portion further comprises first and second lobes extending downward on each side of the connecting means and in forward relation thereto to overlie the users ankle bones.
3. The accessory defined by claim 2, wherein the connecting means comprises a strip of material of lesser lateral dimension than the leg portion and adapted to overlie and conform to the users Achilles tendon.
4. The accessory defined by claim 1. wherein the heel portion comprises sides interconnected by a bottom which together define a socket for the skiers heel.
5. The accessory defined by claim 1, wherein the connecting means comprises a strip of material of lesser lateral dimension than the leg portion. the connecting strip being centrally connected to the lower leg portion and adapted to overlie and conform to the user's Achilles tendon.
6. The accessory defined by claim 5. wherein the leg and heel portions and the connecting strip are formed from a sheet of plastic material. the heel portion comprising a first pair of tabs extending laterally from the connecting strip. a second pair of tabs respectively extending downward from the end of the first pair of tabs. and a central tab extending downward from the connecting strip. the first pair of tabs being formed to curve forwardly from the connecting strip to define sides for the heel portion. and the central and second pair of tabs being formed and interconnected in planar relation to define the bottom for the heel portion.
7. The accessory defined by claim 5, wherein the heel portion comprises a cup shaped member having curved sides and a concave bottom defining a socket to receive the skiers heel.
8. The accessory defined by claim 1. wherein the leg portion is formed from a sheet of flexible material. the upper edge of the leg portion tapering upwardly and rearwardly to define a rounded top.
9. The accessory defined by claim I, wherein the leg and heel portions and the connecting means are integrally formed from a sheet of said high density polypro-
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3665619 *||Aug 19, 1970||May 30, 1972||Jet Stix Inc||Skier leg support|
|US3710484 *||Feb 19, 1971||Jan 16, 1973||Heitzinger K||Skier s brace|
|US3747235 *||Aug 29, 1972||Jul 24, 1973||D Post||Lever-type ski boots|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4974346 *||Jun 30, 1989||Dec 4, 1990||Antonello Marega||Hull for ski-boots|
|US6457265 *||Sep 8, 1998||Oct 1, 2002||Lange International S.A.||Sport boot|
|U.S. Classification||36/118.2, 36/117.1|