The present invention relates to fit adjustable footwear, and in particular to a shoe of adjustable dimensions.
Nowadays, each footwear design is typically produced in an array of standardized sizes, generally identified by a numeral, in order to be worn-on by a large number of wearers having feet of most varied dimensions. In particular, for a same footwear design the different sizes typically differ in length and width of the sole and insole and therefore, beyond a certain size, also in the dimensions of the vamp fixed to said sole.
Usually, sizes vary by one or one-half.
The main drawback of such known-type footwear lies in that different fixtures may be required to make the various sizes of a same design, and this increases footwear production costs.
Moreover, another drawback concerns the fact that those marketing such footwear should have in stock a plurality of sizes for each design, so as to meet different customers' requests; for a trader this entails high storage costs, with the additional risk that some sizes remain unsold and that, on the contrary, other sizes be unavailable, thereby failing to meet requests by putative purchasers.
A further drawback that can be ascribed to the mentioned known types relates to the fact that the same do not encompass all feet measures and moreover have a preset dimension for each size, forcing those with specific anatomical needs to have footwear made to measure.
Therefore, the technical problem set and solved by the present invention is to overcome the above-highlighted drawbacks.
Within the scope of the problem set forth above, another important technical problem solved by the invention is to implement footwear whose dimensions may adapt to those of the wearer's feet even for values differing from the usual half size.
A further technical problem solved by the invention is to optimally adapt to the shape of the wearer's foot, so as to improve the comfort of fit thereof.
Another technical problem solved by the invention is to allow the wearer to autonomously and rapidly adapt the footwear to his or her own specific anatomical needs, without having to resort to a shoemaker's intervention or to specific tools suitable therefor.
Last but not least, another technical problem solved thereby is to contrive an invention that be structurally simple and having reasonable manufacturing costs.
Said problems are solved by a device for adjusting the fit of a footwear according to claim 1, by a device for adjusting the length according to claim 12 and by the footwear according to claim 17. Preferred features of the present invention are present in the dependent claims thereof.
In the present context, the term “footwear” should be construed in its broadest meaning, encompassing any kind of shoe, sandal, slipper, boot, ankle-boot, etc., both daytime and night time, for household use and of a sports type.
The present invention provides several relevant advantages. The main advantage lies in allowing an adjustment of the footwear such as to easily adapt to different foot fits, without requiring the making of shoes to measure.
A further advantage relates to the fact that the adjustment provided by the device according to the present invention may easily be utilized in any type of footwear, therefore enabling anyhow to keep footwear manufacturing costs reasonable.
Other advantages, features and the operation modes of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description of some embodiments thereof, given by way of a non-limiting example. Reference will be made to the figures of the annexed drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 shows a partially sectional side view of a footwear according to a first embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 shows another partially sectional side view of the footwear of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of some components of the footwear of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 shows a partially sectional top plan view of the footwear of FIG. 1, in which for clarity's sake some components have been eliminated;
FIG. 5 shows another partially sectional top plan view of the footwear of FIG. 1, in which for clarity's sake some components have been eliminated;
FIG. 6 shows a sectional view of the footwear of FIG. 1, taken along plane VI-VI of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 7 and 8 show each a bottom plan view of the heel of the footwear of FIG. 1, in an open and closed configuration, respectively;
FIG. 9 shows a sectional view of the footwear of FIG. 1, taken along plane IX-IX of FIG. 7;
FIG. 10 shows a partially sectional rear perspective view of a detail of the footwear of FIG. 1;
FIG. 11 shows another partially sectional rear perspective view of a detail of the footwear of FIG. 1;
FIG. 12 shows an exploded view of a footwear according to a second embodiment of the invention, in which for clarity's sake some components have been eliminated;
FIG. 13 shows a top perspective view of the footwear of FIG. 12, in which for clarity's sake some components have been eliminated;
FIG. 14 shows another top plan view of the footwear of FIG. 12, in which for clarity's sake some components have been eliminated;
FIG. 15 shows an enlarged detail of the footwear of FIG. 14;
FIG. 16 shows a sectional view of the footwear of FIG. 12, taken along plane A-A of FIG. 14;
FIG. 17 shows a sectional view of the footwear of FIG. 12, taken along plane A-A of FIG. 15;
FIG. 18 shows a sectional view of the footwear of FIG. 12, analogous to the view of FIG. 14 and related to a different configuration thereof;
FIG. 19 shows a top plan view of the footwear of FIG. 12, analogous to the view, of FIG. 16 and related to a different configuration thereof;
FIG. 20 shows a partially sectional side view of the footwear of FIG. 12; and
FIG. 21 shows another partially sectional side view of the footwear of FIG. 12 analogous to the view of FIG. 20 and related to a different configuration thereof.
In the following exemplary embodiments, individual features, reported in connection with specific examples, could actually be interchanged with other different features, existing in other embodiments.
Initially referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a footwear according to a first embodiment of the invention is generally denoted by 1.
As it will be detailed hereinafter, the footwear 1 has an adjustable fit, its dimensions being adjustable both in length and in width and, more in general, allowing a varying of the shape properties of the footwear such as to enable the latter to adapt to the foot.
The footwear 1 comprises a vamp 3 and a sole 4. For greater clarity, the usual longitudinal direction of the footwear 1 has been identified by an axis A depicted in FIG. 4.
The sole 4 is connected to an insole, generally denoted by 2 and further detailed in FIGS. 3 and 4.
Referring to the latter two figures, the insole 2 consists of a top layer 5 and a bottom layer 6, both basically reproducing the contour of the sole of the foot and made, e.g., of flexible plastics.
The top and bottom layers 5 and 6 are interconnected, at a central region thereof, by a shaped spacing element or spacer 9 longitudinally arranged with respect thereto. The top layer 5 and the bottom layer 6 are fixed to the spacer 9, e.g. by gluing.
The spacer 9 has a basically laminated configuration and comprises a front zone 10 partially following the configuration of the peripheral edge 7 of the top 5 and bottom 6 layers in the zone underlying, in use, the wearer's toes. The spacer 9 further comprises a rear zone 11, partially following the configuration of the external peripheral edge 7 of the top 5 and bottom 6 layers in the zone underlying, in use, the wearer's foot heel. The front zone 10 and the rear zone 11 are mutually interconnected by a central zone 12, advantageously having, in a plan, a width shorter than that of the top 5 and bottom 6 layer, so as to define respective seats 170 at the lateral section 13, internal to the foot, and at the lateral section 14, external to the foot.
It is also evident that the seats 170 could be made according to different embodiments. E.g., the insole could be made entirely by molding, so as to define said layers and seats directly by making suitable moulds.
Moreover, as another alternative, in the making of the insole there could be used a first central portion of flexible material, e.g. leather, and a second peripheral portion of plastics material or, in general, stronger with respect to the preceding portion, in which the seat 170 is defined. In addition, the peripheral portion has an array of notches increasing its flexibility. Thus, the peripheral portion could initially be made of a rectilinear shape, and then folded so as to be located along the periphery of the central portion.
This latter embodiment proves particularly advantageous as the peripheral portion, requiring greater complexity in the processing thereof, may be made in a single format and then used on central portions of different dimensions that vice versa, being in leather, are easy to make.
Always referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, in the front zone 10 it is advantageously obtained, at the peripheral edge thereof, a second seat 15, having in a plan an arched contour following the configuration of the adjoining external peripheral edge 7. Advantageously, as illustrated in the annexed figures, the second seat 15 may be defined by a first groove obtained onto the top surface of the front zone 10. Alternatively, the second seat 15 may be constituted by at least one first (through) hole, not shown in the annexed figures.
In the rear zone 11 of the spacer 9 there are two third seats 16, obtained according to mutually parallel and longitudinal axes, advantageously placed at opposite sides with respect to the central zone 12. Advantageously, as illustrated in the annexed figures, the third seats 16 may be respectively defined by two second grooves obtained onto the top surface of the rear zone 11. Alternatively, the third seats 16 may be constituted by two second (through) holes, not depicted in the annexed figures, obtained longitudinally to the rear zone 11.
As mentioned above, the layers 5 and 6 are mutually facing and kept spaced therebetween by the central zone 12. In general, such spacing concerns at least one length or section of the peripheral edge 7 of the layers 5 and 6, so as to slidably house, inside the seat 170, a plurality of movable support elements 8, apt to supportingly receive the sole of the foot. These latter elements are just arranged in a sequence along said peripheral edge 7 of the insole 2, between the front zone 10 and the rear zone 11 of the spacer 9.
Advantageously, the support elements 8 have, in a plan, a basically rectangular configuration, with the sides shaped so as to follow the configuration of the adjoining peripheral edge 7 of the top 5 and bottom 6 layers, and the corners rounded off to facilitate the mutual shifting of the support elements 8, and of the latter with respect to the front 10 and rear 11 zones of the spacer 9, in the plane determined by the bottom 6 and top 5 layers.
Advantageously, longitudinally to said support elements 8 it is obtained a third seat 17, concerning the same along the entire length thereof.
Such a third seat 17 may, as in the instance depicted in the figures, be obtained at the top surface of the support elements 8, or the same may, e.g., be constituted by a through hole, not depicted in the figures, obtained longitudinally and internally to the support elements 8.
The support elements 8 are mutually interconnected by a pulling element 18, which in the present embodiment is constituted by a rope, made e.g. of metal, inserted and fixed, e.g. by gluing or pressure, in the third seats 17 of the support elements 8 and in the first seat 15 of the front zone 10 of the spacer 9. The two longitudinal ends of the rope 18 are slidably associated to the second seats 16 present in the rear zone 11 of the spacer 9, and are connected to adjustment means for adjusting the degree of tensioning of the rope 18 itself. In the present embodiment such adjustment means consists of adjustment screws 19 fixed to the ends of the rope 18 at their own threaded shank and that can be screwed in female-threaded cavities 20, obtained, e.g., in the rear zone 11 of the spacer 9, the latter shown schematically in FIG. 5.
As it will be better understood hereinafter, by adjusting the degree of tensioning of the pulling element 18 it is possible to peripherally (radially) let out or retract inside, of a desired length, the support elements 8 with respect to the top 5 and bottom 6 layers.
As it is shown in FIG. 6, the vamp 3 is at least partially fixed at its own bottom peripheral edge, below one or more of the support elements 8.
As it is shown also in FIGS. 10 and 11, the vamp 3 is constituted by a front portion 21 and a rear portion 22, mutually connected via elastic means 27 that will be detailed hereinafter.
The front portion 21 covers, in use, the foot section from the toes to about the wearer's instep. At its bottom peripheral edge the front portion 21 is fixed, e.g. by gluing or sewing, to the bottom surface of the support elements 8, and moreover it is fixed to the front zone 10 of the spacer 9.
The front portion 21 of the vamp 3 extends oppositely with respect to the front zone 10 of the spacer 9, with two basically parallel arms 26, cooperating with the rear portion 22 of the vamp 3 by said elastic means 27.
The rear portion 22 of the vamp 3 covers, in use, the wearer's heel and ankle and is integrally associated to the heel 23, the latter in turn slidably constrained to the insole 2, as it will be detailed hereinafter.
Advantageously, the rear portion 22 is constituted by a lamina 24, typically made of leather or fabric, folded on itself basically in a “U” shape to define a housing 25. Of course, such a folded lamina has, in a plan, a contour going along the external peripheral edge 7 of the top 5 and bottom 6 sections in the region overhanging, in use, the wearer's heel.
The arms 26 of the front portion 21 of the vamp 3 are slidably received in the housing 25 and are mutually interconnected by said elastic means 27, arranged at the heel and constituted, in the present embodiment, by an elastic strap slidably received in the housing 25 and fixed at the ends of said arms 26.
The elastic deformability of the strap 27 and the hereto-described arrangement enable the arms 26 to protrude, of a desired length, from the housing 25, yet always keeping the front portion 21 and the rear portion 22 of the vamp 3 mutually constrained.
The rear portion 22 of the vamp 3 is fixed to the heel 23, e.g. by sewing or gluing its bottom peripheral edge to the side surface 28 of the latter.
The rear portion 22 of the vamp 3 has two through openings 35, obtained thereon at the adjustment screws 19 to allow the wearer's access to said screws and therefore the adjustment of the degree of tensioning of the rope 18.
The heel 23 is slidably constrained to the bottom layer 6 of the insole 2 by connecting means depicted, e.g., in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9. Such connecting means comprises, in the present embodiment, a block-shaped element 29, having, in a cross section, a basically trapezoidal or dovetail configuration and fixed, by known means like, e.g., screws or gluing, to the same bottom layer 6. The block 29 is slidable in a cavity 30, obtained in the heel 23 and partially countershaped to said block 32 so as to keep the heel 23 partially constrained thereto. Of course, variant embodiments could provide a different kind of shape coupling between heel and insole-connecting element.
Moreover, there are provided adjustment means for adjusting the relative position of the heel 23 and of the insole 2, which may be constituted, as in the embodiment illustrated in the figures, by a shape coupling between a first rack 31, fixed to the bottom surface of the block 29, and a second rack 32, engageable to the first one and fixed to the internal surface 33 of an openable portion 34 of the bottom of the heel 23.
Said openable portion 34 is hinged to a stationary portion 36 of the heel 23, and the openable portion 34 serves as lid for the cavity 30, known means being provided for its snap-fastening to close up said cavity 30.
Then, the sole 4 is fixed, e.g. by gluing or sewing, to the bottom layer 6 of the insole 2, in the region of the latter not concerned by the heel 23.
Hereinafter, the operation of the footwear 1 will be illustrated with reference to the figures introduced hereto.
First of all, the slidable arrangement of the heel 23 with respect to the insole 2 allows an adjustment of the length of the footwear 1, i.e. of its size. In particular, by opening the openable portion 34 of the heel 23, it is removed the engagement between the first rack 31 and the second rack 32, and therefore it is possible to slide the heel 23 and the second portion 22 of the vamp 3 integral thereto, with respect to the insole 2, hence positioning such a second portion 22 at a desired distance from the first portion 21. Upon reaching the desired position, the openable portion 34 is closed up so as to engage again the first and the second rack 31 and 32, thereby attaining the blocking of the rear portion 22 with respect to the front portion 21 of the vamp and yielding a footwear 1 of desired length.
Moreover, it is possible to attain an adjustment of the fit or of the lateral rigidity of the footwear 1 by acting onto the related means implemented by the support elements 8 and the components associated thereto. In particular, by acting on the adjustment screws 19 it is possible to adjust the degree of tensioning of the rope 18, thereby increasing or decreasing the mobility of the support elements 8 and enabling the same to protrude peripherally, of a desired length, from the insole 2. By inserting the foot in the vamp 3, the former exerts a pressure on the latter, which therefore is deformed dragging toward the outside of the insole 2 one or more of the support elements 8 to which the same is fixed; thus, the vamp 3 and the insole 2 adapt to the shape and the dimensions of the wearer's foot, increasing the comfort of fit of the latter.
Hence, it will be appreciated that the footwear of the invention, thanks to the fixing of part of the vamp to the support elements, optimally adjusts to the shape of the wearer's foot, being wearable also by persons having anomalous foot shapes, which would usually require the making of shoes to measure.
In addition, it will be appreciated that said adjustments of the length and of the fit/rigidness are completely independent and therefore implementable also separately the one from the other.
The described footwear allows to adjust its dimensions in length as well as in width, and therefore generally to adjust the fit, thereby encompassing a plurality of the usual sizes of the known footwear.
The production costs of the footwear of the invention remain moderate, it being made solely from components of easy production and/or assembling.
It will be appreciated that the present invention is optimally suitable also for making sports shoes, requiring different rigidities for actual sports practice and daily use, respectively. In that case, the option of adjusting the footwear fit provides an optimal option of attaining different rigidities.
It will be understood that the present invention is susceptible of several embodiments alternative to the one described hereto, some of which are briefly described hereinafter with reference to the sole aspects differentiating them from the first embodiment considered hereto.
According to a variant, it is possible to make a footwear in which to the insole it is associated not a vamp, but one or more straps and/or ribbons and/or ropes fixed with their ends below the support elements of the insole, at the lateral section internal to the foot, and at the lateral section external to the foot, respectively. Such straps and/or ribbons and/or ropes are intended to at least partially wrap, in use, the wearer's foot, constraining it to the insole and thereby allowing to make, e.g., a slipper or a sandal whose dimensions may continually be varied by the wearer in order to optimally adapt it to the shape of his/her foot.
Moreover, as already mentioned above, the footwear may advantageously be employed for making sports footwear, like, e.g., ski or snowboard boots, soccer, biking, climbing, skating shoes, etc.
Of course, the materials employed as well as the dimensions constituting the individual components of the footwear could be selected according to specific needs.
A further embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 12 to 21. Such a further embodiment will hereinafter be described with reference to the sole aspects differentiating it from the embodiments and variants illustrated hereto. Moreover, alike components will be denoted by the same number reference adopted hereto.
Referring to said figures, also in the present instance the footwear, generally denoted by 100, comprises an insole, here denoted by 200, constituted by a top layer 5, a bottom layer 6 and a spacer, here denoted by 90, interposed between said layers. Said spacer 90 basically reproduces the shape of the sole of the foot, with the exception of two peripheral longitudinal sections, so as to define, at the sections internal 13 and external 14 to the foot, and, referring to FIG. 13, the seats 170 in the assembly formed by top layer 5, bottom layer 6 and spacer 90. The seats 170 then continue into a further pair of seats 171, illustrated in FIG. 12, developing in the form of a groove onto the top face of the element 90 to a recess 160. Said seats 170 and 171 slidably receive a pulling element, in this instance denoted by 180, in the form of a flexible elongate element, onto which element 180 there are slidably inserted annular or tubular support elements 80. In addition, the pulling element 180 is fixed to the insole 200, and more precisely to a spacer 90, at a front end thereof.
The longitudinal ends of the element 180 are blocked within a block 40 slidably received in a longitudinal recess 160 of the spacer 90. Such a blocking is attained by inserting said ends in holes of the block and fastening them in position by threaded pins 41, according to conventional modes.
The block 40 is operable by a screw 190 blocked at the end of its shank within the block itself and slidable within a threaded seat 161 extending between the recess 160 and the peripheral rear edge of the spacer 90.
The overall arrangement is such that the screw 190 is operable from the rear of the footwear 100, at the heel. It will be understood that by rotating the screw 190 the block 40, and therefore the pulling element 180 integral thereto, are longitudinally slid within the recess 160, i.e. with respect to the insole 200, determining the position of the pulling element 180, along with the elements 80, with respect to the seat 170, as illustrated in FIG. 14. In other words, following the longitudinal adjustment of the block 40 into the recess 160, the pulling element 180 is shifted, sliding into the seat 170, respectively inward or outward of the insole 200, thereby adjusting the lateral position of the seat 170 with respect to the latter.
It will be appreciated that in this embodiment it is possible to attain a two-fold level of adjustability of the fit or of rigidness of the footwear, making accessible, e.g. by a suitable notch obtained onto the top layer 5 of the insole 200, the block 40. In fact, in the first instance it is possible to adjust the level of initial tensioning of the element 180 by adjusting the depth of penetration and optionally of protrusion of the longitudinal ends thereof into/from the related holes into the block, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 15.
Moreover, it is possible to further adjust said tensioning by routinely acting on the screw 190.
An additional difference of this second embodiment with respect to the first one lies in the manner of blocking the front portion 21 of the vamp 3 to the pulling element. In fact, as it is shown in FIG. 16, instead of being directly fixed onto the support elements 80, said portion 21 is partially wound thereon, and in particular folded at the rear thereof and then blocked onto the bottom face of the bottom layer 6 of the insole 200, at the portion denoted by 210. Thus, the overall arrangement is such that, as it is shown in FIG. 18, according to the degree of tensioning of the element 180, the vamp is retracted to a greater or lesser extent within the seat 170. Of course, such a seat 170 will be suitably dimensioned, so as to allow the receiving of the vamp 21 in the aforesaid way, as well as a sufficient possibility of transversal motion of the element 180.
Therefore, such a feature allows an adjustment of the fit by providing a greater amount of vamp to the footwear so that, the vamp being by its own nature soft or anyhow flexible, the foot could adapt to the properties of shape of the shoe, according to the specific needs of the wearer.
In the present embodiment the footwear provides also a conventional welt 45, fixed to the sole 4, allowing to mend the seat 170 and the pulling element 180.
According to a variant embodiment, the pulling element 180 may also be not associated to support elements 80 coupled thereto. On the other hand, in this instance the support elements have the sole function of fostering the sliding of the vamp 3 during the adjustment of the fit by the motion of the pulling element, preventing the wear of the vamp 3 itself. Accordingly, the support elements 80 may alternatively be replaced by a single sheath of plastics material, not illustrated in the figure, apt to limit friction during said motion.
It will be understood that the various means for performing certain different functions should surely coexist not only in the illustrated embodiment, but could be present per se in several embodiments, even not illustrated.
The present invention has hereto been described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof. It is understood that there could be other embodiments referable to the same inventive kernel, all falling within the protective scope of the claims set forth hereinafter.