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Athletic shoe with integrated aerodynamic components

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Title: Athletic shoe with integrated aerodynamic components.
Abstract: The invention provides an aerodynamic athletic shoe, more particularly an aerodynamic shoe with an integrated shoe cover and an optional aerodynamic heel element. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20110056095 - Class: 36132 (USPTO) - 03/10/11 - Class 361 
Boots, Shoes, And Leggings > Boots And Shoes >Occupational Or Athletic Shoe (e.g., Roof Climbing, Gardening, Etc.) >Athletic Shoe Or Attachment Therefor >Attachment (e.g., Weight For Shoe, Etc.)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110056095, Athletic shoe with integrated aerodynamic components.

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US 20110056095 A1 20110310 US 12875811 20100903 12 20060101 A
A
43 B 5 00 F I 20110310 US B H
20060101 A
A
43 B 3 16 L I 20110310 US B H
US 36132 36114 36 71 R ATHLETIC SHOE WITH INTEGRATED AERODYNAMIC COMPONENTS US 61240090 20090904 Torrance Tony L.
Boulder CO US
omitted US
DASHMERICA, INC. D/B/A PEARL IZUMI USA, INC. 02
Louisville CO US

The invention provides an aerodynamic athletic shoe, more particularly an aerodynamic shoe with an integrated shoe cover and an optional aerodynamic heel element.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/240,090, filed Sep. 4, 2009, entitled “Athletic Shoe with Integrated Aerodynamic Components”, which is incorporated herein by this reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a shoe, more particularly to an aerodynamic shoe with one or more integrated components and methods of making and using the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In a bicycle race and triathlon, athletes compete to finish a course or series of courses in the shortest period of time. In a triathlon, the course consists of a series of separate swimming, bicycling, and running courses. Athletes compete for fastest overall completion time, including transitions between the individual courses. Therefore, a need exists for apparel that that can be quickly donned and/or removed during transition from one course (such as, the swimming course) to another (such as, the bicycling course). A further need exists for apparel that has little aerodynamic drag.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is an aerodynamic shoe comprising a shoe having a heel aft element and a shoe cover positioned about the shoe. The shoe has a sole attached to an upper to form a toe box, medial and lateral vamp sides, medial and later quarter sides, a heel, a throat and an interior cavity. The toe box and the heel, respectively, have a toe box apex and a heel apex. The heel aft element comprises one of a man-made polymeric material, a light-weight metal, a rigid plastic, a rigid foam, a natural polymeric material, a combination thereof.

The shoe cover has first and second portions. The first portion is removably attached to the heel aft element. The second portion is one of permanently attached to the shoe or removably attached to the heel aft element or the shoe. The first portion is removably attached to the heel aft element by hook and pile systems.

The second portion is removably attached to the shoe by a hook and pile system or is permanently attached to the shoe by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining, and molding. The second portion is one of permanently or removably attached to the shoe. The second is permanently attached to the shoe at about one or more of the upper, medial vamp side, lateral vamp side, about the medial vamp side from about the heel to about the toe box, and the sole.

The heel aft element has a shape substantially resembling one of a triangular, a wedge, a pyramidal, an arcuate, or a bow shape. Preferably, the heel aft element has a shape resembling a bow shape. The heel aft element has an apex that is offset by an angle of from about −45 degrees to about 90 degrees from a line bisecting the toe box and heel apexes. Preferably, the heel apex is offset by an angle of from about −5 degrees to about 10 degrees. More preferably, the hell apex is offset by an angle of about 0 degrees.

The heel aft element is one of permanently or removably attached to the shoe. Preferably, the heel aft element is removably attachable to the shoe. The heel aft element is one of removably attached to the shoe mechanically or permanently attached to the shoe by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining, and molding.

The shoe cover comprises a stretchable and/or elastomeric material. Preferably, the stretchable and/or elastomeric material has elastomeric and/or stretch properties both within a horizontal plane defined by the textile material and to a plane vertical to the textile material. The shoe cover material is selected from the group of stretchable and/or elastomeric materials consisting of polyurethane-polyurea copolymers, polyesters, aramids, nylons, polyurethanes, spandexes, elastanes, olefins, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the shoe cover has one or both of a two-way and a four-way stretch. Preferably, the shoe cover is substantially smooth surface devoid of any surface texture. Compared to an un-stretched condition, the shoe cover may have more texture in the stretched condition or may have a similar degree of texture in the stretched and un-stretched conditions.

Another embodiment of the present invention is a method of using an aerodynamic shoe, comprising: inserting a user's foot into a shoe having a shoe closure system and a heel aft element; engaging a shoe closure device to secure the shoe to the user's foot; and positioning a shoe cover having first and second portions on a shoe, the positioning includes attaching the first portion to the heel aft element. The positioning further includes one or both of attaching the second portion about one or both the shoe and the heel aft element and applying a stress to the cover to stretch the cover over the shoe.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention is a heel aft element, comprising a leg element having an arcuate shape for marrying with a heel element of an athletic shoe and a heel aft apex extending from the leg element, and an arm element extending from the leg element, the arm element having one or engagement elements for attaching the heel aft element to a sole of the athletic shoe, one or more gaiting assist components and one or more screw receiving elements.

As used herein, the term “a” or “an entity refers to one or more of that entity. As such, the terms “a” (or “an”), one or more and “at least one” can be used interchangeably herein. It is also to be noted that the terms “including”, and “having” can be used interchangeably.

The terms “at least one”, “one or more”, and “and/or” are open-ended expressions that are both conjunctive and disjunctive in operation. For example, each of the expressions “at least one of A, B and C”, “at least one of A, B, or C”, “one or more of A, B, and C”, “one or more of A, B, or C” and “A, B, and/or C” means A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, or A, B and C together.

The preceding is a simplified summary of the invention to provide an understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is neither an extensive nor exhaustive overview of the invention and its various embodiments. As will be appreciated, other embodiments of the invention are possible utilizing, alone or in combination, one or more of the features set forth above or described in detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are incorporated into and form a part of the specification to illustrate several examples of the present invention(s). These drawings, together with the description, explain the principles of the invention(s). The drawings simply illustrate preferred and alternative examples of how the invention(s) can be made and used and are not to be construed as limiting the invention(s) to only the illustrated and described examples.

Further features and advantages will become apparent from the following, more detailed, description of the various embodiments of the invention(s), as illustrated by the drawings referenced below.

FIG. 1 depicts a top view of shoe having a heel aft element according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 depicts a bottom-side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 depicts top view of an aerodynamic shoe and a removably attachable cover according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts a back-side view of the aerodynamic shoe of FIG. 3 with removably attached cover positioned on the shoe;

FIG. 5 depicts a bottom-side view of the aerodynamic shoe of FIG. 3 with removably attached cover positioned on the shoe;

FIG. 6 depicts a side view of an aerodynamic shoe according to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the aerodynamic shoe in the yet another embodiment having a permanently attached cover with a portion of the cover removably detached from the shoe;

FIG. 7 depicts a side elevation of the aerodynamic shoe of FIG. 6 with the portion of the cover removably attached to the shoe;

FIG. 8 depicts a heel aft element according to still yet another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 9 depicts a method flow chart for using an aerodynamic shoe of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1-7 depict various embodiments an aerodynamic shoe 95. The aerodynamic shoe 95 comprises an athletic shoe 100, a shoe cover 285, an optional heel aft element 390, and at least one attachment system for attaching the shoe cover 285 to one of the optional heel aft element 390 or the athletic shoe 100. The shoe cover 285 and the optional heel aft element 390 may be permanently or removably attached to the athletic shoe 100. The aerodynamic shoe 95 may comprise one or more of: the shoe cover 285 being one or both of permanently and removably attached to the athletic shoe 100; the optional heel aft element 390 being permanently or removably attached to the athletic shoe 100; and any combination thereof. That is, the aerodynamic shoe 95 may comprise some portion of the shoe cover 285 permanently attached and some other portion of the shoe cover 285 removably attached to the athletic shoe 100. Furthermore, the attached systems for permanently and removably attaching the shoe cover 285 and the heel aft element 390, respectively, can differ.

As used herein the term “removably attached” refers to two or more elements that may be attached and detached by an attachment system without damaging the two or more elements or the attachment system. As used herein the term “permanently attached” refers to two or more elements attached by an attachment system and cannot be detached without damaging at least one of the two or more elements or the attachment system.

The one or more attachment systems may comprise any attachment system known within the art. Preferred attachment systems comprise a mechanical attachment system, a non-mechanical attachment system, or a combination thereof. Non-limiting examples of suitable mechanical attachment systems comprise rivets, buckles, joints (such as, interlocking joints), screws, stitches, hook and pile systems, or a combination thereof. Non-limiting examples of suitable non-mechanical attachment systems comprise molding, welding, bonding, adhesive joining, or a combination thereof. A non-limiting example of a combined attachment system is a combination of mechanical and adhesive joining.

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the athletic shoe 100 includes a sole 105, an upper 110, an optional tongue (not depicted) attached to the upper 110, a closure system 155, and optional cleat attachment element(s) 120. The upper 110 is attached to the sole 105 to form a toe box 130 having opposing medial 131 and lateral 133 toe box edges, a vamp 135 having opposing medial 183 and lateral 182 vamp sides, a quarter 180 having opposing medial 181 and lateral 184 quarter sides, a throat 145, a heel 290 and an interior cavity 150. The upper 110 is attached to the sole 105 and the optional tongue by one or both of a mechanical or non-mechanical attachment system, such as, but not limited to stitching, welding, forming, molding, and adhesive joining. The athletic shoe 100 may comprise any type of shoe worn in an athletic event. Preferably, the athletic shoe 100 comprises one of a bicycle shoe, a track shoe, a football shoe, a golf shoe, or a baseball shoe. More preferably, the athletic shoe 100 is a bicycle shoe.

As used herein, the term “shoe”, alone or combined grammatically with an adjective, an adverb or a gerund, refers to both left and right forms of a shoe. Furthermore, the term “shoe” refers to a shoe designed to fit one or more of a male, a female, a child, an adolescent, and an adult. The referred to shoe may be of any size and width.

The athletic shoe 100 may include a liner 160 positioned between at least a portion of the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue) and the interior cavity 150, preferably the liner 160 is positioned between at least most of, if not all of, the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue) and the interior cavity 150. The liner 160 may be attached to the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue) by stitching, welding and/or adhesive joining. Preferably, the liner 160 is a non-irritating material. As used herein the term “a non-irritating material” refers to a material that is substantially non-abrasive to a user's foot positioned within the interior cavity 150. Non-limiting examples of substantially non-abrasive liner 160 are: 1) the liner 160 substantially lacks stitching where the user's foot contacts the liner 160 under a shear-force during use; 2) the liner 160 has stitching in a location where a shear-force between the user's foot and the stitching is minimal during use; 3) the stitching is configured to expose little, if any, of the stitching to the user's foot; and 4) the stitching configuration and/or material is non-irritating.

A padding material (not depicted) may be positioned between the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue) and the liner 160. The padding material may be adhered to one or both of the liner 160 and the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue). The padding material may be adhered to the upper 110 (and/or optional tongue) by one stitching, welding and/or adhesive joining. Preferably, the padding material is located at pressure points within the interior cavity 150, such as, but not limited to points within the interior cavity 150 about one or more of the heel 290, the throat border 145 and the optional tongue.

An optional shoe insole 200 is positioned between the sole 105 and the interior cavity 150. The optional shoe insole 200 may contain at least one of a non-irritating liner material, a felt material, a polymeric material, an elastomeric material, and an insole insert.

The sole 105 preferably comprises a light-weight material having substantial rigidity. As used herein the term “substantial rigidity” refers to a material, an element, or a component that bends and/or deflects little, if any, when a force, a stress or a pressure is applied to the material, component or element. The sole 105 preferably comprises carbon fibers. The carbon fibers may be directionally aligned, preferably aligned in a unidirectional configuration. Carbon fibers are known for their strength and light-weight properties. Preferably, the sole 105 comprises polymeric laminate having unidirectional carbon fibers.

The athletic shoe 100 may be difficult to walk in due at least to the rigidity of the sole 105. As such, the shoe 100 may have one or more gaiting assist components 265. The gaiting assist components 265 may be formed as part of the sole 105 or may be attached to or partially embedded in the sole 105. Moreover, the gaiting assist components 265 may be permanently or removably attached to the sole 105. The gaiting assist components 265 are preferably attached to the sole 105 by an adhesive bond, a weld, a fusion bond, an alloyed bond, a mechanical attachment system (such as a rivet or screw) or a combination thereof.

The gaiting assist components 265 may be composed of a polymeric material, a polymeric mixture, polymeric alloy or combinations thereof. The gaiting assist components 265 are preferably located at an anterior (about the toe end of the sole) and a posterior (about the heel end of the sole) portion of the sole 105. Preferably, the gaiting assist components 265 include a substantially non-slipping and/or cushioning material that aids the user to more easily walk when wearing the athletic shoe 100.

The sole 105 may have one or more sole venting voids 260. The sole venting voids 260 extend through the sole 105 to the interior cavity 150. Any fluid, such as air, water and/or perspiration contained within the interior cavity 150 can be vented from the interior cavity 150 by the sole venting voids 260.

The sole 105 further includes the optional cleat attachment element(s) 120. The cleat attachment elements 260 may comprise any attachment element suitable for attaching a standard bicycle cleat, such as a cleat manufactured by one of the following manufacturers: SHIMANO™, CAMPANGOLO™, LOOK™, WELLGO™, PYRAMID™, TIME™, FORZA™, MAVIC™, CRANK BROTHERS™, and BEBOP™. Preferably, the cleat attachment elements 120 are configured for attaching a cleat manufactured by SHIMANO™. The cleat attachment elements 120 are situated on the sole 105 corresponding to a position at about where the ball (that is, proximal phalax or superior metatarsal) of the user's foot is positioned within the athletic shoe 100.

The upper 110 may comprise a durable material or a combination of two or more durable materials. Preferred durable materials include without limitation natural or synthetic leathers, polymeric materials, polymeric mixtures, polymeric alloys, laminates, natural or synthetic textile materials, mesh materials, or combinations thereof. Preferably, the durable material is a flexible and/or an elastic material. That is, the durable material has substantial flexibility and/or elasticity to provide tightening and/or securing of the upper 110 about the user's foot by the closure system 155. The upper 110 (including the optional tongue) may comprise a single material or two or more materials. For example, the toe box 130 may comprise one material (such as, a mesh material) and the reminder of the upper 110 may comprise another material (such as, a non-mesh material or one or more materials differing form the mesh material).

The upper 110 may contain one or more venting voids 255. Preferably, the upper venting voids 255 are positioned about one or more of the optional tongue, toe box 130, vamp 135 and quarter 180. More preferably, the one or more venting voids 225 are positioned about the vamp 135. The upper venting voids 255 provide for fluid flow out of the interior cavity 150. The fluid may comprise air, water, perspiration, or a combination thereof.

The closure system 155 may comprise any closure system known within the art. Non-limiting examples of suitable closure systems are: laces; straps (such as, without limitation, straps having one or more of a buckle, a loop, and a hook and pile system); a self-securing lashing system, for example as described in U.S. Publication No. 2010/0139057, published Jun. 10, 2010 to Soderberg et al. and U.S. Publication No. 2006/0179685, published Aug. 17, 2006 to Borel et al., each of which are incorporated in their entirety by this reference.

The athletic shoe 100 is secured to the user's foot by engaging the closure system 155. When the closure system 155 comprises straps having a hook and pile system, the athletic shoe 100 is secured to the user's foot by drawing the strap across the top of the upper 110, through a loop, back over the upper 110, before contacting the strap hook material with the strap pile material. The interlocking of the hook and pile system is at least strong enough to secure the athletic shoe 100 to the user's foot. Preferably, the strap closure system 155 includes an arch strap 245 and a toe box strap 250 and corresponding loops.

The quarter 180 may include a heel strap (not depicted). The heel strap is attached to the upper 110 about the heel 290 and the lateral 184 and medial 181 quarter sides. Furthermore, the heel strap may be attached to the sole 105. Moreover, the heel strap may be positioned to wrap about a user's heel position within the athletic shoe 100. The heel strap may comprise a material containing carbon fibers. The carbon fibers may or be aligned in a unidirectional manner. Furthermore, the heel strap may comprise a polymeric material. Preferably, the heel strap comprises both the polymeric material and the carbon fibers.

Embodiments of the aerodynamic shoe 95 comprising the optional heel aft element 390 positioned about the heel 290, are depicted in FIGS. 1-8. The heel aft element 390 may have any shape. Preferably, the heel aft element 390 has a shape resembling one of a triangular, a pyramidal, an arcuate, or a bow shape. The heel aft element 390 may comprise any lightweight material, such as, but not limited to a polymeric foam (including high and low density foams), a low-density metal or metal alloy (such as, but not limited to magnesium, aluminum, or titanium), or a polymeric material. The heel aft element 390 comprises a solid material. The solid material may: substantially lack a void; have one (such as, a hollow structure) or more (such as a honeycomb structure) internal voids; or comprise a foam having a plurality of voids.

Preferably, the heel aft element 390 has at least one shoe cover engagement element 391. The at least one shoe cover engagement element 391 may be located anywhere on the heel aft element 390 and may engage the shoe cover 285 in any manner. More preferably, the at least one shoe cover engagement element 391 has one of a hook or a pile material.

The heel aft element 390 may include one or both of gaiting assist components 265 and one or more engagement elements 395, as depicted in FIG. 8. The one or more engagement elements 395 are configured to engage the sole 105. Preferably, the heel aft element 390 is mechanically attached to the athletic shoe 100 by one or more screws, more preferably by the one or more screws and the one or more engagement elements 395. The one or more screws mechanically interconnect with one or more screw receiving elements 355 optionally contained within the heel aft element 390. More preferably, the one or more screws are positioned within the interior cavity 150 about the heel 290 and traverse the sole 105. Even more preferably, the one or more screws are substantially positioned between the optional shoe insole 200 and the heel aft element 390.

The heel aft element 390 has a heel aft apex 365. The heel aft apex 365 is positioned at an angle 400 relative to a line 410. The line 410 bisects apexes defined by respective apexes 101 and 102 of the toe box 130 and the heel 290. The angle 400 may be from about −45° to about 90°. Negative angles 400 are lateral to the line 410 and positive angles 400 are medial of line 410. Preferably, the angle 400 is from about −10° to about 45°, is from about −5° to about 10°, or is from about −5° to about 5°. More preferably, the angle 400 is about 0°.

The heel aerodynamic shoe 95 having the aft element 390 provides at least some aerodynamic advantage compared to a shoe lacking the heel aft element 390. Furthermore, the angle 400 is preferably chosen to enhance, that is, reduce the drag of the aerodynamic shoe 95 compared to a shoe lacking the heel aft element 390.

The heel aft element 390 may be permanently or removably attached to the athletic shoe 100. The heel aft element 390 may be attached to the athletic shoe 100 by any attachment method and/or process known within the art. The heel aft element 390 may be permanently attached to the other shoe 100 by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining and combinations thereof. Preferably, the heel aft element 390 is permanently attached to the upper 110 about the heel 290. The heel aft element 390 may be removably attached to the athletic shoe 100 mechanically. Preferably, one or more screws removably attach the heel aft element 390 to the athletic shoe 100.

FIG. 8 depicts a preferred embodiment of a removably attachable heel aft element 390. The removable heel aft element comprises a leg 350 and an arm 351, the arm 351 extending from one end of the leg 350. The heel aft element has a shape resembling the letter “L”. The leg 350 of the heel aft element 390 has an arcuate shape for marrying with the heel 290. The heel aft apex 365 extends from the leg 350. The arm 351 of the heel aft element 390 contains the one or more engagement elements 395, the gaiting assist components 265, and the one or more screw receiving elements 355.

The shoe cover 285 can comprise any material. The shoe cover material is preferably a light material. Suitable shoe cover 285 materials include, without limitation, natural materials (such as animal, plant or mineral materials, leathers and plant-fibers being examples), synthetic materials, or combinations thereof. The synthetic materials may be, without limitation, polyurethane-polyurea copolymers, polyesters, aramids, nylons, polyurethanes, spandexes, elastanes, olefins, ingeos, lurexes, and combinations thereof. Furthermore, the shoe cover material may comprise a material available under one of the following trade names of LYCRA™ by Invista and DARLEXX™ by Shawmut Corporation. The shoe cover material may comprise one or more of a knitted, a woven or a non-woven textile material. The textile materials may have a one-way, a two-way, and/or a four-way stretch. That is, the textile material may have elastomeric and/or stretch properties both within a horizontal plane defined by the textile material and to a plane vertical to the textile material. The textile material may be coated, uncoated, and/or laminated. The coating may have hydrophobic and/or hydrophilic properties. That is, the textile coating may have one of water replant, waterproof, or water adsorbent properties. Preferably, the coating material is a hydrophobic material. A preferred textile coating comprises a polyurethane coated material. The textile material may be coated on one or both sides of the textile material. Preferably, the textile material is coated on one side. More preferably, the shoe cover 285 material is coated on the side opposing the athletic shoe 100, that is, the preferred coated side is the side exposed to the environment.

Preferably, the shoe cover 285 is smaller than the athletic shoe 100. That is, the shoe cover 285 is stretched at least somewhat when positioned on the athletic shoe 100. Preferred shoe cover 285 materials have a relatively smooth surface prior to being stretched. Some preferred shoe cover 285 materials maintain a relatively smooth surface when stretched, while other preferred materials develop a surface texture when stretched. Preferred shoe cover materials comprise a polyurethane coated elastane or polyurethane-polyurea copolymer.

The shoe cover 285 has heel 300 and forefoot 305 cover elements. The heel 300 and forefoot 305 cover elements may comprise differing materials. The heel cover 300 element preferably includes at least one cover attachment system 322 for operatively engaging the at least one cover engagement element 391. Preferably, the at least one cover attachment system 322 and the at least one cover engagement element 391 form a removable attachment system. More preferably, the at least one cover attachment system 322 and the at least one cover engagement element 391 form a hook and pile attachment system. That is, the cover engagement element 391 comprises one of a hook or pile and the cover attachment system comprises the other of a hook and pile.

In a first embodiment of the present invention, the aerodynamic shoe 95 has at least some, but not all, of the shoe cover 285 permanently attached to at least some, but not all, of the athletic shoe 100 by the one or more attachment systems. The shoe cover 285 may be permanently attached to the athletic shoe 100 at about the upper 110 at least about one or more of: a) some of the heel 290; b) some of the medial vamp side 183; and c) some of the lateral 133 and medial 131 toe box. Furthermore, the shoe cover 285 may be permanently joined to the upper 110 about the medial vamp side 183 extending from about the throat compartment 175 to the medial the toe box 131 and terminating at about one of the lateral toe box 133 or the lateral vamp side 182. Moreover, the forefoot cover element 305 may include a throat element 370, opposing medial 311 and lateral 312 vamp elements, a toe element 310, and at least one opposing lateral 325 and medial 315 quarter elements. Preferably, the toe element 310 may be positioned between about the lateral 312 and medial 311 vamp elements and opposing the throat element 370. The toe element 310 may be permanently joined about the toe box 130. The throat element 370 may be positioned between about the lateral 312 and medial 311 vamp elements and the at least one lateral 325 and medial 315 quarter elements. The throat element 370 may include an elastic and/or stretchable throat band (not depicted). Preferably, the medial vamp element 311 is joined to the upper 110 about the medial vamp 183. The lateral vamp element 312 is preferably positioned between the lateral quarter element 325 and toe element 310. The lateral vamp element 312 preferably has one or both of an optional lateral vamp attachment element 380 and an optional lateral elastic band (not depicted). The optional lateral elastic band may be positioned about some, if not most, of the lateral quarter side 181. One of the lateral vamp attachment element 380 is configured to operatively engage and an optional shoe attachment element 383 positioned about the lateral vamp 182. The optional shoe attachment element 383 is permanently attached to the sole 105 and/or the upper 110. Preferably, the optional shoe attachment element 383 comprises one of a hook and a pile and the optional lateral vamp attachment element 380 comprises the other of a hook and a pile.

In the second embodiment of the present invention, the aerodynamic shoe 95 lacks and/or is devoid of a permanent joining of the shoe cover 285 to athletic shoe 100. In the second embodiment, the shoe cover 285 may further comprise a toe box stirrup 286, a vamp stirrup 287, and one or more optional shoe cover venting voids 283. Furthermore in the second embodiment, the at least one cover attachment system 322 comprises first 322a and second 322b cover attachment systems and the at least one cover engagement element 391 comprises first 391a and second 391b cover engagement elements. The toe stirrup 286 is joined to the toe element 310 and may be joined to some of the lateral 312 and medial 311 elements. The vamp stirrup 287 is joined to the lateral 312 and medial 311 vamp elements to form a shoe cover void 279. The optional shoe cover venting voids 283 may be positioned on one or more of the toe box element 310, the lateral vamp element 312, and the medial vamp element 311. When the shoe cover 285 is positioned on the athletic shoe, the forefoot element 305 is positioned about the toe box 130 (including the medial 131 and lateral 133 toe boxes) and the vamp 135 (including the medial 183 and lateral 182 vamps). The heel cover element 300 is positioned about the quarter 180 (including the medial 181 and lateral 184 quarters) and the heel aft element 390. The toe box stirrup 286 is configured to fit about the toe box 130. The positioning of the toe box stirrup about the toe box 130 substantially secures the forefoot element 305 about the toe box 130 and the athletic shoe 100. The vamp stirrup 287 is configured to fit about the sole 105 about the vamp 135. The shoe cover void 279 is configured to fit about the optional cleat attachment elements 120. Preferably, the optional one or more shoe cover venting voids 286 are positioned on the shoe 285 to correspond with the optional one or more upper venting voids 255.

Furthermore, the shoe cover 285 of the first and second embodiments may further comprise and an optional shoe cover arm 284. The optional shoe cover arm 284 is preferably attached to at least one of the lateral 325 and medial 315 quarter elements. The optional shoe cover arm 284 aids engaging the at least one cover attachment system 322 with the at least one cover engagement element 391.

FIG. 9 depicts a method 1000 for using the aerodynamic shoe 95 (as described herein): step 1010 includes inserting a user's foot into a shoe 100 (as described herein) having a shoe closure system 155 (as described herein) and a heel aft element 390 (as described herein); step 1015 includes engaging the shoe closure system 155 to secure the shoe to the user's foot; and step 1020 includes positioning a shoe cover 285 (as described herein) having first and second portions on the shoe 100.

The step 1010 may further include substeps of: a) providing the aerodynamic shoe 95 with the closure system 155 unengaged; b) providing the aerodynamic shoe 95 with both of an arch strap 245 (as described herein) and a toe box strap 250 (as described herein) unengaged; and c) inserting the user's foot into the aerodynamic shoe 95 by positioning the user's foot within the interior cavity 150 (as described herein). The substeps of step 1010 may further include: i) the closure system 155 comprises a hook and pile closure system and/or ii) both of the arch strap 245 and the toe box strap 250 comprise hook and pile closure systems.

The step 1015 may further include one or more substeps of: c) engaging the closure system 155; and d) engaging the arch 245 and toe box 250 straps.

The step 1020 may further include one of more of the substeps of: e) engaging the first portion of the shoe cover 285 to the heel aft element 390; and f) engaging the second portion of the shoe cover 285 with one or both of the shoe 100 and/or the heel aft element 390. The substeps of step 1020 may further include: i) engaging one of a hook or pile element of the first portion of the shoe cover 285 with the other of a hook or a pile element of the heel aft element 390; and ii) engaging one of a hook or a pile of the second portion of the shoe cover 285 with one or both of the other of a hook or a pile of element of the shoe 100 and/or the heel aft element 390.

The aerodynamic shoe 95 and the method 1000 substantially decrease the time required to put on bicycling shoes and shoe covers and the time for completing the bicycling portion of a race or triathlon or duathlon. Having the shoe and shoe cover integrated into an aerodynamic shoe substantially decreases the transition time in a triatholon/duathlon or similar event, compared to the process of putting on bicycling shoes and shoe covers separately. The decrease in transition time to don an aerodynamic shoe with integrated shoe cover of the present invention, compared to separately putting on shoes and shoe covers, can be from about 0.5 seconds to about 20 seconds. In some cases, the decrease in time can be from about 2 seconds to about 10 seconds, and in other cases the time decrease can be from about 3 seconds to about 8 seconds. In competitions where the time difference between competitors can be seconds, and in some instances, fractions of seconds, a reduction of the transition time from about 0.5 seconds to about 20 seconds is significant.

The aerodynamic shoe 95 and the method 1000 substantially decreases the time to complete the bicycling portion of a race. The decrease in the bicycling time with the aerodynamic shoe 95, compared to shoes with conventional shoe covers, can be from at least about 1 second to about 100 seconds over a distance of about 40 kilometers. In some cases the decrease in time can be from about 3 seconds to about 66 seconds, other cases the time decrease can be from about 7 seconds to about 45 seconds, and in yet other cases the time decrease can be from about 10 seconds to about 35 seconds, all over a distance of about 40 kilometers. In competitions where the time difference between competitors can be seconds, and in some instances fractions of seconds, a reduction of the bicycling transition time from about 0.5 seconds to about 20 seconds is significant.

The aerodynamic shoe having an integrated cover and/or an aft heel element substantially reduces the aerodynamic drag on the bicyclist while actively bicycling. The reduction in drag compared to a conventional bicycling shoe is believed to be about 0.2% to about 15%. In some cases, the reduction of drag is believed to be about 1% to about 10%, in other cases from about 2% to about 7%, and in yet other cases from about 3% to about 5%. This reduction in drag reduces the energy the bicyclist expends to propel the bicycle forward.

Other embodiments of the present invention include the aerodynamic shoe 95 as described above in the first and second embodiments lacking the optional aft heel element and the at least one cover engagement element 391 positioned, instead of about the aft heel element, about the heel 209.

A number of variations and modifications of the invention can be used. It would be possible to provide for some features of the invention without providing others. For example, one embodiment of the present invention is a removably attachable heel aft element 390 for an athletic shoe 100 as described herein.

The present invention, in various embodiments, configurations, or aspects, includes components, methods, processes, materials, systems and/or apparatus substantially as depicted and described herein, including various embodiments, configurations, aspects, sub-combinations, and subsets thereof. Those of skill in the art will understand how to make and use the present invention after understanding the present disclosure. The present invention, in various embodiments, configurations, and aspects, includes providing devices, materials, and processes in the absence of items and/or materials not depicted and/or described herein or in various embodiments, configurations, or aspects hereof, including in the absence of such items and/or materials as may have been used in previous devices or processes, e.g., for improving performance, achieving ease and\or reducing cost of implementation.

The foregoing discussion of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. The foregoing is not intended to limit the invention to the form or forms disclosed herein. In the foregoing Detailed Description for example, various features of the invention are grouped together in one or more embodiments, configurations, or aspects for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. The features of the embodiments, configurations, or aspects of the invention may be combined in alternate embodiments, configurations, or aspects other than those discussed above. This method of disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed invention requires more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less than all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment, configuration, or aspect. Thus, the following claims are hereby incorporated into this Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate preferred embodiment of the invention.

Moreover, though the description of the invention has included description of one or more embodiments, configurations, or aspects and certain variations and modifications, other variations, combinations, and modifications are within the scope of the invention, e.g., as may be within the skill and knowledge of those in the art, after understanding the present disclosure. It is intended to obtain rights which include alternative embodiments, configurations, or aspects to the extent permitted, including alternate, interchangeable and/or equivalent structures, functions, ranges or steps to those claimed, whether or not such alternate, interchangeable and/or equivalent structures, functions, ranges or steps are disclosed herein, and without intending to publicly dedicate any patentable subject matter.

What is claimed is: 1. An aerodynamic shoe, comprising: a shoe having a heel aft element; and a shoe cover having first and second portions, the shoe cover positioned about the shoe, wherein the first portion is removably attached to the heel aft element. 2. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the second portion is one of removably attached to one of the heel aft element of the shoe or permanently attached to the shoe. 3. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the first and second portions are removably attached to one or both of the shoe and the heel aft element. 4. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe further comprises a sole attached to an upper to form a toe box, medial and lateral vamp sides, medial and lateral quarter sides, a heel, a throat and an interior cavity, wherein some of the second portion is permanently attached to the shoe at about one or more of the upper, medial vamp side, lateral vamp side, about the medial vamp side from about the heel to about the toe box, and the sole by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining, and molding. 5. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the heel aft element is one of permanently or removably attached to the shoe. 6. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 5, wherein the heel aft element is one of removably attached to the shoe mechanically or permanently attached to the shoe by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining, and molding. 7. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises a stretchable and/or elastomeric material, wherein the cover has one or both of a two-way and a four-way stretch. 8. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the cover has elastomeric and/or stretch properties both within a horizontal plane defined by the textile material and to a plane vertical to the textile material. 9. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 7, wherein the cover material is selected from the group of stretchable and/or elastomeric materials consisting of polyurethane-polyurea copolymers, polyesters, aramids, nylons, polyurethanes, spandexes, elastanes, olefins, and combinations thereof. 10. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises an elastane, and wherein the elastane has a polyurethane coating, and wherein the polyurethane coating has a substantially smooth surface. 11. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 10, wherein the cover has a four-way stretch. 12. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the cover has more texture in a stretched condition, compared to an un-stretched condition. 13. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the second portion is removably joined by a hook and pile system to one or both of the shoe and the heel aft element. 14. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the heel aft element has a shape substantially resembling one of a triangular, a wedge, a pyramidal, an arcuate, or a bow shape. 15. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 2, wherein the heel aft element has an apex, wherein the toe box and the heel, respectively, have apexes, and wherein the heel aft element apex is offset from a line bisecting the toe box and heel apexes by an angle of from about −45 degrees to about 90 degrees. 16. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 15, wherein the angle is from about −5 degrees to about 10 degrees. 17. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 14, wherein the heel aft element is removably attached to the shoe and has a shape resembling a bow, wherein the first and second portions are removably attached to the heel aft element. 18. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 1, wherein the heel aft element comprises one of a man-made polymeric material, a light-weight metal, a rigid plastic, a rigid foam, a natural polymeric material, and a combination thereof. 19. An aerodynamic shoe, comprising: a shoe having a removable heel aft element having an apex; and a cover comprising a stretchable and/or elastomeric material, the cover has first and second portions, wherein the first portion is removably attached to the shoe about the heel aft element by a hook and pile system. 20. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 19, wherein the second portion is removably attached to the shoe by a hook and pile system. 21. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 19, wherein the second portion is permanently attached to the shoe by one or more of stitching, welding, adhesive joining, laminating, mechanical joining, and combinations thereof. 22. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 19, wherein the stretchable and/or elastomeric material has at least one of a two-way or a four-way stretch and wherein the cover has a substantially smooth surface devoid of any surface texture. 23. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 19, wherein the cover material is selected from the group of stretchable and/or elastomeric materials selected form the group of stretchable and/or elastic materials consisting of polyurethane-polyurea copolymers, polyesters, aramids, nylons, polyurethanes, spandexes, elastanes, olefins, and combinations thereof. 24. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 19, wherein the cover comprises a polyurethane coated elastane. 25. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 20, wherein the cover has a four-way stretch. 26. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 20, wherein the heel aft element has a shape resembling one of a wedge, a pyramid, a triangle, a arcuate, or a bow shape and has an apex, wherein the shoe further has a toe box and a heel, wherein the toe box and heel, respectively, have apexes, and wherein the heel aft element apex is offset from a line bisecting the toe box and heel apexes by angle of from about −45 degrees to about 90 degrees. 27. The aerodynamic shoe of claim 26, wherein the angle is about 0 degrees. 28. A method of using an aerodynamic shoe, comprising: inserting a user's foot into a shoe having a shoe closure system and a heel aft element; engaging the shoe closure system to secure the shoe to the user's foot; and positioning a cover having first and second portions on the shoe, the positioning includes attaching the first portion to the heel aft element. 29. The method of claim 28, wherein the positioning further includes attaching the second portion about one or both of the shoe and the heel aft element. 30. The method of claim 29, wherein the positioning of the shoe cover includes applying a stress to the cover to stretch the cover over the shoe. 31. A heel aft element for an athletic shoe, comprising: a leg element having an arcuate shape for marrying with a heel element of the athletic shoe and a heel aft apex extending from the leg element, and an arm element extending from the leg element, the arm element having one or engagement elements for attaching the heel aft element to a sole of the athletic shoe, one or more gaiting assist components and one or more screw receiving elements.


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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110056095 A1
Publish Date
03/10/2011
Document #
12875811
File Date
09/03/2010
USPTO Class
36132
Other USPTO Classes
36114, 36/71 R
International Class
/
Drawings
10



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