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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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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.



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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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