US20050217148A1 - Footwear with improved sole, improved sole and method for manufacturing - Google Patents

Footwear with improved sole, improved sole and method for manufacturing Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050217148A1
US20050217148A1 US10813104 US81310404A US2005217148A1 US 20050217148 A1 US20050217148 A1 US 20050217148A1 US 10813104 US10813104 US 10813104 US 81310404 A US81310404 A US 81310404A US 2005217148 A1 US2005217148 A1 US 2005217148A1
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Prior art keywords
pod
outsole
sole
defined
pods
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10813104
Inventor
Robert Connolly
Arman Musaji
Donald Serafini
Ross Sirek
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Elan Polo Inc
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Elan Polo Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/122Soles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/02Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the material
    • A43B13/04Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the material plastics, rubber or vulcanised fibre
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/14Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form
    • A43B13/16Pieced soles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/14Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form
    • A43B13/22Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer
    • A43B13/24Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer by use of insertions
    • A43B13/26Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer by use of insertions projecting beyond the sole surface
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/14Multilayered parts
    • B29D35/142Soles

Abstract

Footwear with an improved sole, and an improved sole and a method for manufacturing the same are provided. The improved sole includes at least one pod secured in situ to a molded outsole. Each pod includes a ground-engaging end and an upper end having an outwardly extending flange proximate thereto. In the method for manufacture of the sole, the outsole is secured to the pods in situ. The outsole and pods are formed from different materials and are secured in situ during formation of the outsole, with each pod placed in a mold cavity section and the flange being encapsulated by the moldable outsole material.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to footwear with an improved sole. In addition, the present invention relates to an improved sole and a method for making the improved sole.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Footwear typically incorporates elements designed to achieve a balance between comfort, appearance, durability, and traction properties. Slip resistance and traction are particularly important in the design of footwear. Therefore, sole components are essential to the balance of elements for a shoe.
  • Shoes are typically made from an upper with a sole system attached to the upper. The sole system includes an insole, a midsole, and an outsole.
  • Midsoles, which provide a cushioning layer between the outsole and upper, are preferably formed from materials that absorb shock while providing stability. Such materials may often include ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), polyurethane, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or combinations thereof. While such materials exhibit good resilience and shock absorption properties, their shortcomings include poor resistance to wear.
  • Thus, footwear typically also incorporates an outsole formed from more wear resistant, resilient materials. Such materials typically include rubber, thermoplastic rubber (TPR), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or other similar materials. These materials are typically laminated, or bonded to the midsole by an adhesive. However, over time, adhesive materials begin to fail. In addition, such materials may make the manufacturing process and resulting product more costly.
  • In response to the difficulties and problems encountered in the prior art, an improved sole for an article of footwear is disclosed, which is neither taught nor suggested by the prior art.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, or may be obvious from the description set forth herein.
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide a shoe with an improved sole having slip resistance and improved traction.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved method of securement between midsole and outsole elements.
  • Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an improved sole for footwear having at least one element therein that has slip resistance, wherein the sole has enhanced integrity.
  • Still further, another object of the present invention is to provide an improved method for producing a sole for footwear having at least one element forming a part thereof with enhanced sole integrity and slip resistance.
  • Generally speaking, the present invention relates to an article of footwear having an upper and a sole with the sole including an outsole which includes at least one pod formed from a different material than the outsole. The outsole has a periphery following the general contour of a human foot, and has a forefoot portion and a heel portion connected by an arch portion. Each pod has a ground-engaging end and an upper end with the upper end having a flange extending outwardly therefrom. Each pod is secured in situ within the outsole. The outsole material encapsulates the flange and extends around the pod to form a ground-engaging surface therearound that is generally coterminus with the ground-engaging end of the pod.
  • In certain embodiments of the present invention, pods may be positioned in the forefoot portion of the outsole, the heel portion of the outsole or both portions of the outsole, with one or more pods in either portion. The pods are formed from a material suitable to afford a slip-resistant surface. The outsole is formed from different material, and one that exhibits good resilience and shock absorption properties. In addition, a flange extends around at least a portion of the perimeter of each pod and may further define one or more openings that the outsole material can fill and encapsulate.
  • Generally speaking, the present invention is directed to a method for manufacturing a sole for footwear. The method also involves providing mating mold sections defining a plurality of cavities from which the sole may be molded. Each pair of mold cavities defines at least one pod receiving section in one of the pair of cavities. At least one preformed pod is positioned into the pod receiving section of the mold cavity. The preformed pod has a ground-engaging end and an upper end with a flange extending at least partially therearound and outwardly therefrom, preferably from the upper end. The pod is positioned so that the ground-engaging end is surrounded by the pod receiving section of the mold cavity with the flange extending outwardly and above the cavity. The mold sections are joined to form a complete mold cavity, and outsole material is provided and fills the cavities, encapsulating the upper end of the pod as well as the outwardly extending flange. After curing, the mold sections are separated and the pod encapsulated outsole is removed.
  • In another exemplary embodiment, a method for manufacturing a sole for footwear is provided, at least one pod receiving section is provided in the mold cavities for a forefoot and a heel portions. Otherwise, the method is performed as set forth above.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an article of footwear according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a sole according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of a sole according to the present invention taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of a sole according to the present invention taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of alternate exemplary embodiment of a sole according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 6 shows a block diagram representation of an exemplary embodiment of the method according to the present invention for making an improved sole.
  • FIGS. 7A through 7D illustrate an exemplary embodiment of the method according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Reference now will be made to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are set forth below. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention and not as a limitation. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various additional modifications and variations can be made in this invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used on another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents. Other objects, features, and aspects of the present invention are disclosed herein or are obvious from the following detailed description.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a shoe generally 10 is illustrated having an upper 12, and a sole generally 14 secured thereto. Sole 14 includes a midsole (not shown) and an outsole 40 with a forefoot portion 42, an arch portion 45, and a heel portion 44, is secured to upper 12. Sole 14 has at least one pod and at least one of the forefoot portion 42 and heel portion 44. Upper 12 can take any shape or form according to the design characteristics of the shoe and sole 14 may be secured to upper 12 through vulcanization, stitching, or other methods known in the art.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, a preferred embodiment of a sole 14 for an article of footwear is illustrated. Sole 14 includes an outsole with forefoot pod 20 and a heel pod 22. However, multiple pods are contemplated by the present invention and, as such, the present invention should not be limited to only forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 illustrated in FIG. 2. Additional pods may vary by size, shape and location but will have the slip resistant characteristics and physical features described for forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22.
  • Forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 are surrounded by material of outsole 40. Forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 are formed from a slip resistant rubber and formed into appropriate shape and size. Although rubber is preferred, other materials exemplified, without limitation, by thermoplastic rubber (TPR) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) may be utilized to form pods 20 and 22 so long as the desired slip resistant characteristics are present. By providing a forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 formed from rubber, sole 14 of the present invention provides increased slip resistance and improved traction. Additionally, forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 may be textured as illustrated at 24 for yet further improved traction. Other texturing would be acceptable so long as it affords the desired traction.
  • Outsole 40 is located adjacent to forefoot pod 20, in arch portion 45, and adjacent to heel pod 22, and has a periphery following the general contour of a human foot. Outsole 40 has a forefoot portion 42 and a heel portion 44, and is formed by injection molding polyurethane (PU), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or other materials may be used to mold outsole 40 so long as the material affords good resilience and shock absorption properties. Outsole 40 also preferably has a structural component or web 46 that extends over the arch portion 45 and connects forefoot portion 42 and heel portion 44.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, cross-sectional views of a preferred sole according to the present invention is illustrated taken along lines 3-3 and 4-4 of FIG. 2. Forefoot pod 20 has a ground-engaging end 26 and an upper end 28. Forefoot pod 20 is positioned in the forefoot portion 42 of outsole 40. A lateral flange 30 is positioned proximate to the upper end 28 and extends outwardly from upper end 28 of forefoot pod 20. In addition, heel pod 22 also has a ground-engaging end 27 and an upper end 29. Heel pod 22 is positioned in the heel portion 44 of outsole 40 and includes lateral flange 32 extending from upper end 29 of heel pod 22. Upper ends 28, 29 of the forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 are secured in situ to the outsole 40 during molding, such that the outsole 40 encapsulates pods 20, 22 including the upper ends 28, 29 and flanges 30, 32 to provide securement between outsole 40 and pods 20, 22. Flanges 30, 32 may be located inwardly from upper end 24 and may extend only partially around the pod or be provided as separate segments around the perimeter of the pod. Additionally, flanges 30, 32, in whatever form, may define one or more openings 34 therethrough (see FIG. 5), and may be located therearound as desired or necessary. Outsole 40 thus encapsulates flanges 30, 32 and extends through openings 34, provided for additional securement or integrity of sole 14. Ground-engaging surface 48 of outsole 40 is generally coterminous with the ground-engaging ends 26, 27 of the pods 20, 22. A space 33 may be defined by the area between the ground-engaging surface 48 of outsole 40 and the ground-engaging ends 26, 27 of the pods 20, 22.
  • As stated previously, one or more pods are contemplated by the present invention. Additional pod arrangements are depicted in phantom in FIG. 5. While the depicted pod arrangements occupy the entire forefoot portion 42 and heel portion 44 of outsole 40, the pods may occupy smaller portions of either or both portions of the outsole 40.
  • Other types of protrusions from the periphery of the pod may be utilized, in lieu of a flange so long as the outsole 40 will encapsulate in situ such protrusion(s) in such a manner so as to provide adequate securement between the outsole 40 and the pod.
  • With reference to FIGS. 6 and 7A through 7D, an exemplary embodiment of a method according to the present invention will be described. However, since multiple pods are contemplated by the present invention, it should be understood that the present method is not limited only to one or both of forefoot pod 20 and heel pod 22 illustrated in FIGS. 7A through 7D. Instead, FIGS. and related discussions are exemplary only.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7A through 7D, a top mold section 50 and a bottom mold section 52 are provided and define a forefoot cavity 54 and a heel cavity 56 according to the sole to be produced. The cavities 54, 56 define pod receiving sections 58, 60. Walls 55 separate pod receiving sections 58, 60 from cavities 54, 56. The width of walls 55 determines the width of a space 33 and the height of the walls determines the depth of space 33 between the ground-engaging surface 48 of outsole 40 and the ground-engaging ends 26, 27 of the pods 20, 22.
  • While only one pair of pod receiving sections 58, 60 are shown, in some embodiments such molds will include more than two pod receiving sections. The size and shape of the mold sections 50, 52 will vary in accordance to the size and shape of the sole being produced. Pods 20, 22 are positioned in their respective pod receiving sections 58, 60 so that the ground-engaging ends 26, 27 are surrounded by the pod receiving sections 58, 60 and the flanges 30, 32 extend outward above the cavities 54, 56 preferably substantially parallel to the ground-engaging ends 26, 27 of the pods 20, 22. Top mold section 50 and bottom mold section 52 are joined to form a complete mold cavity 53. Mold cavity 53 is filled with the desired moldable material 62, preferably polyurethane, to form outsole 40 while material 62 encapsulates the upper ends 28, 29 or other desired portions of the pods as well as the flanges 30, 32 extending outwardly therefrom. In a preferred embodiment, polyurethane is injected into the mold cavity 53 in conventional fashion. After curing, the top mold section 50 and bottom mold section 52 are separated and the pod encapsulated outsole 40 is removed from the bottom mold section 52.
  • Additional securement between the pods and midsole may be desired. In some embodiments, the lateral flanges may define openings 34 which permit the material to flow through the openings 34 for further securement of outsole 40 to the pod.
  • Following outsole production, outsole 40 will be secured to an upper as desired to form the footwear. Obviously in manufacture of the footwear, additional conventional materials such as an insole, or the like, may be added to the shoe.
  • It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications and variations can be made to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention as described herein, without departing from the scope and spirit of the claims. It is intended that the invention include such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims (24)

  1. 1. An article of footwear comprising an upper and a sole, said sole comprising:
    an outsole of a first material, said outsole having a periphery following the general contour of a human foot, said outsole having a forefoot portion and a heel portion; and
    at least one pod of a second, different material located in at least one of said portions of said outsole, said pod having a ground engaging end and an upper end, said upper end having a flange proximate thereto and extending outwardly therefrom, said pod being secured in situ within said first material, encapsulating said flange to form a ground-engaging surface generally coterminous with said ground-engaging end of said pod.
  2. 2. An article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein said pod is positioned in said forefoot portion of said outsole.
  3. 3. An article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein said pod is positioned in said heel portion of said outsole.
  4. 4. An article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein said outsole is formed from polyurethane.
  5. 5. An article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein said pod is formed from rubber.
  6. 6. An article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein said flange defines a plurality of openings and said first material extends through said openings.
  7. 7. A article of footwear as defined in claim 1, wherein a plurality of pods are secured within said outsole.
  8. 8. An article of footwear as defined in claim 7, wherein said plurality of pods are located in at least one of said portions of said outsole.
  9. 9. A sole for footwear comprising:
    an outsole formed from polyurethane, said outsole having a periphery following the general contour of a human foot, said outsole having a forefoot portion and a heel portion; and
    a first pod and a second pod formed from rubber, said first pod positioned in said forefoot portion of said outsole and said second pod positioned in said heel portion of said outsole, said first and second pods having a ground-engaging end and an upper end, said upper ends having a flange proximate thereto and extending outwardly therefrom, said pods being secured in situ within said polyurethane, said polyurethane encapsulating said flanges forming a ground-engaging surface generally coterminus with said ground-engaging ends of said pods.
  10. 10. A sole as defined in claim 9, wherein said flanges define a plurality of openings therein, said polyurethane extending through said openings.
  11. 11. A sole as defined in claim 9, wherein said ground-engaging ends of said pods are textured.
  12. 12. A sole as defined in claim 9, wherein said ground-engaging surface of said pods is textured.
  13. 13. A sole as defined in claim 9, wherein a plurality of pods are provided in at least one of said portions of said outsole.
  14. 14. A sole as defined in claim 13, wherein a plurality of pods are provided in both said forefoot and said heel portions of said outsole.
  15. 15. A method for manufacturing a sole for footwear, comprising the steps of:
    providing a pair of mold sections, said mold sections collectively defining a complete cavity for said sole, one of said mold sections defining a cavity having at least one pod receiving section;
    positioning a preformed pod into at least one of said pod receiving sections of said cavity, said pod having a ground-engaging end and an upper end, said upper end having a flange proximate thereto and extending outwardly therefrom, said at least one pod positioned such that said ground-engaging end will be surrounded by said pod receiving section while said flange extends outward above said cavity;
    bringing said mold sections together to form a complete mold cavity;
    filling said mold cavity with a moldable material to form an outsole, said outsole material encapsulating said upper end of said at least one pod and said flange extending outwardly therefrom;
    curing said moldable material;
    separating said mold sections; and
    removing the pod encapsulated outsole.
  16. 16. A method as defined in claim 15, further comprising the step of positioning a plurality of preformed pods into a like number of pod receiving sections of said cavity.
  17. 17. A method as defined in claim 15, wherein said preformed pod is formed from rubber.
  18. 18. A method as defined in claim 15, wherein said outsole is formed from polyurethane.
  19. 19. A method as defined in claim 15, wherein said flange defines a plurality of openings, said openings permitting said moldable material filling said mold cavity to flow through said openings and further encapsulate said pod.
  20. 20. A method as defined in claim 18, wherein said polyurethane is injected into said mold cavity.
  21. 21. A method for manufacturing a sole for footwear, comprising the steps of:
    providing a pair of mold sections, said mold sections when united defining a forefoot cavity and a heel cavity for said sole, a lower portion of said forefoot and heel cavities each defining at least one pod receiving section;
    positioning a preformed rubber pod into corresponding pod receiving sections, said pods having ground-engaging ends and upper ends, said upper ends having flanges proximate thereto and extending outwardly therefrom, said pods positioned such that each said pod ground-engaging end is surrounded by a corresponding pod receiving section while said flanges extend outward above said respective cavities;
    bringing said mold sections together to form a complete mold cavity;
    filling said mold cavity with polyurethane to form an outsole, said polyurethane encapsulating said upper ends of said pods located therein and encapsulating said flanges;
    curing said polyurethane;
    separating said mold sections after allowing time for said polyurethane to cure; and
    removing the pod encapsulated outsole.
  22. 22. A method as defined in claim 21, wherein said flanges define a plurality of openings, said polyurethane flowing through said openings and further encapsulating said pods.
  23. 23. A method as defined in claim 21, wherein said ground-engaging ends of said pods are textured.
  24. 24. A sole for footwear comprising:
    an outsole of a first material, said outsole having a periphery following the general contour of a human foot, said outsole having a forefoot portion and a heel portion; and
    at least one pod of a second, different material located in at least one of said portions of said outsole, said pod having a ground engaging end and an upper end, said upper end having a flange proximate thereto and extending outwardly therefrom, said pod being secured in situ within said first material, encapsulating said flange to form a ground-engaging surface generally coterminous with said ground-engaging end of said pod.
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US20090249648A1 (en) * 2007-07-09 2009-10-08 Brown Ashley J Golf shoe outsole
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WO2017151388A1 (en) * 2016-03-04 2017-09-08 Nike Innovate C.V. Article of footwear with sole system having carrier member and sensory node elements
USD824150S1 (en) 2011-08-10 2018-07-31 Gavrieli Brands LLC Dual-sole shoe with color stripe and outpatch sole
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