US20060096130A1 - Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus - Google Patents

Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060096130A1
US20060096130A1 US11270419 US27041905A US2006096130A1 US 20060096130 A1 US20060096130 A1 US 20060096130A1 US 11270419 US11270419 US 11270419 US 27041905 A US27041905 A US 27041905A US 2006096130 A1 US2006096130 A1 US 2006096130A1
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sole
ski boot
ski
traction aid
tread
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Abandoned
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US11270419
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Frederick May
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May Frederick R
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B5/00Footwear for sporting purposes
    • A43B5/04Ski boots; Similar boots
    • A43B5/0415Accessories
    • A43B5/0417Accessories for soles or associated with soles of ski boots; for ski bindings
    • A43B5/0419Accessories for soles or associated with soles of ski boots; for ski bindings for walking aids

Abstract

A flexible, rollable sole having a thin elastic or rubber cord attached thereto in parallel to and at a distance from the sole edge, the elastic cord fits around the ski boot at the junction of the sole and upper, the elastic cord extends around the boot at the level of the sole. The attachment may comprise a plurality of extensions of the plastic or rubber cord. In embodiments pair of soles sufficient to completely cover the toe and heel of the boot have a short gap therebetween. In embodiments a thin elastic hand holds a fabric upper body in place. Large loops allow a user to easily manipulated the device wearing ski gloves, a band, fastener or hook may be used to hold the device to its companion device or in the rolled up position or around the boot shaft while the user is skiing.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This invention claims the priority and benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/626,355 filed Nov. 9th, 2004 in the name of the same inventor, Frederick Robert May, and entitled “SLIP RESISTANT SKI BOOT PROTECTION SYSTEM”.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates generally to ski boots, and specifically to ski boot protectors and traction aids.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH
  • This invention was not made under contract with an agency of the US Government, nor by any agency of the US Government.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Ski boots are specialized boots which serve several functions. They are intended to retain the warmth of the user's foot in cold conditions. Famously, they move the site of any broken leg up the shin bone and away from the ankle, thus providing an easier medical fix in the event of a broken leg.
  • On a more mundane level, ski boots are designed, dimensioned and configured to physically cooperate with a ski binding so as to lock the boot and the ski together firmly, thus allowing the user to control the ski with confidence and precision. The fittings, projections and indentations on the ski boot sole exactly match (in a complementary match) the fittings, projections and apertures on the ski binding, indeed, the size and shape of the planform or outline of the boot sole is crucial to this physical engagement to the ski binding. The planform of a ski boot sole is a squared off rectangle very different from practically any other type of footwear. The sole has a specific shape and size in addition to having various devices thereon, and the primary purpose of these devices and the shape of the sole is simply to provide a secure and strong engagement to the ski. As a result, a ski boot in outline and planform resembles no other footwear. The sole may project at front and/or back, the sole may be a considerably narrower shape than the uppers of the boot above it and so on.
  • Walking on ski boots is initially disconcerting, but most users pick up the trick quickly. After that, a pair of new problems with walking on ski boots quickly emerges. The first is lack of traction. The ski boot is not shaped for walking with good traction, rather it is shaped to fit to a ski binding. Unlike most footwear, it is even possible to lose traction and have a foot slip sideways. Front and back slips occur frequently too, especially considering that most ski boot walking occurs on the icy surface between the parking lot and popular ski runs or on the tile floors many “bottom of the ski run” businesses provide for their customers. This problem tends to yield to practice on the part of the user, which only exacerbates the other problem: damage and wear on the ski boot soles.
  • The devices on the ski boot sole are not intended for walking, they are precisely designed for physical engagement to ski bindings. The devices (generally “projections, indentations and fittings” in this application) are easily damaged or worn by being used as traction devices or treads by walking users. Even short walks can damage the devices enough to cause problems or even safety issues, since the fit of sole to binding is very precise in some regards. Most ski boot soles are quite strong materials which the maker may hope will minimize such issues.
  • One known solution to the traction issue is the family of hard plastic snap on devices which have numerous cleats on one side and on the other side fit either the toe or heel of the ski boot. This solves traction problems and even provides a degree of protection at ski boot toes/heels. However, the mid-section of the sole remains largely exposed to the hazards of ice, rocks, debris, door sills and the like. A problem with such rigid devices is that they are also somewhat difficult to handle and store when not in use, being essentially squares of hard plastic with cleats on them.
  • Two other problems occur with the hard plastic snap on devices. The first such problem is that the devices tend to stretch over time. As a result of stretching, they eventually begin to fall off. While walking, the normal skier simply has very little ability to see such devices at all, as they attach to the bottom of the ski boots. In addition, the typical walker in ski boots concentrates on skis, poles, packs, lift tickets and similar encumbrances. Thus, the absence of the traction device may go un-noticed. The second problem with such devices is that makers tend to compensate for the stretching problem by making the tolerances of the devices as tight as possible, thus making the devices extremely hard to get on or even off when they are new. A fully encumbered skier must then fight with a device securely attached to the bottom of the ski boot when new, or stretched and absent when old.
  • In the unrelated field of more mundane footwear, a different problem has led to a different structure for solution. Dress shoes may be equipped with a rubber “partial galoshes” which comprise a unitary rubber tread and minimal upper of one or two inches tall (2.5-5 cm tall). Being a single unit of rubber makes such devices water proof, allowing wearers of dress shoes to chance muddy city streets with a bit less trepidation. Such devices cannot fit onto a ski boot, being dimensioned and configured to fit upon a normal dress shoe.
  • US Design Pat. No. 394740, to Poust on Jun. 2, 1998, and US Design Pat. No. 377710 dated Feb. 4, 1997, teach an overshoe type device having numerous holes therethrough. They do not appear to teach structures relating to ski boots.
  • US Design Pat. No. 340123, dated Oct. 12, 1993 to Howey, Jr., teaches a hard device of ribs with hinged clips to secure it to footgear.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,154,982, dated Dec. 5, 2000 and in the name of Bell et al, teaches another device of numerous holes through a rubber or plastic body.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,044,578, granted Apr. 4, 2000 to Ketz teaches a device having a heel portion, a toe portion and straps to hold it together and onto footwear.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,334, issued Sep. 14, 1999 to Gerhardt teaches a toe trap and a hook and loop strap across the ankle to hold it to footwear.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,909,945, Jun. 8, 1999 to Noy teaches a network of metal encrusted bands across the bottom of footwear, having no true sole.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,727,339, issued Mar. 17, 1998 to inventor Owen teaches a device having a set of strap arrangements for use around the angle of a ski boot.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,661,915, issued Sep. 2, 1997 in the name of Smith teaches a shoe, perhaps an athletic shoe, having a removable spike plate.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,578, in the name of Voight and issued Feb. 23, 1993, shows a plate which is clamped on with a screw or other arrangement at the toe.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,142,798, dated Sep. 1, 1992 and issued in the name Kaufman et al teaches a multi-part high upper assembly which has significant straps for support.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,910,883, dated Mar. 27, 1990 to Zock, Jr, teaches a metal frame with aggressive sets of spikes thereon.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,843,672, granted Jul. 4, 1989 to Fasse teaches an oversole and carrier combination which is stiff and quite bulky.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,811,504, granted Mar. 14, 1989 to Bunke, teaches another stiff plate, with fore and aft holding devices.
  • It would be preferable to provide a device capable of protecting the entirety of a ski boot sole and providing a substantial tread for increased traction, rather than a partial protection or network of traction devices.
  • It would further be preferable to provide a device which a user with cold fingers encased in bulky ski gloves could easily put on, take off and store when not in use.
  • It would further be preferable to provide a device which is easy to use due to a lack of complex or mechanical attachments to a boot.
  • It would further be preferable to provide a device which the user can easily see on their boot when in use, and which is less susceptible to falling off un-noticed.
  • It would be very much preferable to provide a device which could be quickly and easily manufactured at low cost.
  • It would be very much preferable to provide a device which could be quickly and easily manufactured by injection molding.
  • It would further be very much preferable to provide a device which could be stored by means of being rolled up, or secured around the ankle of a boot when NOT in use, put into a pocket without danger to the fabric of the pocket or the like.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • General Summary
  • A ski boot protector fits on the sole of a ski boot due to being dimensioned and configured to wrap around the sole of the ski boot. An elastic or rubber rim holds a fabric body in place, a flexible tread provides protection for the ski boot sole from the ground, snow or ice walked on while being flexible enough to allow the device to roll up for easy storage in a pocket when not being worn. Large loops are dimensioned and configured to allow a user to easily manipulated the device wearing ski gloves, a hook or a hook-and-loop fabric band may be used to hold the device to its companion device or to hold it in the rolled up position.
  • The hook device or hook-and-loop fabric band may also be used to store the device around the boot shaft while the user is skiing and thus not using the device.
  • The device may also have a flexible, rollable sole having a thin elastic or rubber cord attached thereto in parallel to the edge of the sole but attached at a distance from the sole, so that the elastic cord may fit around the ski boot at the junction of the sole and upper, the elastic cord of a size sufficient to extend around the boot at the level of the sole but small enough to exert a physical engagement to that it may not easily slip back over the sole. The attachment may comprise a plurality of extensions of the plastic or rubber cord. An elastic cord for purposes of this application is one that is a combination of rubber cord and fabric or is simply a fabric which itself is stretchable like rubber.
  • In the presently preferred embodiment and best mode now contemplated, the device may also have a pair of soles sufficient to completely or partially cover the ground contacting portions of a ski boot sole (toe and heel), and with a rising upper at the toe and heel to surround the vertical thickness of the ski boot toe and heel, with a short gap between the heel sole and toe sole, so as to further increase flexibility and allow even easier rolling and storage.
  • Embodiments of the device may be made by injection molding.
  • Summary in Reference to Claims
  • It is therefore a first aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and thus having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front end and rear end of the boot, the traction aid comprising:
      • a stretchable body dimensioned and configured to exceed the size of such ski boot sole at at least one end of the boot;
      • a stretchable rim of the body, the elastic strong enough to hold the stretchable body securely to such ski boot sole when the elastic is placed around such sole at the junction of such upper and such sole;
      • a large loop attached to the traction aid, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves;
      • a tread attached to one side of the stretchable body, the tread being a material flexible enough to roll up when not in use.
  • It is therefore a second aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front and rear of the boot, the soles having a thickness and a circumference, the traction aid comprising:
      • a first tread made of a material flexible enough to roll up, the first tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge;
      • a second tread made of a material flexible enough to roll up, the second tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge;
      • a plurality of attachments each having a first end secured to the first tread and each having a second end secured to the second tread;
      • a first stretchable body attached securely to the first tread, a second stretchable body attached securely to the first tread, the first and second stretchable bodies each having a stretched length, the stretched lengths at least approximately equal to such thickness of such ski boot sole.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the first tread further comprises:
      • a bottom surface having traction increasing apparatus thereon.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the traction increasing apparatus further comprises: a plurality of irregularities.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid further comprising:
      • a large loop attached to the traction aid at a first location, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid further comprising:
      • a fastener attached to the traction aid at one member selected from the group consisting of: at the loop attached to the traction aid at the first location, at a second location distal the first location;
      • the fastener dimensioned and configured to engage a distal location of the traction aid when the traction aid is rolled up.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the stretchable bodies further comprise:
      • elastic.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the stretchable bodies further comprise:
      • rubber.
  • It is therefore yet another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and thus having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front and rear of the boot, the soles having a thickness and a circumference, the traction aid comprising:
      • a first tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge; and
      • a network of stretchable material securely attached to the first tread at a middle portion of the network, the network having a stretchable perimeter extending beyond the first tread by a distance at least approximately equal to such thickness of such ski boot soles, the perimeter having a stretched circumference at least approximately equal to such circumference of such ski boot sole.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid further comprising:
      • a second tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge; the second tread securely attached to the network at a middle portion of the network.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid further comprising:
      • a large loop attached to the traction aid at a first location, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid further comprising:
      • a fastener attached to the traction aid at a second location distal the first location, the faster dimensioned and configured to engage such large loop when the traction aid is rolled up.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the network further comprises:
      • rubber.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the network further comprises:
      • elastic.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the lower surface further comprises:
      • a plurality of crescent shaped elevations.
  • It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a ski boot traction aid wherein the network, first tread and second tread further comprise:
      • a single unibody.
    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of a ski boot having a first embodiment of the invention thereon in the use position.
  • FIG. 2 is a left side view of a ski boot having the first embodiment of the invention thereon in the storage position.
  • FIG. 3 is a right side view of a ski boot having the first embodiment of the invention thereon in the storage position.
  • FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the invention's first embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 is a rear view of the first embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 is a front view of the first embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is an elevational side view of a second embodiment of the invention having no fabric upper body.
  • FIG. 8 is an elevational side view of a third embodiment of the invention having a split sole for easier handling.
  • FIG. 9 is a declivational side view of a sole of an alternative embodiment of the invention showing.
  • FIG. 10 is a planform top view of a fourth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of a fifth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 12 is a side view of a sixth embodiment of the invention having divided fabric uppers and divided soles.
  • FIG. 13 is a bottom view of a seventh embodiment of the invention having half moon shaped traction bumps.
  • FIG. 14 is a top view of an eighth embodiment of the invention having a single unibody construction.
  • INDEX TO REFERENCE NUMERALS
    • Elastic rim of upper 1
    • Loop 2
    • Fabric/rubber body 3
    • Invention sole 4
    • Strap 5
    • Ski boot 6
    • Traction aid 100
    • Sole 102
    • Heel end 102 a
    • Toe end 102 b
    • Flexible, extensible cord 104
    • Flexible, extensible attachment 106
    • Traction aid/ski boot protector 200
    • Heel sole 202 a
    • Toe sole 202 b
    • Cord 204
    • Attachment 206
    • Gap 210
    • Traction aid/ski boot protector 300
    • Heel sole 302 a
    • Toe sole 302 b
    • Anchor 304
    • Network/anchor extension on sole 360
    • Network/anchor extension to sole 362
    • Tab 364
    • Loop 366
    • Heel sole 402 a
    • Anchor 404
    • Sole traction devices 434
    • Network/anchor extension to sole 462
    • Loop 466
    • Fastener 468
    • Hook 470
    • Traction aid/boot protector 500
    • Toe sole 502 a
    • Heel sole 502 b
    • Gap 510
    • Toe upper (fabric or rubber) 580 a
    • Heel upper (fabric or rubber) 580 b
    • Stretchable, flexible connector 582 a, 582 b
    • Upper gap 584
    • Toe end hand loop 566 a
    • Heel end hand loop 566 b
    • Sole 902
    • Bottom surface 930
    • Bump/irregularity 934
    • Sole half 1302
    • Gap 1304
    • Stretchable, flexible connector 1306
    • Half moon traction bump 1308
    • Traction aid/boot protector 1400
    • Hooked fastener 1468
    • Unibody loop 1498
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIGS. 1 through 6 depict the first embodiment of the invention, having a single flexible sole, short fabric uppers and an elastic (and/or rubber) rim which holds the protruding edges of a ski boot sole and thus keeps the device in place during use.
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of a ski boot having the first embodiment of the invention thereon in the use position. The body 3 of the device comprises an upper having an elastic rim 1. Elastic rim 1 (the edge or periphery of the device) has in the preferred embodiment and best mode now contemplated an elastic band or strap is attached to the rim of the body and secured thereto along a portion of or the complete length of the periphery/rim. Body 3 may itself have a degree of elasticity, however in the embodiment shown, a tough fabric such as CORDORA brand fabric, RIP-STOP brand fabric or the like is used. Other fabrics, natural or artificial, may be used. Elastics used may be rubber cored fabrics, elastic fabrics, completely rubber, rubber/fabric combinations and so on, all of which fall within the definition of the term elastic as used herein. In preferred embodiments, the device may be manufactured as a unibody by means of injection molding, other molding, extrusion or the like.
  • Loop 2 is securely attached to the device either at rim 1 or body 2 or sole 4. Loop 2 is dimensioned and configured to allow easy manipulation by a user wearing bulky ski gloves. In particular, loop 2 is large enough to allow easy gripping. Loop 2 may in alternative embodiments be a thin rope, twine, may also be elasticized (for example as an elastic cord or rubber cord), a fabric strap or combinations thereof. Loop 2 serves additional functions as discussed below in relation to FIGS. 2 and 3.
  • Sole 4 is in the preferred embodiment a rubber or rubber related compound thick enough to both provide substantial shock absorption to the ski boot sole it protects and also thick enough to take a substantial tread for improved traction by the wearer. Sole 4 in the preferred embodiment covers a substantial portion of the surface of body 3 (corresponding to over 80% of the surface area of the bottom of the ski boot), but in alternative embodiments it may be smaller (thus reducing weight and size and making storage easier when not in use) or it may be larger (extending to the portions of the body 3 which correspond to the “uppers” of the device), thus providing protection to the sides of the ski boot sole as well as the bottom.
  • FIG. 2 is a left side view of a ski boot having the invention thereon in the storage position. FIG. 3 is a right side view of a ski boot having the invention thereon in the storage position.
  • The nature of a ski boot sole may be seen in these diagrams, which show that the sole is quite thick, far thicker than the soles of ordinary footwear, and the ski boot sole may well extend (as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3) beyond the front or back of the ski boot. The sole may extend beyond the sides of the boot as well, but it frequently is much narrower than the boot, forcing the user to walk on a long and narrow surface.
  • Ski boot 6 has an ankle portion extending upwards from the “foot” or “uppers”. This ankle portion may be used to store the device of the present invention. In particular, the device has strap 5 attached securely to body 3, rim 1 or sole 4. Strap 5 may have thereon a hook-and-loop style of fabric such as VELCRO (TM) brand hook-and-loop fabric, so that strap 5 may attach to a patch of the complementary (loop or hook) type fabric also securely attached to strap 5 itself, or in alternative embodiments to body 3, rim 1 or sole 4, or in addition on loop 2. In use, loop 2 and strap 5 are engaged by passing one through the other. Strap 5 is then attached to the patch of complementary fabric also located on strap 5 and the device is securely attached around ski boot 6. In the preferred embodiment, both complementary pieces are on strap 5.
  • In addition to or in place of hook-and-loop fabric, buttons, snaps, zips, magnets and other fasteners may be used in alternative embodiments.
  • The size of the device may be chosen as follows: the dimensions and configuration of the device may not only cover a ski boot sole or important portions thereof which require protection in use, but in addition the device may be dimensioned and configured to pass around the boot ankle in storage, and to be secured thereon without excess slack. Elastic rim 2 may be an aid in this: the length of the body, loop and strap may be just slightly less than the circumference of a ski boot ankle when the elastic rim is in the relaxed first position, but sufficient to go around when the elastic rim is in a stretched second position. The elastic/rubber rim, of course, may have a stretched third position achieved when stretched around the boot sole in use position.
  • It will be seen from FIGS. 2 and 3 that the device may roll up around the ski boot ankle with the sole actually on the “inside” of the device, invisible to casual inspection. This may prevent snow from accumulating on the treads of the sole during skiing in the storage position. The device may also roll around the ski boot ankle with the sole actually on the “outside” of the device.
  • FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the invention. Partial tread is shown on the bottom of the sole 4. The treads may be in alternative embodiments any common tread design: sipes, valleys, grooves, cleats, bumps, patterns and so on.
  • FIG. 5 is a rear view of the invention while FIG. 6 is a front view of the invention. In the best mode now contemplated and preferred embodiment, strap 5 is secured to the front end of body 3 at a location on the “inside” (that side not having the sole thereon) and near to edge 1. However, in other embodiments, strap 5 may be secured nearer to or farther from edge 1, nearer to or farther from the front or toe end of the device, may be secured at the rim or the sole, or it may be secured to the “outside” (that side having the sole), etc. Also in this embodiment, loop 2 is attached at the rear or heel end of the device, the placement being subject to the same variables at discussed in previously in this same paragraph. In yet further alternative embodiments, strap 5 may by itself (without a loop) be sufficient in length, etc, to secure the device in the rolled position by itself. In yet other alternative embodiments, loop 2 may by itself secure the device without a strap. In yet other alternative embodiments, loop and strap may be close together. In yet other alternative embodiments, loop and/or strap may be eliminated or altered in length to allow the device to easily roll up and be placed in a pocket rather than rolled up around the boot ankle or other item of ski equipment, the arms or legs of the user and so on.
  • When the device is in use, the skier can easily see the elastic/rubber brim running along the edge of the boot above or along the actual sole of the boot. In addition, donning and removing the device is quite easy, even encumbered: the skier may insert either end in the foot or heel, as appropriate, of the boot and then stretch the rest over the other end of the boot. In embodiments, the device may be “double ended” with a less specific “foot shape” to the tread, so that either end may go onto the toe or heel of the boot.
  • Secure attachments of the parts to each other may be achieved using sewing/stitching, adhesives, bonding, vulcanizing, riveting, and combinations thereof. One embodiment presently preferred (see FIG. 14) has a unibody construction made by molding, injection molding, extrusion or the like.
  • FIG. 7 is an elevational side view of a second embodiment of the invention. Traction aid 100 has sole 102 on the bottom. The sole 102 is the ground contacting portion of the device which provides greater traction than the sole of the ski boot (ski boot soles being dimensioned and configured to physically engage to ski bindings and thus unsuitable for walking or traction). In addition, sole 102 protects the expensive ski boots from damage due to gravel, hard floors, steps, rocks, and so on. This is a safety issue as a damaged ski boot might NOT properly physically engage to ski bindings.
  • Heel end 102 a and toe end 102 b of the sole 102 may be dimensioned and configured differently: heel end 102 a may be dimensioned and configured to cover and protect a ski boot heel, while toe end 102 b may be dimensioned and configured to cover and protect a ski boot toe.
  • Flexible, extensible cord 104 has a relaxed state and a stretched state. The overall length (or circumference) of cord 104 may be at least approximately equal to the circumference of a ski boot sole. For example, the relaxed state of the cord may have length less than the circumference of the ski boot sole, so as to not be able to pass over the sole when relaxed, but the stretched state may be slightly greater than the circumference of the ski boot sole, so that when the user pulls the cord, it may pass over the sole of the ski boot. Thereafter, when released back to the relaxed state or a third “partially relaxed” state (held from complete relaxation by the boot), the extensible cord 104 may stay on the sole of the ski boot due to the physical engagement of the cord over the sole (at the junction of the upper/body of the ski boot and the sole).
  • Flexible, extensible attachment 106 may be the same material as the cord, and may be extension thereof, or it may be a different material, or in embodiments even not extensible. Attachment 106 (other attachments shown in FIG. 7 but not numbered) may be attached to the sole by stitching, riveting, adhesive, bonding, by means of being extended through or under the sole to another attachment and so on. The “attachment length” of attachment 106 may be at least approximately equal to the thickness of the ski boot sole, “at least approximately equal to” being used to denote a length sufficient to pass the dimension of the ski boot sole (thickness or circumference) which the attachment/cord must pass. Thus, a ski boot sole 1″ inch thick would not be passed across by an attachment having a length of only ½″ in its maximally stretched state.
  • FIG. 8 is an elevational side view of a third embodiment of the invention. Traction aid/ski boot protector 200 has heel sole 202 a and toe sole 202 b indirectly connected by cord 204 and attachment 206, but physically separated by gap 210. It will be seen the device becomes extremely easy to fold directly in half, even if the material of soles 202 a, 202 b is not particularly flexible.
  • The device still functions as a ski boot sole protector, even without a complete sole from front to back because the intermediate portion of the ski boot sole is less prone to damage, tends to be higher off of the ground than the ski boot toe and heel portions, and because the thickness of the traction aid sole will separate the ski boot sole intermediate portion from the ground surface in the area of gap 210.
  • The ski boot sole intermediate portion does not normally engage a ski binding in any case, so if were to become damaged it would not impact safety or the interface and physical connection to the ski.
  • FIG. 9 is a declivational side view of a sole of an alternative embodiment of the invention. Sole 902 has a bottom surface 930 (top surfaces depicted in other figures). Bottom surface 930 may have numerous small bumps/irregularities 934 which combined with the typical construction of the sole (rubber, polymers, plastics and the like) provide a relatively high coefficient of friction. While the pattern of the bumps 934 is pictured as essentially random, an organized tread pattern may be employed as well in embodiments.
  • Metal or hard traction aids such as studs, nails, spikes or the like may be used in alternative embodiments. Note that alternative embodiments having no metal/hard aids such as studs, spikes, nails or the like projecting from the bottom of the sole are preferred over other alternative embodiments having such sharp traction aids, but both such types of embodiments fall within the scope of the invention. The reason for this is that such relatively sharp traction aids render the device less safe when carried in the interior pockets: it may rip the lining, or should a skier take a spill with the device in a pocket, the skier may be injured by metal/hard traction aids poking through to the skin. Similarly, when the device is deployed around the ankle of a ski boot, hard projections like studs might present a threat to other skiers, especially in the event of a spill or wipeout. However, the alternative embodiments may be preferable for increased traction on icier surfaces or packed snow surfaces.
  • FIG. 10 is a planform top view of a fourth embodiment of the invention. Traction aid/ski boot protector 300 has heel sole 302 a and toe sole 302 b. Anchor 304 not only anchors the device to ski boot when stretched above the ski boot sole, it also anchors the network/anchor extension on sole 360, network/anchor extension to sole 362, to heel sole 302 a and toe sole 302 b. Thus, the network of stretchable, flexible lines which comprise the anchor and network hold the device together. These may be rubber, elastic, or other stretchable and flexible materials. The device may be manufactured by injection molding, assembly, sewing, or other methods.
  • Tab 364 is an optional device which may aid in use of the device, however, loop 366 is dimensioned and configured to provide a much easier method of grasping and using the device, especially for pulling it on or off while wearing ski gloves. Ski gloves tend to be very thick, up to ½″ or more, so that a human finger of ½″ width in a ski glove (both sides of the finger) may be 1.5″ across. A two fingered grip on a device, or a thumb and finger grip, thus requires a substantial loop or projection to grab. Thus loop 366 may be at least one inch in length up to several inches in length so as to be dimensioned and configured for use by a user wearing ski gloves.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of a fifth embodiment of the invention. In this presently preferred embodiment and best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention, heel sole 402 a and the toe sole are both attached to anchor/network 404 by network extension/anchor extension to sole 462 in a manner similar to the embodiment of FIG. 10. As in FIG. 10, the network/anchor may be a single unibody of injection molded rubber or elastic, or it may be built up of individual elements attached to each other by means of vulcanization, sewing, riveting or the like.
  • Sole traction devices 434 may be as discussed previously: one or more hard projections like spikes or in other embodiments, a plurality of projections of the material of the sole or something similar without spikes.
  • Loop 466, as discussed previously, may be one inch or several inches long so as to allow easy handling by a skier encumbered with proper hand wear. Fastener 468 may allow adjustment of the length of the anchor, so that the device may used on various sizes of ski boot soles, and may also have hook 470. Fastener 468 may be a device to tighten the overall size of anchor/cord 404 by pulling excess cord through fastener 468 and then preventing it from returning back through, thus tightening the cord 404. Such fasteners include spring loaded devices with holes through them, grommets, knots, buttons and the like.
  • In the position of storage around an arm, ski boot ankle or the like, the device may be wrapped/folded about a limb, clothing or boot and then hook 470 may be attached to loop 466, even by a user wearing thick ski gloves.
  • Placement of the hook and how it engages the other end of the device when not in use is susceptible to wide variations. The hook may be disposed upon the front end of the device or on the rear of the device at the loop and engage to the sole 462. In embodiments preferred for simplicity, the hook may be on the loop, on the elastic cords of the device, or in other similar locations at either toe or heel.
  • FIG. 12 is a side view of a sixth embodiment of the invention having divided rubber or fabric uppers and divided soles which may nontheless be a unibody construction of a single piece of rubber for all parts. Traction aid/boot protector 500 may have toe sole 502 a attached to toe upper 580 a by the extensions of the unibody or in alternative embodiments by stitching or the like, as previously discussed. Toe upper 580 a may be durable material or fabric or rubber as previously discussed. Heel sole 502 b (across gap 510 from toe sole 502 a) may have heel upper 580 b. Stretchable, flexible connectors 582 a, 582 b may connect the soles and uppers across the “body/upper gap” 584. Toe end hand loop 566 a and heel end hand loop 566 b may be as previously described in relation to other loops, and may be used to assist in wearing or removing the devices, may be used to aid in storage and so on. The embodiment may be injection molded, assembled, and may have metal traction aids in the bottom surface of the soles or may have an irregular or bumpy bottom surface to aid traction.
  • This embodiment may have soles and uppers of a relatively less flexible material due to gaps 510/584 allowing easier folding, however, in preferred embodiments flexible materials are desired, a finding confirmed by testing.
  • FIG. 13 is a bottom view of a seventh embodiment of the invention having half moon shaped traction bumps.
  • Sole half 1302 may have gap 1304 as previously described, with stretchable, flexible connector 1306 part of a web of connectors between the halves.
  • Crescent shaped traction bump/elevation 1308 may be advantageous to traction. It may in embodiments have other orientations than shown.
  • FIG. 14 is a top view of an eighth embodiment of the invention having a single unibody construction. Traction aid/boot protector 1400 has hooked fastener 1468 which may be attached to a loop or directly to the web or network of cords used to hold the device to a ski boot. When not in use, the device may be rolled up around an ankle or arm so that hooked fastener 1468 reaches unibody loop 1498 and hooks thereto.
  • In this embodiment, the construction of the device may be a unibody construction in which the soles and the web of materials are all injection molded from a material such as a durable rubber, a somewhat elastic form of polymer or the like, a single body of fabric with elastic properties or the like. It is anticipated that unibody construction in which all soles and elastic rims, webs and so on are all a single piece will reduce manufacturing costs, making this aspect a preferred embodiment for this purpose.
  • It will be understood that embodiments will have a body or network or cords all having a stretched length, the stretched length sufficient to allow it to pass over the vertical thickness of ski boot soles at least at the heel and/or toe and in alternative embodiments all the way around the ski boot sole.
  • The disclosure is provided to allow practice of the invention by those skilled in the art without undue experimentation, including the best mode presently contemplated and the presently preferred embodiment. Nothing in this disclosure is to be taken to limit the scope of the invention, which is susceptible to numerous alterations, equivalents and substitutions without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention is to be understood from the appended claims.

Claims (16)

1. A ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and thus having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front end and rear end of the boot, the traction aid comprising:
a stretchable body dimensioned and configured to exceed the size of such ski boot sole at at least one end of the boot;
a stretchable rim of the body, the elastic strong enough to hold the stretchable body securely to such ski boot sole when the elastic is placed around such sole at the junction of such upper and such sole;
a large loop attached to the traction aid, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves;
a tread attached to one side of the stretchable body, the tread being a material flexible enough to roll up when not in use.
2. A ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front and rear of the boot, the soles having a thickness and a circumference, the traction aid comprising:
a first tread made of a material flexible enough to roll up, the first tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge;
a second tread made of a material flexible enough to roll up, the second tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge;
a plurality of attachments each having a first end secured to the first tread and each having a second end secured to the second tread;
a first stretchable body attached securely to the first tread, a second stretchable body attached securely to the second tread, the first and second stretchable bodies each having a stretched length, the stretched lengths at least approximately equal to such thickness of such ski boot sole.
3. The ski boot traction aid of claim 2, wherein the first tread and second tread further comprise:
bottom surfaces having traction increasing apparatus thereon.
4. The ski boot traction aid of claim 3, wherein the traction increasing apparatus further comprises: a plurality of irregularities.
5. The ski boot traction aid of claim 2, further comprising:
a large loop attached to the traction aid at a first location, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves.
6. The ski boot traction aid of claim 5, further comprising:
a fastener attached to the traction aid at one member selected from the group consisting of: at the loop attached to the traction aid at the first location, at a second location distal the first location;
the fastener dimensioned and configured to engage a distal location of the traction aid when the traction aid is rolled up.
7. The ski boot traction aid of claim 2 wherein the stretchable bodies further comprise:
elastic.
8. The ski boot traction aid of claim 2 wherein the stretchable bodies further comprise:
rubber.
9. A ski boot traction aid for ski boots having large soles dimensioned and configured to accept a ski binding and thus having substantial projections of the sole beyond the upper at the front and rear of the boot, the soles having a thickness and a circumference, the traction aid comprising:
a first tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge; and
a network of stretchable material securely attached to the first tread at a middle portion of the network, the network having a stretchable perimeter extending beyond the first tread by a distance at least approximately equal to such thickness of such ski boot soles, the perimeter having a stretched circumference at least approximately equal to such circumference of such ski boot sole.
10. The ski boot traction aid of claim 9, further comprising:
a second tread having a lower surface, an upper surface and an edge; the second tread securely attached to the network at a middle portion of the network.
11. The ski boot traction aid of claim 9, further comprising:
a large loop attached to the traction aid at a first location, the loop large enough to allow easy manipulation by an individual wearing bulky ski gloves.
12. The ski boot traction aid of claim 11, further comprising:
a fastener attached to the traction aid at a second location distal the first location, the faster dimensioned and configured to engage such large loop when the traction aid is rolled up.
13. The ski boot traction aid of claim 9, wherein the network further comprises:
rubber.
14. The ski boot traction aid of claim 9, wherein the network further comprises:
elastic.
15. The ski boot traction aid of claim 9, wherein the lower surface further comprises:
a plurality of crescent shaped elevations.
16. The ski boot traction aid of claim 10, wherein the network, first tread and second tread further comprise:
a single unibody.
US11270419 2004-11-09 2005-11-09 Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus Abandoned US20060096130A1 (en)

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US62635504 true 2004-11-09 2004-11-09
US11270419 US20060096130A1 (en) 2004-11-09 2005-11-09 Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus

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US11270419 US20060096130A1 (en) 2004-11-09 2005-11-09 Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus
US13413570 US20120266491A1 (en) 2004-11-09 2012-03-06 Slip resistant ski boot protection apparatus

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US20100242308A1 (en) * 2009-03-31 2010-09-30 Belles Gordon L Footwear with interface for attaching devices

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