US20110113646A1 - Articles of Footwear - Google Patents

Articles of Footwear Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110113646A1
US20110113646A1 US12876751 US87675110A US2011113646A1 US 20110113646 A1 US20110113646 A1 US 20110113646A1 US 12876751 US12876751 US 12876751 US 87675110 A US87675110 A US 87675110A US 2011113646 A1 US2011113646 A1 US 2011113646A1
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mm
footwear
article
instability
sole assembly
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Abandoned
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US12876751
Inventor
Bernard Merritt
Alain Laverdure
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SR Holdings LLC
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Srl LLC
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    • 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
    • A43B13/143Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form provided with wedged, concave or convex end portions, e.g. for improving roll-off of the foot
    • A43B13/145Convex portions, e.g. with a bump or projection, e.g. 'Masai' type shoes
    • 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
    • A43B13/18Resilient soles
    • A43B13/187Resiliency achieved by the features of the material, e.g. foam, non liquid materials
    • A43B13/188Differential cushioning regions

Abstract

An article of footwear including a footwear upper and a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper. The sole assembly has a forefoot portion and a heel portion, and includes an outsole, a midsole disposed on the outsole and an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly. The instability insert causes a forefoot protrusion to be defined by the outsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This U.S. patent application is a continuation of, and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 from, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/621,024, filed on Nov. 18, 2009. The disclosure of this prior application is considered part of the disclosure of this application and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure relates to articles of footwear having forefoot cushioning.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Articles of footwear, such as shoes, are generally worn while exercising to protect and provide stability of a user's feet. In general, shoes include an upper portion and a sole. When the upper portion is secured to the sole, the upper portion and the sole together define a void that is configured to securely and comfortably hold a human foot. Often, the upper portion and/or sole are/is formed from multiple layers that can be stitched or adhesively bonded together. For example, the upper portion can be made of a combination of leather and fabric, or foam and fabric, and the sole can be formed from at least one layer of natural rubber. Often materials are chosen for functional reasons, e.g., water-resistance, durability, abrasion-resistance, and breathability, while shape, texture, and color are used to promote the aesthetic qualities of the shoe.
  • SUMMARY
  • One aspect of the disclosure provides an article of footwear including a footwear upper and a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper. The sole assembly has a forefoot portion and a heel portion, and includes an outsole, a midsole disposed on the outsole and an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly. The instability insert causes a forefoot protrusion to be defined by the outsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.
  • Another aspect of the disclosure provides an article of footwear including a footwear upper and a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper. The sole assembly has a forefoot portion and a heel portion. The forefoot portion of the sole assembly is configured to provide a first period of instability upon receiving the weight of a user followed by a second period of stability.
  • Implementations of the disclosure may include one or more of the following features. In some implementations, the heel portion is configured to at least partially collapse upon receiving the weight of a user and cause the user to rotate the sole assembly forward, placing the weight of the user on the forefoot portion of the sole assembly. In some implementations, the sole assembly includes an outsole, a midsole disposed on the outsole and an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly, the instability insert causing a forefoot protrusion to be defined by the outsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.
  • In some implementations, the forefoot portion of the outsole defines a radius of curvature of between about 130 mm and about 190 mm (e.g., about 160 mm). The forefoot protrusion can have a height, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion to an outer edge of the outsole, of between about 4 mm and about 12 mm (e.g., about 8 mm). The instability insert may define a substantially elliptical shape in top and side views. In some examples, the instability insert has a thickness of between about 3 mm and about 9 mm (e.g., about 6 mm), a length of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm (e.g., about 76 mm), and a width of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm (e.g., about 50 mm). The instability insert may comprise polyurethane. In some implementations, the instability insert has a durometer of between about 15 Asker C and about 20 Asker C.
  • In some implementations, the article of footwear includes a heel insert disposed substantially between the outsole and the midsole in the heel portion of the sole assembly, the heel insert configured to collapse under a user's weight. The heel insert may comprise at least one of polyurethane and a ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA). In some examples, the heel insert has a durometer of between about 42 Asker C and about 48 Asker C and/or a thickness of between about 10 mm and about 35 mm.
  • The details of one or more implementations of the disclosure are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other aspects, features, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 are front perspective views showing the left component of a pair of shoes.
  • FIG. 3 is a rear view showing the left component of a pair of shoes.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 are rear perspective views showing the left component of a pair of shoes.
  • FIG. 6 is a top perspective view showing the left component of a pair of shoes.
  • FIG. 7 is a bottom view of a sole assembly for a left component of a pair of shoes.
  • FIG. 8 is a top view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 10 is a section view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7 along line 10-10.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 12 is a rear view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 13 is a section view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7 along line 13-13.
  • FIG. 14 is a section view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7 along line 14-14.
  • FIG. 15 is a section view of the sole assembly of FIG. 7 along line 15-15.
  • Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements. By way of example only, all of the drawings are directed to an article of footwear (e.g., shoe) suitable to be worn on a user's left foot. The invention includes also the mirror images of the drawings, i.e. an article of footwear suitable to be worn on the infant's right foot.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIGS. 1-6 illustrate an exemplary article of footwear 100 configured to promote muscle activity in various areas of the user's body, such as the gastrocnemii (calves), quadriceps (thighs), and glutaeus maximus (buttocks), while walking or running. While wearing each article of footwear 100, the user generally tries to maintain a balanced posture, which promotes greater muscle activity (and optionally fat burning). The article of footwear 100 (e.g., shoe, sandal, boot, etc.) includes a footwear upper 110 and a sole assembly 200 secured to the footwear upper 110. The footwear upper 110 and the sole assembly 200 together define a void 120 configured to securely and comfortably hold a human foot. Although a shoe is shown as an exemplary article of footwear 100, the sole assembly 200 may be used for other types of articles of footwear, including, but not limited to boots, sandals, flip-flops, etc.
  • The footwear upper 110 may be stitched and/or bonded (e.g., by an adhesive) to the sole assembly 200. The footwear upper 110 may be constructed of one or more leathers, textiles, non-woven materials, and any other suitable material for receiving and holding a user's foot. In some examples, the footwear upper 110 includes moisture-wicking materials.
  • Referring to FIGS. 7-15, the sole assembly 200 provides a subtle instability that encourages the user's body to work harder to adapt and maintain a balanced gait relative to a generally stable sole assembly, thereby promoting muscle activity. Referring to FIGS. 3-10, the sole assembly 200 has a forefoot portion 202 and a heel portion 204, and includes an outsole 210 and a midsole 220. The outsole 210 and midsole 220 each have a respective forefoot portion 212, 222 and a respective heel portion 214, 224 corresponding to the forefoot portion 202 and the heel portion 204 of the sole assembly 200. In some examples, such as FIGS. 10, 14 and 15, the outsole 210 has a thickness To of between about 3 mm and about 7 mm (preferably about 5 mm) and the midsole 220 has a thickness Tm of between about 3 mm and about 20 mm (preferably about 13 mm). The outsole 210 can be made of natural rubber or formed of a rubber compound including isobutylene rubber, butadiene rubber, styrene butadiene rubber and/or natural rubber. The outsole 210 has a durometer of between about 40 Shore A and about 70 Shore A (preferably 50 Shore A). The midsole 220 can be made of a polyurethane or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and have a durometer of between about 50 Shore A and about 70 Shore A (preferably between about 60 Shore A and about 65 Shore A).
  • The sole assembly 200 includes an instability insert 230 disposed substantially between the outsole 210 and the midsole 220 in the forefoot portion 202 of the sole assembly 200. The instability insert 230 creates a forefoot protrusion 216 (e.g., a gently domed bulge) in the outsole 210, such that the user experiences a slight rocking (fore-aft and/or side-to-side) in the forefoot portion 202 of the sole assembly. In some examples, the forefoot portion 212 of the outsole 210 defines a radius of curvature R of between about 130 mm and about 190 mm (preferably about 160 mm). The forefoot protrusion 216 may have a height H, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion 216 to an outer edge 218 of the outsole 210, of between about 4 mm and about 12 mm (preferably about 8 mm). The user generally exerts relatively more energy to maintain balance and over-come the instability caused by the instability insert 230, as compared to that experienced while wearing a conventional stable shoe.
  • In some implementations, the instability insert 230 defines an elliptical shape in top and side views, as shown in FIGS. 8, 10 and 13. In some examples, the instability insert 230 has a thickness Ti of between about 3 mm and about 9 mm (preferably about 6 mm), a length Li of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm (preferably about 76 mm), and a width Wi of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm (preferably about 50 mm). In some implementations, the instability insert 230 is arranged such that a longitudinal axis 235 of the instability insert 230 has an angle β with a transverse axis 205 of the sole assembly 200 of between about 10° and about 30° (preferably about 20°). The instability insert 230 can be made of a polyurethane and have a durometer of between about 10 Asker C and about 25 Asker C (preferably between about 15 Asker C and about 20 Asker C). By having a softer durometer for the instability insert 230 relative to the outsole 210 and the midsole 220, the user initially experiences the instability of the forefoot protrusion 216 caused by the instability insert 230 upon contact between the outsole 210 and the ground. As the user transfers his/her weight onto the shoe 100, the instability insert 230 at least partially collapses between the outsole 210 and the midsole 220, thereby at least partially collapsing (preferably fully collapsing) the forefoot protrusion 216 and allowing the user to experience increased or substantially full stability within the forefoot portion 202 of the sole assembly as the shoe 100 bears the weight of the user. Consequently, as the user proceeds over a surface (e.g., walk or run) while wearing a pair of the shoes 100, the user experiences an initial period of instability while transferring his/her weight onto one of the shoe 100 followed by a period of stability when the respective shoe 100 bears at least some of the weight of the user. For example, the instability insert 230 collapses, thereby collapsing the forefoot protrusion 216 (e.g., such the outsole 210 has a relatively decreased radius of curvature R) upon receiving a threshold load of at least 30 lbs. The instability insert 230 may be configured to collapse or squish under other threshold loads as well (e.g., at least 15 lbs, 50 lbs, etc.), so as to target certain user weight groups. The initial period of instability causes the user to use stabilizing muscles and exert more energy relative to a conventional shoe. A completely unstable shoe, is generally undesirable, thus the period of stability proceeding the period of at least slight instability provides the user with a functional and safe shoe for exercising.
  • In some implementations, the sole assembly 200 includes a heel insert 240 disposed substantially between the outsole 210 and the midsole 220 in the heel portion 204 of the sole assembly 200, as shown in FIGS. 9-12 and 15. The heel insert 240 can be made of polyurethane or a polyolefin, such as an ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA), and/or have a durometer of between about 25 Asker C and about 55 Asker C (preferably between about 42 Asker C and about 48 Asker C). The heel insert 240 can have a thickness Th (FIG. 15) of between about 10 mm and about 35 mm (preferably about 25 mm). The heel insert 240 not only provides cushioning and comfort for a user, but the relatively soft durometer of the heel insert 240, as compared to the outsole 210 and the midsole 220, allows the heel portion 204 of the sole assembly 200 to at least partially collapse under a user's weight, thereby causing the user to shift his/her weight toward the forefoot portion 202 of the sole assembly 200. As the user shifts his/her weight to the forefoot portion 202 of the sole assembly 200, the user experiences the subtle instability of the forefoot portion 202 (as caused by the forefoot protrusion 216) and exerts relatively more energy and/or uses relatively more muscles to maintain balance. As the forefoot protrusion 216 collapses or subsides due the weight transfer of the user, the user experiences a subsequent period of stability.
  • The article of footwear 100 may include a foot bed 300 (FIG. 6) secured to the shoe assembly 200 and/or insole 130 in the void 120 defined by the upper 100 and the shoe assembly 200. The foot bed 300 is compliant to conform to and exhibit the shape of the user's foot bottom and portions of outsole 100. The foot bed 300 may be a foam sheet with a woven or non-woven fabric covering the foam sheet.
  • A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (45)

  1. 1. An article of footwear comprising:
    a footwear upper; and
    a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper, the sole assembly comprising an outsole defining a substantially convex instability protrusion;
    wherein the instability protrusion defines a radius of curvature of between about 130 mm and about 190 mm; and
    wherein the instability protrusion has a length along the outsole of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm, a width along the outsole of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm, and a height, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion to an outer edge of the outsole, of between about 4 mm and about 12 mm.
  2. 2. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the instability protrusion defines a substantially elliptical shape having a length along the outsole of about 76 mm and a width along the outsole of about 50 mm.
  3. 3. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein a longitudinal axis of the instability protrusion is arranged at an angle of between about 10° and about 30° with a transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  4. 4. The article of footwear of claim 3, wherein the longitudinal axis of the instability protrusion is arranged at an angle of about 20° with the transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  5. 5. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the instability protrusion defines a radius of curvature of about 160 mm.
  6. 6. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the instability protrusion has a height, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion to an outer edge of the outsole, of about 8 mm.
  7. 7. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly, the instability insert defining the instability protrusion extending from the outsole in the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.
  8. 8. The article of footwear of claim 7, wherein the instability insert defines a substantially elliptical shape in top and side views.
  9. 9. The article of footwear of claim 8, wherein the instability insert has a thickness of between about 3 mm and about 9 mm, a length of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm, and a width of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm.
  10. 10. The article of footwear of claim 7, wherein the instability insert comprises polyurethane.
  11. 11. The article of footwear of claim 7, wherein the instability insert has a durometer of between about 15 Asker C and about 20 Asker C.
  12. 12. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    a heel insert disposed substantially between the outsole and the midsole in a heel portion of the sole assembly, the heel insert configured to collapse under the weight of a user.
  13. 13. The article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the heel insert comprises at least one of polyurethane and a ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA).
  14. 14. The article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the heel insert has a durometer of between about 42 Asker C and about 48 Asker C.
  15. 15. The article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the heel insert has a thickness of between about 10 mm and about 35 mm.
  16. 16. An article of footwear comprising:
    a footwear upper; and
    a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper, a forefoot portion of the sole assembly defining a substantially convex instability protrusion, the instability protrusion providing a first period of instability upon receiving the weight of a user followed by a second period of stability after at least partially collapsing the instability protrusion under the weight of the user;
    wherein the instability protrusion has a length along the sole assembly of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm and a width along the sole assembly of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm.
  17. 17. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein the instability protrusion defines a substantially elliptical shape having a length along the sole assembly of about 76 mm and a width along the sole assembly of about 50 mm.
  18. 18. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein the instability protrusion has a height, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion to an outer edge of the sole assembly, of between about 4 mm and about 12 mm.
  19. 19. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein the instability protrusion defines a radius of curvature of between about 130 mm and about 190 mm at least along a transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  20. 20. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein a longitudinal axis of the instability protrusion is arranged at an angle of between about 10° and about 30° with a transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  21. 21. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    an outsole;
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in a forefoot portion of the sole assembly, the instability insert defining the instability protrusion extending from the outsole.
  22. 22. The article of footwear of claim 21, wherein the instability insert defines a substantially elliptical shape in top and side views.
  23. 23. The article of footwear of claim 22, wherein the instability insert has a thickness of between about 3 mm and about 9 mm, a length of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm, and a width of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm.
  24. 24. The article of footwear of claim 21, wherein the instability insert comprises polyurethane.
  25. 25. The article of footwear of claim 21, wherein the instability insert has a durometer of between about 15 Asker C and about 20 Asker C.
  26. 26. The article of footwear of claim 16, wherein the heel portion is configured to at least partially collapse upon receiving the weight of a user and cause the user to rotate the sole assembly forward, placing the weight of the user on the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.
  27. 27. The article of footwear of claim 26, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    an outsole;
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    a heel insert disposed substantially between the outsole and the midsole in a heel portion of the sole assembly, the heel insert configured to collapse under the weight of a user.
  28. 28. The article of footwear of claim 27, wherein the heel insert comprises at least one of polyurethane and a ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA).
  29. 29. The article of footwear of claim 27, wherein the heel insert has a durometer of between about 42 Asker C and about 48 Asker C.
  30. 30. The article of footwear of claim 27, wherein the heel insert has a thickness of between about 10 mm and about 35 mm.
  31. 31. An article of footwear comprising:
    a footwear upper; and
    a sole assembly secured to the footwear upper, the sole assembly comprising:
    a forefoot portion of the sole assembly defining a substantially convex instability protrusion, the instability protrusion providing a first period of instability upon receiving the weight of a user followed by a second period of stability after at least partially collapsing the instability protrusion under the weight of the user; and
    a heel portion configured to at least partially collapse upon receiving the weight of a user and cause the user to rotate the sole assembly forward, placing the weight of the user on the forefoot portion of the sole assembly.
  32. 32. The article of footwear of claim 31, wherein the instability protrusion has a length along the sole assembly of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm and a width along the sole assembly of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm.
  33. 33. The article of footwear of claim 32, wherein the instability protrusion defines a substantially elliptical shape having a length along the sole assembly of about 76 mm and a width along the sole assembly of about 50 mm.
  34. 34. The article of footwear of claim 31, wherein the instability protrusion has a height, measured from a lowest point of the protrusion to an outer edge of the sole assembly, of between about 4 mm and about 12 mm.
  35. 35. The article of footwear of claim 31, wherein the instability protrusion defines a radius of curvature of between about 130 mm and about 190 mm at least along a transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  36. 36. The article of footwear of claim 31, wherein a longitudinal axis of the instability protrusion is arranged at an angle of between about 10° and about 30° with a transverse axis of the sole assembly.
  37. 37. The article of footwear of claim 31, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    an outsole;
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    an instability insert disposed between the outsole and the midsole in a forefoot portion of the sole assembly, the instability insert defining the instability protrusion extending from the outsole.
  38. 38. The article of footwear of claim 37, wherein the instability insert defines a substantially elliptical shape in top and side views.
  39. 39. The article of footwear of claim 38, wherein the instability insert has a thickness of between about 3 mm and about 9 mm, a length of between about 65 mm and about 85 mm, and a width of between about 45 mm and about 55 mm.
  40. 40. The article of footwear of claim 37, wherein the instability insert comprises polyurethane.
  41. 41. The article of footwear of claim 37, wherein the instability insert has a durometer of between about 15 Asker C and about 20 Asker C.
  42. 42. The article of footwear of claim 41, wherein the sole assembly further comprises:
    an outsole;
    a midsole disposed on the outsole; and
    a heel insert disposed substantially between the outsole and the midsole in a heel portion of the sole assembly, the heel insert configured to collapse under the weight of a user.
  43. 43. The article of footwear of claim 42, wherein the heel insert comprises at least one of polyurethane and a ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA).
  44. 44. The article of footwear of claim 42, wherein the heel insert has a durometer of between about 42 Asker C and about 48 Asker C.
  45. 45. The article of footwear of claim 42, wherein the heel insert has a thickness of between about 10 mm and about 35 mm.
US12876751 2009-11-18 2010-09-07 Articles of Footwear Abandoned US20110113646A1 (en)

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US13892461 Continuation US8917961B2 (en) 2009-06-05 2013-05-13 Apparatus for transforming the aspect ratio of an optical input field based on stacked waveguides

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USD815422S1 (en) 2015-10-15 2018-04-17 Reebok International Limited Shoe
USD779182S1 (en) * 2015-10-15 2017-02-21 Reebok International Limited Shoe
USD798547S1 (en) 2015-10-15 2017-10-03 Reebok International Limited Shoe

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USD636570S1 (en) 2011-04-26 grant
CA2713623A1 (en) 2010-11-17 application
USD659963S1 (en) 2012-05-22 grant
CA2713623C (en) 2012-10-09 grant
US20110113649A1 (en) 2011-05-19 application
CN102058196A (en) 2011-05-18 application

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