US20110179668A1 - Method and Product for Manufacturing Vulcanized Footwear or Cupsole Footwear - Google Patents

Method and Product for Manufacturing Vulcanized Footwear or Cupsole Footwear Download PDF

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US20110179668A1
US20110179668A1 US12695609 US69560910A US20110179668A1 US 20110179668 A1 US20110179668 A1 US 20110179668A1 US 12695609 US12695609 US 12695609 US 69560910 A US69560910 A US 69560910A US 20110179668 A1 US20110179668 A1 US 20110179668A1
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Prior art keywords
outsole
upper
midsole
plate
footwear
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Abandoned
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US12695609
Inventor
Vincent Fleming
Aron Cabasan
Lenny M. Holden
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SENIZERGUES PIERRE-ANDRE
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SENIZERGUES PIERRE-ANDRE
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B9/00Footwear characterised by the assembling of the individual parts
    • A43B9/12Stuck or cemented footwear
    • 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
    • B29D35/0054Producing footwear by compression moulding, vulcanising or the like; Apparatus therefor
    • B29D35/0063Moulds
    • 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
    • B29D35/10Producing footwear having preformed soles or heels joined on to preformed uppers using a moulding technique, e.g. by feeding or injecting plastics material between the parts to be joined

Abstract

A vulc style and cupsole style footwear and a method for manufacturing the footwear are disclosed. The footwear includes a midsole that is directly attached to the upper. The midsole may be attached to the outsole by adhesive. In the method of manufacturing the footwear, the upper and an outsole are disposed a set distance apart. Polyurethane or other material for providing cushioning to the footwear is either injected between the upper and outsole or poured onto the outsole and the upper is traversed over the outsole so as to define the mold for defining the midsole. The polyurethane is directly attached to the upper and adhered to the outsole/cupsole.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • Not Applicable
  • STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT
  • Not Applicable
  • BACKGROUND
  • The present invention relates to a method and product for manufacturing vulcanized style footwear or cupsole style footwear.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a flow chart for manufacturing a traditional vulc style footwear. Initially, the outsoles and midsoles of the footwear are formed separately in two different molds and possibly at two different locations or two different areas within a production plant. After the outsoles and midsoles are formed, they are brought together and assembled by disposing the midsole on the outsole. A lasted upper is disposed on the assembled outsole/midsole. Also, an uncured foxing is wrapped about the upper and the outsole by hand. Adhesive is applied on the interconnecting surfaces so that upon application of heat and pressure, the foxing attaches the upper to the outsole. The foxing is the member that joins the upper to the outsole. The foxing is vulcanized to the upper and the outsole to hold the shoe together. The primary purpose of the midsole is to provide cushioning and does not provide significant structural attachment between the upper and the outsole. This process is a hand intensive process, requires multiple steps and the transportation of the outsole and midsole over great distances when setting up a manufacturing plant to do high volume production of footwear.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, a flow chart for forming a cupsole style footwear is shown. In particular, the cupsole and the midsoles are formed separately. After the cupsoles and midsoles are formed, they are brought together and attached to each other. A lasted upper is placed (i.e., matched) on the midsole so that a cement line may be drawn on the upper. The area below the cement line is where adhesive or cement is placed on the upper to adhere the lip of the cupsole to the upper. After the cement line is drawn, the upper is removed from the cupsole. Cement is applied to the upper below the cement line. The lasted upper is then rematched onto the cupsole. Pressure and heat are applied until the cupsole is cured and attached to the upper so as to produce the shoe. Once again, the midsole does not structurally attach the upper to the cupsole or hold the shoe together.
  • Other methods of fabricating the midsole are also known in the prior art. By way of example and not limitation, the midsole may be injection molded into the cupsole or between the lasted upper and the outsole. Unfortunately, the injection molded midsole may include ratholes or gaps between various components of the foxing, cupsole, outsole and upper. These gaps cause structural delamination of the various components of the shoe and also hinders force transfer between the foot and the outsole which may be crucial in various technical sports requiring tactile foot skill. Additionally, when the midsole is injection molded into the shoe, the midsole does not structurally attach the upper to the outsole or cupsole.
  • Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved vulc style shoe and cupsole style shoe as well as a method for manufacturing such shoes.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • The product and method described herein address the needs discussed above, discussed below and those that are known in the art.
  • The footwear described herein has a midsole that is directly attached to an upper of the footwear. By way of example and not limitation, the midsole may be fused with or permeate a thin fabric material at a bottom of the upper. Moreover, the midsole may be substantially continuously attached to the bottom surface of the upper so that no gaps or rat holes are formed between the upper and the midsole. This provides for better anatomical fit and support, better force transfer from the foot to the outsole or cupsole of the footwear and a longer lasting sturdier footwear construction. The midsole may be adhered or otherwise attached to the outsole or cupsole.
  • Direct attachment of the midsole to the upper of the footwear also reduces manufacturing costs. In particular, the midsole provides structural stability to the shoe. The midsole joins the upper to the outsole or cupsole. In the process of manufacturing the midsole directly attached to the upper, an outsole or cupsole may be placed in a fixture. Adhesive may be lined on the exposed surface of the outsole or cupsole where the midsole is formed. Polyurethane may be disposed (e.g., poured or injected) on the outsole. As the polyurethane expands, the polyurethane is adhered to the outsole by way of adhesive. The polyurethane is directly bonded to the upper.
  • This process may be utilized both for vulc style footwear as well as cupsole style footwear. Additionally, the footwear may be formed by way of pouring polyurethane onto the outsole or cupsole or injecting polyurethane between the upper and the outsole/cupsole defining the mold of the midsole.
  • More particularly, a footwear is disclosed. The footwear may comprise an upper, a midsole and an outsole. The upper may define a bottom surface and an exterior shell. The midsole may be bonded to the bottom surface of the upper and a bottom peripheral portion of the exterior shell. The midsole may define a bottom surface. The outsole may be attached (e.g., adhered, interlocked, etc.) to the bottom surface of the midsole.
  • The midsole and the outsole may both be polyurethane. The polyurethane of the midsole may have a lower density compared to the polyurethane of the outsole so that the midsole provides cushioning and the outsole provide wear resistance. Also, foxing which provides wear resistance may be attached to the outer periphery of the outsole and the midsole.
  • The outsole may have a cupsole configuration. The midsole may be adhered to the interior surface of the cupsole and a lip of the cupsole may be adhered to the bottom peripheral portion of the upper.
  • A method of manufacturing footwear is also disclosed. The method may comprise the steps of disposing an outsole or cupsole on a first plate wherein the outsole defines a top surface; disposing a lasted upper in a second plate wherein the second plate is traverseable to a first position with respect to the first plate; disposing settable liquid on the top surface of the outsole; traversing the second plate to the first position with respect to the first plate so that a bottom surface of the lasted upper is adjacent to the settable liquid on an opposite side from the outsole, the top surface of the outsole and the bottom surface of the upper defines a mold for forming a midsole from the settable liquid; and curing the settable liquid to a solid state to bond the midsole to the bottom surface of the upper.
  • The method may further comprise the step of applying an adhesive to the upper surface of the outsole to adhere the midsole to the outsole.
  • The second plate discussed in relation to the method may also include first and second parts that clamp around the lasted upper when the first and second parts are in a closed position. In this regard, the method may further comprise the steps of first applying adhesive to a lip of the cupsole, second traversing the second plate to the first position so that the lip of the cupsole is positioned between the upper and the first and second parts, and third traversing the first and second parts to the closed position to apply pressure on the lip of the cupsole to the upper. The method may also further comprise the step of activating the applied adhesive with light or heat. The traversing step may include the step of rotating the first and second plates with respect to each other about a common pivot axis.
  • Another method of manufacturing footwear is also disclosed. The method may comprise the steps of disposing an outsole on a first plate wherein the outsole defines a top surface; disposing a lasted upper in a second plate wherein the second plate is traverseable to a first position with respect to the first plate; traversing the second plate to the first position with respect to the first plate so that a bottom surface of the lasted upper is adjacent the outsole so as to define a mold for a midsole; injecting settable liquid between the bottom surface of the lasted upper and the outsole; curing the settable liquid to a solid state to form the midsole; and attaching the settable liquid to the upper and the outsole.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a flow chart of a prior art process for manufacturing a vulc style shoe;
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart of a prior art method for manufacturing a cupsole shoe;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a lasted upper;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a fixture (e.g., PU or polyurethane mold) for receiving the lasted upper;
  • FIG. 4A is an illustration of an injection molding process for manufacturing a vulc style shoe;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the fixture shown in FIG. 7 with the lasted upper received into the fixture;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a footwear with a last disposed therein;
  • FIG. 6A is a cross sectional view of the footwear shown in FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates foxing being wrapped around the footwear shown in FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a fixture for fabricating a cupsole shoe;
  • FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a pre-cured foxing being preattached to an outsole to form an outsole with a cavity;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a process of activating an adhesive by flash and pouring polyurethane into the cupsole;
  • FIG. 10 illustrates the fixture and closing of the top plate to apply pressure to an outer periphery of the footwear;
  • FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of the fixture and footwear shown in FIG. 11 showing the application of pressure to a lip of the cupsole;
  • FIG. 12 is an illustration of an injection molding process for manufacturing a cupsole shoe;
  • FIG. 13 illustrates apertures in an outsole and cupsole for purposes of flowing polyurethane through the outsole and cupsole for decorative as well as process purposes;
  • FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a fixture for providing an interchangeable back mold during manufacturing of a vulc style footwear; and
  • FIG. 15 is an illustration of a fixture having an interchangeable back mold during manufacturing of a cupsole footwear.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 11, a midsole 10 of a shoe 12 is directly attached to an upper 14. The direct attachment of the midsole 10 to the upper 14 provides for a sturdier shoe 12 having a better anatomical fit with the foot of the wearer for increased comfort and better lateral force support for specialized uses such as skateboarding. Negligible or no gaps (e.g., rat holes) are formed between the midsole 10 and the upper 14. Rather, the entire interface between the midsole 10 and the upper 14 is substantially if not entirely bonded to each other. Since the midsole 10 is bonded substantially or entirely to the bottom surface of the upper 14, lateral forces generated during performance of skateboard tricks are better able and more quickly transmitted to the board from the wearer's foot. Additionally, over a period of time, the substantial nonexistence of rat holes or gaps between the midsole 10 and the upper 14 mitigates delamination of the upper 14 from the midsole 10 and the outsole. These attributes provide for better lateral force support, increased comfort due to a better anatomical fit and sturdier long lasting footwear construction.
  • Moreover, the process of directly attaching the midsole 10 to the upper 14 reduces the hand assembly time and cost required to manufacture the shoe 12. In the process, a lasted upper 16 may be secured to a top plate 18 of a footwear fixture 20, as shown in FIG. 4. A predetermined quantity of polyurethane or other material may be poured (see FIG. 9) or injected into a bottom plate 22 of the footwear fixture 20. The polyurethane may be a low density polyurethane to provide for cushioning. Once a predetermined quantity of polyurethane is disposed in the bottom plate 22, the top plate 18 may be rotated about pivot axis 24 (see FIG. 4) so that the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 is now disposed above the polyurethane in the bottom plate 22 (see FIG. 4). The polyurethane may expand and contact the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16. Upon curing of the polyurethane, the cured polyurethane which is now the midsole 10 of the footwear 12 is directly attached or bonded to the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 (see FIG. 6A), the polyurethane is fused into or permeated through the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16. Hand assembly and thus cost is reduced compared to prior art methods. Also, quality is increased since this method reduces gaps.
  • The footwear described herein is in relation to a vulc style footwear and a cupsole style footwear. However, the various aspects of the footwear and methodology of manufacturing the footwear may be applied or employed to other types of footwear such as boots, slip-ons, sports shoes (e.g., football shoes, wrestling shoes, etc.). As such, the discussion of the footwear and methodology in relation to vulc style footwear and cupsole style footwear are for the purposes of convenience and not limitation. Additionally, the footwear and methodology described herein utilizes an outsole or cupsole for providing wear resistance with the ground. However, in certain shoes, the outsole may be eliminated.
  • More particularly, referring now to FIG. 3, a lasted upper 16 is shown. The lasted upper 16 refers to an upper 14 of the footwear 12 with a last 28 inserted into the upper 14. The upper 14 has an exterior shell 30 (see FIG. 3) which secures the foot of the wearer to the footwear 12. The upper 14 additionally has a thin fabric material 32 that extends across and is attached to the bottom peripheral edge 34 of the exterior shell 30 (see also FIG. 4). The polyurethane is fused into or permeates the thin fabric material 32. When the last 28 is inserted into the upper 14, the upper 14 is snuggly fitted against the last 28 so as to conform to the shape of the last 28. The last 28 may additionally have a rig 36 (see FIG. 3). The rig 36 has a plate 38 attached to a post 40. The plate 38 is at a predetermined distance from the thin fabric material 32 of the upper 14 so that the thin fabric material 32 defines a surface of the mold forming the shape of the midsole 10 or the polyurethane, as will be discussed further below.
  • Once the upper 14 is lasted, the lasted upper 16 is secured to the top plate 18, as shown in FIG. 4. In particular, the top plate 18 may have first and second parts 42, 44. The first and second parts 42, 44 may be pivoted about a pivot axis 46 to open the top plate 18 as shown in FIG. 4 or to close the top plate 18 as shown in FIG. 5. Referring back to FIG. 4, the first and second parts 42, 44 define an inner periphery 48 which matches the outer periphery 50 of the lasted upper 16. Additionally, the first part 42 may optionally have a sleeve 52 with a slot 54 sized and configured to receive the plate 38 and the post 40 of the lasted upper 16. When the plate 38 of the lasted upper 16 is inserted into the sleeve 52, the post 40 is received into the slot 54. Also, the outer periphery 50 of the lasted upper 16 is snuggly received against the inner periphery 48 of the first part 42. Once the lasted upper 16 is in position, the second part 44 may be rotated to the closed position as shown in FIG. 5 and locked by lock 56.
  • An outsole 58 (see FIG. 5) may be disposed in the cavity 60 of the bottom plate 22 or may be formed in the cavity 60. There are at least two different methods of disposing an outsole 58 on the bottom plate 22. By way of example and not limitation, an outsole 58 may be separately formed in a different mold. A plurality of outsoles 58 may be provided in a bin or other container to be used in the process described herein. Alternatively, the outsole 58 may be formed in place in the cavity 60 of the bottom plate 22. In particular, high density polyurethane may be poured into the cavity 60. Prior to setting of the polyurethane, a mid plate 62 may be rotated about axis 64 over the bottom plate 22. The mid plate 62 together with the bottom plate 22 defines the mold that forms the outsole 58. An injection molding process may also be utilized to form the outsole 58 in place on the bottom plate 22. In particular, the mid plate 62 may be rotated about axis 64 so as to be disposed on top of the bottom plate 22. High density polyurethane may be injected into the cavity 60 defined by the mid plate 62 and the bottom plate 22 through injection port 66. After the polyurethane is injected and cured, the mid plate 62 is rotated off of the bottom plate 22 thereby leaving the outsole 58 in the cavity 60 of the bottom plate 22. The polyurethane of the outsole is typically high density polyurethane for the purpose of providing wear resistance to the footwear.
  • After forming or disposing the outsole 58 in the cavity 60 of the bottom plate 22, a low density polyurethane for the purposes of providing cushioning to the footwear 12 may be poured onto the outsole 58. Prior to setting or curing of the polyurethane, the top plate 18 with the lasted upper 16 secured thereto is rotated about pivot axis 24 so that the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 is now above the curing polyurethane. The outsole 58, the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 and the walls 68 of the cavity 60 define the mold that forms the contour of the midsole 10. Prior to pouring of the polyurethane, an activatable adhesive may be applied (e.g., brushed, sprayed, etc.) to the exposed surface 59 (see FIG. 5) of the outsole 58. When the polyurethane is ready for pouring, the adhesive may be activated (e.g., flash, heat or the like). If the polyurethane is poured immediately after application of the adhesive, then an activatable adhesive is not required. Rather, a polyurethane reactive adhesive (PUR) is applied and a polyurethane is immediately poured over the outsole 58 onto the adhesive. Once the polyurethane is cured, the adhesive or PUR secures the cured polyurethane/midsole 10 to the outsole 58. The polyurethane or midsole 10 is bonded (e.g., permeated with or fused with) to the thin fabric material 32 of the upper 14 as well as a bottom peripheral edge portion 70 of the upper 14 as shown in FIG. 6A. The polyurethane or midsole 10 expands as it is cured and eventually fills the entire cavity and expands up alongside the bottom peripheral edge portion 70 of the upper 14 and is secured thereto. The footwear 12 may be removed from the footwear fixture 20 as shown in FIG. 6 which is ready to use. External embellishments may be added to the footwear 12 such as a foxing 72, as shown in FIG. 7. The foxing 72 may be pre-cured and adhered to the outsole 58 and the midsole 10. The foxing 72 may be wrapped around the entire footwear 12. Alternatively, the foxing 72 may be adhered to only the toe portion 74 of the footwear 12. In skateboarding, the toe portion 74 of the footwear 12 is utilized to manipulate the skateboard. The foxing 72 provides for extra wear pads to extend the life of the footwear 12.
  • Alternatively, after forming or disposing the outsole 58 in the cavity 60 of the bottom plate 22, a low density polyurethane may be injection molded to form the midsole 10, as shown in FIG. 4A. Prior to injection of the polyurethane, the lasted upper 16 is positioned above the outsole 58 and the bottom plate 23. The top plate 19 a, b may be closed upon the lasted upper 16 so that the outsole 58, top plate 19 a, b and the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 defines the mold for the midsole 10. Prior to movement of the lasted upper 16 and the top plate 19 a, b, an activatable adhesive may be applied to the exposed surface of the outsole 58 which adheres the outsole 58 to the midsole 10. If the polyurethane is injected within a short period of time after application of the adhesive, then the adhesive does not need to be an activatable adhesive. Rather, the adhesive may be PUR. If a substantial amount of time is elapsed after application of the adhesive onto the outsole 58, then the adhesive should be an activatable adhesive. One that is activatable by heat or light. If the adhesive is an activatable adhesive, then prior to closing the top plate 18 above the outsole 58, the activatable adhesive is activated. The top plate 18 is closed on top of the outsole 58. Low density polyurethane is injected into the space between the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16 and the outsole 58 by way of injection port 66. The polyurethane expands into the space and any air is out gassed through the thin fabric material 32. The polyurethane is directly attached (e.g., fused with the material 32 or permeated within the material 32) to the upper 14. Also, the polyurethane or midsole 10 is adhered to the outsole 58.
  • The activatable adhesive or PUR applied to the outsole 58 may cover the entire exposed surface of the outsole 58 or something less than the entire exposed surface of the outsole 58. By way of example and not limitation, the outer peripheral portion of the exposed surface of the outsole may be covered with adhesive or PUR for providing a peripheral seal between the midsole 10 and the outsole 58. Other patterns of adhesive or PUR coverage are also contemplated such as front/back, side to side, dotted, etc.
  • Referring now to FIG. 8, a fixture 20 a for manufacturing a cupsole footwear is shown. The fixture 20 a may include a top plate 18 a for positioning a lasted upper 16 a and a bottom plate 22 a. The top plate 18 a may be rotated about axis 24 a so that the top and bottom plates 18, 22 may be disposed one on top of the other. The bottom plate 22 a may include a cavity 60 a sized and configured to receive a cupsole 76. Similar to the prior embodiment, the lasted upper 16 a may be mounted to the top plate 18 a. Optionally, by way of example and not limitation, the plate 38 a of the lasted upper 16 may be inserted into the sleeve 52 as shown in FIG. 8. Once the lasted upper 16 a is in position with respect to the first part 42 a, the second part 44 a is not yet traversed to the closed position. The cupsole 76 is disposed within the cavity 60 a, as shown in FIG. 9. Prior to pouring polyurethane into the cupsole 76, PUR or an activatable adhesive may be applied to the interior surface 78 of the cupsole 76, as shown in FIG. 8. The adhesive may be activated, polyurethane poured into the cupsole 76 (see FIG. 9) then the top plate 18 a rotated about axis 24 a onto the bottom part 22 a, as shown in FIG. 10. If the polyurethane is poured immediately after application of the adhesive, then the adhesive does not need to be an activatable adhesive. Rather, PUR is applied to the interior surface 78 of the cupsole 76. The polyurethane is then immediately poured onto the PUR. After the top and bottom plates 18 a, 22 a are disposed on top of each other, the second part 44 a is now traversed to the closed position and locked, as shown in FIG. 10. When the second part 44 a is traversed to the closed position, the inner periphery 48 a of the first and second parts 42 a, 44 a pushes against a lip 80 (see FIG. 11) of the cupsole 76 so that the adhesive may bond the lip 80 of the cupsole 76 to the bottom peripheral edge portions 70 a of the upper 14. The polyurethane expands in the space between the cupsole 76 and the bottom surface 26 of the lasted upper 16. The gas between the surface 26 and the cupsole 76 may be gassed out of the thin fabric material 32 and the polyurethane fills the entire cavity 60 so that there are negligible or no rat holes or gaps therebetween.
  • Referring back to FIG. 8A, the cupsole 76 may also be fabricated in a two part form. In particular, the outsole 58 a may be attached to a pre-cured foxing 72 a prior to insertion in the bottom plate 22 a. Additionally, the adhesive may be applied to an area less than the entire interior surface of the cupsole 76. Importantly, the adhesive or bonding agent should cover the interior surface of the lip 80 and the cupsole 76. The adhesive may cover more than the lip 80 of the cupsole 76 such as a peripheral portion, front to back, side to side, dotted, etc.
  • Referring now to FIG. 12, an injection molding fixture for a cupsole is shown. In particular, the cupsole 76 b may have a notch 82. When the cupsole 76 b is inserted into the cavity 60 b, the notch 82 is aligned to an injection port 84 through which polyurethane may be injected into or on the cupsole 76 b at a later time.
  • An activatable adhesive may be applied (e.g., sprayed, brushed, etc.) to the interior surface 78 b of the cupsole 76 b. With the cupsole 76 b disposed on the bottom plate 22 b, the adhesive may be activated (e.g., flash activated or heat activated). After activation, the lasted upper 16 may be brought down over the cupsole 76 b so that the bottom surface 26 b of the lasted upper 16 b and the cupsole 76 b define a mold for the midsole 10. Thereafter, the first and second parts 42 b, 44 b may be traversed to the closed position so that the first and second parts 42 b, 44 b may press against the lip 80 b of the cupsole 76 b onto the bottom peripheral edge portion 70 b of the lasted upper 16 b, as described in relation to FIG. 11. Polyurethane is now injected into the injection port 84 to fill the cavity defined by the cupsole 76 b and the bottom surface 26 b of the lasted upper 16 b. The polyurethane may be allowed to expand into the cavity 60. Any gas is out gassed through the thin fabric material 32 of the lasted upper 16 b. The polyurethane is now attached (e.g., fused or permeated with the material 32) to the upper 14. The notch 82 may be plugged with a filler 96 by way of a post production process.
  • Referring now to FIG. 13, a bottom plate 22 is shown. The top plate 18, lasted upper 16 as well as other parts of the fixture 20 are not shown for the purposes of clarity. In manufacturing or building the vulc style footwear or the cupsole footwear, the outsole 58 or the cupsole 76 may have one or more apertures 90. The apertures 90 allow the polyurethane forming the midsole 10 to fill the aperture 90 in the cupsole 76 or the outsole 58. The polyurethane may be visible during normal use. The outsole and cupsole 76 with apertures 90 may be used in both the pouring method or the injection molding method described herein. Furthermore, the apertures 90 may provide for spewing of the polyurethane forming the midsole 10. By way of example and not limitation, the bottom plate 22 or the top plate 18 when appropriate may have recesses aligned to the apertures 90. The polyurethane forming the midsole 10 is expandable. The polyurethane may expand different amounts even though a regulated or predetermined amount of polyurethane is injected or poured. The excess amount of polyurethane may spew out of the apertures 90. The spewed out portion of the polyurethane may be cut off or finished as a post-production process.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 14 and 15, a replaceable back mold 92, 94 is shown. The replaceable back mold 92, 94 may be inserted into a slot 96 formed in the bottom plate 22. The mold surface 98 of the replaceable back molds 92, 94 may have any configuration or aesthetic pattern. During manufacturing of multiple styles of footwear, the back molds 92, 94 may be interchanged as desired to match the style of footwear being manufactured.
  • In manufacturing the vulc style footwear or cupsole style footwear, low density polyurethane may be attached or bonded to the bottom of the upper. In this process, the low density polyurethane expands and contacts the bottom of the lasted upper. The polyurethane conforms to the contour of the polyurethane so that a different fixture is not required for each different last. Generally, as long as the top gage 88 of the upper 14 remains the same, the same fixture may be used for lasts having a different bottom surface since the midsole 10 conforms to the contour of the bottom of the last 28.
  • The footwear and methodology described herein was described in relation to polyurethane material, both high density for wear resistance or low resistance for cushioning purposes. It is also contemplated that other materials may be utilized in the method and the footwear such as any thermoset material (e.g., blown rubber, rubber, etc.) or thermoplastic (TPR, TPU, etc.). Also, various blends of polyurethane may be utilized. Additionally, the fixture 20 is shown as a hand operated fixture. However, other automatic and mechanical fixtures are also contemplated. The first and second parts 42, 44 of the top plate 18 do not necessarily need to rotate about pivot axis 46. Rather, the first and second parts 42, 44 may be hydraulically operated to come together or spread apart in automated machinery. Furthermore, the top plate 18, bottom plate 22 and the mid plate 62 may all work together in an automated machinery environment.
  • The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various other types of fixtures. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.

Claims (16)

  1. 1. A footwear comprising:
    an upper defining a bottom surface and an exterior shell;
    a midsole fused to the bottom surface of the upper, the midsole defining a bottom surface; and
    an outsole attached to the bottom surface of the midsole.
  2. 2. The footwear of claim 1 wherein the outsole is adhered to the bottom surface of the midsole.
  3. 3. The footwear of claim 1 wherein the exterior shell defines a bottom peripheral portion and the midsole is bonded to the bottom peripheral portion of the exterior shell.
  4. 4. The footwear of claim 1 wherein the midsole and the outsole are both polyurethane and the polyurethane of the midsole has a lower density compared to the polyurethane of the outsole so that the midsole provides cushioning and the outsole provide wear resistance.
  5. 5. The footwear of claim 1 wherein the outsole is a cupsole with the midsole adhered to the interior surface of the cupsole and a lip of the cupsole adhered to a bottom peripheral portion of the upper.
  6. 6. The footwear of claim 1 further comprising a foxing attached to the outer periphery of the outsole, and the midsole is adhered to the inner surface of the foxing and an upper surface of the outsole.
  7. 7. The footwear of claim 1 wherein the midsole is bonded to the entire bottom surface of the upper to facilitate force transfer between a wearer's foot and outsole.
  8. 8. A method of manufacturing footwear, the method comprising the steps of:
    disposing an outsole on a first plate, the outsole defining a top surface;
    disposing a upper in a second plate wherein the second plate is traverseable to a first position with respect to the first plate;
    disposing settable liquid on the top surface of the outsole;
    traversing the second plate to the first position with respect to the first plate so that a bottom surface of the upper is adjacent to the settable liquid on an opposite side from the outsole, the top surface of the outsole and the bottom surface of the upper defines a mold for forming a midsole from the settable liquid;
    curing the settable liquid to a solid state to bond the midsole to the bottom surface of the upper.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8 further comprising the step of applying an adhesive to the upper surface of the outsole to adhere the midsole to the outsole.
  10. 10. The method of claim 8 wherein the disposing an outsole on the first plate includes disposing a cupsole on the first plate.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10 wherein the second plate includes first and second parts that clamp around the lasted upper when the first and second parts are in a closed position, and the method further comprises the step of first applying adhesive to a lip of the cupsole, second traversing the second plate to the first position so that the lip of the cupsole is positioned between the upper and the first and second parts, and third traversing the first and second parts to the closed position to apply pressure on the lip of the cupsole to the upper.
  12. 12. The method of claim 11 further comprising the step of activating the applied adhesive.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12 wherein the activating step comprises the step of activating the applied adhesive with light or heat.
  14. 14. The method of claim 8 wherein the traversing step includes the step of rotating the first and second plates with respect to each other about a common pivot axis.
  15. 15. The method of claim 7 further comprising the step of lasting the upper and disposing the lasted upper in the second plate.
  16. 16. A method of manufacturing footwear, the method comprising the steps of:
    disposing an outsole on a first plate, the outsole defining a top surface;
    disposing a lasted upper in a second plate wherein the second plate is traverseable to a first position with respect to the first plate;
    traversing the second plate to the first position with respect to the first plate so that a bottom surface of the lasted upper is adjacent the outsole so as to define a mold for a midsole;
    injecting settable liquid between the bottom surface of the lasted upper and the outsole;
    curing the settable liquid to a solid state to form the midsole;
    attaching the settable liquid to the upper and the outsole.
US12695609 2010-01-28 2010-01-28 Method and Product for Manufacturing Vulcanized Footwear or Cupsole Footwear Abandoned US20110179668A1 (en)

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US12902015 US8640291B2 (en) 2010-01-28 2010-10-11 Method and product for manufacturing vulcanized footwear or cupsole footwear

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