US20120198728A1 - Athletic shoe sole for personal transportation device - Google Patents

Athletic shoe sole for personal transportation device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120198728A1
US20120198728A1 US13/021,622 US201113021622A US2012198728A1 US 20120198728 A1 US20120198728 A1 US 20120198728A1 US 201113021622 A US201113021622 A US 201113021622A US 2012198728 A1 US2012198728 A1 US 2012198728A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
zone
shoe sole
foot
user
shoe
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Abandoned
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US13/021,622
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Ryan Farrelly
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CHATAND Inc
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FREELINE SPORTS Inc
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Priority to US13/021,622 priority Critical patent/US20120198728A1/en
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Assigned to Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP reassignment Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP SECURITY INTEREST Assignors: FREELINE SPORTS, INC.
Assigned to Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP reassignment Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP SECURITY INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FREELINE SPORTS, INC.
Publication of US20120198728A1 publication Critical patent/US20120198728A1/en
Assigned to CHATAND, INC. reassignment CHATAND, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FREELINE SPORTS, INC., FORMERLY KNOWN AS FREE
Assigned to FREELINE SPORTS, INC. reassignment FREELINE SPORTS, INC. SECURITY INTEREST TERMINATION Assignors: Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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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
    • 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
    • A43B13/141Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form with a part of the sole being flexible, e.g. permitting articulation or torsion
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/14Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form
    • A43B13/16Pieced soles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/14Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form
    • A43B13/18Resilient soles
    • A43B13/187Resiliency achieved by the features of the material, e.g. foam, non liquid materials
    • A43B13/188Differential cushioning regions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B3/00Footwear characterised by the shape or the use
    • A43B3/0036Footwear characterised by a special shape or design
    • A43B3/0063U-shaped
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1415Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1415Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot
    • A43B7/142Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot situated under the medial arch, i.e. the navicular or cuneiform bones
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1415Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot
    • A43B7/1435Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot situated under the joint between the fifth phalange and the fifth metatarsal bone
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1415Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot
    • A43B7/144Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the location under the foot situated under the heel, i.e. the calcaneus bone
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1475Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form characterised by the type of support
    • A43B7/148Recesses or holes filled with a support or pad

Abstract

A shoe sole includes a plurality of zones having different hardness, the zones designed specifically for an extreme athlete to increase wear resistance of the shoe while optimizing flexibility, stability, and performance. The zones can be strategically located on locations of the sole corresponding to particular foot anatomy and expected levels of stress and wear.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/616,969, filed Jun. 13, 2006 (now U.S. Pat. No. 7,059,613, granted Jun. 13, 2006), U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/536,437 (published as U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0176565), U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/350,864 (published as U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0174163), and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/465,561 (published as U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0090423) are each hereby incorporated in their entireties by reference herein.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONS
  • 1. Field of the Inventions
  • The present inventions are directed to shoes, and specifically to athletic shoes and shoe outsoles for use with personal transportation devices.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • So-called “extreme sports” are rapidly gaining popularity as entertaining, exciting, and healthy alternatives to traditional modes of exercise and entertainment. For example, skateboarding contests are routinely held nationwide, and the sport's popularity has carried over into such popular media as video games and movies. Many more pro-skateboarders have sufficient name recognition to warrant marketing and promotion contracts for various products. Similarly, in-line skating, street luge, and trick bike riding have all seen large increases in participation. Additionally, many “skate parks” have been built across the United States and include features specifically designed for skating-type sports.
  • In order to continue the growth present in this segment of sports and entertainment, extreme sports continue to be developed and existing sports improved upon. Extreme sport participants are seeking new methods and devices to challenge their skills and provide greater excitement. For instance, skateboarding has evolved from maneuvering on flat surfaces, to down hill racing, to half-pipes and ramps, and to the purpose-built skate parks that simulate a variety of challenges within a small space. As the challenges have evolved, so has the technology of the personal transportation device (e.g. skateboard), and its related equipment (e.g. helmets, shoes, pads, etc.).
  • Skateboarders, in-line skaters, and the like continue to look for advancements in technology that will provide them with not only the ability to practice, demonstrate, and improve their skills and abilities, but also to keep their bodies healthy and safe.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTIONS
  • An aspect of at least one of the embodiments disclosed herein includes the realization that some characteristics of the materials used for shoe soles can be adjusted to enhance the feel as well as the useful life of shoes used in skating. For example, the hardness of shoe soles (e.g. outsoles) can be varied in certain areas to enhance both sensitivity and improved wear resistance.
  • Thus, in accordance with an embodiment, a shoe outsole for use with a personal transportation device can comprise a first zone having a first durometer hardness, the first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration and comprising a first section configured to extend directly underneath the distal end of a user's toes, a second section configured to extend along the medial aspect of the forefront and/or midfoot of a user's foot, and a third section configured to extend generally along the width of the user's foot and underneath the ball of a user's foot. The shoe outsole can further comprise a second zone having a second durometer hardness, a third zone having a third durometer hardness, a fourth zone having a fourth durometer hardness, the fourth zone having a generally circular shape and configured to extend generally underneath the heel of a user's foot, and a fifth zone having a fifth durometer hardness, the fifth zone having a generally arc-shaped configuration and configured to extend generally underneath the heel of a user's foot. The first, fourth, and fifth durometer hardnesses can be substantially the same, the second and third durometer hardnesses can be substantially the same, and the first, fourth, and fifth durometer hardnesses can greater than the second and third durometer hardnesses.
  • In accordance with yet another embodiment, a shoe sole can comprise a first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration, the first zone comprising a first section configured to extend directly underneath the distal end of a user's toes, a second section configured to extend along the medial aspect of the forefront and/or midfoot of a user's foot, a third section configured to extend generally along the width of the user's foot and underneath the ball of a user's foot, and a second zone adjacent the first zone, wherein the first zone has a durometer hardness greater than that of the second zone.
  • In accordance with yet another embodiment, a shoe sole can comprise a plurality of zones including a first zone, the first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration, the first zone having a durometer hardness at least ten points higher than at least another of the plurality of zones.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features and advantages of the present embodiments will become more apparent upon reading the following detailed description and with reference to the accompanying drawings of the embodiments, in which:
  • FIGS. 1-3 are schematic illustrations of the skeletal anatomy of the human foot;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic bottom plan view of an athletic shoe outsole for designed for the foot of FIGS. 1-3, constructed in according with an embodiment;
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic side plan view of an athletic shoe incorporating the shoe outsole of FIG. 4.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • An improved shoe outsole is disclosed herein. The embodiments disclosed herein are described in the context of a shoe outsole for use with a personal transportation device for “board-type skating sports” because the embodiments disclosed herein have particular utility in this context. However, the embodiments and inventions herein can also be applied to shoes and shoe soles for other uses, including but not limited to so-called “extreme sports’, as well as “traditional sports” such as tennis, running, etc. Additionally, the embodiments and inventions herein can be applied not only to shoe outsoles, but also to shoe insoles. “Personal transportation devices,” as disclosed herein, can include, but are not limited to, those devices used in an extreme sporting or exercise activity, such as skates, skateboards, and the like. “Non-bound board-type skating sports”, as described herein, can include, but are not limited to activities in which the user stands on one or more boards, such as a skate board or surfboard, without a rigid connection between the board and the user's feet. In such activities, because there is no direct, rigid connection between the user's feet and the device, shoes which transmit some feeling from the device to the user's feet can provide certain can benefits, for example, providing a means for the user to feel the device beneath their feet.
  • At least one of the present inventions includes the realization that the sole of a shoe can be configured to accommodate certain movements of a human foot, for example, based on the anatomy of the human foot, as well as provide enhanced resistance against wear commonly resulting from certain activities such as non-bound board-type skating sports.
  • With regard to the anatomy of the human foot, as shown in FIG. 1, the human foot comprises a plurality of bones supported and connected by tissue and muscle. The human foot is commonly described as including the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot. The hindfoot comprises the calcaneus, commonly referred to as the heel bone, which is the largest bone in the foot providing both stability and weight-bearing support, along with the talus, commonly referred to as the ankle bone. The midfoot comprises the navicular, the cuboid, and three cuneiform bones, and the forefoot comprises five long metatarsal bones, along with the phalanges, which are the small bones of the toes. The foot also comprises two small sesamoid bones located underneath the first metatarsal (i.e. beneath the big toe joint). The sesamoid bones help the big toe to move and can provide a weight-bearing surface.
  • The heads of the metatarsal bones, along with the sesamoid bones, generally form what is referred to as the “ball” of the human foot, the portion of the foot sole between the toes and the arch on which the body rests when the heel is raised.
  • The foot also typically includes longitudinal arches, which are generally formed by the tarsal bones (i.e. navicular, cuboid, and cuneiform) and metatarsal bones. The medial arch is formed of the calcaneus, talus, navicular, and cuneiform bones, and the first, second, and third metatarsal bones. The lateral arch is formed from the calcaneus, cuboid, and fourth and fifth metatarsals. Both arches are strengthened by ligaments and tendons in the foot.
  • During certain types of sporting activities, such as non-bound board-type sports such as skateboarding, surfing and other similar sports, users can press portions of their feet against the associated board, while allowing other portions of their feet to be spaced from the board. For example, during certain skateboarding activities, a user can raise one or both heels off of the board, while pressing their toes against the board. During such a maneuver, the toes are bent upwardly, in the direction of arrow U in FIG. 2, such that the proximal phalanges bend upwardly relative to the metatarsals, the intermediate phalanges bend upwardly relative to the proximal phalanges, and the distal phalanges bend upwardly further relative to the intermediate phalanges. In other maneuvers, such as “aerial” skateboarding maneuvers, the user can bend one or more of the toes downwardly, such as in the direction of arrow D of FIG. 2, such that the proximal phalanges bend downwardly relative to the metatarsals, the intermediate phalanges bend downwardly relative to the proximal phalanges, and the distal phalanges bend further downwardly relative to the intermediate phalanges. These movements of the foot are merely examples of some of the basic movements of parts of the foot that occur during activities such as non-bound board-type sports and is not meant to be a complete catalog of every movement of every part of the human foot during such activities. However, the above description of those basic movements provide a basis for describing the subtlety of such movements in light of the understanding that during such maneuvers, such as aerial maneuvers, users expect to be able to feel the board with their feet, through their shoes. For example, during an aerial maneuver in a non-bound board-type sports activity, such as when a skateboarder leaps into the air, skateboarders might curl their toes up or down to gently maintain contact with the skateboard while in the air. During such a maneuver, the skateboarder needs to have the ability to feel the skateboard through the shoe. More specifically, skateboarders need to locate the board under their feet while they are performing an aerial maneuver. Thus, prior art shoes designed for non-bound board-type sports, such as skateboarding, are typically made from thin, soft outsoles to provide the user with the ability to feel the skateboard beneath their feet through the shoes. However, it is widely known that shoes that are specifically designed for skateboarding often wear out very fast with use, as quickly as less than one month of daily riding.
  • An aspect of at least one of the inventions disclosed herein includes the realization that shoes can be provided with sufficient flexibility for non-bound board-type sports, yet with enhanced wear protection by selectively using higher wear resistant materials in selected portions of an outsole of a shoe. For example, but without limitation, an outsole of a shoe can be provided with softer materials, such as those commonly used in skateboard shoes, as well as harder materials (higher durometer values) on other parts which commonly fail or wear-through first, in a manner that preserves the flexibility desired for certain activities. For example, an outsole can be provided with harder materials in the areas beneath the tips of the toes (distal phalanges) and under the distal ends of the metatarsals, and a softer, more flexible material, in the area between the metatarsals. As such, the areas with harder material help provide better wear resistance while the interstitial softer material allows for flexibility, such as the curling of toes. As such, users are provided with the desired feel; the ability to feel a non-bound board beneath their feet, as well as enhanced wear prevention. Other parts of the outsole of the shoe can also be configured to provide similar flexibility and enhanced wear prevention.
  • With reference to FIG. 2, a shoe outsole 10 can be designed specifically with this anatomy of the human foot in mind, and in particular, with the anatomy of an athlete in mind. For example, the outsole 10 can have various areas or zones of differing hardness to provide support and/or flexibility for certain areas of the outsole to provide the desired flexibility for certain athletes such as those who perform non-bound board-type skating sports, as well as to enhance the useful life of the shoe. In some embodiments, the shoe outsole 10 can comprise a plurality of areas or zones with one or more of the areas or zones having a hardness greater than one or more of the other areas or zones on the shoe outsole 10.
  • In at least one embodiment, the shoe outsole 10 can comprise a first zone 12. As seen in FIG. 2, the first zone 12 can have a generally C-shape, or U-shape configuration, though other configurations and shapes for a first zone 12 are also possible. The C-shaped or U-shaped configuration of the first zone 12 can comprise a first section 14, a second section 16, and a third section 18. The first section 14 can be configured to extend directly underneath the distal end of a user's toes (i.e. the distal phalanges). The second section 16 can be configured to extend along the medial aspect of the forefront and/or midfoot of the user's foot. In some embodiments, the second section extends generally beneath the “big toe” of a human foot, from the distal phalange of the big toe to the distal end of the metatarsal which corresponds to the big toe.
  • The third section 18 can be configured to extend generally along the width of the user's foot. For example, the third section 18 can extend generally underneath the distal ends of the metatarsal bones, sesamoid bones, and/or the proximal ends of the proximal phalanges, and/or underneath the “ball” of the foot adjacent the medial arch.
  • Each of the first, second, and/or third sections 14, 16, 18 can be located on the shoe outsole 10 in locations where a user's foot may typically encounter greater stress and/or contact with the shoe outsole 10 than at other locations on the sole of the foot. For example, extreme athletes such as skateboarders, in-line skaters, and others often use particular sections, bones, and muscles of their feet to execute movements, including but not limited to turning, twisting, oscillating the feet, changing directions, etc. These movements can generate levels of stress in the foot, in locations on the foot, not typically encountered by non-athletes, or by non-extreme athletes.
  • For a skateboarder, an athlete performing a non-bound board-type sports activity, such as an athlete using the type of personal transportation device described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 7,059,613, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0176565), U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0174163), and/or U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0090423), it is important for the first zone 12 to allow the user to bend their toes and to transmit feeling through the first zone 12, for example, such that the user can feel the non-bound board beneath their feet, such as during aerial maneuvers.
  • For at least these reasons, the first zone 12 can be comprised of a material that has a greater flexibility than other portions of the outsole 10, such as the portions which the first zone 12 surrounds. For example, the first zone 12 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is ten points higher in durometer than a second zone 20 and/or third zone 22. In some embodiments, the first zone 12 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is 20 points higher in durometer value than second zone 20 and/or third zone 22. In some embodiments, the first zone 12 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is 30 points higher in durometer than second, zone 20 and/or third zone 22. Other durometer values are also possible.
  • In some embodiments, the first zone 12 can be comprised of rubber, latex, or PU, though other suitable materials are also possible. In some embodiments, the first zone 12 can have a durometer hardness of between approximately 75-90. Other ranges and/or values of durometer hardness are also possible. For example, in some embodiments, the durometer hardness of the first zone 12 can range from approximately 85-90. In some embodiments the durometer hardness can be greater than 80. In some embodiments the durometer hardness can be greater than 90.
  • In some embodiments, the second and third zones 20, 22 can comprise, for example rubber, latex, or PU, though other suitable materials are also possible. In some embodiments, the second and third zones 20, 22 can have a durometer of hardness between approximately 50-74. Other ranges and/or values of durometer hardness are also possible. For example, in some embodiments the second and third zones 20, 22 can have a durometer hardness of between approximately 50-60. In some embodiments, the durometer hardness can be less than 60. In some embodiments the durometer hardness can be less than 50. As illustrated in FIG. 2, in some embodiments the second zone 20 can be separated from the third zone 22 by the first zone 12. In some embodiments the second zone can be surrounded by the first zone 12.
  • The increased hardness of first zone 12 can provide greater wear resistance in the area of first zone 12. Without this increased hardness, the abrasions generated by extreme sports such as skateboarding, or other non-bound board-type sports etc. can lead to rapid deterioration and wear of a shoe sole.
  • The reduced hardness of second and third zones 20, 22, can provide added flexibility in these areas of the shoe sole, allowing the athlete's foot to bend and twist as desired, such as those bending movements described above. Additionally, for example, the second zone 20 can permit the user to flex lateral side of the forefoot, thereby facilitating gripping, turning, and/or twisting motions during skating, while still providing ample support and stability for the toes and ball of the foot.
  • With continued reference to FIGS. 2, the shoe outsole 10 can further comprise a fourth zone 24, and/or a fifth zone 26. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the fourth zone 24 can have a generally circular shape, and the fifth zone 26 can have a generally arc-like shape extending along a portion o the periphery of the fourth zone 24, though other configurations and shapes for the fourth and fifth zones are also possible. The shape of fourth zone 24 and fifth zone 26 can be configured, for example, so as to accommodate and/or receive at least a portion of the heel (calcaneus) of a user's foot.
  • As with the first zone 12, each of the fourth and fifth zones 24, 26 can be located on the shoe outsole 10 in locations where a user's foot may typically encounter greater stress and/or contact with the shoe outsole 10 than at other locations. For example, athletes often use their heels to execute movements on a personal transportation device, including but not limited to turning, twisting, changing directions, etc. As described above, these movements can generate levels of stress on the foot or abrasions, and in locations on the foot, not typically encountered by other athletes or by the common shoe wearer.
  • For at least these reasons, the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can be comprised of a material that has a greater hardness than surrounding portions of the outsole 10, including the portion disposed between the fourth and fifth zones 24, 26. For example, the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is ten points higher in durometer than the second zone 22 and/or third zone 26. In some embodiments, the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is 20 points higher in durometer than second zone 20 and/or third zone 22. In some embodiments, the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can be comprised of a material that has a hardness that is 30 points higher in durometer than second zone 20 and/or third zone 22. Other durometer values are also possible.
  • In some embodiments, the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can be comprised of the same materials and hardnesses noted above used for the first zone 12, though other suitable materials are also possible. Other ranges and/or values of durometer hardness are also possible.
  • The increased hardness of the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26 can provide greater wear resistance in the area of the fourth and/or fifth zones 24, 26. Without this increased hardness, the stresses generated by sports such as skateboarding, non-bound board-type sports, etc. can lead to rapid deterioration and wear of a shoe sole in the heel area. By providing a zone or zones with increased hardness in particular areas of the shoe sole, the extreme athlete's foot can be more firmly supported, making it easier to execute the types of movements necessary to be successful in his or her sport.
  • While the embodiments described above describe a shoe outsole 10 with five zones (i.e. a first zone 12, second zone 20, third zone 22, fourth zone 24, and fifth zone 26), in some embodiments other numbers of zones are possible. For example, in some embodiments, the shoe outsole 10 can comprise only two zones, a first zone 12 and another zone similar to second zone 20 that comprises the remainder of the shoe sole 10. In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 can comprise additional zones other than those described above. For example, in some embodiments the shoe sole 10 can comprise an additional sixth zone 28. The additional sixth zone 28 can be comprised, for example of the same material used to form one or more of the first zone 12, fourth zone, 24, and fifth zone 26. The sixth zone 28 can provide added stiffness and support to an extreme athlete's foot along a medial aspect of the middle of the athlete's foot.
  • In some embodiments, the material forming each of zones can be different for each zone. For example, the material forming the first, second, third, fourth, and/or fifth zones 12, 20, 22, 24, 26, can be different for each zone. In some embodiments, two or more zones can be comprised of substantially the same material. For example, in some embodiments the material forming the first zone 12 can be substantially the same as the material forming the fourth zone 24 and fifth zone 26. In some embodiments the material forming the second and third zones 20, 22 can be substantially the same.
  • In some embodiments, two or more zones can have substantially the same hardness. For example, in some embodiments the hardness of the first zone 12 can be substantially the same as the hardness of the fourth zone 24 and fifth zone 26. In some embodiments the hardness of the second and third zones 20, 22 can be substantially the same.
  • Additionally, in some embodiments, the first zone 12, or any of the other zones described above, can be comprised of more than one material, and/or have different durometers of hardness throughout the zone. For example, first section 14 can have a different hardness than third section 18, and/or can be comprised of a different material than third section 18.
  • While only a shoe sole for a left foot has been shown and illustrated, it is understood that the shoe sole for a right foot could similarly incorporate the same types of zones, hardnesses, and materials described above.
  • Additionally, and with reference again to FIG. 4, in some embodiments the second zone 20 can be contained within the confines of the first zone 12, such that the second zone 20 is bordered on all sides (except for the lateral edge of the shoe sole 10 itself) by the first zone 12.
  • In some embodiments, the second zone 20 can have an oblong shape. For example, the second zone 20 can have an outer edge that forms generally a “C”-shape along its medial side, as seen for example in FIG. 4.
  • In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 can have a midline “M” as illustrated in FIG. 4. The midline “M” can extend generally from the heel portion of the shoe sole 10 to the toe portion of the shoe sole 10, along a longitudinally middle portion of the shoe sole 10, thus dividing the shoe sole 10 into both a lateral section and a medial section. In some embodiments, the distance from the midline “M” to an outer edge of the shoe sole 10, as measured along a line extending perpendicular to the midline “M”, can be approximately equal on both sides of the midline “M”. Thus, the midline “M” can generally divide the shoe sole 10 equally on both its lateral and medial sides.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 4, in some embodiments a flexible zone (e.g. the second zone 20) can extend from a lateral side of the foot (e.g. a lateral edge of the shoe sole 10) towards a medial side of the foot, extending past the midline “M” and ending on the medial side of the foot prior to the outer edge of the shoe sole 10. In some embodiments, the flexible zone can extend from a lateral side of the shoe sole 10, ending prior to the most medial phalange (i.e. what is commonly referred to as the big toe). In some embodiments, the flexible zone can extend in a medial direction from a lateral edge of the shoe sole 10 until it meets a more rigid or hard section (e.g. first zone 12). The more rigid or hard section can extend underneath the big toe, and wrap around the flexible section, as seen in FIG. 4, such that the distal ends of the phalanges, the entire big toe, and the ball of the foot are all supported by the more rigid section, while the more flexible section in between allows for flexible movement of the toes as described above (i.e. arrows “U” and “D” in FIG. 2). In some embodiments, the more rigid zone can be a continuous, uniformly rigid zone extending from a lateral side of the shoe sole 10, to a medial side of the shoe sole 10, extending toward the heel portion of the shoe sole 10, and then extending back again to the lateral side of the shoe sole 10.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 4, in some embodiments the zones 24 and 26 can be separated by at least a portion of a flexible zone (e.g. flexible zone 22). As with zone 20, this can facilitate not only rigid support of the heel portion of the athlete's foot directly under the calcaneus and along the very back edge of the shoe sole 10, but also permit flexibility between the two zones 24 and 26. In other words, the athlete can bend the back of the shoe sole 10, while still having rigid support in areas that are often worn down quickly, and/or which can be used to implement the types of maneuvers and movements described above.
  • With reference to FIG. 5, an athletic shoe 30 can comprise the shoe sole 10 described above, as well as at least one additional layer or component. For example, in a preferred arrangement, an athletic shoe 30 can comprise a shoe upper 32, an insole 34, and the shoe sole 10 described above. The shoe upper 32 can comprise an upper portion of a shoe (e.g. shoe lacing, leather, etc.). The shoe upper 32 can be connected to or formed integrally with the shoe insole 34. The shoe insole 34 can comprise a typical insole for a shoe. For example, the shoe insole 34 can be comprised of rubber or other commonly used material. The shoe insole 34 can form an initial layer of support beneath a user's foot. The shoe insole 34 can be connected to or integrally formed with the shoe sole 10. For example, the shoe sole 10 can be adhesively bonded to the insole 34. In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 can be generally flat. In other words, it can have little or no grooves, traction points, etc. For example, the shoe sole 10 can have very fine grooves or treads along one or more of its surfaces to facilitate grip with the ground or an unbound board. This is in contrast to boots or sneakers, which generally have significant grooves or changes in profile. The generally smooth nature of shoe sole 10 can advantageously provide a better feel for the athlete, allowing the athlete to more accurately determine whether and where his or her non-bound board is contacting the foot.
  • Additionally, in some embodiments, the thickness of the shoe sole 10 can be limited. A limited shoe sole thickness can also advantageously provide a better feel for the athlete, allowing the athlete to more accurately determine whether and where his or her non-bound board is contacting the foot. This is in contrast, for example, to a boot, where a user can have limited feel through the thick boot layers and sole. For example, as a skateboarder is moving through the air, the skateboarder may be holding the board in his or her hand. As the board is transferred from the hand back underneath the foot, it is advantageous for the skateboarder to know not only whether the board is contacting his or her foot, but also exactly where the board is contacting his or her foot, so that appropriate maneuvers and/or movements can be implemented when the board (or the wheels beneath it) again contact the ground.
  • In some embodiments, the overall thickness of the shoe sole 10 can range between approximately 1 mm and 5 mm along the shoe sole 10, though other ranges and values are also possible. For example, in some embodiments the thickness can range from approximately 1 mm to 10 mm. In some embodiments, the thickness can be less than 10 mm at every point along the shoe sole 10. In some embodiments, the thickness can be less than 15 mm at every point along the shoe sole 10. In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 and its zones can be formed of a single layer of rubber, latex, PU, or other suitable material. In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 and its zones can be formed of a plurality of layers of rubber or other materials. In some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 can be injection molded.
  • Additionally, in some embodiments, the shoe sole 10 can have varying thickness. For example, each of the zones described above can be comprised of the same material, and to add stiffness or hardness to some of the zones, but not others, the stiffer zones can be comprised of thicker amounts of the material. In some embodiments, each of the zones can have the same thickness, and be comprised of different materials. For example, the zones that are intended to have greater stiffness can be comprised of a first material, and the zones that are intended to have greater flexibility can be comprised of a second material, the first and second materials being different.
  • Although these inventions have been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present inventions extend beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the inventions and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. In addition, while several variations of the inventions have been shown and described in detail, other modifications, which are within the scope of these inventions, will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art based upon this disclosure. It is also contemplated that various combinations or sub-combinations of the specific features and aspects of the embodiments can be made and still fall within the scope of the inventions. It should be understood that various features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combined with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the disclosed inventions. Thus, it is intended that the scope of at least some of the present inventions herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above.

Claims (18)

1. A shoe outsole for use with a personal transportation device comprising:
a first zone having a first durometer hardness, the first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration and comprising:
a first section configured to extend directly underneath the distal end of a user's toes;
a second section configured to extend along the medial aspect of the forefront and/or midfoot of a user's foot;
a third section configured to extend generally along the width of the user's foot and underneath the ball of a user's foot;
a second zone having a second durometer hardness;
a third zone having a third durometer hardness;
a fourth zone having a fourth durometer hardness, the fourth zone having a generally circular shape and configured, to extend generally underneath the heel of a user's foot; and
a fifth zone having a fifth durometer hardness, the fifth zone having a generally arc-shaped configuration and configured to extend generally underneath the heel of a user's foot;
wherein the first, fourth, and fifth durometer hardnesses are substantially the same, and wherein the second and third durometer hardnesses are substantially the same;
wherein the first, fourth, and fifth durometer hardnesses are greater than the second and third durometer hardnesses.
2. A shoe sole comprising:
a first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration, the first zone comprising a first section configured to extend directly underneath the distal end of a user's toes, a second section configured to extend along the medial aspect of the forefront and/or midfoot of a user's foot, a third section configured to extend generally along the width of the user's foot and underneath the ball of a user's foot; and
a second zone adjacent the first zone;
wherein the first zone has a durometer hardness greater than that of the second zone.
3. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the first zone has a durometer hardness at least 10 points greater than that of the second zone.
4. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the first zone has a durometer hardness at least 20 points greater than that of the second zone.
5. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the first zone is a continuous zone that extends from a lateral side of the shoe sole to a medial side of the shoe sole, along an entire big toe, and back again to the lateral side of the shoe sole.
6. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the shoe sole has a thickness between approximately 1 mm and 5 mm along the shoe sole.
7. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the shoe sole comprises a midline “M” and the second zone extends from a lateral edge of the shoe sole past the midline “M” of the shoe sole.
8. The shoe sole of claim 2, wherein the second zone is bordered by the first zone and a lateral edge of the shoe sole.
9. A shoe sole comprising:
a plurality of zones including a first zone, the first zone having a generally U-shaped configuration, the first zone having a durometer hardness at least ten points higher than at least another of the plurality of zones.
10. The shoe sole of claim 9, wherein the first zone is located generally along a portion of the shoe sole configured to be positioned under the ball and toes of a user's foot.
11. The shoe sole of claim 9, further comprising a second zone located generally along a portion of the shoe sole configured to be positioned under the heel of a user's foot, the second zone having a durometer hardness at least ten points higher than at least another of the plurality of zones.
12. The shoe sole of claim 11, wherein the second zone has a generally circular shape.
13. The shoe sole of claim 11, wherein the first and second zones have the substantially same durometer hardness.
14. The shoe sole of claim 11, further comprising a third zone, both the first and second zones having a durometer hardness at least ten points higher than the third zone.
15. The shoe sole of claim 11, wherein the first zone is a continuous zone that extends from a lateral side of the shoe sole to a medial side of the shoe sole, along an entire big toe, and back again to the lateral side of the shoe sole.
16. The shoe sole of claim 11, wherein the shoe sole has a thickness between approximately 1 mm and 5 mm along the shoe sole.
17. The shoe sole of claim 11, further comprising a fourth zone, wherein the shoe sole comprises a midline “M” and the fourth zone extends from a lateral edge of the shoe sole past the midline “M” of the shoe sole.
18. The shoe sole of claim 17, wherein the second zone is bordered by the first zone and a lateral edge of the shoe sole.
US13/021,622 2011-02-04 2011-02-04 Athletic shoe sole for personal transportation device Abandoned US20120198728A1 (en)

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