US20150208755A1 - Golf shoe with non-removable cleat and associated methods of making the same - Google Patents

Golf shoe with non-removable cleat and associated methods of making the same Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150208755A1
US20150208755A1 US14605778 US201514605778A US2015208755A1 US 20150208755 A1 US20150208755 A1 US 20150208755A1 US 14605778 US14605778 US 14605778 US 201514605778 A US201514605778 A US 201514605778A US 2015208755 A1 US2015208755 A1 US 2015208755A1
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US
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
cleat
outsole
mold
arms
golf
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US14605778
Inventor
Ernie Rustam
Gerald Kuhtz
Jochen Maerlaender
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adidas AG
Original Assignee
adidas-Salomon (USA) Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B5/00Footwear for sporting purposes
    • A43B5/001Golf 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
    • A43B13/22Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer
    • A43B13/223Profiled soles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/14Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the constructive form
    • A43B13/22Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer
    • A43B13/24Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer by use of insertions
    • A43B13/26Soles made slip-preventing or wear-resisting, e.g. by impregnation or spreading a wear-resisting layer by use of insertions projecting beyond the sole surface
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/16Studs or cleats for football or like boots
    • A43C15/161Studs or cleats for football or like boots characterised by the attachment to the sole
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/16Studs or cleats for football or like boots
    • A43C15/162Studs or cleats for football or like boots characterised by the shape
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43DMACHINES, TOOLS, EQUIPMENT OR METHODS FOR MANUFACTURING OR REPAIRING FOOTWEAR
    • A43D999/00Subject matter not provided for in other groups of this subclass
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C45/00Injection moulding, i.e. forcing the required volume of moulding material through a nozzle into a closed mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C45/17Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C45/26Moulds
    • B29C45/2681Moulds with rotatable mould parts
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C45/00Injection moulding, i.e. forcing the required volume of moulding material through a nozzle into a closed mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C45/17Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C45/26Moulds
    • B29C45/33Moulds having transversely, e.g. radially, movable mould parts
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C45/00Injection moulding, i.e. forcing the required volume of moulding material through a nozzle into a closed mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C45/17Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C45/40Removing or ejecting moulded articles
    • B29C45/44Removing or ejecting moulded articles for undercut articles
    • 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
    • B29D35/0009Producing footwear by injection moulding; Apparatus therefor
    • B29D35/0018Moulds
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/122Soles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/128Moulds or apparatus therefor
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/14Multilayered parts
    • B29D35/142Soles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29DPRODUCING PARTICULAR ARTICLES FROM PLASTICS OR FROM SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE
    • B29D35/00Producing footwear
    • B29D35/12Producing parts thereof, e.g. soles, heels, uppers, by a moulding technique
    • B29D35/14Multilayered parts
    • B29D35/148Moulds or apparatus therefor

Abstract

Defined herein is a golf shoe that includes an outsole, and at least one cleat non-removably coupled to the outsole. The at least one cleat includes a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub. An undercut is defined between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/931,214, filed Jan. 24, 2014, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD
  • [0002]
    The present application is related generally to foot apparel, and more specifically to a cleated golf shoe with non-removable cleats and methods of making the same.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    The need for providing improved traction members for the soles of shoes on turf surfaces is well known, particularly in the field of golf. In golf applications, the need for providing improved traction members, which include cleats or spikes, must be considered in combination with the various components of the golf swing and their mechanics and how the traction requirements at the various points of contact of the golf shoe outsole and cleats with the turf are tailored to these mechanics.
  • [0004]
    Some prior art golf shoe manufacturers attempting to improve the traction of a golf shoe often do so at the expense of the weight of the golf shoe. Further, some golf shoes designed to reduce the weight of the golf shoe often do so at the expense of the traction capabilities of the golf shoe. In other words, known golf shoes fail to provide a satisfactory optimization of traction capability and low weight.
  • [0005]
    Recently, there has been a change from using penetrating metal spikes for golf shoes to removable plastic cleats that are more turf-friendly and less harmful to non-turf surfaces. Golf shoe manufacturers have attempted to make golf shoes with removable cleats that have suitable traction on turf surfaces while being suitable protected from wear and tear due to contact with hard non-turf surfaces. Most golf shoes employing removable plastic cleats include receptacles formed or built into the sole of the golf shoe that removably retain the plastic cleats in place. Often, each plastic cleat includes a threaded fastener configured to threadably engage a mating fastener formed in a receptacle built into the sole of the shoe. A plastic cleat is removable from the shoe by threadably disengaging its fastener with the fastener of the associated receptacle.
  • [0006]
    For adequate engagement between the fastener of the plastic cleat and fastener of the receptacle, the fastener of the receptacle should be sufficiently tall and robust and the receptacle should be sufficiently deep and robust to allow a secure coupling between the fasteners. Because the receptacle is formed in the sole of the shoe, a minimal thickness of the sole is limited by the depth of the receptacle. Furthermore, the weight of the sole, and thus the shoe, is dependent on the thickness of the shoe. For this reason, the relatively thicker soles necessary to accommodate removable cleat receptacles result in heavier shoes. The thicker soles may also negatively affect golfer performance by placing the golfer further away from the playing surface.
  • [0007]
    Additionally, the removable cleat receptacles of many golf shoes are made from heavier, harder, and stronger materials than the sole to ensure the removable cleats are securely and stably retained by the sole. Moreover, such receptacles typically are bulky and difficult to assemble into the sole. Also, some receptacles fail to form a watertight seal with the sole such that the shoe may have inadequate waterproof properties. Accordingly, golf shoes with removable cleats and associated receptacles can be heavy, bulky, unable to provide adequate waterproofing capabilities, and difficult to manufacture.
  • [0008]
    Some conventional golf shoes include soles with non-removable cleats. Although such non-removable cleats may provide some traction on turf, the traction capabilities of most conventional non-removable cleats often are inadequate due to inherent cleat design limitations associated with conventional manufacturing techniques. Accordingly, some conventional golf shoes utilize removable cleats as the primary traction elements and non-removable cleats only as secondary traction elements. For this reason, golf shoes that utilize non-removable cleats may still suffer from excessive weight in view of the cooperative use of removable cleats.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0009]
    The subject matter of the present application has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to the problems and needs in athletic and golf shoe art that have not yet been fully solved by currently available athletic and golf shoes. For example, conventional golf shoes that use removable cleats for improved traction suffer from weight limitations. Also, conventional golf shoes that use only non-removable cleats suffer from traction limitations because conventional manufacturing techniques are not capable of forming non-removable cleats with overhangs or undercuts as a one-piece monolithic construction with the sole of the shoe or as a direct-injected mold. Accordingly, in certain embodiments, a cleated golf shoe is disclosed herein that provides a more optimized combination of traction and low weight compared to known cleated golf shoes. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the cleated golf shoe disclosed herein positions the feet of a golfer closer to the ground, which increases the stability and performance of the golfer. Additionally, in some embodiments, cleated golf shoes disclosed herein provide improved waterproof properties. In other words, the cleated golf shoe described in the present disclosure overcomes many of the shortcomings of the prior art.
  • [0010]
    According to one embodiment, a golf shoe includes an outsole, and at least one cleat non-removably coupled to the outsole. The at least one cleat includes a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub. An undercut is defined between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  • [0011]
    In one implementation of the golf shoe, each of the plurality of flexible arms extends downward away from the outsole and hub. According to certain implementations of the golf shoe, each of the plurality of flexible arms is flexible upwardly toward the outsole and undercut. A first set of the plurality of arms may have a first size and a second set of the plurality of arms may have a second size bigger than the first size.
  • [0012]
    According to certain implementations of the golf shoe, the undercut includes a space directly between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  • [0013]
    In some implementations of the golf shoe, the outsole and the at least one cleat form a one-piece monolithic construction. The at least one cleat can be formed integrally with the outsole. According to one implementation of the golf shoe, the at least one cleat is injection molded onto the outsole. The golf shoe may include a plurality of cleats non-removably coupled to the outsole.
  • [0014]
    According to yet some implementations of the golf shoe, the at least one cleat is made from the same material as the outsole. Alternatively, the at least one cleat can be made from a first material, and the outsole is made from a second material different than the first material.
  • [0015]
    In another embodiment, a method of making a golf shoe includes forming an outsole. The method also includes non-removably coupling at least one cleat to the outsole. The at least one cleat includes a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub. The method further includes forming an undercut between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  • [0016]
    According to one implementation of the method, non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole includes injection molding the at least one cleat directly onto the outsole. Forming the outsole and non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole can include injection molding the outsole and the at least one cleat together as a monolithic one-piece construction.
  • [0017]
    In some implementations, the method also includes providing a mold that defines a cleat-shaped cavity for receiving an injection molding material. The cleat-shaped cavity has a shape corresponding with the at least one cleat. The mold includes at least two vertical portions defining a first portion of the cleat-shaped cavity. The at least two vertical portions are vertically movable relative to each other. Further, the mold includes at least one lateral portion that defines a second portion of the cleat-shaped cavity. The at least one lateral portion is movable relative to the at least two vertical portions.
  • [0018]
    In certain implementations of the method, non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole includes injecting the injection molding material into the cleat-shaped cavity, and forming the undercut includes rotating the at least one lateral portion relative to the at least two vertical portions. The mold may include at least two lateral portions, such that non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole comprises injecting the injection molding material into the cleat-shaped cavity, and forming the undercut comprises laterally moving the at least two lateral portions apart from each other and relative to the at least two vertical portions. One of the at least two vertical portions defines an outer surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity. The outer surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity defines outer surfaces of the at least one cleat. Also, the outer surfaces of the at least one cleat face away from the outsole. According to an implementation, the at least one lateral portion defines an inner surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity. The inner surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity defines inner surfaces of the at least one cleat, where the inner surfaces of the at least one cleat form part of the plurality of flexible arms and face toward the outsole.
  • [0019]
    According to yet another embodiment, an outsole for an athletic shoe includes a base that is coupleable to an upper of the athletic shoe. The outsole also includes at least one cleat that is non-removably coupled to the base. The at least one cleat includes a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub. Additionally, an undercut is defined between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the base.
  • [0020]
    The described features, structures, advantages, and/or characteristics of the subject matter of the present disclosure may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments and/or implementations. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided to impart a thorough understanding of embodiments of the subject matter of the present disclosure. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the subject matter of the present disclosure may be practiced without one or more of the specific features, details, components, materials, and/or methods of a particular embodiment or implementation. In other instances, additional features and advantages may be recognized in certain embodiments and/or implementations that may not be present in all embodiments or implementations. Further, in some instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the subject matter of the present disclosure. The features and advantages of the subject matter of the present disclosure will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the subject matter as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0021]
    In order that the advantages of the subject matter may be more readily understood, a more particular description of the subject matter briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the subject matter and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the subject matter will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the drawings, in which:
  • [0022]
    FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional rear view of a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional rear view of another golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of the outsole of a golf shoe that has non-removable cleats according to one embodiment;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the outsole of a golf shoe with non-removable cleats according to one embodiment;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an apparatus for making a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 6 is a top view of a rotatable mold portion of an apparatus for making a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side view of an apparatus for making a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to yet another embodiment;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 8 is a top view of laterally movable mold portion of an apparatus for making a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment; and
  • [0030]
    FIG. 9 is a method for making a golf shoe with a non-removable cleat according to one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0031]
    Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present disclosure. Appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment,” “in an embodiment,” and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment. Similarly, the use of the term “implementation” means an implementation having a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with one or more embodiments of the present disclosure, however, absent an express correlation to indicate otherwise, an implementation may be associated with one or more embodiments.
  • [0032]
    Referring to FIG. 1, according to one embodiment, a golf shoe 10 is shown in a cross-sectional rear elevation view. The golf shoe 10 includes an upper 20 coupled to an outsole 30. Further, the golf shoe 10 includes a non-removable traction element or cleat 40 that is non-removably coupled to the outsole 30. Although the golf shoe 10 is described herein as a cleated golf shoe to be worn by a golfer while participating in golfing activities, the shoe 10 can be any of various cleated athletic shoes to be worn by a participant in any of various sporting activities without departing from the essence of the present disclosure.
  • [0033]
    The upper 20 can be made from one or more layers of any of various materials that are both lightweight and have sufficient wear resistance or strength. For example, the upper 20 can be made from various types of natural and artificial leathers, textile materials, polymers, and the like. The upper 20 can include multiple layers and/or sections coupled together to form an outer protective covering for the foot of a user, as well as form aesthetically pleasing elements of the golf shoe 10. Additionally, the upper 20 can include toe, heel, and midfoot portions that are coupled to respective toe, heel, and midfoot portions of the outsole 30. The portions of the upper 20 can be coupled to the respective portions of the outsole 30 with any of various materials (e.g., adhesives) and/or using any of various coupling techniques (e.g., bonding, welding, stitching, etc.).
  • [0034]
    The outsole 30 includes an exterior surface 31 and an opposing interior surface 33. The interior surface 33 receives and is coupled directly to the upper 20. The exterior surface 31 includes side surfaces and a bottom or ground contact surface. The ground contact surface may be defined as the exterior surface facing or engaging the ground during use. The outsole 30 includes a base 32 to which the upper 20 is secured. The base 32 is the dominant stabilizing structure of the outsole 30 and provides a desired rigidity and flexibility to the shoe 10. In some implementations, as shown in FIG. 1, the outsole 30 may include one or more inlays 34, 35 non-removably secured to a bottom surface of the base 32. Accordingly, the inlays 34, 35 may define the ground contact surface of the outsole 30 when secured to the base 32. For this reason, in certain implementations, the inlays 34, 35 can be made from a material different than the material of the base 32. For example, the inlays 34, 35 can be made from a material that is harder or softer than the material of the base 32. The inlays 34, 35 can be secured to the base 32 using any of various coupling methods, such as adhesion or bonding.
  • [0035]
    The outsole 30 of the shoe 10 of FIG. 1 includes an opening 36 for facilitating the molding of the non-removable cleat 40. The opening 36 can be formed in the base 32 or an inlay, such as the inlay 34, secured to the base. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the opening 36 is formed in the inlay 34 secured to the base 32 of the outsole 30. In certain implementations, the opening 36 facilitates the proper location of the cleat 40 on the outsole 30, allows molten or pliable material to be injected into a mold for the cleat, and helps secure and retain the cleat to the outsole. According to one embodiment, the cleat 40 is injection molded into the opening 36 and onto the outsole 30 using a bi-directional mold as will be explained in more detail below.
  • [0036]
    Referring to FIG. 2, in some embodiments, the outsole 30 and cleat 40 are formed together such that the outsole and cleat form a one-piece monolithic construction. In such embodiments, the cleat 40 is coupled directly with the base 32 without an intervening inlay. Additionally, according to such embodiments, the base 32 of the outsole 30 does not include an opening for receiving a cleat molded onto the base. Rather, the base 32 of the outsole 30 and the cleat 40 are co-molded using the same mold to form a one-piece monolithic construction. The base 32 and cleat 40 can be co-molded together using a bi-direction mold as will be explained in more detail below.
  • [0037]
    Whether molded onto the outsole 30 or co-molded with the base 32 of the outsole, the cleat 40 includes a hub 42 and a plurality of flexible arms 44 extending from the hub 42. The hub 42 extends directly and downwardly from the outsole 30. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the hub 42 extends directly and downwardly from the inlay 34 of the outsole 30, and in the embodiment of FIG. 2, the hub extends directly and downwardly from the base 32 of the outsole 30. Generally, the hub 42 acts as a stand-off to position the flexible arms 44 downwardly away from the outsole 30 such that a space or undercut 46 is positioned directly between the flexible arms 44 and the ground contact surface of the outsole. The hub 42 can have any of various shapes and sizes. For example, the hubs of the cleats 140 of the shoe 110 of FIG. 3 have a generally disk-like shape with a circular outer periphery. Alternatively, the hubs can have other shapes, such as square, ovular, triangular, and the like. The configuration of the flexible arms 44 and the undercut 46 allow for the arms to flex upwardly toward the outsole 30 (as shown by directional arrows in FIG. 2) when the arms are engaged with the ground. The upward flexing of the arms 44 in this manner helps to decrease wear to the cleat 40, decrease damage to the ground, and increase traction in some situations. An undercut or overhang is defined by the flexible arms 44 because each flexible arm defines an angle θ1, between the arm and the bottom surface of the outsole from which the cleat 40 extends, that is less than 90-degrees (see, e.g., FIG. 1). Furthermore, in some embodiments, the non-removable cleat 40 with a plurality of flexible arms defining overhangs or undercuts positioned on opposing sides of the cleat is itself formed as a one-piece monolithic construction. In other words, the cleat 40 is not made from two separately-formed portions that are secured or attached together, but rather forms a single piece with a plurality of flexible arms surrounding (e.g., on opposing sides of) a hub.
  • [0038]
    Each of the flexible arms 44 extends radially outward and downward away from the hub 42. The arms 44 are spaced apart about an outer periphery (e.g., circumference) of the hub 42. Accordingly, the arms 44 are separated from each other by gaps positioned about the outer periphery. In some implementations, the arms 44 can be equally-spaced about an outer periphery (e.g., circumference) of the hub 42. In yet other implementations, the arms 44 are not equally spaced about the outer periphery of the hub 42. The arms 44 may each have the same shape and size, or alternatively the arms may have different shapes or sizes (see, e.g., the cleats 140 of FIG. 3). Generally, each arm 44 has an elongate shape that gradually curves outwardly and downwardly away from the hub 42. As shown in FIG. 1, in some implementations, each arm 44 has a generally U-shaped cross-section taken along a vertical plane.
  • [0039]
    Referring to FIG. 1, each arm 44 has an inner surface 50, an outer surface 52, and a contact or bottom surface 54. The bottom surface contacts the ground during use, and can remain in contact with the ground as the arms 44 flex upwardly toward the outsole 30. The inner surface 50 may contact the ground with certain terrain, such as turf, or may come into contact with the ground as the arms 44 flex upwardly. The outer surface 52, along with the outer periphery of the hub 42, and the bottom surface of the outsole 30, defines the undercut 46. The volume of the undercut 46 decreases as the arms 44 flex upwardly. The arms 44 are resiliently flexible such that when the arms 44 become disengaged with the ground, the arms flex downwardly away from the outsole 30 as shown by directional arrows in FIGS. 1 and 2, and the volume of the undercut 46 returns to its original volume with the arms 44 in an unflexed state.
  • [0040]
    According to some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a golf shoe 110 may include a plurality of non-removable cleats 140 each having a first set of flexible arms 144 and a second set of flexible arms 145. The flexible arms 144, 145 of each cleat 140 extend radially outwardly and downwardly from a central hub 142 in a manner similar to the cleat 140 of FIGS. 1 and 2. However, different than the flexible arms 44 of the cleat 40, the flexible arms 144, 145 of the first and second sets are configured differently. For example, the flexible arms 144 of the first set are wider and larger than the flexible arms 145 of the second set, and the gaps between the flexible arms 144 may be smaller than the gaps between the flexible arms 145. In certain implementations, the flexible arms 144 of the first set are spaced apart about one portion (e.g., one half) of the circumferential outer periphery of the central hub 142, and the flexible arms 145 of the second set are spaced about another portion (e.g., the other half) of the circumferential outer periphery of the central hub. The different configurations of the flexible arms 144, 145 may be designed to facilitate different purposes. For example, the larger size and width of the flexible arms 144 may facilitate a higher durability and/or rigidity than the flexible arms 145. Accordingly, in some implementations, the orientation of the first and second sets of flexible arms 144, 145 relative to the location of the cleats 140 on the outsole 130 may be selected according to the designed purpose of the arms. For example, the cleats 140 of the golf shoe 110 located on a rearward portion (e.g., midfoot to heel portions) of the outsole 130 may be oriented such that the flexible arms 144 of each cleat are positioned rearward of the flexible arms 145 of the same cleat. In contrast, the cleats 140 located on a forward portion (e.g., midfoot to toe portions) may be oriented such that the flexible arms 144 of each cleat are positioned laterally outwardly of the flexible arms 145. Furthermore, in some implementations, some of the cleats 140, while having the same shape, may be sized differently. For example, two of the rearwardmost cleats 140 and two of the forwardmost cleats 140 may be smaller than the cleats 140 therebetween.
  • [0041]
    Additionally, in some embodiments, the golf shoe 110 includes other non-removable cleats with configurations different than the cleats 140. For example, the golf shoe 110 may include a set of non-removable cleats 150 positioned laterally inwardly of the cleats 140. The cleats 150 have overhanging flexible arms similar to the cleats 140. Although the cleats 150 are identically sized and shaped as shown in FIG. 3, the cleats 150 can be sized and shaped differently from each other. The golf shoe 110 may also include a set of non-removable cleats 160 that do not have overhanging portions or undercuts. Like conventional non-removable cleats, the cleats 160 extend away from the bottom surface of the outsole 130 at an angle θ2 defined between the cleat 160 and the bottom surface that is not less than 90-degrees. Although not shown, in some embodiments, the golf shoe 110 can also include one or more removable cleats that are removably securable to a receptacle coupled or formed in the outsole 130.
  • [0042]
    Some or all of the non-removable cleats 140, 150, 160 can be formed as a one-piece monolithic construction with a base 132 of the outsole 130, or formed directly onto the base 132 as a two-piece construction. In yet some embodiments, some of all of the non-removable cleats 140, 150, 160 can be formed as a one-piece monolithic construction with respective inlays 134, 138, 139, which are then attached to the base 132 of the outsole 130, or formed directly onto a respective inlay as a two-piece construction.
  • [0043]
    In the above embodiments, the non-removable cleats 40, 140, 150 can be made from any of various materials, such as thermoplastics or rubbers, having any of various properties. As defined herein, materials are the same when the materials are of the same type, such as a thermoplastic, and have the same properties, such as the same hardness. Accordingly, materials are considered different even if they are of the same type when one or more properties of the materials are different. The cleats 40, 140, 150 can be made from the same or different materials than the associated inlays or bases of the outsoles. In some implementations, it may be desirable to have cleats made from materials that are harder or stronger than the materials of the inlays or bases. Alternatively, for simplifying the manufacturing process, it may be desirable to make the cleats from the same material as the inlays or bases.
  • [0044]
    In some embodiments, one or more of the non-removable cleats, inlays, or bases, can be made from a hardened polymeric material, including, but not limited to, ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) or blown thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or blown thermoplastic polyurea (TPUA). In yet certain implementations, one or more of the non-removable cleats, inlays, or bases can be made from other suitable materials, including both natural and synthetic rubbers, such as cis-1,4-polybutadiene, trans-1,4-polybutadiene, 1,2-polybutadiene, cis-polyisoprene, trans-polyisoprene, polychloroprene, polybutylene, the styrenic block copolymers such as styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, (SEBS) and styrene-ethylenepropylene-styrene (SEPS), (commercial examples include SEPTON marketed by Kuraray Company of Kurashiki, Japan; TOPRENE by Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd and KRATON marketed by Kraton Polymers®, ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), nylon, carbon fiber, glass fiber, polyaramid (generally designated in the art as an aromatic polycarbonamide) which include those commercially available under the tradenames Kevlar® (E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company), Twaron® (Akzo Nobel), Technora (Teijin), Nomex® and Nomex Z200 (E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company), Teijinconex (Teijin), and Apial (Unitika). Other suitable materials from which one or more of the non-removable cleats, inlays, or bases may be made include the amide block copolymers and ester block copolyethers.
  • [0045]
    According to one embodiment, as indicated in FIG. 9, a method 400 for making a golf shoe includes determining if an outsole, or inlay of an outsole, has been formed at 410. If an outsole or inlay has been formed, then the method 400 injection molds a non-removable cleat with overhanging flexible arms onto the outsole or inlay at 420. However, if an outsole or inlay has not been formed, and it is desirable to co-mold the outsole and a non-removable cleat, then the method 400 proceeds to injection mold an outsole having an integrated non-removable cleat with overhanging flexible arms at 430. As defined herein, a non-removable cleat is integrated with an outsole, or inlay of an outsole, when the cleat and outsole form a one-piece monolithic construction and/or the cleat is not removable from the outsole without deformation or destruction of either the cleat or outsole. The method 400 may be implemented by an apparatus for making a golf shoe.
  • [0046]
    Referring to FIG. 5, according to one embodiment, an apparatus 200 for making a golf shoe is shown. The apparatus 200, in one implementation, is an injection molding machine that receives a pliable material and directs the pliable material into a mold. The pliable material is given time to harden in the shape of the mold, and once hardened is removed from the mold. The apparatus 200 includes respective upper and lower sections 210, 220 that are movable (e.g., vertically) relative to each other to release a molded part. The upper section 210 includes an inlet nozzle 212 that is configured to receive a pliable material. The pliable material enters and passes through a nozzle passageway defined by the inlet nozzle 212 as indicated by directional arrow 216. From the nozzle passageway of the inlet nozzle 212, the pliable material passes through a mold inlet passageway 214 extending through the upper section 210. The mold inlet passageway 214 is open to the nozzle passageway on one end and the mold on the other end.
  • [0047]
    The upper and lower sections 210, 220 retain in place upper and lower mold sections 240, 242 or vertical portions of a mold 218. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper mold section 240 is retained in a cavity 260 defined in the upper section 210 of the apparatus 200, and the lower mold section 242 is retained in a cavity 262 defined in the lower section 220 of the apparatus. The upper and lower mold sections 240, 242 define the upper and lower peripheries of the mold cavity 250 or cleat-shaped cavity of the mold 218. For example, the upper mold section 240 includes an upper cavity recess 243 that defines the upper periphery of the mold cavity 250, and the lower mold section 242 includes a lower cavity recess 244 that defines the lower periphery of the mold cavity. In certain implementations, such as when a non-removable cleat is molded onto a pre-fabricated inlay or outsole, the upper cavity recess 243 is configured to receive and at least partially retain in place the pre-fabricated inlay or outsole while the cleat is molded onto the inlay or outsole. For applications wherein the non-removable cleat is co-molded with the outsole to form a one-piece monolithic construction, the upper cavity recess 243 defines the upper periphery of the mold, which in these applications would define the outsole.
  • [0048]
    The mold 218 also includes a lateral mold section 230 or lateral portion that is retained in place by the upper and lower sections 210, 220 of the apparatus 200. More specifically, the lateral mold section 230 of the mold 218 is retained within another cavity 264 formed in the lower section 220. The lateral mold section 230 includes a rotatable sleeve 232 that defines the lateral periphery of the mold cavity 250 of the mold 218. For example, the rotatable sleeve 232 includes undercut formation elements 238 positioned circumferentially about a central opening 239 in a spaced-apart manner (see, e.g., FIG. 6). In this manner, the rotatable sleeve 232 has a generally annular shape. Between the undercut formation elements 238 are gaps 237 each sized to be at least as large as respective arm portions 245 of the lower cavity recess 244. When assembled, the upper cavity recess 243, lower cavity recess 244, and undercut formation elements 238 collectively define the mold cavity 250 therebetween. The mold cavity 250 has a shape matching the desired shape of a non-removable cleat.
  • [0049]
    The lateral mold section 230 also includes a sleeve support element 236 that is fixedly and non-movably retained within the cavity 264 formed in the lower section 220. Additionally, the lateral mold section 230 includes a set of bearings 234 positioned between the sleeve support element 236 and the rotatable sleeve 232. Although not shown, the lateral mold section 230 includes a driver that rotates the rotatable sleeve 232 relative to the upper and lower mold sections 240, 242 as indicated by direction al arrow 233. The bearings 234 reduce frictional losses associated with rotation of the sleeve 232 relative to the sleeve support element 236.
  • [0050]
    A non-removable cleat is formed using the apparatus 200 by injecting molten material into the inlet nozzle 212, through the mold inlet passageway 214, and into the mold cavity 250 defined by the upper mold section 240, lower mold section 242, and rotatable sleeve 232 of the mold 218. After all or a portion of the mold cavity 250 is filled with molten material, the rotatable sleeve 232 is rotated about the upper and lower mold sections 240, 242 to form the undercut for each arm of a cleat with overhanging, flexible arms. The central opening 239 and gaps 237 define an open area that corresponds with the shape of the lower cavity recess 244. Referring to FIG. 6, in one implementation, the rotatable sleeve 232 is positioned such that the undercut formation elements 238 overlap the arm portions 245 of the lower cavity recess 244. In this position, a final shape of each flexible arm of the cleat is defined between respective arm portions 245 and undercut formation elements 238. In other words, the undercut formation elements 238 effectively cap or laterally and vertically constrain the arm portions 245. The molten material is allowed to flow into the arm portions 245 and fill the arm portions up to the undercut formation elements 238, which mold the outer surfaces of the flexible arms. Additional molten material then fills the hub portion of the mold cavity 250 to form the hub of the cleat.
  • [0051]
    After the molten material has substantially harden between the arm portions 245 of the lower mold section 242 and the undercut formation elements 238 of the sleeve 232, the sleeve is rotated by the driver until the undercut formation elements are between the arm portions and the gaps 237 are vertically aligned with the arm portions. Then, the upper section 210 is vertically moved away from the lower section 220, which moves upper mold section 240 away from the lower mold section 242. The molded cleat, including the overhanging flexible arms, can then be removed from the lower cavity recess 244 through the gaps 237, and from the apparatus 200.
  • [0052]
    Referring to FIG. 7, according to another embodiment, an apparatus 300 for making a golf shoe is shown. The apparatus 300 includes features similar to or analogous with features of the apparatus 200, with like numbers referring to like elements. Accordingly, unless otherwise described below, the description of features of the apparatus 200 can be relied upon as a description of the analogous features of the apparatus 300. Similar to the apparatus 200, the apparatus 300 is an injection molding machine that receives a pliable material and directs the pliable material into a mold. Further, the pliable material is given time to harden in the shape of the mold, and removed from the mold once hardened. Like the apparatus 200, the apparatus 300 includes upper and lower mold sections 240, 242 that can be moved vertically relative to each other to form the mold and remove a hardened cleat from the mold. Also similar to the apparatus 200, the apparatus 300 includes a mold 318 with a lateral mold section 330. However, instead of a rotatable sleeve that rotates to form and release the overhanging flexible arms of a molded cleat, the apparatus 300 includes at least two translationally movable lateral mold portions 332A, 332B.
  • [0053]
    The lateral mold portions 332A, 332B are moved toward and away from each other within a cavity 364 formed in a lower section 320 by respective driving mechanisms 362A, 362B. The driving mechanisms 362A, 362B can be any of various actuators for laterally moving the lateral mold portions 332A, 332B. In one specific implementation, each driving mechanism 362A, 362B includes a respective driver 364A, 364B, respective connecting rod 366A, 366B, and respective piston 368A, 368B. The pistons 368A, 368B are fixedly secured to respective lateral mold portions 332A, 332B. The connecting rods 366A, 366B and pistons 368A, 368B are actuated by the drivers 364A, 364B, respectively. The drivers 364A, 364B can be any of various drivers known in the art, such as electrical, pneumatic, and magnetically driven motors or actuators.
  • [0054]
    Generally, the driving mechanisms 362A, 362B are configured to move the lateral mold portions 332A, 332B together to form a mold cavity 350, and apart to allow a molded cleat to be released from the cavity. Similar to the rotatable sleeve 232, each lateral mold portion 332A, 332B includes undercut formation elements 338A, 338B, respectively. Basically, when moved together, the undercut formation elements 338A, 338B cover or overlap the respective arm portions 345, 347 of the lower cavity recess 344 formed in the lower mold section 340 to define a mold cavity 250 with overhanging flexible arm portions matching the desired shape of a non-removable cleat. The undercut formation elements 338A, 338B mold the outer surfaces of the flexible arms of the molded cleat.
  • [0055]
    A non-removable cleat is formed using the apparatus 300 by injecting molten material into the inlet nozzle 312, through the mold inlet passageway 314, and into the mold cavity 350 defined by the upper mold section 340, lower mold section 342, and lateral mold portions 332A, 332B of the mold 218. After all or a portion of the mold cavity 350 is filled with molten material and the molten material has substantially hardened, the lateral mold portions 332A, 332B are moved translationally away from each other and the upper and lower mold sections 340, 342. Then, the upper section 310 is vertically moved away from the lower section 320, which moves upper mold section 340 away from the lower mold section 342. With the undercut formation elements 338A, 338B moved away from the molded cleat, and the upper mold section 340 moved away from the lower mold section 342, the molded cleat, including the overhanging flexible arms, can then be removed vertically from the lower cavity recess 244 and the apparatus 300.
  • [0056]
    The apparatus 300 may be particularly useful for making golf shoes with non-removable cleats that have differently sized or shaped flexible arms. Each lateral mold portion 332A, 332B may have differently configured arm portions for forming differently configured flexible arms of a non-removable cleat. For example, referring to FIG. 8, the undercut formation element 338A of the lateral mold portion 332A includes arm portions 339A configured to correspond with the configuration of the arm portions 247 formed in the lower mold section 340. In contrast, the undercut formation element 338B of the lateral mold portion 332B includes arm portions 339B configured to correspond with the configuration of the arm portions 245 formed in the lower mold section 340. The configuration of the arm portions 339A and arm portions 347 are different than the configuration of the arm portions 339B and arm portions 345. More specifically, there are three arm portions 339A and arm portions 347 each with a narrower width and there are two arm portions 339B and arm portions 345 each with a wider width. In this manner, the apparatus 300 may include two or more translationally movable lateral mold portions each defining a different configuration of arm portions for molding a non-removable cleat with multiple flexible arm configurations.
  • [0057]
    Because the apparatus 200, 300 utilize at least one horizontally (e.g., rotationally or laterally translationally) moving mold section and at least one vertically moving mold section to form (e.g., injection mold) a non-removable cleat to or with an outsole of an athletic shoe, the apparatus 200, 300 facilitate bi-directional molding of non-removable cleats.
  • [0058]
    As defined herein, in one implementation, a non-removable cleat of an outsole means a cleat that cannot be removed from the outsole of a shoe without deformation or destruction of either the cleat or the outsole. In yet some implementations, a non-removable cleat of an outsole means a cleat that is co-molded with the outsole.
  • [0059]
    In the above description, certain terms may be used such as “up,” “down,” “upper,” “lower,” “horizontal,” “vertical,” “left,” “right,” and the like. These terms are used, where applicable, to provide some clarity of description when dealing with relative relationships. But, these terms are not intended to imply absolute relationships, positions, and/or orientations. For example, with respect to an object, an “upper” surface can become a “lower” surface simply by turning the object over. Nevertheless, it is still the same object. Further, the terms “including,” “comprising,” “having,” and variations thereof mean “including but not limited to” unless expressly specified otherwise. An enumerated listing of items does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive and/or mutually inclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. The terms “a,” “an,” and “the” also refer to “one or more” unless expressly specified otherwise. Further, the term “plurality” can be defined as “at least two.”
  • [0060]
    Additionally, instances in this specification where one element is “coupled” to another element can include direct and indirect coupling. Direct coupling can be defined as one element coupled to and in some contact with another element. Indirect coupling can be defined as coupling between two elements not in direct contact with each other, but having one or more additional elements between the coupled elements. Further, as used herein, securing one element to another element can include direct securing and indirect securing. Additionally, as used herein, “adjacent” does not necessarily denote contact. For example, one element can be adjacent another element without being in contact with that element.
  • [0061]
    As used herein, the phrase “at least one of”, when used with a list of items, means different combinations of one or more of the listed items may be used and only one of the items in the list may be needed. The item may be a particular object, thing, or category. In other words, “at least one of” means any combination of items or number of items may be used from the list, but not all of the items in the list may be required. For example, “at least one of item A, item B, and item C” may mean item A; item A and item B; item B; item A, item B, and item C; or item B and item C. In some cases, “at least one of item A, item B, and item C” may mean, for example, without limitation, two of item A, one of item B, and ten of item C; four of item B and seven of item C; or some other suitable combination.
  • [0062]
    The present subject matter may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Claims (20)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A golf shoe, comprising:
    an outsole; and
    at least one cleat non-removably coupled to the outsole, the at least one cleat comprising a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub, wherein an undercut is defined between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  2. 2. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of flexible arms extends downward away from the outsole and hub.
  3. 3. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of flexible arms is flexible upwardly toward the outsole and undercut.
  4. 4. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein a first set of the plurality of arms have a first size and a second set of the plurality of arms have a second size bigger than the first size.
  5. 5. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the undercut comprises a space directly between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  6. 6. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the outsole and the at least one cleat form a one-piece monolithic construction.
  7. 7. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the at least one cleat is formed integrally with the outsole.
  8. 8. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the at least one cleat is injection molded onto the outsole.
  9. 9. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the at least one cleat is made from the same material as the outsole.
  10. 10. The golf shoe of claim 1, wherein the at least one cleat is made from a first material, and the outsole is made from a second material different than the first material.
  11. 11. The golf shoe of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of cleats non-removably coupled to the outsole.
  12. 12. A method of making a golf shoe, comprising:
    forming an outsole;
    non-removably coupling at least one cleat to the outsole, the at least one cleat comprising a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub; and
    forming an undercut between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the outsole.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole comprises injection molding the at least one cleat directly onto the outsole.
  14. 14. The method of claim 12, wherein forming the outsole and non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole comprises injection molding the outsole and the at least one cleat together as a monolithic one-piece construction.
  15. 15. The method of claim 12, further comprising providing a mold defining a cleat-shaped cavity for receiving an injection molding material, the cleat-shaped cavity having a shape corresponding with the at least one cleat, wherein the mold comprises at least two vertical portions defining a first portion of the cleat-shaped cavity, the at least two vertical portions being vertically movable relative to each other, and wherein the mold comprises at least one lateral portion defining a second portion of the cleat-shaped cavity, the at least one lateral portion being movable relative to the at least two vertical portions.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole comprises injecting the injection molding material into the cleat-shaped cavity, and forming the undercut comprises rotating the at least one lateral portion relative to the at least two vertical portions.
  17. 17. The method of claim 15, wherein the mold comprises at least two lateral portions, and wherein non-removably coupling the at least one cleat to the outsole comprises injecting the injection molding material into the cleat-shaped cavity, and forming the undercut comprises laterally moving the at least two lateral portions apart from each other and relative to the at least two vertical portions.
  18. 18. The method of claim 15, wherein one of the at least two vertical portions defines an outer surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity, the outer surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity defining outer surfaces of the at least one cleat, wherein the outer surfaces of the at least one cleat face away from the outsole.
  19. 19. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least one lateral portion defines an inner surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity, the inner surface portion of the cleat-shaped cavity defining inner surfaces of the at least one cleat, wherein the inner surfaces of the at least one cleat form part of the plurality of flexible arms and face toward the outsole.
  20. 20. An outsole for an athletic shoe, comprising:
    a base coupleable to an upper of the athletic shoe; and
    at least one cleat non-removably coupled to the base, the at least one cleat comprising a hub and a plurality of flexible arms extending radially outward away from the hub, wherein an undercut is defined between each of the plurality of flexible arms and the base.
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