US20180008005A1 - Footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features - Google Patents

Footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180008005A1
US20180008005A1 US15/203,784 US201615203784A US2018008005A1 US 20180008005 A1 US20180008005 A1 US 20180008005A1 US 201615203784 A US201615203784 A US 201615203784A US 2018008005 A1 US2018008005 A1 US 2018008005A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
footwear
slave
chambers
fluid
plurality
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Abandoned
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US15/203,784
Inventor
Grant Allen Compton
Douglas Alan Vandervoort
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Vandervoort Patricia
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Patricia Vandervoort
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Patricia Vandervoort filed Critical Patricia Vandervoort
Priority to US15/203,784 priority Critical patent/US20180008005A1/en
Publication of US20180008005A1 publication Critical patent/US20180008005A1/en
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
    • A43B13/18Resilient soles
    • A43B13/181Resiliency achieved by the structure of the sole
    • A43B13/186Differential cushioning region, e.g. cushioning located under the ball of the foot
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B13/00Soles; Sole and heel units
    • A43B13/02Soles; Sole and heel units characterised by the material
    • A43B13/12Soles with several layers of different materials
    • 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
    • A43B13/189Resilient soles filled with a non-compressible fluid, e.g. gel, water
    • 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
    • A43B13/20Pneumatic soles filled with a compressible fluid, e.g. air, gas
    • A43B13/203Pneumatic soles filled with a compressible fluid, e.g. air, gas provided with a pump or valve
    • 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
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B3/00Footwear characterised by the shape or the use
    • A43B3/0005Footwear provided with electrical or electronic systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/005Nails, pins
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/02Non-skid devices or attachments attached to the sole
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/04Non-skid devices or attachments attached to the heel
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/06Ice-gripping devices or attachments, e.g. ice-spurs, ice-cleats, ice-creepers, crampons; Climbing devices or attachments, e.g. mountain climbing irons
    • A43C15/08Reversible ice-spikes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43CFASTENINGS OR ATTACHMENTS OF FOOTWEAR; LACES IN GENERAL
    • A43C15/00Non-skid devices or attachments
    • A43C15/14Non-skid devices or attachments with outwardly-movable spikes

Abstract

A footwear with a fluid which flows through integral chambers and passageways within the sole in which additional traction elements may be selectively and forcedly deployed and retracted. Valves on the footwear in combination with a control system, control the flow of the fluid allowing the user to choose between a range of traction deployment options to suit the needs of the user.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • Specialty footwear for improving traction is currently available. For example, football and golf shoes have various studs that protrude beyond the sole in order to increase traction with soft ground. These studs dig into the soft ground surface and increase the lateral and fore/aft tractive forces. However, this type of specialty footwear has limitations. The stud protuberances are not easily retracted or removed, hence the user must exercise care and caution when walking or running on hard surfaces in which the studs have little traction. The studs also generate considerable noise when used on hard surfaces. Additionally, these studs can potentially damage vulnerable ground surfaces such as putting greens, wood or tile floors.
  • Information relevant to attempts to address these problems can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 8,578,631 and 6,125,556. However, each of these references suffers disadvantages. One such disadvantage is the excessive hardware and tubing used, which is rigid, heavy and bulky, which necessarily increases the weight and thickness of the sole of the footwear, while simultaneously decreasing the comfort of the wearer. Also, referenced specialty mechanisms can become obstructed by things such as soil and water rendering them ineffective. They also have the additional disadvantage of being complicated and difficult to operate and offer too little in the way of traction options.
  • For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for easily operated footwear with light, comfortable and functional deployable and retractable traction for varying walking surfaces.
  • SUMMARY
  • According to one embodiment of the footwear comprising a midsole. The midsole having a first main pocket formed therein and a first plurality of slave pockets formed therein. The footwear also comprising an outsole having a second main pocket formed therein and a second plurality of slave pockets formed therein. The first and second main pockets cooperate to form a master chamber between the midsole and outsole. The first and second plurality of slave pockets cooperate to form slave chambers. The master chamber and the slave chambers are fluidly connected by way of a fluid transfer passageway having a fluid therein. The footwear also comprises a valve at least partially disposed within the fluid transfer passageway to control the flow of the fluid. Additionally, a plurality of elastomeric bodies at least partially disposed within said outsole and positioned substantially at said slave chambers such that said fluid flows into and out of said slave chambers shifting said elastomeric bodies relative to said outsole.
  • According to another embodiment of the footwear comprising a midsole and an upper membrane having a first main pocket formed therein and a first plurality of slave pockets formed therein. The footwear also comprising a lower membrane having a second main pocket formed therein and a second plurality of slave pockets formed therein. The first and second main pockets cooperate to form a master chamber between the upper and lower membranes. The first and second plurality of slave pockets cooperate to form slave chambers. The master chamber and the slave chambers are fluidly connected by way of a fluid transfer passageway having a fluid therein. The footwear also comprising a valve at least partially disposed within the fluid transfer passageway to control the flow of the fluid. Additionally, the footwear has an outsole coupled to said midsole such that the upper and lower membranes are at least partially disposed therein. Furthermore, a plurality of elastomeric bodies at least partially disposed within said outsole and positioned substantially at said slave chambers such that said fluid flows into and out of said slave chambers shifting said elastomeric bodies relative to said outsole.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present disclosure will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:
  • FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of footwear embodying features of the present disclosure for footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features.
  • FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the footwear where the chambers and passageways are formed into the outsole and midsole.
  • FIG. 3 shows a cross sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 4 shows an exploded view of an alternative embodiment of the footwear where a membrane is used in conjunction with the midsole and outsole.
  • FIGS. 5a and 5b shows a cross sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 1 in the deployed and undeployed states.
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the footwear having a master chamber fluidly connected to the slave chambers, in the undeployed State.
  • FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the footwear having a foreward master chamber and rearward master chamber each fluidly connected to exclusive slave chambers, in the undeployed State.
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the footwear having a plurality of master chambers all fluidly connected to the slave chambers, in the undeployed State.
  • FIGS. 9a, 9b and 9c are partial cross sectional views of the footwear shown in FIG. 9, showing the elastomeric body in the undeployed, partially deployed and fully deployed states.
  • FIGS. 10a and 10b show a front view of two embodiments of the control system on the footwear shown in FIGS. 8, 9 a, 9 b and 9 c.
  • FIG. 11 shows a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the footwear having an electrical control system to actuate the valve.
  • FIG. 12 shows an environmental view of a footwear sending and receiving signals from remote devices and to eachother.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The illustrated embodiments are disclosed with reference to the drawings. However, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are intended to be merely examples that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. The specific structural and functional details disclosed are not to be interpreted as limiting, but as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to practice the disclosed concepts.
  • With reference now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 to 13, a new and improved footwear embodying the principles and concepts of the present disclosure and generally designated by the reference numeral 20 will be described.
  • The present disclosure may be embodied in various forms. The following discussion and accompanying figures disclose an article of footwear 20 in accordance with the present disclosure. Footwear 20 may be any style of footwear including, for example, footwear that typically includes cleats such as Baseball cleats, soccer cleats, football cleats, and golf shoes. However, footwear 20 is not to be restricted to types of footwear known to have cleats. Footwear 20 could also be any style of footwear that could accommodate a retractable body for additional traction and/or support in certain circumstances, such as a boot, a basketball shoe, a tennis shoe, a climbing shoe or a running shoe.
  • For purposes of general reference, as shown in FIG. 1 footwear 20 may be divided into two general regions: heel region 22 and toe region 24. Regions 22, and 24 are not intended to designate precise areas of the footwear 20. Rather, regions 22, and 24 are intended to represent general areas of footwear 20 that provide a frame of reference during the following discussion.
  • Unless otherwise stated, or otherwise clear from the context below, directional terms used herein, such as rear, rearwardly, front, forwardly, inwardly, outwardly, lower, downwardly, upper, upwardly, etc., refer to directions relative to footwear 20 itself. Footwear 20 is shown in FIG. 1 to be disposed substantially horizontally, as it would be positioned on a horizontal surface when worn by a wearer. However, it is to be appreciated that footwear 20 need not be limited to such an orientation. Thus, in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, rearwardly is toward heel region 22, that is, to the left as seen in FIG. 1. Naturally, forwardly is toward toe region 24, that is, to the right as seen in FIG. 1, downwardly and lower are toward the bottom of the page as seen in FIG. 1, and upwardly is toward the top of the page as seen in FIG. 1. Inwardly is toward the center of footwear 20, and outwardly is toward the outer periphery of footwear 20.
  • FIG. 1 shows a footwear which includes a sole assembly 26 and an upper 28 secured to sole assembly 26. Upper 28 forms an interior void that comfortably receives a foot and secures the position of the user's foot relative to sole assembly 26. Sole assembly includes an outsole 30 and a midsole 32. The outsole 30 lower than the midsole 32.
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 show the sole assembly 26 of the footwear 20 is constructed to create a master chamber 34 and a plurality of slave chambers 36. The midsole having a first main pocket 38 formed therein and a first plurality of slave pockets 40 formed therein. The outsole having a second main pocket 42 formed therein and a second plurality of slave pockets 44 formed therein, wherein the first and second main pockets cooperate to form the master chamber 34 between the midsole and outsole, and wherein the first and second plurality of slave pockets cooperate to form the slave chambers 36, wherein the master chamber 34 and the slave chambers 36 are fluidly connected by way of a fluid transfer passageway 46. The fluid transfer passageway 46 allow a fluid to flow between the master chamber 34 and slave chambers 36.
  • A fluid is used as a medium for power transmission. The fluid can be a compressible or incompressible fluid. Compressible fluids include gases such as air, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, helium, etc. whereas, incompressible fluids include water, mineral oil and other hydraulic fluids.
  • Disposed at least partially within the outsole 30 is a plurality of elastomeric bodies 50. FIG. 2 shows an exploded perspective view of the elastomeric bodies 50. Each of the elastomeric bodies 50 is positioned substantially at each of the slave chambers 36. The elastomeric bodies 50 are made of soft and durable material, commonly used in the soles of footwear, and known to a person of ordinary skill in the art. The elastomeric bodies 50 are shown in FIG. 2 as elongated pads, however any number of shapes may be used including cylinders and should not interpreted as limiting. The elastomeric bodies 50 shift upwardly and downwardly relative to the outsole in which they are disposed within. FIGS. 5a and 5b show a partial sectional view of the elastomeric bodies 50. The deployment and retraction of the elastomeric bodies 50 is caused by the weight of the wearer. When the valve 48 allows the flow of fluid from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36, the weight of the wearer causes the volume of the master chamber 34 to decrease forcing the fluid to flow from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36, increasing the volume of the slave chambers 36 and shifting the elastomeric bodies 50 downwardly relative to the outsole 30 entering the deployed state. The elastomeric bodies 50, when in the deployed state make greater contact with the walking surface 54, adding additional tractive force to the wearer. Additional tractive force is beneficial when on smooth, slippery or sloped walking surfaces 54. Likewise, when the valve 48 allows the flow of fluid from the slave chambers 36 in to the master chamber 34, the weight of the wearer causes the volume of the slave chambers 36 to decrease forcing the fluid flow from the slave chambers 36 to the master chamber 34, allowing the elastomeric bodies 50 to shift upwardly relative to the outsole 30 entering the undeployed state. The elastomeric bodies 50, when in the undeployed state make little to no contact with the walking surface 54, eliminating the additional tractive force to the wearer and protecting the elastomeric bodies 50 from wear and tear on harsh walking surfaces 54.
  • In an alternative embodiment, disposed at least partially within each elastomeric bodies 50 is a member 52. FIGS. 5a and 5b show a partial sectional view of an elastomeric body 50 with a member 52 in both the deployed and retracted and state. The member is shown as a stud which increases tractive forces with a surface 54; however, the member is not limited to the stud. Various forms of member 52 can be used to increase tractive force, such tractive elements may include hard metal or polymer cleats like those used in baseball, football and soccer; hard metal or polymer spikes like those used in golf and track; soft pads; or threaded or locking receptacle which allows the wearer to exchange the various tractive elements and replace worn tractive elements.
  • FIG. 2 shows the sole assembly 26 is also molded to house a valve 48. The valve controls the flow of the fluid passing through the fluid transfer passageway 46 and in and out of the master chambers and slave chambers. The valve 48 is fluidly situated between the master chamber 34 and the slave chambers 36, at least partially disposed in the fluid transfer passageway 46. The valve 48 controls the flow of fluid passing between the master chamber 34 and the slave chambers 36. The valve 48 may be any one of a number of types of valves including spool, umbrella, pinch and standard hydraulic valves and pneumatic valves. A control system 49 is used to actuate the valve 48 between different positions. In FIG. 2 the control system 49 is represented by the push button 49 a with a weather seal to keep foreign substances out; however, the control system 49 should not be limited to a push button. Additionally, the control system 49 can be switches, knobs 49 b, as shown in FIGS. 10a and 10b , levers, and solenoids in cooperation with electrical signals by way of a plurality of sensors and remote devices 66, as shown in FIG. 11.
  • FIG. 2 shows a valve 48 which is composed of a push button 48 a which acts as a rubber seal to keep foreign substances out. The push button 48 a is in constant contact with the plunger 80. The plunger 80 has has a flat end and an end with cam features that interface with the cam 84, to position the valve 48 into the actuated or unactuated state. A dampening spring 82 rest inside of the bore of the plunger and presses against the cam 84 to prevent the plunger 80 from moving around and making noise. The cam 84 has a small end that fits inside of the bore of the plunger 80 and the other end maintains contact with the spool valve 86. The spool valve 86 has internal passages, o-rings and check valves, to aid in the change of the flow of the fluid, the spool valve 86 maintains contact with a valve positioning spring 88. The valve positioning spring maintains contact with the body of the valve 48 and keeps the parts of the valve in contact with each other. The body of the valve 48 is has nipples to interface with the fluid transfer passageways. The parts of the valve are held together inside the body of the valve 48 by a threaded Retainer 78. The Retainer has a hole running through, so that the end of the Plunger can protrude from the retainer. When the user presses the pushbutton 48 a the internal passageways of the spool valve align with the nipples in the body of the valve 48 allowing fluid to pass in one manner. When the user depresses the pushbutton 48 a the internal passageways of the spool valve align with different nipples in the body of the valve 48 allowing fluid to pass in a different manner.
  • FIG. 6 shows a valve 48 which is a two way, two position, normally undeployed, check valve. A check valve is a type of valve 48 that allows the flow of fluid in one direction while preventing the flow of fluid in the opposite direction. When in position one, the valve 48 will be in the undeployed state. The flow of fluid from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36 is restricted by the check valve allowing fluid to flow only from the slave chambers 36 to the master chambers 34. When actuated the valve will shift to position two. Position two restricts flow from the slave chambers 36 to the master chamber 34 while allowing the flow of fluid from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36.
  • FIG. 7 shows a valve 48, specifically, a four way, two position, normally undeployed, directional control valve. A directional control valve is a type of valve which controls the direction of the flow of fluid through the system. When in position one, the valve 48 will be in the undeployed state with the flow of fluid flowing from the slave chambers 36 to the master chambers 34. When actuated, the valve 48 shifts to the deployed state, in position two. When in position two the flow of fluid is directed from the master chambers 34 to the slave chambers 36.
  • FIG. 8 shows an embodiment with a plurality of master chambers 34 c, each fluidly connected to the slave chambers 36. FIG. 8 also shows a valve 48 specifically, a four way, four position, normally undeployed, check valve. A check valve is a type of valve that allows the flow of fluid in one direction while preventing the flow of fluid in the opposite direction. When in position one, the valve 48 will be in the undeployed state. The flow of fluid from the plurality of master chambers 34 c to the slave chambers 36 is restricted by the check valve allowing fluid to flow only from the slave chambers 36 to the plurality of master chambers 34 c. When the valve 48 is actuated to position two, the check valve restricts flow from the slave chambers 36 to the plurality of master chambers 34 c, while allowing the flow of fluid from one of the plurality of master chambers 34 c to the slave chambers 36. When the valve 48 is actuated to position three, the check valve restricts flow from the slave chambers 36 to the plurality of master chambers 34 c, while allowing the flow of fluid from two of the plurality of master chambers 34 c to the slave chambers 36. When the valve 48 is actuated to position four, the check valve restricts flow from the slave chambers 36 to the plurality of master chambers 34 c, while allowing the flow of fluid from all of the plurality of master chambers 34 c to the slave chambers 36.
  • FIGS. 10a and 10b show an embodiment where a knob is utilized for the control system 49. The knob 49 b and 49 c would be placed at an easily accessible location of the footwear 20. Possible locations for the control system 49 would be periphery of the sole assembly 26 or on the upper 28 of the footwear 20. By rotating the knob 49 b and 49 c the knob will actuate the valve 48 into different positions, allowing the user to control the flow of the fluid to and from the master chamber 34 and slave chambers 36.
  • FIG. 11 shows one embodiment of the footwear 20 having a control system 49 where a sensor 56 or a transceiver 58 is in communication with a microprocessor 60. The microprocessor 60 is configured to evaluate communications from the sensor 56 or the transceiver 58 for predefined environmental criteria permitting the microprocessor 60 to actuate a solenoid valve 62. The sensor 56, transceiver 58, microprocessor 60 and solenoid valve 62 are powered by a power source 64.
  • In one possible embodiment, the sensor 56 is an accelerometer which senses lateral movement of the footwear 20, this lateral movement triggers the actuation of the solenoid valve 62, ultimately shifting the elastomeric bodies 50 downwardly relative to the outsole 30, increasing the amount of tractive force with the surface 54. When further predefined criteria are met the solenoid valve is actuated, permitting the elastomeric bodies 50 to shift upwardly relative to the outsole 30. It should be appreciated by one skilled in the art that at least one additional sensor 56 may be added to further enhance features of the footwear 20.
  • FIG. 12 shows an embodiment where the control system 49 may include a remote device 66 that communicates with the transceiver 58, which then communicates with the microprocessor 60, if the communications from the remote device 66 meet predefined criteria evaluated by the microprocessor 60, the solenoid valve 62 is actuated and the elastomeric bodies 50 downwardly relative to the outsole 30, increasing the amount of tractive force with the surface 54. The remote device 66 may be a mobile phone, a fob, a global positioning satellite, a communications tower or a wearable device such as a watch or an article of footwear 20. The power source 64 may be a battery but may also be a Piezoelectric generator, dynamo, wireless power transfer, etc.
  • For example, on a rainy day a remote device 66 such as a cell phone could sense weather and GPS data and send an electrical signal 59, signaling that it is wet and you are walking outside, to the footwear 20. The footwear 20 receives the message from the remote device through the transceiver 58 the micro processor 60 would then make a decision whether to deploy additional traction based on predefined criteria. If the criteria for additional traction is met, then the solenoid 62 will be energized and the valve 48 will shift to the appropriate deployed position, allowing the flow of fluid from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36. the weight of the wearer causes the volume of the master chamber 34 to decrease forcing the fluid to flow from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36, increasing the volume of the slave chambers 36 and shifting the elastomeric bodies 50 downwardly relative to the outsole 30 entering the deployed state. The elastomeric bodies 50, when in the deployed state make greater contact with the walking surface 54, adding additional tractive force to the wearer. Additional tractive force is beneficial when on smooth, slippery or sloped walking surfaces 54.
  • FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 7 show an alternative embodiment of the footwear 20 which utilizes at least one master chamber 34 in the heel region 22 and the toe region 24. Additionally, at least one of the slave chambers 36 in the toe region 24 is fluidly connected with the master chamber 34 in the heel region 22. Likewise, at least one of the slave chambers 36 in the heel region 22 is fluidly connected with the master chamber 34 in the toe region 24. This configuration aids deployment of the elastomeric bodies 50. When the user's foot exerts force on the heel region 24 of the footwear 20, the fluid in the master chamber 34 in the heel region 24 is displaced into the slave chambers 36 in the toe region 22 where less force is being exerted. Likewise, when the user's foot exerts force on the toe region 22 of the footwear 20, the fluid in the master chamber 34 in the toe region 24 is displaced into the slave chambers 36 in the heel region 22 where less force is being exerted.
  • FIG. 8 shows an alternative embodiment where a plurality of master chambers 34 c are in fluid communication with the slave chambers 36 by way of a valve 48. The valve 48, controls which of the plurality of master chambers 34 c is in fluid communication with the slave chambers 36. When greater than one and less than all of the plurality of master chambers 34 is in fluid communication with the slave chambers 36, the volume of fluid allowed to flow to the slave chambers 36 is limited, resulting in a partial deployment of the elastomeric bodies 50 relative to the outsole 30.
  • FIG. 2 shows an alternative embodiment where the sole assembly 26 of the footwear 20 incorporates an upper membrane 68 and a lower membrane 70 disposed at least partially between the midsole 32 and outsole 30. The upper membrane 68 and a lower membrane 70 form the master chamber 34, slave chambers 36 and fluid transfer passageway 46. The membranes may be any plastic suitable for footwear such as polyurethane. It should be appreciated that in certain embodiments, the upper membrane 68 and lower membrane 70 may be partially disposed on the upper 28 of the footwear 20 allowing for additional locations for the valve 48.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the footwear 20, the valve 48 controls the flow of the fluid from the master chamber 34 to the slave chambers 36 such that the slave chambers 36 are fluidly configured into groups. The groups of slave chambers 36 may be divided based on location on the outsole 30 front to back as well as inward to outward. Additionally, groups may be divided to alternate in patterns or even placed strategically to maximize the effect of the various tractive members 52. The control system 49 allows for the selection of varying quantities of elastomeric bodies 50 to deploy. This embodiment allows the footwear 20 to selectively deploy a plurality of types of members 52. The footwear 20 may be configured to switch between a soft traction pad and sports cleat optimizing traction for multiple surfaces.

Claims (16)

What is claimed is:
1. A footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features, comprising:
a midsole having a first main pocket formed therein and a first plurality of slave pockets formed therein;
an outsole having a second main pocket formed therein and a second plurality of slave pockets formed therein, wherein the first and second main pockets cooperate to form a master chamber between the midsole and outsole, and wherein the first and second plurality of slave pockets cooperate to form slave chambers, wherein the master chamber and the slave chambers are fluidly connected by way of a fluid transfer passageway having a fluid therein;
a valve at least partially disposed within the fluid transfer passageway to control the flow of the fluid; and
a plurality of elastomeric bodies at least partially disposed within said outsole and positioned substantially at said slave chambers such that said fluid flows into and out of said slave chambers shifting said elastomeric bodies relative to said outsole.
2. The footwear of claim 1 further comprising a member at least partially disposed in each of said plurality of elastomeric bodies.
3. The footwear of claim 1 wherein said fluid is an incompressible fluid.
4. The footwear of claim 1 further comprising a control system disposed onto said valve, actuating said valve.
5. The footwear of claim 4 wherein said control system is configured to communicate wirelessly with a remote device.
6. The footwear of claim 4 wherein said control system is configured with a sensor.
7. The footwear of claim 1 wherein there is a plurality of said master chambers.
8. The footwear of claim 7 wherein each of said plurality of master chambers is fluidly connected to exclusive said slave chambers.
9. A footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features, comprising:
a midsole;
an upper membrane having a first main pocket formed therein and a first plurality of slave pockets formed therein;
a lower membrane having a second main pocket formed therein and a second plurality of slave pockets formed therein, wherein the first and second main pockets cooperate to form a master chamber between the upper and lower membranes, and wherein the first and second plurality of slave pockets cooperate to form slave chambers, wherein the master chamber and the slave chambers are fluidly connected by way of a fluid transfer passageway having a fluid therein;
a valve at least partially disposed within the fluid transfer passageway to control the flow of the fluid;
an outsole coupled to said midsole such that the upper and lower membranes are at least partially disposed therein;
a plurality of elastomeric bodies at least partially disposed within said outsole and positioned substantially at said slave chambers such that said fluid flows into and out of said slave chambers shifting said elastomeric bodies relative to said outsole.
10. The footwear of claim 9 further comprising a member at least partially disposed in each of said plurality of elastomeric bodies.
11. The footwear of claim 9 wherein said fluid is an incompressible fluid.
12. The footwear of claim 9 further comprising a control system disposed onto said valve, actuating said valve.
13. The footwear of claim 12 wherein said control system is configured to communicate wirelessly with a remote device.
14. The footwear of claim 12 wherein said control system is configured with a sensor.
15. The footwear of claim 9 wherein there is a plurality of said master chambers.
16. The footwear of claim 15 wherein each of said plurality of master chambers is fluidly connected to exclusive said slave chambers.
US15/203,784 2016-07-06 2016-07-06 Footwear with deployable and retractable tractive features Abandoned US20180008005A1 (en)

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