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Title:
ATTACHMENT MECHANISM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/004355
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an attachment mechanism for a shoe, the attachment mechanism comprising at least two pins (1), one on each side of the shoe, where the pins (1) are arranged in their respective guides (3), the pins (1) being designed to cooperate with a complementary retaining means (12). The attachment mechanism is, inter alia, characterised in that the attachment mechanism further comprises forcing means that are designed to force the pins (1) outwards into engagement with the complementary retaining means (12), and inwards out of engagement with the complementary retaining means (12).

Inventors:
SVENDSEN, Øyvar (Arnebråtveien 57, 0771 Oslo, 0771, NO)
GOVERUD-HOLM, Thomas (Vassåsveien 27, 3090 HOFF, 3090, NO)
HOLØS, Steinar (Lambertseterveien 47, 1154 Oslo, 1154, NO)
DANIELSEN, Jørn Frode (Ekeveien 11G, 1446 Drøbak, 1446, NO)
Application Number:
NO2017/050171
Publication Date:
January 04, 2018
Filing Date:
June 29, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ROTTEFELLA (Industriveien 1, 3490 Klokkarstua, 3490, NO)
International Classes:
A63C9/16; A63C9/08; A63C9/086; A63C9/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO1984000498A11984-02-16
WO2002087710A12002-11-07
Foreign References:
DE3141425C11982-11-04
US20150335987A12015-11-26
US5697631A1997-12-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO NORWAY AS (2003 Vika, Haakon VII's gate 2, 0125 Oslo, 0125, NO)
Download PDF:
Claims:
P a t e n t c l a i m s

An attachment mechanism for a ski shoe, the attachment mechanism comprising at least two pins (1), one on each side of the shoe, where the pins (1) are arranged in their respective guides (3), the pins (1) being designed to cooperate with a complementary retaining means (12), c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the attachment mechanism further comprises forcing means designed to be arranged in the ski shoe , the forcing means being designed to force the pins (1) outwards into engagement with the complementary retaining means (12), and inwards out of engagement with the complementary retaining means (12).

An attachment mechanism according to claim 1, wherein the forcing means comprise a geared force transfer mechanism.

An attachment mechanism according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the forcing means comprise a spring element (13) which by means of a biasing force presses the pins (1) outwards and is designed to be able to overcome the biasing force and force the pins (1) inwards.

An attachment mechanism according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the forcing means comprise a spring unit (13) which by means of a biasing force presses the pins (1) inwards and is designed to be able to overcome the biasing force and force the pins (1) outwards.

An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the forcing means comprise at least one element from the group comprising: spring (13), toothed wheels (4; 4'), grooves (8; 17), lugs (9), bar (10), toggle joint (14), U-shaped element (16), squeezing mechanism (19), wire (18), wedge, electric motor, magnetic element, hydraulic mechanism (20).

An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the forcing means are mechanical.

An attachment mechanism according to one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the forcing means are motorised.

An attachment mechanism according to claim 7, wherein the at least one motorised forcing means is electric.

9. An attachment mechanism according to claim 7, wherein the at least one motorised forcing means is hydraulic.

10. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises an operating device.

11. An attachment mechanism according to claim 10, wherein the operating device comprises at least one of the group: button, switch, lever (11), U-shaped element (16), pull mechanism (15), spring (13), wire (18), loop (27), piston (22), grooves (8; 17), bar (23), electric actuator.

12. An attachment mechanism according to claim 10 or 11, wherein the operating device is arranged on the shoe.

13. An attachment mechanism according to claim 10 or 11, wherein the operating device is

arranged separately from the shoe, but such that a part of the operating device cooperates with at least one of the elements in the shoe that is designed to force the pins (1) inwards and outwards.

14. An attachment mechanism according to claim 10 or 11, wherein the operating device is arranged at an arbitrary point on the shoe, on the leg, in the clothes, in the belt bag or externally from a skier.

15. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the pins (1) are designed to move essentially transverse to the longitudinal direction of the shoe.

16. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the attachment mechanism is arranged integral with the shoe.

17. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the attachment mechanism is fastened to the shoe.

18. An attachment mechanism according to one of claims 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, wherein the forcing means comprise a biasing spring device (13) that forces the pins (1) outwards, a loop (27) and a squeezing mechanism (19) that are designed to force the pins (1) inwards.

19. An attachment mechanism according to one of claims 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, wherein the forcing means comprise a biasing spring device (13) that forces the pins (1) inwards, a loop (27) and a squeezing mechanism (19) that are designed to force the pins (1) outwards.

20. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the length of travel or stroke of the pins (1) is within the range of 1 mm to 2 cm.

21. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the diameter of the pins (1) is in the range 2 to 10 mm.

22. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the attaching width of the fastening means is in the range 30 to 80 mm.

23. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the pins and the forcing means are enclosed in a housing.

24. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the ski shoe has a detached heel.

25. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the

complementary retaining means (12) comprises a flexor (24).

26. An attachment mechanism according to claim 25, wherein the complementary retaining means (12) comprises a heel piece (25).

27. An attachment mechanism according to claim 25 or 26, wherein the complementary retaining means (12) comprises a hole (13) on each side with which the pins (1) are designed to engage.

28. An attachment mechanism according to claim 27, wherein the ski shoe and the forcing means are designed to rotate about the holes (13).

29. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the pins (1) and the forcing means are arranged in the ski shoe sole at the foremost edge of the ski shoe.

30. An attachment mechanism according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the pins (1) and the forcing means are arranged in the ski shoe sole in the tip of the ski shoe.

31. An attachment mechanism according to one of preceding claims 28 or 29, wherein the pins (1) are arranged in the ski shoe sole, and in a vertical section, under the distal phalanx of the big toe.

Description:
Attachment mechanism

The invention relates to an attachment mechanism for a ski shoe with detached heel for various types of skiing and other uses where a shoe is to be attached to another article.

Prior art

Today different types of bindings are used for the different types of skiing. In the type of skiing where the heel must be detached to facilitate or optimise propulsion, e.g., diagonal stride, skating, ski games for children, backcountry etc., there are a small number of commercially available binding solutions. These binding solutions are characterised in that a ski shoe comprises a metal bar under or immediately in front of the ski shoe tip, which bar fits into and can be secured to a binding that is arranged on or in a ski. The metal bar is typically arranged transversely between two end blocks, which end blocks form a part of the sole and/or shoe tip of the ski shoe.

Owing to the limitations given, inter alia, by the width of the ski shoe tip, the width of the ski binding and the width of the ski, the width of the exposed metal bar has typically been limited to about 3 cm.

Bindings of a type intended for mountain skis or touring skis have an exposed metal bar that is about 4 cm. This solution is substantially heavier and bulkier. Although the design and material of ski bindings have been developed such that there has been a steady improvement in torsional rigidity, the width limitation has constituted a limitation to any substantial increase of torsional rigidity in connection with ski shoes and the ski binding/ski. Torsional rigidity requirements have increased as a result of new styles (skating), competition forms (sprinting) and techniques, as well as different track profiles (steeper) and types (harder base). The width limitations have also been related to a need to have a uniform width that fits all shoe sizes from the smallest to the largest. An unduly large width would either have resulted in children's ski shoes being impractically wide at the front of the shoe, which would have represented a limitation on the smallest safe or practical shoe size that could be produced for children. The alternative could have been to offer different widths for different shoe sizes, but this would have resulted in a simultaneous need for different binding sizes, which both the consumer and binding manufacturers regard as being a major drawback.

Today's solutions also impose limitations on the design and function of the ski binding itself. As the design of the shoe tip and latching bar are defined, the design and function of the ski binding will largely be dictated.

Previously known and used bindings ("historical solutions") comprise, inter alia, the traditional 75 mm binding, the Kandahar binding and different variants thereof, which essentially were based on the ski shoe having a "duckbill" that could be gripped. Other "duckbill" solutions comprise different types of bars, stirrups, hooks and pins. Although these "duckbill" solutions may well have been good for their time, the aforementioned binding solutions represented a substantial improvement. The drawbacks of the "duckbill" solutions comprised, inter alia, an unfavourably positioned axis of rotation, rapid wear/breaks and little torsional rigidity. Although today's commercially available binding solutions have weaknesses, they are a result of an evolution of earlier solutions, such that in comparison with historical solutions they are significantly better. In the field of alpine skiing and snowboarding there are a number of examples of bindings with spring- loaded mechanisms located on the ski or in the boot.

US 3,061,325 shows a spring-loaded alpine binding located in the ski that is to mate with internal cutouts at the front and rear in the sole of the alpine boot.

US 3,695,623 teaches an alpine binding with an attachment and release mechanism incorporated in the sole of the alpine boot. Pins project from the front and the rear of the boot. The pins are adjustably spring-loaded, such that the boot can be clipped into place in brackets at the front and the rear. The release force is adjusted both at the front and the rear at the same time by tightening the spring in the boot sole.

EP 0906142 Bl teaches a snowboard binding consisting of a fixed front binding and a heel binding located on the ski with an opening mechanism consisting of two inwardly directed, spring-loaded pins that can be inserted into holes in the shoe heel. The binding can be opened by operating a mechanism on the binding that pushes the pins outwards from the shoe heel.

US 5,697,631 also teaches a snowboard binding consisting of a fixed front binding and a heel binding in the shoe with an opening mechanism consisting of two projecting, spring-loaded pins that can be held in a bracket on the snowboard. The binding can be opened by operating a mechanism that retracts the pin inwards into the heel.

US 6,056,312 and US 6,276,708 teach another snowboard binding. In this case, a binding mechanism in the heel of the boot is shown. Two spring-loaded pairs of pins project from the side edges of the sole. On the snowboard, brackets are placed in a pivotal frame in which the four pins can be locked. The two pairs of pins are interconnected and can be retracted into the shoe by manually operating an opening mechanism in the form of a cord.

There are also some examples showing that after the attempts to develop a binding with spring-loaded pins in the alpine and snowboard segment, bindings with spring-loaded pins have been proposed for ski shoes with detached heels, as in US 2004/01140647 Al and EP 2 946 818 Al.

US 2004/01140647 Al describes a cross-country or touring ski binding. The binding has a first set of spring-loaded pins that are arranged to be pressed out into holes in the boot sole, thereby making it possible to clip the shoe in place in the binding. In the said holes in the shoes is arranged a second set of pins that is pushed outwards by the first set when the first set enters into the holes. This second set of pins will project out on the outside of each side of the shoe and can then be squeezed together with the aid of the fingers when the shoe is to be released from the binding. For release, the first set of pins (the pins forming part of the binding that is arranged on the ski) can be squeezed together via the second set of pins (pins that are arranged in and form part of the shoe). The second set of pins has per se no fastening function, they merely constitute buttons that can be manipulated. US 2004/01140647 Al does not appear to address the problem of torsional rigidity, - which can perhaps be said to be poorer than the prior art described above. In addition, the system forms a relatively complex binding with many movable and exposed parts. EP 2 946 818 Al teaches a shoe comprising an attachment mechanism, which attachment mechanism comprises two cylindrical pins arranged in their respective guides. The pins are pressed outwards with the aid of a spiral spring disposed between them. The pins cooperate and can be held in place in a U- shaped frame, this comprising two holes capable of receiving the pins when they are pressed outwards with the aid of the spring. The pins are released from the U-shaped frame by pressing the pins inwards from the outside of the U-shaped frame using the fingers.

However, there remain a number of problems associated with making an attachment mechanism for skiing where detached heels are used. It should be mentioned, in particular that there is a need for a solution that enables reuse of the same ski shoes for different types of skis and other devices for fastening under the foot, such as snow shoes.

It is also a wish to reduce the complexity and price of the part of the attachment mechanism that is on the ski, such that the money can preferably be spent on a better boot rather than on several costly attachment mechanisms on several different types of equipment.

It is further desired to produce an attachment mechanism that functions well under changing weather conditions. In skiing it is a known issue that icing and condensation can cause problems for mechanical components.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that can move one or more functions from a ski to a ski shoe for a ski shoe with detached heel. By detached heel is meant that the heel can move up and down in a vertical direction during at least parts of the skiing. In some cases, the heel can be free, i.e., no rear binding, whilst in other cases the heel may be secured in a rear binding capable of allowing vertical movement in certain situations.

Detached heels are used in skiing where it is first and foremost desirable to walk on skis, such as in crosscountry, telemark and randonnee skiing. In alpine skiing and snowboarding detached heels are normally not used.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that helps to increase torsional rigidity.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that can be adapted to all shoe sizes.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that can make it easier and/or faster for the skier to put their skis on.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that can be integrated with electric binding systems.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that can be wholly or partly electric.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism which can wholly or partly be positioned in or on a shoe. It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that results in an enhanced skiing experience, gives a possibility of visual variation/simplification, reduction in weight and/or structural or functional simplifications or improvements.

It is an object of the invention to provide an attachment mechanism that also can be used for several applications and sports activities.

Brief summary

These and other objects are obtained by an attachment mechanism for a shoe, the attachment mechanism comprising at least two pins (1), one on each side of the shoe, where the pins (1) are arranged in their respective guides (3), the pins (1) being designed to cooperate with complementary retaining means (12), wherein the attachment mechanism further comprises forcing means designed to force the pins (1) outwards into engagement with the complementary retaining means (12), and also inwards out of engagement with the complementary retaining means (12).

Further alternatives or advantageous features are disclosed in the dependent claims.

Figure descriptions

A detailed description of alternative, non-limiting exemplary embodiments of the invention is given below with reference to the attached drawings, wherein:

Figs, la-f show an example of prior art;

Figs. 2a-b show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 3a-c show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 4a-g show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 5a-j show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 6a-g show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 7a-c show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 8a-c show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 9 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. lOa-h show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 11-14 show an alternative embodiment of the invention;

Figs. 15a-e show an alternative embodiment of the invention; and

Fig. 16 shows an alternative embodiment of an aspect of the invention. Embodiments of the invention

Figs, la-f show prior art. A spring 13 is arranged such that it biases the pins 1 and presses them outwards. To press the pins inwards, they are squeezed together using the fingers, optionally via button sleeves that act as guides (not shown).

Figs. 2a-b show a possible embodiment of the invention. The embodiment comprises a cord 27 that can be used to squeeze together a squeezing mechanism. The squeezing mechanism is designed to overcome a biasing force from a spring. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 1 a, the spring 13 forces one of the pins 1 outwards, whilst the other pin 1 projects statically. It will be understood that both pins 1 can be displaceable in an alternative embodiment, the spring 13 then forcing both pins 1 outwards in a starting position. In that case the squeezing mechanism will help to force both pins 1 together when it is operated or actuated. The cord 27 may also be made in the form of a loop and may comprise a wire 18, with or without sleeving. By pulling on the cord or loop 27, the squeezing mechanism 19 will be squeezed together such that the biasing of the spring 13 is overcome, and the pin or pins 1 retract inwards. Fig. lb shows a bracket 12 that can be used in an embodiment where only one of the pins 1 is displaceable. The part 12a may be designed with a guide groove that positions and centres the displaceable pin 1 in its hole 13.

Figs. 3a-c show a possible embodiment with a twist mechanism 2 comprising toothed wheels 4, 4'. The toothed wheels 4 may be arranged such that they form a ratio gear system. In the embodiment shown in Figs, la-c the pins 1 comprise threads 5. Around the parts of the pins 1 that are threaded 5 is one or more sleeves 6 with corresponding threads on their interior surface. A part of the exterior surface of the sleeve or sleeves 6 forms or comprises a toothed wheel 4. This meshes with one or more other toothed wheel 4' that are designed to turn the sleeve or sleeves 6, which in turn helps to twist the pins 1 out or in via the threads 5. The toothed wheel 4' may be turned manually, e.g. with the aid of a lever 7, or by means of a motor, e.g., an electric motor (not shown).

Figs. 4a-g show an embodiment where the pins 1 are fastened to a toggle joint 14. The toggle joint 14 may be arranged such that the pins 1 are retracted when the toggle joint 14 is bent, ref. Fig. 4a. When the toggle joint 14 is extended, the pins 1 are pushed, ref. Fig. 4d. In this embodiment, the pins are forced in both directions, both in and out. The toggle joint 14 can be broken and bent with the aid of a bar or rod 15. The bar/rod 15 can be moved manually or by means of a motor. The bar/rod 15 is so arranged that it respectively extends the toggle joint 14 when it is pushed/moved in, and bends it when the bar/rod 15 is pulled/drawn out. It will be understood that the opposite is possible. The movement can, as mentioned, be forced in both directions, or also wholly or partly biased in one and/or other direction. On example of partial biasing may be a spring that seeks to push/pull the pins 1 inwards, in cooperation with a motor or other mechanism (by breaking/bending the toggle joint 14), whilst a motor or other mechanism alone forces the pins 1 outwards. When the motor or another mechanism is switched off or released, the spring or springs 13 can draw the pins inwards.

Figs. 5a-j show an embodiment based on what can be called a clip or clasp principle. A U-shaped element 16 is arranged such that it can be passed through and follow a groove 17. The U-shaped element 16 functions as a lever that can be turned up/down/around. The grooves 17 are configured such that the U- shaped element 16 is pressed together or opens depending on how the element 16 is turned and what position it is in. The arms of the U-shaped element 16 cooperate with the pins 1 in such a way that the pins 1 are forced or moved in or out when the U-shaped element 16 is turned through and follows the grooves 17. The grooves 17 can be configured with different curvature or path, such that desired effects are achieved, e.g., the grooves 17 may comprise notches that hold the U-shaped element 16 in a fixed (more fixed) position when the pins project fully or are retracted fully. The grooves 17 may also be configured such that the force that pushes or pulls on the pins 1 increases close to the end point, so as thus to obtain a force/momentum exchange. The last-mentioned may, e.g., be achieved by adjusting the groove curvature. Fig. 5a shows the U-shaped element 16 when squeezed together such that the pins 1 are retracted. Fig. 5g shows the U-shaped element 16 when open such that the pins 1 are pushed out. The pins 1 are moved from one position to the other by turning the U-shaped element 16 through the grooves 17 from one end to another. In Figs. 5a-j the U-shaped element is shown as a hand-operated lever, but it will be understood that it can also be adapted such that it can be turned with the aid of a motor. It will be further understood that the U-shaped element can be triggered with the aid of mechanisms as exemplified in the other embodiments shown in this patent specification, optionally variants or combinations thereof.

Figs. 6a-g show an embodiment where the pins 1 are inserted with the aid of a wire 18 that squeezes the pins together. The wire 18 pulls together a squeezing mechanism 19. Between the pins 1 is disposed a spring 13 or a similar biasing element corresponding to that shown in Figs. 3a-g. The wire 18 runs through sleeving 20, where the wire 18 at the other end is pulled by operating a lever, revolving mechanism (drum) or the like (not shown). These can also contribute with a force/momentum exchange. This embodiment is comparable to a traditional bicycle brake of the cantilever or caliper type. Fig. 6b shows a retaining means 12 where one of the holes 13 comprises a slot or an opening that allows the wire 18 to be run down to and extend through the hole. This is relevant when the wire 18 is arranged coaxial with or in the pins. An alternative embodiment (not shown) is that the wire 18 and the squeezing mechanism 19 are arranged parallel with and transverse to the axis formed by the pins. In that case, the squeezing mechanism 19 can also comprise toggle joint, bars, plates or U-shaped elements as shown in other embodiments. In, inter alia, Fig. 6d the pins are shown when squeezed together whilst Fig. 6e shows the pins when projecting.

Figs. 7a-c show an embodiment comprising a hydraulic mechanism 20. The hydraulic mechanism comprises a reservoir 21 and a piston 22, where by pressing the piston 22 into the reservoir a pressure is built up that squeezes together or pushes apart the pins 1. Such a solution is comparable to hydraulic car brakes. The piston 22 can be actuated manually or with the aid of a motor. Instead of a piston 22, or pump or the like can also be used.

Figs. 8a-c show an embodiment comprising a sleeve 6, toothed wheel 4 and threads 5 like the first embodiment shown in Figs. 3a-c. Instead of a second (or more) toothed wheel 4', this embodiment comprises a toothed bar or belt 23 that cooperates with the toothed wheel 4. By pulling on the bar or belt 23, the toothed wheel 4 will be made to rotate and thus push the pins 1 in or out. The bar or belt 23 can be pulled/pushed manually or with the aid of a motor. Figs. 9 and lOa-lOh show an embodiment of the invention where the fastening means comprises an inspection window or a lid 26. This can be used to inspect the inner components and optionally replace, lubricate or upgrade parts of the attachment mechanism.

Figs. lOg and lOh show an attachment mechanism resembling that shown in Fig. 2a. The difference is that both pins 1 can move, that the spring 13 acts to bias/force both pins 1 outwards and the squeezing mechanism 19 acts to force both pins 1 inwards when it is actuated.

Figs. 11-14 show an embodiment comprising a torsion spring 13. The arms of the torsion spring comprise hooks 29 designed to engage with corresponding holes in the inner ends of the pins 1. The torsion spring 13 can be wound such that it forces the pins outwards, or the reverse. According to an embodiment, the main windings of the torsion spring 13 may fit into a space 28 in the attachment mechanism housing. This helps to centre the torsion spring 13 and thus also the pins 1. This also makes the movement of the pins synchronous, i.e., that they at all times move together and the same distance inwards or outwards. This embodiment is also extremely simple to assemble. The pins 1 are pushed in through the guides from the side, the torsion spring is tightened, pushed into the space and the torsion spring arms with hooks are mounted in the corresponding holes in the pins. By pushing or pulling on the torsion spring 13 in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the pins (with the aid of a forcing means), the spring will either be tightened or slackened, and thus force the pins synchronously outwards or inwards. The torsion spring can be arranged such that it reaches an above-centre point that gives a stable starting position when the pins are pushed out. The same is conceivable when the torsion spring is retracted sufficiently into its space. The spring arms are then held together, without any possibility of opening outwards. The pins will thus be held in without any external mechanism or motor having to be tightened or locked.

Figs. 15a-e show a possible embodiment based on slanting grooves 8 which cooperate with lugs or studs 9 arranged on the pins 1. The slanting grooves 8 are formed in a rectangular plate 10 that can be pulled/pushed in a direction substantially perpendicular to the pins 1. By pulling or pushing on the plate 10, the pins 1 are forced respectively out or in in that the grooves cooperate with the lugs/studs 9. The plate 10 can have different configurations. The plate 10 can comprise a lever or handle 11 that is operated manually, or is moved with the aid of a motor, e.g., an electric motor. Figs. 2a-c show that the pins 1 are pressed into a bracket 12 comprising complementary retaining means 13, for example, circular holes. The holes 13 can even be arranged directly in a ski or another sports article (not shown), that is, not via a bracket. Another embodiment of the retaining means is also possible. The retaining means 12 can have different configurations .

Fig. 16 shows a possible embodiment of a retaining means 12, with a flexor 24. The retaining means comprises in an embodiment, with or without flexor, holes 13 arranged to receive the pins 1, i.e., that the pins engage with respective holes from the inside. The flexor permits a controlled rotation of the shoe about the holes 13 in which the pins are secured. When the heel of the ski shoe is lifted, the flexor is pressed between the tip of the ski shoe and the ski. At the same time, the flexor provides support between the ski and the ski shoe when the heel is not lifted up. The last-mentioned prevents the ski from rotating uncontrollably if the foot is lifted up. In an embodiment a heel piece 25 can be a part of the retaining means. The retaining means 12, the flexor 24 and the heel piece 25 can, as mentioned, all have other configurations and also comprise other elements and/or functions. The heel piece 25 is shown with two longitudinal bars, but it will be appreciated that another number of bars will give the same effect. The bar(s) can also be replaced by one or more lugs, edges, skirts etc. One of the purposes of the bars or alternatives may be to give sideways torsional rigidity during skidding, turning or lateral loading, for example, a skating movement. A combination of pins and steering means on the heel is also conceivable.

The pins 1 can be regarded as pistons that move through guides 3. The guides 3 may have a form that corresponds to the form of the pins 1. There can be a through guide from one side to the other, or two or more guides 3.

The pins 1 can be round/cylindrical or have alternative cross-sections and configurations (square, polygonal, star-shaped, hollow etc.).

It should be understood that the means constituting the forcing means and other parts of the attachment mechanism according to the invention can be arranged between, behind, in front of, above or below the pins, i.e., that the illustrated embodiments in this specification should not be understood as limiting with regard to how different parts and functions are positioned on or in the shoe (optionally other locations).

The invention makes it possible to place many, if not all, functions as defined in claim 1 in or on the shoe. That means to say that the forcing means can be placed in the shoe. In an embodiment, the pins 1 and the forcing means are arranged in the ski shoe sole at the foremost edge of the ski shoe, or in the tip of the ski shoe. For some types of skiing activity, the position of the point of rotation is crucial. In an embodiment, the pins are therefore arranged in the ski shoe sole, and in a vertical section under the distal phalanx of the big toe. The operating device or devices can also be wholly or partly placed in or on the shoe. An example of the operating devices being placed in or on the shoe is the embodiment comprising a loop or cord shown in Figs. 10a to lOh. Another example is an electric motor that can be operated by means of a button or the like on the shoe. An example of the operating device or devices being partly placed/arranged in or on the shoe may be a lever, button or electric motor that is arranged on, e.g., the ski, which via a direct or indirect mechanical transfer causes the forcing means to be actuated.

The geometric configuration and width of the pins 1 and the retaining means 12 can be selected such that an optimal relationship between torsional rigidity, total width (dictated to a certain degree by the width of the ski and shoe sizes - these can vary) and the ski shoe properties can be obtained. The invention permits an attaching width that is substantially larger than that used in conventional solutions. At the same time, the attaching width should preferably not be so great that it cannot be used for a wide range of shoe sizes or fit into conventionally prepared ski tracks. The width can be in the range of 30 - 80 mm. Many intermediate ranges are conceivable, e.g., 30 - 40 mm, 40 - 50 mm, 50 - 60 mm, 50 - 70 mm or 70 - 80 mm. A possible width between the openings of the pins is 52 mm. The length of travel or stroke of the pins 1 can vary from 1 mm to 2 cm according to desire and/or need. The dimension and configuration of the retaining means 12 that is located on the ski, the thickness of the material of the retaining means 12, materials selection etc. will help to control this. If, for example, the retaining means 12 is made of steel, the material thickness can be as little as 1 mm, and still be sufficiently strong. If the retaining means is made of a softer material, e.g., a plastic or composite material, there may be a need for greater material thickness.

The dimensions of the pins 1 may be in the range of between 2 and 8 mm. With a dimension of 8 mm, they could be produced in softer and/or weaker materials such as plastic, composite or aluminium. According to an embodiment, the pins 1 are wholly or partly made of steel with a diameter of around 4 - 5 mm. Other non-limiting examples of possible materials are magnesium, titanium and alloys.

In this patent specification "to force" means, inter alia, "to press", "to overcome another force", "to set in motion", "to start and complete a movement", and/or "to actuate/carry out". An actuator, a motor, a triggering means, a manipulator and/or a mechanism to "force"» is in this specification described as "a forcing means". The forcing means may be wholly or partly mechanical, electric, hydraulic, automatic and/or manual. By "manual" is meant a manual indirect application of force on the pins 1 effected by a mechanical arrangement. By "manual" and "to force" is not meant a direct external application of force on the pins 1 by means of the fingers or other limbs. The forcing means may, for example, be biased (e.g., by means of a spring) in one direction and mechanically or electrically guided in the other direction. A biasing can also be understood as a forced or guided motion in the sense "the spring forces the pin outwards or inwards".

In this patent specification, the words "outwards" and "inwards" are used to designate the movement and position of the pins 1. "Outwards" is thus intended to means that the pins 1 project or are on the way out of or away from the attachment mechanism or the shoe in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction of the shoe. "Inwards" designates the opposite.

In the exemplary embodiments, the pins 1 are shown in line with each other (i.e., that they lie on the same transverse axis). It should be understood that the pins 1 could lie offset in relation to each other (i.e., that they lie on a different or an offset transverse axis).

The forcing means can alternatively be biased in one direction and electrically guided in the opposite direction, for example, with the aid of a spring in one direction and an electric motor in the other direction. In that case, the forcing means is partly motorised. A forcing means that comprises, for example, an electric motor can be arranged such that the generated power from the motor is transferred to the pins 1 via a mechanical arrangement comprising, for example, toothed wheels, toggle joint, springs or the like.

Regardless of whether the forcing means is wholly or partly mechanical and/or motorised, it is advantageous if the forcing means is configured such that a geared transfer of force takes place, i.e., that there is a momentum exchange. The momentum exchange can change speed, momentum or direction of the force applied. The advantage of this is that a relatively small force with little momentum can be transformed into a greater momentum. This will be an advantage in environments that are inhospitable to small-scale mechanics, typically those prevailing in the winter with cold, wind, dampness etc. A specific example is that the pins 1 become stuck in such a way that the skier cannot put the skis on or take them off. In such cases the use of pure manual force will often not be sufficient to press the pins in the desired direction. In addition, the cold could make handling difficult and disagreeable. With the aid of a geared transfer of force, there will be sufficient excess of momentum to overcome frictional forces resulting from icing, penetration of dirt etc. in the attachment mechanism. In any case, it is

advantageous if the operating devices are designed such that they are easily controllable and designed such that they do not involve a great deal of motoric precision on the part of the user. In a manual, mechanical system, this can, e.g., involve a loop being used that can easily be pulled hard on, e.g., by adding weight. This stands in contrasts to delicate pressure devices that require great manual strength and motoric precision. If the attachment mechanism comprises forcing means that provide a geared transfer of force, then the forcing means are in any case arranged in or on the shoe, even though the operating devices only partly need to be arranged on or in the shoe.

Additional embodiments can comprise, e.g., a block/wedge that can be pushed back and forth in a longitudinal direction, leaf spring, helical springs or the like that can be tightened and slackened, a relay, a stepper motor etc. Cams can also be used, a rotation of this or these forcing/moving the pins in and/or out. The pins can according to an embodiment be screwed in and out, e.g., in that they are threaded on the interior or exterior surface, and an externally threaded shaft or shafts, or internally threaded sleeve or sleeves, turn and thus force the pins inwards or outwards. A rotary screw motor can turn the shaft(s) and/or the sleeve(s), either directly or via toothed wheels or similar force transferring elements. These can also constitute a small fixed or variable ratio gear system.

If a block/wedge is used that can be pushed back and forth in a longitudinal direction, they can be configured such that the pin or pins are forced/moved out when a block/wedge is forced in between them. A biasing system can be provided to force/move the block/wedge back if this is released, such that the pin or pins can be allowed back in again. The pin or pins can then also be biased such that they are forced in after the block/wedge has been forced/moved back.

If leaf springs or the like are used, they can be tightened and/or slackened by being compressed with a block/wedge that can be pushed back and forth, a rotating screw, cams, a relay, stepper motor etc. In all these cases, different combinations are conceivable, e.g., an electric motor that causes a mechanical movement (e.g., block/wedge), which in turn forces/moves the pins out and in. The alternative consists of purely electrical or purely mechanical solutions.

The control system (lever, button, switch, twist mechanism etc.) can optionally be arranged on the shoe close to the mechanism. It can also be arranged on or in the ski, e.g., in that the control system physically moves a body that cooperates with a mechanism in the shoe or sends a signal and optionally supplies electric or other energy to a mechanism in the ski shoe.

A shoe typically comprises a sole and an upper. The pins and at least a part of the mechanism will typically be arranged in the sole at the foremost edge of the shoe, but can also be arranged at other points on the shoe. Parts of the mechanism may be arranged on or in the ski, the mechanism on or in the ski cooperating with the mechanism in or on the shoe. The pins and the mechanism (or a part of the mechanism) can be enclosed in a housing/cassette. In an embodiment, the pins and the forcing means are enclosed in the housing. As mentioned above, such a housing can be placed in the sole in the foremost edge of the shoe. The housing or a similar housing can also be arranged in the heel or a point between the shoe tip and the heel. Each cassette or housing can function independently of one another or in unison. In the examples that are discussed here, the focus is primarily on the shoe tip, but it will be understood that other positions are equally possible.

The pins may be arranged such that they engage with a corresponding hole or groove provided on or in the ski. A possible embodiment of retaining means (12) may be a U-shaped bracket with holes 24 in each upright end. When the tip of the ski shoe is passed into the U-shaped retaining means, the pins can be forced/moved outwards and into engagement with the holes in each upright end of the U-shaped retaining means. The retaining means and/or the ski shoe can comprise guide grooves or similar means that ensure that the pins are brought into line with the holes. The ends of the pins 1 can in addition be made pointed, rounded or tapering such that there is a certain tolerance for incorrect positioning when the pins are to meet the holes. Alternatively or in addition, the holes can be configured such that the pins are centred in the holes before or whilst the pins are pushed/moved into the holes.

The retaining means can be screwed or fastened to the ski in a known way or, as mentioned earlier, constitute an integral part of the ski. It can also be fastened to a plate with the aid of fastening means, ref. Figs. 9a-c, such as clips, grooves, recesses, clamps and/or a combination thereof. The fastening mechanisms of the retaining means may be configured such that they allow a change/adjustment of position on the ski, whether longitudinal direction, height, camber, different angles, etc.

The forcing means can be a mechanism that is actuated by a control system. The control system can be simple (lever, button, switch, twist mechanism, loop, cord), software-based, electrically controlled, or any other input. The motor can be electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, magnetic, mechanical etc. The forcing means are actuated by means of operating device, either directly or indirectly. The control system is regarded as an operating device.

In an embodiment of the invention, springs may be used to centre or hold the pins in a certain position (in a transverse direction relative to the longitudinal direction of the shoe). The pins may have one or more stable positions. If the forcing means or operating devices required to overcome the spring forces should fail, the pins can find a starting position that gives a desired function, e.g., a position that makes it easier to open the attachment mechanism.

The control system or systems can, for example, be placed on the shoe in connection with the sole, the upper, the heel cap or other parts that are accessible to the user (on their leg, in their clothes), in a belt bag, or externally from a trainer or organiser). It can even be placed on the ski or the retaining means 12 and cooperate with the sole's mechanism in a transmission, coupling, electric contact etc.