DAVIS, Iain (29 Brunswick Street East, Hove, East Sussex BN3 1AU, GB)
1. A ball control component for a sports boot or accessory comprising a three-layered composite of synthetic, rubber like material including a ball contact layer, a middle layer and a base layer wherein the base layer has the highest Shore resilience and the middle layer has a Shore resilience of from 20% to 60% of the Shore resilience of the base layer and an average thickness greater than that of the ball contact layer.
2. A ball control component as claimed in claim 1 wherein the ball contact layer has a relatively higher Shore resilience than the middle layer.
3. A ball control component as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the Shore resilience of the ball control layer is equal to or lesser than the Shore resilience of the base layer.
4. A ball control component as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the ball control layer is provided in the form of multiple discrete raised portions separated by spaces.
5. A ball control component as claimed in claim 4 wherein the discrete raised portions are provided with a roughened or contoured surface configured to provide high friction ball gripping surface.
6. A ball control component as claimed in claim 5 wherein the contoured surface is grooved or castellated.
7. A ball conttol component as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the Shore resilience of the ball control layer is from about 45 to about 65 Shore, the Shore resilience of the mid layer is from about 10 to about 35 Shore and the Shore resilience of the base layer is from about 25 Shore to in excess of 60 Shore.
8. A ball control layer as claimed in claim 7 wherein the Shore resilience of the base layer is 60 Shore or greater.
9. A ball control component as claimed in any preceeding claim wherein the overall thickness of the ball control component is not greater than about 7.5mm.
10. A ball control component as claimed in claim 9 wherein overall thickness of the ball control component is not greater than about 5mm.
11. A ball control component as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the the mid layer is the thickest layer.
12. A ball control component as claimed in any preceeding claim wherein the ball control layer is about 1 - 2 mm, the mid layer is about 1.5 -3mm and the base layer about 0.75 to 1.5 mm.
13. A ball control component configured for inclusion in a soccer boot, wherein the ball control layer is 1.5mm, the mid layer 2mm and the base layer lmm.
14. A sports boot provided with a ball control component having the configuration as described in any preceding claim.
15. A sports boot as claimed in claim 14 wherein the boot is a soccer boot.
16. A glove provided with a ball control component having the configuration as claimed in any of claims 1 to 13.
17. A glove as claimed in claim 16 wherein the glove is a goal keeper's glove.
18. A shin pad with a ball control component having the configuration as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 13.
This invention relates to sports shoes and accessories in particular sports shoes and accessories used in sports to control a ball. Examples of suitable applications for the invention are, without limitation, in sports boots, protection pads and goal keeping gloves
International patent application number PCT/GBOl/01708 describes a sports boot designed to provide a boot which gives further control to the wearer in manoeuvring a ball, the boot has a ball controlling surface which comprises an elasticated frictional surface having affixed thereto a plurality of pieces of frictional material and a layer of confined fluid beneath the elasticated surface.
The present invention seeks to provide a composite material which has similar or improved ball control advantages and which can be adapted for use in sports boots and other sports accessories used to control the ball during play.
In accordance with the present invention there is provided a ball control component for a sports boot or accessory comprising a three-layered composite of synthetic, rubber like material including a ball contact layer, a middle layer and a base layer wherein the base layer has the highest Shore resilience and the middle layer has a Shore resilience of from 20% to 60% of the Shore resilience of the base layer and an average thickness greater than that of the ball contact layer.
The thickness of the base layer relative to the other two layers may vary depending on the desired end purpose of the sports boot or accessory. For example, a thicker base layer may be incorporated in a soccer boot suited to a defender, where relatively higher force may be used in kicking the ball and greater protection of the foot is needed. In the alternative, a base layer may be relatively thinner in a soccer boot suited to a midfielder or winger where the player's role is more predominantly in controlling direction of the ball rather than displacing it a great distance with force. It will be appreciated that the layer thicknesses and resiliencies can be adjusted to suit a very specific application of the end product. Each layer provides a desired characteristic of the component and the importance of these characteristics in the end product may vary according to the intended end use. The base layer predominantly provides strength to the component; the middle layer provides for movement and direction of the ball and the ball contact layer predominantly grip as the ball is received and its direction of travel deflected.
In a preferred option, the synthetic rubber like material is a polyorganosiloxane; the layers may comprise two or more different forms of polyorganosiloxane. Such materials may, conveniently, be moulded in a compression mould or by injection moudling, chemical bonding of the multi- layered composite may be achieved by, for example, oven baking or heat curing. It is to be understood other known mass manufacturing methods may be easily adapted to manufacture the novel components of the invention. It will be appreciated that any manufacturing process should ensure intimate contact and consistent bonding between the layers to provide a better performance and more durable product.
Desirably the ball contact layer also has a relatively higher Shore resilience than the middle layer. Optionally, the Shore resilience of the ball control layer is equal to or lesser than the Shore resilience of the base layer.
The ball control layer may be provided in the form of multiple discrete raised portions separated by spaces. The discrete raised portions are desirably provided with a roughened or contoured surface configured to provide high friction ball gripping surface. For example but without limitation, a contoured surface may be grooved or castellated.
In preferred embodiments, the Shore resilience of the ball control layer is from about 45 to about 65 Shore, the Shore resilience of the mid layer is from about 10 to about 35 Shore and the Shore resilience of the base layer is from about 25 Shore to in excess of 60 Shore. More preferably, the Shore resilience of the base layer is 60 Shore or greater.
Desirably, the overall thickness of the ball control component is not greater than about 7.5mm, more preferably not greater than about 5mm. Desirably the mid layer is the thickest layer. For example, the ball control layer is about 1 - 2 mm, the mid layer about 1.5 -3mm and the base layer about 0.75 to 1.5 mm. In one convenient embodiment suitable for application in a soccer boot, the ball control layer is 1.5mm, the mid layer 2mm and the base layer lmm.
The configuration and resilience of the layers of the composite are such that the ball control layer provides an initial coefficient of friction between the boot or accessory and the ball, the middle layer, having a relatively lower Shore resilience than the base layer provides for deformation of the grip and thus increases contact area and contact time with the ball. The base layer serves to provide structure to the composite and enables stitching and or gluing of the grip into or onto the boot or accessory.
In the particular case of a soccer boot emdodiment of the invention, it is expected that, in addition to improving ball control, the component provides increased protection against foot damage and more specifically metatarsal damage during play. Protection results in part from increased shock absorption provided by the composite materials.
In another aspect, the invention provides a sports boot provided with a ball control component having the configuration as described above. The boot may be suited to any sports game involving passing, shooting or control of a ball by the foot, for example but not limited to a soccer boot or a rugby boot.
In another aspect, the invention provides a glove provided with a ball control component having the configuration described above. The glove may be suited to any sports game involving passing, shooting, catching or control of a ball by the hand, for example but not limited to a goalkeeper's glove. In another aspect the invention provides a shin pad provided with a ball control component having the configuration described above. The shin pad may be suited to any sports game involving the passing, shooting or controlling of the ball by the shin.
Trials of some specific embodiments of soccer boots in accordance with the invention were performed against a number of current leading brand high performance soccer boots, the trials and their results are summarised below.
This phase has focused upon initial prototype manufacture, testing and bench marking of the ball control component of the invention embodied in a soccer boot against leading competitor soccer boots. Testing was completed in 2 stages; the first stage utilised the high speed impact test (JUG's) to enable comparison between alternate silicone compounds and competitor boots. The second stage employed a ball strike/flight analysis apparatus (QuinSpin) to enable player testing and comparison of the competitor and prototype boots.
Four initial prototype lay-ups were considered. Due to the large forces imparted through a potential grip solution, durability and shear strength of the structure are of high importance. Therefore the use of a multi-layered injected silicone allowed a combination of silicone grades to be chemically bonded together with high shear strength between the layers.
Figure 1 illustrates the chosen lay-up for the prototype grip/boot construction; the ball contact layer (1) consists of a medium resilience (50/60 shore) silicone of 1.5mm depth, the mid layer (2) a low resilience (15/30 shore) silicone of 2 mm depth and the base layer (3) a high resilience (65+ shore) silicone of 1 mm depth. Each layer was moulded in turn from the top down in a compression mould. During each part of the process the mould was oven baked which enabled the individual layers to form a strong chemical bond. The top layer is designed to provide the initial coefficient of friction between the boot and the ball. The mid layer, utilizing the low resilience silicone, is designed to allow for the deformation of the grip and thus increase contact area and time. The base layer is of a high resilience silicone to provide a structure allowing the grip to be stitched and glued to the boot.
The moulds were produced via a computer aided design (CAD) mould design which was manufactured using a fused deposition modelling (FDM) rapid manufacturing machine. This mould was then used directly to produce the sample components in the form as illustrated in Figure 2. The first mould produced was re-designed to include a larger base layer for ease of attachment and a thinned top layer from 2.0 mm down to 1.5 mm. This mould was used to produce several alternate lay-ups of which five were used in the high speed impact testing. The five grips employed silicones of varying resilience to enable analyses of alternate lay-ups for greater understanding and to aide selection for the player testing.
High Speed Impact Testing
The test was designed to simulate the impact between football and boot and to enhance high spin rates. This involved the use of a "JUGs" ball launching machine (5), a force plate (6) a catch net (7) and a high speed video camera (4). Figure 3 depicts a plan view of this set-up with the JUGs machine (5) set at a 25° angle (from the horizontal) to the force plate (6) with a high speed camera (4) focused upon the impact location in parallel with the direction of ball travel. Due to the large variation in kick speeds and contact angles within the game, the chosen respective speeds and angles for the test set-up have been employed for quality and repeatability of results. The JL)Gs machine (5) was set to produce a ball impact speed of 21±1 ms "1 . This enabled smooth force plate traces and is consistent with the speed of a soccer kick. The angle allowed a compromise between spin generation and preservation of ball velocity.
The three leading manufacturers boots; a Nike Laser II T90, Adidas Predator Powerswerve and Mizuno Shinken Wave, were cut down to net form and the corresponding grip sections removed. The grip section taken were as close to the size of the silicone samples as possible, thus ensuring a consistent surface area. Each sample in turn was attached to the centre of the force plate (6), a FIFA approved football at a set pressure was then fired upon the sample. The silicone samples were attached via a lmm steel frame this allowed the samples to be fixed in position. It is also acknowledged that the use of the frame may restrict the deformation of the sample, and should be taken into account when considering the results.
High speed video (6000 fps) captured each impact for visual analyses; spin generation was then found using digitization software (Image-Pro Plus 5.0). The force plate (2000 Hz) measured all forces in the x, y and z planes allowing a large selection of measurements to be analysed, these included coefficient of friction (COF) and contact times.
All samples were re-tested under wet conditions; this was produced using atomised water sprayed directly upon the samples. Each sample was tested five times to allow a mean and standard deviation to be calculated for all data.
The player testing was performed with three right-footed, University first team football players- completing a swerve kick protocol. These players were selected due to their enhanced consistency following a previously completed strike analyses session. Four boots were compared in the testing; the Nike Laser II T90, Adidas Predator Powerswerve, Mizuno Shinken Wave and the prototype boot. The prototype was built around a Pantofola d'Oro boot due to its minimalist design which would therefore reduce the number of variables which may influence the subjects' kicks performance. This ensured that only the grip structure was evaluated and not the influence of the boot. The selected grip was chosen due to its performance in the high speed impact tests; it was then glued and sewn to the boot's upper in order to provide solid unrestricted performance. This also minimised any reduced comfort due to any intrusion within the structure of the boot.
The subjects were asked to perform a swerved kick from the instep of the foot (inside spin kick) and a swerved kick from the outside of the foot (outside spin kick). The tests were conducted around the goal mouth of a football pitch where the subjects were asked to strike the ball from the edge of the penalty box, around the top corner of 6 foot wall, and into the goal (Figure 4). The wall was located 10 yards away from the ball and in direct line with the far goal post; this meant that the ball had to be curved around the wall to result in a goal. By asking the subjects to clear the top corner of the 6 foot wall, their ball elevation could be controlled to around 15 degrees from the horizontal. This identical protocol was repeated from the other side of the penalty box in order to collect both inside and outside spin results.
The relationship between power and spin means that maximal power and maximal spin cannot be produced with the same kick. A sufficient amount of spin and power was applied to ensure a consistent, accurate measurement and produce a kick which might be seen in a free kick scenario. The subjects were asked to kick at a velocity in the region of 18 ms "1 (40mph); the actual speed was left for the players to interpret so as not to greatly impede upon their own technique. They were also asked, as previously discussed, to control launch elevation to 15 degrees to just clear the wall. Subjects then completed 10 kicks in each of the four boots and repeated this for inside and outside spin. They were asked to impart maximum spin to the ball without going beyond the specified boundaries for velocity and elevation while also trying to score a goal.
After completing the test with each boot the subject was asked to mark their perceived performance with regards to spin, power and control on a 100mm visual analogue scale (VAS). This would enable a quantitative value, from 0 to 100, to be extracted from the subjects, which could then be used for further analyses between the boots.
A bespoke soccer ball flight analysis system (QuinSpin, Sports Dynamics UK) was used during each kick to determine compound spin rates and ball velocity via high speed image capture and algorithmic processing. This particular means of capture involves a specifically designed ball that is printed with a fixed array of coloured dots. Upon launch of the ball following a kick, two images are collected which in the first instance permits calculation of ball velocity and trajectory angle. Each image also captures the different orientations of the coloured dots depending on the rotational position of the ball. The change of dot position between the two images determines spin rate and spin axis.
By selecting the five most consistent results from each individual boot test the mean and standard deviation of the tests were calculated. The five results were chosen due to their proximity to the prescribed launch angle of 15 degrees and proximity to their mean ball velocity throughout the test.
Table 1 defines the samples used throughout the testing protocols and provides a description of their composition. Table 1
Figure 5 illustrates the mean ball spin generated post impact during testing in dry conditions. It is evident that all but one of the prototype samples demonstrated greater mean spin generation than the next best available boot sample, the Adidas Predator. The mean percentage increases of the prototype samples are exhibited in Table 2 which demonstrates Sl to have a 2.7% increase in spin compared to the Adidas and a 20% increase in spin when compared to the Nike Laser II T90. Sample S2 demonstrates the lowest spin generation of the prototype set with a decrease of 0.54% when compared to the Adidas, however it still outperforms the remaining two boots by up to 16.72%. None of the prototype samples illustrate statistically significant results when compared with the Adidas sample, which in statistical terms indicates that they are equal in performance. The prototype samples do however illustrate very good statistical significance (P< 0.01) over the Mizuno and Nike samples, the Adidas sample is also statistically significant (P< 0.01) over these two samples.
Table 2: Mean percentage increase of prototype samples when compared to boot samples in dry conditions (NB: Minus values indicate a decrease)
Figure 6 illustrates the mean ball spin generated post impact during testing in wet conditions. The performance hierarchy between these samples has altered notably and the Mizuno boot now demonstrates the greatest mean peak force followed by samples Sl, S3 and S4 respectively. All prototype samples illustrate greater mean spin generation when compared to both the Adidas and the Nike by 5% to 26% and 2% to 22% respectively. All percentage increases are shown in Table 3. None of the prototype samples have statistically significant results when compared to any other samples within the test. The only sample to illustrate statistical significance ((P< 0.05) is the Mizuno sample when compared to the lowest mean result demonstrated by the Adidas sample.
Sample % Increase over % Increase over % Increase over PRED (W) MIZ (W) T90 (W)
Sl Wet 26.12 -2.80 22.70
S2 Wet 5.09 -19.01 2.24
S3 Wet 19.61 -7.82 16.37
S4 Wet 18.65 -8.55 15.44
S5 Wet 6.23 -18.13 3.35
Table 3: Percentage increase of prototype samples when compared to boot samples in wet conditions (NB: Minus values indicate a decrease)
Figure 7 illustrates the mean contact time in seconds (acquired via the force plate) of ball impact upon the dry and wet samples. The mean contact times range from 0.008789s to 0.009286s; the Adidas and Mizuno samples demonstrate the greatest mean contact times in the dry. Sample Sl exhibits the greatest contact time in the wet followed, with equal results, by S2, S3 and the Mizuno sample. Interestingly the decline in contact time from dry to wet is smaller in all of the prototype samples when compared to the Adidas and Mizuno samples. The samples all show high standard deviation due to the small time increments and the limits of associated measuring techniques, these standard deviations illustrate the minimal difference between samples.
Figure 8 illustrates the impulse, in Newton seconds, of ball impact in the y direction (horizontal) for both wet and dry conditions. Impulse represents the force applied by the grip, multiplied by time. A large impulse in the y direction suggests that a grip sample can exert a sustained force to the ball and therefore impart greater spin. The trends displayed in Figure 8 support those of the actual spin illustrated by Figure 6 and Figure 7 Sample S3 exhibits the greatest impulse, in the dry, over Sl by 0.0137 N-s and by 0.325 N-s over that of the Adidas sample. Wet conditions also followed very similar trends to those of the spin results, however sample Sl demonstrated a greater impulse than the Mizuno sample by 0.0287 and sample S3 by 0.0506. This disparity between the values is however very small and does not overly effect the general hierarchy of the sample performance.
Figure 9 depicts the maximum mean recorded COF by the force plate during impact for both wet and dry conditions. Sample Sl demonstrates the greatest mean COF in the dry followed by sample S3. The three competitor boot samples illustrate the lowest dry mean COF results. The standard deviation of the boot samples is however smaller when compared to the silicone samples, this suggest that the competitor boot samples provide greater consistency with regards to COF. Sample S5 exhibits the greatest COF in wet conditions; however it also demonstrates the largest mean standard deviation illustrating the inconsistency in COF. The competitor boot samples represent the three lowest mean COFs in the wet by up to 42% decrease compared to S5.
Through initial discussion and analyses of the high speed impact testing, sample S3 was chosen for use in player testing due to its consistency and durability. This sample was attached to the prototype boot for the player test benchmarking. Figure 10 illustrates the mean compound ball spin achieved by subject 1. The mean outside spin velocity (± sd) with regards to Figure 10 were 17.95 ± 0.55 ms "1 and 15.26 ± 1.066° respectively. The mean inside spin velocity (± sd) and mean elevation (± sd) with regards to Figure 10 were 18.89 ±0.65 ms " 1 and 16.50 ± 1.88° respectively. Wearing the Nike, Mizuno and S3 boots subject 1 records very similar mean outside spin results of 709.7, 714.4 and 704.8 respectively. Due to the standard deviations between these three samples, of roughly ±50 r/min, the results bear no inter-sample significance illustrating their parity in spin generation for this subject. The Adidas boot illustrates poor mean outside spin results when compared with the other boots with around a 35% decrease in spin compared to S3. It also illustrated statistically significant (P< 0.01) decrease in outside spin compared to all other boots. The mean inside spin recorded by subject 1 exhibits much inter-sample similarly illustrating no statistically significant results with mean spin rates ranging from 432.52 to 450.87
Figure 11 illustrates the mean compound ball spin achieved by subject 2. The mean outside spin velocity (± sd) and mean elevation (± sd) with regards to Figure 11 were 19.64 ± 0.66 ms "1 and 13. 72 ± 2.47° respectively. The mean inside spin velocity (± sd) and mean elevation (± sd) with regards to Figure 11 were 20.45 ± 0.91 ms "1 and 16.93 ± 2.29° respectively. Subject 2 recorded the greatest mean outside spin of 725.76 r/min wearing the Nike boot, this is also statistically significant (P< 0.01) over all other samples. The next highest mean outside spin rate of 392.75 was achieved while wearing S3, however no statistical significance is illustrated between the three lowest samples. Subject 2 achieved the greatest mean inside spin of 820.58 r/min while wearing the Adidas boot, this result also illustrated statistical significance over that of the S3 boot which recorded 669.61 r/min. However, no statistical significance is seen between the three lowest samples.
Figure 12 illustrates the mean compound ball spin achieved by subject 2.
The mean outside spin velocity (± sd) and mean elevation (± sd) with regards to Figure 12 were 18.75 ± 0.58 ms "1 and 12.78 ± 1.48° respectively. The mean inside spin velocity (± sd) and mean elevation (± sd) with regards to Figure 12 were 21.32 ± 0.32 ms "1 and 15.39 ± 0.85° respectively. Subject 3 recorded the highest mean outside spin of 196.42 r/min wearing the Nike boot followed closely by S3 with a spin of 185.79 r/min, however no statistical significance is illustrated by the Nike boot. The mean inside spins achieved while wearing the S3, Adidas and Mizuno boots were 550.49, 542.58 and 547.94 r/min respectively with no statistical significance between the samples.
The Table shown in Figure 13 details player perceptions of spin, power and control (0-100) and illustrates each subjects perceptions of the spin, power and control for each boot. The green highlighted cells depict the highest perceived spin of each inside and outside kick for every subject. The yellow highlighted cells depict the highest overall mean results for each subject from the combined spin, power and control values. Subject 1 perceived the Nike boot to provide greatest inside spin of 93.8 closely followed by S3 with 91.8, however S3 was perceived as generating the greatest outside spin. Subject 2 perceived S3 as generating the greatest inside spin and the Adidas boot as providing the greatest outside spin. Subject 3 perceived the Mizuno boot as generating the greatest inside spin with 92.8 followed closely by S3 with 92.8, however S3 was perceived to provide the greatest outside spin.
Overall mean gives an insight into the subjects boot preference when all factors are considered. The prototype boot exhibits the greatest overall mean for every subject.
The high speed impact test exhibits positive results for the initial prototype samples permitting a full understanding of the technology and offering high potential for placement within a commercial boot. There are however developments that we have identified during this process. The attachment method, for example, by which the prototype sample was fixed to the force plate, must be considered as this may impair its ability to deform slightly. Every prototype sample in the dry condition illustrated statistically significant higher spins when compared to both the Mizuno and Nike samples. Every prototype sample, excluding S2, also illustrated greater mean spin results when compared to the Adidas boot, although these results were not statistically significant. However, this is a very positive result demonstrating that the prototype samples outperform two of the leading brands boots significantly, in terms of spin, by up to 20%. The prototype can impart higher mean spins than the Adidas predator boot up to 2.67%. The wet data exhibits greater inconsistencies within the results with large standard deviations due to the lubricant layer of water. The Mizuno boot tends to illustrate the greatest mean ball spin, although this may be due to its complete leather base which can absorb more moisture compared to the prototype samples. However, all of the prototype samples do illustrate greater mean spin generation than both the Adidas and Nike boots by up to 26%. It must also be noted that none of the prototype samples demonstrated any statistically significant decrease in spin compared to any of the brands boots. The mean spin results do demonstrate the prototypes consistency in providing an enhanced level of spin when compared to competitor's boots in both dry and wet conditions. This results in either enhanced or comparable results when compared to the competitors boot samples.
The force plate data allows more in depth analyses and greater confirmation of the spin results gained. The contact time between the sample and ball is an important factor in the generation of spin. In the dry, the Sl, Adidas and Mizuno samples illustrate the greatest mean contact times followed by samples S3 and S4, however due to the large standard deviation it is very difficult to provide any significant results. In the wet, sample Sl also demonstrates the greatest contact time followed by the S2, S3 and Mizuno samples. Interestingly the decrease in contact time from dry to wet is smaller within the prototype samples than the boot samples therefore illustrating the prototype consistency in both dry and wet conditions.
The recorded impulse of each test gives an insight into the amount of force which can be exerted to the ball to impart spin. All prototype samples illustrate greater mean impulse than the three competitor boot samples in the dry and sample Sl demonstrates the greatest mean impulse in the wet closely followed by S3 and Mizuno. These results support and confirm the recorded mean spin results illustrating very similar hierarchies and inter-sample performance. The coefficient of friction (COF) is also an important factor in transferring force through to the ball to impart spin. The prototype samples demonstrate higher COF than all competitor boot samples in both wet and dry conditions, this again supports the recorded mean spin data and illustrates the enhanced grip levels offered by the prototype samples.
Sample S3 was chosen for use in the player testing due to its consistent performance throughout the high speed impact testing and its high durability. Sample Sl tended to demonstrate higher performance than S3, however its durability was very limited, often resulting in sample failure. It also did not fall withtin the scope of the claimed invention as it was constructed from a single layer of 30 shore silicone. It does however illustrate that enhanced spin can be generated by using a very low resilience deformable silicone. It is also possible that deformation of the sample and therefore spin may have been slightly reduced due to the prototypes attachment method to the force plate. The corresponding high speed video footage also confirms the hypothesised principle of spin generation. The prototypes can be seen to deform in shear increasing contact time and friction between the sample and ball. The individual release of separate grip components is also visible. In order to gain these visuals the ball was fired on the very edge of the sample, therefore more deformation is expected when the sample is directly impacted.
It is difficult to extract consistent data from player testing due to the large standard deviations between subjects. These are created by normal human inconsistencies and the greater number of variables that must be controlled. By prescribing specific boundaries upon velocity and launch angle and only selecting the five closest results much of this inconsistency was however removed. Subject 1 illustrates no differences in mean spin between boots S3, Mizuno and Nike on the outside of the foot and no difference between the boots with inside spin. Interestingly subject 1 perceived the Nike boot to provide the greatest spin on the inside very closely followed by the S3 sample. The S3 sample was also perceived to provide the greatest outside spin. Sample S3 also illustrated the best overall perception of spin, power and control. Subject 2 demonstrated the greatest outside spin in the Nike boot which was statistically significant to the three other boots. However, no statistical difference is illustrated within the inside spin results, although the Adidas boots does exhibit the greatest mean spin values. Interestingly subject 1 perceived sample S3 to generate the greatest spin from the inside of the boot. Again sample S3 was perceived to provide the best overall results in spin, power and control. Subject 3 generated the greatest outside spin with the Nike boot, however the S3 boot only illustrated a 10 rpm mean decrease and a smaller standard deviation. Sample S3 also performs well with regards to inside spin, generating the greatest mean spin. Subject 3 perceived the Mizuno boot to generate the greatest inside spin but this was followed very closely by the S3 sample. The S3 sample was again perceived to generate the greatest outside spin and overall best spin, power and control.
Although every subject performed differently in each boot, the prototype boot still remained consistent with regards to spin performance, generally exhibiting the greatest or a comparable spin result when compared to the competitor boots. The subject's perceptions with regards to the boots were also very reassuring. Every subject perceived the prototype boot to generate the greatest spin with either the inside or outside of the boot and when it was not perceived as the best it followed very closely as second best by two of the subjects. The S3 boot also exhibited the best overall average perception for enhanced spin, power and control. This then demonstrates that there is a consistent perceived advantage of the prototype boot when compared to the competitor boots.
Considering the first prototype, proof of principle nature of this testing, the results gained have been extremely promising to the future of this technology. Throughout testing the prototype samples have generally performed either at enhanced or comparable levels to the competitor boots. This is impressive given the high financial input and development time that the competitor boots will have received in all aspects of performance. The lab based tests illustrated this enhanced performance, which although not continuously significant was consistently high. The player tests have also demonstrated good, consistent performance throughout, especially within the perception results.
While the current iteration may not provide the highest possible performance in every test situation analysed, this initial prototype shows remarkable potential with clear development channels available to reach class leading performance in the future. With the knowledge gained and data trends seen the Applicant is confident that significant increases in prototype performance beyond the levels of the competitor boots are possible. This can be achieved through simple design changes to the structure of the grip and mid-layers enabling greater deformation and contact between the sample and the ball.
Some embodiments of the invention will now be further described with reference to the following Figures in which;
Figure 14 shows the external appearance of one embodiment of a soccer boot in accordance with the invention;
Figure 15 shows the embodiment of Figurel with a section through part of the ball controlling surface to illustrate its layered structure.
Figure 16 illustrates schematically how the embodiment of Figures 1 and 2 may be manufactured.
Figure 17 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in the form of a goal keeper's glove.
Figure 18 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in the form of a shin pad.
As can be seen from Figure 14, the basic shape of the boot 1 resembles that of known football boots. It has a sole 2 carrying a plurality of studs 3a, 3b, 3c, and an upper surface 4 comprising a tongue 5, a foot encapsulating portion 6 and laces 7 threaded through holes 8a, 8b, 8c,.... provided either side of a slashed opening 9 provided in the foot encapsulating portion 6. The toe portion 10 of the foot encapsulating portion 6 is provided with a ball controlling surface in accordance with the present invention. The upper surface of the ball controlling portion is provided with a plurality of diamond shaped pieces of rubber 11a, lib, lie, affixed to underlying elasticated layer 12. Each piece of rubber 11a, lib, lie,.... has a grooved surface to provide additional friction. It is to be noted that the pieces of rubber 11a, lib, lie,.... are slightly raised from elasticated layer 12 and are spaced slightly apart from each other, this in itself provides a frictional property to the ball controlling surface.
From Figures 15 and 16 it can be seen that between the foot encapsulating portion 6 of the shoe and the elasticated layer 12 is provided a fluid layer 13, in this case made up of a globular gel-like substance. The heel portion 14 of the foot encapsulating portion 6 may also optionally be provided with a ball controlling surface in accordance with the present invention. In Figure 17, the letters A, B and C represent sequential steps in the manufacture of the embodiment illustrated.
As can be seen from Figure 17, the basic shape of the goalkeeper' glove 1 resembles that of known gloves. The palm surface of the glove 2 is provided with a plurality of gripping elements 11a, lib, lie, affixed to underlying elasticated layer 12. Each gripping element 11a, lib, lie,.... has a grooved surface to provide additional friction. It is to be noted that the gripping elements 11a, lib, lie,.... are slightly raised from elasticated layer 12 and are spaced slightly apart from each other, this in itself provides a frictional property to the ball controlling surface.
As can be seen from Figure 18, the basic shape of the shin pad 1 resembles that of known shin pads. The front facing surface of the shin pad is provided with a ball controlling surface in accordance with the present invention. The upper surface of the ball controlling portion is provided with a plurality of elongate gripping elements 11a, lib, lie, affixed to underlying elasticated layer 12. Each gripping element 11a, lib, lie,.... has a grooved surface to provide additional friction. It is to be noted that the pieces of rubber 11a, lib, lie,.... are slightly raised from elasticated layer 12 and are spaced slightly apart from each other, this in itself provides a frictional property to the ball controlling surface.
It is to be understood that the foregoing represents just some embodiments of the invention and is not intended to detract from the true scope of the invention as claimed in the appended claims.
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