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Title:
GROUNDING FOOTWEAR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/199020
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an article of footwear for grounding the human body to earth, comprising: a covered upper; a sole having an outer sole face distal from a user and an inner sole face proximate to the user; one or more electrically conductive portions which extend through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face; and an electrically conductive layer which extends over a portion of the inner sole face and being configured to make conductive contact with the foot of the human body.

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Inventors:
STANLEY, Adam (56 Sonning Avenue, Litherland, Liverpool Merseyside L21 9JY, L21 9JY, GB)
WALSH, Stephen (251 Knowsley Road, Bootle, Liverpool Merseyside L20 5DF, L20 5DF, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/051369
Publication Date:
November 23, 2017
Filing Date:
May 17, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
N-ION SPORTS TECHNOLOGY LIMITED (251 Knowsley Road, Bootle, Liverpool Merseyside L20 5DF, L20 5DF, GB)
International Classes:
A43B7/36; A43B13/14; A43C15/16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICHARD, Leslie Stephen (Culverstons, 20 Dawlish Road, Wirral Merseyside CH61 2XP, CH61 2XP, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An article of footwear for grounding the human body to earth, comprising:

a covered upper;

a sole having an outer sole face distal from a user and an inner sole face proximate to the user;

one or more electrically conductive portions which extend through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face; and

an electrically conductive layer which extends over a portion of the inner sole face and being configured to make conductive contact with the foot of the human body.

2. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sole is generally planar.

3. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein the outer sole face and the inner sole face are planar and parallel to each other.

4. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the sole is rigid or semi-rigid and is formed from a resin, rubberised and/or hard plastics material.

5. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the one or more electrically conductive portions which extend through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face are disposed in one or more integrally-moulded blades and/or raised protections for providing grip, or one or more stud receiving portions for receiving one or more complementary conductive threaded screw studs.

6. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 5, wherein each of the stud receiving portions being formed from a separate suitable metal or rigid plastics material and in- moulded with the sole to receive the thread of each of the threaded screw studs.

7. The article of footwear as claimed in claims 5 or 6, wherein each of the threaded screw studs having a body portion configured generally as a truncated cone or truncated pyramid and a shaft disposed through the body portion having at one end a thread which is dimensioned to be received in the stud receiving portion and an exposed ground contacting portion at the other end of the shaft.

8. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 7, wherein the shaft being formed from an electrically conductive material.

9. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 7, wherein the electrically conductive material forming the shaft is selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: copper, silver, silver plated or coated steel, carbon fibre or an alloy or mixtures thereof.

10. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 7, wherein the body portion comprises projections for engagement with a complementary shaped tool for fixture and/or replacement in the sole.

11. The article of footwear as claimed in claims 7 or 10, wherein the body portion comprises an annular shoulder which meets with the outer face of the stud receiving portion when fully screwed in.

12. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 7 to 11, wherein disposed at the threaded end of each of the threaded screw studs is a low-profile lug or push-fit type connector, the lug or connector projecting through a slit or opening formed in the inner sole face when fully screwed in.

13. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 12, wherein the lug or connector is connected to one end of an exposed conductive wire, the electrical connection of the wire to the lug or connector being via a physical spade connection and/or a crimp connection and/or a soldered connection.

14. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 7 to 11, wherein disposed inside the threaded end of each of the threaded screw studs is a blind hole.

15. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 13, wherein the other end of the exposed conductive wire forms a loop connected to the lug or connector of a neighbouring threaded screw stud.

16. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 15, wherein the conductive wire loop is positioned in a generally flat configuration adjacent to the inner sole face.

17. The article of footwear as claimed in claims 15 or 16, wherein the conductive wire loop is positioned in a generally flat configuration contiguous with the inner sole face.

18. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 15 to 17, wherein a plurality of conductive wire loops are positioned adjacent to the inner sole face.

19. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 15 to 18, wherein the number of conductive wire loops is three and the number of threaded screw studs is six.

20. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 15 to 19, wherein the conductive wire loop connected between neighbouring pairs of threaded screw studs is C- or U-shaped.

21. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 15 to 19, wherein the conductive wire loop connected between neighbouring pairs of threaded screw studs is formed having a convoluted path.

22. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 15 to 21, wherein the conductive wire loop being formed from copper, silver or alloys or mixtures thereof.

23. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 7 to 11, wherein the one or more threaded screw studs are provided along the length of the outer sole face projecting therefrom in pairs, with a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around a heel portion, a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around a instep portion, and a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around an instep portion of the sole.

24. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the electrically conductive layer comprises a layer of conductive tape or fabric.

25. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 24, wherein the layer of conductive tape or fabric is a copper or silver-based tape or fabric material.

26. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 25, wherein the layer of conductive tape is embossed copper tape, with an acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive and liner. 27. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 26, wherein the embossed copper tape adheres the conductive wire loop in place.

28. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 24 to 27, further comprising an insole on top of the layer of conductive tape proximate to the user, the insole providing a cushioning layer formed from a woven fabric material that includes a conductive yarn selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: strands of copper, silver, carbon fibre and combinations thereof.

29. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 28, wherein the insole is anatomically shaped to the foot of the user when in use.

30. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 5, wherein the one or more electrically conductive portions being disposed in one or more integrally-moulded blades and/or raised protections are portions or cylinders of conductive material which extend from the outermost part of the blade or raised projection to the inner sole face.

31. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 30, wherein the portions or cylinders of conductive material are held in place in an aperture which extends from the outermost part of the blade or raised projection to the inner sole face via an interference fit or being adhered in place by the use of a suitable adhesive.

32. The article of footwear as claimed in claims 30 or 31, wherein the portions or cylinders of conductive material are selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: copper, silver, silver plated or coated steel, carbon fibre or an alloy or mixtures thereof.

33. The article of footwear as claimed in any of claims 30 to 32, wherein the portions or cylinders of conductive material are formed integrally with the sole via ion beam mixing.

34. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the article of footwear is selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: football shoes, tennis shoes, golf shoes, rugby boots, American football boots, hockey shoes, running spikes.

35. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the upper being formed from a conductive fabric material.

36. The article of footwear as claimed in any of the preceding claims, further comprising a soluble coating being applied to the upper and the sole and which incorporates a conductive compound.

37. A method of manufacturing an article of footwear comprising a covered upper and a sole having an outer sole face and an inner sole face, the method comprising the steps of:

inserting a plurality of electrically conductive portions completely through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face;

securing the plurality of electrically conductive portions in place and electrically connecting the portions using exposed wire; and

placing and adhering an electrically conductive layer on top of the exposed wire; and

optionally placing a conductive insole over the electrically conductive layer.

38. An article of footwear as described herein with reference to Figures 1 to 6 of the accompanying drawings.

39. A method of method of manufacturing an article of footwear comprising a covered upper and a sole having an outer sole face and an inner sole face as hereinbefore described.

Description:
GROUNDING FOOTWEAR

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to grounding footwear. In particular, this invention relates to footwear that can be used to discharge extraneous static electricity and charges from an individual during sports and leisure activities.

BACKGROUND

Interest in the practice of "grounding" or "earthing" the human body has grown in recent years. In the simplest form, the practice involves being in direct contact with the ground or earth by walking, sitting or lying (the terms "grounding" and "earthing" are interchangeable, and for brevity hereinafter will be referred to simply as "grounding" or the "ground"). When grounded in this manner, any extraneous static electricity, positive ions and other electromagnetic fields and charges that are present in the human body can be naturally dissipated to the ground. Grounding the human body on a regular basis allows it to dissipate all of the extraneous static electricity and charges that are accumulated whilst wearing manmade soles, and by living and working at elevated levels to the ground and allows an individual to harness or receive the negative ions that are present in organic materials, such as rain, trees, plants and minerals from the ground. Various scientific studies have pointed to a positive effect on the human psyche, and an improved general sense of wellbeing by the practice of grounding, as detailed below.

Researchers have found that sleeping on an electrically grounded conductive mat produced quantifiable changes in Cortisol levels (Ghaly, M., Teplitz, D., "The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain and Stress", The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 10, No. 5, 2004, pp. 767-776). This was found to improve sleep and reduce pain and stress in nearly all subjects. The practice of grounding has also been found to improve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other types of depression (Terman, M., Terman, J. S., "Controlled Trial of Naturalistic Dawn Simulation and Negative Air Ionization for Seasonal Affective Disorder", American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 163, 2006, pp. 2126-2133). In the area of sports science, the use of grounding (either through being in direct contact with the ground by walking, sitting or lying, or through the use of electrically grounded conductive mats or pads) has allowed sportsmen and women to recover more quickly after exercise, and to reduce pain and inflammation and have more energy. Studies have revealed that grounding to harness the negatively charged electrons and ions carried in the earth also reduces lactic acid build up that occurs during and after exercise (Brown, D., Chevalier, G., Hill, M., "Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness", The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2010, pp. 265-273).

In modern sports stadia, an athlete, such as a professional football player, is bombarded by a multitude of unseen charges, fields and frequencies which all stem from developments in terms of telecommunications and computerisation. For example, infrared radiation, wireless technology (WiFi), mobile telecommunications signals and networks, such 3G and 4G, and countless other digital and cellular signals received and transmitted by modern smartphones and electronic devices. In addition, the manmade non-conductive footwear of the modern athlete disconnects them from remaining grounded during this electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation bombardment, which can lead to a large inflammation build up during gameplay, and which could then either cause or compound existing injuries and possible chronic conditions in the athlete.

Therefore there is the need for a product that has the ability to not only connect the athlete to the ground, enabling his/her body's natural healing and recovery system to occur during active play, but which can also enhance the body's performance by aiding in the recovery process.

It is an object of the present invention to provide footwear that can be used to discharge extraneous static electricity and charges from an individual during sports and leisure activities. Such footwear alleviates the drawbacks associated with known non-conductive sports and leisure footwear, which provide no grounding effect. The present invention provides footwear that can be worn to give an improved sense of wellbeing. It is an object of the present invention to provide sports and leisure footwear and its method of manufacture which does not affect the mechanical and aesthetic properties of the footwear, nor does it significantly increase weight of the footwear. Use of the present invention helps to eradicate the effects of extraneous static electricity, positive ions and other electromagnetic fields and charges that are accumulated in the human body by naturally dissipating them to the ground to give an improved sports and/or athletic performance. Use of the present invention helps to aid the recovery and healing of the human body's natural equilibrium, to promote a balance in blood cell congestion and reduce inflammation. Use of the present invention is particularly beneficial for sportspersons who are prone to injury or who suffer from reoccurring chronic conditions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is described herein and in the claims.

According to the present invention there is provided an article of footwear for grounding the human body to earth, comprising:

a covered upper;

a sole having an outer sole face distal from a user and an inner sole face proximate to the user;

one or more electrically conductive portions which extend through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face; and

an electrically conductive layer which extends over a portion of the inner sole face and being configured to make conductive contact with the foot of the human body.

An advantage of the present invention is that it can be used to discharge extraneous static electricity and charges from an individual during sports and leisure activities Preferably, the sole is generally planar.

Further preferably, the outer sole face and the inner sole face are planar and parallel to each other. In use, the sole may be rigid or semi-rigid and is formed from a resin, rubberised and/or hard plastics material.

Preferably, the one or more electrically conductive portions which extend through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face are disposed in one or more integrally- moulded blades and/or raised protections for providing grip, or one or more stud receiving portions for receiving one or more complementary conductive threaded screw studs. Further preferably, each of the stud receiving portions being formed from a separate suitable metal or rigid plastics material and in-moulded with the sole to receive the thread of each of the threaded screw studs.

In use, each of the threaded screw studs may have a body portion configured generally as a truncated cone or truncated pyramid and a shaft disposed through the body portion having at one end a thread which is dimensioned to be received in the stud receiving portion and an exposed ground contacting portion at the other end of the shaft.

Preferably, the shaft being formed from an electrically conductive material.

Further preferably, the electrically conductive material forming the shaft is selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: copper, silver, silver plated or coated steel, carbon fibre or an alloy or mixtures thereof. In use, the body portion may comprise projections for engagement with a complementary shaped tool for fixture and/or replacement in the sole.

Preferably, the body portion comprises an annular shoulder which meets with the outer face of the stud receiving portion when fully screwed in.

Further preferably, disposed at the threaded end of each of the threaded screw studs is a low-profile lug or push-fit type connector, the lug or connector projecting through a slit or opening formed in the inner sole face when fully screwed in. In use, the lug or connector may be connected to one end of an exposed conductive wire, the electrical connection of the wire to the lug or connector being via a physical spade connection and/or a crimp connection and/or a soldered connection. Further preferably, disposed inside the threaded end of each of the threaded screw studs is a blind hole.

Preferably, the other end of the exposed conductive wire forms a loop connected to the lug or connector of a neighbouring threaded screw stud.

Further preferably, the conductive wire loop is positioned in a generally flat configuration adjacent to the inner sole face. In use, the conductive wire loop may be positioned in a generally flat configuration contiguous with the inner sole face.

Preferably, a plurality of conductive wire loops are positioned adjacent to the inner sole face.

Further preferably, the number of conductive wire loops is three and the number of threaded screw studs is six.

In use, the conductive wire loop connected between neighbouring pairs of threaded screw studs may be C- or U-shaped.

Preferably, the conductive wire loop connected between neighbouring pairs of threaded screw studs is formed having a convoluted path. Further preferably, the conductive wire loop being formed from copper, silver or alloys or mixtures thereof.

In use, the one or more threaded screw studs may be provided along the length of the outer sole face projecting therefrom in pairs, with a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around a heel portion, a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around a instep portion, and a pair of threaded screw studs located generally around an instep portion of the sole. Preferably, the electrically conductive layer comprises a layer of conductive tape or fabric.

Further preferably, the layer of conductive tape or fabric is a copper or silver-based tape or fabric material.

In use, the layer of conductive tape may be embossed copper tape, with an acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive and liner. Preferably, the embossed copper tape adheres the conductive wire loop in place.

Further preferably, the footwear further comprising an insole on top of the layer of conductive tape proximate to the user, the insole providing a cushioning layer formed from a woven fabric material that includes a conductive yarn selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: strands of copper, silver, carbon fibre and combinations thereof.

In use, the insole may be anatomically shaped to the foot of the user when in use. Preferably, the one or more electrically conductive portions being disposed in one or more integrally-moulded blades and/or raised protections are portions or cylinders of conductive material which extend from the outermost part of the blade or raised projection to the inner sole face. Further preferably, the portions or cylinders of conductive material are held in place in an aperture which extends from the outermost part of the blade or raised projection to the inner sole face via an interference fit or being adhered in place by the use of a suitable adhesive. In use, the portions or cylinders of conductive material may be selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: copper, silver, silver plated or coated steel, carbon fibre or an alloy or mixtures thereof. Preferably, the portions or cylinders of conductive material are formed integrally with the sole via ion beam mixing.

Further preferably, the article of footwear is selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: football shoes, tennis shoes, golf shoes, rugby boots, American football boots, hockey shoes, running spikes.

In use, the upper being formed from a conductive fabric material. Preferably, the footwear further comprising a soluble coating being applied to the upper and the sole and which incorporates a conductive compound.

Also according to the present invention there is provided method of manufacturing an article of footwear comprising a covered upper and a sole having an outer sole face and an inner sole face, the method comprising the steps of:

inserting a plurality of electrically conductive portions completely through the sole from the outer sole face to the inner sole face;

securing the plurality of electrically conductive portions in place and electrically connecting the portions using exposed wire; and

placing and adhering an electrically conductive layer on top of the exposed wire; and

optionally placing a conductive insole over the electrically conductive layer.

It is believed that grounding footwear and its method of manufacture in accordance with the present invention at least addresses the problems outlined above.

It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that variations of the present invention are possible and it is intended that the present invention may be used other than as specifically described herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRA WINGS

The present invention will now be described by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a side view of the footwear in accordance with the present invention and which also shows a cross-sectional view from the side of the electrical grounding connection between the underside of studded sole to the user; Figure 2 shows a cross-sectional plan view from above of the top of the inwardly facing sole face of the footwear of Figure 1.

Figure 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view from the side of a screw stud for use with the footwear of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a side view of a second embodiment of the present invention which is configured as a bladed football shoe;

Figure 5 shows a side view of the footwear of Figure 4 which is configured for use as a golf shoe; and

Figure 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view from the side of a third embodiment of the present invention which shows a screw stud for use with the footwear of Figure 1. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention has adopted the approach of utilising footwear to discharge extraneous static electricity and charges from an individual during sports and leisure activities. Advantageously, the present invention provides footwear that can be worn to give an improved sense of wellbeing. Further advantageously, the present invention provides sports and leisure footwear and its method of manufacture which does not affect the mechanical and aesthetic properties of the footwear, nor does it significantly increase weight of the footwear. Use of the present invention helps to eradicate the effects of extraneous static electricity, positive ions and other electromagnetic fields and charges that are accumulated in the human body by naturally dissipating them to the ground to give an improved sports and/or athletic performance. Use of the present invention helps to aid the recovery and healing of the human body's natural equilibrium, to promote a balance in blood cell congestion and reduce inflammation. Use of the present invention is particularly beneficial for sportspersons who are prone to injury or who suffer from reoccurring chronic conditions. Referring now to the drawings, electrically grounded footwear or shoe 10 according to the present invention is illustrated in Figures 1 to 3. Specifically, the shoe 10 in this exemplary embodiment is described in relation to a screw studded football or rugby shoe. The shoe 10 has an upper 12 which is bonded to a sole 14. The sole 14 consists of a generally flat portion formed from a rigid or semi-rigid material, such as, for example, a moulded resin, rubberised or hard plastics material.

As shown in Figure 1, the sole 14 is formed having two opposing faces which are generally planar and parallel to each other, having an outwardly facing sole face 16 at its underside and an opposite inwardly facing sole face 18 which is proximate to the user 100 when in use.

Depending upon the sport or leisure activity for which the shoe 10 is intended to be used, the outer sole face 16 may include integrally-moulded detents, raised protections or blades or other features for providing grip (as shown for example in the embodiment of Figures 4 and 5), or include one or more stud receiving portions 20 capable of receiving one or more complementary threaded screw studs 22. To ensure a strong mechanical securement of the screw studs 22 to the outer sole face 16, a threaded aperture or threaded retaining insert 24 is in-moulded in the sole 14 to receive the thread 32 at one end of the screw stud 22, as best shown in Figure 3. The threaded aperture or threaded retaining insert 24 can be integrally moulded with the sole 14 or formed from a separate suitable metal or rigid plastic material and in-moulded.

The plurality of screw studs 22 are provided along the length of the outer sole face 16 extending generally in pairs, at least through the heel portion 26, instep portion 28 and toe portion 30, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. The skilled person will appreciate that other configurations, including additional screw studs 22, can be positioned throughout the sole 14 and this is in no way intended to be limiting.

As best shown in Figure 3, each of the screw studs 22 is configured as a truncated cone or truncated pyramid and include at one end a threaded portion 32 which is dimensioned to be received in the complementary threaded aperture or retaining insert 24 in the sole 14. The threaded portion 32 is fabricated from an electrically conductive material, such as copper, silver or silver plated or coated steel, or an alloy or mixtures thereof, and extends through the plastic body 34 of the stud 22 as a shaft 38 which is completely exposed at the opposite end 36 to the thread 32. In the exemplary embodiment of the invention shown in Figures 1 to 3, the body 34 of the screw stud is trilobulor, cruxiform or cone-shaped with projections for engagement with a complementary shaped tool (not shown) for fixture and/or replacement. The body 34 also includes an annular shoulder 58 which meets with the outer face of the stud receiving portion 20 when fully screwed in. In a preferred embodiment, the threaded portion 32 and retaining inset 24 are provided having M4, M5 or M6 ISO metric screw threads.

The construction of the screw stud 22 can be via any suitable form of fabrication, i.e. the elongate metal bar or shaft 38 forming the threaded portion 32 at one end and the ground contacting base 36 at the other, can machined, pressed, cast or forged from a suitable conducting metal. The plastic outer stud body 34 is then moulded around the shaft, as best shown in Figure 3. The skilled person will appreciate that the plastic outer stud body 34 can be manufactured using techniques such as injection or blow moulding, vacuum forming, rotational moulding, compression moulding, rim moulding, power impression moulding or any form of plastics manufacture.

The screw studs 22 are at least partly made of conductive material, copper, silver or alloys or mixtures thereof. Alternatively, the stud 22 can be made from other metallic or non-metallic conductive materials such as carbon fibre, which also has the added benefit of being lightweight. The above list is no way intended to be limiting and exhaustive. The fundamental attributes of the stud 22 require that the central shaft 38 to be of an electrically conductive material.

The threaded end 32 forms or defines a low-profile lug 40 or push-fit type connector at the top of the shaft 38. The lug 40 positioned at the threaded end 32 of the shaft 38 projects through a slit or opening 44 formed in the inner sole face 18, as best shown in the enlarged view of Figure 1. The lug 40 is then connected to one end of a loop of exposed conductive wire 42 which is formed from copper, silver or alloys or mixtures thereof. The electrical connection of the looped wire 42 to the lug 40 of the stud 22 is via a physical spade connection or crimp or by soldering the wire 42 to the lug 40 of the screw stud 22.

The small hole or incision 44 made in the inner sole face 18 adjacent to the in-moulded retaining insert 24, allows the exposed wire 42 to been electrically connected to the ground contacting base 36 of the stud 22, and the wire 42 is then positioned in a generally flat configuration adjacent to the inner sole face 18, as best shown in Figure 1.

As best shown in Figure 2, an advantageous grounding effect is achieved when at least six electrically conductive studs 22 are positioned in the sole 14. A pair of studs 22a being positioned around the toe portion 30; a pair of studs 22b being positioned around the instep portion 28 and a pair of studs 22c being positioned around the heel portion 26. Each of these pair of studs 22a, 22b, 22c are electrically connected using looped wires 42a, 42b, 42c, respectively, as described below.

Each of the looped wires 42a, 42b, 42c form ends that are connected to the lugs 40 of the pairs of studs 22a, 22b, 22c secured in the receiving portions 20 of the sole 14, and define a stud electrical connection point or "node". The looped wires 42a, 42b, 42c are held in place by a layer of conductive tape or fabric 46, again preferably a copper or silver-based tape or fabric material, as best shown in Figure 1. In a preferred embodiment, an embossed copper tape, with an acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive and liner, is utilised. The embossing ensuring that an excellent electrical contact is made even through the adhesive. To provide comfort when in use, an insole 48 is then placed on the top of the layer of conductive tape 46. The insole 48 provides a cushioning layer and which can be formed from a woven fabric material that includes a conductive yarn selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: strands of copper, silver, carbon fibre and combinations thereof. The above list is no way intended to be limiting and exhaustive. The insole 48 also being anatomically shaped to the foot of the user 100 when in use.

As best shown in Figure 2, each of the pair of studs 22a, 22b, 22c is connected by a loop of conductive wire 42a, 42b, 42c, respectively. The conductive wire loops 42a, 42b, 42c are configured to maximise the point of contact with the conductive tape 46 (not shown for clarity reasons in Figure 2) and are C- or U-shaped. The skilled person will also appreciate that an asymmetrical or other convoluted routes or paths can also be utilised by the conductive wire 42a, 42b, 42c to increase the electrical point of contact.

For optimum performance of the present invention it is suggested that the individual 100 wear socks 56 that are made from a woven fabric material that includes a conductive yarn selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: strands of copper, silver, carbon fibre and combinations thereof.

The shoe 10 in this exemplary embodiment of the invention is described in relation to a screw studded football shoe, but can be adapted or adopted in any modern sports footwear that includes a screw stud 22 selected from the group consisting, but not limited to, any one of the following: golf shoes, rugby boots, American football boots, hockey shoes, running spikes etc. The above list is no way intended to be limiting and exhaustive. In order to adapt this technology into other areas of sport or leisure only minor alterations will occur, but these are entirely within the scope of the present invention. Use of the present invention enabling an electrical conduction path to ground to harness the negatively charged electrons and ions carried in the earth and which flow freely from the ground up through the footwear 10, and any sock 56 or foot garment onto the surface of the user's 100 skin.

Use of the screw studded football shoe 10 according to the exemplary embodiment of the invention shown in Figures 1 to 3 has been found to significantly reduce the electric field induced voltage on subject's bodies. A simple, but effective, measurement can be made by the use of a digital multimeter. The electric field was firstly measured on a subject's body whilst being in direct contact with grass, and this was found to be around -lOOmV. The same subject, using the screw studded footwear 10 as described in relation to Figures 1 to 3, was found to have a measured electric field of around -750mV. Without wishing to be limited by a theory, it is understood that this larger negative potential is indicative of an effective electrical conduction path or contact to ground, and which allows the user 100 to harness or infuse the negatively charged electrons and ions carried in abundance in the earth. These negatively charged electrons and ions flow freely from the ground up through the footwear 10, and any sock 56 or foot garment onto the surface of the user's 100 skin.

Figure 4 shows a second embodiment of the shoe 10. The construction of the second embodiment is very similar to that of the first embodiment and corresponding features have been given the same reference numerals. The second embodiment differs from the first embodiment in that instead of footwear 10 having separate screw studs 22 being inserted in the sole 14, the shoe 10 includes moulded blades 50, projections or studs that are integrally formed with the sole 14. Adapting the present invention for football shoes 10 with rubber moulded studs or blades 50 necessitates making a small incision (not shown in Figure 4) above and adjacent the moulded blade 50 and a small hole would be made from the outermost part of the blade 50 to the inner sole face 18. A thin piece or section of conductive material 52, such as copper, silver or silver plated or coated steel, or an alloy or mixtures thereof, would be inserted creating an electrical conduction path. This can be retained in place in the blade 50 via an interference fit or adhered in place using a suitable adhesive. Such a configuration enabling the electrical connection between the ground and insole 48 to occur, as with the embodiment of Figures 1 to 3.

Alternatively, the conductive piece 52 in the blade 50 could be formed using an electrically conductive layer. This can be achieved by placing a thin film of metal onto a plastic material forming the sole 14 and mixing it into the polymer surface with an ion beam. This alternative method can be used to form conductive plastic films, and utilised to make portions or channels 52 of the in-moulded blades 50 electrically conductive.

The present invention can work within many different types of sports and leisure footwear. For example, Figure 5 shows how the present invention can be configured as a tennis or golf shoe 10. Very much like Figure 4, the conductive rods 52 would be inserted directly into the sole 14 of the shoe 10 through the projections 54 and the looped wires 42 (not shown in Figure 5 for clarity reasons) would connect to the uppermost end of the rods 52 though the inner sole face 18.

Figure 6 shows a third embodiment of a screw stud 22 for use with footwear 10. The construction of the third embodiment is very similar to that of the first and second embodiments and corresponding features have been given the same reference numerals. The third embodiment differs from the first and second embodiments in that instead of a low-profile lug 40 extending from the threaded end 32 at the top of the shaft 38, the shaft 38 of the screw stud 22 features a blind hole 60. The blind hole 60 is disposed at the top of the shaft 38 enabling the electrical connection of the looped wire 42 to the stud 22 usually by way of soldering the wire 42 (not shown) inside the blind hole 60. This is a simple and effective way of connecting the wire loop 42 to the stud 22.

The shoe 10 of the present invention is considered particularly beneficial for sportspersons who are prone to injury or who suffer from reoccurring chronic conditions. What is apparent is that with all embodiments of the invention is that the conductive shaft 38 formed in the outwardly projecting screw studs 22, or the conductive pieces 52 formed in the outwardly projecting integrally-moulded blades 50 or projections 54 of the shoe 10 allow any extraneous static electricity, positive ions and other electromagnetic fields and charges that are otherwise present in the individual 100 to be naturally dissipated to the ground when that person in engaged in sports or leisure activities.

The skilled person will understand that the present invention could also be configured such that the material forming the upper 12 of the shoe 10 is also made from a conductive fabric material, as described above in relation to the insole 48.

A soluble coating (not shown) which could incorporate a conductive compound, such as silver ion solution in its composition, could also be applied to the outer layer of the shoe 10, the upper 12 and the sole 14 to create a waterproof and conductive coating which enhances the grounding effects described herein.

The skilled person will understand that aspects of the invention, and particularly the features of the looped wire 42 in contact with, or sandwiched between layers of conductive tape 46, adjacent to one or more layers of conductive woven fabric material 48 could be isolated from the footwear 10, and instead embodied as an electrically grounded conductive mat or pad. The mat or pad could be connected to a separate ground connection or rod via a grounding wire connection for use in indoor sports activities, such as in a gym, or for post-exercise sports treatment and rehabilitation, as part of a massage table. Preliminary studies of professional footballers using thermal imaging analysis has revealed that use of the present invention, even over short periods of time, markedly improves blood and lymphatic circulation which, in turn, reduces pain and inflammation and aids recovery.

The invention is not intended to be limited to the details of the embodiments described herein, which are described by way of example only. Various additions and alternations may be made to the present invention without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, although particular embodiments refer to implementing the present invention with football shoes or boots, this is in no way intended to be limiting as, in use, the present invention can be applied to any type of footwear. It will be understood that features described in relation to any particular embodiment can be featured in combination with other embodiments.