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Title:
PROTECTIVE WEAR CLOSURE SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/148615
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An article of protective wear such as a boot (10) includes a flexible shell (14) with an opening (16) extending between two parts (20, 22) of the shell that (14) can move relative to each other to open or close the opening (16). The boot (10) has one or more releasable closure elements (24) for holding the first and second parts (20, 22) closed and a mechanical tightening mechanism (28, 30) that allows tightening of the first and second parts (20, 22), but resists separation between them. The boot (10) also includes a one-way hook-and-loop fastening system (38, 40) attached to the first and second parts (20, 22) that is configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts (20, 22) to a looser condition, but to allow relative sliding between the first and second parts (20, 22) to a tighter condition.

Inventors:
OLSSON ERIK GUNNAR (SE)
Application Number:
IB2020/050170
Publication Date:
July 23, 2020
Filing Date:
January 10, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LEATT CORP (US)
LEATT CHRISTOPHER JAMES (ZA)
International Classes:
A43B5/04; A43B5/14; A43C3/00; A43C11/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012111032A12012-08-23
Foreign References:
EP1702528A12006-09-20
FR2563978A11985-11-15
US6729047B22004-05-04
US20110099846A12011-05-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRIAN BACON INC. (ZA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An article of protective wear (10) comprising a flexible shell (14) that defines an opening (16) extending between a first part (20) of the shell and a second part (22) of the shell, said first part (20) and second part (22) of the shell being movable relative to each other between at least one open condition in which the first part (20) and the second part (22) are spaced apart, and a plurality of closed conditions in which the first part (20) and the second part (22) are closer together than in the open condition, said closed conditions including at least one looser closed condition and at least one tighter closed condition in which the shell (14) fits tighter around part of a wearer’s body than in the looser closed condition, said article of protective wear (10) further comprising:

at least one releasable closure element (24) that is configured to hold the first part (20) and the second part (22) of the shell in at least one of the closed conditions, said closure element (24) including a mechanical tightening mechanism (28,30) that is configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell, from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow tightening relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition; and

a hook-and-loop fastening system (38,40) comprising complemental hook formations and loop formations, attached to the first part (20) and second part (22) of the shell, respectively, and being configured to attach the first part (20) and the second part (22) of the shell together releasably, by engagement of the hook formations and loop formations of the first part and the second part of the shell, to each other;

wherein the hook-and-loop fastening system (38,40) is a one-way hook-and- loop system, configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell, from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition.

2. An article of protective wear (10) according to claim 1 , wherein the hook formations (40) have free ends that extend away from the opening (16).

3. An article of protective wear (10) according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the mechanical tightening mechanism includes a ratchet mechanism (28,30) that is configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell (14), from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow relative sliding between the first and second parts (20,22) of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition, in ratchet- fashion.

4. An article of protective wear according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the article of protective wear is in the form of protective footwear (10) which includes a sole (12) attached to the shell (14) and wherein the shell (14) is configured to extend at least partly around the wearer’s foot.

Description:
PROTECTIVE WEAR CLOSURE SYSTEM

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to closure systems for protective wear such as boots for use in activities such as motorcycling, in which the protective wear needs to be closed conveniently, but securely.

The invention is described with reference to protective wear in the form of boots, but it can be applied to various other forms of protective wear, such as gloves, pads, and the like.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Protective footwear frequently needs to be closed around the foot, ankle and/or calf of a wearer, to secure two opposing parts of the footwear, together. Suitable closure systems include laces, zippers, buckles, hook-and-loop, etc. In some instances, different closure systems are used in combination, which could be to close different parts of the footwear, e.g. if a part that seldom requires adjustment, is closed with a buckle and one that needs more frequent adjustment is closed with hook-and-loop fasteners. In other instances, different closure systems supplement one another, e.g. hook-and-loop fasteners could serve to hold parts of the footwear in position before they are attached more securely with other fasteners, or could serve to provide a contiguous closure, in addition to more secure closures such as buckles.

This invention is not limited to protective wear in the form of boots which are closed with a combination of hook-and-loop fasteners and buckles, but is described herein with reference to such a form of protective wear, as a typical illustrative example. Motorcycling boots are frequently closed on an outside (lateral aspect) with a number of quick release, locking buckles, but in order to assist the wearer in donning the boot and in order to seal it more securely against dust and mud ingress, the upper end of the boot is often also held closed with hook-and-loop fasteners.

A problem often arises if two different closure systems are used on an item of protective wear, if one closure system needs to be tightened, but the other closure system holds the opposing parts of the protective wear in place and resists the closure. This typically occurs if the opposing parts of a motorcycle boot are closed with hook-and-loop fasteners in addition to tightening buckles. If the wearer wants to tighten the buckles, the hook-and-loop fasteners resist the tightening, so the wearer has to release the buckles and the hook-and-loop fasteners, then re-close the hook-and-loop fasteners, before re-closing the buckles and tightening them.

The same problem occurs if other protective wear includes mechanical tightening mechanisms such as buckles, laces, ratchet mechanisms, etc., in combination with hook-and-loop fasteners that supplement the mechanical tightening mechanisms, but that can resist or frustrate tightening of the mechanical tightening mechanisms if the hook-and-loop fasteners are engaged while the mechanical tightening mechanisms are being tightened.

The present invention seeks to allow for adjustment of a mechanical tightening mechanism of a closure system on protective wear, while the protective wear is kept closed with another closure system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided an article of protective wear comprising a flexible shell that defines an opening extending between a first part of the shell and a second part of the shell, said first part and second part of the shell being movable relative to each other between at least one open condition in which the first part and the second part are spaced apart, and a plurality of closed conditions in which the first part and the second part are closer together than in the open condition, said closed conditions including at least one looser closed condition and at least one tighter closed condition in which the shell fits tighter around part of a wearer’s body than in the looser closed condition, said article of protective wear further comprising:

at least one releasable closure element that is configured to hold the first part and the second part of the shell in at least one of the closed conditions, said closure element including a mechanical tightening mechanism that is configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell, from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow tightening relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition ; and

a hook-and-loop fastening system comprising complemental hook formations and loop formations, attached to the first part and second part of the shell, respectively, and being configured to attach the first part and the second part of the shell together releasably, by engagement of the hook formations and loop formations of the first part and the second part of the shell, to each other;

wherein the hook-and-loop fastening system is a one-way hook-and-loop system, configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell, from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition.

The hook formations may have free ends that extend away from the opening.

The mechanical tightening mechanism may include a ratchet mechanism that is configured to resist relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell, from the tighter closed condition to the looser closed condition, but to allow relative sliding between the first and second parts of the shell from the looser closed condition to the tighter closed condition, in ratchet-fashion.

The article of protective wear may be in the form of protective footwear which includes a sole attached to the shell and wherein the shell is configured to extend at least partly around the wearer’s foot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, and to show how it may be carried into effect, the invention will now be described by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 shows a side elevation from an outside or lateral side, of an article of protective wear according to the present invention, in the form of a motorcycling boot, in a closed condition; Figure 2 shows a perspective view from the top, front and outside, of the boot of Figure 1 in an moderately open condition; and

Figure 3 shows another perspective view from the top, front and outside, of the boot of Figure 1 in a wide open condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to the drawings, protective wear according to the present invention, in the form of a motorcycling boot, is identified generally, by reference sign 10.

The boot 10 includes a sole 12 and a shell or upper 14 that is made of suitably flexible materials, such as leather, fabric, plastics, etc., to extend around the foot and part of the lower leg of a wearer with sufficient flexibility to allow the boot to be opened and closed and to allow adequate foot movement and/or protection. The upper 14 defines an opening 16 on the outside, or lateral aspect of the boot 10 and a lower part of the opening is fitted with a flexible gaiter 18.

The upper 14 includes a first part in the form of a side panel 20 that extends generally on the lateral aspect of the wearer’s calf, and a second part in the form of a front panel 22 that extends in front of the wearer’s shin. The side panel 20 and front panel 22 are on opposite sides of the opening 16 and owing to the flexibility of the upper 14, the side panel and front panel can be flexed between various open conditions such as those shown in Figures 2 and 3, in which the side panel and front panel are far apart and a wearer can insert a foot into the boot 10, and various closed conditions, such as that shown in Figure 1 , in which the side panel and front panel are closer together and overlap.

Four releasable closure elements in the form of buckles 24 are provided on the side panel 20 and each of the buckles is a quick release, locking buckle that can engage with a buckle strap 26 that is attached to the front panel 22. Each of the straps 26 is attached to the front panel 22 by way of a strap holder 28 and has saw-tooth-profiled ratchet teeth 30 so that each strap can be tightened in ratchet-fashion to operate as a mechanical tightening mechanism of the boot. Further, each of the buckles 24 includes a detent 32 that defines an aperture 34 in which a head 36 of its corresponding strap 26 can be received. The detent 32 can pivot, preferably in over-centred fashion, between an open position in which the detent extends sideways from the boot 10 and a locked positon, in which the detent extends tightly against the boot and holds the strap 26 in tension, to hold the side panel 20 and front panel 22 together in a closed condition.

The boot 10 includes a hook-and-loop fastening system comprising a loop pad 38 with loop formations, on the upper inside of the front panel 22 and a hook pad 40 with hook formations on the upper outside of the side panel 20. When the boot 10 is closed, the front panel 22 and side panel 20 overlap at least partly and are brought in contact with each other, so that the loop pad 38 and hook pad 40 are in contact and the complemental loop formations and hook formations engage in hook-and-loop fashion, to keep the side panel and front panel close together and thus keep the boot closed.

The hook formations of the hook pad 40 have free ends hat extend away from the opening 16, so that the interaction between the hook formations and the loop formations of the loop pad 38 works in a ratchet fashion or one-way fashion. The hook formations and loop formations engage in the normal manner, requiring significant force to remove the loop pad 38 from the hook pad 40 and also preventing the loop pad from sliding relative to the hook pad in all directions, except that the directional orientation of the hook formations allows the loop pad 38 to slide backwards relative to the hook pad, in other words from a looser closed position to a tighter closed position in which the upper 14 fits tighter around a wearer’s foot than in the looser closed condition.

In use, when a wearer wants to don the boot 10, the buckles 24 are opened and the heads 36 of the straps 26 are released. The front panel 22 is removed from the side panel 20 by manually releasing the engagement of the hook-and-loop formations on the hook pad 40 and loop pad 30 and the front panel and side panel are moved apart by flexing the boot upper 14 to open up the opening 16. The wearer can now insert a foot into the boot 10 with relative ease, before closing the boot by flexing the side panel 20 and front panel 22 to their closed positions.

When the loop pad 38 makes contact with the hook pad 40, their hook and loop formations engage and hold the front panel 22 and side panel 20 together in a looser closed condition. If the wearer wants to close the boot 10 more tightly, the hook-and- loop fastening system 38,40 does not need to be released. Instead, the wearer can simply slide the front panel 22 further rearwards over the side panel 20, because the one-way hook-and-loop engagement allows relative sliding between the front panel and side panel from the looser closed condition to a tighter closed condition, while resisting sliding in the opposite direction.

Once the boot 10 has been closed with the hook-and-loop fastening system 38,40 to a desired initial tightness, the buckles 24 are fastened by passing the head 36 of each strap 26 through the aperture 34 and pivoting the detent 32 to its lock position.

Once the wearer’s foot has been inserted into the open boot 10 and the boot is closed by moving the front panel 22 to overlap with the side panel 20, the hook-and-loop fastening system 38,40 can simply engage in a relatively loose closed condition and the boot can then be closed further by fastening the buckles 24, which serves as a mechanical tightening mechanism and pulls the front panel 22 further rearwards relative to the side panel 20, towards a tighter closed condition, while the hook-and-loop fastening system permits this sliding movement and holds the panels in the tighter closed condition.

Further, instead of, or in addition to the tightening operations described above, once the boot 10 has been closed, the hook-and-loop fastening system 38,40 has been engaged and the buckles 24 fastened, the boot can be closed tighter, by shorting the straps 26 in a mechanical tightening mechanism by ratchet-fashion engagement between their ratchet teeth 30 and their strap holders 28 and at the same time, the loop pad 38 can slide rearwards relative to the hook pad 40, while resisting movement in other directions. In other embodiments, similar mechanical tightening mechanisms can be used, such as ratchet mechanisms in buckles, tightening of tensile elements such as laces used instead of buckles, etc.

The principles embodied in the boot 10 are not limited to the positions or structure of the panels 20,22 or the positions of the pads 38,40. In other embodiments of the invention, the hook-and-loop fastening system 38,40 can operate between two different parts of the boot upper 14 and the positions of the hook formations and loop formations could be inverted or could even be combined, even with some hook and loop formations on the same part of the boot. Also, the invention has been described above with reference to protective wear in the form of boots 10, but the invention is not limited to boots and can be applied to other forms of protective wear such as padding, body armour, gloves, or the like in which releasable mechanical tightening mechanisms are used to close a shell and are combined with hook-and-loop mechanisms.