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Title:
SPORT FOOTWEAR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/197982
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to sport footwear (1) comprising: a sole (2) and an upper (3) comprising, in turn, a lower portion (4) suitable for wrapping around the user's foot and ankle, and a leg piece (5), suitable for wrapping around the user's leg. The sport footwear (1) further comprises a plurality of rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9) which are affixed to the upper (3) and a flex adjustment device (20) configured to be placed between two of said rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9). In accordance with the present invention the flex adjustment device (20) comprises at least one first transverse rib (22) and one second transverse rib (24) connected together by means of a longitudinal constraint member (26). Furthermore, the adjustment device (20) is configured to be affixed in a flexing area of the upper (3) so as to limit the forward (Ff) or backward (Rf) flexing movements of the sport footwear (1).

Inventors:
MAZZAROLO, Giovanni (Via San Vettore 14, Coste di Maser, 31010, IT)
Application Number:
IB2019/052902
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 09, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ALPINESTARS RESEARCH SRL (Via A. De Gasperi 54, Coste di Maser, 31010, IT)
MAZZAROLO, Giovanni (Via San Vettore 14, Coste di Maser, 31010, IT)
International Classes:
A43B1/00; A43B5/14; A43B5/04
Foreign References:
US20010042324A12001-11-22
US20120198724A12012-08-09
US4563825A1986-01-14
US5088211A1992-02-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARRI, Luca et al. (Via Paris Bordone 9, Treviso, 31100, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Sport footwear (1) comprising:

- a sole (2);

- an upper (3) comprising a lower portion (4), suitable for wrapping around the user’s foot and ankle, and a leg piece (5) extending along a longitudinal axis (L) and suitable for wrapping around the user’s leg;

- a plurality of rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9) affixed to the upper (3);

- a flex adjustment device (20) configured to be placed between two of said rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9);

wherein said flex adjustment device (20) comprises at least one first transverse rib (22) and one second transverse rib (24),

characterized in that

said at least one first transverse rib (22) and said at least one second transverse rib (24) are connected together by means of a longitudinal constraint member (26), and in that said flex adjustment device (20) is configured to be affixed in a flexing area of the upper (3), so as to limit the forward (Ff) or backward (Rf) flexing movements of the leg piece (5) with respect to the lower portion (4) of the upper (3).

2. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the flex adjustment device (20) is affixed in a connecting area (J; K) between the lower portion (4) and the leg piece (5) of the upper (3) .

3. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the longitudinal constraint member (26) connects corresponding ends of said first transverse rib (22) and said second transverse rib (24).

4. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that said first transverse rib (22) and said second transverse rib (24) are further secured to each other by a reinforcing element (28); said reinforcing element (28) connecting middle portions of said first transverse rib (22) and said second transverse rib (24).

5. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that said first transverse rib (22) and said second transverse rib (24) have a hollow profile; said first transverse rib (22) and said second transverse rib (24) having preferably a profile with a C-shaped cross-section.

6. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that an upper profile (29) of said first transverse rib (22) and a lower profile (31) of said second transverse rib (24) are step shaped, so as to be able to act as an abutment element.

7. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the flex adjustment device (20) comprises at least one lug (32, 34) extending at the top from said first transverse rib (22) or at the bottom from said second transverse rib (24).

8. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 7, characterized in that at least one lug (32, 34) is configured to be placed under one of said rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9).

9. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 7, characterized in that at least one lug (32, 34) comprises at least one fastening hole (35, 36; 41) by means of which said at least one lug (32, 34) is fastened to one of said rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9).

10. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 7, characterized in that said at least one lug (32, 34) is provided with at least one guide recess (37, 38) configured to guide the sliding movements of said at least one lug (32, 34) under the adjacent rigid or semi-rigid protection (6, 7, 8, 9).

11. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises a rigid or semi rigid middle protection (9) composed of a lower portion (9a) and an upper portion (9b) hinged together by means of hinging means suitable for defining a middle axis of rotation (Pm); the flex adjustment device (20) being placed between the lower portion (9a) and the upper portion (9b) of the rigid or semi-rigid middle protection (9).

12. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 11, characterized in that the upper portion (9b) comprises a first front appendage (9c), suitable for protecting the lower part of the user’s shin, and in that the lower portion (9a) comprises a second front appendage (9d), suitable for protecting the user’s instep; the flex adjustment device (20) being placed between said first front appendage (9c) and said second front appendage (9d).

13. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 12, characterized in that the flex adjustment device (20) is placed between the first front appendage (9c) and the second front appendage (9d), so that in a neutral configuration of the sport footwear (1), the first transverse rib (22) is placed close to or in contact with an adjacent lower edge (43) of the first front appendage (9c) and the second transverse rib (24) is placed close to or in contact with an adjacent upper edge of the second front appendage (9d).

14. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the flex adjustment device (20) comprises a third transverse rib (23), placed between the first transverse rib (22) and the second transverse rib (24).

15. Sport footwear (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the flex adjustment device (20) is made using a first polymeric material (S) and a second polymeric material (H) or a first compound (S) and a second compound (H) of the same polymeric material; the first polymeric material or the first compound (S) having a lower hardness than the second polymeric material or the second compound (H).

16. Sport footwear (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said sport footwear (1) is a motorcycle boot, in particular a motocross boot.

17. Flex adjustment device (20) for sport footwear (1) having a leg piece (5) extending along a longitudinal axis of extension (L), said flex adjustment device (20) being configured to be placed in between two rigid or semi-rigid protections (6, 7, 8, 9) of the sport footwear (1), wherein said flex adjustment device (20) comprises at least one first transverse rib (22) and at least one second transverse rib (24), characterized in that said at least one first transverse rib (22) and said at least one second transverse rib (24) are connected together by means of a longitudinal constraint member (26) .

Description:
Sport footwear'

The present invention relates to sport footwear, in particular a motorcycling boot, and even more particularly a motocross boot.

With reference to a motorcycling boot, it is known that the legs and the ankles of a motorcyclist, in particular of a motocross rider, during a race are subject to various types of stresses, such as compressive, flexing and twisting stresses. It is also known that legs and ankles, in the event of accidental falls or impacts, may be subject to injuries which may also be serious in nature.

In order to limit as far as possible such risks, during recent years special boots have been developed and have improved significantly the level of safety offered to motorcyclists.

In particular, the safety of conventional leather boots has been increased greatly by means of the introduction of suitable protections made of rigid or semi-rigid polymeric material.

Said protections, which are affixed in the zones of the leg or foot which are most exposed to injury, such as the instep and toes, shin or calf muscle, may be directly injected onto the upper forming the boot or may be affixed onto the upper by means of suitable gluing or by means of special stitches.

By using such protections not only are the motorcyclist's leg, ankle and foot suitably protected against any impacts or sliding friction on the ground, but also the forces which are generated following an impact or an accident are prevented from causing unnatural movements of the lower limb.

In such boots the freedom of movement of the leg with respect to the foot, in particular the forward and backward flexing movement, is ensured by leaving without protection some specific zones of the boot upper, such as the zones of the upper in the region of the ankle.

In this way a certain freedom of movement of the foot with respect to the leg is ensured, while keeping it, together with the ankle, protected and supported.

In order to improve the comfort of the boot it is also known to provide the protections arranged on the rear portion and the front portion of the boot with suitable lugs designed to engage slidably inside corresponding seats provided in adjacent protections.

Such a type of boot is described for example in European patent EP 2,488,059 B1 in the name of the present Applicant.

The lugs of the protections are designed on the one hand to guide the movements of the rider's leg when riding and on the other hand to prevent the occurrence of dangerous twisting of the ankle about the longitudinal axis of the leg.

These boots, although widely used, are not without defects. The protections with the associated lugs inevitably result in an increase in the weight of the boot.

Moreover, even if suitably shaped, the protections and the associated lugs cause stiffening of the boot upper such that the movements of the foot and the leg are less natural.

Furthermore, the lugs of the protections, even though they are shaped so as to limit the forward and backward flexing movements of the leg with respect to the foot, are not effective in absorbing or cushioning the impacts acting on the rider's ankles after a jump. In fact, when the motorcyclist lands on the ground, since the foot is resting on the footrest of the motorcycle, the entire weight of the rider's body is transmitted onto the legs which in turn cause sudden compression of the ankles and lower joints.

The lugs prevent the occurrence of excessive flexing and compression, but are unable to dampen the repeated shock effects acting on the ankle. These shock effects in the long run may cause fatigue for the rider.

Finally, the protections and the associated lugs do not have an elastic behavior which allows them to recover independently their "neutral" configuration, namely the position which they would assume in the absence of external stresses.

After forward or backward flexing of the leg, the rider is therefore not helped to reposition the boot in a neutral position where the longitudinal axis of the leg is substantially perpendicular to the surface supporting the sole.

The object of the present invention is therefore to overcome the drawbacks of the prior art.

In particular, a task of the present invention is that of providing sport footwear which ensures suitable protection for the user, but at the same time does not limit the freedom of movement of the leg and the foot.

Moreover, a task of the present invention is to provide sport footwear which is able to control effectively the forward and backward flexing movements of the leg with respect to the foot, gradually increasing the resistance offered to any excessive forward or backward flexing movements of the leg.

Furthermore, a task of the present invention is to provide sport footwear which is able to help the motorcyclist, following a forward or backward flexing movement of the leg, to recover a neutral position where the foot is positioned substantially perpendicular to the leg. Finally, a task of the present invention is to provide a flex adjustment device having a simplified structure and configured to control the forward or backward flexing movements of sport footwear.

The object and the main tasks described above are achieved with sport footwear according to claim 1 and a with a flex adjustment device according to claim 17. The characteristic features and further advantages of the invention will emerge from the description, provided hereinbelow, of a number of examples of embodiment, provided by way of a non-limiting illustration, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

- Figure 1 shows a first side view of sport footwear according to the invention;

- Figure 2 shows a front view of the sport footwear of Figure 1;

- Figure 3 shows a view, along the mid-line, of the sport footwear of Figure 1;

- Figure 4 shows a simplified view of the sport footwear according to the invention, in which the forward and backward flexing movements of the sport footwear are indicated schematically;

- Figure 5 shows a front view of Figure 4;

- Figures 6-10 show front views of different embodiments of a flex adjustment device according to the invention;

- Figure 10A shows a cross-sectional view of the flex adjustment device of Figure 10, along the plane indicated by Xa-Xa;

- Figure 10B shows a view similar to Figure 10A, in which the different materials of the device are schematically shown;

- Figures 11-14 show front views of further embodiments of the flex adjustment device according to the invention;

- Figure 14A shows a cross-sectional view of the flex adjustment device of Figure 11, along the plane indicated by XlVa-XIVa;

- Figure 14B shows a view similar to Figure 14A, in which the different materials of the device are schematically shown;

- Figure 15 shows a simplified side view of the middle protections of the sport footwear of Figure 3;

- Figure 16 shows a schematic view, on a larger scale, of the detail of Figure 15 indicated by A;

- Figure 17 shows a view, similar to Figure 15, schematically showing the position of the center of rotation of a protection of the sport footwear;

- Figure 18 shows a side view of an embodiment of the flex adjustment device according to the invention;

- Figure 19 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the device of Figure 18 when inserted inside the sport footwear of Figure 17;

- Figures 20-22 show in schematic form cross-sections of different operating conditions of the device according to Figure 18;

- Figure 23 is a view from the inner side of the middle protections of the sport footwear shown in Figure 15; - Figures 24 and 25 show in schematic form different operating conditions of the protections of Figure 23.

With reference to the attached figures the present invention relates to sport footwear 1. In particular, the present invention relates to a motorcycling boot, preferably a motocross boot. Below specific reference will be made to a motorcycling boot, even though the principles of the present invention may be advantageously applied also to different types of sport footwear. In the description below "front" will be used to identify the part of the boot, or its single components, which are relatively closer to the toe of the foot, while "rear" will be used to indicate the part of the boot, or its single components, which are relatively closer to the heel. Similarly, "upper" will refer to the part of the boot, or its single components, which are relatively more distant from the ground, while "lower" will be used to indicate the part of the boot, or its single components, which are relatively closer to the ground.

With reference firstly to Figures 1-3, the boot 1 comprises a sole 2 and an upper 3 in turn comprising a lower portion 4, suitable for wrapping around the user's foot and ankle, and a leg piece 5, suitable for wrapping around the user's leg.

The leg piece 5 extends along a longitudinal axis L which, when the boot is in use and is not stressed by external forces, extends perpendicularly with respect to the surface T on which the sole 2 ideally rests. Below this condition will be defined as being a "neutral" condition.

The upper 3 is preferably made of leather, leather-like or a synthetic fabric and is formed by several parts which generally are joined together by means of stitching.

The sole 2 is generally made of polymeric material, for example vulcanized rubber or polyurethane, and is fixed to the upper by means of gluing or stitches. The sole 2 may also be directly injection-molded onto the upper 3.

As can be clearly seen in Figures 1-3, the boot 1 may comprise rigid or semi-rigid protections 6, 7, 8, 9 made of polymeric material.

These protections, in a known manner, are affixed to the upper 3 by means of suitable stitches or mechanical fastening means or using known gluing methods. The protections may also be directly over-molded onto the upper 3.

The boot 1 preferably comprises a protection for the upper part of the shin 6 and a protection for the heel and the Achille's tendon 7, which may extend towards the front so as to protect also the toe and the bottom part of the foot.

Advantageously, the boot 1 may also comprise a lateral protection 8, which is arranged on the outer side surface of the boot and which may surround also the top part of the leg so as to protect also the calf muscle. This protection 8 is preferably composed of a lower portion 8a and an upper portion 8b which may be hinged together by means of hinging means, for example a pin, suitable for defining a lateral axis of rotation PI (see Figures 1 and 2). As can be clearly seen in Figure 3, the upper portion 8b of the lateral protection 8 may also be provided with a rear appendage 8c suitable for protecting the calf muscle of the user.

The boot 1 may comprise a middle protection 9, which is arranged on the inner side surface of the boot and which may also surround the upper part of the foot, so as to protect the instep and the lower part of the shin.

This protection 9 is preferably composed of a lower portion 9a and an upper portion 9b which may be hinged together by means of hinging means, for example a pin, suitable for defining a middle axis of rotation Pm (see Figures 2 and 3).

As can be clearly seen in Figures 2 and 3, the upper portion 9b of the middle protection 9 may be provided with a front appendage 9c suitable for protecting the lower part of the motorcyclist's shin, while the lower portion 9a of the middle protection 9 may be provided with a front appendage 9d suitable for protecting the instep.

Different arrangements for the protections, as regards both their number and their position and extension, may be easily imagined by a person skilled in the art.

The arrangement of suitable hinging means along the middle axis of rotation Pm and the lateral axis of rotation PI ensures that the leg piece 5 is able to flex in a controlled manner forward and backward with respect to the lower portion 4 of the upper 3. At the same time, these hinging means prevent dangerous rotations of the foot around the longitudinal axis L.

As can be seen in Figure 2, the lateral axis of rotation PI and the middle axis of rotation Pm of the boot 1 may be staggered relative to each other. It is well-known in the art, in fact, that the leg rotates with respect to the foot about a transverse axis of rotation which, during the various movements of the foot, varies continuously, while remaining in each particular instant in an area approximately positioned in the region of the malleoli.

The provision of two separate transverse axes of rotation PI, Pm allows the boot to adapt better to the movements of the user's foot and leg.

In the description below, for greater clarity, it is assumed that these axes of rotation coincide with each other (see for example Figures 4 and 5).

As shown schematically in Figures 1-3, the boot 1 is also provided with one or more fasteners 10a, 10b, 10c which have the function of closing together the opposite flaps of the upper 3 in order to allow the latter to adhere to the user's leg.

In a known manner each fastener 10a, 10b, 10c comprises a lever 11, fixed to a first flap of the upper, and a strap 12, fixed to a second flap of the upper 3.

In detail, the lever 11 is preferably fixed, for example by means of rivets or similar fixing means, in a mounting seat 14 fixed directly or indirectly to the upper 3.

This mounting seat 14 is preferably made of polymeric material and is suitably shaped to receive the lever 11 when the latter is in the closed position, i.e. when it is arranged against the upper (see Figures 1-3). Advantageously, the mounting seat 14 may be made as one piece with one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot. Alternatively, the mounting seat 14 may be an insert fixed to the upper or to one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot.

With reference to Figures 1-3, the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10a situated opposite the instep may be formed directly in the appendage 9d of the middle protection 9. Alternatively, the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10a may be an insert which is inserted into or affixed to said appendage 9d.

Similarly, the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10b situated opposite the shin may be formed directly in the appendage 9c of the middle protection 9. Alternatively, the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10b may be an insert inserted into or affixed to said appendage 9c.

The strap 12, in turn, has preferably a first end fixed slidably inside a slot 15, also made of polymeric material and fixed to the corresponding flap of the upper 3, and a second end provided with a fastening element 16 intended to be releasably engaged with the lever 11.

The structure of the fasteners 10a, 10b, 10c and the methods for adjusting the length of the strap 12 will not be described in detail since well-known to the person skilled in the art.

Still with reference to Figures 1-3, the boot 1 according to the invention is provided with a flex adjustment device 20 preferably made of polymeric material.

This flex adjustment device 20, referred to below in short as "adjustment device 20", is configured to be mounted in a flexing area of the upper 3 of the boot 1.

The adjustment device 20 may be removably mounted on the boot 1. This fixing operation may be performed in a known manner by means of screws, rivets or similar fixing means. Alternatively, the adjustment device 20 may be fixed in a non-removable manner to the boot 1, for example being overinjected onto a portion of the upper 3.

Preferably, the adjustment device 20 is fixed to the upper 3 or to one of the semi-rigid protections 6, 7, 8, 9 of the boot 1.

In particular, the adjustment device 20 is intended to be placed between two rigid or semi rigid protections 6, 7, 8, 9 of the boot 1.

With reference to Figure 4 and as will become clear from the description below, this adjustment device 20 advantageously limits the forward flexing movements, indicated by the arrow Ff, and the backwards flexing movements, indicated by the arrow Rf, of the leg piece 5 with respect to the lower portion 4 of the upper 3 so as to avoid unnatural movements of the leg and the foot of the user wearing the boot 1, preventing possible injuries.

In the embodiment of the boot 1 shown in the accompanying figures, the adjustment device 20 is positioned in a connecting area between the lower portion 4 and the leg piece 5 of the upper 3, for example opposite the instep. This area, shown in Figure 4, is schematically indicated by means of the circle J. In particular, the adjustment device 20 is placed between the upper portion 9b and the lower portion 9a of the middle protection 9. Even more particularly, the device 20 is placed between the appendage 9c and the appendage 9d of the middle protection 9 (these protections are schematically shown in Figure 4).

However, an adjustment device 20 may be provided alternatively, or in addition, also in a second connecting area between the lower portion 4 and the leg piece 5 of the upper 3, for example in an area situated above the Achille's tendon. This area is schematically indicated by the circle K. With reference to the embodiment of the boot 1 shown in Figure 1, in this case the adjustment device 20 may be arranged between the protection on the heel 7 and the appendage 8c of the lateral protection 8.

Similarly, an adjustment device 20 may be provided on the portion of the upper 3 designed to be arranged over the shin or on the portion of the upper 3 designed to be arranged over the calf muscle. These areas are respectively indicated by the circle W (see Figures 4 and 5) and by the circle Y (see Figure 4).

In these embodiments also, the adjustment device 20 is preferably placed between corresponding rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1 which are designed to protect respectively the shin and the calf muscle of the user.

The zones indicated by the circles W and Y, while not being arranged in a connecting area between the lower part and the leg piece of the upper, are in any case to be regarded as flexing areas of the upper and during the forward and backward movements of the leg piece are subject to compressive or tensile forces.

Obviously, a boot 1 in accordance with the present invention may be provided with one or more adjustment devices 20 combined if necessary with each other and positioned in different flexing areas of the upper 3 in order to satisfy further specific requirements.

Reference is now made to Figures 6-10 for a description of the structure of the adjustment device 20.

In accordance with the invention, the adjustment device 20 comprises at least one first transverse rib 22 and one second transverse rib 24 which, when the adjustment device 20 is fixed to the boot 1, extend at right angles with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the leg piece 5.

With specific reference to Figure 6, the transverse ribs 22 and 24 are connected together by a longitudinal constraint member 26. In particular the longitudinal constraint member 26 connects corresponding ends of the transverse ribs 22 and 24.

In accordance with the embodiment shown in Figure 7, the transverse ribs 22 and 24 are also fastened together by means of a reinforcing element 28. This reinforcing element 28 extends parallel to the constraint member 26 and preferably connects corresponding middle portions of the two transverse ribs 22, 24.

As will become clear from the description below, the function of the reinforcing element 28 is to prevent, during use of the boot 1, following high compressive forces acting on the adjustment device 20, the two transverse ribs 22, 24 from flexing excessively and coming into contact with each other.

In accordance with the embodiment shown in Figure 8, the reinforcing element 28 may be positioned inclined with respect to the two transverse ribs 22, 24 and the constraint member 26.

Advantageously in this embodiment the reinforcing element 28 allows more effective distribution of any compressive forces acting on the two transverse ribs 22, 24.

In accordance with the embodiments shown in Figures 9 and 10, the adjustment device 20 comprises a third transverse rib 23 which is also fastened to the longitudinal constraint member 26 and positioned between the first and second transverse ribs. Preferably, the third transverse rib 23 extends in a central position between the first and second transverse ribs.

In accordance with the embodiment shown in Fig. 10, a reinforcing element 28, arranged inclined with respect to the transverse ribs, may fasten together the three transverse ribs 22, 23, 24.

In accordance with a further embodiment, which is not shown but may be easily imagined by the person skilled in the art, the three transverse ribs 22, 23, 24 may be connected together by a reinforcing element 28 arranged along a longitudinal direction, in a manner similar to that shown in Figure 7.

Obviously, an adjustment device 20 may comprise, remaining within the scope of the present invention, a different number of transverse ribs and a different number of reinforcing elements in order to satisfy specific requirements.

Different arrangements of the reinforcing element 28 may also be easily imagined by the person skilled in the art in order to meet specific needs.

The adjustment device 20 may be fixed to one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1. The adjustment device 20 may be fixed to one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1 by means of a lug 27 provided preferably on the longitudinal constraint member 26.

For example, with reference to the embodiment of the boot 1 shown in Figures 1-3, the adjustment device 20 may be fixed by means of the lug 27 to the protection 9a. This connection is also clearly visible in Figure 16.

As shown schematically in Figure 10A, the adjustment device 20 may be shaped so as to extend along a curve R, so as to adapt better to the upper and be able to follow better the anatomy of the user's leg and foot.

The single transverse ribs 22, 23, 24, in turn, have preferably a hollow profile. As shown schematically in Figures 10A and 10B, the ribs preferably have a profile with a C-shaped cross-section. Obviously ribs with profiles having a different cross-section may be used in order to satisfy specific requirements. The specific configuration of the ribs is such that the adjustment device 20, as a whole, has an accordion profile which provides the adjustment element 20 with an elastic behavior.

As will be explained in detail below, the adjustment device, when subjected to compressive or tensile forces, will tend to be compressed or extend and then return into its neutral configuration, once the external forces cease to act.

In particular, when the adjustment device 20 is subject to compression, the transverse ribs tend to move towards each other and at the same time the corresponding C-shaped cross- sections of the ribs tend to be deformed, moving closer together.

Similarly, when the adjustment device 20 is subject to a tensile force, the transverse ribs tend to move away from each other and at the same time the corresponding cross-sections of the ribs tend to be deformed, moving away from each other.

In both cases, once the compressive or tensile force ceases to act, the transverse ribs will tend to recover their original position and the corresponding cross-sections resume a profile with a C-shaped cross-section.

As mentioned above, the provision of any reinforcing element 28 advantageously has the effect that the transverse ribs, when subjected to compression, do not move towards each other by more than a given amount. Similarly, in the case where tensile forces act on the adjustment device 20, the reinforcing element 28 ensures that the transverse ribs are not spaced from each other by more than a given amount.

As can be clearly seen in Figure 10A, the upper profile 29 of the first rib 22 and the lower profile 31 of the second rib 24 are step shaped so as to be able to act as stops.

As will be described below, in the case where a rigid or semi-rigid protection of the boot, following movements of the user's leg, comes into contact with the ribs of the adjustment device 20, the provision of these stepped profiles 29, 31 ensures that the protection is locked in position and cannot slide above the adjustment device 20.

At the same time, the accordion structure of the adjustment device 20 ensures that the contact between protection and stepped profile is cushioned.

The elastic behavior of the adjustment device 20 is also assisted by a specific choice as to the thicknesses of the transverse ribs 22, 23, 24 and the reinforcing element 28.

The thickness of the transverse ribs 22, 23, 24 and any reinforcing element 28 present may be varied with respect to each other depending on the position of the adjustment device 20 and the flexing movement which is to be controlled.

With reference to Figure 10A, provided by way of example, the thickness q of the reinforcing element 28 may be greater than the thickness u of the central rib 23.

Similarly, the thicknesses of the first and second transverse ribs 22, 24 may be greater than the thickness of the central rib 23 and the thickness of the reinforcing element 28. The elastic behavior of the adjustment device 20 is also assisted by the choice and the hardness of the polymeric materials from which it is made.

In this case also, the hardness and the type of polymeric materials from which the adjustment device 20 is made may be chosen depending on the position of the adjustment device 20 and the flexing movement which is to be controlled.

The adjustment device 20 is preferably made of thermoplastic polymeric material using an injection-molding process. Preferably, the adjustment device 20 is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or polyamide (PA) or using a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or a similar polymeric material. Preferably, the adjustment device 20, considered as a whole, is semi-rigid. Advantageously, as shown schematically in Figure 10B, the adjustment device 20 may be made by combining two different polymeric materials S, H which have different mechanical properties. The adjustment device 20 may be made using a first material S and second material H, where the first material S has a hardness, measured for example as a Shore A hardness value, less than that of the second material H.

Two different compounds may also be used, i.e. a harder compound H and a softer compound S of the same polymeric material.

With reference to Figure 10B, preferably the material or compound H with a greater hardness is used to form the central rib 23 and the inner profile of the transverse ribs 22, 24. The material or the compound S with a lower hardness is used to form the reinforcing element 28 and the outer profile of the transverse ribs 22, 24. As can be clearly seen in Figure 10B, in the region of the transverse ribs 22, 24 the material or the compound S with a lower hardness is intended to be arranged on top of the material or the compound H with a higher hardness. The softer material or compound influences the elongation, the flexing resistance and the sliding resistance of the adjustment device 20, while the harder material or compound provides the adjustment device 20 with stability and strength.

With reference to Figures 11-14, the adjustment device 20 may be provided with at least one lug 32, 34 extending at the top from the first transverse rib 22 or at the bottom from the second transverse rib 24.

Preferably, the adjustment device 20 comprises a first lug 32 extending at the top from the first transverse rib 22 and a second lug 34 extending at the bottom from the second transverse rib 24.

The lugs 32, 34 are configured to be positioned underneath the rigid or semi-rigid protections 6, 7, 8, 9 of the boot 1, which are situated adjacent to the adjustment device 20.

Preferably, the lugs 32, 34 are configured to be positioned inside corresponding seats provided in the inner surface, i.e. in the surface facing the upper 3, of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1.

Advantageously, the lugs 32, 34 may be fixed in position or slidably received inside said seats. As will be explained in greater detail below, the lugs 32, 34 help control the forward and backward flexing movements of the boot.

In the attached figures the lugs 32, 34 are provided in an adjustment device 20 which has three transverse ribs 22, 23, 24. Lugs 32, 34 may also be provided in the adjustment device 20 shown in Figures 6-8 or in an adjustment device with four or more transverse ribs.

With specific reference to Figure 11, the lower lug 34 may be provided with at least one fixing hole 35, 36, by means of which the lug 34 - and consequently the adjustment device 20 - may be fixed to one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1.

With reference to the embodiment of the boot shown in Figures 1-3, in the case where the adjustment device 20 is arranged opposite the instep, the lug 34 may be advantageously fixed to the protection 9d.

In particular, in the case where the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10a situated opposite the instep is formed as one piece with the appendage 9d of the middle protection 9, the lug 34 may be fixed underneath the mounting seat 14.

In this way, a fixing hole 35, 36 of the lug 32 may be directly engaged by the rivet used to fix the lever 11 to the mounting seat 14.

With reference again to Figure 11, the upper lug 32 may advantageously be provided with two guide recesses 37, 38.

These guide recesses 37, 38, which are suitably shaped, have the function of guiding any sliding movement of the lug 32 underneath the adjacent protection of the boot. In particular, in the case where the upper lug 32 is configured to slide underneath a mounting seat 14 for a fastener of the boot 1, these recesses are intended to slidably engage the bottom portion of the rivets with which the lever 11 is fixed to the seat 14.

In this case, the bottom portion of the rivets acts as a guiding means for the lug 32.

With reference to Figure 12, the lower lug 34 may be provided with a guide recess 39.

With reference to Figure 13, the upper lug 32 may be provided with a fixing hole 41, by means of which the lug 32, and consequently the adjustment device 20, may be fixed to one of the rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1.

With reference to the embodiment of the boot shown in Figures 1-3, in the case where the adjustment device 20 is arranged opposite the instep, the lug 32 may be advantageously fixed to the protection 9c.

As described above, in the case where the mounting seat 14 of the fastener 10b situated opposite the shin-bone of the foot is formed as one piece with the appendage 9c of the middle protection 9, the lug 32 may be fixed underneath the corresponding mounting seat 14. With reference to Figure 14, fixing holes 35, 36 and 41 may be provided in both the lugs 32, 34. In this case both the lugs 32, 34, and consequently the adjustment device 20, will be fixed to adjacent protections of the boot. With reference to Figures 14A and 14B, relating to the transverse ribs 22, 23, 24 and the reinforcing element 28, the comments made above in connection with Figures 10A and 10B are also applicable here.

With reference to the lugs 32, 34, preferably the upper lug 32 is made with a material or with a compound S having a lower hardness, calculated for example as a Shore A hardness value, than a second material or a second compound forming the adjustment device 20.

Similarly, the second lug 34 is preferably made using a harder material or compound H, which may be lined with a softer material or compound S.

As will be described below, the lugs 32, 34 are configured to come into contact with the adjacent surfaces of the boot protections, underneath which they slide, if the forward or backward flexing of the leg piece exceeds given values.

The manufacture of these lugs using a softer material has the effect that, in the event of relative sliding of the lugs and protections, there is a greater friction and therefore a greater possibility of limiting the relative movements of the adjustment device 20 and protections and therefore of controlling flexing of the boot.

At the same time, in the case where the lugs are made of a harder material, a greater solidity of the adjustment device 20, considered as a whole, will be ensured.

The choice of one of the embodiments of the adjustment device 29 shown in Figures 11-14 may be performed depending on the type of adjustment which is to be made to the forward and backward flexing movements of the boot 1.

Assuming that the adjustment device 20 is arranged opposite the instep between the two protections 9a and 9b, in particular between the respective appendages 9d and 9c, the embodiment shown in Figure 11, being able to be rigidly fixed to the appendage 9d, allows the forward flexing Ff of the boot 1 to be controlled, while the backward flexing may be limited by the friction which is generated between the lug 32 of the adjustment device 20 and the appendage 9c of the protection 9b.

The embodiment shown in Figure 12 also allows both the forward flexing and the backward flexing of the boot to be controlled, however, since the lug 34 of the adjustment device 20 is no longer rigidly fixed to the appendage 9d, it allows the boot to flex backward by a greater amount compared to the embodiment of Figure 11.

The embodiment shown in Figure 13 allows control of both the forward flexing movement, by means of the interference between the guide recess 39 and a possible projecting part of the protection 9d, for example the rivet by means of which the lever is fixed to the protection 9d, and the backward flexing movement.

In this case, since the lug 32 is rigidly fixed to the protection 9c, the adjustment device 20 allows the boot 1 to flex backwards by a smaller amount compared to the embodiment of Figures 11 and 12. Finally, with reference to the embodiment shown in Figure 14, since both the upper lug 32 and the lower lug 34 are rigidly fixed to the respective adjacent protections 9c, 9d, the adjustment device 20 allows the boot to flex forward and backward by a smaller amount compared to the embodiments of Figures 11-13.

Reference is now made to Figures 15-25 for an explanation of the operating principle of the adjustment device 20.

In these figures specific reference is made to the embodiment of the adjustment device 20 shown in Figure 11, it being assumed that it is arranged between the protections 9a and 9b, in particular between the appendages 9d and 9c thereof.

It is also assumed that the adjustment device 20 is rigidly fixed to the protection 9a not only by means of the lug 27, but also by means of the holes 35, 36 which are designed to be engaged by corresponding fixing means provided in the region of the mounting seat 14.

The following comments also apply to the case where the adjustment device 20 is situated in a different zone of the upper and between different rigid or semi-rigid protections of the boot 1.

Figure 15 shows, for greater clarity, only the middle protection 9 and the adjustment device 20. It is clear how a forward or backward flexing of the leg piece 5 with respect to the lower portion 4 of the upper 3 causes a rotation of the upper portion 9b with respect to the lower portion 9a of the middle protection 9 about the axis of rotation Pm.

As schematically shown in Figure 16, the adjustment device 20 may be affixed to the middle protection 9 so that, in a neutral configuration, i.e. a configuration in which there are no external forces acting on the boot 1, the transverse ribs 22, 24 are situated close to, preferably in contact with, the adjacent lower edge 43 and upper adjacent edge 44 of the protections 9c and 9d.

Advantageously, as shown again in Figure 16, the lower profile of the protection 9c and the upper profile of the protection 9d may each have a flexing point 42, 46 designed to favor, in combination with the adjustment device 20, the forward and backward flexing of the boot 1 as well as recovery of the neutral configuration, once the compressive and tensile forces have ceased.

Reference is now made to Figures 17-19 which show the positioning of the adjustment device 20 between the protections 9c and 9d. Figure 19 shows the positioning of the lugs 32, 34 with respect to the adjacent protections 9c, 9d. As already mentioned, the lugs 32, 34 are arranged so as to face corresponding inner surfaces of the respective protections.

Figure 20 shows in schematic form the adjustment device 20 with the boot 1 in the neutral configuration. It is assumed in this configuration that the longitudinal axis LI of the protection 9b is perpendicular. In this configuration, the transverse ribs 22, 24 are spaced from each other by a distance c. The adjustment device 20 is also in a neutral configuration, not being compressed by the protections 9c, 9d of the boot 1.

In the case where the leg piece of the boot 1 is subject to a forward flexing movement (indicated by Ff in Figure 4), the protection 9b will be subject to a rotation in the anti clockwise direction about the axis of rotation Pm. This rotation is schematically indicated by a rotation of the axis LI about the axis of rotation Pm equal to an angle a.

As already mentioned, the lower lug 34 of the adjustment device 20 is rigidly locked together with the protection 9d and therefore cannot slide underneath it. Therefore the rotation of the protection 9b causes a compression, by the lower edge 43, of the upper transverse rib 22.

The accordion structure of the adjustment device 20 is such that the latter may be subject to a compression. In other words, the upper transverse rib 22 moves towards the lower transverse rib 24 owing to a compression of the reinforcing element 28 and a deformation of the cross- sections of the ribs.

Following this compression, the transverse ribs are spaced from each other by a distance cl which is less than the distance c which can be measured in a neutral configuration.

The particular form of the adjustment device 20 is able not only to limit the rotation of the appendage 9b, but also to dampen the impact between the appendage 9d and the transverse rib 22. In fact, the adjustment device 20 acts in the manner of an elastic element arranged between the two protections 9c and 9d.

Moreover, the energy stored by the adjustment device 20, once the compressive force acting on the transverse rib 22 ceases, is released by the adjustment device 20 which therefore makes it easier for the user to reposition the boot in the neutral configuration, reducing the fatigue to which the lower limbs are subject. The adjustment device 20, once the compressive force ceases, tends to recover its neutral configuration (see Figure 20).

Similarly, in the case where the leg piece of the boot 1 is subject to a backward flexing movement (indicated by Rf in Figure 4), the protection 9b will be subject to a corresponding rotation in the clockwise direction about the axis of rotation Pm. This rotation is schematically indicated by a rotation of the axis LI about the axis of rotation Pm equal to an angle b (see Figure 22).

Following rotation, the protection 9c comes into contact with the lug 32 since the latter, extending substantially vertically from the transverse rib 22, interferes with the rotational movement of the protection 9c. In particular, the protection 9c with its inner surface comes into sliding contact with the lug 32.

This movement is opposed by the friction which is generated between the surfaces and causes backward flexing of the lug 32. The amplitude of this flexing movement depends both on the rotation of the protection 9b and on the resistance of the lug 32, which in turn depends on the material from which the latter is made.

The backward flexing of the upper lug 32, together with the fact that the lower lug 34 is locked at the protection 9d, causes an increase in the distance c2 between the transverse ribs 22 and 24 of the adjustment device 20.

In this configuration, the adjustment device 20 is therefore subject to an elongation caused by a deformation of the profile of the transverse ribs and also by an elongation of the reinforcing element 28 where applicable.

In this case also, the adjustment device 20 is able to release the energy stored during elongation, so as to make it easier for the user to reposition the boot in the neutral configuration, once the external stresses cease to act. The adjustment device 20 tends in fact to recover the neutral configuration of Figure 20.

With reference to Figures 23-25, which schematically illustrate the aforementioned movements of the protection 9b with respect to the protection 9a, the distance d indicates the distance between the lower edge 43 of the protection 9d and the upper edge 44 of the protection 9c.

Depending on the way in which the adjustment device 20 is fixed to the protection 9c, essentially the distance d coincides with the distance c between the two transverse ribs 22, 24. Similarly, in the case of forward flexing (see Figure 24), the distance dl between the lower edge 43 of the protection 9d and the upper edge 44 of the protection 9c coincides substantially with the distance cl between the two transverse ribs.

In the case of backward flexing (see Figure 23), the distance d2 between the lower edge 43 of the protection 9d and the upper edge 44 of the protection 9c may be greater than the distance c2 between the ribs.

These distances will be substantially equal to each other in the case where both the lugs 32, 34 of the adjustment device 20 are fixed to the adjacent protections (see embodiment of the adjustment device shown in Figure 14).

From the above description, it is now clear how the sport footwear, in particular the motorcycling boot according to the present invention, is able advantageously to achieve the predefined objects.

In particular, the boot according to the present invention, owing to the provision of the adjustment device 20, together with the rigid or semi-rigid protections affixed to the upper, provides the user with a better level of protection, without limiting the freedom of movement of the foot and the leg piece.

Moreover, the adjustment device 20, owing to the its particular structure, acts as a cushioning element between two adjacent protections of the boot, thus controlling the forward and backward flexing movements of the leg and gradually increasing the resistance to any excessive and unnatural movements of the leg.

Furthermore, the provision of the adjustment device 20 does not negatively influence the overall weight of the boot and, owing to its particular structure, increases the breathability of the boot without reducing the protection against impacts or friction.

Finally, the particular structure of the adjustment device 20, owing to its particular accordion configuration, helps the user to reposition the boot in its neutral position following a forward or backward flexing movement, reducing the fatigue affecting the user.

Obviously, the above description of an embodiment applying the innovative principles of the present invention is provided by way of example of these innovative principles and must therefore not be regarded as limiting the scope of protection claimed herein.

For example, the characteristic features of the various solutions shown here may be combined with each other according to specific needs and wishes.

Finally, exact forms and proportions of the various parts may vary depending on the specific practical requirements.