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Title:
DANCE SHOE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/055135
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A dance shoe (100) is provided which comprises an upper (102) and a sole (104) attached to the upper (102). Heel and tip portions (10, 40) formed from a moulded plastics material are attached to rear and front portions of the sole (104), respectively. A method of forming such a shoe is also provided. By forming the heel and tip portions from a moulded plastics material the shape, weight and sound created by the heel and tip portions will be consistent across different pairs of the dance shoe.

Inventors:
CAMPBELL GORDON (GB)
Application Number:
GB2010/051796
Publication Date:
May 12, 2011
Filing Date:
October 26, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
A E STRUTHERS LTD (GB)
CAMPBELL GORDON (GB)
International Classes:
A43B5/12; A43B3/24; A43B9/00; A43B13/12; A43B13/14; A43B13/18; A43B13/26; A43B13/30; A43B13/36; A43B21/20; A43B21/26; A43B21/32; A43B21/38; A43B21/42
Foreign References:
US20040168347A12004-09-02
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MURGITROYD & COMPANY (165-169 Scotland StreetGlasgow, Strathclyde G5 8PL, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1 . A dance shoe comprising:

an upper;

a sole attached to the upper;

a heel portion attached to a rear portion of the sole; and

a tip portion attached to a front portion of the sole;

wherein the heel and tip portions are each formed from a moulded plastics material.

2. The shoe of claim 1 , wherein one or both of the heel and tip portions is/are substantially hollow.

3. The shoe of claim 2, wherein the or each hollow portion includes one or more strengthening members located therein which define a plurality of cavities.

4. The shoe of any preceding claim, wherein the tip portion has an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole and an exposed lower surface which is convex.

5. The shoe of any preceding claim, wherein the plastics material is a thermoplastic material selected from the group comprising

polyoxymethylene (acetal resin), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), glass filled nylon, and glass filled acetal resin.

6. The shoe of any preceding claim, wherein the heel and tip portions are formed from different plastics materials.

7. The shoe of any preceding claim and further comprising a plurality of mechanical fixtures adapted to fix the heel and tip portions to the sole.

8. The shoe of claim 7, wherein each of the heel and tip portions includes a plurality of bores adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures.

9. The shoe of claim 7 or claim 8 and further comprising a resilient plate member adapted to be located between the upper and sole. 10. The shoe of claim 9 and further comprising a plurality of interchangeable plate members having varying degrees of resilience or flexibility.

1 1 . The shoe of claim 9, wherein the plate member includes apertures adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures, whereby the heel and tip are fixed to the plate member by the fixtures.

12. The shoe of any preceding claim and further comprising a layer of shock-absorbing material located over the heel portion of the shoe.

13. The shoe of any preceding claim, wherein the heel portion comprises an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole, a lower surface spaced from the sole, and inner and outer side walls extending between the upper and lower surfaces, wherein the inner side wall has a projecting portion extending outwardly from the inner side wall.

14. The shoe of claim 13, wherein the inner side wall is convex.

15. A method of manufacturing a dance shoe, the method comprising the steps of: fornning a sole;

moulding each of a heel and tip portion from a plastics material; attaching the heel and tip portions to rear and front portions of the sole, respectively;

forming an upper; and

attaching the upper to the sole.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the step of attaching the heel and tip portions to the sole is achieved using mechanical fixtures.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of moulding the heel and tip portions includes forming a plurality of bores therein, the bores adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures. 18. The method of any of claims 15 to 17, wherein the step of moulding one or both of the heel and tip portions includes forming a cavity therein, and forming one or more strengthening members in the cavity which define a number of smaller cavities. 19. The method of any of claims 15 to 18, wherein the step of moulding the tip includes forming an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole and forming an exposed lower surface which is convex.

20. The method of any of claims 15 to 19 and further comprising the step of inserting a resilient plate member between the upper and the sole.

21 . The method of any of claims 15 to 20 and further comprising the step of locating a layer of shock-absorbing material over the heel portion.

22. The method of any of claims 15 to 21 , wherein the step of moulding the heel portion comprises forming an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole, a lower surface spaced from the sole, and inner and outer side walls extending between the upper and lower surfaces, wherein the inner side wall is formed such that a projecting portion extends outwardly from the inner side wall.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the heel portion is moulded such that the inner side wall is convex.

Description:
DANCE SHOE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE THEREOF

The present invention is directed to a new dance shoe, and also to a new method of manufacturing such a shoe.

In certain forms of dance it is important that the shoes worn by dancers have a heel and tip that are not only strong but also produce a particular sound when the heel and tip come into contact with a floor surface. One known example of such a shoe has a main portion of the sole and arch formed from a relatively flexible material, and the heel and tip formed from a more rigid and hard wearing material. The heel and tip components are usually hand-formed from blocks of material, with the blocks ground down and sanded to the desired shapes. The heel and tip are then bonded to the main sole component. Heel and tip components formed from these grinding and sanding processes are inconsistent in weight, size and shape. Thus, seemingly identical pieces of footwear may have entirely different characteristics depending on how accurately the heel and tip have been formed. Additionally, where the sound created by the heel and tip contacting the ground is important, the inconsistencies in the manufacture of the heel and tip can also lead to inconsistencies in the sound created by a pair of seemingly identical footwear items.

It is an aim of the present invention to mitigate or obviate one or more of these disadvantages.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a dance shoe comprising:

an upper;

a sole attached to the upper;

a heel portion attached to a rear portion of the sole; and a tip portion attached to a front portion of the sole;

wherein the heel and tip portions are each formed from a moulded plastics material. One or both of the heel and tip portions may be substantially hollow. The, or each, hollow portion may include one or more strengthening members located therein which define a plurality of cavities.

The tip portion may have an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole and an exposed lower surface which is convex.

The plastics material may be a thermoplastic material selected from the group comprising polyoxymethylene (acetal resin), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), glass filled nylon, and glass filled acetal resin.

The heel and tip portions may be formed from different plastics materials.

The shoe may further comprise a plurality of mechanical fixtures adapted to fix the heel and tip portions to the sole. The heel and tip portions may include a plurality of bores adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures.

The shoe may further comprise a resilient plate member adapted to be located between the upper and sole. The shoe may further comprise a plurality of interchangeable plate members having varying degrees of resilience or flexibility.

The plate member may include apertures adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures, whereby the heel and tip are fixed to the plate member by the fixtures. The shoe may further comprise a layer of shock-absorbing material located over the heel portion of the shoe.

The heel portion may comprise an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole, a lower surface spaced from the sole, and inner and outer side walls extending between the upper and lower surfaces, wherein the inner side wall has a projecting portion extending outwardly from the inner side wall. The inner side wall may be convex. According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a dance shoe, the method comprising the steps of:

forming a sole;

moulding each of a heel and tip portion from a plastics material; attaching the heel and tip portions to rear and front portions of the sole, respectively;

forming an upper; and

attaching the upper to the sole.

The step of attaching the heel and tip portions to the sole may be achieved using mechanical fixtures.

The step of moulding the heel and tip portions may include forming a plurality of bores therein, the bores adapted to receive the mechanical fixtures.

The step of moulding one or both of the heel and tip portions may include forming a cavity therein, and forming one or more strengthening members in the cavity which define a number of smaller cavities. The step of moulding the tip may include forming an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole and forming an exposed lower surface which is convex. The method may further comprise the step of inserting a resilient plate member between the upper and the sole.

The method may further comprise the step of locating a layer of shock- absorbing material over the heel portion.

The step of moulding the heel portion may comprise forming an upper surface adapted to be attached to the sole, a lower surface spaced from the sole, and inner and outer side walls extending between the upper and lower surfaces, wherein the inner side wall is formed such that a projecting portion extends outwardly from the inner side wall.

The heel portion may be moulded such that the inner side wall is convex.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figures 1 (a) and 1 (b) show plan views of the upper and lower surfaces, respectively, of a heel for a dance shoe;

Figures 2(a) and 2(b) show plan and side views, respectively of a tip for a dance shoe;

Figure 3 shows an exploded view of a dance shoe; and

Figures 4(a) and 4(b) show front and rear views of the dance shoe shown in Figure 3 once assembled. Figures 1 (a) and 1 (b) show views of the upper and lower surfaces of a heel portion 10 of a dance shoe. The upper surface 12 shown in Figure 1 (a) is adapted to be attached to the sole of the footwear item, as will be described below. The heel portion 10 is hollow and is divided into four cavities 14 by a pair of strengthening members 16,18 running

perpendicular to one another. The heel portion 10 is preferably moulded as a single piece from a suitable plastics material. As a result, the strengthening members 16,18 and the remainder of the heel portion 10 are integrally formed with one another. Also forming part of the heel portion 10 are four cylindrical members 20, one of which is located in each of the cavities 14. Each of the cylindrical members 20 is provided with a threaded bore 21 adapted to receive a mechanical fixture, as will be described below. The cylindrical members 20 are each supported within their respective cavities 14 by a pair of support legs 22, which connect the cylindrical members 20 to the side walls of the cavities 14. As with the aforementioned components, the cylindrical members 20 and support legs 22 are integrally formed with the remainder of the heel 10 and extend through the entire depth of the cavities 14. The lower surface 24 of the heel 10 is shown in Figure 1 (b). This is the surface which will come into contact with a floor when the shoe is worn. As can be seen in Figures 1 (a) and 1 (b), the cavities 14 are open at the upper surface 12 of the heel 10, but they do not extend through the lower surface 24 as well. The heel 10 also includes a front wall 26 and a rear wall 28, which will face the front and rear of the shoe when the heel 10 is attached thereto, and inner and outer side walls 30,32. The inner side wall 30 (in other words the side wall on the inner side of the shoe) has a projecting portion 34 which projects outwardly from the side wall 30. Figures 2(a) and 2(b) show plan and side views of a toe, or tip, portion 40 of a dance shoe, respectively. The upper surface 42 shown in Figure 2(a) is adapted to be attached to the sole of the footwear item, as will be described below. The tip portion 40 is hollow and is divided into six cavities 44 by a pair of lateral strengthening members 46, 48 running across the tip 40 parallel to one another, and a longitudinal strengthening member 50 running perpendicular to the lateral members 46,48. The tip portion 40 is preferably moulded as a single piece from a suitable plastics material. As a result, the strengthening members 46,48,50 and the remainder of the tip 40 are integrally formed with one another. Each of the lateral strengthening members 46,48 has a pair of cylindrical portions 52 formed therein, the cylindrical portions 52 being equidistantly spaced either side of the longitudinal member 50. Hence, the tip has four cylindrical portions 52, and each is provided with a threaded bore 54 adapted to receive a screw fixture, as will be described below. The strengthening members 46,48,50 and their cylindrical portions 52 extend through the entire depth of the cavities 44.

As seen in Figure 2(b), the upper surface 42 of the tip 40 is substantially flat. The tip also has an exposed lower surface 56 which is convex. The upper and lower surfaces 42,56 meet at a rear edge 58. The tip 40 also has a front face 60 which is at the opposite end of the tip 40 from the rear edge 58. The front face 60 extends between the upper and lower surfaces 42,56 and faces the front of the shoe when attached thereto. As the flat upper and convex lower surfaces 42,56 extend rearwards from the front face 60 to meet at the rear edge 58, the depth of the cavities at the front of the tip 40 is greater than that of the cavities at the rear of the tip 40, as Figure 2(b) shows. The front face 60 has a chamfer 62 where the front face 60 and the lower surface 56 meet. Figure 3 is an exploded view of a dance shoe, generally designated 100. The shoe 100 comprises an upper 102 and a sole 104. Front and rear portions of the sole 104 are each provided with a number of apertures 105 adapted to receive a corresponding number of screw fixings 106. Attached to the sole 104 are a heel 10 and a tip 40 of the type illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, respectively. The apertures 105 in the sole 104 are aligned with the threaded bores 21 ,54 of the heel 10 and tip 40 such that each of the heel 10 and tip 40 is attached to the sole 104 by way of four fixing screws 106. Prior to attachment to one another, a suitable glue or other adhesive can optionally be applied to the heel and tip and/or sole to supplement the mechanical fixing of the heel 10 and tip 40 to the sole 104. Once the heel 10 and tip 40 are attached to the sole 104, the sole 104 can then be attached to the upper 102 in a conventional manner. The upper 102 may be formed from a single piece of material or else can be formed from a number of pieces of material which are assembled with one another in a conventional manner.

Also shown in Figure 3 are a pair of optional features which may also be included in the shoe 100. In order to vary the resilience or flexibility of the footwear, a resilient plate member 108 may be inserted into the footwear between the upper 102 and sole 104. A plurality of interchangeable plate members 108 having varying degrees of resilience or flexibility may be supplied with the footwear, thereby allowing the wearer to adjust the flexibility of the footwear to their own requirements.

Whether or not a plate member 108 is inserted, a shock absorbing layer 1 12 can optionally be provided on top of the sole 104 in order to cushion the foot of the wearer. The shock absorbing layer 1 12 can be located either above or below the sole 104, and can extend along the entire length of the shoe 100 or else can be located in the region of the heel 10 only, as shown in Figure 3.

Figures 4(a) and 4(b) show front and rear views, respectively, of the assembled shoe 100 shown in Figure 3. As seen in Figure 4(a), the tip 40 is attached to the shoe 100 such that its upper surface 42 is flush with the sole 104 while its lower surface 56 and chamfered front face 60 are exposed. At the rear of the shoe 100, as seen in Figure 4(b), the heel is also attached such that its upper surface 12 is flush with the sole 104 while its lower surface 24 and rear face 28 are exposed. The projecting portion 34 on the inner side wall 30 of the heel 10 is provided so that a particular sound make be created when a pair of heels 10 are knocked against one another. By forming the separate heel and tip portions from a plastics material the shoe of the present invention is lightweight and provided with good balance between the front and rear portions thereof. By moulding the heel and tip portions from a plastics material the shape, weight and dimensions of these portions will be consistent over numerous pairs of the shoe, so a replacement pair of shoes will have exactly the same characteristics as the pair being replaced.

The heel and tip are both preferably manufactured from a thermoplastics material which is moulded into the desired shape. Preferred

thermoplastics materials from which to mould the heel and tip are polyoxymethylene (also known as acetal resin), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (also known as ABS plastic), and glass filled nylon. Both the heel and tip are preferably manufactured from the same thermoplastics material. However, if particular characteristics are desired for the heel and tip individually, then they may also be formed from different plastics materials. The applicant has recognised that the properties of glass filled acetal resin make this material particularly suited for forming the heel and tip The preferred embodiment of the invention includes a heel and tip which are hollow and contain a number of cavities defined by strengthening members extending across the respective components. It should be appreciated that the number of strengthening members may be varied to a lesser or greater degree if desired, with a resultant decrease or increase in the number of cavities provided. Furthermore, it may be desired to enclose the cavities by having the upper surface extending across the entire heel or tip. In addition, the heel and/or tip may be solid with no cavities at all. In these two latter instances, the threaded bores for the fixtures would be formed at appropriate points in the solid upper surfaces of the heel and tip.

The bores provided in the heel and tip need not be threaded. In such an instance the mechanical fixtures may be self tapping screw fixtures, preferably manufactured from stainless steel. Furthermore, the invention is not limited to the use of mechanical fixtures. For example, the heel and tip may be bonded to the sole using a suitable bonding agent.

Although the preferred embodiment of the shoe has a tip portion whose lower surface is convex, the present invention is not limited to this particular arrangement. Instead, for example, the lower surface of the tip portion may be substantially flat.

Although the preferred embodiment of the shoe has a heel portion whose inner side wall includes a projecting portion, the present invention is not limited to this particular arrangement. For example, the inner side wall may instead be substantially flat without a projecting portion.

The shock absorbing layer is preferably formed from a cellular urethane foam. However, the invention is not limited to this specific type of shock absorbing material. For example, the layer may be formed from a viscoelastic urethane polymer.

These and other modifications and improvements may be incorporated without departing from the scope of the invention.




 
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