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Title:
A PROCESS FOR MAKING A FOOTWEAR ITEM AND A FOOTWEAR ITEM MANUFACTURED THEREFROM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/040600
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An article of footwear comprising: - an upper (12) having a sole (15) formed integral therewith; - an insole (20) having one or more locating members (25) projecting from a surface thereof, said insole (20) being receivable by said upper (12) such that a distal end of said one or more locating members (25) passes through said sole (15) to extend beyond an outer surface of the sole (15); - and an outsole (30) configured to engage said distal end of said one or more locating members (25) such that the outsole (30) is mounted to said outer surface of the sole (15). Also disclosed is a method of making the item of footwear.

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Inventors:
FECHTER NORBERT ANTON (ID)
Application Number:
IB2007/003465
Publication Date:
April 02, 2009
Filing Date:
September 28, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FECHTER NORBERT ANTON (ID)
International Classes:
A43B5/02; A43B9/00; A43B13/26
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007036292A12007-04-05
Foreign References:
EP1574143A22005-09-14
US20060021255A12006-02-02
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Claims:

CLAIMS:

1. An article of footwear comprising: an upper having a sole formed integral therewith; an insole having one or more locating members projecting from a surface thereof, said insole being receivable by said upper such that a distal end of said one or more locating members passes through said sole to extend beyond an outer surface of the sole; and an outsole configured to engage said distal end of said one or more locating members such that the outsole is mounted to said outer surface of the sole.

2. An article of footwear according to claim 1, wherein the insole is configured to be received over an inner surface of the sole.

3. An article of footwear according to claim 2, wherein the sole comprises one or more recesses formed therein through which the distal end of the one or more locating members pass.

4. An article of footwear according to claim 3, wherein the distal end of the or each locating member is received by said outsole and engages therewith to securely mount the outsole to the outer surface of the sole of the upper.

5. An article of footwear according to claim 1, wherein the outsole is one or more studs.

6. An article of footwear according to claim 1, wherein the outsole is one or more walking tips.

7. A method of making an item of footwear comprising: preparing an upper having an integral sole; forming one or more recesses through said sole of the upper; preparing an insole having one or more locating members projecting from a surface thereof; placing said insole within said upper such that a distal end of the one or more locating members passes through said one or more recesses and extends beyond an outer surface of the sole;

attaching an outsole to said outer surface of the sole such that the outsole engages with the distal end of the one or more locating members.

8. A method of making an item of footwear according to claim 7, wherein the step of preparing the upper comprises moulding the upper about a last.

9. A method of making an item of footwear according to claim 8, wherein the upper is moulded from a plastic or vinyl material.

10. A method of making an item of footwear according to claim 7, wherein the step of forming the one or more recesses through said sole of the upper is performed by punching

Description:

A process for making a footwear item and a footwear item manufactured therefrom

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to footwear and a method of manufacturing footwear, in particular, the present invention relates to footwear and a method of manufacturing footwear having an outsole that is attachable to the upper without the need for adhesives and the like.

Background Art

Footwear, such as shoes, boots and the like, provide feet with protection from hard and rough surfaces as well as climate and environmental exposure. Such footwear exists in a variety of types and styles in accordance with individual tastes and requirements. In particular, footwear may perform a predominately aesthetic function as is the case with men's dress shoes and ladies fashion shoes, or a more practical function as is the case with various form of football shoes/boots and running /hiking shoes.

In general, an item of footwear comprises two main parts. An upper part, referred to as an Upper, which is provided over the upper portion of the foot to aid in holding the shoe onto the foot, and a lower part, referred to as a sole, which is provided between the wearer's foot and the ground, to prevent the wearer's foot from contacting the ground. In the case of sandals or ladies fashion shoes, the upper may comprise one or more straps which extend over the wearer's foot to retain the sole of the sandal/shoe in position under the wearer's foot. Alternatively, in the case of a hiking shoe and or a football boot or shoe, the upper may completely cover and enclose the upper portion of the wearer's foot such that the upper and the sole of the shoe/boot form a sealed enclosure about the wearer's foot. In the latter instance, such footwear is referred to as closed footwear.

Traditionally, closed footwear is made by a relatively labour intensive process. The upper is typically stitched or otherwise joined together into a single structure which is then attached to the sole. Uppers are traditionally made from a variety of materials,

natural and/or synthetic, depending upon the type of footwear being manufactured and the amount of aeration required. The upper is typically formed about a last having dimensions similar to an anatomical foot. The upper and last is then placed in a variety of moulds whereby, an insole and/or midsole is then attached to the undersurface of the last and the upper, followed by an outsole which is attached to the underside of the upper to complete the footwear.

Such a process typically requires a variety of adhesive primers and cements to assemble the various parts together in a secure manner. As such, manufacturing facilities are typically non-environmentally friendly and require expensive and dedicated ventilation systems to provide a safe work environment for the employees.

Further, for performance footwear such as football shoes and the like which require a dedicated outsole consisting of studs, sprigs or other shaped profiles, the assembly process requires an additional step to secure the dedicated outsole to the shoe. In such instances further moulds and tools are necessary to form the appropriate outsole profile resulting in significant costs to the footwear manufacture and increased manufacturing times.

There is a need to provide an item of footwear and a method of manufacturing an item of footwear that enables simpler assembly of the various parts of the footwear.

Summary of the Invention

Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as

"comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps.

According to a first aspect, the present invention is an article of footwear comprising: an upper having a sole formed integral therewith; an insole having one or more locating members projecting from a surface thereof, said insole being receivable by said upper such that a distal end of said one or more locating members passes through said sole to extend beyond an outer surface of the sole; and

an outsole configured to receive said distal end of said one or more locating members such that the outsole is mounted to said outer surface of the sole.

According to a second aspect, the present invention is a method of making an item of footwear comprising: preparing an upper having an integral sole; forming one or more recesses through said sole of the upper; preparing an insole having one or more locating members projecting from a surface thereof; placing said insole within said upper such that a distal end of the one or more locating members passes through said one or more recesses and extends beyond an outer surface of the sole; attaching an outsole to said outer surface of the sole such that the outsole engages with the distal end of the one or more locating members.

Brief Description of the Drawings

A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying Figures in which:

FIG. 1 shows a footwear item according to one embodiment of the present invention in the form of a football shoe;

FIG. 2 shows the upper of the shoe of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 3 shows the upper of FIG. 2

FIG. 4A shows an insole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4B shows an enlarged cross-sectional view of one embodiment of a locating member of the insole of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5 shows the insole of FIG. 4A positioned within the upper of FIG. 3 for receiving an outsole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6A shows the outsole mounted to the upper;

FIG. 6B shows a cross sectional view of the outsole connecting with the locating member of FIG. 4B;

FIG. 7 shows the stud bases of the outsole of FIG. 6A attached to the upper and trimmed such that the stud bases are separated from each other;

FIG. 8 shows the stud bases of FIG. 7 with the remainder of the stud body injection moulded to the stud base;

FIG. 9 shows a bottom view of a completed shoe in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 shows a flow chart of the process for manufacturing a shoe in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

Detailed Description of an Exemplary Embodiment of the Present Invention

One embodiment of the footwear item of the present invention and a method of manufacturing the footwear item is described below with reference to FIGS. 1-10. Whilst the present invention is described in relation to a football shoe or boot 10, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the item of footwear could incorporate a variety of different footwear styles whilst still falling within the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, the football shoe 10 of the present invention comprises two distinct portions: an upper 12 which is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of a human foot; and an outsole 14 in the form of a plurality of studs, which provide contact between the upper 12 and the ground. As shown, the upper 12 substantially encloses the foot and is shaped to extend over the dorsum of the foot up to the ankle. The opening 1 1 through which the foot is received may be varied in size through the use of laces 15 which can be tightened or loosened as appropriate.

As shown in Fig. 2 and as represented as step 41 in the manufacturing process of

Fig. 10, the upper 12 is formed as a complete one piece element having an integral sole

portion 15 together with a toe cap 16, vamp 17 and heel portion 18. In this regard, the upper 12 may be moulded about a suitable last to form the shape as shown in FIG. 2. Once moulded, the upper 12 may be trimmed and processed to accommodate the final design of the shoe 10. In this regard, the upper 12 may be made from a mouldable plastic or vinyl having suitable strength and shape retaining properties to form the structure of the shoe 10.

Following formation of the upper 12, a plurality of recesses 19 are formed in the sole portion 15 as shown in FIG. 3 and as represented as step 42 in FIG. 10. The location of the recesses 19 is accurately controlled in accordance with the type of show being manufactured, as will become apparent below. The recesses 19 are formed by placing the upper 12 in a cutting or punching machine such that the recesses 19 extend through the sole portion 15 of the upper 12.

An insole element 20 is shown in FIG. 4A is then formed, as depicted as step 43 in FIG. 10. The insole element 20 is in the form of a substantially flat board member 22 which is shaped to be inserted into the upper 12 such that it substantially conforms to the inner surface of the sole portion 15. The board member 22 has an underside 23 which is received by the inner surface of the sole portion 15 of the upper 12, has a plurality of locating members or clips 25 projecting therefrom.

Referring to FIG. 4B, the locating members 25 are shown in more detail. Each locating member 25 comprises a pair of arms 24 which converge at a distal end to define an enclosed space 26. The arms 24 are substantially rigid but have an inherent degree of flexibility such that they can be separated at their distal ends to provide access to the enclosed space 26.

The insole element 20, including the board member 22 and the locating members 25, is made from a dual or single density plastic, such as Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). The insole element 20 is injection moulded to form the shape as shown.

Following the formation of the recesses 19 in the upper 12 in step 42, and the injection moulding of the insole element 20 in step 43, the insole element 20 is inserted into the upper 12 such that the underside 23 of the insole element is received by the inner surface of the sole portion 15 in step 44. As is shown in FIG. 5, when the insole

element 20 is positioned in this manner, the locating members 25 align with the recesses 19 thereby enabling the locating members to pass through the recesses 19 to extend beyond the outer surface of the sole portion 15. As the recesses 19 snugly receive the locating members 25 the insole element 20 is securely retained within the upper 12. In this position the arms 24 of the locating members 25 extend beyond the outer surface of the sole portion 15 such that the enclosed space 26 is located external the upper 12.

As shown in FIG. 5, the outsole 30 is mounted to the outer surface of the sole portion 15 of the upper 12 through interconnection with the locating members 25. This step is depicted as step 45 in FIG. 10. In the embodiment as shown, the outsole 30 is in the form of a plurality of stud bases 32 connected by bridges 34 which retain the stud bases 32 together in a manageable form. The stud bases 32 are frustoconical in shape and have an open central bore which receives the locating members 25, such that the stud bases 32 are retained securely in position, as shown in FIG. 6A.

As shown in FIG. 6B, each of the stud bases 32 have a cross-bar 35 which is securely retained by the arms 24 of the locating members 25. In this regard, as the stud base 32 is positioned over the locating member 25, the cross-bar 35 urges the arms 24 apart such that the cross bar 35 is received within the enclosed space 26. This arrangement ensures that the stud bases are securely mounted against the outer surface of the sole portion 15. It will be appreciated that the manner in which the stud bases 32 and the locating members 25 interconnect may vary whilst still falling within the spirit of the present invention.

Following securing each of the stud bases 32 to the locating members 25, the bridges 34 are removed as shown in FIG. 7. The bridges 34 may be cut from the stud bases 32 manually or automatically by placing the assembly in an automatic cutting machine. In this regard, the stud bases 32 are securely retained against the outer surface of the sole portion 15 of the upper 12, and hence the bridges 34 are no longer required to retain the stud bases 32 together.

To complete the shoe 10 as shown in FIG. 8, the assembly is placed in an injection moulding machine whereby the upper portions 38 of the studs are moulded to the stud bases 32 in a single process. Such a step further secures the studs to the upper 12 and encloses the exposed ends of the locating members 25.

The step of removing the bridges 34 and injection moulding the upper portions 38 of the studs is referred to as step 46 of FIG. 10, wherein the shoe 10 is trimmed and processed prior to completion.

The footwear and manufacturing process of the present invention as described above does not require a conventional outsole to be adhered to the base of the footwear by cements and adhesives. In this regard, as is shown in FIG. 9, the studs 14 form the outsole of the shoe 10 and extend directly from the upper 12 to interact with the ground surface. It will be appreciated that whilst the outsole has been described above as being in the form of studs 14, various other profiles could be used such as lugs, walking tips, ripples, blades and the like which are clipped or otherwise fittingly mounted to the sole portion 15 of the upper 12. As is evident in the shoe 10 of FIG. 9, such an arrangement allows the upper 12 to be shaped and designed in a variety of forms prior to receiving the outsole.

The present invention also allows for fully automated manufacturing as each of the steps can be automated to enable easy assembly of the various components. Should the outsole require a different profile, the process can be readily altered to accommodate such changes.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.