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Title:
TENSIONING SYSTEM FOR ARTICLE OF FOOTWEAR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/222135
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An article of footwear includes an upper and cable routed along the upper and operable between a tightened state and a loosened state. A first strap includes a first plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at a first side of the upper to a second end attached to a portion the cable on a second side of the upper. A second strap includes a second plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at the second side of the upper to a second end attached to another portion of the cable on the first side of the upper. The first plurality of bands of the first strap are interweaved with the second plurality of bands of the second strap and are operable to move through the second plurality of bands when the cable is moved between the tightened state and the loosened state.

Inventors:
LABELLE VIVIANE (US)
LONG NICHOLAS R (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2021/029233
Publication Date:
November 04, 2021
Filing Date:
April 26, 2021
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NIKE INNOVATE CV (US)
NIKE INC (US)
International Classes:
A43C1/06; A43C11/00; A43C11/16; A43B3/00
Foreign References:
US20170273814A12017-09-28
US0994187A1911-06-06
US20170265575A12017-09-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SZALACH, Matthew H. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An article of footwear comprising: an upper; a first strap extending from a first fixed end attached at a first side of the upper to a first free end on a second side of the upper; and a second strap extending from a second fixed end attached at the second side of the upper to a second free end on the first side of the upper, a first portion of the first strap overlapping a first portion of the second strap and a second portion of the first strap overlapped by a second portion of the second strap.

2. The article of footwear of Claim 1, wherein the first portion of the first strap is parallel to the second portion of the first strap proximate to the first free end.

3. The article of footwear of Claim 1 or 2, wherein the first portion of the second strap is parallel to the second portion of the second strap proximate to the second free end.

4. The article of footwear of any of Claims 1-3, wherein the first portion of the first strap is a first band extending from a first end at the first fixed end to a second end at the first free end, and the second portion of the first strap is a second band extending from a first end at the first fixed end to a second end at the first free end.

5. The article of footwear of Claim 4, wherein the second end of the first band is attached to the second end of the second band at the first free end of the first strap.

6. The article of footwear of Claim 4 or 5, wherein the first end of the first band and the first end of the second band are separately attached at the first side of the upper.

7. The article of footwear of any of Claims 1-6, wherein the first free end of the first strap and the first free end of the second strap are attached to a tensioning element operable to selectively apply a tightening force to the first free end of the first strap and the first free end of the second strap.

8. The article of footwear of any of Claims 1-7, wherein the first fixed end and the second fixed end are attached in a mid-foot region of the upper.

9. The article of footwear of any of Claims 1-8, wherein the first strap and the second strap extend over a mid-foot region of the upper.

10. The article of footwear of any of Claims 1-9, wherein a width of the first strap tapers from the first fixed end to the first free end.

11. An article of footwear comprising: an upper; a cable routed along the upper and operable between a tightened state and a loosened state; a first strap including a first plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at a first side of the upper to a second end attached to a first portion of the cable on a second side of the upper; and a second strap including a second plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at the second side of the upper to a second end attached to a second portion of the cable on the first side of the upper, the first plurality of bands of the first strap interweaved with the second plurality of bands of the second strap and operable to move through the second plurality of bands when the cable is moved between the tightened state and the loosened state.

12. The article of footwear of Claim 11, wherein bands of the first plurality of bands converge toward one another at the second end of the first strap.

13. The article of footwear of Claim 11 or 12, wherein bands of the second plurality of bands converge toward one another at the second end of the second strap.

14. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-13, wherein the second ends of the first plurality of bands are attached to each other.

15. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-14, wherein the first ends of each of the first plurality of bands are separately attached at the first side of the upper.

16. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-15, wherein the first ends of the first plurality of bands and the first ends of the second plurality of bands are attached in a mid-foot region of the upper.

17. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-16, wherein the first strap and the second strap extend over a mid-foot region of the upper.

18. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-17, wherein a width of the first strap tapers from the first ends to the second ends.

19. The article of footwear of any of Claims 11-18, further comprising a sole structure attached to the upper and a tensioning device disposed within the sole structure and operable to selectively move the cable between the tightened state and the loosened state.

20. The article of footwear of Claim 19, wherein the cable includes a first strand forming the first portion of the cable and a second strand forming the second portion of the cable, the first strand and the second strand being routed through the tensioning device.

Description:
TENSIONING SYSTEM FOR ARTICLE OF FOOTWEAR

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS [0001] This PCT International application claims priority to U.S. Application 17/240,523, filed April 26, 2021, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application 63/015,710, filed on April 27, 2020. The disclosures of these prior applications are considered part of the disclosure of this application and are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to articles of footwear having a dynamic lacing system for moving footwear between a tightened state and a loosened state.

BACKGROUND

[0003] This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art.

[0004] Articles of footwear conventionally include an upper and a sole structure. The upper may be formed from any suitable material(s) to receive, secure and support a foot on the sole structure. A bottom portion of the upper, proximate to a bottom surface of the foot, attaches to the sole structure. Sole structures generally include a layered arrangement extending between an outsole providing abrasion-resistance and traction with a ground surface and a midsole disposed between the outsole and the upper for providing cushioning for the foot.

[0005] The upper may cooperate with laces, straps, or other fasteners to adjust the fit of the upper around the foot. For instance, laces may be tightened to close the upper around the foot and tied once a desired fit of the upper around the foot is attained. Care is required to ensure that the upper is not too loose or too tight around the foot each time the laces are tied. Moreover, the laces may loosen or become untied during wear of the footwear. While fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners are easier and quicker to operate than traditional laces, these fasteners have a propensity to wear out over time and require more attention to attain a desired tension when securing the upper to the foot.

[0006] Known automated tightening systems typically include a tightening mechanism, such as a rotatable knob, that can be manipulated to apply tension to one or more cables that interact with the upper for closing the upper around a foot. While these automated tightening systems can incrementally increase the magnitude of tension of the one or more cables to achieve a desired fit of the upper around a foot, they require a time-consuming task of manipulating the tightening mechanism to properly tension the cables for securing the upper around the foot. Further, when it is desired to remove the footwear from the foot, the wearer is required to simultaneously depress a release mechanism and pull the upper away from the foot to release the tension of the cables. Additionally, conventional automated tightening systems provide a constant tensioning along the lengths of the one or more cables, whereby rotation of the rotatable knob causes the entire cable to be tightened uniformly. In instances where it may be desirable to tighten a first region of the upper more than a second region of the upper, additional cables and tightening mechanisms must be incorporated and controlled separately.

[0007] Thus, known automated tightening systems lack suitable provisions for both quickly and variably adjusting the tension of cables to close an upper around a foot and do not allow a wearer to quickly release the tension applied to the cables so that the upper can be quickly loosened for removing the footwear from the foot. Moreover, the tightening mechanism employed by these known automated tightening systems is required to be incorporated onto an exterior of the upper so that the tightening mechanism is accessible to the wearer for adjusting the fit of the upper around the foot, thereby detracting from the general appearance and aesthetics of the footwear.

DRAWINGS

[0008] The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected configurations and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

[0009] FIG. 1 A is a top perspective view of an article of footwear including a tensioning system in accordance with principles of the present disclosure, where the tensioning system is shown in a loosened state;

[0010] FIG. IB is a top perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 1A, where the tensioning system is shown in a tightened state;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a lateral-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 1A;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a medial-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 1A;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the article of footwear of FIG. 1 A; [0014] FIG. 5 A is a top perspective view of an article of footwear including a tensioning system in accordance with principles of the present disclosure, where the tensioning system is shown in a loosened state;

[0015] FIG. 5B is a top perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 5A, where the tensioning system is shown in a tightened state;

[0016] FIG. 6 is a lateral-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 5 A;

[0017] FIG. 7 is a medial-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 5 A;

[0018] FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the article of footwear of FIG. 5 A;

[0019] FIG. 9A is a top perspective view of an article of footwear including a tensioning system in accordance with principles of the present disclosure, where the tensioning system is shown in a loosened state;

[0020] FIG. 9B is a top perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 9A, where the tensioning system is shown in a tightened state;

[0021] FIG. 10 is a lateral-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 9A;

[0022] FIG. 11 is a medial-side perspective view of the article of footwear of FIG. 9A;

[0023] FIG. 12 is a bottom plan view of the article of footwear of FIG. 9A;

[0024] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an example of a tensioning device according to the principles of the present disclosure;

[0025] FIG. 14 is an exploded view of the tensioning device of FIG. 13;

[0026] FIG. 15 is a top view of the tensioning device of FIG. 13, showing a housing having a lid removed to expose a locking member slidably disposed within the housing when the locking member is in a locked position;

[0027] FIG. 16 is a top view of the locking device of FIG. 13, showing a housing having a lid removed to expose a locking member slidably disposed within the housing when the locking member is in an unlocked position;

[0028] FIG. 17 is an exploded view of a tensioning device in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

[0029] FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the tensioning device of FIG. 17;

[0030] FIG. 19 is a top view of the tensioning device of FIG. 17, where internal components of the tensioning device are hidden to show a construction of a housing of the tensioning device; [0031] FIG. 20 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the tensioning device of FIG. 17, showing the tensioning device in a locked position;

[0032] FIG. 21 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the tensioning device of FIG. 17, showing the tensioning device in an unlocked position;

[0033] FIG. 22 is a schematic view of components of a motorized lacing system for an article of footwear according to the principles of the present disclosure;

[0034] FIG. 23 is an exploded view of an example of a lacing engine of the motorized lacing system of FIG. 22;

[0035] FIGS. 24 A and 24B are perspective view of another example of a lacing engine of the motorized lacing system of FIG. 22;

[0036] FIG. 25A is a perspective view of another example of a lacing engine of the motorized lacing system of FIG. 22;

[0037] FIG. 25B is a top plan view of the lacing engine of FIG. 25 A; and

[0038] FIG. 26 is an exploded view of components of a motorized lacing system incorporated into a sole structure of article of footwear according the principles of the present disclosure.

[0039] Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0040] Example configurations will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings. Example configurations are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough, and will fully convey the scope of the disclosure to those of ordinary skill in the art. Specific details are set forth such as examples of specific components, devices, and methods, to provide a thorough understanding of configurations of the present disclosure. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that specific details need not be employed, that example configurations may be embodied in many different forms, and that the specific details and the example configurations should not be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure.

[0041] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular exemplary configurations only and is not intended to be limiting. As used herein, the singular articles “a,” “an,” and “the” may be intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The terms “comprises,” “comprising,” “including,” and “having,” are inclusive and therefore specify the presence of features, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. The method steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order of performance. Additional or alternative steps may be employed.

[0042] When an element or layer is referred to as being “on,” “engaged to,” “connected to,” “attached to,” or “coupled to” another element or layer, it may be directly on, engaged, connected, attached, or coupled to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being “directly on,” “directly engaged to,” “directly connected to,” “directly attached to,” or “directly coupled to” another element or layer, there may be no intervening elements or layers present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., “between” versus “directly between,” “adjacent” versus “directly adjacent,” etc.). As used herein, the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

[0043] The terms first, second, third, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections. These elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections should not be limited by these terms. These terms may be only used to distinguish one element, component, region, layer or section from another region, layer or section. Terms such as “first,” “second,” and other numerical terms do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context. Thus, a first element, component, region, layer or section discussed below could be termed a second element, component, region, layer or section without departing from the teachings of the example configurations.

[0044] Referring to FIGS. 1-4, an example of an article of footwear 10 including a system providing for variable tension is disclosed. In some implementations, the article of footwear 10 includes an upper 100 and a sole structure 200 attached to the upper 100. The article of footwear 10 further includes a tensioning system 300 and a tensioning device 400 each integrated into at least one of the upper 100 and the sole structure 200. The tensioning system 300 includes a cable 302 and a series of cable routing elements 304, 306, 308 configured to manage the tension of the upper 100. The upper 100, the tensioning system 300, and the tensioning device 400 cooperate to move the article of footwear 10 between a relaxed state and a tightened state. Particularly, the cable 302 is movable in a tightening direction D T to move the article of footwear 10 into the tightened state. In some implementations, the upper 100 and the sole structure 200 cooperate to provide passages and guides for routing portions of the cable 302 through the tensioning device 400. The tensioning device 400 is configured to selectively move and secure the cable 302 in the tightened state.

[0045] The article of footwear 10, and components thereof, may be described as including an anterior end 12 associated with a forward-most point of the footwear 10, and a posterior end 14 corresponding to a rearward-most point of the footwear 10. As shown in the bottom view of FIG. 4, a longitudinal axis Aio of the footwear 10 extends along a length of the footwear 10 from the anterior end 12 to the posterior end 14, and generally divides the footwear 10 into a lateral side 16 and a medial side 18. Accordingly, the lateral side 16 and the medial side 18 respectively correspond with opposite sides of the footwear 10 and extend from the anterior end 12 to the posterior end 14.

[0046] The article of footwear 10 may be divided into one or more regions along the longitudinal axis Aio. The regions may include a forefoot region 20, a mid-foot region 22, and a heel region 24. The forefoot region 20 may correspond with toes and joints connecting metatarsal bones with phalanx bones of a foot. The mid-foot region 22 may correspond with an arch area of the foot, and the heel region 24 may correspond with rear regions of the foot, including a calcaneus bone. [0047] The upper 100 forms an enclosure having a plurality of components that cooperate to define an interior void 102 and an ankle opening 104, which cooperate to receive and secure a foot for support on the sole structure 200. For example, the upper 100 includes a pair of quarter panels 106 in the mid-foot region 22 on opposite sides of the interior void 102. A throat 108 extends across the top of the upper 100 and defines an instep region extending between the quarter panels 106 from the ankle opening 104 to the forefoot region 20. In the illustrated example, the throat 108 is enclosed with a material panel extending between the opposing quarter panels in the instep region to cover the interior void 102. Here, the material panel covering the throat 108 may be formed of a material having a higher modulus of elasticity than the material forming the quarter panels 106.

[0048] The upper 100 of the article of footwear 10 may be further described as including heel side panels 110 extending through the heel region 24 along the lateral and medial sides 16, 18 of the ankle opening 104. A heel counter 112 wraps around the posterior end 14 of the footwear 10 and connects the heel side panels 110. Uppermost edges of the throat 108, the heel side panels 110, and the heel counter 112 cooperate to form a collar 114, which defines the ankle opening 104 of the interior void 102.

[0049] The upper 100 may be formed from one or more materials that are stitched or adhesively bonded together to define the interior void 102. Suitable materials of the upper 100 may include, but are not limited to, textiles, foam, leather, and synthetic leather. The example upper 100 may be formed from a combination of one or more substantially inelastic or non-stretchable materials and one or more substantially elastic or stretchable materials disposed in different regions of the upper 100 to facilitate movement of the article of footwear 10 between the tightened state and the loosened state. The one or more elastic materials may include any combination of one or more elastic fabrics such as, without limitation, spandex, elastane, rubber or neoprene. The one or more inelastic materials may include any combination of one or more of thermoplastic polyurethanes, nylon, leather, vinyl, or another material/fabric that does not impart properties of elasticity.

[0050] As provided above, the sole structure 200 is attached to the upper 100 and defines a ground-engaging surface 26 of the footwear 10. The sole structure 200 includes a top surface 202 and a bottom surface 204 formed on an opposite side of the sole structure 200 from the top surface 202. The bottom surface 204 of the sole structure 200 may define the ground-engaging surface 26 of the footwear 10. The sole structure 200 further includes a peripheral side surface 206 extending between the top surface 202 and the bottom surface 204, such that the peripheral side surface 206 defines an outer perimeter of the sole structure 200. The sole structure 200 extends continuously from a first end 208 at the anterior end 12 of the footwear 10 to a second end 210 at the posterior end 14 of the footwear 10.

[0051] The sole structure 200 may also include one or more engagement features 212 formed on the peripheral side surface 206. In the illustrated example, the sole structure 200 includes an arcuate lip 212 extending from the second end 210 of the sole structure 200. Here, the lip 212 extends along an arcuate path and forms a concave upper surface configured to receive an anterior end 12 of another one of the articles of footwear 10. Thus, the anterior end 12 of a first article of footwear 10 can be engaged with the lip 212 of a second article of footwear 10 to facilitate removal of the second article of footwear 10. Particularly, the posterior end 14 of the second article of footwear 10 may be held down at the lip 212 so that a user can step out of the article of footwear 10. Alternatively, a bare foot or hand of the wearer may be used to pull the article of footwear 10 from the foot using the lip 212. [0052] As referred to throughout the application and the accompanying claims, the sole structure 200 and the upper 100 define a ‘bite line’ 28 where the peripheral side surface 206 and the upper 100 intersect when the footwear 10 is assembled. The bite line 28 can extend along the footwear 10 entirely from the first end 208 to the second end 210 on either or both of the lateral side and the medial side, and can also extend around the first end 208, the second end 210, or both. [0053] The sole structure 200 is configured to receive the tensioning device 400 and a portion of the tensioning system 300, and may include one or more cavities or conduits formed therein. In the illustrated example, the sole structure 200 includes an aperture or cavity 214 formed between the top surface 202 and the bottom surface 204. The cavity 214 is configured to receive the tensioning device 400 within the sole structure 200. In some examples, the tensioning device 400 may be encapsulated within the sole structure 200.

[0054] As introduced above, a pair of interweaved straps 116, 118 may be attached to the upper 100, which are operable for moving the upper 100 between a relaxed or loosened state (FIGS. 1 A 5 A), and a constricted or tightened state (FIGS. IB and 5B). While described here as being part of the upper 100, the straps 116, 118 may also be described as being included in the tensioning system 300, described below. For instance, the straps 116, 118 cooperate with the cable 302 of the tensioning system 300 to move the article of footwear 10 between the constricted or tightened state and the relaxed state.

[0055] Each of the straps 116, 118 extends across the throat 108 of the upper 100. As described in greater detail below, each of the straps 116, 118 is connected to a respective tensioning strand 316, 318 of a tensioning element 312 of a cable 302, which cooperate with each other via the tensioning device 400 to selectively transition the upper 100 between the tightened state and the relaxed state. The cable 302 is routed from the tensioning device 400 in the sole structure 200 to the straps 116, 118 through a plurality of guides 304 and loops 306. In some examples, the tensioning system 300 may include a heel strap 308 extending around the posterior end 14 of the upper 100 and including one or more of the guides 304 or loops 306 for routing the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312.

[0056] With reference to FIGS. 1-3, the straps 116, 118 of the footwear 10 include a first strap 116 extending over the throat 108 from the lateral side 16 of the upper 100, and second strap 118 extending over the throat 108 from the medial side 18 of the upper 100. Particularly, the first strap 116 extends over the throat 108 from a fixed end 122 attached to the article of footwear 10 on the lateral side 16 to a free end 124 on the medial side 18 of the upper 100. Similarly, the second strap 118 extends over the throat 108 from a fixed end 122 attached to the article of footwear 10 on the medial side 18 to a free end 126 on the lateral side 16 of the upper 100. In the illustrated example, each of the fixed ends 120, 122 is attached to the article of footwear 10 at the bite line 28 formed between the upper 100 and the sole structure 200. Thus, the straps 116, 118 cooperate to completely encompass the upper 100 in the mid-foot region 22.

[0057] As shown, each of the straps 116, 118 is flared in a direction from the free end 124, 126 to the fixed end 120, 122, such that a width Wii 6 , W s of each strap 116, 118 increases along a direction from the free end 124, 126 to the fixed end 120, 122. In other words, the straps 116, 118 may be described as tapering along the direction from the fixed end 120, 122 to the free end 124, 126. The fixed end 120, 122 of each strap 116, 118 is positioned closer to the anterior end 12 than the respective free end 124, 126 of the strap 116, 118. Thus, each strap 116, 118 may be described as extending at an oblique angle relative to the longitudinal axis Aio of the article of footwear 10. As shown, this arrangement results in the straps 116, 118 intersecting and overlapping each other across the throat 108 to form an X-shaped closure over the upper 100.

[0058] Each of the straps 116, 118 includes a plurality of bands 128a-128d extending in parallel (i.e., not intersecting) along a direction from the free end 124, 126 to the fixed end 120, 122. In the illustrated example, each band 128a-128d extends from a first end 132a-132d at the fixed end 120, 122 of the strap 116, 118 to a second end 134a-134d at the free end 124, 126 of the strap 116, 118. Here, the first ends 132a-132d of the bands 128a-128d are individually attached at the bite line 28 and collectively form the fixed end 120, 122 of each strap 116, 118. Thus, the bands 128a- 128d are separated from each other at the fixed ends 120, 122. Conversely, the second ends 134a- 134d of the bands 128a-128d are connected to each other at the free end 124, 126 of each strap 116, 118. Adjacent ones of the bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 define slots 130a-130c that extend continuously from the first ends 132a-132d to the second ends 134a-134d.

[0059] As shown, the free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118 may include a header 136 attaching the second ends 134a-134d of the bands 128a-128d together. In the illustrated example, the header 136 and the bands 128a-128d are integrally formed of the same piece of material. However, in other examples, the header 136 may be a separate component to which the second ends 134a-134d are attached. In some instances, the header 136 may be formed of a different material than the bands 128a-128d. For example, the header 136 may be formed of a rigid material, such as a plastic, a composite, or a metal. As described in greater detail below, the header 136 serves as a connection interface between the plurality of bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 and a respective one the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312.

[0060] In the illustrated example, each of the straps 116, 118 includes four of the bands 128a- 128d extending in parallel. For the sake of clarity, the bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 will be described as a first band 128a closest to the anterior end 12, a second band 128b, a third band 128c, and a fourth band 128d arranged in series from the first band 128a. However, more or less of the bands 128a-128d may be included on each of the straps 116, 118. For instance, each of the straps 116, 118 could include two of the bands 128a, 128b.

[0061] As set forth above, the straps 116, 118 may be described as being a first strap 116 extending from the lateral side 16 and a second strap 118 extending from the medial side 18. Generally, when the article of footwear 10 is assembled, at least one of the bands 128a-128d of the first strap 116 includes a first portion that overlaps at least one of the bands 128a-128d of the second strap 118 and a second portion that is overlapped by at least one of the other bands 128a- 128d of the second strap 118. Likewise, at least one of the bands 128a-128d of the second strap 118 includes a first portion that overlaps at least one of the bands 128a-128d of the first strap 116 and a second portion that is overlapped by at least one of the other bands 128a-128d of the first strap 116. Accordingly, the bands 128a-128d of the straps 116, 118 are configured in a weaved configuration.

[0062] In the illustrated example, each of the bands 128a-128d of the first strap 116 is routed beneath one or more of the bands 128a-128d of the second strap 118. Generally, each of the bands 128a-128d of the first strap 116 is routed beneath the bands 128a-128d of the second strap that correspond with and precede the respective band 128a-128d of the first strap 128a-128d. For example, the first band 128a of the first strap 116 is routed beneath the first band 128a of the second strap 118 and above the subsequent bands 128b-128d of the second strap 118. The second band 128b of the first strap 116 is routed beneath the first and second bands 128a, 128b and above the subsequent bands 128c, 128d of the second strap 118. The third band 128c of the first strap 116c is routed beneath the first three bands 128a- 128c and above the fourth band 128d. The fourth band 128d of the first strap 116 is routed beneath all four of the bands 128a-128d of the second strap 118. [0063] Alternatively, the routing of the bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 may be described with respect to the slots 130a-130c of the other strap 116, 118. For example, the first band 128a of the first strap 116 is routed through the first slot 130a of the second strap 118, while the second band 128b is routed through the second slot 130b and the third band 128c is routed through the third slot 130c. While the illustrated example shows the first strap 116 on the lateral side 16 and the second strap 118 on the medial side 18, the arrangement of the straps 116, 118 could be swapped such that the first strap 116 is on the medial side 18 and the second strap 118 is on the lateral side 16. Additionally, while the straps 116, 118 are described and shown as being interwoven, the straps 116, 118 could alternatively be layered such that one of the straps 116, 118 extends completely over the other strap 116, 118.

[0064] Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the tensioning system 300 includes the cable 302 and a plurality of cable routing elements 304, 306, 308 configured to route the cable 302 through the sole structure 200 and along the upper 100. Here, the tensioning system 300 includes one or more cable guides 304 or loops 306 attached to the upper 100 for routing the cable 302 and distributing a tension of the cable 302 along the upper 100. A heel strap 308 extends around the heel counter 112 and includes one or more of the cable guides 304 or loops 306.

[0065] The cable 302 may be highly lubricous and/or may be formed from one or more fibers having a low modulus of elasticity and a high tensile strength. For instance, the fibers may include high modulus polyethylene fibers having a high strength-to-weight ratio and a low elasticity. Additionally or alternatively, the cable 302 may be formed from a molded monofilament polymer and/or a woven steel with or without other lubrication coating. In some examples, the cable 302 includes multiple strands of material woven together.

[0066] With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the cable 302 includes a tensioning element 312 that cooperates with the cable routing elements 304, 306, 308 and the tensioning device 400 to move the article of footwear 10 between the tightened state and the relaxed state. The tensioning element 312 is movable in a tightening direction DT to move the article of footwear 10 into the tightened state, and in a loosening direction DL to allow the article of footwear 10 to transition to a relaxed state. In the illustrated example, the tightening force FT may be applied to the tensioning element 312 by a tensioning device 400 disposed in the sole structure.

[0067] As best shown in FIGS. 1-4, the tensioning element 312 may be described as including a lateral tensioning strand 316 and a medial tensioning strand 318. With reference to FIG. 2, the lateral tensioning strand 316 of the tensioning element 312 extends from a first end 324 at the tensioning device 400 and is routed along the lateral side 16 of the upper 100, through the heel strap 308, and to a second end 326 attached to the free end 124 of the second strap 118. Referring to FIG. 3, the medial tensioning strand 318 of the tensioning element 312 extends from a first end 328 at the tensioning device 400 and is routed along the medial side 18 of the upper 100, through the heel strap 308, and to a second end 330 attached to the free end 126 of the second strap 118. [0068] In some examples, the tensioning system 300 may include one or more cable guides 304. The cable guides 304 may be formed of a rigid, low-friction material (e.g., high density polyethylene, etc.) and have an arcuate inner surface for receiving the tensioning element 312. In some examples, the inner (i.e., cable contacting) surfaces of the cable guides 304 are lined or coated with a low friction material, such as a lubricous polymer (e.g., polytetrafluoroethylene, etc.), that facilitates movement of the tensioning element 312 therein. By coating the cable guides 304 with a low friction material, the number of turns taken by each lacing pattern can be increased without incurring a detrimentally high (e.g., function impairing) level of friction throughout the cable path.

[0069] In addition, or as an alternative to the rigid cable guides 304, the tensioning system may include fabric loops 306 attached to various points of the upper 100 for routing the tensioning element along the exterior of the upper 100. The loops 306 can be formed of a mesh or fabric material, and define a passage for slidably receiving the tensioning element 312 therethrough. In the illustrated example, the tensioning system 300 includes one of the loops 306 disposed on each of the lateral and medial heel side panels 110.

[0070] The tensioning system 300 further includes the heel strap 308 extending around the heel counter 112 of the upper 100. As shown, the heel strap 308 includes a central portion 342 attached to the upper 100 at the posterior end 14, and a pair of ends 344 extending in opposite directions from the central portion 342 and around the heel counter 112. Accordingly, a first one of the ends 344 is disposed at the lateral side 16 of the heel counter 112 and a second one of the ends 344 is disposed at the medial side 18 of the heel counter 112. Each end 344 of the heel strap 308 includes one of the cable guides 304 for routing one of the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 therethrough.

[0071] Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the routing of the tensioning element 312 along each of the lateral and medial sides 16, 18 is shown. Generally, each of the lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 is routed from the tensioning device 400 in the sole structure 200 and along one of the lateral or medial sides 16, 18 to one of the headers 136 of a respective one of the straps 116, 118. In some instances, the lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 may be connected to each other within the tensioning device 400.

[0072] As shown in FIG. 2, on the lateral side 16 of the article of footwear 10, the lateral tensioning strand 316 includes a first end 324 received by the tensioning device 400 and a second end 326 attached to the free end 126 of the second strap 118. Here, the lateral tensioning strand 316 is routed through the sole structure 200 from the tensioning device 400 to a portion of the bite line 28 in the heel region 24 on the lateral side 16. A first segment of the lateral tensioning strand 316 extends along the lateral side panel 110 from the bite line 28 to the cable guide 304 attached to the lateral end 344 of the heel strap 308. Here, the lateral tensioning strand 316 is routed through the cable guide 304 such that a second segment of the lateral tensioning strand 316 returns along the lateral side panel 110 and attaches to the free end 126 of the second strap 118. Accordingly, the lateral tensioning strand 316 is configured to control a tension of the second strap 118 across the upper 100.

[0073] As shown in FIG. 3, on the medial side 18 of the article of footwear 10, the medial tensioning strand 318 includes a first end 328 received by the tensioning device 400 and a second end 330 attached to the free end 124 of the first strap 116. Here, the medial tensioning strand 318 is routed through the sole structure 200 from the tensioning device 400 to a portion of the bite line 28 in the heel region 24 on the medial side 18. A first segment of the medial tensioning strand 318 extends along the medial heel side panel 110 from the bite line 28 to the cable guide 304 attached to the medial end 344 of the heel strap 308. Here, the medial tensioning strand 318 is routed through the cable guide 304 such that a second segment of the medial tensioning strand 318 returns along the medial heel side panel 110 and attaches to the free end 124 of the first strap 116. Accordingly, the medial tensioning strand 318 is configured to control a tension of the first strap 116 across the upper 100.

[0074] In the illustrated example, the tensioning device 400 may be a motorized lacing system, whereby the tensioning element 312 is moved in the loosening direction D L and the tightening direction D r by extending and retracting the tensioning element 312 from the tensioning device 400. Accordingly, the tensioning device 400 may include a motorized spool for simultaneously winding and unwinding each of the lateral tensioning strand 316 and the medial tensioning strand 318. With reference to FIG. 1 A, the article of footwear 10 is shown in a loosened state, where the straps 116, 118 are in a slacked state over the upper 100 to allow the upper 100 to stretch around the foot of the wearer.

[0075] Referring to FIG. IB, the article of footwear 10 is moved to a tightened state by retracting the tensioning element 312 into the tensioning device 400, thereby causing the tensioning strands 316, 318 to move in the tightening direction D T . AS each tensioning strand 316, 318 moves in the tightening direction, the tightening force F T in each tensioning strand 316, 318 causes the free end 126, 124 of a respective one of the straps 118, 116 to be pulled towards the bite line 28, thereby moving the upper 100 to a constricted or tightened state. As the straps 116, 118 are drawn over the throat 108 and towards the bite line 28, the respective bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 pass through the corresponding slots 130a-130c formed through the other one of the straps 116, 118, as discussed above. This interweaved relationship between the bands 128a-128d of the straps 116, 118 provides an enhanced frictional interface between the straps 116, 118, which maintains the straps in the tightened position during use.

[0076] To move the upper 100 and the article of footwear 10 back to the loosened or relaxed state, the tensioning device 400 operates in an opposite direction to unwind or extend the tensioning strands 316, 318 from the tensioning device 400. Thus, the tensioning strands 316, 318 are allowed to move in the loosening direction D L along the upper 100 such that the free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118 can move away from the bite line 28 and the throat 108 can expand. [0077] With particular reference to FIGS. 5A-8, an article of footwear 10a is provided and includes the upper 100, a sole structure 200a, and a tensioning system 300a configured to work with an unpowered or manual tensioning device 400a, 400b. In view of the substantial similarity in structure and function of the components associated with the article of footwear 10 with respect to the article of footwear 10a, like reference numerals are used hereinafter and in the drawings to identify like components while like reference numerals containing letter extensions are used to identify those components that have been modified.

[0078] Referring to FIGS. 5 A-8, the tensioning system 300a includes a cable 302a and a plurality of cable routing elements 304, 306, 308, 310 configured to route the cable 302a through the sole structure 200a and along the upper 100. In addition to the cable guides 304, loops 306, and heel strap 308 discussed above with respect to the tensioning system 300, the tensioning system 300a may include one or more sheaths 310 for managing slack in the cable 302a. As discussed below, the sheath 310 maintains the cable 302a in a retracted state against the upper 100 when the upper 100 is in the tightened state (FIG. 5B).

[0079] With reference to FIGS. 5A-8, the cable 302a includes the tensioning element 312 and a control element 314 that cooperate with the cable routing elements 304, 306, 308, 310 and the tensioning device 400a, 400b to move the article of footwear 10a between the tightened state and the relaxed state. Here, the tensioning element 312 and the control element 314 may be collectively referred to as adjustment elements 312, 314. The adjustment elements 312, 314 are movable in a tightening direction DT to move the article of footwear 10a into the tightened state, and in a loosening direction DL to allow the article of footwear 10a to transition to a relaxed state. In some examples, a tightening force FT applied to the control element 314 is transmitted to at least a portion of the tensioning element 312 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b to move the tensioning element 312 in the tightening direction DT.

[0080] As best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the tensioning element 312 and the control element 314 may be described as including lateral strands 316, 320 and medial tensioning strands 318, 322. Thus, in addition to the lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312, described above, the control element 314 also includes a lateral control strand 320 and a medial control strand 322. In the illustrated example, the lateral tensioning strand 316 of the tensioning element 312 is connected to the lateral control strand 320 of the control element 314 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b, as shown in FIG. 8. Similarly, the medial tensioning strand 318 of the tensioning element 312 is connected to the medial control strand 322 of the control element 314 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b, as shown in FIG. 8. Accordingly, positions of the lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 may be adjusted by moving a respective one of the lateral and medial control strands 320, 322 of the control element 314.

[0081] As described above and shown in FIG. 6, the lateral control strand 320 of the control element 314 is connected to the lateral tensioning strand 316 of the tensioning element 312 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b, and extends from a first end 332 at the tensioning device 400a, 400b to a second end 334 along the upper 100. Likewise, as shown in FIG. 7, the medial control strand 322 of the control element 314 is connected to the medial tensioning strand 318 of the tensioning element 312 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b, and extends from a first end 336 at the tensioning device 400a, 400b to a second end 338 along the upper 100. Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the second end 334 of the lateral control strand 320 may be connected to the second end 338 of the medial control strand 322, such that the lateral control strand 320 and the medial control strand 322 form a continuous strand extending over the throat 108 of the upper 100. In other examples, the second ends 334, 338 of the lateral control strand 320 and the medial control strand 322 may be indirectly connected to each other by an intermediate connecting element (not shown).

[0082] A portion of the control element 314 that extends around the upper 100 may be enclosed within one or more of the sheaths 310. Each sheath 310 may be formed from a material and/or a weave that allows the sheath 310 and the control element 314 to move from a relaxed state to a stretched or expanded state when the control element 314 is moved in a direction away from the upper 100 by way of the tightening force F T (i.e., when the control element 314 is moved in the tightening direction D T ). When the tightening force F T is removed, the material and/or weave of the sheath 310 automatically causes the sheath 310 to contract to the relaxed state and accommodate bunching of the control element 314 therein, as shown in FIG. 5B. As shown, the control element 314 is routed through the sheath 310 and over the throat 108 of the upper 100, adjacent to an anterior side of the ankle opening 104. Accordingly, the control element 314 extends across the upper 100 in front of the ankle of the wearer.

[0083] With continued reference to FIG. 6, the sheath 310 and the lateral control strand 320 of the control element 314 are routed up through the lateral quarter panel 106 and exit the lateral quarter panel 106 to extend over an exterior of the upper 100 across the throat 108. Similarly, the medial control strand 322 of the control element 314 and the sheath 310 are routed in a similar manner from the medial quarter panel 106 to the throat 108 of the upper 100, whereby the second ends 334, 338 of the lateral control strand 320 and the medial control strand 322 are attached to each other, directly or indirectly, to form a continuous control element 314 extending over the throat 108 of the upper 100.

[0084] In the example shown, a separate tightening grip 340 may operatively connect to the sheath 310 at an attachment location proximate to the throat 108 to allow a user to apply the tightening force F T to pull the control element 314 away from the upper 100, thereby causing each of the control element 314 and the tensioning element 312 to move in the tightening direction D T . Other configurations may include operatively connecting one or more tightening grips 340 to other portions of the sheath 310 along the length of the control element 314. In some implementations, the tightening grip 340 is omitted and the sheath 310 is gripped directly by the user.

[0085] As discussed above with respect to the article of footwear 10 and tensioning system 300 of FIGS. 1 A-4, the upper 100 is moveable between a relaxed state and a tightened state by adjusting a position of the straps 116, 118 by applying or releasing a tightening force FT to the respective free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118. In the example of FIGS. 5A-8, the upper 100 is also moveable between the relaxed state and the tightened state by selectively applying and releasing the tightening force FT to the tensioning element 312. However, unlike the previous example, where the tensioning force FT was applied by the tensioning device 400, the example of FIGS. 5A- 8 includes a manual tensioning system 300a, where the tightening force FT can be applied to the tensioning element 312 by the user.

[0086] As shown, the cable 302a of the tensioning system 300a can be moved in the tightening direction D T by applying a tightening force F T to the control element 314. For instance, a user may apply the tightening force F T to the control element 314 by pulling the tightening grip 340 and the sheath 310 away from the upper 100, thereby moving the control element 314 in the tightening direction DT. Here, the tightening force FT is applied to each of the control strands 320, 322 and is transmitted to respective ones of the tensioning strands 316, 318 through the tensioning device 400a, 400b. The tightening force FT pulls the tensioning strands 316, 318 in the tightening direction to draw the free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118 across the throat 108 and towards the bite lines 28.

[0087] As discussed above, the locking device or tensioning device 400a, 400b may be disposed within the cavity of the sole structure 200, and may be biased to a locked state to restrict movement of the adjustment elements 312, 314 in their respective loosening directions DL. The tensioning element 312 and the control element 314 each approach and pass through a housing 402 of the tensioning device 400a, 400b from opposite directions. In some configurations, the tensioning device 400a, 400b permits movement of the adjustment elements 312, 314 in the tightening directions DT while in the locked state. The release mechanism 404 may transition the tensioning device 400a, 400b from the locked state to an unlocked state to thereby permit the adjustment elements 312, 314 to move in both directions DT, DF.

[0088] The release mechanism 404 is operable to transition the tensioning device 400a from a locked state to an unlocked state to permit the adjustment elements 312, 314 to move in both directions DT, DF. For instance, the release mechanism 404 may include a release cord or cable 404 operable to transition the tensioning device 400a, 400b from the locked state to the unlocked state when the release cord 404 is pulled. The release cord 404 may extend from a first end 406 attached to the tensioning device 400a, 400b to a distal end 408 secured at the posterior end 14 of the upper 100, thereby permitting a user to grip and pull the release cord 404 for moving the tensioning device 400a, 400b from the locked state to the unlocked state.

[0089] In some examples, the release cord 404 includes a release grip 410, such as a loop or sheath, located remotely from the tensioning device 400a to allow a user to grip and pull the release cord 404 when it is desirable to move the tensioning device 400a, 400b into the unlocked state and/or release the tensioning device 400a, 400b from the unlocked state. FIGS. 6 and 7 show the release grip 410 formed at the posterior end of the ankle opening 104, where the release cord 404 extends from the sole structure 200 and along the heel counter 112.

[0090] With particular reference to FIGS. 9A-12, an article of footwear 10b is provided and includes an upper 100b, a sole structure 200b, and a tensioning system 300b configured to work with the tensioning device 400. In view of the substantial similarity in structure and function of the components associated with the article of footwear 10 with respect to the article of footwear 10b, like reference numerals are used hereinafter and in the drawings to identify like components while like reference numerals containing letter extensions are used to identify those components that have been modified.

[0091] The upper 100b forms an enclosure having a plurality of components that cooperate to define an interior void 102 and an ankle opening 104, which cooperate to receive and secure a foot for support on the sole structure 200b. For example, the upper 100b includes a pair of quarter panels 106b in the mid-foot region 22 on opposite sides of the interior void 102. A throat 108b extends across the top of the upper 100b and defines an instep region extending between the quarter panels 106b from the ankle opening 104 to the forefoot region 20. In the illustrated example, the throat 108b is enclosed by an adjustable tongue extending between the opposing quarter panels 106b in the instep region to cover the interior void 102. Here, the material panel covering the throat 108b may be formed of a material having a higher modulus of elasticity than the material forming the quarter panels 106.

[0092] The upper 100b of the article of footwear 10b may be further described as including heel side panels 110b extending through the heel region 24 along the lateral and medial sides 16, 18 of the ankle opening 104. A heel counter 112b wraps around the posterior end 14 of the footwear 10b and connects the heel side panels 110b. Uppermost edges of the throat 108b, the heel side panels 110b, and the heel counter 112b cooperate to form a collar 114b, which defines the ankle opening 104 of the interior void 102. Optionally, the heel counter 112b may include a plurality of flexions 138 defining a collapsible accordion or bellows structure 140 along the heel counter 112b. In use, the heel counter 112b is operable to collapse along the bellows structure 140 to temporarily adjust the size and orientation of the ankle opening 104 for receiving the foot of the user.

[0093] As provided above, the sole structure 200b is attached to the upper 100b and defines a ground-engaging surface 26 of the footwear 10b. The sole structure 200b includes a top surface 202b and a bottom surface 204b formed on an opposite side of the sole structure 200b from the top surface 202b. The bottom surface 204b of the sole structure 200b may define the ground- engaging surface 26 of the footwear 10b. The sole structure 200b further includes a peripheral side surface 206b extending between the top surface 202b and the bottom surface 204b, such that the peripheral side surface 206b defines an outer perimeter of the sole structure 200b. The sole structure 200b extends continuously from a first end 208b at the anterior end 12 of the footwear 10b to a second end 210b at the posterior end 14 of the footwear 10b.

[0094] The sole structure 200b may also include one or more engagement features 212b formed on the peripheral side surface 206. In the illustrated example, the sole structure 200b includes an arcuate lip 212 extending from the second end 210b of the sole structure 200b. Here, the lip 212b extends along an arcuate path and forms a concave upper surface configured to receive an anterior end 12 of another one of the articles of footwear 10b. Thus, the anterior end 12 of a first article of footwear 10b can be engaged with the lip 212b of a second article of footwear 10b to facilitate removal of the second article of footwear 10b. Particularly, the posterior end 14 of the second article of footwear 10b may be held down at the lip 212b so that a user can step out of the article of footwear 10b. Alternatively, a bare foot or hand of the wearer may be used to pull the article of footwear 10b from the foot using the lip 212b.

[0095] As referred to throughout the application and the accompanying claims, the sole structure 200b and the upper 100b define a ‘bite line’ 28 where the peripheral side surface 206 and the upper 100b intersect when the footwear 10b is assembled. The bite line 28 can extend along the footwear 10b entirely from the first end 208b to the second end 210b on either or both of the lateral side 16 and the medial side 18, and can also extend around the first end 208b, the second end 210b, or both.

[0096] The sole structure 200b is configured to receive the tensioning device 400 and a portion of the tensioning system 300b, and may include one or more cavities or conduits formed therein. In the illustrated example, the sole structure 200b includes an aperture or cavity 214b formed between the top surface 202b and the bottom surface 204b. The cavity 214 is configured to receive the tensioning device 400 within the sole structure 200b. In some examples, the tensioning device 400 may be encapsulated within the sole structure 200b.

[0097] As discussed previously with respect to the article of footwear 10, the upper 100 includes a pair of interweaved straps 116b, 118b that may be attached to the upper 100b, which are operable for moving the upper 100b between a relaxed or loosened state (FIG. 9A), and a constricted or tightened state (FIG. 9B). While described here as being part of the upper 100b, the straps 116b, 118b may also be described as being included in the tensioning system 300b, described below. For instance, the straps 116b, 118b cooperate with the cable 302 of the tensioning system 300b to move the article of footwear 10b between the constricted or tightened state and the relaxed state. [0098] The straps 116b, 118b of the upper 100b are substantially similar to the straps 116, 118 discussed previously, except that the straps 116b, 118b each include a fifth band 128e extending from a first end 132e attached to a side of the throat 108b to a second end 134e at the respective free end 124, 126 of the strap 118b, 118b. Thus, the first four bands 128a-128d of each strap 116b, 118b attach at the bite line 28 and extend over the entire upper 100b while the fifth bands 128e only extend over the throat 108b. When the upper 100b is moved from relaxed state (FIG. 9A) to the tightened state (FIG 9B), the fifth bands 128e tighten the portion of the throat 108b adjacent to the ankle opening 104.

[0099] Referring to FIGS. 9A-12, the tensioning system 300b includes the cable 302 and a plurality of cable routing elements 304b, 306b, 308b configured to route the cable 302 through the sole structure 200b and along the upper 100b. Here, the tensioning system 300b includes one or more cable guides 304b, 306b attached to the upper 100b for routing the cable 302 and distributing a tension of the cable 302 along the upper 100b. The upper 100b also includes a conduit 308b attached to each of the heel side panels 110b, which provides a routing pathway for the cable 302 from an exterior of the upper 100b to an interior of the sole structure 200. [0100] With reference to FIGS. 9A-12, the cable 302 includes the tensioning element 312 that cooperates with the cable routing elements 304b, 306b, 308b and the tensioning device 400 to move the article of footwear 10b between the tightened state and the relaxed state. The tensioning element 312 is movable in a tightening direction DT to move the article of footwear 10b into the tightened state, and in a loosening direction DL to allow the article of footwear 10b to transition to a relaxed state. In the illustrated example, the tightening force FT may be applied to the tensioning element 312 by a tensioning device 400 disposed in the sole structure.

[0101] The tensioning element 312 may be described as including the lateral tensioning strand 316 and the medial tensioning strand 318. With reference to FIG. 10, the lateral tensioning strand 316 of the tensioning element 312 extends from a first end 324 at the tensioning device 400 and is routed to an exterior of the upper 100b through the conduit 308b along the lateral heel side panel 110b. From the conduit 308b, the lateral tensioning strand 316 is routed to an arcuate cable guide 306b on the lateral side of the heel counter 112b, around an arcuate cable guide 304b attached to the header 136 of the medial forefoot strap 118, and then to a second end 326 anchored to the lateral heel side panel 110b of the upper 100b. Referring to FIG. 11, the medial tensioning strand 318 of the tensioning element 312 extends from a first end 328 at the tensioning device 400 and is routed to the exterior of the upper 100b through the conduit 308b along the medial heel side panel 110b. From the conduit 308b, the medial tensioning strand 318 is routed to an arcuate cable guide 306b on the medial side 18 of the heel counter 112b, around an arcuate cable guide 304b attached to the header 136 of the lateral forefoot strap 116, and then to a second end 330 anchored to the medial heel side panel 110b of the upper 100b.

[0102] In some examples, the tensioning system 300b may include one or more of the cable guides 304b, 306b. The cable guides 304b, 306b may be formed of a rigid, low-friction material (e.g., high density polyethylene, etc.) and have an arcuate inner surface for receiving the tensioning element 312. In some examples, the inner (i.e., cable contacting) surfaces of the cable guides 304 are lined or coated with a low friction material, such as a lubricous polymer (e.g., polytetrafluoroethylene, etc.), that facilitates movement of the tensioning element 312 therein. By coating the cable guides 304b, 306b with a low friction material, the number of turns taken by each lacing pattern can be increased without incurring a detrimentally high (e.g., function impairing) level of friction throughout the cable path. [0103] In the illustrated example, the tensioning device 400 may be a motorized lacing system, whereby the tensioning element 312 is moved in the loosening direction D L and the tightening direction D r by extending and retracting the tensioning element 312 from the tensioning device 400. Accordingly, the tensioning device 400 may include a motorized spool for simultaneously winding and unwinding each of the lateral tensioning strand 316 and the medial tensioning strand 318. With reference to FIG. 1A, the article of footwear 10b is shown in a loosened state, where the straps 116, 118 are in a slacked state over the upper 100b to allow the upper 100b to stretch around the foot of the wearer.

[0104] Referring to FIG. 9B, the article of footwear 10b is moved to a tightened state by retracting the tensioning element 312 into the tensioning device 400, thereby causing the tensioning strands 316, 318 to move in the tightening direction D T . AS each tensioning strand 316, 318 moves in the tightening direction, the tightening force F T in each tensioning strand 316, 318 causes the free end 126, 124 of a respective one of the straps 118, 116 to be pulled towards the bite line 28, thereby moving the upper 100b to a constricted or tightened state. As the straps 116, 118 are drawn over the throat 108 and towards the bite line 28, the respective bands 128a-128d of each strap 116, 118 pass through the corresponding slots 130a- 130c formed through the other one of the straps 116, 118, as discussed above. This interweaved relationship between the bands 128a- 128d of the straps 116, 118 provides an enhanced frictional interface between the straps 116, 118, which maintains the straps 116, 118 in the tightened position during use.

[0105] To move the upper 100b and the article of footwear 10b back to the loosened or relaxed state, the tensioning device 400 operates in an opposite direction to unwind or extend the tensioning strands 316, 318 from the tensioning device 400. Thus, the tensioning strands 316, 318 are allowed to move in the loosening direction D L along the upper 100b such that the free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118 can move away from the bite line 28 and the throat 108 can expand. [0106] Referring to FIGS. 13-16, in some implementations, the tensioning device 400a includes the housing 402a and a locking member or lock member 412 slidably disposed within the housing 402a and enclosed by a lid 414 fastened to the housing 402a. FIG. 14 provides an exploded view of the tensioning device 400a of FIG. 13 showing the locking member 412 and the lid 414 removed from the housing 402a. The housing 402a defines a length extending between a first end 416 and a second end 418. The housing 402a includes a base portion 420 having a cable-receiving surface 422 and a mounting surface 424 disposed on an opposite side of the base portion 420 than the cable-receiving surface 422 and opposing the exterior surface of the upper 100. The lid 414 opposes the cable-receiving surface 422 of the base portion 420 to define a locking member cavity 426 therebetween that is configured to receive the locking member 412 and a portion of the tensioning system 300a. In some configurations, the locking member cavity 426 is bounded by a first engagement surface 428 and a second engagement surface 430 (FIGS. 15 and 16) that converge toward one another such that the locking member cavity 426 is associated with a wedge- shaped configuration tapering toward the second end 418 of the housing 402a. Accordingly, the first engagement surface 428 and the second engagement surface 430 include corresponding sidewalls of the housing 402a converging toward one another and extending between the lid 414 and the cable-receiving surface 422 of the base portion 420 to define the locking member cavity 426.

[0107] As discussed above, the cable 302a of the tensioning system 300a may include a tensioning element 312 and a control element 314, which are connected to each other by a locking element 315 that extends through the locking member cavity 426 and includes a first portion extending along the first engagement surface 428 and a second portion extending along the second engagement surface 430. The tensioning element 312 exits out of corresponding slots 432 (FIGS. 15 and 16) formed through opposing sidewalls of the housing 402a proximate to the first end 416. The control element 314 exits out of corresponding slots 432 (FIGS. 15 and 16) formed through the opposing sidewalls of the housing 402a proximate to the second end 418.

[0108] In some implementations, the locking member 412 includes a first lock surface 434 opposing the first engagement surface 428 of the housing 402a and a second lock surface 436 opposing the second engagement surface 430 of the housing 402a when the locking member 412 is disposed within the locking member cavity 426 of the housing 402a. In some examples, the first lock surface 434 and the second lock surface 436 converge toward one another. Additionally or alternatively, the first lock surface 434 may be substantially parallel to the first engagement surface 428 and the second lock surface 436 may be substantially parallel to the second engagement surface 430. In the example shown, the lock surfaces 434, 436 include projections or teeth each having an angled surface to permit movement by tensioning system 300a in the tightening direction DT (i.e., when the tightening force FT is applied to control element 314) while restricting movement by the tensioning system 300a by gripping the locking element 315 in the loosening direction DL when the locking member 412 is in the locked state. A biasing member 438 (e.g., a spring) may include a first end 440 attached to the second end 418 of the housing 402a and a second end 442 attached to a first end 444 of the locking member 412 to attach the locking member 412 to the housing 402a.

[0109] In some implementations, the locking member 412 is slidably disposed within the housing 402a and is movable between a locked position (FIG. 15) associated with the locked state of the tensioning device 400a and an unlocked position (FIG. 16) associated with the unlocked state of the tensioning device 400a. In some examples, the release mechanism 404 (e.g., release cord 404) moves the locking member 412 from the locked position (FIG. 15) to the unlocked position (FIG. 16). The locking member 412 may include a tab portion 446 extending from an opposite end of the locking member 412 than the first end 444. In one configuration, the first end 406 of the release cord 404 attaches to the tab portion 446 of the locking member 412. The tab portion 446 may include a pair of retention features or recesses 448 formed in corresponding ones of the first lock surface 434 and the second lock surface 436 and selectively receiving one or more retention features 450 associated with the housing 402a to maintain the tensioning device 400a in the unlocked state. The retention features 450 associated with the housing 402a may include a first retention feature 450 and a second retention feature 450 disposed on opposite sides of the housing 402a, whereby the retention features 450 are biased inward toward the cavity 426 and one another by corresponding biasing members 452. The retention features 450 may be projections that are integrally formed with the housing 402a such that the retention features 450 act as living hinges movable between a retracted state (FIG. 15) and an extended state (FIG. 16).

[0110] FIG. 15 provides a top view of the tensioning device 400a of FIG. 9 with the lid 414 removed to show the locking member 412 disposed within the cavity 426 of the housing 402a while in the locked position. In some examples, the locking member 412 is biased into the locked position. For instance, FIG. 15 shows the biasing member 438 exerting a biasing force F B (represented in a direction D B ) upon the locking member 412 to urge the first end 444 of the locking member 412 toward the second end 418 of the housing 402a, and thereby bias the locking member 412 into the locked position. While in the locked position, the locking member 412 restricts movement of the tensioning system 300a relative to the housing 402a by pinching the locking element 315 of the tensioning system 300a between the lock surfaces 434, 436 and the engagement surfaces 428, 430. Accordingly, the locked position of the locking member 412 restricts the tensioning system 300a from moving in the loosening direction D L . In the example shown, the locking member 412 permits movement of the tensioning system 300a when the tightening force FT is applied to the tightening grip 340, as this direction causes the tensioning system 300a to apply a force on the locking member 412 due to the generally wedge shape of the locking member 412, thereby moving the locking member 412 into the unlocked state. The locking member 412 automatically returns to the locked state once the force applied to the tightening grip 340 is released due to the forces imparted on the locking member 412 by the biasing member 438.

[0111] FIG. 16 provides a top view of the tensioning device 400a of FIG. 13 with the lid 414 removed to show the locking member 412 disposed within the cavity 426 of the housing 402a while in the unlocked position. In some examples, the release cord 404 attached to the tab portion 446 of the locking member 412 applies a release force FR upon the locking member 412 to move the locking member 412 away from the first engagement surface 428 and the second engagement surface 430 relative to the housing 402a. Here, the release force FR is sufficient to overcome the biasing force FB of the biasing member 438 to permit the locking member 412 to move relative to the housing 402a such that the pinching upon the locking element 315 of the tensioning system 300a between the lock surfaces 434, 436 and the engagement surfaces 428, 430 is released. In some examples, the biasing force FB causes the locking member 412 to transition back to the locked position when the release force FR applied by the release cord 404 is released. The release cord 404 may apply the release force FR when a release force FR of sufficient or predetermined magnitude is applied to pull the release cord 404 away from the upper 100 relative to the view of FIG. 16.

[0112] While in the unlocked position, the locking member 412 permits movement of the tensioning system 300a relative to the housing 402a by allowing the locking element 315 of the tensioning system 300a to freely move between the lock surfaces 434, 436 and the engagement surfaces 428, 430. The unlocked position of the locking member 412 permits movement of the tensioning system 300a in both the tightening direction DT and the loosening direction DL when the forces FT, FL are applied to respective ones of the control element 314 and the tensioning element 312.

[0113] In some examples, a sufficient magnitude and/or duration of the release force FR applied to the release cord 404 causes the release cord 404 to apply the release force FR (FIG. 16) upon the locking member 412 in a direction opposite the direction of the biasing force FB (FIG. 15) such that the locking member 412 moves away from the engagement surfaces 428, 430 relative to the housing 402a and toward the first end 416 of the housing 402a. At least one of the retention features 450 of the housing 402a may engage the retention feature 448 of the locking member 412 when release force FR moves the locking member 412 a predetermined distance away from the first engagement surface 428 and the second engagement surface 430 of the housing 402a. Here, engagement between the retention feature 448 of the locking member 412 and the at least one retention feature 450 of the housing 402a maintains the locking member 412 in the unlocked position once the release force FR is released. The biasing force FB of the biasing member 438 and the forces exerted by the pair of biasing members 452 on the retention features 450 lock the retention feature 448 of the locking member 412 into engagement with the retention features 450 of the housing 402a after the locking member 412 moves the predetermined distance and the release force FR is no longer applied.

[0114] In some scenarios, a release force FR associated with a first magnitude may be applied to the release cord 404 to move the locking member 412 away from the engagement surfaces 428, 430 by a distance less than the predetermined distance such that the retention features 448, 450 do not engage. In these scenarios, the release force FR associated with the first magnitude can be maintained when it is desirable to move the tensioning system 300a in the loosening direction DL or the tightening direction DT (e.g., by applying the tightening force FT to the tightening grip 340) for adjusting the fit of the interior void 102 around the foot. Once the desired fit of the interior void 102 around the foot is achieved, the release force FR can be released to cause the locking member 412 to transition back to the locked position so that movement of the tensioning system 300a is restricted in the loosening direction DL and the desired fit can be sustained. It should be noted that even when the locking member 412 is in the locked position, the tensioning system 300a can be moved in the tightening direction DT. AS such, once the release force FR is released and a desired fit is achieved, the locking member 412 automatically retains the desired fit by locking a position of the tensioning system 300a relative to the housing 402a.

[0115] In other scenarios, a release force FR associated with a second magnitude greater than the first magnitude can be applied to the release cord 404 to move the locking member 412 the predetermined distance away from the engagement surfaces 428, 430 to cause the corresponding retention features 448, 450 to engage. Engagement of the retention features 448, 450 is facilitated by providing the retention features 450 with a tapered edge that opposes the locking member 412 to allow the locking member 412 to more easily move the retention features 450 against the biasing force FB imparted thereon by the biasing members 452 when the release cord 404 is pulled the predetermined distance. In these scenarios, engagement between the corresponding retention features 448, 450 maintains the locking member 412 in the unlocked position when the release force FR is released.

[0116] The locking member 412 is returned to the locked position when a tightening force FT is applied to the control element 314. Namely, when a force is applied to the lateral and medial control strands 320, 322, these control strands 320, 322 are placed in tension which, in turn, exerts a force on the biasing members 452 via the retention features 450, as the control strands 320, 322 pass through a portion of the retention features 450. In so doing, the retention features 450 compress the biasing members 452 and, as such, cause the retention features 450 to move away from one another and disengage the retention features 448 of the locking member 412, thereby allowing the biasing member 438 to return the locking member 412 to the locked position.

[0117] In use, the article of footwear 10 can be selectively moved between a relaxed state (FIG. 5 A) and a tightened state (FIG. 5B) using the tensioning system 300a. With the footwear 10 initially provided in a relaxed state, an effective length of the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 (i.e., the lengths from the first ends 324, 328 to the second ends 326, 330) will be maximized, such that the tensioning element 312 and the straps 116, 118 are in a relaxed state about the upper 100, while an effective length of the control strands 320, 322 of the control element 314 (i.e., the lengths from the first ends 332, 336 to the second ends 334, 338) is minimized. Accordingly, a foot of a user can be inserted into the interior void 102 of the footwear 10 with the materials of the upper 100 allowing the upper 100 to stretch to accommodate the foot therein.

[0118] With the foot of the user inserted within the interior void 102 of the upper 100, the tensioning system 300a can be moved to a tightened state by the user to secure the footwear 10 to the foot. As discussed above, the tensioning system 300a is moved to the tightened state by applying a tightening force Fito the tightening grip 340 of the control element 314, thereby causing the control element 314 to move in the tightening direction DT. AS the control element 314 moves in the tightening direction DT, the cable 302a is pulled through the housing 402a of the tensioning device thereby causing the effective lengths of the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 to be reduced. Accordingly, an effective length of the tensioning element 312 is minimized around the upper 100 to move the upper 100 to a tightened state around the foot. [0119] As discussed above, when the tensioning element 312 is moved in the tightening direction DT, the lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 distribute the tightening force FT to the free ends 124, 126 of the straps 116, 118 to draw the straps 116, 118 tight over the throat 108. The lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 distribute the tightening force FT to the ends 344 of the heel strap 308 to constrict the heel counter 112 around the rear of the ankle of the user. Simultaneously, the effective length of the control element 314 may be increased when the tensioning system 300a is moved to the tightened state. However, as shown in FIG. 5B, the control element 314 is maintained in a taut position against the upper 100 by the elasticity of the sheath 310, which accommodates the increased effective length of the control element 314 by allowing the control element 314 to “bunch” within the sheath 306 when the sheath 310 is contracted.

[0120] When a user desires to remove the article of footwear 10a from the foot, the tensioning system 300a may be moved to the loosened state to allow the upper 100 to be relaxed around the foot. Initially, the tensioning device 400a must be moved to the unlocked state by applying a sufficient release force FR to overcome the biasing force FB of the biasing member 438, as discussed above. Once the tensioning device 400a is moved to the unlocked state, the cable 302a can be pulled in the loosening direction DL through the housing 402a of the tensioning device by pulling the article of footwear 10 from the foot of the user, which inherently causes the upper to expand and increases the effective lengths of the tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312.

[0121] With reference to FIGS. 17-21, another example of a manual tensioning device 400b is shown, where the tensioning device 400b is embodied as a rotary mechanism. FIG. 17 provides an exploded view of the tensioning device 400b, showing a housing 402b defining a cavity 454 configured to rotatably receive a spool 456, a first pawl 458, and a second pawl 460. The tensioning device 400b may include a lid 462 fastened to the housing 402b to prevent access to the cavity 454 when the lid 462 is fastened to the housing 402b and to allow access to the cavity 454 when the lid 462 is removed from the housing 402b. One or more fasteners 464 may extend through the lid 462 and fasten with threaded holes 466 in the housing 402b to secure the lid 462 to the housing 402b.

[0122] The housing 402b defines a plurality of retainer slots 468 each configured to receive and support a respective cable retainer 470 through which the cable adjustment elements are routed into the cavity 454 of the housing 402b. The housing 402b may support a plurality of the cable retainers 470 such that the ends of the adjustment elements 312, 314 each extend through a respective one of the cable retainers 470.

[0123] As described in greater detail below, the housing 402b may further include a retaining wall 472 disposed within the cavity 454. The retaining wall 472 is configured to cooperate with the first pawl 458. The retaining wall 472 may further include a tactile slot 474 configured to receive one or more tactile domes 476. Described in greater detail below with reference to FIGS. 18-21, the first pawl 458 may engage the tactile dome(s) 476 to provide a click or other sound that indicates the spool 456 has changed positions relative to the housing 402b and/or the tensioning device 400b has transitioned from the locked state to the unlocked state.

[0124] FIG. 19 provides a top view of the housing 402b showing a pair of mounting flanges 478, 480 disposed on opposite sides of the housing 402b. The mounting flanges 478, 480 may rest upon an inner surface of the cavity 214 of the sole structure 200 to mount the tensioning device 400b within the sole structure 200. Alternatively, the flanges 478, 480 may attach to a strobel of the upper 100. The strobel can be any support structure forming an underfoot portion of the footwear 10a that is at least disposed between the sole structure 200 and the void 102. In some examples, bonding agents, such as adhesives and/or epoxies, may be applied to the contact surfaces of the mounting flanges 478, 480 and/or the inner surface of the cavity 214 of the sole structure 200 for attaching the housing 402b within the cavity 214. Additionally or alternatively, the mounting flanges 478, 480 may define one or more mounting holes 482 formed therethrough and configured to receive a fastener (not shown) for mounting the housing 402b to the sole structure 200

[0125] FIG. 19 shows the housing 402b with the pawls 458, 460, adjustment elements 312, 314, and other components of the tensioning device 400b removed to expose an elongate channel 484 formed through the housing 402b. As discussed in greater detail below, the elongate channel 484 aligns with an attachment point of the first pawl 458 and permits the release cord 404 to pass underneath the housing 402b and up through a feed slot 486 defined by the mounting flange 480. The mounting flange 480 also defines a cut-out region 477 proximate to the feed slot 486 to provide more clearance for the release cord 404 (and/or a conduit enclosing the release cord 404) to extend from the housing 402b. The mounting flanges 478, 480 may define a lip around the perimeter of the housing 402b so that the housing 402b is spaced apart from the mounting surface of the cavity 214 or the strobel, allowing the release cord 404 to be routed between the housing 402b and the mounting surface of the cavity 214 or strobel. Thus, the release cord 404 may freely extend underneath the housing 402b between the elongate channel 484 and the feed slot 486. In some examples, the feed slot 486 has a curved edge to prevent the release cord 404 from catching or being restricted by the housing 402b.

[0126] Referring now to FIG. 18, the spool 456 is supported within the cavity 454 of the housing 402b and may rotate relative to the housing 402b. In some examples, the spool 456 rotates relative to the housing 402b in a first direction Dsi when the adjustment elements 312, 314 move in the tightening direction DT and in an opposite second direction Ds2 when the adjustment elements 312, 314 move in the loosening direction DL. The spool 456 includes a first channel or annular groove 488 configured to collect portions of the tensioning element 312 and a second channel or annular groove 490 configured to collect portions of the control element 314. The spool 456 may include one or more anchor slots 492 formed through a divider wall separating the channels 488, 490 for fixing a rotational position of each of the adjustment elements 312, 314 relative to the spool 456. [0127] The tensioning device 400b also includes a ratchet mechanism 494 associated with the spool 456 and having a plurality of teeth 496 positioned circumferentially around an axis of the ratchet mechanism 494 and protruding radially inward therefrom. In some implementations, the ratchet mechanism 494 is integrally formed upon an inner circumferential wall of the spool 456 such that the plurality of teeth 496 protrude radially inward from the channels 488, 490. In other examples, the ratchet mechanism 494 is supported for common rotation with the spool 456.

[0128] The first pawl 458 is disposed within the cavity 454 of the housing 402b and is configured to cooperate with the ratchet mechanism 494 to selectively prevent and allow rotation of the spool 456 and, consequently, movement of the adjustment elements 312, 314. In some examples, the first pawl 458 includes one or more teeth 498 configured to selectively and meshingly engage with the plurality of teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494. In some implementations, the first pawl 458 includes a first pawl axle 500 configured to support the first pawl 458 within the housing 402b to permit the first pawl 458 to rotate relative to the housing 402b about a first pawl axis of rotation App.

[0129] A first pawl spring 502 may operably connect to the first pawl axle 500 and the retaining wall 472 disposed within the cavity 454 of the housing 402b to bias the first pawl 458 in a first direction DEPI about the pawl axis of rotation AFP. The first pawl axis of rotation AEP may be substantially parallel to an axis of rotation of the spool 456 when the spool 456 is received by the cavity 454. Accordingly, the first pawl spring 502 may interact with the retaining wall 472 and the first pawl 516 to exert a biasing force that causes the first pawl 458 to pivot about the pawl axis of rotation AEP in the first direction Dm and into engagement with the plurality of teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494, thereby causing the tensioning device 400b to operate in the locked state to restrict movement by the adjustment elements 312, 314 in the loosening directions DL. [0130] FIGS. 20 and 21 each show a top view of the first pawl 458 of the tensioning device 400b. The first pawl 458 defines a first receiving surface 504 configured to support the first pawl spring 502. The first pawl axle 500 protrudes from the first receiving surface 504 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the first receiving surface 504. The first pawl axle 500 may be integrally formed with the first pawl 458. The first pawl 458 also defines a second receiving surface 506 configured to support a second pawl spring 516. An aperture 508 is formed through the second receiving surface 506 and is configured to receive a second pawl axle 514. An anchor post 510 may protrude away from the receiving surfaces 504, 506 in a direction substantially parallel to the first pawl axle 500. The anchor post 510 may define an aperture 512 to provide an attachment location for attaching the first end 406 of the release cord 404 to the anchor post 510. The anchor post 510 may be integrally formed with the first pawl 458.

[0131] With reference to FIG. 18, the second pawl axle 514 rotatably attaches the second pawl 460 to the first pawl 458 to permit the second pawl 460 to rotate relative to both the first pawl 458 and the housing 402b about a second pawl axis of rotation ASP. The second pawl axis of rotation ASP may extend substantially parallel to the first pawl axis of rotation AFP and the axis of rotation of the spool 456. In some examples, the second pawl 460 is associated with the second pawl spring 516, which is configured to bias the second pawl 460 into engagement with a control surface 518 associated with an inner periphery of the spool 456 when the first pawl 458 is disengaged from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 to permit the spool 456 to rotate in the second direction DS2.

[0132] FIG. 18 provides a perspective view of the tensioning device 400b while in the locked state with the first pawl teeth 498 of the first pawl 458 engaging the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 to selectively restrict the spool 456 from rotating in the second direction Ds2 and thereby restrict the adjustment elements 312, 314 from moving in their respective loosening directions DL. In some examples, the plurality of the teeth 496 are sloped to permit the spool 456 to rotate in the first direction Dsi when the teeth 498 of the first pawl 458 are engaged with the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494, thereby permitting the tensioning element 312 to move in the tightening direction DT and the control element 314 to move in the tightening direction DT responsive to the tightening force FT being applied to the tightening grip 340.

[0133] When the spool 456 rotates in the first direction Dsi, the control element 314 is unreeled from the second channel 490 of the spool 456 while the first channel 488 of the spool 456 simultaneously retracts the tensioning element 312 as the spool 456 rotates in the first direction Dsi. Accordingly, movement by the adjustment elements 312, 314 in their respective tightening directions DT causes an effective length of the control element 314 to increase, while simultaneously causing an effective length of the tensioning element 312 to decrease, thereby moving the upper 100 into a tightened state for closing the interior void 102 around a foot of a user. Here, the control element 314 incrementally moves in the tightening direction DT during each successive engagement between the first pawl 458 (e.g., first pawl teeth 498) and the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 to thereby incrementally increase the tension applied to lateral and medial tensioning strands 316, 318 of the tensioning element 312 for tightening the fit of the interior void 102 around the foot as the upper 100 moves into the tightened state. More particularly, because each of the lateral tensioning strand 316 and the medial tensioning strand 318 of the tensioning element 312 is connected to and disposed within the first channel 488 of the spool 456, each of the tensioning strands 316, 318 will be wound and unwound by the spool 456 at the same rate, providing substantially uniform tightness of the upper 100 around the foot.

[0134] In some examples, the release cord 404 operably connects to the anchor post 510 of the first pawl 458 to selectively disengage the first pawl 458 from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 when a predetermined release force FR is applied to the release cord 404. When the second pawl 460 is engaged with the control surface 518, the second pawl 460 is operative to control the rotational speed of the spool 456 in the second direction Ds2 such that the adjustment elements 312, 314 do not become tangled when collected (e.g., wound) or released (e.g., unwound) from respective ones of the first channel 488 and the second channel 490 of the spool 456 during rotation in the second direction Ds2. In some configurations, the second pawl 460 includes two cam surfaces that remain engaged with respective ones of two control surfaces 518 when the first pawl 458 remains disengaged from the teeth 496 (i.e., when the tensioning device 400b is operable in the unlocked state). Each control surface 518 may be axially disposed on an opposite side of the ratchet mechanism 494 such that the teeth 496 are disposed between the control surfaces 518 and protrude radially inward therefrom.

[0135] Referring to FIG. 20, the first pawl 458 is biased into engagement with the plurality of teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 when the tensioning device 400b is in the locked state. Here, the first pawl 458 pivots and rotates about the first pawl axis of rotation A EP in the first direction Dm such that the teeth 498 of the first pawl 458 engage with the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494. In some examples, the first pawl 458 includes a tactile protrusion 520 configured to engage with the tactile domes 476 to provide the “click” indicating the incremental change of position in the spool 456 during each successive engagement between the first pawl 458 and the teeth 496.

[0136] Referring to FIG. 21, a first end 406 of the release cord 404 is attached to the anchor post 510 of the first pawl 458 to allow the release cord 404 to selectively disengage the first pawl 458 from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 when the predetermined release force F R is applied to the release cord 404. For example, a user may grasp the release grip 410 of the release cord 404 and apply the predetermined force F R to disengage the first pawl 458 from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494. Here, the predetermined force F R overcomes the biasing force of the first pawl spring 502 to allow the first pawl 458 to rotate about the first pawl axis of rotation A EP in a second direction Dm. Additionally, the tactile protrusion 520 may engage with the tactile dome 476 to provide the “click” when the predetermined force F R moves to the first pawl 458 out of engagement with the teeth 496 to transition the tensioning device 400b to the unlocked state. [0137] FIG. 21 shows the tensioning device 400b in the unlocked state responsive to the release cord 404 selectively disengaging the first pawl 458 from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494 when the predetermined force F R is applied to the release cord 404. While the tensioning device 400b is in the unlocked state with the first pawl 458 disengaged from the teeth 496 of the ratchet mechanism 494, the spool 456 is permitted to rotate in the second direction Ds2 to allow the tensioning element 312 to move in the loosening direction D L when the loosening force F L is applied to the tensioning element 312. In some examples, the first channel 488 of the spool 456 collects the tensioning element 312 while the second channel 490 of the spool 456 simultaneously releases the control element 314 as the spool 456 rotates in the second direction Ds2. Accordingly, movement of the control element 314 in the loosening direction D L allows an effective length of the tensioning element 312 to increase to allow the tensioning strands 316, 318 to relax and thereby facilitate a transition of the upper 100 from the tightened state to the loosened state such that a foot can be removed from the interior void 102.

[0138] Referring back to FIG. 17, the lid 462 and the housing 402b of the tensioning device 400b may each include a hub 522 configured to support the first pawl axle 500 of the first pawl 458. The lid 462 may also each include an elongate channel 524 that cooperates with the elongate channel 484 of the housing 402b to allow the anchor post 510 of the first pawl 458 to freely rotate relative to the housing 402b and the lid 462 when the first pawl 458 pivots about the first pawl axis of rotation A EP in either the first direction D FPI or the second direction D EP2 .

[0139] In use, the article of footwear 10a can be selectively moved between a tightened state and a relaxed state using the tensioning system 300a. With the footwear 10a initially provided in a relaxed state, an effective length of the tensioning element 312 will be maximized, such that the first cable is in a relaxed state about the upper 100, while an effective length of the control element 314 is minimized as the control element 314 is wound about the spool 456 of the tensioning device 400b. Accordingly, a foot of a user can be inserted into the interior void 102 of the footwear 10a with the materials of the upper 100 allowing the upper 100 to stretch to accommodate the foot therein.

[0140] With the foot of the user inserted within the interior void 102 of the upper 100, the tensioning system 300a can be moved to a tightened state by the user to secure the footwear 10a to the foot. As discussed above, the tensioning system 300a is moved to the tightened state by applying a tightening force F T to the tightening grip 340, thereby causing the control element 314 to move in the tightening direction D T . AS the control element 314 moves in the tightening direction D T , the spool 456 rotates in the first direction Dsi and the control element 314 is unwound from the second channel 490. Simultaneously, the tensioning element 312 is wound up within the first channel 488, thereby causing the tensioning element 312 to be retracted within the tensioning device 400b. Accordingly, an effective length of the tensioning element 312 is minimized around the upper 100 to move the upper 100 to a tightened state around the foot.

[0141] Prior to, during, or after movement of the tensioning system 300a to the tightened state, the biasing force of the first pawl spring 502 may move the first pawl 458 to the locked position when the release force F R applied to the release cord 404 is overcome by the first pawl spring 502. When the tensioning device 400b is in the locked state, the teeth 496 of the spool 456 are engaged by the teeth 498 of the first pawl 458 to prevent the spool 456 from rotating in the second direction DS2 (i.e., the loosening direction DL). Accordingly, the tensioning device 400b maintains the tensioning system 300a in the tightened state as long as the tensioning device 400b remains in the locked position.

[0142] When a user desires to remove the article of footwear 10a from the foot, the tensioning system 300a may be moved to the loosened state to allow the upper 100 to be relaxed around the foot. Initially, the tensioning device 400b must be moved to the unlocked state by applying a sufficient release force F R to overcome the biasing force of the first pawl spring 502. When the release force FR overcomes the biasing force, the teeth 498 of the first pawl 458 will disengage from the teeth 496 of the spool 456, thereby allowing the spool 456 to rotate in the second direction DS2.

[0143] A loosening force FL may be applied to the tensioning element 312 by the user to move the first cable in the loosening direction DL, thereby maximizing the effective length of the tensioning element 312 to allow the upper 100 to be relaxed. In the illustrated example, the loosening force FL may be applied indirectly to the tensioning element 312 by pulling the anterior end 12 of the upper 100 in a downward direction, whereby the interior void 102 is forced open to remove the foot. Alternatively, the tensioning element 312 may be provided with one or more loosening grips (not shown) to allow the user to apply the loosening force FT directly to the tensioning element 312.

[0144] As the tensioning element 312 moves in the loosening direction DL, the spool 456 rotates in the second direction Ds2 and the tensioning element 312 is unwound from the first channel 488. As the tensioning element 312 is unwound, the effective length of the tensioning element 312 increases and the tensioning strands 316, 318 are relaxed, allowing the first strap 116 and the second strap 118 to relax about the upper 100. Simultaneously, the control element 314 is wound up within the second channel 490, thereby causing the control element 314 to be retracted within the tensioning device 400b. Accordingly, an effective length of the control element 314 is minimized.

[0145] FIG. 22 illustrates generally a block diagram of components of an example of a motorized tensioning device 400 of the article of footwear 10 of FIGS. 1-4. The schematic includes some, but not necessarily all, components of a motorized tensioning system, including a lacing engine 401, a receptacle 532 (FIG. 26), and the underlying footwear 10. The motorized tensioning device 400 as illustrated includes interface buttons 534, interface button actuators 536, a foot presence sensor 538, and a lacing engine housing 402 enclosing a main PCB 540 and a user interface PCB 542. The user interface PCB 542 includes the buttons 534, one or more light emitting diodes (LEDs) 544 which may illuminate the button actuators 536 or otherwise provide illumination visible outside of the article of footwear 10, an optical encoder unit 546, and an LED driver 548 which may provide power to the LEDs 544. The main PCB 540 includes a processor circuit 550, electronic data storage 552, a battery charging circuit 554, a wireless transceiver 556, one or more sensors 558, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and the like, and a motor driver 560.

[0146] The lacing engine 401 further includes the foot presence sensor 538, such as a capacitive sensor, a motor 562, a transmission 564, a spool 566, a battery or power source 568, and a charging coil 570. The processor circuit 550 is configured with instructions from the electronic data storage 552 to cause the motor driver 560 to activate the motor 562 to turn the spool 566 by way of the transmission 564 in order to place a desired amount of tension on a cable 302 wound about the spool 566. The processor circuit 550 may receive inputs from a variety of sources, including the foot presence sensor 538, the sensors 558, and the buttons 534 to decide, according to the instructions, to increase or decrease the tension on the cable 302. For instance, the foot presence sensor 538 may detect the presence of a foot in the footwear 10, and the processor circuit 552 may set the tension to a present tension level. The sensors 558 may detect movement consistent with a particular activity level, e.g., causal walking, a vigorous physical activity, etc., and the processor circuit 550 may cause the tension to be set to a level consistent with that activity level, e.g., relatively loose for casual walking and relatively tight for vigorous physical activity. A user may press the button actuators 536 to manually command an incremental or linear increase or decrease in tension, as desired.

[0147] The battery 568 provides power for the components of the lacing engine 401 in general and is, in the example embodiment, a rechargeable battery. However, alternative power sources, such as non-rechargeable batteries, super capacitors, and the like, are also contemplated. In the illustrated example, the battery 568 is coupled to the charging circuit 554 and the recharge coil 570. When the recharge coil 570 is placed in proximity of an external charger 574, a charging circuit 576 may energize a transmit coil 578 to inductively induce a current in the recharge coil 570, which is then utilized by the charging circuit 554 to recharge the battery 568. Alternative recharging mechanisms are contemplated, such as a piezoelectric generator located within the footwear 10. [0148] The wireless transceiver 556 is configured to communicate wirelessly with a remote user device 580, such as a smartphone, wearable device, tablet computer, personal computer, and the like. In the illustrated example, the wireless transceiver 556 is configured to communicate according to the Bluetooth Low Energy modality, though the wireless transceiver 556 may communicate according to any suitable wireless modality, including near field communication (NFC), 802.11 WiFi, and the like. Moreover, the wireless transceiver 556 may be configured to communicate with multiple external user devices 580 and/or according to multiple different wireless modalities. The wireless transceiver 556 may receive instructions from the user device 580, e.g., using an application operating on the user device 580, for controlling the lacing engine 401, including to enter pre-determined modes of operation or to incrementally or linearly increase or decrease the tension on the cable 302. The wireless transceiver 556 may further transmit information about the lacing engine 401 to the user device 580, e.g., an amount of tension on the cable 302 or otherwise an orientation of the spool 566, an amount of charge remaining on the battery 568, and any other desired information about the lacing engine 401 generally.

[0149] FIG. 23 is an exploded view of an example of a lacing engine 401c for a motorized tensioning device. The lacing engine 401c includes the housing 402, which includes an upper portion 419c and a base portion 420c, which enclose the lacing engine 401c generally, except for certain components which are exterior of the housing 402. Those components include the button actuators 536 (and related O-rings 582 for protecting the lacing engine 401c against environmental conditions, such as moisture), the spool 566, which is secured to the transmission 564 via a setscrew 584 and which is enclosed with the lid 414c, and a dielectric foam 586 of the foot presence sensor 538. Enclosed within the housing 402 is the main PCB 540, the user interface PCB 542, the motor 562, the transmission 564, the battery 568, the recharge coil 570, and an electrode 588 and foam 586 of the foot presence sensor 538. The optical encoder unit 546 is shown in Figure 19, and is partially visible in the exploded view of FIG. 23. Specifically, a three-dimensional encoder 592 of the optical encoder unit 546 is coupled to the motor 562 and turns with the turning of the motor 562.

[0150] FIGS. 24A and 24B are a depiction of a lacing engine housing 402d and lid 414d for another example of a lacing engine 401d. The lacing engine housing 402d and the lid 414d may be utilized as the housing 402 and the lid 414, respectively, in the block diagram of FIG. 22. The lacing engine housing 402d may be sized to enclose the lacing engine 40 Id or any suitable lacing engine. The lacing engine housing 402d includes tabs 600 that mate, e.g., via snap-fit, with pins 602 on the lid 414d to form hinges 604 about which the lid 414d may rotate relative to the housing 402d.

[0151] FIG. 24A illustrates the lid 414d in an open configuration, with the spool 566d exposed and the cable 302 (not pictured) either accessible or able to be placed in the lace groove. FIG. 24B illustrates the lid 414d in a closed configuration, with the tabs 606 snapped into place on a side of the housing 402d. In the closed configuration, the lid 414d may tend to restrain the cable 302 within the lace groove.

[0152] The housing 402d and lid 414d may be made of any suitable material, including plastic or other polymer and metal, as appropriate. The housing 402d and/or the housing 402d and lid 414d together may provide at least some isolation for the lacing engine 401d against environmental conditions, such as moisture or sweat, as well as against forces that may be exerted against the housing 402d, including impacts and mechanical stresses. The housing 402d may also be placed within a sleeve or other structure that may provide for environmental isolation.

[0153] As illustrated, the housing 402d includes apertures 608 to allow light emitted from the LEDs 208 to be visible outside of the housing 402d. In the illustrated example, two of the apertures 608 align with the tabs 606.

[0154] FIG. 25A is a perspective view illustration of a motorized tensioning device 400e having anti -tangle lacing channel 612, for the lacing engine 40 le in an example embodiment. FIG. 25B is a top view of the motorized tensioning device 400e of FIG. 25A showing a winding channel 614 extending through a modular spool 566e and aligned with lacing channel 612 through housing structure 402e. Similar to the spool 566 discussed above, the modular spool 566e provides a storage location for a lace, such as cable 302, when modular spool 566e is wound to cinch the cable 302 down on an article of footwear upper. The modular spool 566e can be assembled from an assortment of components, such as an upper plate 616 and a lower plate 618.

[0155] The modular spool 566e can be positioned within a spool recess 620 of the lacing channel 612. The lacing channel 612 is shaped to optimize or improve performance of modular spool 566e in winding and unwinding cable 302 from housing structure 402e. In particular, as discussed below, the lacing channel 612 can include lace channel transitions 622, and other shapes, geometries and surfaces, that can help prevent cable 302 from jamming within the spool recess 620. Such jamming can be the result of cable backlash (i.e., bird’s nesting) during winding/unwinding of the cable 302. The lace channel transitions 622 can provide lacing channel 612 with adequate volume to store the cable 302 without having to compress or entangle the cable 302.

[0156] An example lacing engine 40 le can include an upper component 419e and a lower component 420e of housing structure 402e, case screws 624, the lacing channel 612 (also referred to as lace guide relief 612), lace channel walls 626, lace channel transitions 622, a spool recess 620, button openings 628, the buttons 534, a button membrane seal 632, a programming header 634, modular spool 566e, and the winding channel (lace grove) 614.

[0157] The housing structure 402e is configured to provide a compact lacing engine for insertion into a sole of an article of footwear, as described herein, for example. The case screws 624 can be used to the hold the upper component 419e and the lower component 420e in engagement. Together, upper component 419e and lower component 420e provide an interior space for placement of components of the motorized tensioning device 400, such as components of the modular spool 566e and motor 562. The lace channel walls 626 can be shaped to guide the cable 302 into and out of the housing structure 402e and the lace channel transitions 622 can be shaped to guide lace into and out of modular spool 566e. In an example, the lace channel walls 626 extend generally parallel to the major axis of the lacing channel 612, while the lace channel transitions 622 extend oblique to the major axis of the lacing channel 612 in extending between the lace channel walls 626 and the spool recess 620. The spool recess 620 can comprise a partial cylindrical socket for receiving modular spool 566e.

[0158] The cable 302 can be positioned to extend into the lacing channel 612 and the winding channel 614. As the modular spool 566e is rotated by the motor 562, the cable 302 is wound around a drum between the upper plate 616 and the lower plate 618. The buttons 534 can extend through the button openings 628 and can be used to actuate the motor 562 to rotate the modular spool 566e in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. The programming header 634 can permit the main circuit board 540 of the lacing engine 40 le to be connected to external computing systems in order to characterize the lacing action provided by the buttons 534 and the operation of motor 562, for example.

[0159] FIG. 26 is an exploded view illustration of components of a motorized tensioning device 400 for the article of footwear 10 of FIGS. 1-4. While the motorized tensioning device 400 is described with respect to the article of footwear 10, it is to be recognized and understood that the principles described with respect to the article of footwear 10 apply equally well to any of a variety of wearable articles. The tensioning device 400 illustrated in FIG. 26 includes a lacing engine 401e having the housing 402e, the lid 414e, an actuator 530, and a receptacle 532. However, other examples of the lacing engine 401c, 40 Id may also be incorporated in the tensioning device 400. [0160] FIG. 26 illustrates the basic assembly sequence of components of the motorized tensioning device 400 in conjunction with an example of the sole structure 200 of the article of footwear 10. The tensioning device 400 starts with the receptacle 532 being secured within the cavity 214 of the sole structure 200. Next, the actuator 530 is inserted into an opening in the lateral side of the receptacle 532 opposite to the interface buttons 534 that can be embedded in the sole structure 200. Next, the lacing engine 401c-401e is dropped into a lacing engine cavity of the receptacle 532. In various examples that do not include the receptacle 532, the lacing engine 401c- 401e may be received directly in the cavity 214 of the sole structure 200. In an example, the tensioning device 400 is inserted under a continuous loop of the cable 302 and the cable 302 is aligned with a spool in the lacing engine 401. Finally, the lid 414c-414e is inserted into grooves in the receptacle 532, secured into a closed position, and latched into a recess in the receptacle 532. The lid 414c-414e can capture the lacing engine 401 and can assist in maintaining alignment of a lacing cable during operation.

[0161] The following Clauses provide an exemplary configuration for an article of footwear described above.

[0162] Clause 1: An article of footwear including an upper, a first strap extending from a first fixed end attached at a first side of the upper to a first free end on a second side of the upper, and a second strap extending from a second fixed end attached at the second side of the upper to a second free end on the first side of the upper, a first portion of the first strap overlapping a first portion of the second strap and a second portion of the first strap overlapped by a second portion of the second strap.

[0163] Clause 2: The article of footwear of Clause 1, wherein the first portion of the first strap is parallel to the second portion of the first strap.

[0164] Clause 3 : The article of footwear of Clause 1 or 2, wherein the first portion of the second strap is parallel to the second portion of the second strap.

[0165] Clause 4: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 1-3, wherein the first portion of the first strap is a first band extending from a first end at the first fixed end to a second end at the first free end, and the second portion of the first strap is a second band extending from a first end at the first fixed end to a second end at the first free end.

[0166] Clause 5: The article of footwear of Clause 4, wherein the second end of the first band is attached to the second end of the second band at the first free end of the first strap.

[0167] Clause 6: The article of footwear of Clause 4, wherein the first end of the first band and the first end of the second band are separately attached at the first side of the upper.

[0168] Clause 7: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 1-6, wherein the first free end of the first strap and the first free end of the second strap are each attached to a tensioning element operable to selectively apply a tightening force to the first free end of the first strap and the first free end of the second strap.

[0169] Clause 8: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 1-7, wherein the first fixed end and the second fixed end are attached in a mid-foot region of the upper.

[0170] Clause 9: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 1-8, wherein the first strap and the second strap extend over a mid-foot region of the upper.

[0171] Clause 10: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 1-8, wherein a width of the first strap tapers from the first fixed end to the first free end.

[0172] Clause 11 : An article of footwear including an upper, a cable routed along the upper and operable between a tightened state and a loosened state, a first strap including a first plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at a first side of the upper to a second end attached to a first portion of the cable on a second side of the upper, and a second strap including a second plurality of bands each extending from a first end attached at the second side of the upper to a second end attached to a second portion of the cable on the first side of the upper, the first plurality of bands of the first strap interweaved with the second plurality of bands of the second strap and operable to move through the second plurality of bands when the cable is moved between the tightened state and the loosened state.

[0173] Clause 12: The article of footwear of Clause 11, wherein bands of the first plurality of bands are parallel to each other.

[0174] Clause 13: The article of footwear of Clause 11 or 12, wherein bands of the second plurality of bands are parallel to each other.

[0175] Clause 14: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-13, wherein the second ends of the first plurality of bands are attached to each other. [0176] Clause 15: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-14, wherein the first ends of each of the first plurality of bands are separately attached at the first side of the upper.

[0177] Clause 16: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-15, wherein the first ends of the first plurality of bands and the first ends of the second plurality of bands are attached in a mid-foot region of the upper.

[0178] Clause 17: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-16, wherein the first strap and the second strap extend over a mid-foot region of the upper.

[0179] Clause 18: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-17, wherein a width of the first strap tapers from the first ends to the second ends.

[0180] Clause 19: The article of footwear of any one of Clauses 11-18, further comprising a sole structure attached to the upper and tensioning device disposed within the sole structure and operable to selectively move the cable between the tightened state and the loosened state.

[0181] Clause 20: The article of footwear of Clause 19, wherein the cable includes a first strand forming the first portion of the cable and a second strand forming the second portion of the cable, the first strand and the second strand routed through the tensioning device.

[0182] The foregoing description has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure. Individual elements or features of a particular configuration are generally not limited to that particular configuration, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected configuration, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the disclosure, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure.