Means of lacing shoes

A laced shoe construction providing improved means for securing the girthwise adjustment of the shoe lacing means without the need of adjusting a conventional bow-knot or other equivalent lace end connecting means.

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This invention comprises improved means for the manual adjustment of shoe laces, without the need of the usual tying and untying of a bowknot or equivalent lace end adjustable connecting means.

It is well-known that with lace-adjusted shoe designs, many wearers prefer not having to tie and untie the usual bowknot used to connect the lace ends. Such wearers include those who may find proper adjustment too difficult, as with young children and the infirm, as well as other wearers who may prefer the appearance and convenience of manually adjusted laced shoe designs without the need of bowknots or equivalent lace end attaching means. Consequently, this invention will provide the above advantages with both criss-cross and the usually preferred so-called “parallel lacing” previously applicable only for display and photographic use, but now available with the means of the present invention to shoes for general use as well.

As to prior art, none provides the improved appearance and simplicity of operation, preferably with infinitely incremental (shoe) girth adjustment means of the present invention. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,388,315 discloses use of an elastic shoe lace with lace end attaching means other than the usual bowknot, however these means lack the infinitely variable adjustability and simpler appearance of the present invention.


This invention is directed to a shoe construction comprising improved means for the manual adjustment of the effective girth of a so-called “bow-less” laced shoe construction, utilizing a lace holding control means, such as a pair of opposing control eyelets in the fit/critical instep of the shoe, just forward of its rear lacing eyelets. The control lace holding means have a sufficiently smaller inside diameter than the other lace holding means to lock the adjustment of the lace to the girthwise tension preferred by the wearer. The other lace holding means in the shoe have a greater inside diameter than the control lace holding means, thereby allowing the rest of the lacing to automatically and comfortably adjust to the girth of a foot placed therein.


FIG. 1 is a side elevational cross-sectional view of a laced shoe 20, taken along its longitudinal centerline, and embodying principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the shoe 20 of FIG. 1, taken from above, showing the shoe 20 as it would appear when adjusted to a relatively greater girth.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the shoe 20 of FIG. 1, taken from above, showing the shoe 20 as it would appear when adjusted to a relatively lesser girth, with elastic lacing 30 temporarily extended rearwards and/or upwards during a manual tensional adjustment of the girthwise lace-locking system of the shoe 20.


The following definitions will be used in reference to the terms and phrases used in this disclosure:

“Ball to instep girth relationship”—The ratio of the girth dimensions of the ball portion to those of the instep portion of a particular wearer's foot.

“Bow-less”—A shoe lacing system that doesn't require the use of a bow-knot for adjustably connecting rearward lace ends thereof.

“Criss-cross lacing”—Shoe lacing arrangement wherein visible portions of the lace criss-cross one another between opposing lacing eyelets in the upper assembly of the shoe.

“Elastic, elasticized”—Resiliently changeable dimensionally, upon application of a dimensionally changeable force thereto.

“Lace holding means”—Include conventional eyelets and as well as other means such as lugs which hold a shoelace in its proper location. “Girthwise adjustable”—Adjustable in the effective transverse girth dimensions of inner shoe surfaces, adjacent to a foot therein.

“Heel-slip”—The vertical movement of the backpart of a shoe relative to the adjacent heel portion of a foot therein, as typically may occur during the stride of a wearer.

“Parallel lacing”—Shoe lacing arrangement, wherein the visible laces of a shoe are transversely horizontal and parallel to each other.

“Rear-most lace holding means”—The lace holding means most closely adjacent to the foot-enclosing rearward opening of a shoe's upper assembly.

“Shoe”—General term for footwear of various design and constructions.

“Stretch lace”—A elastic shoe lacing means, comprising a preferably fabric tubular cover with a compressible elastic rubber or similar lacing core elements therewithin.

“Tensional adjustment”—Adjustment by the application of tension thereto.

“Unitsole”—Unitary typically molded rubber, polyurethane or similar plastic bottom-most element of a shoe.


Referring to the drawings, a typical athletic style of shoe is shown, embodying principles of the present invention, which are similarly applicable to other shoe designs and constructions, as well.

FIG. 1 shows a typical laced shoe 20 having an upper assembly 22, comprising a vamp 24 having a topline, a combination tongue and toepiece 26, and a loose woven fabric lining 28, stitchably attached to the topline of the vamp 24 by stitching 30, as by trim-stitching 32. The loose woven fabric lining 28 is flexible but preferably relative inelastic. The upper assembly 22 is further attached to a unitsole 44, by conventional means such as direct molding, or equivalents thereto. Upper assembly 22 further comprises manually adjustable lacing means 34, preferably transversely parallel to each other where visible, and extending through opposing pairs of lace holding means 36, 38, 40 and 42, located in the uppermost mid-portion of the vamp 24. Suitable lace holding means include eyelets (shown) as well as spring clips (not shown), or the like.

The lacing means 34 is preferably conventionally elasticized in both lengthwise and diametric dimensions. The lacing means 34 generally comprises a Dacron® or similar spandex fabric tubular covering over a compressible natural or synthetic rubber compressible core. Preferably the cross-sectional core is round. The lacing means 34 has a diameter which will allow it to pass relatively freely through the conventional common diameters of opposing lace holding means 36, 40 and 42, but appreciably less freely through the frictionally-controlling lace holding means 38. The controlling lace holding means 38 have a sufficiently lesser inside diameter than that of the lace holding means 34 to hold the effective girth of the shoe 20 at the tensional adjustment selected by the wearer.

As shown, the visible lacing of FIG. 1 is the preferred parallel lacing arrangement providing infinitely variable girth adjustment within the designed adjustment range of the shoe 20, preferably at a fitting tension sufficient to minimize heel-slip during the stride thereof.

This invention is applicable to any lacing design having at least two pairs of opposing lace holding means on each side of the shoe. Preferably however, there will be 4 pairs of opposing lace holding means as shown in the figures to provide a better-fitting shoe through-out the ball and waist areas of the shoe.

FIGS. 2-3 show plan views taken from above the shoe 20 of FIG. 1, with manually operable tensional girth adjustment being provided by an elastic parallel lacing means 34, and four pair of opposing lace holding means 36, 38, 40 and 42 therewith. FIG. 2 shows the shoe 20 as it would appear when adjusted to a foot of relatively greater girth, while FIG. 3 shows the shoe adjusted to lesser girth. FIG. 3 also shows the lace 34 temporarily extended rear-wards, from the rear eyelets 36, to provide a preferred tensional girth adjustment of the shoe 20. Alternatively the lace 34 can be extended upwards, or rearwards and upwards for such adjustment. After each manual adjustment of the girthwise lacing tension, the lace 34 returns to its original alignment between the opposing lace holding means 36 as shown in FIG. 2, with the preferred girthwise tension held, as previously noted, by the opposing tension control lace holding means 38, allowing the lacing 34 through lace holding means 38 to adjust to the particular ball to instep girth relationship of the wearer's foot.

As noted, the above figures show a so-called “parallel” lacing arrangement, usually preferred for manually lace-adjusted shoe designs. While a criss-cross lacing arrangement can be used, it is not preferred for wearing use due to the considerable additional adjustment friction required therewith.

It will be noted that other optional equivalents to the means disclosed above include other mechanical means, including (other) frictional and/or mechanical means, including springs, and spring-locking or other mechanical locking means that can maintain a preferred girthwise tensional adjustment in a shoe, with such means generally less preferred than those of the disclosure due to added complexity of operation, and consequently less than optimum necessary adjustment of the girth of the shoe to the typical diurnal changes or the girth of the foot therewithin.

As for materials and sources, upper leathers may be supplied by Prime Tanning of Berwick, Me. Fabrics materials may be supplied by the George C. Moore, Co., Inc., of Westerly, R.I. Elastic laces may be from Hickory Brands, Inc., of Hickory, N.C. Lace holding means may be from Trendware/Goldberg Footwear Components, Inc., of Salem, Mass.


1. A girthwise tensional manually adjustable laced shoe construction having a shoelace and at least two pair of lace holding means, wherein the effective girthwise tension of the shoe is set and controlled by means of one pair of lace holding means having a sufficiently small inside diameter to control the placement of the lace at the girthwise dimension preferred by the wearer.

2. The shoe construction of claim 1, wherein said lacing means are elastic.

3. The shoe construction of claim 2, wherein the elasticity of the lacing means is lengthwise.

4. The shoe construction of claim 2, wherein the elasticity of the lacing means is diametric.

5. The shoe construction of claim 1, wherein the girthwise tensional securing means comprise an eyelet having a sufficiently smaller inside diameter than that which would allow relatively friction-free movement of the lacing means passing therethrough, to hold at least a portion of the girthwise lacing means at a preferred tensional adjustment during the wearing use of the shoe.

6. The shoe construction of claim 1, wherein the effective ball to instep girth relationship of the shoe adjust to the foot of a particular wearer, in the wearing use thereof.

7. The shoe construction of claim 1, wherein the lace holding means are eyelets.

8. The shoe construction of claim 1, wherein the lace holding means are spring clips.

Patent History
Publication number: 20110047821
Type: Application
Filed: Aug 25, 2009
Publication Date: Mar 3, 2011
Inventor: Henri E. Rosen (Watertown, MA)
Application Number: 12/583,728
Current U.S. Class: Closure (36/50.1)
International Classification: A43C 11/00 (20060101);