Pneumatic Patents (Class 36/35B)
  • Patent number: 6127010
    Abstract: A shock absorbing cushioning device suitable for products, objects and footwear which is comprised of a compressible insert encapsulated within an elastomeric barrier member. The elastomeric barrier member is secured to the compressible insert by a plurality of tensile members having a first portion embedded in the elastomeric material and a second portion embedded in the compressible insert. The elastomeric member is also filled with a fluid, preferably a compressible gas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2000
    Assignee: Robert C. Bogert
    Inventor: Marion Franklin Rudy
  • Patent number: 6122844
    Abstract: A padded dress shoe is provided including a sole having a generally rigid heel portion defining an open top. The sole has an upper mounted thereon for forming an interior space in which a foot may be inserted. Further included is a flexible, thin planar shoe pad having a periphery with a size and shape similar to that of the sole. The shoe pad is situated on the sole within the shoe, thereby affording a closed compartment within the heel portion of the sole. A closed, impermeable cushioned bladder is situated within the compartment of the heel portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Inventor: Luis Alberto Nunez
  • Patent number: 6092309
    Abstract: A sole and heel structure is provided. The structure includes an outsole having interior and ground contacting surfaces, a pocket-forming midsole overlying the outsole having an outsole-facing surface and an interior surface, first and second bulges projecting from the interior surface of the midsole away from the ground contacting surface and defining first and second cavities opening at the outsole-facing surface. The first and second bulges respectively cooperate with substantially flat portions of the outsole to respectively define first and second pockets. The structure also includes a cushioning midsole having first and second holes and an outsole-facing surface and a foot-facing surface. The first and second bulges respectively project into the first and second holes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2000
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventor: Harry W. Edwards
  • Patent number: 6041519
    Abstract: A structure for ventilating a toe region of a shoe includes a body including in its heel zone two major walls and a resilient element having a multitude of voids arranged in a pumping chamber to urge the two walls apart against the action of external forces tending to draw air into the chamber. The resilient element includes a plurality of substantially dome-shaped hollow protuberances bounding respective first and second voids within and outside of them, respectively, and connecting portions that interconnect the protuberances. Respective connecting channels are provided in the connecting portions and in respective adjacent regions of the protuberances to establish communication between the first voids. A corrugated insert within the body aids ventilation and shock absorption. An extension on the body optimizes air transfer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Inventor: Peter S. C. Cheng
  • Patent number: 5987781
    Abstract: Sports footwear with a vamp, and a lower support part including a sole unit, the lower support part having a lower portion or treading sole for contacting the ground and an intersole overlying the treading sole, wherein within said support part there is present at least a first insert containing elements which deform elastically when subjected to pressure and which are enclosed within an air-containing sealed casing positioned corresponding with the heel region of the sole unit. A further insert is positioned corresponding with the metatarsal region of the foot and also includes a casing containing elements deformable when subjected to pressure. The deformable elements positioned in the insert corresponding with the heel region have a different response to pressure-stressing than the elements present in the insert corresponding with the metatarsal region of the foot.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1999
    Assignee: Global Sports Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Filippo Pavesi, King Chee Wong
  • Patent number: 5987780
    Abstract: An athletic shoe including an upper and a sole. The sole includes a cushioning bladder including a sealed, fluid-filled tube disposed about the perimeter of the shoe. In one embodiment, the bladder includes lateral and medial portions extending about the heel and forwardly towards the forefoot to define a central region occupying a substantial portion of the heel and forefoot of the shoe. No portion of the tube extends within the central region, which may be occupied by ambient air or by a second bladder or chamber which is not in fluid communication with the tube. In an alternative embodiment, the bladder includes a tube having lateral, medial and transverse portions, with the transverse portion extending between the medial and lateral portions at the instep area of the shoe, to define a central forefoot region. In a further alternative embodiment, both a central forefoot and a central heel area may be defined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1999
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert M. Lyden, Michael A. Aveni
  • Patent number: 5979078
    Abstract: A cushioned shoe sole includes an outer sole layer for contacting the ground surface, a midsole layer disposed above the outer sole layer and being formed of a resilient elastomeric material, and a bladder composite which includes a first bladder inflated with a first fluid medium and having a perimeter area and a second bladder element formed around the first bladder element perimeter area and encasing the first bladder element. The first and second bladder elements are positioned within the midsole layer. In a method for forming a cushioning device in accordance with the present invention a first bladder is formed from an elastomeric material to include an interior cavity defined within a perimeter of the bladder. The first bladder is inflated under pressure, sealed, and a second bladder is then formed from an elastomeric material around the first inflated bladder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1999
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventor: Ross A. McLaughlin
  • Patent number: 5975861
    Abstract: A pumping assembly for use in ventilating footwear includes a supporting plate having a first protrusion which is formed in a center portion of an upper surface thereof; front and rear check valves which are respectively formed forwardly and rearwardly the first protrusion portion; an exhaust pipe which is connected to the front check valve; an intake pipe which is connected to the rear check valve; a spring which has a lower end inserted into the first protrusion on the supporting plate; a curve-shaped hard plate having a second protrusion portion which is formed in a center portion of a bottom surface thereof and is inserted into an upper end of the spring; and an elastic cover which has elasticity and tensibility and covers the hard plate. The cover is bonded to the hard plate, whereby the hard plate descends in such a manner that maximum volume variation within the elastic cover can occur; when the upper rear portion of a foot pressurizes the hard plate and the elastic cover is pressed down.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Inventors: Bongseop Shin, Donggeon Kim, Seonjoon Kim, Seongog Cho, Kwangseog Park
  • Patent number: 5950332
    Abstract: A fluid circulating cushioned insole for a shoe includes a base panel and a top panel. A series of three cavities are molded into the panels including a heel c, an arch cavity and a metatarsal c. Three channels connect the cavities for circulating flow from the heel cavity to the arch cavity to the metatarsal cavity and back to the heel c. Each channel is equipped with a one-way flow valve constraining the fluid within the cavities and channels to uni-directional circulating flow to massage the foot during each step. The foot is also ventilated during each step by providing an open-bottomed pump cavity in the bottom surface of the base panel, which cavity is connected by at least one open-bottomed channel extending forwardly into fluid communication with a series of vent holes through the base panel. A matrix of branched channels connect each of the vent holes to the longitudinal channels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Inventor: Cheng Kung Lain
  • Patent number: 5939157
    Abstract: A shoe that conforms to foot contours and provides cushioning is comprised of a shoe sole and a shoe upper attached to the shoe sole. The shoe upper is comprised of an outer layer, an inner layer and a conforming layer therebetween, wherein a first portion of the conforming layer is comprised of environmentally-responsive gel. The environmentally-responsive gel is a temperature-responsive gel that will react to the heat emanating from a foot inserted into the shoe to express a liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 17, 1999
    Assignee: Acushnet Company
    Inventors: Bernie Allen, Neil M. Goldman
  • Patent number: 5937462
    Abstract: A self-inflatable air cushion which includes a support chamber mounted in a sole of a shoe and holding a fluid, a collapsible plenum chamber surrounded by the support chamber and partially protruding over the top of the sole and having a top air hole, passage means connected between the support chamber and the plenum chamber, and one-way valve mounted in the passage means to let air flow move in one direction from the plenum chamber to the support chamber upon compression of the plenum chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 17, 1999
    Inventor: Ing Chung Huang
  • Patent number: 5933982
    Abstract: A midsole construction includes a midsole sheet with toe and heel portions. An elastomeric resilient shock-absorbing block is embedded in the heel portion, and has a density higher than and is more rigid than the midsole sheet. The block includes an upright resilient surrounding wall, a plurality of cavities formed within the surrounding wall, and a plurality of upright resilient interior walls which are connected to the surrounding wall to confine the cavities. Preferably, the surrounding wall is substantially cylindrical. The interior walls include interior circular walls formed within the surrounding wall, and radial walls extending between the interior circular walls and the surrounding wall for enhanced provide great resilient and shock-absorbing effects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: Chang Yu Industrial Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Sung-Ho Chen
  • Patent number: 5933983
    Abstract: A shock-absorbing system for a shoe comprises an upper shell having a forefoot portion, a midfoot portion and a rearfoot portion; a sole unit having an insole, a midsole and an outsole, the midsole or outsole being formed with a depression; a cap member received in the depression formed in the sole unit while defining an inner space of a desired cross-section, the cap member having a plurality of cushioning arms which are spaced apart from each other and have a arch-shaped configuration; and a fluid-filled bladder member nested onto the plurality of cushioning arms of the cap member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Inventor: Jung-Hyo Jeon
  • Patent number: 5918383
    Abstract: A sports shoe insert is provided which includes a plurality of elastically deformable elements which extend vertically within a heel portion of a shoe wherein the deformable elements are shaped such that a substantially horizontal plane cross-section taken through each of the deformable elements is of a polygonal shape and a plurality of arm members respectively interconnect the deformable elements. The maximum cross-sectional area of the deformable elements is located in a central region thereof and at least the top portion of the deformable elements as a group form a concave seat for contact a heel portion of the person wearing the shoe. The arm members lie in a single substantially horizontal plane and interconnect the central portion of each of the deformable elements. The arm members and deformable elements form a plurality of interconnected triangular-shaped groupings as viewed from above. In addition, both the top portion and bottom portion of the deformable elements as a group may form a concave seat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 6, 1999
    Assignee: Fila U.S.A., Inc.
    Inventor: Wong King Chee
  • Patent number: 5916664
    Abstract: A method for inflating cushioning devices which comprise at least first and second distinct chambers having an interconnecting passage providing fluid communication between the chambers. The method comprises either: (1) limiting the volume of at least one of the chambers, filling the chambers with a fluid at a single inflation pressure from a single inflation point and sealing the interconnecting passage, or (2) filling the chambers with a fluid at a single inflation pressure from a single inflation point compressing at least one of the distinct chambers, and sealing the interconnecting passage. The method is particularly suited to manufacture of a footwear cushion comprised of a body of elastomeric material having a plurality of sealed non-communicating cells having a single inflation point. At least two cells sharing a single sealed inflation passage are at different pressures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 29, 1999
    Assignee: Robert C. Bogart
    Inventor: Marion Franklin Rudy
  • Patent number: 5901467
    Abstract: The construction of a shoe which includes shock attenuating members in the forefoot and heel thereof. The shock attenuating members in the heel of the shoe are in the form of a pair of vertically spaced, resilient cantilevered members, each of which comprises a substantially U-shaped air chamber having a load alignment surface for centering loads at heal strike while concurrently transferring peak loads to the outer perimeter of the cantilevered shock attenuating members. The forefoot shock attenuating member comprises a plurality of segmented air chambers in a planar relationship with each other disposed between the midsole and outsole at the forefoot thereof to properly balance and stabilize loads during running and concurrently maximize durability, cushioning and comfort.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 11, 1999
    Assignee: American Sporting Goods Corporation
    Inventors: William Peterson, Robert O. Dillon
  • Patent number: 5896678
    Abstract: A resilient sandal wedge usable with a sandal formed from a sole and a vamp such as retaining straps and the like and the sandal formed therewith, the wedge having a wedge-shaped body portion, a substantially flat bottom portion, a recess defining the junction of the body and bottom portions, and a plurality of recesses extending from the bottom portion lower surface through the bottom portion and partially through the body portion to provide a cushioning resiliency to the wedge when the sandal user applies pressure on the wedge while walking or running.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: totes Isotoner Corporation
    Inventor: Michael H. Ganon
  • Patent number: 5896681
    Abstract: A sole pad with shock-absorbing and massaging effects is provided with, on the underside thereof, a mounting recess including a first and second receiving cavities that are connected to each other by a connection groove. A pressure transmitter has a first massaging ball and a second massaging ball filled with liquid and in communication with each other by way of a tubular portion. The pressure transmitter is securely housed in the mounting recess. The first and second receiving cavities have respectively a through hole so as to permit the massaging balls of the pressure transmitter to outextend the surface of the sole pad for contact with a wearer's foot. Liquid filled in the pressure transmitter can move between the first and second massaging balls by way of the tubular portion when the wearer's foot exerts unbalanced pressure on the sole pad in walking so as to effect shock absorbing and massaging purpose at the same time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: Chan Jang Plastics Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Chin-Yi Lin
  • Patent number: 5896682
    Abstract: A shock-absorbing rib and sole mounting arrangement includes an insole having at least one through hole, a shock-absorbing rib, the shock-absorbing rib having a flat base layer, at least one flexible water chamber raised from the flat base layer and extended out of the insole through the at least one through hole, and a flexible packing element having a bottom side adhered to the flat base layer around the at least one flexible water chamber and a top side adhered to a bottom wall of the insole, and an outsole directly molded on the bottom wall of the insole over the shock-absorbing rib.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: Gnan-Jang Plastics Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Ghing-Yi Lin
  • Patent number: 5894683
    Abstract: A shock absorbing heel block which includes a heel block shell adhered to an outsole and arranged in flush with an insole on the outsole, the heel block shell having a bottom open chamber, and a hollow top wall formed of a convex upper layer curved outwards and a concave bottom layer curved inwards, the convex upper layer and the concave bottom layer defining an air chamber filled with air; and an elastomer fit into the bottom open chamber inside the heel block shell and adhered to the outsole, the elastomer having an oval recess at the top which receives the concave bottom layer of the top wall of the heel block shell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Gnan-Jang Plastics Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Chin Yi Lin
  • Patent number: 5860225
    Abstract: An energy-return pump chamber for footwear. A lateral cross-section of the chamber having rigid top and side portions with flexible top and side elbows between. A longitudinal cross-section of the chamber a flat bottom portion, a rear flat horizontal portion of the top and a downward-slanting front portion of the top down to the forward end of the flat bottom.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 19, 1999
    Assignee: Breeze Technology
    Inventor: James M. O'Dwyer
  • Patent number: 5829168
    Abstract: A step shock-absorbing raised shoe heel assembly, fashionably raised for ladies' and gentlemen's footwear, of a high-heeled shape or having a wedge shape, which consists of an inelastic, nonpliable rigid inner core body (1) and a springy elastic, rubber-flexible soft outer envelope (6), manufactured in one piece structure. The outer envelope (6) surrounds the core body (1) at least on three sides, namely around the circumferential side (102d) and the bottom (102b) or walking side (33). The core body (1) can also be enveloped on all sides, namely as well as on its upper side (102). The rigid inner core body (1) of the shoe heel assembly represents the stabilizing unit and the elastic outer envelope (6) represents the step shock absorbing unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 3, 1998
    Inventor: Ingeborg Fusaro
  • Patent number: 5826349
    Abstract: A ventilated shoe system for providing fresh air to the user's feet to aid in the control of perspiration and odors includes a plurality of resilient encasements positioned within the sole of a shoe, a plurality of check valves connected between the resilient encasements, an air intake connected to the resilient encasements, and a plurality of apertures projecting into the sole of the shoe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 27, 1998
    Inventor: Chauncey D. Goss
  • Patent number: 5794361
    Abstract: A footwear with its sole provided with a damper device, comprising a first reservoir with deformable but inextensible walls and containing a substantially incompressible fluid, in a position interposed between a plantar and a tread of said sole; a second reservoir, in contact with the first reservoir, with deformable but inextensible walls and containing a substantially compressible fluid, and a third reservoir with deformable but inextensible walls, which communicates with the first reservoir via a first passage of adjustable cross-section.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 18, 1998
    Assignee: Sadler S.A.S. Di Marc Sadler & C.
    Inventor: Marc Sadler
  • Patent number: 5787609
    Abstract: A footwear shock-absorbing device comprises a main body, at least one shock-absorbing body having a plurality of cavities, and a pliable base equal in number to the shock-absorbing body for sealing off the bottom openings of the cavities such that the pliable base and the cavities form jointly a plurality of the closed air cells capable of alleviating the shock.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1998
    Inventor: Andy Wu
  • Patent number: 5782014
    Abstract: An athletic shoe having a spring cushioned midsole assembly which is advantageous from a combined stability and impact absorption/energy dissipation standpoint. A preferred form of the invention includes a spring foam midsole unit having plural spaced projections in forefoot and heel regions, with an additional spring foam heel unit having projections facing the projections of the heel portion of the midsole unit. In addition, the central region of the midsole unit is substantially flat to provide sufficient support and stability, while also providing advantageous impact/force absorption and energy dissipation in the front and heel regions of the shoe. By providing spaced projections, in combination with a modulator or base portion having a substantial thickness, the projections can act independently with respect to one another and can interact with the modulator portion to provide an advantageous stable cushioning effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 21, 1998
    Assignee: K-Swiss Inc.
    Inventor: William R. Peterson
  • Patent number: 5761831
    Abstract: A shoe sole for use in training for improving the muscular strength of the lower extremities when jogging, running or just walking casually, has at least one contractible cavity formed in a heel portion thereof for supporting the heel, and small holes in left and right side walls for communicating with the cavity. The shoe sole promotes walking or running with the wearer's weight positioned forward, and thus, is effective for strengthening the muscles of the lower extremities. Shoes adopting such a shoe sole can be worn safely, since the impact from the ground is alleviated by a cushioning effect according to the contraction of the cavity when the wearer's weight is loaded onto the heel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 9, 1998
    Inventor: Myeong-eon Cho
  • Patent number: 5718063
    Abstract: A shoe is provided with a cushioning element, preferably a heel strike cushioning element for a sole portion of the shoe. The cushioning element includes a first chamber having substantially transparent flexible walls filled for example, with a liquid or gel cushioning material. A second chamber is provided having gas impervious, preferably substantially transparent walls which receive therebetween and enclose a portion of the first chamber. The first chamber is seated over the second chamber to form a gas filled cell between the walls of the enclosed portion of the first chamber and the walls of the second chamber. Preferably, a plurality of ribs project from the walls of the second chamber into the gas filled cell to form a plurality of gas filled pockets between the ribs, and the walls of the enclosed portion of the first chamber and the second chamber. The second chamber of the cushioning element is disposed over the sole portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1998
    Assignee: ASICS Corporation
    Inventors: Yoshio Yamashita, Kiyomitsu Kurosaki
  • Patent number: 5678328
    Abstract: A shoe sole and heel structure is provided. The structure includes an outsole having interior and exterior surfaces, and a bulge projecting from the exterior surface, with the bulge defining a first cavity opening at the interior surface. The structure also includes a midsole overlying the outsole. The midsole has an outsole-facing surface and a foot-facing surface and a second cavity opening at the outsole-facing surface. The first cavity cooperates with a portion of the midsole to define a first pocket and the second cavity cooperates with a portion of the outsole to define a second pocket. The structure also includes a passageway disposed between the first and second pockets for fluid communication between the first pocket and the second pocket.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 21, 1997
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventors: Karl M. Schmidt, Stuart E. Jenkins, Harry W. Edwards, George S. Cole
  • Patent number: 5679439
    Abstract: A generally U-shaped bulge having a bight portion and elongated leg portions and defining a correspondingly-shaped cavity is molded into the heel portion and/or the metatarsal portion of the outer bottom member of a shoe, the cavities tapering in depth and width from the bight portion to the distal ends of the leg portions. The bulge is disposed and oriented so as to provide a cushioning and lifting effect, and the leg portions are spaced apart a distance substantially greater than their width and are disposed closer to the peripheral edge of the member than to the longitudinal axis thereof for providing improved lateral stability. The bulges may communicate with associated cavities by narrow passageways or may function independently of other bulge structures formed in the member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 21, 1997
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventors: Karl M. Schmidt, Stuart E. Jenkins, George S. Cole
  • Patent number: 5664341
    Abstract: A shoe sole and heel construction is provided. The construction includes a structure having an exterior ground-contacting surface, a flexible bulge formed in the structure and projecting from the exterior ground-contacting surface for contact with the ground in use and defining a first pocket. The construction also includes a second resiliently expansible pocket formed in the structure and disposed to avoid contact with the ground in use and a passageway formed in the structure and communicating with each of the first and second pockets. Fluid is permanently confined in a space jointly defined by the pockets and the passageway whereby when an external force is applied to the bulge, fluid is forced from the first pocket through the passageway to expand the second pocket and when the external force is removed, the expanded second pocket resiliently forces fluid back to the first pocket.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 9, 1997
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventors: Karl M. Schmidt, Stuart E. Jenkins, Harry W. Edwards
  • Patent number: 5655315
    Abstract: A cushioned, height-adjustable shoe has a hollow for receiving a wearer's foot, the hollow defined by a base on which the wearer's foot rests and an enclosure surrounding at least a portion of the wearer's foot; and within the hollow, an inflatable bladder associated with the base for lifting the wearer's foot to a degree determined by the amount of inflation. The bladder has a collapsable wall that may include pleats. In one embodiment, the bladder is wedge-shaped with a maximum height along the rear (heel) segment, and is disposed between the sole of the shoe and a soft but relatively thin foot pad so as to be invisible during use. In a second embodiment, the bladder constitutes the sole of the shoe, and once again is is defined peripherally by a set of expandable pleats. The bladder is accessed for inflation by means of a pump located beneath the shoe pad.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 12, 1997
    Inventor: Randolph J. Mershon
  • Patent number: 5598645
    Abstract: A shoe sole having a sole plate with a ground-engaging side having inflatable tube elements secured thereto. The shoe sole also includes upstanding lateral support walls that define a chamber or an installation space which is in communication with the tube elements by means of inflation openings. Also disposed in the installation space is a valve housing, a miniature pump, and connecting conduits connecting the pump to the inflation openings. The tube elements are provided along medial and lateral edges of the sole, and in the heel region. In addition, the tube elements are inflatable separately from each other so that it is possible to individually adjust the tread characteristics of a shoe provided with the shoe sole. The tube elements further include a longitudinal partition which divides the interior thereof into two air chambers which communicate with each other through at least one opening in the longitudinal partition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 4, 1997
    Assignee: Adidas AB
    Inventor: Otmar Kaiser
  • Patent number: 5595004
    Abstract: An athletic shoe including an upper and a sole. The sole includes a cushioning bladder including a sealed, fluid-filled tube disposed about the perimeter of the shoe. In one embodiment, the bladder includes lateral and medial portions extending about the heel and forwardly towards the forefoot to define a central region occupying a substantial portion of the heel and forefoot of the shoe. No portion of the tube extends within the central region, which may be occupied by ambient air or by a second bladder or chamber which is not in fluid communication with the tube. In an alternative embodiment, the bladder includes a tube having lateral, medial and transverse portions, with the transverse portion extending between the medial and lateral portions at the instep area of the shoe, to define a central forefoot region. In a further alternative embodiment, both a central forefoot and a central heel area may be defined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1994
    Date of Patent: January 21, 1997
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert M. Lyden, Michael A. Aveni
  • Patent number: 5572804
    Abstract: A high polymer resin material is configured into a shoe sole component having a plurality of inwardly extending indentations in one or both of the top and bottom members of the component. The indentations extend into the interval between the members and adjacent to the opposite member to provide support members for the sole component. The sole component can be constructed by molding upper and lower sole component halves wherein the molds are configured to provide indentations in the top and bottom members. The upper and lower sole component halves are then joined to complete the sole component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 1993
    Date of Patent: November 12, 1996
    Assignee: Retama Technology Corp.
    Inventors: Joseph J. Skaja, Martyn R. Shorten
  • Patent number: 5564202
    Abstract: A sole and viscoelastic sole insert for footwear having an insert filled with an alternating configuration of gel and gas filled cells is provided. The impact response can be varied by altering the ratio of gas-filled to gel-filled cells or by altering the pressure under which the cells and/or pellets are filled with gas or gel. In similar fashion, an insert incorporating one or more springs may provide a number of impact responses by varying the number of springs and/or the spring design parameters. Advantageously, the inserts can be adapted to be readily removable from the sole so that the wearer can change the insert to provide a "universal" shoe ideally suited for a variety of applications and wearer preferences.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 1994
    Date of Patent: October 15, 1996
    Inventor: Reuben Hoppenstein
  • Patent number: 5545463
    Abstract: A plurality of bulges is molded into the heel portion or metatarsal portion of the bottom member of a shoe, the bulges respectively defining cavities. At least one restricted passageway is molded into the portion between the cavities. A sealing member is attached to the outer member by adhesive, whereby air at atmospheric pressure is permanently located in the space jointly defined by the passageway and the cavities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1996
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventors: Karl M. Schmidt, Michelle R. Schmidt, George S. Cole, Stuart E. Jenkins, Harry W. Edwards
  • Patent number: 5524364
    Abstract: A shoe sole and heel member has a sole portion and a heel portion. Bulges are molded into the heel portion and the metatarsal region of the sole portion defining heel and metatarsal cavities. Passageways between the cavities enable air to move back and forth therebetween. A sealing member is attached to the sole and heel member to hermetically seal the air in the cavities and the passageways. In one embodiment, a single U-shaped heel cavity communicates with a single metatarsal cavity through a Y-shaped passageway. Rigid stabilizers laterally flank the cavity-defining bulges. In another embodiment the heel cavity has forward and rearward portions interconnected by a narrow channel, the portions respectively communicating through separate passageways with opposite sides of the metatarsal cavity, with oppositely-directed one-way valves in the passageways. In a third embodiment, there are two separate metatarsal cavities and two separate heel cavities respectively intercommunicating through two passageways.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 11, 1996
    Assignee: Energaire Corporation
    Inventors: George S. Cole, Harry W. Edwards, Stuart E. Jenkins, Karl M. Schmidt
  • Patent number: 5493791
    Abstract: A midsole, partial midsole, or the like, for inclusion in an article of footwear having a flexible, air-permeable top sole, characterized by at least one plug in the heel region having a thickness (height) sufficient to permit significant compression deformation along its thickness dimension accompanied by simultaneous significant bulging deformation in its circumscribing surface perpendicular to the thickness dimension; the deformations occurring solely due to normal walking activity by any wearer of the footwear; and the deformations thereby providing simultaneously for shock-absorption and ventilation during said normal walking activity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 1993
    Date of Patent: February 27, 1996
    Inventor: Hy Kramer
  • Patent number: 5406661
    Abstract: A thermoplastic bladder and pump combination comprises three coextensive superposed layers of thermoplastic material peripherally sealed to one another to thereby form a bladder having upper and lower co-extensive air chambers. The upper chamber is defined by the upper and intermediate layers and the lower chamber is defined by the intermediate and lower layers. The lower chamber is permanently inflated at the time of manufacture or assembly into a final product and the fluid pressure in the upper chamber can be modulated by the user who may alternately inflate and deflate the chamber by using an integral pump and release valve which are each disposed on the upper layer. The lower chamber may be filled using a thermoplastic intake check valve sealed between the layers defining that chamber and the superposed layers may be peripherally fused together, as by heat sealing or the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 18, 1995
    Assignee: Reebok International Ltd.
    Inventor: Robert W. Pekar
  • Patent number: 5406719
    Abstract: A cushioning element for use in a shoe is disclosed. The cushioning element includes four fluid-filled support chambers which are compressible but not collapsible, and which are disposed at different locations throughout the midsole of the shoe. The element also includes four variable volume fluid reservoir chambers which are collapsible to reduce the volume thereof. The reservoir chambers are controllably linked in fluid communication with the support chambers so as to be selectively in full communication with or isolated from the support chambers. By selectively isolating one or more of the reservoir chambers from one or more of the support chambers, and collapsing the isolated chamber, fluid may be moved from one support chamber to another at a different location, thereby increasing the stiffness of the midsole at a selected location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 18, 1995
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel R. Potter
  • Patent number: 5384977
    Abstract: Improved sports footwear which includes an insert positioned at least in the heel region of a shoe, the insert including an elastically deformable cellular structure arranged within an elastically deformable air-impermeable casing provided with inner projections on opposing faces. The casing is pneumatically connected to controllable mechanism, rigid with the footwear, for varying the air pressure within the casing so as to modify the elastic characteristics of the insert. Each projection on one face thereof is connected to a face portion of an opposing projection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1993
    Date of Patent: January 31, 1995
    Assignee: Global Sports Technologies Inc.
    Inventor: Wong K. Chee
  • Patent number: 5363570
    Abstract: The present invention pertains to a shoe sole containing a cushioning fluid filled bladder and a clip holding the bladder in a set position in the shoe sole and providing enhanced lateral and medial stability to the sole.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 15, 1994
    Assignee: Converse Inc.
    Inventors: Bernie Allen, Aaron Azevedo, Eckhard Knoepke, Neal F. X. Kimball, Philip L. Blake, John A. Hayes, John A. Healy, Christopher J. Edington
  • Patent number: 5353523
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a midsole for a shoe including one or more foam columns disposed between an upper and a lower plate. One or more elastomeric foam elements are disposed between the upper and lower plates. The foam elements are made of a material such as microcellular polyurethane-elastomer based on a polyester-alcohol and naphthalene-diisocyanate (NDI). In one embodiment, the foam, elements have the shape of hollow cylindrical columns, and may include grooves formed on the exterior surface. One or more elastic rings are disposed about the columns and are removably disposable in the grooves, allowing the stiffness of the columns to be adjusted. In a further embodiment, inflatable gas bladders are disposed in the hollow regions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 11, 1994
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventors: Bruce J. Kilgore, Thomas McMahon, John C. Tawney, Gordon Valiant
  • Patent number: 5343639
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a midsole for a shoe including one or more foam columns disposed between an upper and a lower plate. One or more elastomeric foam elements are disposed between the upper and lower plates. The foam elements are made of a material such as microcellular polyurethane-elastomer based on a polyester-alcohol and naphthalene-disocyanate (NDI). In one embodiment, the foam elements have the shape of hollow cylindrical columns, and may include grooves formed on the exterior surface. One or more elastic rings are disposed about the columns and are removably disposable in the grooves, allowing the stiffness of the columns to be adjusted. In a further embodiment, inflatable gas bladders are disposed in the hollow regions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 1993
    Date of Patent: September 6, 1994
    Assignee: Nike, Inc.
    Inventors: Bruce J. Kilgore, Thomas McMahon, John C. Tawney, Gordon Valiant
  • Patent number: 5313717
    Abstract: A reactive energy fluid filled cushioning and stabilizing apparatus in a shoe is comprised of one or more anatomically shaped fluid filled bladders that are positioned in the forefoot, arch and/or heel areas of the shoe. The bladders assume a complementary custom fitting configuration to the contours of a foot inserted in the shoe. In variant embodiments of the apparatus, the fluid filled bladders are positioned separate from each other in the forefoot, arch and heel areas of the shoe and are interconnected in fluid communication by fluid conducting channels, or the bladders are positioned independent of each other in the forefoot, arch and heel areas of the shoe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 1991
    Date of Patent: May 24, 1994
    Assignee: Converse Inc.
    Inventors: Bernie Allen, Douglas E. Clark, Christopher J. Edington, Rui Parracho, Eric Swartz
  • Patent number: 5233767
    Abstract: A midsole, partial midsole, or the like, for inclusion in an article of footwear having a flexible, air-permeable top sole, characterized by at least one plug in the heel region having a thickness (height) sufficient to permit significant compression deformation along its thickness dimension accompanied by simultaneous significant bulging deformation in its circumscribing surface perpendicular to the thickness dimension; the deformations occurring solely due to normal walking activity by any wearer of the footwear; and the deformations thereby providing simultaneously for shock-absorption and ventilation during said normal walking activity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1991
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1993
    Inventor: Hy Kramer
  • Patent number: 5228156
    Abstract: A fluid operated device comprises a casing having an enclosing wall which is rigid at least in part to maintain a volume of said casing; a squeeze unit securely provided in said casing and having a squeezable wall confining a space; a fluid operating chamber formed in said casing around said squeezable wall to receive a first fluid which pressurizes said squeezable wall to perform a squeezing action; said enclosing wall further having at least one opening communicated with said space.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 1992
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1993
    Inventor: John Wang
  • Patent number: 5224278
    Abstract: A midsole having a bellows type of shock absorbing air bag and a method for preparation of such a midsole. The present midsole comprises a hexahedral-shaped air bag for absorbing an outer shock and comprising upper and lower parts which are provided with a plurality of vertical bellows members, a plurality of elastic bodies for providing elasticity for the air bag and being received in each bellow member, a plurality of upper and lower caps for causing the elastic bodies to maintain their positions in the bellows members and being mounted on the air bag as engaging with an open end of each bellows member, an air control valve for controlling air charge in or air discharge from the air bag and an air communication pipe for permitting the air bag to communicate with the air control valve by being connected at an end thereof to the air bag and at the other end to the air control valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 1992
    Date of Patent: July 6, 1993
    Inventor: Pil D. Jeon
  • Patent number: 5220737
    Abstract: A shoe sole having improved lateral and medial stability is comprised of a shoe sole formed from a material having a predetermined hardness and one or more stabilizer apparatus contained in the shoe sole, the stabilizer apparatus being formed from a material having a hardness different or the same as the hardness of the shoe sole. The stabilizer apparatus are formed with opposed support wall sections that are positioned adjacent the sidewalls of the shoe sole and resist the compression of the midsole in the areas adjacent the opposite left and right sidewalls. The spacing of the stabilizer support walls at the opposite left and right sides of the midsole prevents the support walls from appreciably affecting the cushioning ability of the portion of the midsole between the stabilizer sidewalls.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1991
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1993
    Assignee: Converse Inc.
    Inventor: Christopher J. Edington