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United States Patent Application 20040145128
Kind Code A1
Couderc, Bernard July 29, 2004

Device for retaining a boot on a sports apparatus

Abstract

A device for retaining a boot on a sports apparatus. The device has a lateral portion and a medial portion demarcating a zone for receiving the boot. At least one strap is connected to each of the portions. For at least one of the lateral and medial portions of the strap, a separation mechanism is provided for separation, at least partially, the lateral and/or medial portion from the receiving zone when the lateral and/or medial portion moves away from a reference position.


Inventors: Couderc, Bernard; (Annecy, FR)
Correspondence Address:
    GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C.
    1950 ROLAND CLARKE PLACE
    RESTON
    VA
    20191
    US
Assignee: SALOMON S.A.
Metz-Tessy
FR

Serial No.: 740445
Series Code: 10
Filed: December 22, 2003

Current U.S. Class: 280/11.3; 280/809
Class at Publication: 280/011.3; 280/809
International Class: A63C 001/02; A63C 001/04


Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Dec 23, 2002FR02.16738

Claims



What is claimed is:

1. A device for retaining a boot on a sports apparatus, the device comprising: a lateral portion and a medial portion demarcating a zone for receiving the boot; at least one strap connected to each of the lateral and medial portions by a lateral fastener and by a medial fastener, at least one of the lateral and medial fasteners allowing a movement of a lateral or medial portion of the strap with respect to the lateral or medial portion; each of the lateral and medial portions of the strap occupying a reference position with respect to the lateral or medial portion when the strap is tightened to retain the boot; a separation mechanism for at least one of the lateral and medial portions of the strap to separate, at least partially, the lateral and/or medial portion from the receiving zone when the lateral and/or medial portion moves away from the reference position.

2. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: for at least one strap, each of the lateral and medial portions of the strap has a separation mechanism.

3. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: for each strap, each of the lateral and medial portions of the strap has a separation mechanism.

4. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: the lateral portion and the medial portion of the device are a lateral flange and a medial flange, respectively; at least one of the lateral fasteners is made in the form of an articulation; each separation mechanism has a lateral or medial cam affixed to the lateral or medial flange, each cam being contained in a plane of a lateral fastener end or a medial fastener end of a strap when the lateral or medial portion is in the reference position.

5. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: the lateral portion and the medial portion of the device are a lateral flange and a medial flange, respectively; at least one of the lateral and medial fasteners is made in the form of an articulation; each separation mechanism has a lateral or medial cam affixed to the lateral or medial portion of the strap, each lateral or medial cam being contained in the plane of the lateral or medial flange when the lateral or medial portion is in the reference position.

6. A retaining device according to claim 5, wherein: each cam is made in the form of a protuberance projecting toward the receiving zone; wherein each lateral and medial portion of the strap is attached to the side of the lateral or medial flange opposite the receiving zone.

7. A retaining device according to claim 5, wherein: the cam and the portion of the strap form a unitary element.

8. A retaining device according to claim 4, wherein: each cam has variations in curvature that cause a reversible deformation of the portion of the strap.

9. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: the separation mechanism has an articulation with an axis forming, with a longitudinal direction of the device, an angle not equal to 90.degree., the angle being measured in the plane of the sole of the boot when the boot is retained in the device.

10. A retaining device according to claim 1, further comprising: a base bordered with lateral and medial flanges, respectively, the lateral and medial flanges being the lateral and medial portions of the device.

11. A retaining device according to claim 1, wherein: a lateral and/or medial portion of a strap has a zone for weakening in flexion.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is based upon French Patent Application No. 02.16738, filed Dec. 23, 2002, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety and the priority of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. .sctn.119.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to a device for retaining a boot on a sports apparatus, for which the boot is retained on the sports apparatus by means of at least one strap.

[0004] Such devices are used for snowboarding, snow skiing, water skiing, snowshoeing, roller skating, and for other sports.

[0005] 2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

[0006] A device with straps according to the prior art generally has a lateral flange and a medial flange that demarcate between them a zone for receiving the boot, as well as at least one strap connected to each of the lateral and medial flanges by a lateral fastener and by a medial fastener. At least one of the lateral and medial fasteners allows a rotational movement of a lateral portion or movement of a medial portion of the strap, along an axis substantially perpendicular to the lateral or medial flange. Each of the lateral and medial portions of the strap occupies an angular reference position when the strap is tightened to retain the boot. In fact, the strap adapts to the form of the boot.

[0007] The strap can be open in order to put the boot on or take the boot off.

[0008] If the strap is made of one piece, its opening occurs by separating a lateral or medial portion with respect to the flange to which it is attached.

[0009] If the strap is made of several pieces, its opening occurs by separating portions one with respect to the other.

[0010] It has often been observed, after opening, that the strap or each portion of the strap tends to conserve the actual curved form during the tightening of the boot. This is essentially due to the structure and the relatively rigid nature of the materials generally used.

[0011] For instance, a toothed portion, that is used to adjust the length of the strap, is made of a molded plastic material. The toothed portion has a curvature that allows it to be better pressed against the boot to tighten it.

[0012] After opening, the portions of the strap naturally occupy the zone for receiving the boot between the flanges, which hinders putting the boot on and taking it off. A user must manually separate the constituent portions of the strap at least in order to put the boot on. If he does not do so, the boot takes support between the flanges by pushing the portion(s) of the strap under the sole, whereas each portion should be above the upper.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] An object of the invention in particular is to facilitate putting the boot on and taking it off by reducing, even eliminating, the discomfort caused by the portion(s) of the strap.

[0014] To this end, the invention includes a device for retaining a boot on a sports apparatus, the device having a lateral portion and a medial portion demarcating a zone for receiving the boot, as well as at least one strap connected to each of the lateral and medial portions by a lateral fastener and by a medial fastener, at least one of the lateral and medial fasteners allowing a movement of a lateral or medial portion of the strap with respect to the lateral or medial portion, each of the lateral and medial portions of the strap occupying a reference position with respect to the lateral or medial portion when the strap is tightened to retain the boot.

[0015] For at least one of the lateral and medial portions of the strap, the device of the invention includes a separation mechanism that separates, at least partially, the lateral and/or medial portion from the receiving zone, when the lateral and/or medial portion moves away from the reference position.

[0016] When the strap is open, the portion(s) constituting it can be displaced with respect to the portion, for example, rotationally toward the rear or toward the front of the device. During the displacement, in this case the rotation, the separation mechanism separates the portion(s) outside of the receiving zone. As a result, the passage of the boot between the portions is facilitated. The discomfort caused by each strap portion is reduced, even non-existent. It is easier to put the boot on.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] Other features and advantages of the invention will be better understood by means of the following description, given with reference to the attached drawings showing, by way of non-limiting examples, how the invention can be achieved, and in which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a retaining device according to a first embodiment of the invention, with the straps closed;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a cross-section along the line II-II of FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a top view of the device according to FIG. 1, with the straps open and separated from the zone for receiving the boot;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a partial view similar to FIG. 2, for a second embodiment;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a retaining device according to a third embodiment of the invention, with the straps closed;

[0023] FIG. 6 is a top view of the device according to FIG. 5, with the straps open and separated from the zone for receiving the boot;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a partial view of the top of a retaining device according to a fourth embodiment, with the straps open;

[0025] FIG. 8 is a cross-section along the line VIII-VIII of FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] Although the examples described hereinbelow relate more particularly to the field of snowboarding, it is to be understood that they also apply to other fields as mentioned above.

[0027] The first example is described with reference to FIGS. 1-3.

[0028] As seen in FIG. 1, a retaining device 1 allows for a boot (not shown) to be removably retained on a board 2.

[0029] As known, the retaining device 1 has a base 3 that extends longitudinally between a rear end 4 and a front end 5.

[0030] The base 3 has an upper surface 6 provided to be facing the sole of the boot, and a lower surface 7 provided to be above the board.

[0031] The base 3 is retained to the board 2 by a means shown in the form of a disk 10 that is itself retained on the board 2 by screws 11.

[0032] Other means for retaining the base 3 could alternatively be provided according to the invention.

[0033] The base 3 is bordered laterally with a lateral flange 12 and a medial flange 13, each of the flanges 12, 13 being a lateral or medial portion, respectively, of the device 1. When the boot is positioned on the device 1, the flanges 12, 13 laterally extend along the sole. The flanges 12, 13 are connected by an arch 14 (see FIG. 3, for example) in the area of the rear end 4.

[0034] The base 3, the flanges 12, 13, and the arch 14 can take the form a unitary element made from a synthetic material, for example. It could be provided, however, for the flanges or the arch to be elements affixed to the base by any other means, such as with an adhesive, welding, screws, nesting, or other means.

[0035] A rear support element 15 allows for a user to be supported rearwardly with the lower leg. The rear support element 15 is affixed to the flanges 12, 13, for example, by means of an articulation connection 16.

[0036] Two straps are also provided for removably retaining the boot on the base 3, between the flanges 12, 13, in a receiving zone 17.

[0037] A first strap 20 is located toward the front, in the area of the metatarsophalangeal articulation of the foot when the foot is retained. A second strap 21 is located toward the rear, in the area of the instep of the foot when the foot is retained.

[0038] Each of the straps 20, 21 extend transversely between the flanges 12, 13.

[0039] A different number of straps could also be provided.

[0040] For reasons of convenience, only one of the straps is described hereinafter in a detailed manner.

[0041] For example, the first strap 20 is shown in the form of an association of two portions, which are a lateral portion 22 and a medial portion 23.

[0042] A connection arrangement is provided to removably connect the lateral portion 22 and the medial portion 23 together. This arrangement has a ratchet tightening mechanism 24, for example, fixed in the area of a free end 25 of the medial portion 23. The connection arrangement also has a series of teeth 26 configured on the lateral portion 22.

[0043] By acting on a lever 30 of the mechanism 24, it is possible to tighten the strap 20 by bringing the free end 25 of the medial portion 23 close toward the lateral flange 12. By acting on a button 31 of the mechanism 24, it is possible to untighten the first strap 20, or even to open it. In this last case, the lateral 22 and medial 23 portions are separated.

[0044] Other constructions could be provided for connecting the lateral 22 and medial 23 portions.

[0045] As seen better in FIG. 2, the first strap 20 is connected to each of the lateral 12 and medial 13 flanges by a lateral fastener 32 for the lateral portion 22, and by a medial fastener 33 for the medial portion 23.

[0046] Each lateral portion 22 and medial portion 23 is attached to the side of the lateral flange 12 or medial flange 13 opposite the receiving zone 17.

[0047] Each of the fasteners 32, 33 is shown in the form of an articulation having, for example, a screw, a rivet, or a journal with or without a washer, or other. Other fastener structures could be provided.

[0048] Thus, each of the fasteners 32, 33 allows a rotational movement of the associated portion 22, 23 of the strap 20, with respect to the lateral flange 12 or medial flange 13, along a lateral axis 34 or medial axis 35 substantially perpendicular to the lateral flange 12 or medial flange 13. Next, the first strap can be tilted forwardly or rearwardly of the device 1. When the strap 20 is tightened about the boot, it is naturally put in a reference position which, in this case, is an angular position. This position is the one for which the first strap 20 takes support in a substantially homogeneous manner on the boot. It then covers a portion of the upper by being closely pressed thereto.

[0049] According to the invention, for at least one of the lateral 22 and medial 23 portions of the strap 20, a separation mechanism separates, at least partially, the lateral 22 and/or medial 23 portion from the receiving zone, when the lateral 22 and/or medial 23 portion moves away from the reference position.

[0050] This situation is shown in FIG. 3.

[0051] Each of the straps 20, 21 is open, and their respective lateral 22 and medial 23 portions are displaced in rotation toward the front. This allowed the lateral 22 and medial 23 portions to be brought closer toward the plane containing the base 3.

[0052] According to the first embodiment of the invention, the separation mechanism of the lateral portion 22 of the first strap has a lateral cam 40 affixed to the lateral portion 22.

[0053] The lateral cam 40 is shown in the form of a protuberance projecting toward the receiving zone 17. The lateral cam 40 is located in the proximity of a fastener end 41 of the lateral portion 22.

[0054] The lateral cam 40 is contained in the plane of the lateral flange 12, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, when the lateral portion 22 is in the reference position. When the lateral portion 22 turns toward the base 3, as seen in FIG. 3, the lateral cam 40 takes support on the lateral flange 12. A cam surface 42 of the lateral cam 40 has variations in curvature that causes a reversible deformation of the lateral portion 22 during its rotation about the lateral axis 34. More precisely, the lateral cam 40 causes a flexion of the fastener end 41. Through this localized flexion, a free end 43 of the lateral portion 22 is moved away from the medial flange 13 or from the receiving zone 17. This spacing allows an easier passage of the boot to enter the receiving zone 17, or to exit therefrom.

[0055] When the lateral portion 22 is returned to the reference position to cover the boot, the free end 43 returns toward the medial flange 13 or toward the receiving zone 17. The return occurs naturally without any particular bias. The cam 40 simultaneously returns to the plane of the flange 12.

[0056] According to the first example, the lateral cam 40 and the lateral portion 22 form a unitary element. However, the cam 40 could be provided to be affixed to the lateral portion 22 by any means, such as gluing, screwing, riveting, stitching, or any other equivalent means.

[0057] The lateral cam 40 and the lateral portion 22 are made, for example, from a synthetic material implemented by any technique known to one skilled in the art. It can be a material having an acetyl-butadiene-styrene, a polyurethane, a polyamid, a polypropylene, or other.

[0058] It is to be noted that the separation phenomenon of the lateral portion 22 occurs when the portion 22 turns forwardly as well as when it turns rearwardly of the retaining device 1.

[0059] Compared to the lateral portion 22, the mechanism for separating the medial portion 23 from the first strap 20 has a medial cam 50 affixed to the medial portion 23.

[0060] Here again, the medial cam 50 is shown in the form of a protuberance projecting toward the receiving zone 17. The medial cam 50 is located in the vicinity of a fastener end 51 of the medial portion 23.

[0061] The medial cam 50 is contained in the plane of the medial flange 13, as seen in FIG. 2, when the medial portion 23 is in the reference position. When the medial portion 23 turns toward the base 3, as seen in FIG. 3, the medial cam 50 takes support on the medial flange 13. A cam surface 52 of the medial cam 50 has variations in curvature that cause a reversible deformation of the medial portion 23 during its rotation about the medial axis 35. More specifically, the medial cam 50 causes a flexion of the fastener end 51. Because of this localized flexion, the free end 25 of the medial portion 23 is moved away from the lateral flange 12 or from the receiving zone 17. Here again, the spacing allows an easier passage of the boot to enter the receiving zone 17, or to exit therefrom.

[0062] Once again, when the medial portion 23 is returned to the reference position to cover the boot, the free end 25 returns toward the lateral flange 12 or toward the receiving zone 17. The cam 50 simultaneously returns to the plane of the flange 13.

[0063] Once again, the medial cam 50 and the medial portion 23 preferably form a unitary element.

[0064] The medial portion 23 is preferably provided with a padding 53 adapted to take support on the boot.

[0065] Here again, the phenomenon for separating the medial portion 23 occurs when the portion 23 turns forwardly as well as when it turns rearwardly of the retaining device 1.

[0066] With regard to the second strap 21, its structure has a lateral portion 60 with a lateral cam 61, as well as a medial portion 62 with a medial cam 63. What is valid for the first strap 20 also holds true for the second strap 21.

[0067] The other embodiments of the invention will be described hereinafter. For reasons of convenience, it is primarily their specific characteristics that will be shown.

[0068] For the second example, a retaining device has a base 65 and a medial flange 66. A medial portion 67 of a strap is attached to the medial flange 66 by a fastener 68. Compared to the first example, the medial portion 67 of the strap has a zone for weakening in flexion 69. This zone 69 is shown in the form of a groove, preferably oriented substantially in a transverse direction of the medial portion 67. Nevertheless, other means for weakening in flexion could be provided.

[0069] The weakening zone 69 facilitates the separation and the repositioning of the medial portion 67 when it is displaced with respect to its reference position.

[0070] Other strap portions of a device which have a zone for weakening in flexion can be provided.

[0071] For the third example, according to FIGS. 5 and 6, a retaining device 70 has a base 71 edged with a lateral flange 72 and with a medial flange 73. Here again, the flanges 72, 73 are a lateral or medial portion, respectively, of the device 70. A first strap 74 and a second strap 75 are provided to retain a boot between the flanges 72, 73 in a receiving zone 76.

[0072] The first strap 74 has a lateral portion 80 and a medial portion 81, connected to the flanges 72, 73 by a lateral fastener 82 and by a medial fastener 83, respectively. Similarly, the second strap 75 has a lateral portion 84 and a medial portion 85 connected to the flanges 72, 73, respectively, by a lateral fastener 86 and a medial fastener 87. Each of the fasteners is made in the form of an articulation.

[0073] According to the invention, for at least one of the lateral 80, 84 and medial 81, 85 portions of a strap 74, 75, a separation mechanism separates, at least partially, the lateral 80, 84 and/or medial 81, 85 portion from the receiving zone 76, when the lateral 80, 84 and/or medial 81, 85 portion moves away from the reference position.

[0074] According to the third embodiment of the invention, each mechanism for separating a lateral 80, 84 or medial 81, 85 portion of a strap 74, 75 has a lateral cam 90, 91 or a medial cam 92, 93, respectively, affixed to a lateral flange 72 or to a medial flange 73.

[0075] Each cam 90, 91, 92, 93 is shown in the form of a protuberance projecting from a side of the flange 72, 73 opposite the receiving zone 76. Each cam 90, 91, 92, 93 is located in the vicinity of and in front of a fastener 82, 83, 86, 87, respectively, of a strap 74, 75.

[0076] Each cam 90, 91, 92, 93 is contained in a plane of a lateral fastener end 94, 95 or of a medial fastener end 96, 97 of a strap 74, 75. When a portion 80, 81, 84, 85 of a strap 74, 75 turns forwardly toward the base 71, as is the case in FIG. 6, the portion 80, 81, 84, 85 takes support on the cam 90, 91, 92, 93. A cam surface 100, 101, 102, 103 of each lateral 90, 91 or medial 92, 93 cam, respectively, has variations in curvature that cause a reversible deformation of a portion 80, 81, 84, 85 of the strap 74, 75 during its rotation toward the base 71. Each deformation of a portion of the strap frees up space in the receiving zone 76.

[0077] The return of a portion of the strap 80, 81, 84, 85 toward the reference position translates into a return in the receiving zone 76.

[0078] According to the third example, each lateral 90, 91 or medial 92, 93 cam forms a unitary element with the corresponding flange 72, 73. It can be provided nonetheless that the cam be affixed to the flange by any means.

[0079] For the fourth example, according to FIGS. 7 and 8, a retaining device 120 is shown only in part.

[0080] In FIG. 7, one can see a base 121 edged with a lateral flange 122, as well as a receiving zone 123, a rear arch 124, a rear support element 125, and a lateral portion 126 of a strap 127. The lateral portion 126 is attached to the lateral flange 122, in the area of its fastener end 128, by an articulation 129 having an axis 130.

[0081] According to the invention, a separation mechanism separates, at least partially, the lateral portion 126 from the receiving zone 123, when the lateral portion 126 moves away from the reference position.

[0082] According to the fourth embodiment of the invention, the separation mechanism includes a specific orientation of the axis 130 of the articulation 129. In this case, the axis 130 is substantially parallel to the base 121, on the one hand, and the axis 130 forms, with the longitudinal direction L of the device 120, an angle .alpha. not equal to 90.degree., on the other hand, the angle being measured in a plane parallel to the base 121, i.e., the plane of the sole of the boot when the latter is retained in the device 120.

[0083] The angle .alpha., for example, can be between 45.degree. and 85.degree..

[0084] In FIG. 7, the apex of the angle .alpha. is more toward the front of the retaining device 120 relative to the articulation 129. As a result, the lateral portion 126 of the strap 127 is moved away in an exiting direction from the receiving zone 123, when the portion 126 is tilted forwardly. The lateral portion 126, by tilting, is also brought closer to a plane containing the base 121.

[0085] From a structural viewpoint, the articulation 129 has an opening 131 provided in a boss 132 that is itself affixed to the lateral flange 122. The boss 132 forms a unitary element with the flange 122, but it could be attached to the latter by any suitable means.

[0086] The boss 132 has a receiving surface 133 on which the fastener end 128 of the portion 126 of the strap 127 takes support. The receiving surface 133 is substantially planar and perpendicular to the axis 130 of articulation 129. This axis 130 is also that of the opening 131. The receiving surface 133 is therefore non-parallel to the longitudinal direction L of the retaining device 120. As seen previously, this enables the separation of the lateral portion 126.

[0087] Other structures for obtaining a specific orientation of the axis of the articulation of a portion of the strap can be provided.

[0088] For each example, the invention is obtained from materials and according to implementation techniques known to one skilled in the art.

[0089] The invention is not limited to the particulars of the embodiments described hereinabove, and encompasses all technical equivalents that come within the scope of the following claims.

[0090] In particular, for a given retaining device, a separation mechanism can be provided for one, several, or all of the straps.

[0091] For each strap, only one of the two or both lateral and medial portions can have a separation mechanism.

* * * * *

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