(19)
(11)EP 3 697 251 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
03.08.2022 Bulletin 2022/31

(21)Application number: 18867964.1

(22)Date of filing:  19.10.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A43C 7/08(2006.01)
A43C 11/08(2006.01)
A43C 11/16(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
A43B 13/14; A43C 1/003; A43C 11/165; A43B 23/26; A43B 5/00; A43B 23/0265
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2018/056631
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/079673 (25.04.2019 Gazette  2019/17)

(54)

LACING ARCHITECTURE FOR AUTOMATED FOOTWEAR PLATFORM

SCHNÜRARCHITEKTUR FÜR AUTOMATISIERTE FUSSBEKLEIDUNGSPLATTFORM

ARCHITECTURE DE LAÇAGE DE PLATE-FORME DE CHAUSSURE AUTOMATISÉE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 20.10.2017 US 201762574940 P
23.02.2018 US 201862634358 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
26.08.2020 Bulletin 2020/35

(73)Proprietor: Nike Innovate C.V.
Beaverton, OR 97005-6453 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • AVAR, Eric P.
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005-6453 (US)
  • HO, Fanny Yung
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005-6453 (US)
  • JOHNSON, Daniel A.
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005-6453 (US)
  • SAVAGE, Peter R.
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005-6453 (US)
  • SCHNEIDER, Summer L.
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005-6453 (US)

(74)Representative: Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP 
Redcliff Quay 120 Redcliff Street
Bristol BS1 6HU
Bristol BS1 6HU (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2009/071652
US-A1- 2007 240 334
US-A1- 2018 199 671
US-B2- 8 418 381
US-A1- 2007 068 040
US-A1- 2017 265 593
US-B2- 7 752 774
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The following specification describes various aspects of a footwear assembly involving a lacing system including a motorized or non-motorized lacing engine, footwear components related to the lacing engines, automated lacing footwear platforms, and lacing architectures for use in an automated footwear platform. More specifically, much of the following specification describes various aspects of lacing architectures (configurations) for use in footwear including motorized or non-motorized lacing engines for centralized lace tightening.

    [0002] US 2007/240334 A1 describes an automated tightening shoe according to the preamble of claim 1, with crisscrossed laces and a tightening mechanism which operates in one direction to cause automatic tightening of the crisscrossed laces to tighten the shoe about a wearer's foot, and which can be released so that the shoe can be removed from the wearer's foot.

    [0003] The invention is defined in the attached independent claim to which reference should now be made. Further, optional features may be found in the sub-claims appended thereto.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0004] In the drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, like numerals may describe similar components in different views. Like numerals having different letter suffixes may represent different instances of similar components. The drawings illustrate generally, by way of example, but not by way of limitation, various embodiments discussed in the present document.

    FIG. 1 is an exploded view illustration of components of a portion of a footwear assembly with a motorized lacing system, according to some example embodiments.

    FIGS. 2A-2C are illustrations of a fully assembled footwear assembly including automated lace tightening, according to some example embodiments.

    FIGS. 3A-3B are top-view diagrams illustrating a lacing architecture for use with footwear assemblies not belonging to the invention including a motorized lacing engine.

    FIG. 4A is a top-view diagram illustrating a two-zone lacing architecture for use with footwear assemblies including a motorized or non-motorized lacing engine, according to some example embodiments.

    FIG. 4B is a photographic image of a footwear assembly utilizing a two-zone lacing architecture, according to some example embodiments.

    FIGS. 5A - 5F are diagrams illustrating a lacing guide for use in certain lacing architectures, according to some example embodiments.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0005] The concept of self-tightening shoe laces was first widely popularized by the fictitious power-laced Nike® sneakers worn by Marty McFly in the movie Back to the Future II, which was released back in 1989. While Nike® has since released at least one version of power-laced sneakers similar in appearance to the movie prop version from Back to the Future II, the internal mechanical systems and surrounding footwear platform employed do not necessarily lend themselves to mass production or daily use. Additionally, other previous designs for motorized lacing systems comparatively suffered from problems such as high cost of manufacture, complexity, assembly challenges, and poor serviceability. The present inventors have developed a lacing architecture for use on a modular footwear platform to accommodate motorized and non-motorized lacing engines that assists in solving some or all of the problems discussed above, among others. The lacing architectures and lace guides discussed herein also focus on improving fit and comfort when used in conjunction with an automated lacing engine. In order to fully leverage the modular lacing engine discussed briefly below and in greater detail in co-pending Application Serial Number 15/452,636, titled "LACING ENGINE FOR AUTOMATED FOORWEAR PLATFORM,", the present inventors developed lacing architectures discussed herein. The lacing architectures and lace guides discussed herein can solve various problems experienced with centralized lace tightening mechanisms, such as uneven tightening, fit, comfort, and performance. One aspect of enhanced comfort involves a lacing architecture that reduces pressure across the top of the foot. Example lacing architectures can also enhance fit and performance by manipulating lace tension in both a medial-lateral direction as well as in an anterior-posterior (front to back) direction. Another example lacing architecture discussed below splits the lacing system into two zones to provide better fit, performance and comfort by separating the toe (forefoot) area from the mid-foot area. Various other benefits of the components described below will be evident to persons of skill in the relevant arts.

    [0006] The lacing architectures discussed were developed specifically to interface with a modular lacing engine positioned within a mid-sole portion of a footwear assembly. However, the concepts could also be applied to motorized and manual lacing mechanisms disposed in various locations around the footwear, such as in the heel or even the toe portion of the footwear platform. The lacing architectures discussed include use of lace guides that can be formed from tubular plastic, metal clip, fabric loops or channels, plastic clips, and open u-shaped channels, among other shapes and materials. In some examples, various different types of lacing guides can be mixed to perform specific lace routing functions within the lacing architecture. Certain examples of specific lace guide configurations are discussed in detail below.

    [0007] The motorized lacing engine discussed below was developed from the ground up to provide a robust, serviceable, and inter-changeable component of an automated lacing footwear platform. The lacing engine includes unique design elements that enable retail-level final assembly into a modular footwear platform. The lacing engine design allows for the majority of the footwear assembly process to leverage known assembly technologies, with unique adaptions to standard assembly processes still being able to leverage current assembly resources.

    [0008] In an example, the modular automated lacing footwear platform includes a midsole plate secured to the midsole for receiving a lacing engine. The design of the midsole plate allows a lacing engine to be dropped into the footwear platform as late as at a point of purchase. The mid-sole plate, and other aspects of the modular automated footwear platform, allow for different types of lacing engines to be used interchangeably. For example, the motorized lacing engine discussed below could be changed out for a human-powered lacing engine. Alternatively, a fully automatic motorized lacing engine with foot presence sensing or other optional features could be accommodated within the standard mid-sole plate. The lacing architectures are specifically designed to assist in interfacing a lace cable (or similar lacing element) with a lacing engine.

    [0009] Utilizing motorized or non-motorized centralized lacing engines to tighten athletic footwear presents some challenges in providing sufficient performance without sacrificing some amount of comfort. Lacing architectures discussed herein have been designed specifically for use with centralized lacing engines, and are designed to enable various footwear designs from casual to high-performance.

    [0010] Footwear terminology used in this disclosure includes terms such as floating textile layer, outer layer, shoe upper, bonding material, and eyestay, which are all further defined in a co-pending Application Serial Number 15/459,932, titled "SHOE UPPER WITH FLOATING LAYER". The floating textile layer is a term used, in an example, to describe an inner sock-like structure that essentially floats within an outer layer of an upper portion of a footwear assembly. The floating textile layer can be attached to the mid-sole of the footwear assembly and may be minimally attached at select places to portions of an upper portion as well. In certain examples, the floating textile layer can be made from material with no-stretch or limited stretch properties. In some examples, the material of the floating textile layer is a quad-axial, tri-axial, or non-woven material.

    [0011] The outer layer is a second layer of a footwear upper (or shoe upper) that covers the floating textile layer and substantially accounts for the outside shell of the shoe upper. In some examples, the outer layer is an outer knit shell. The outer layer can also be made in whole or in part from polyurethane, leather, cast urethane, or digitally printed urethane as well as knit, woven, braided, or non-woven materials.

    [0012] A bonding material is typically used to reinforce portions of a footwear assembly, such as edges of the outer layer or floating textile layer, among others. The eyestay is a term used, in some examples, to describe an area on the footwear upper adapted to receive eyelets or lace guides. In some examples, the eyestay area can be reinforced with bonding or similar materials.

    [0013] This initial overview is intended to introduce the subject matter of the present patent application. It is not intended to provide an exclusive or exhaustive explanation of the invention disclosed in the following more detailed description.

    AUTOMATED FOOTWEAR PLATFORM



    [0014] The following discusses various components of the automated footwear platform including a motorized lacing engine, a mid-sole plate, and various other components of the platform. While much of this disclosure focuses on lacing architectures for use with a motorized lacing engine, the discussed designs are applicable to a human-powered lacing engine or other motorized lacing engines with additional or fewer capabilities. Accordingly, the term "automated" as used in "automated footwear platform" is not intended to only cover a system that operates without user input. Rather, the term "automated footwear platform" includes various electrically powered and human-powered, automatically activated and human activated mechanisms for tightening a lacing or retention system of the footwear.

    [0015] FIG. 1 is an exploded view illustration of components of a motorized lacing system for footwear, according to some example embodiments. The motorized lacing system 1 illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a lacing engine 10, a lid 20, an actuator 30, a mid-sole plate 40, a mid-sole 50, and an outsole 60. FIG. 1 illustrates the basic assembly sequence of components of an automated lacing footwear platform. The motorized lacing system 1 starts with the mid-sole plate 40 being secured within the mid-sole. Next, the actuator 30 is inserted into an opening in the lateral side of the mid-sole plate opposite to interface buttons that can be embedded in the outsole 60. Next, the lacing engine 10 is dropped into the mid-sole plate 40. In an example, the lacing system 1 is inserted under a continuous loop of lacing cable and the lacing cable is aligned with a spool in the lacing engine 10 (discussed below). Finally, the lid 20 is inserted into grooves in the mid-sole plate 40, secured into a closed position, and latched into a recess in the mid-sole plate 40. The lid 20 can capture the lacing engine 10 and can assist in maintaining alignment of a lacing cable during operation.

    [0016] In an example, the footwear article or the motorized lacing system 1 includes or is configured to interface with one or more sensors that can monitor or determine a foot presence characteristic. Based on information from one or more foot presence sensors, the footwear including the motorized lacing system 1 can be configured to perform various functions. For example, a foot presence sensor can be configured to provide binary information about whether a foot is present or not present in the footwear. If a binary signal from the foot presence sensor indicates that a foot is present, then the motorized lacing system 1 can be activated, such as to automatically tighten or relax (i.e., loosen) a footwear lacing cable. In an example, the footwear article includes a processor circuit that can receive or interpret signals from a foot presence sensor. The processor circuit can optionally be embedded in or with the lacing engine 10, such as in a sole of the footwear article.

    FOOTWEAR ASSEMBLY



    [0017] FIGS. 2A-2C are illustrations of a fully assembled footwear assembly including automated lace tightening, according to some example embodiments. In the example illustrated in FIG. 2A, the footwear assembly 200 includes a mid-sole 211, an out-sole 212, a mid-sole plate 213, actuator buttons 214, a footwear upper including an outer layer 215 and a floating textile layer 216, a heel pull 217, a tongue pull 218, and a foot opening 219. In this example, only an upper edge of the floating textile layer 216 is visible, but the floating textile layer essentially lines the inside of the outer layer 215. However, as implied by the "floating" term, the floating textile layer 216 is only secured to the outer layer 215 minimally along certain locations, such as along an eyestay, a central throat portion, or around lace guide attachment points. In some examples, the floating textile layer 216 is also (or alternatively) attached to the inside along a periphery of the mid-sole 211. Details of an example footwear construction technique that could be used to produce the footwear assembly illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2C is disclosed in the co-pending application mentioned above, Application Serial Number 15/459,932, and will not be repeated here.

    [0018] In this example, a small outer portion of the mid-sole plate 213 is exposed through a cut-out in the mid-sole 211. In other examples, only the actuator buttons 214 may be exposed through the side of the mid-sole 211. The mid-sole plate 213 is adapted to retain and protect a lacing engine within the mid-sole 211 of the footwear assembly 200.

    [0019] FIG. 2B illustrates a medial view of footwear assembly 200. In this example, the footwear assembly 200 is depicted as including out-sole 212, mid-sole 211, outer layer 215, heel pull 217, tongue pull 218, and foot opening 219. The outer layer 215, in this example, is a knit outer shell covering the floating textile layer 216 and all lacing components, such as the lacing components discussed in reference to FIGS. 3A-3B below.

    [0020] FIG. 2C illustrates a top view of footwear assembly 200, which includes illustration of outer layer 215, floating textile layer 216, heel pull 217, foot opening 219, and a floating tongue 220. In this example, the floating tongue 220 can be attached only at a distal end or only at a distal end and a proximal end adjacent the foot opening 219.

    LACING ARCHITECTURES



    [0021] FIGS. 3A-3B are top-view diagrams illustrating a lacing architecture for use with footwear assemblies not belonging to the invention including a motorized lacing engine. FIG. 3A is a top-view diagram illustrating a flattened footwear upper with a lacing architecture for use with a lacing engine, according to some example embodiments. In this example, the footwear upper 300 has a medial side 303 and a lateral side 303, as well as a distal end and a proximal end. The distal end includes a toe box section 307 and the proximal end includes a heel portion. The footwear upper 300 also includes a floating textile layer 301, an outer layer 302, and a floating tongue 305. The floating tongue 305 extends out of the foot opening 309 of the outer layer 302 proximate a throat portion 311 formed from a U-shaped cut-out in at least the outer layer 302. In other examples, the throat portion 311 can be integrated into a covered layer of the outer layer 302, so the throat portion 311 and the lacing architecture is concealed from external view. In some examples, the throat portion 311 is also cut-out, of the floating textile layer 301. In this example, the outer layer 302 can include an outer layer border 320. The outer layer border 320 can be a bonding material or some similar reinforcing structure. In some examples, the knit outer shell outer layer can be bonded directly to the mid-sole without an outer layer border.

    [0022] In this example, the lacing architecture comprises a series of lace guides 310 that route a lace cable 319 in a crisscross pattern over the throat portion 311. A crisscross lacing pattern is one that alternates between medial and lateral side lace guides across a centerline of the footwear assembly. The lace cable 319 can be fixed at a medial lace termination 316 and a lateral lace termination 317, which creates a lace loop that is routed by the lacing architecture to engage a lacing engine housed within a mid-sole of the footwear assembly. The lacing engine can be located in various locations throughout the footwear assembly, but is discussed for exemplary purposes only as being more or less centered under the arch within the mid-sole.

    [0023] In this example, the lacing architecture includes a tongue lace guide assembly 315 (or simply a tongue lace guide 315). The tongue lace guide 315 can include a medial facing lace guide and a lateral facing lace guide. The medial facing lace guide and the lateral facing lace guide can be molded or formed from a single piece of material or be separate structures coupled together in some manner. In certain examples, the medial facing lace guide and the lateral facing lace guide can be coupled together with an elastic member that allows for some separation between the lace guides upon application of tension on the lace cable 319. In certain examples, the medial facing lace guide and the lateral facing lace guide can be adhered to a tongue lace guide reinforcement 306. In yet other examples, the medial facing lace guide and the lateral facing lace guide are disposed on, wrapped in, or otherwise connected via a webbing material. The tongue lace guide reinforcement can be a no-stretch or limited-stretch material, a rigid material, or an elastic material. The tongue lace guide reinforcement 306 can be adhered, stitched, or similarly affixed to the floating tongue 305. In some examples, the tongue lace guide reinforcement 306 be padded or similarly constructed to distribute forces applied to the tongue lace guide across a wider area to avoid hot-spots for a user.

    [0024] The lacing architecture can include multiple lace guides 310 distributed around a periphery of the throat portion 311 and affixed to an eyestay 308. The eyestay 308 can be a reinforced portion of the outer layer 302 or a separate structure affixed to the outer layer 302. The eyestay 308 can be a bonding material, as noted above. The lace guides 310 can be stitched, adhered, or otherwise affixed to the eyestay 308. The eyestay 308 can include enlarged areas to receive a lace guide 310, as illustrated in FIG. 3A. An example lace guide structure is discussed below in reference to FIGS. 4A-4F.

    [0025] In the illustrated lacing architecture example, the lace guides 310 route the lace cable 319 proximally along a periphery of the throat portion 311 in a crisscross fashion. From the lace guides 310, the lace cable 319 is routed into the tongue lace guide 315, which in turn routes the lace cable 319 medially and laterally into heel lace guides 312. The heel lace guides 312 can be adhered or affixed to a heel counter as well as connected to a heel counter with an elastic connection or inelastic connection to distribute lace cable forces around a heel portion of the footwear assembly. From the heel lace guides 312 the lace cable 319 is routed into either a medial lace exit 318 or a lateral lace exit 319. The medial lace exit 318 and the lateral lace exit 319 route the lace cable 319 into a position to engage a lacing engine disposed in the mid-sole of the footwear assembly. The medial lace exit 318 and lateral lace exit 319 can be a molded lace guide, a fabric lace guide, a tubular lace guide, a channel molded into the mid-sole, or some similar structure capable of guiding the lace cable 319.

    [0026] FIG. 3B is a diagram illustrating a floating tongue, according to an example embodiment. The floating tongue 305 includes a proximal end (top of figure) and a distal end (bottom of figure) as well as a medial side and a lateral side. In this example, the floating tongue 305 includes a tongue outer layer 351 and a tongue inner layer 352. The tongue outer layer 351 can be a similar material to the outer layer 302 of the footwear upper 300. The tongue inner layer 352 can be a similar material to the floating textile layer 301 of the footwear upper 300. In other examples, the tongue outer layer 351 and tongue inner layer 352 can be alternative materials and include padding or other features designed to enhance user comfort.

    [0027] FIG. 4A is a top-view diagram illustrating a flattened footwear upper 400 with a lacing architecture for use with a lacing engine, according to some example embodiments. FIG. 4B is a picture of an example footwear assembly utilizing the two-zone lacing architecture discussed in reference to FIG. 4A. In this example, the footwear upper 400 has a medial side 403 and a lateral side 404, as well as a distal (toe) end and a proximal (heel) end. The distal end includes a toe box section 407 and the proximal end includes a heel portion 406. The footwear upper 400 can also include a floating textile layer (optional, not illustrated), an outer layer 402, and a floating tongue 405. The floating tongue 405 extends out of the foot opening 409 of the outer layer 402 proximate a throat portion 411 (also referred to as a throat section) formed from a U-shaped cut-out in at least the outer layer 402. In some examples, the throat portion 411 varies in configuration, including various cut-out shapes or alternative material sections. All throat portions allow for portions of the lateral and medial sides of the footwear assembly to move in reference to each other. In other examples, the throat portion 411 can be integrated into a covered layer of the outer layer 402, so the throat portion 411 and the lacing architecture is concealed from external view. In some examples, the throat portion 411 is also cut-out of the floating textile layer. The footwear upper 400 can include some or all of the structures discussed in reference to footwear upper 300, but is illustrated in a more simplistic fashion to emphasize the two-zone lacing architecture.

    [0028] In this example, the lacing architecture is split into two different zones. The first zone interacts with the toe or forefoot area of the footwear upper 400. The second zone interacts with the mid-foot area of the footwear upper 400. The first lacing zone lace cable is illustrated as a solid dark grey line, and the second lacing zone lace cable illustrated as a dotted black line. These differences are merely for illustrative purposes to assist in distinguishing the different lace cable paths, the lace cable in these details is a single cable running from termination 420 to termination 421 (terminations also referred to as anchor locations or anchor points). Alternatively, even in designs were the first lacing zone and the second lacing zone utilize different lace cables, the material used will typically be common between the different zones. The first lacing zone can include lace guides guiding the lace cable 410 from a first lace termination 420. In this example, the first lace termination 420 is located on a distal-lateral portion of eyestay 408. The lace cable 410 is routed from the first lace termination 420 across a distal end of throat portion 411 and through a first medial lace guide 440. From the first medial lace guide 440 the lace cable 410 is routed back over the throat portion 411 and through a first lateral lace guide 430. From the first lateral lace guide 430, the lace cable 410 is routed pass a second lateral lace guide 431 and though a third lateral lace guide 432. The lace guides are label first, second, third, etc... to signify an order running proximally from the distal end of the throat portion 411 towards the foot opening 409. Optionally, the lace cable 410 can route through a material guide 422 enroute from the first lateral lace guide 430 to the third lateral lace guide 432. From the third lateral lace guide 432, the lace cable 410 is routed through a lateral facing tongue lace guide 417 and down to a lateral heel lace guide 451 through an optional material guide 422. The lateral heel lace guide 451 routes the lace cable 410 into a mid-sole plate via lateral lace exit 419.

    [0029] The second lacing zone includes a set of lace guides routing the lace cable 410 from the second termination 421 to the medial lace exit 418. In this example, the lace cable 410 is routed from the second termination 421 on the lateral side of eyestay 408 over the throat portion 411 to the second medial lace guide 441. From the second medial lace guide 441 the lace cable 410 is routed back over the throat portion 411 to the second lateral lace guide 431. The lace cable 410 then routes through the second lateral lace guide 431 back over the throat portion 411 for a third time and through the third medial lace guide 442. The third medial lace guide 442 routes the lace cable 410 on to the medial facing tongue lace guide 416, which routes the lace cable on towards the medial heel lace guide 450. Enroute to the medial heel lace guide 450 the lace cable can optionally be routed through a material lace guide 424. From the medial heel lace guide 450 the lace cable 410 is routed into the mid-sole plate via the medial lace exit 418.

    [0030] The two-zone lacing architecture enables an uneven distribution of the lace cable tension between the distal end of the throat portion 411 and the proximal end. The first lacing zone applies the same lace cable tension across fewer lace guides, resulting the tension being distributed across a smaller area. The second lacing zone distributes the lace cable tension over a larger area with more lace guides The user experiences a tighter, higher performance fit in the toe (forefoot) area of the footwear with the two-zone lacing architecture. Other multi-zone lacing architectures can be utilized to vary the distribution of lace cable tension as desired for a particular footwear application.

    EXAMPLE LACE GUIDES



    [0031] FIGs. 5A - 5F are diagrams illustrating an example lacing guide 800 for use in certain lacing architectures, according to some example embodiments. In this example, an alternative lace guide with an open lace channel is illustrated. The lacing guide 800 described below can be substituted into any of the lacing architectures discussed above in reference to lace guide 810, heel lace guide 610, or even the medial exit guide 835. All of the various configurations discussed above will not be repeated here for the sake of brevity. The lacing guide 800 includes a guide tab 805, a stitch opening 810, a guide superior surface 815, a lace retainer 820, a lace channel 825, a channel radius 830, a lace access opening 840, a guide inferior surface 845, and a guide radius 850. Advantages of an open channel lace guide, such as lacing guide 800, include the ability to easily route the lace cable after installation of the lace guides on the footwear upper. With tubular lace guides as illustrated in many of the lace architecture examples discussed above, routing the lace cable through the lace guides is most easily accomplish before adhering the lace guides to the footwear upper (not to say it cannot be accomplished later). Open channel lace guides facilitate simple lace routing by allowing the lace cable to simply be pushed pass the lace retainer 820 after the lace guides 800 are positioned on the footwear upper. The lacing guide 800 can be fabricated from various materials including metal or plastics.

    [0032] In this example, the lacing guide 800 can be initially attached to a footwear upper through stitching or adhesives. The illustrated design includes a stitch opening 810 that is configured to enable easy manual or automated stitching of lacing guide 800 onto a footwear upper (or similar material). Once lacing guide 800 is attached to the footwear upper, lace cable can be routed by simply pulling a loop of lace cable into the lace channel 825. The lace access opening 840 extends through the inferior surface 845 to provide a relief recess for the lace cable to get around the lace retainer 820. In some examples, the lace retainer 820 can be different dimensions or even be split into multiple smaller protrusions. In an example, the lace retainer 820 can be narrower in width, but extend further towards or even into access opening 840. In some examples, the access opening 840 can also be different dimensions, and will usually somewhat mirror the shape of lace retainer 820 (as illustrated in FIG. 5F). In this example, the channel radius 830 is designed to correspond to, or be slightly larger then, the diameter of the lace cable. The channel radius 830 is one of the parameters of the lacing guide 800 that can control the amount of friction experienced by the lace cable running through the lacing guide 800. Another parameter of lacing guide 800 that impacts friction experienced by the lace cable includes guide radius 850. The guide radius 850 also may impact the frequency or spacing of lace guides positioned on a footwear upper.

    [0033] FIG. 5G is a diagram illustrating a portion of footwear upper 805 with a lacing architecture 890 using lacing guides 800, according to some example embodiments. In this example, multiple lacing guides 800 are arranged on a lateral side of footwear upper 805 to form half of the lacing architecture 890. Similar to lacing architectures discussed above, lacing architecture 890 uses lacing guides 800 to form a wave pattern or parachute lacing pattern to route the lace cable. One of the benefits of this type of lacing architecture is that lace tightening can produce both later-medial tightening as well as anterior-posterior tightening of the footwear upper 805.

    [0034] In this example, lacing guides 800 are at least initially adhered to upper 805 through stitching 860. The stitching 860 is shown over or engaging stitch opening 810. One of the lacing guide 800 is also depicted with a reinforcement 870 covering the lacing guide. Such reinforcements can be positioned individually over each of the lacing guides 800. Alternatively, larger reinforcements could be used to cover multiple lacing guides. Similar to the reinforcements discussed above, reinforcement 870 can be adhered through adhesives, heat-activated adhesives, and/or stitching. In some examples, reinforcement 870 can be adhered using adhesives (heat-activated or not) and a vacuum bagging process that uniformly compresses the reinforcement over the lacing guide. A similar vacuum bagging process can also be used with reinforcements and lacing guides discussed above. In other examples, mechanical presses or similar machines can be used to assist with adhering reinforcements over lacing guides.

    [0035] Once all of the lacing guides 800 are initially positioned and attached to footwear upper 805, the lace cable can be routed through the lacing guides. Lace cable routing can begin with anchoring a first end of the lace cable at lateral anchor point 870. The lace cable can then be pulled into each lace channel 825 starting with the anterior most lacing guide and working posteriorly towards the heel of upper 805. Once the lace cable is routed through all lacing guides 800, reinforcements 870 can be optionally adhered over each of the lacing guides 800 to secure both the lacing guides and the lace cable.


    Claims

    1. A footwear assembly comprising:

    a footwear upper assembly (400) comprising an outer layer (402) and a floating tongue (405), the footwear upper assembly (400) including a toe box section (407), a medial side (403), a lateral side (404), a heel section, and a central throat section (411);

    a lace cable (410) with a first end anchored to the upper assembly (400) in a first anchor location (420) and a second end anchored to the upper assembly (400) in a second anchor location (421);

    a first plurality of lace guides (430, 432, 440) forming a first lacing zone routing a first portion of the lace cable (410) to tension a forefoot region of the footwear assembly;

    a second plurality of lace guides (431, 441, 442) forming a second lacing zone routing a second portion of the lace cable (410) to tension a mid-foot region of the footwear assembly;

    a tongue lace guide assembly (415) secured to a proximal portion of the floating tongue (405), the tongue lace guide assembly (415) adapted to receive lace cable (410) from both the medial side (403) and the lateral side (404);

    a medial heel lace guide (450) positioned to receive the lace cable (410) from the tongue lace guide (415) along the medial side (403) of the upper assembly (400);

    a lateral heel lace guide (451) positioned to receive the lace cable (410) from the tongue lace guide (415) along the lateral side (404) of the upper assembly (400);

    a medial lace exit (418) routing the lace cable (410) from the medial heel lace guide (450) into a position allowing the lace cable (410) to engage a lacing engine (10) disposed within a mid-sole portion (50) of the footwear assembly; and

    a lateral lace exit (410) to route the lace cable (410) from the lateral heel lace guide (451) into a position to engage the lacing engine (10),

    characterised in that

    the second plurality of lace guides (431, 441, 442) distributes lace cable (410) tension across a larger area of the footwear assembly than the first plurality of lace guides (430, 432, 440).


     
    2. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the first plurality of lace guides (430, 432, 440) includes a medial lace guide (440) on the medial side (403) of the central throat section (411) and two lateral lace guides (430, 432) on the lateral side (404) of the central throat section (411).
     
    3. The footwear assembly of claim 2, wherein the first lateral lace guide (430) of the two lateral lace guides (430, 432) is located towards a distal end of the central throat section (411) and the second lateral lace guide (432) of the two lateral lace guides (430, 432) is located towards a proximal end of the central throat section (411).
     
    4. The footwear assembly of claim 3, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the first lacing zone includes the following path segments:

    the first anchor location (420) to the medial lace guide (440);

    the medial lace guide (440) to the first lateral lace guide (430); and

    the first lateral lace guide (430) to the second lateral lace guide (432).


     
    5. The footwear assembly of claim 4, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the first lacing zone continues from the second lateral lace guide (432) to a lateral facing lace guide (417) in the tongue lace guide assembly (415).
     
    6. The footwear assembly of claim 5, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the first lacing zone continues from the lateral facing lace guide (417) to the lateral heel lace guide (451).
     
    7. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the second plurality of lace guides (431, 441, 442) includes a first lateral lace guide (431) disposed along a central portion of a lateral side (404) of the central throat section (411) and a plurality of medial lace guides (441, 442) distributed along a length of a medial side (403) of the central throat section (411).
     
    8. The footwear assembly of claim 7, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the second lacing zone includes the following path segments:

    the second anchor location (421) to a first medial lace guide (441) of the plurality of medial lace guides (441, 442);

    the first medial lace guide (441) to the first lateral lace guide (431);

    the first lateral lace guide (431) to a second medial lace guide (442) of the plurality of medial lace guides (441, 442).


     
    9. The footwear assembly of claim 8, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the second lacing zone further includes a path segment running from the second medial lace guide (442) to a medial facing lace guide (416) within the tongue lace guide assembly (415).
     
    10. The footwear assembly of claim 9, wherein the lace cable (410) path for the second lacing zone continues from the medial facing lace guide (416) to the medial heel lace guide (450).
     
    11. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the first anchor location (420) is on the lateral side (404) distal of the central throat section (411), and the second anchor location (421) is on the lateral side (404) adjacent to a first lateral lace guide (430).
     
    12. The footwear assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the tongue lace guide assembly (415) includes a medial facing lace guide (416) opposite a lateral facing lace guide (417).
     
    13. The footwear assembly of claim 12, wherein the tongue lace guide assembly (415) include an elastic member coupling the medial facing lace guide (416) to the lateral facing lace guide.
     
    14. The footwear assembly of claim 12 or 13, wherein the tongue lace guide assembly (415) is a single structure with a rigid connection between the medial facing lace guide (416) and the lateral facing lace guide (417).
     
    15. The footwear assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the tongue lace guide assembly (415) is fused to a reinforcement material that is stitched to the floating tongue (405).
     
    16. The footwear assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the medial heel lace guide (450) and the lateral heel lace guide (451) coupled, via a heel coupling, to a heel counter within the heel section of the upper assembly (400), wherein the heel coupling is an elastic member.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Fußbekleidungsanordnung, Folgendes umfassend:

    eine Fußbekleidungsobermaterialanordnung (400), die eine äußere Lage (402) und eine bewegliche Zunge (405) umfasst, wobei die Fußbekleidungsobermaterialanordnung (400) einen Zehenraumabschnitt (407), eine mediale Seite (403), eine laterale Seite (404), einen Absatzabschnitt und einen mittigen Vorderblattabschnitt (411) umfasst;

    ein Schnürseil (410), das mit einem ersten Ende an einer ersten Verankerungsstelle (420) in der Obermaterialanordnung (400) verankert ist, und mit einem zweiten Ende an einer zweiten Verankerungsstelle (421) mit der Obermaterialanordnung (400) verankert ist;

    erste mehrere Schnürungsführungen (430, 432, 440), die einen ersten Schnürbereich ausbilden, der einen ersten Abschnitt des Schnürseils (410) führt, um einen Vorderfußbereich der Fußbekleidungsanordnung festzuziehen;

    zweite mehrere Schnürungsführungen (431, 441, 442), die einen zweiten Schnürbereich ausbilden, der einen zweiten Abschnitt des Schnürseils (410) führt, um einen Mittelfußbereich der Fußbekleidungsanordnung festzuziehen;

    eine Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415), die an einem proximalen Abschnitt der beweglichen Zunge (405) befestigt ist, wobei die Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) dazu eingerichtet ist, sowohl von der medialen Seite (403) als auch von der lateralen Seite (404) ein Schnürseil (410) aufzunehmen;

    eine mediale Absatzschnürungsführung (450), die dazu angeordnet ist, das Schnürseil (410) von der Zungenschnürungsführung (415) entlang der medialen Seite (403) der Obermaterialanordnung (400) aufzunehmen;

    eine laterale Absatzschnürungsführung (451), die dazu angeordnet ist, das Schnürseil (410) von der Zungenschnürungsführung (415) entlang der lateralen Seite (404) der Obermaterialanordnung (400) aufzunehmen;

    einen medialen Schnürungsausgang (418), der ein Schnürseil (410) von der medialen Absatzschnürungsführung (450) in eine Position führt, in der das Schnürseil (410) in einen Schnürmotor (10) eingreifen kann, der in einem Mittelsohlenabschnitt (50) der Fußbekleidungsanordnung angeordnet ist; und

    einen lateralen Schnürungsausgang (410), um das Schnürseil (410) von der lateralen Absatzschnürungsführung (451) in eine Position zu führen, um in den Schnürmotor (10) einzugreifen,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    die zweiten mehreren Schnürungsführungen (431, 441, 442) die Spannung des Schnürseils (410) über eine größere Fläche der Fußbekleidungsanordnung verteilen als die ersten mehreren Schnürungsführungen (430, 432, 440).


     
    2. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die ersten mehreren Schnürungsführungen (430, 432, 440) eine mediale Schnürungsführung (440) auf der medialen Seite (403) des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) und zwei laterale Schnürungsführungen (430, 432) auf der lateralen Seite (404) des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) umfassen.
     
    3. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 2, wobei sich die erste laterale Schnürungsführung (430) der zwei lateralen Schnürungsführungen (430, 432) in Richtung eines distalen Endes des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) befindet und sich die zweite laterale Schnürungsführung (432) der zwei lateralen Schnürungsführungen (430, 432) in Richtung eines proximalen Endes des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) befindet.
     
    4. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 3, wobei der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im ersten Schnürbereich die folgenden Verlaufssegmente umfasst:

    die erste Verankerungsstelle (420) zur medialen Schnürungsführung (440);

    die mediale Schnürungsführung (440) zur ersten lateralen Schnürungsführung (430) und

    die erste laterale Schnürungsführung (430) zur zweiten lateralen Schnürungsführung (432).


     
    5. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 4, wobei sich der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im ersten Schnürungsbereich von der zweiten lateralen Schnürungsführung (432) zu einer lateral zugewandten Schnürungsführung (417) in der Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) fortsetzt.
     
    6. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 5, wobei sich der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im ersten Schnürungsbereich von der lateral zugewandten Schnürungsführung (417) zur lateralen Absatzschnürungsführung (451) fortsetzt.
     
    7. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die zweiten mehreren Schnürungsführungen (431, 441, 442) eine erste laterale Schnürungsführung (431), die entlang eines mittigen Abschnitts einer lateralen Seite (404) des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) angeordnet sind, und mehrere mediale Schnürungsführungen (441, 442), die entlang einer Länge einer medialen Seite (403) des mittigen Vorderblattabschnitts (411) verteilt sind, umfassen.
     
    8. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 7, wobei der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im zweiten Schnürbereich die folgenden Verlaufssegmente umfasst:

    die zweite Verankerungsstelle (421) zu einer ersten medialen Schnürungsführung (441) der mehreren medialen Schnürungsführungen (441, 442);

    die erste mediale Schnürungsführung (441) zur ersten lateralen Schnürungsführung (431);

    die erste laterale Schnürungsführung (431) zu einer zweiten medialen Schnürungsführung (442) der mehreren medialen Schnürungsführungen (441, 442).


     
    9. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im zweiten Schnürungsbereich ferner ein Verlaufssegment umfasst, das von der zweiten medialen Schnürungsführung (442) zu einer medial zugewandten Schnürungsführung (416) innerhalb der Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) verläuft.
     
    10. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 9, wobei sich der Verlauf des Schnürseils (410) im zweiten Schnürungsbereich von der medial zugewandten Schnürungsführung (416) zur medialen Absatzschnürungsführung (450) fortsetzt.
     
    11. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei sich die erste Verankerungsstelle (420) auf der lateralen Seite (404) distal vom mittigen Vorderblattabschnitt (411) befindet und sich die zweite Verankerungsstelle (421) auf der lateralen Seite (404) an die erste laterale Schnürungsführung (430) angrenzend befindet.
     
    12. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) eine einer lateral zugewandten Schnürungsführung (417) entgegengesetzte medial zugewandte Schnürungsführung (416) umfasst.
     
    13. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 12, wobei die Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) ein elastisches Element umfasst, das die medial zugewandte Schnürungsführung (416) mit der lateral zugewandten Schnürungsführung koppelt.
     
    14. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach Anspruch 12 oder 13, wobei die Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) eine einzelne Struktur mit einer steifen Verbindung zwischen der medial zugewandten Schnürungsführung (416) und der lateral zugewandten Schnürungsführung (417) ist.
     
    15. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Zungenschnürungsführungsanordnung (415) mit einem Verstärkungsmaterial verbunden ist, das an die bewegliche Zunge (405) genäht ist.
     
    16. Fußbekleidungsanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei die mediale Absatzschnürungsführung (450) und die laterale Absatzschnürungsführung (451) über eine Absatzkupplung an eine Absatzkappe im Absatzabschnitt der Obermaterialanordnung (400) gekoppelt sind, wobei die Absatzkupplung ein elastisches Element ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble article chaussant comprenant :

    un ensemble tige d'article chaussant (400) comprenant une couche extérieure (402) et une languette flottante (405), l'ensemble tige d'article chaussant (400) comprenant une section bout (407), un côté interne (403), un côté externe (404), une section talon et une section gorge centrale (411) ;

    un câble formant lacet (410) comportant une première extrémité assujettie à l'ensemble tige (400) à un premier emplacement d'assujettissement (420) et une seconde extrémité assujettie à l'ensemble tige (400) à un second emplacement d'assujettissement (421) ;

    une première pluralité de guides de lacet (430, 432, 440) formant une première zone de laçage acheminant une première partie du câble formant lacet (410) afin de tendre une région d'avant-pied de l'ensemble article chaussant ;

    une seconde pluralité de guides de lacet (431, 441, 442) formant une seconde zone de laçage acheminant une seconde partie du câble formant lacet (410) afin de tendre une région de médio-pied de l'ensemble article chaussant ;

    un ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) fixé à une partie proximale de la languette flottante (405), l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) étant apte à recevoir le câble formant lacet (410) à la fois depuis le côté interne (403) et depuis le côté externe (404) ;

    un guide de lacet de talon interne (450) placé pour recevoir le câble formant lacet (410) provenant du guide de lacet de languette (415) le long du côté interne (403) de l'ensemble tige (400) ;

    un guide de lacet de talon externe (451) placé pour recevoir le câble formant lacet (410) provenant du guide de lacet de languette (415) le long du côté externe (404) de l'ensemble tige (400) ;

    une sortie de lacet interne (418) acheminant le câble formant lacet (410) à partir du guide de lacet de talon interne (450) jusqu'à une position permettant au câble formant lacet (410) d'entrer en prise avec un moteur de laçage (10) disposé à l'intérieur d'une partie semelle intercalaire (50) de l'ensemble article chaussant ; et

    une sortie de lacet externe (410) destinée à acheminer le câble formant lacet (410) à partir du guide de lacet de talon externe (451) jusqu'à une position d'entrée en prise avec le moteur de laçage (10),

    caractérisé en ce que

    la seconde pluralité de guides de lacet (431, 441, 442) distribue la tension du câble formant lacet (410) sur une plus grande surface de l'ensemble article chaussant que la première pluralité de guides de lacet (430, 432, 440).


     
    2. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la première pluralité de guides de lacet (430, 432, 440) comprend un guide de lacet interne (440) sur le côté interne (403) de la section gorge centrale (411) et deux guides de lacet externes (430, 432) sur le côté externe (404) de la section gorge centrale (411).
     
    3. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le premier guide de lacet externe (430) des deux guides de lacet externes (430, 432) est situé vers une extrémité distale de la section gorge centrale (411) et le second guide de lacet externe (432) des deux guides de lacet externes (430, 432) est situé vers une extrémité proximale de la section gorge centrale (411).
     
    4. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la première zone de laçage comprend les segments de chemin suivants :

    du premier emplacement d'assujettissement (420) au guide de lacet interne (440) ;

    du guide de lacet interne (440) au premier guide de lacet externe (430) ; et

    du premier guide de lacet externe (430) au second guide de lacet externe (432).


     
    5. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la première zone de laçage continue du second guide de lacet externe (432) à un guide de lacet orienté du côté externe (417) dans l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415).
     
    6. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 5, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la première zone de laçage continue du guide de lacet orienté du côté externe (417) au guide de lacet de talon externe (451).
     
    7. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la seconde pluralité de guides de lacet (431, 441, 442) comprend un premier guide de lacet externe (431) disposé le long d'une partie centrale d'un côté externe (404) de la section gorge centrale (411) et une pluralité de guides de lacet internes (441, 442) répartis le long d'une longueur d'un côté interne (403) de la section gorge centrale (411).
     
    8. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 7, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la seconde zone de laçage comprend les segments de chemin suivants :

    du second emplacement d'assujettissement (421) à un premier guide de lacet interne (441) de la pluralité de guides de lacet internes (441, 442) ;

    du premier guide de lacet interne (441) au premier guide de lacet externe (431) ;

    du premier guide de lacet externe (431) à un second guide de lacet interne (442) de la pluralité de guides de lacet internes (441, 442).


     
    9. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la seconde zone de laçage comprend en outre un segment de chemin s'étendant du second guide de lacet interne (442) à un guide de lacet orienté du côté interne (416) dans l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415).
     
    10. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le chemin du câble formant lacet (410) pour la seconde zone de laçage continue du guide de lacet orienté du côté interne (416) au guide de lacet de talon interne (450).
     
    11. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le premier emplacement d'assujettissement (420) se trouve sur le côté externe (404) éloigné de la section gorge centrale (411), et le second emplacement d'assujettissement (421) se trouve sur le côté externe (404) adjacent au premier guide de lacet externe (430).
     
    12. Ensemble article chaussant selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) comprend un guide de lacet orienté du côté interne (416) à l'opposé d'un guide de lacet orienté du côté externe (417).
     
    13. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 12, dans lequel l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) comprend un élément élastique accouplant le guide de lacet orienté du côté interne (416) au guide de lacet orienté du côté externe.
     
    14. Ensemble article chaussant selon la revendication 12 ou 13, dans lequel l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) est une structure d'un seul tenant avec un raccordement rigide entre le guide de lacet orienté du côté interne (416) et le guide de lacet orienté du côté externe (417).
     
    15. Ensemble article chaussant selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'ensemble guide de lacet de languette (415) est relié par fusion à un matériau de renforcement qui est cousu à la languette flottante (405).
     
    16. Ensemble article chaussant selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le guide de lacet de talon interne (450) et le guide de lacet de talon externe (451) sont accouplés, par le biais d'un élément d'accouplement de talon, à un contrefort dans la section talon de l'ensemble tige (400), l'élément d'accouplement de talon étant un élément élastique.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description