Patent application title: Footwear
Kathy Ann Antinore (Batavia, NY, US)
Dennis J. Janisse (West Bend, WI, US)
Daniel Joseph Richard (Rye, NH, US)
Craig Michael Wojcieszak (Lee, NH, US)
P.W. MINOR AND SON, INC.
IPC8 Class: AA43B714FI
Class name: Boots and shoes foot-supporting or foot-conforming feature heel support
Publication date: 2012-04-05
Patent application number: 20120079744
An article of footwear including an upper having a bottom surface of
predetermined length; an outsole positioned exteriorly of the upper; a
midsole positioned between the outsole and said upper and being of about
the predetermined length; a shank positioned between the midsole and the
upper and having an upper surface and a bottom surface and being of about
the predetermined length that extends from a heel region to a toe region;
and first and second rollers incorporated into the bottom surface of the
shank and extending is spaced, parallel relation to one another from the
heel region towards the toe region.
1. An article of footwear, comprising: a. an upper having a bottom
surface of predetermined length; b. an outsole positioned exteriorly of
said upper; c. a midsole positioned between said outsole and said upper
and being of about said predetermined length; d. a shank positioned
between said midsole and said upper and having an upper surface and a
bottom surface and being of about said predetermined length that extends
from a heel region to a toe region; and e. first and second rollers
incorporated into said bottom surface of said shank and extending is
spaced, parallel relation to one another from said heel region towards
said toe region.
2. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein at least one of said first roller and said second roller further comprises a maximum vertical thickness at about its midpoint.
3. The article of footwear of claim 2, wherein said midsole further comprises a sole portion with an upwardly facing surface, a first sidewall and a second sidewall, each of which extends upwardly from said upwardly facing surface of said sole portion, and wherein the combination of the sole portion, said first sidewall and said second sidewall are adapted to envelop at least a portion of said shank.
4. The article of footwear of claim 3, wherein said maximum vertical thickness is less than or equal to the vertical thickness of said sidewalls.
5. The article of footwear of claim 3, wherein said upwardly facing surface of said sole portion further comprises a first cavity and a second cavity, wherein said first cavity is adapted to at least partially envelop and contain said first roller and said second cavity is adapted to at least partially envelop and contain said second roller.
6. The article of footwear of claim 3, wherein said each of said sidewalls comprise a inset at about the middle thereof.
7. The article of footwear of claim 6, wherein said insets are trapezoidal-shaped.
8. The article of footwear of claim 7, wherein said insets further comprise inserts of a material more rigid than said sidewalls.
9. The article of footwear of claim 3, wherein said sole portion further comprises a bottom surface with a heel region, wherein said heel region of said bottom surface of said sole portion contains a recess formed therein.
10. The article of footwear of claim 9, wherein said recess contains a cushioned heal pad.
11. The article of footwear of claim 1, further comprising a pliable pad positioned between said bottom surface of said upper and said upper surface of said shank and being of about said predetermined length.
12. The article of footwear of claim 11, wherein said pliable pad is composed of low density polyurethane.
13. The article of footwear of claim 1, wherein said midsole is composed of a compression molded EVA.
CROSS REFERENCE To RELATED APPLICATIONS
 The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/388,440, filed on Sep. 30, 2010.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to footwear, and more particularly to an article of footwear that includes structure that provides assistance in transitioning between the forefoot and heel during each step.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 In human locomotion, "gait" is the term used to describe the pattern that one walks or runs. Each individual has a unique gait, but there are certain phases of each gait that all with a normal gait have in common. The gait cycle involves the initial placement of the supporting heel on the ground to when the same heel contacts the ground for a second time. The gait cycle is divided into two phases: 1) Stance--defined as the interval in which the foot is on the ground (about 60% of the gait cycle), and 2) Swing--defined as the interval in which the foot is not in contact with the ground (about 40% of the gait cycle). The stance phase is further divided into four phases: 1) heel strike to foot flat, 2) foot flat through midstance, 3) midstance through heel off, and 4) heel off to toe off. Swing is sub-divided into two phases: 1) acceleration to midswing, and 2) midswing to deceleration.
 As the bottom of a human foot is relatively flat from heel to the metatarsals, and the gait cycle normally involves rolling off of one's heel through midstance (or to the metatarsals), and back again, shoes have been developed to support and provide cushioning for the force otherwise imparted during the gait cycle. Traditional Japanese Geta style sandals include a curved forefoot sole that assists one in rolling from the midsole region to the toes and back again (essentially assisting with phase 4 of the above-described stance phase of a gait).
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is a principal object and advantage of the present invention to provide an article of footwear that includes structure to assist in gait movement from the heel strike to the heel off phase of the gait.
 It is another object and advantage of the present invention to provide an article of footwear that provides stability and cushioning during one's gait.
 It is a further object and advantage of the present invention to provide an article of footwear that assists with one's gait cycle while maintaining a relatively narrow shoe-profile.
 Other objects and advantages of the present invention will in part be obvious and in part appear hereinafter.
 In accordance with the foregoing objects and advantages, the present invention provides an article of footwear comprising an upper having a bottom surface of predetermined length; an outsole positioned exteriorly of the upper; a midsole positioned between the outsole and said upper and being of about the predetermined length; a shank positioned between the midsole and the upper and having an upper surface and a bottom surface and being of about the predetermined length that extends from a heel region to a toe region; and first and second rollers incorporated into the bottom surface of the shank and extending is spaced, parallel relation to one another from the heel region towards the toe region. The midsole further includes first and second cavities formed in its upwardly facing surface in which the first and second rollers, respectively, are at least partially enveloped, and a pair of sidewalls that provide lateral support to the footwear article. Further structure comprising the article of footwear includes a pliable pad is situated between the upper surface of the shank and the bottom surface of the upper to provide cushioning, a pair of trapezoidal-shaped inserts incorporated into the sidewalls of the midsole to provide rigidity thereto, and a pliable heel cushion incorporated into the bottom of the midsole in the heel region thereof to provide an extra layer of cushion to the wearer's heel. The outsole sandwiches the midsole, shank, and pliable pad between its upper surface and the bottom surface of the upper. The footwear components are manufactured according to fabrication processes that are well understood in the footwear arts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:
 FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment for an article of footwear.
 FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the midsole component of the footwear.
 With reference to the FIG. 1, an article of footwear, designated generally by reference numeral 10, comprising an upper 12 adapted to enclose a wearer's foot (and having a conventional footbed 13 therein), an outsole 14 adapted to provide the ground engaging portion of the footwear, a pliable pad 16 composed of low density polyurethane positioned adjacent the bottom surface 18 of upper 12 adapted to provide cushioning for the wearer's foot, a shank 20 composed of semi-rigid, injection molded plastic material and positioned adjacent pliable pad 16, a midsole 22 composed of a compression molded EVA or similar material positioned between outsole 14 and shank 20 and including sidewalls 24 that extend upwardly from the sole portion 26 thereof and adapted to envelop shank 20 and provide some stability to footwear 10.
 Each of the footwear's components are of generally about the same length which would be slightly greater than the length of the "size" that the footwear is sold (e.g., a men's size 9). However, the outsole 14, for example, is slightly longer than the other components as its ends wrap around the ends of the intermediate layers (the shank 20, midsole 22, and pliable pad 16) and upper 12. The stitching or other fabrication of footwear 10 is, in general terms, familiar to one of ordinary skill in the art of footwear manufacture.
 With regard to shank 20, it is equipped with a pair of rollers 28, 30 that extend in spaced, essentially parallel relation to one another (and essentially parallel to the longitudinal axis X-X of the footwear) on the bottom surface 32 of shank 20 from slightly forward of the heel region 42 (about 70 mm from the back of the hell in a men's size 9 footwear) to an intermediate position that is slightly behind the metatarsal region 36 (on a men's size 9 footwear, this would be approximately 170 mm from the back of the heel.) To promote stability, rockers 28, 30 are positioned at or very near the side edges of shank 20, and are of a maximum thickness at about their midpoints that are no greater than thickness of the sidewalls 24. The thickness and length of rollers 28, 30 depends on the radius or curvature thereof, which can vary depending on the purpose and characteristics for which the footwear is being designed.
 With regard to FIG. 2, midsole 22 comprises sole portion and sidewalls 24 extending upwardly therefrom and are composed of a more rigid material. A pair of cavities 34, 34' are formed in sole region 26 to contain rollers 28, 30, respectively, at least partially therein. Trapezoidal-shaped insets 35 are formed in the exterior of sidewalls 24 (see FIG. 1) at about the middle thereof and receive rigid inserts 36 therein to provide additional stability to the footwear. A recess 38 is also formed on the bottom of sole portion 26 at heel region 34 that is adapted to receive a cushioned heal pad 40 therein.
Patent applications in class Heel support
Patent applications in all subclasses Heel support