Patent application title: SEMI-FINISHED PRODUCT FOR PRODUCING AN INNDER SOLE OR INSOLE AND INNER SOLE OR INSOLE PRODUCED THEREFROM
Samantha Everz-Vaz (Zurich, CH)
IPC8 Class: AA43B1338FI
Class name: Boots, shoes, and leggings insoles laminated
Publication date: 2012-06-14
Patent application number: 20120144697
In order to increase the efficiency of insoles or shoe inserts, it is
proposed to start from a semi-finished product (100) having a foam
material layer which has a plurality of integrally formed raised sections
on the upper side. According to the invention, the raised sections (120)
or at least one of the raised sections should comprise one central raised
section and a raised section completely or partially surrounding said
central raised section, thus forming a plurality of massage edges.
The probability of stimulating the desired reflex zone is hereby
1. A semi-finished product for fabricating an insole consisting of an
elastic foam material layer corresponding to the outline of a shoe, which
on its upper side, starting from the base surface of the semi-finished
product, has a plurality of integrally formed raised sections, likewise
consisting of the same elastic foam material, in the region of reflex
zones of the sole of the foot, wherein at least the raised section which
massages the toe head of the large toe comprises at least one central and
at least one peripheral elevation which form a plurality of massage
2. The semi-finished product according to claim 1, wherein both the at least one central elevation and peripheral elevation have ramp-like lateral inclinations starting from the basic sole, which open into a flat raised section.
3. The semi-finished product according to claim 1, wherein measured from a normal to the base surface, the lateral inclination has an angle between 30.degree. and 60.degree..
4. The semi-finished product according to claim 1, wherein the at least one central elevation and at least one peripheral elevation which are disposed adjacently to one another, form at least one corresponding recess.
5. The semi-finished product according to claim 1, wherein only the raised section which massages the toe head of the large toe is provided with at least one peripheral elevation.
6. The semi-finished product according to claim 5, wherein in addition, the raised section used to massage the solar plexus is provided with at least one peripheral elevation.
7. An insole or shoe insert fabricated from a semi-finished product according to claim 1, wherein the foamed material layer of the semi-finished product is disposed as a massage layer between a cover layer and a supporting layer.
8. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 7, wherein the cover layer is made from leather or textile material.
9. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 7, wherein the supporting layer is fabricated from a cellulose-based material or from plastic.
10. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 7, wherein the cover layer is connected as a massage layer extensively following the contours of the semi-finished product.
11. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 7, wherein the cover layer only follows the outer contours of the raised sections and bridges the intermediate spaces between the central elevation and the at least one peripheral elevation leaving free a cavity.
12. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 7, wherein the elastic foam material of the massage layer has a hardness of less than 25.degree. Shore A so that the hardness of the insole provided with the cover layer has a hardness of higher than 25.degree. Shore A.
13. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 12, wherein the elastic foam material of the massage layer has a hardness of between 10.degree. and 20.degree. Shore A.
14. The insole or shoe insert according to claim 12, wherein the hardness of the insole or shoe insert provided with the cover layer has a hardness of between 30.degree. and 40.degree. Shore A.
 The present invention relates to a semi-finished product for
fabricating an insole, consisting of an elastic foam material layer
corresponding to the outline of a shoe, which on its upper side, starting
from the base surface, has a plurality of integrally formed raised
sections, likewise consisting of the same elastic foam material, in the
region of reflex zones of the sole of the foot. The invention also
relates to an insole or shoe insert fabricated using the semi-finished
product according to the invention.
 The term semi-finished product of an insole is understood here as any base material corresponding to an outline of a shoe which, when provided at least together with a cover layer, forms an insole having the necessary hardness.
 The term insole is understood here on the one hand as an insole firmly connected to a sole of a shoe, and also a sole placed loosely thereon which is also designated as shoe insert.
 Insoles having raised sections suitable for reflex zone massage are known in various embodiments. The majority of these insoles have a nubbed bearing surface disposed over the entire surface, the surface structure of the insole being formed by the entirety of the nubs. Insoles of this type are disclosed, for example, in EP-0,225,285 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,760,655 A. Whereas in the latter case as in CH-686,062 A, the nub height is configured to remain the same over the entire area of the shoe insert, other insoles such as those, for example, according to WO 85/04786 are configured with nubs which vary in height and which accordingly form a foot bed in practice. Insoles of this type possibly bring about an overstimulation of the sole of the foot, with the result that the desired foot reflex zone massage no longer shows the desired effect. On the contrary, overstimulation can lead to blockages of the nerve pathways and to harmful consequences. Correctly, corresponding suppliers point out that such shoes should only be worn for 1-2 hours.
 Two construction principles are known with regard to the manufacture of insoles having raised sections of elastic foam material. In one case, a harder base layer is taken as the starting point and cushion-shaped raised sections are glued thereon. This is an extremely complex and expensive method of manufacture. This method of manufacture is known, for example, from the afore-mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 4,760,655 A. In order that the raised sections still have a relevant massage effect, they must project relatively strongly with respect to the base surface. As a result of the nubbed cover layer which is applied thereover and extends over the entire insole, in practice the massage is undesirably perceived more strongly in the harder non-elevated regions than in the elevated regions.
 Known from DE-90,02,962.3 U is an insole forming the preamble of patent claim 1. In this case, the base layer and the raised sections are integrally fabricated uniformly from a foam material having a hardness of 30° to 45° Shore A. This insole is preferably fabricated from plastic. It can be arranged both as a shoe insert and as an insole. In this known insole, both the base layer and also the raised sections are made of a preferably synthetic material. Latex as a natural product classically has a hardness of Shore A of 10° -20°. Higher hardnesses can certainly be set but on the one hand this makes the product expensive and on the other hand, the additives are in part physiologically undesirable.
 An insole forming the preamble of patent claim 1 is also known from EP1245167. In this case, the inner sole comprises both a base layer and also a cover layer, the latter being applied to the cover layer. The base layer consists of a foamed material layer having a hardness of preferably between 10° and 20° Shore A. Together with the cover layer, the insole has a hardness between 30° and 40° Shore A. The individual raised sections of the insole thus furnish a gentle and effective foot reflex zone massage during walking wherein hard impacts are cushioned and consequently transmitted to the sole of the foot with reduced strength via the reflex zone massage points. The raised sections of the insole in the region of the reflex zones should be adapted in such a manner that an optimal massage effect is effected. In particular, an effective massage effect is achieved when the edge of the raised section acts on the foot reflex zone. However, since the anatomy of each foot is different and in particular, the position of, for example, the toe head of the large toes in relation to the insole can vary substantially from person to person, an efficient massage effect is not ensured for every person.
 A re-positioning of the edge, for example, by means of a mere lateral enlargement of the diameter of a raised section in order to effect a massage in the case of a corresponding toe alignment is not always possible since the interior of the shoe is thereby restricted and therefore correspondingly uncomfortable for the wearer. Furthermore, it would prove to be difficult and costly to manufacture insoles having correspondingly shaped raised sections only for a selection of various foot anatomies.
 It is therefore the object of the present invention to provide an insole which ensures a secured effective massage effect in each case even with different foot anatomies.
 This object is achieved by an insole having the features of patent claim 1. Thanks to the at least one central and peripheral elevation of the at least one raised section in the region of the reflex zones of the sole of the foot, this region has a plurality of edges of which at least one acts on a foot reflex zone in an acupressure manner during walking. This also allows application in shoes with a foot bed, thus forming protection with a reflex zone foot bed.
 Further advantageous embodiments are deduced from the dependent claims and their mode of action and meaning is explained in the following description. Preferred exemplary embodiments of the subject matter of the invention are shown in the figures and explained hereinafter in detail.
 FIG. 1 shows schematically a view of a semi-finished product according to the invention having raised sections in the region of reflex zones of the sole of the foot in an arrangement suitable for influencing the head region and the sensory organs;
 FIG. 2 shows schematically an enlarged view of a raised section according to the invention and the corresponding vertical section of the raised section along the line A-A;
 FIGS. 3-6 show sections of semi-finished products having raised sections of different shapes for specifically influencing different reflex zones for acting on corresponding organs or parts of the body;
 FIGS. 7-8 show two schematically enlarged cross-sections through the semi-finished product provided with a cover layer as a shoe insert or insole in corresponding embodiments of the invention;
 FIGS. 9-15 show schematically views of semi-finished products or shoe inserts or insoles having different raised-section formations for specifically influencing different reflex zones for acting on corresponding organs and/or regions of the body; and
 FIG. 16 shows schematically a view of a particularly preferred embodiment of a semi-finished product or a shoe insert having corresponding raised-section formations for specifically influencing different reflex zones for acting on corresponding organs and/or regions of the body.
 FIG. 17 shows a side view of the shoe insert or insole according to FIG. 16.
 The reference numeral 100 designates the semi-finished product in its entirety, which has a fundamentally flat base surface 110 whereon raised sections 120 are arranged in the form of reflex zones. The raised sections 120 can be fabricated integrally with the base surface 110. The semi-finished product 100 can consequently be constituted in one piece from the same elastic foam material, for example from latex or plastic.
 In one embodiment of the invention, for example, the raised section 120 in the region of the toe head has at least one centred elevation 121 and one peripheral elevation 122. In order to simplify the following discussion, embodiments of the invention are merely described in connection with the raised section 120 in the region of the toe head since, as mentioned initially, the position of a toe head relative to the insole can vary fairly substantially in different persons. However, this should not be interpreted as restrictive but merely as an example. Embodiments of the invention can consequently be used additionally or alternatively in other regions of reflex zones, such as for example, in the region of the solar plexus. Simple raised sections having no centred and peripheral elevation such as are described, for example, in EP1245167 are designated with the reference numeral 130.
 The at least one central elevation 121 and peripheral elevation 122 are configured in such a manner that these each have a ramp-like lateral inclination 123 starting from the base sole 110, which opens into a flat surface 124 of the elevation 121 and 122, wherein the inclinations 123 each run around the flat surfaces 124. This style of composition can have the effect that the insole not only serves to massage the reflex zones during walking but also achieves an acupressure effect in the rest state, which acts relatively gently. In one embodiment of the invention, measured from a normal N of the base surfaces 110, the lateral inclinations 123 have an angle θ between 30° and 60°.
 The at least one centred elevation 121 and peripheral elevation 122 form a plurality of elevated massage edges 126 and recesses 127 in the region of the raised section 120 of the reflex zone. This plurality of massage edges 126 effects an acupressure in the case of toe heads in different positions on the raised section 120. Normally, all the raised sections 120 and 130 project upwards by the same amount above the base surface 110.
 The centred elevations 121 in no way need to have merely a circular shape (for example, a nub) but, as shown schematically in FIGS. 7-10, can have any other embodiments and, for example, run in an oval manner or linearly. A linear raised section 130, for example, can constitute an apex line running at least approximately at the same height. In particular, the raised section 120, as depicted schematically in FIGS. 7-9, can have a plurality of centred elevations 121 which in turn can have different outlines.
 As shown schematically in FIG. 5, the at least one peripheral elevation 122 can run around the at least one centred elevation 121 both in a closed and in an open manner.
 The previously described semi-finished products are used for further processing to give insoles or shoe inserts. These consist of at least three layers, i.e. the soft massage layer 100 made of foamed material, in particular of latex or plastic which has been described previously as semi-finished product 100, as well as an upper cover layer 150 and a lower supporting layer 190. These three layers are joined to one another by corresponding lamination or another type of adhesive bonding.
 The choice of materials is conventional. Thus, the cover layer is preferably made of a breathable material such as leather or textile. For more reasonably priced solutions, artificial leather is preferably also used as the cover layer.
 The supporting layer can fulfil several functions. The massage layer is barely abrasion-proof and must therefore be protected. The cover layer fulfils this function. At the same time, it can fulfil further functions such as having a shock-absorbing effect, being permeable to vapour, having a heat-insulating effect. These functions are fulfilled by various plastic materials or cellulose-based films (e.g. under the trade name Texon) which are available on the market for the shoe industry.
 As depicted schematically in FIG. 7, the raised section 120 can, for example, be provided completely with the cover layer 150 and adhesively bonded over the entire surface, wherein the cover layer 150 completely follows the contours of the massage layer or the semi-finished product.
 FIG. 8 shows an embodiment of the invention in which the cover layer 150 is arranged continuously flat above the raised section 120 so that at least one cavity is formed between the cover layer 150 and the at least one recess 127. The cover layer 150 thus follows only the outermost contours of the raised sections and not the contours of the intermediate recesses. This reduces shear movements onto the massage layer or onto the semi-finished product, thus increasing the lifetime of the finished product, i.e. the insole or the shoe insert without reducing the massage effect.
 In a preferred embodiment the invention, the elastic foam material of the semi-finished product 100 has a hardness of less than 25° Shore A and in particular between 10° and 20° Shore A, so that the hardness of the insole or shoe insert 160 provided with the cover layer 150 has a hardness of higher than 25° Shore A, and in particular between 30° and 40° Shore A.
 FIGS. 9-16 show insoles or shoe inserts having different forms of raised sections 120. Depending on the arrangement and shape, different organs and parts of the body can be stimulated in combination. Particularly preferred is an embodiment known per se, which is known as "5-point" or "5-zone" soles and is shown in FIG. 16. Such a sole serves to improve the general feeling of wellbeing and is applicable for most persons. FIG. 16 shows on the one hand the outline of the insole or shoe insert 160 and the outline of the foot imaged thereon. Whereas the heel point is fixed by the shoe shape and thus does not vary, the other points can be varied to some extent with regard to their position.
 The toe point is the most strongly variable in position. Depending on the person, the large toe projects to a greater or lesser extent or runs slopingly inwards. Since the edges of the raised sections 120 are effective for the stimulation, as a result of the embodiment of the raised section 120' according to the invention, in particular for the large toes, a plurality of effective upper massage edges 126 distributed over the entire area of the raised section 120' and having a central elevation 121 and a peripheral elevation 122 is formed, of which at least some of the upper massage edges 126 are effective almost independently of the running direction of the large toes.
 In addition to the massage zone for the large toes, the raised sections can also be configured in the same way for the other massage zones. In particular the raised section 120'' for stimulating the solar plexus comes into consideration here. This raised section is characterised by 120' in FIG. 16 but is shown as a conventionally configured raised section in the figure for the sake of simplicity.
 The insole or shoe insert according to FIG. 16 can be seen in side view in FIG. 17. In order to increase the stimulation, the lateral inclinations, in particular at the raised sections 120 configured according to the invention are provided with steeper inclinations relative to the base surface 110 than in the conventionally configured raised sections. The inclinations of the lateral edges of the raised sections in conventional raised sections 120 are preferably provided with an angle of inclination of around 45°. The inclination of the peripheral elevation 122 has an angle of inclination of 80° whereas the angle of inclination of the central elevation 121 is 75°. These inclinations are preferred details and relate to the inclination as achieved in the unlaminated semi-finished product 100. These angles of inclination are automatically changed to some extent after laminating with an upper cover layer 150 and are usually somewhat flatter. After a certain wearing time, this will change again. In particular, in the case of steep angles of inclination, wrinkling can occur.
 However, this is in no way disadvantageous but leads to further increased stimulation.
 100 Semi-finished product  110 Base surface  120 Raised sections  121 Central elevation  122 Peripheral elevation  123 Lateral inclination  124 Flat surface  126 Elevated massage edges  127 Recesses  130 Linear raised section  150 Upper cover layer  160 Insole or shoe insert  190 Upper support layer  F Foot outline
Patent applications by Samantha Everz-Vaz, Zurich CH
Patent applications by MAFAG-REFLEXA AG
Patent applications in class Laminated
Patent applications in all subclasses Laminated