Patent application title: Universal Sole
Philippe Biesse (Bellegarde, FR)
IPC8 Class: AA43B1320FI
Class name: Soles cushion pneumatic
Publication date: 2012-04-12
Patent application number: 20120084998
Universal sole designed to help a user adapt his walking or running gait
to the surface over which he is moving or to the peculiarities of his
individual leg/foot System by individually adjusting the hardness and
thickness of several areas of the sole. Each area consists of one or more
layers of a flat coil of elastic extensible airtight and optionally
reinforced rubber tube which may be flattened or inflated beyond its
nominal diameter as a function of the pressure introduced by the action,
as the user walks, of a small pump located inside the sole underneath the
user's heel and adjustments and isolations performed manually with a
System of valves built into the thickness of the sole. The coils, the
valve System and the pumping System are either located and bonded between
layers of foam containing the impression of the coils and filling the
spaces between laces or placed in a mould or in a sole in the shape of a
boat, a filling material then being introduced to fill the empty spaces.
The resulting soles or sole elements can be used on ail kinds of shoes.
1. universal sole for shoes designed to help a wearer adapt his walking
or his running to the type of ground encountered or to the
particularities of his leg/foot system characterized in that the sole is
made of flat serpentine coils (3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4) made of elastic
tubes, extendable and air-tight and each one limiting a zone defined by
its location in front or back, and right or left sides of the foot, each
coil with a plugged extremity, being filled independently with its
quantity and pressure of air by transfers from the outside toward the
coil, from the coil toward the outside and from one coil to another,
according to multiple combinations controlled by a valves system (5,
5.2a-d, 5.21, 5.22), connection pipes (3.6 and 3.7), a manifold (5.1), a
vent (5.2e) and a pumping system (4), the whole system being controlled
2. universal sole for shoes according to claim no 1 characterized in that each zone can include several layers (3.1a, 3.1b, 3.2a, 3.2b) of the same continuous flat coil.
3. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the elastic tube of the coils (3.1 a) is made of a rubber compound and is reinforced with extendable elastic fibers (3.11) stiffer than the main pipe material and in the form of a diamond mesh elongated in the tube direction.
4. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the coils tubes (3) are filled with foam.
5. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the parallel loops of the coil tubes are maintained by bandages with the help of a large mesh canvas (2.6) and that a large mesh canvas (2.6) is deployed between each layer of the coils.
6. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the pumping system is made of a connecting nozzle linked to the manifold via a valve fitted in the thickness of the sole, this nozzle being temporarily connected to the flexible hose of an outside air pump for the pumping operation.
7. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims no 1 to 5 characterized in that the pumping system is made of a mini-pump (4) integrated into the sole and equipped with a non-return valve (8.2) and a safety valve (8.3) on its discharge toward the manifold, and on the suction side, a connection to the air filter (7) via an isolation valve (5.2f or 5.23) and a non-return valve (8.1), the outside contact surface area (4.1) of the pump being bigger than the section of the compression chamber (4.3) and being maintained at the level of the lower surface of the sole due to its location and its support under the lower surface of the tubes of the lower layer of the coils in the heel zone.
8. universal sole for shoes according to claim no 7 characterized in that the pumping system is equipped with a safety valve at its discharge (8.3).
9. universal sole for shoes according to claim no 7 characterized in that the pumping system is equipped with a plunger pump whose suction spring system (4.2) maintains the pump in its compressed position when the suction valve is dosed.
10. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the transfer system includes a set of two positions valves (5.2a-f), open and closed, controlled with knobs (5.3a-f) located on the side in the sole's thickness, these organs being maneuvered by the wearer to set the required configuration, each valve isolating or connecting on the one hand, and independently, the different zones of the sole (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4) with the manifold (5.1), and on the other hand, the manifold (5.1) with the vent through the vent valve (5.2e), or isolating or opening the pumping system (4) suction valve (5.2f)
11. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims no 1 to 9 characterized in that the transfer system (5) includes the set of several four positions valves (5.21, 5.22, 5.23) with multiple ways controlled by knobs (5.211, 5.221, 5.231) located on the side in the thickness of the shoe's sole, these knobs being rotated by the wearer to set the required configuration, the first valve (5.23) isolating or connecting the manifold (5.1), the vent, the suction and the pump discharge (4), the other valves (5.21 and 5.22) isolating or connecting independently groups of the sole zones (3.1, 3.2 and 3.3, 3.4), each valve being composed of an inside rotating cylinder (5.23 for valve 5.23) bored with radial coplanar holes (5.234 and 5.235) at a 90.degree. angle and having their intersection on the axis of the inside cylinder, the corresponding block of valve (5.1a and 5.2b) being bored in the same plane by four holes distributed at 90.degree. angles, the first valve (5.23) having their bores (5.234 and 5.235) and block holes placed in two separate parallel planes.
12. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the manifold is equipped with a pressure gauge (not represented).
13. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the standard number of zones (3) for each sole is between 1 and 8.
14. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the most standard number of zones for each sole is four, right front (3.4 for left shoe), left front (3.3), right heel (3.2), left heel (3.1).
15. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims characterized in that the elements of the coils (3), valves block (5), pumping system (4), are inserted between foam layers (2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3), ridged and pre-imprinted with the coil path, the foam layers are pre-glued, the set forming after assembly a pre-manufactured element of a shoe sole.
16. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims no 1 to 14 characterized in that the elements, coils (3), valves block (5), pumping system (4), bandages and possible canvas (2.6) are put in a mould and empty spaces are filled by a poured material that will get desired characteristics after maturation, the whole set forming a pre-manufactured element of a shoe sole.
17. universal sole for shoes according to one of the previous claims no 1 to 14 characterized in that the elements, coils (3), block of valves (5), pumping system (4), bandages and possible canvas (2.6) are put in a outsole with upward curved edges (6), the empty spaces being filled by a poured filler that will get desired characteristics after maturing, the whole set forming a pre-manufactured completed sole.
 This invention relates to soles for shoes and concerns a device designed to help the walker adapt his/her walking or running to the type of ground encountered or to the particularities of his/her leg/feet system. The ground's characteristics refer to its hardness, its forward or descending, right or left incline. The leg/feet system characteristics refer to leg shape such as bow legs, a stance to correct, or joint or muscle pain to alleviate or stimulate.
 The invention also applies to the method of manufacturing elements of the sole.
 This kind of situation is usually dealt with by having different pairs of shoes with soles of various degrees of stiffness/thickness and even orthopedic soles in extreme cases.
 The major drawback of existing solutions is the need for a different pair of shoes to deal with each situation and that can't adjust to the various kinds of ground and circumstances encountered during an outing.
 Although it is easy to find corrective shoes resembling regular town shoes, it is not easy to find readymade and affordable corrective shoes for sports. Moreover, in the long run, the wear and tear of the sole modifies the corrective effect, and the existing solutions only cover a small part of the invention's possible applications.
 Especially concerning sports, manufacturers offer models adapted specifically to each athletic discipline or type of ground, with the shoes being designed for optimal performance and not adapted to the specificity of the individual using them. They have also recently developed adaptable and even motorized shoes equipped with sensors, microprocessors, actuators, electric batteries, communication interfaces. These models address a particular market and call on advanced technologies which are relatively expensive. Moreover, their application is sports-orientated and focuses on the comfort and shock absorption of the shoe. They are based either on a mechanical element as in patent ep 1582 108, or on air-sealed pneumatic elements as in U.S. Pat. No. 6,430,843, or on elements that are inflated at atmospheric pressure while the sole is no longer in contact with the ground as in U.S. Pat. No. 5,813,142, and from which the air can escape through a controlled opening of vents when the foot comes in contact with the ground.
 Other non motorized models allow the adjustment of comfort and height of the soles via a mechanical system of inserts that are intrinsically adjustable or interchangeable such as in patent ep1530913 or even the comfort and the hardness of the heel area in patent wo 90.00866.
 Other patents use the pneumatic system of a sole made out of pre inflated pockets that are in most cases made by soldering or gluing 2 sheets of elastomer, according to patterns defining the contours of these pockets, or by soldering or gluing the 2 complementary half-shells, the pockets being interconnected or isolated. U.S. Pat. No. 900,867 or U.S. Pat. No. 4,129,951 are two examples of such constructions. U.S. Pat. No. 5,406,719 shows a configuration with 4 chambers which can be isolated or connected and, owing to the presence of reservoirs, the user can adjust by a few percent the pressure of the chambers whose range of pressure is set during the manufacture, by manipulating the vents and the stroke of the piston reservoirs. The sole is made of two sheets of elastomer soldered following the contour of the zones.
 A configuration which uses a pump activated by the contact of the foot on the floor is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,785,985. The pump, which is a bladder with a non return valve, has an effect on the inflation of the shoe, including its sole, in order to wrap the foot tightly with a comfortable pressure; the pressure is limited to a relatively weak value by controlling a vent.
 Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 5,179,792 describes a system where the sole's pockets which, owing to a check valve, are filled with atmospheric pressure each time contact with the ground is lost, are in turn pseudo-randomly maintained at pressure and allowed to deflate by a rotating mechanical valving system activated each time a push button comes in contact with the ground. The objective of this invention is to make the shoes comfortable for the wearer and to stimulate blood circulation through exercise.
 In the preceding inventions, there are problems linked to production costs, to changes in the characteristics of the sole over time, to the need to keep replacement inserts in stock for the mechanical systems, to bursting or rupturing in the soldering, to a lack of stability in the horizontal plane, sideways front-to-back or diagonally, due to the lack of stiffness of the air pockets as well as the bloating of the pockets' central zones and the twisting of the wearer's ankles.
 This risk is mainly due to the fact that a large air pocket tends to collapse under the pressure exerted by the corner of the heel while the remaining wider surface of the pocket tends to raise the rest of the foot, thus aggravating a position which is initially inclined. in order to remedy these drawbacks, a number of modifications are required.
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
 The device stated in this invention provides solutions to the above stated drawbacks, it consists of inserting a universal sole under the shoe be it a regular town, orthopedic, athletic or hiking shoe and helps the wearer adapt his/her walking or running to the type of ground encountered or to the particularities of his/her leg/feet system.
 It consists of, generally and for each shoe, a sole made of flat serpentine coils made of tubes or elastic pipes, extendable and air tight, and each one limiting a tight zone or pocket, defined by its location in front or back and left or right sides of the foot each coil with a plugged extremity, being filled independently with its quantity and pressure of air, by transfers from the outside toward the coil, from the coil toward the outside, and from one coil to another, according to multiple combinations controlled by a valve system, connecting pipes, a manifold, a vent and a pumping system with possible protection from over-pressure, the whole system being controlled manually. For example, there could be 4 such zones: at the front right and left front of the sole, the right back and the left back near the heel. These transfers are useful because they adjust the height and the global sturdiness of the sole to ensure its comfort, its bounce or shock absorption according to the activity of the wearer, to compensate a difference in the length of the individual's legs; and because they adjust the height of each zone in relation to the others, in a right and left axis to walk on the shoulder of a road, to alleviate and stimulate the knee joints, to rehabilitate or correct bone deformations, or in a front and back axis to let rest or activate frontal or back muscles when climbing or descending. It can also boost athletic performance by reacting to different sorts of impulsions.
 These controls and adjustments will be implemented according to problems encountered by the wearer and the abilities of the system operator who is the wearer him/herself, a coach or a doctor. Moreover, these adjustments will made seldom in the case of orthopedic corrections or frequently, up to many times per hour, for an athlete covering different types of ground or different activities. The durability of these adjustments is made possible by the effective air tightness of the coils and of the valve systems. In particular, a simple configuration of the pumping system consists of a connecting nozzle linked to the manifold via a valve fitted in the thickness of the sole, this nozzle being temporanly connected to the flexible pipe of an outside air pump for the pumping operation. This pump is therefore independent of the sole and for example can be a manual piston pump of an electrical compressor or any other compressed air production unit A mini pump model can be manufactured and sold with the shoes without too much extra cost; the pump can even be fitted with a pressure gauge when used by an orthopedist or other professionals taking care of multiple users.
 The pumping system can also consist of a mini pump for example a piston pump in the shape of a capsule, integrated into the sole and equipped with a non-return valve, and optionally with a safety valve, on its discharge toward the manifold and on the suction side, a connection to the air filter which is generally located in a safe part of the shoe, via an isolation valve and a non-return valve.
 The outside contact surface area of the pump is bigger than the section of the compression chamber in order to deliver to the coils of any zone an air pressure which is greater than that due to the weight of the wearer on the whole contact surface with the ground. On the other hand, in order to always remain in contact with the ground, even when the surrounding sole is at its maximal thickness, the outside contact surface area of the pump is maintained at the level of the lower surface of the sole due to its location and its support under the lower surface of the pipes of the lower layer of the coils in the heel zone, allowing it to follow an increase in the sole's thickness. The pumping action is made for example during a normal walk of the wearer, the pump being actuated by part of the wearers weight at every contact with the ground. When the pumping action concludes and thanks to the suction spring system, the pump maintains its compressed position when the suction valve is closed.
 One simple configuration of the transfer system includes a set of two positions valves, open and closed, controlled with knobs located on the side in the sole's thickness. Each valve corresponds respectively to a zone, to the vent, to the pump's suction. The organs are screws or rotating knobs being maneuvered by the wearer to set the required configuration, each valve isolating or connecting on the one hand, and independently, the different zones of the sole with the manifold, and on the other hand, the manifold with the vent through the vent valve, or isolating or opening the pumping system suction valve.
 For a sole including 4 zones, the right heel, left heel, front right, and front left, there will be 6 valves, 4 of which will be corresponding to these zones.
 For example, to change from the state of a flat and thin sole to the state of a thick sole raised on the outside side and on the heel, one checks that the vent is closed, opens the suction valve of the pump, and the valves of the 4 zones. It is then necessary to walk a few meters in the case of the integrated pump or to pump a little bit in the case of an outside pump. When the sole is slightly thicker, one closes the valves of the inside zones, and again walks a few meters or pumps a little bit Then one closes the outside front valve, takes more steps or pumps rightly and closes the outside heel zone valve. One will then close the pump suction valve in order to prevent it from working during walking and to ensure that it keeps its minimal thickness thanks to the suction created in the pump. During pumping, the safety valve limits the pressure in each of the organs to a safe value well under the structural limits. This margin allows for over-pressure due to shocks created when the shoe hits the ground.
 For adjustments with small differences in thickness between zones, one can simply implement the desired shape by inclining the foot, opening the valves of the zones to allow air transfers and then closing the valves.
 Another configuration that allows for the same type of adjustments consists of a transfer system with several 4-position valves and several openings controlled from control organs located on the side in the sole's thickness, these organs being maneuvered by the wearer through rotation to set the required configuration, the e valve isolating or connecting the manifold, the vent, the suction, and the discharge of the pump, the other valves isolating or connecting independently groups of zones. Each valve is composed of a rotating inside cylinder pierced with 2 radial coplanar bores forming a 90 degree angle and ending at the point of intersection on the inside cylinder axis, the valves block having been pierced with 4 holes at 90 degree angles in the same plane as the bores, the 1st valve having bores and block holes placed in 2 different parallel planes.
 There are therefore 3 valves for a 4 zone configuration. The order of the holes in the block of the first valve being manifold-vent-pump suction-pump discharge, manifold-manifold--left front-right front, for the valve corresponding to the zones at the front of the sole, and manifold-manifold-back left-back right, for the valve corresponding to the zones at the back of the sole.
 Whatever the chosen configuration, it is possible to verify the pressure by probes located in all points of the circuit, nevertheless, using a single probe at the common manifold is the most economic way to verify the pressure at all these points. A probe can be fitted permanently, for example a dial-pressure gauge or a piezo-etectric gauge with electrical sockets available for measurements on the outside of the sole.
 There are many categories of coils, generally tube-like structures of extendable air-tight elastic material from the rubber family. Rubber meaning here: natural or synthetic, elastomers, thermoplastics, neoprene, butyl, polyurethane, silicone, fluoro elastomer, or any mixture of this type whether opaque or transparent. The coils can also be reinforced with elastic and extendable fibers that are stiffer than the main material, as for example but not limited to fibers made of nylon, polyester, lycra and other combinations of materials.
 The main axis of the various reinforcements being the longitudinal axis, as for example mesh in the shape of an elongated diamond in the direction of the tube's axis.
 This allows for an easy increase in diameter and stiffens the tube in its long axis. In any case, the tube's lengthwise stiffness is used, whether or not there is air pressure in the coils, to stabilize the sole against lateral movements which are thus controlled mainly by the portions of the coil whose axes are, parallel to these movements.
 The path of the coils provides in all possible directions a minimum quantity of these portions. This is why one avoids a mono-directional layout, and why the combination of squiggly-shaped paths and coil-forming tubes with lengthwise stiffness gives superior lateral stability in comparison to other types of pneumatic soles.
 It must be noted that if the lateral forces of shear and flexion of the sole increase with its thickness, the effect of the lateral stiffness due to the tube, increases along with the increase in pressure, thus ensuring good results in all cases. The pressure in the tubes varies between a vacuum of a few 10ths of a bar and a pressure of a few bars until around 6 bars for the reinforced tubes. The bursting pressure in this case being 10 bars minimum.
 The tubes can work in a vacuum area. They are in fact assembled without air inside, flat inside the layer of foam located between the shoe and the outsole, and without air pressure the foam or the filling material keeps their shape flat.
 The thickness is then minimum and equal to the thickness of the outsole plus the thickness of the foam above and below the coils plus twice the nominal thickness of the tube walls for a configuration with one layer of coils.
 Through inflation, the tubes will pass progressively from a flat cross-section to a circular cross-section, the foam or filling material ensuring a relatively weak resistance to an increase in thickness, rendering this transition interval soft enough with big changes in thickness for small increases in pressure. Then, when the cross-section of the tube is circular, the tube walls with or without reinforcements provide the main resistance to the increase in diameter, giving the sole great stability, with small increases in thickness of the sole for big increases in pressure.
 This allows for a thickness of the sole that depends on the inflation pressure and that is not significantly influenced by the load. When the reinforced coil tube is inflated at the pressure corresponding to its optimal dimensions when the long axis of the diamond shape of the reinforcement changes from the axial to the radial direction, resisting better to an increase of the diameter, the thickness of the sole reaches its threshold and becomes very stable no matter what the load.
 A way to stabilize the thickness of the sole starting from a slight pressure is to fill the tubes with a rubber or foam insert With no air or under low pressure, the sole acts as multiple layers of rubber and foam material. An increase in pressure increases the thickness; however with this configuration one cannot exploit the maximum range of thicknesses.
 In any case, the use of a vent equipped with a no return valve allows one to completely empty the tube so that it's possible to exploit the functional zone for minimal thickness while keeping it steady. When there is no insert in the tube, it is flattened and acts as a rubber insert whose thickness is equal to twice the thickness of its walls.
 Some spaces are left within the path of coils. These spaces are filled with foam sheets, cut out to envelop the coils and glued and piled together, or with liquid filling material such as rubber or foam, poured during the final phases of sole manufacturing. In this document, the generic term "pouring" groups together all the techniques using a material or a mix of materials being fluid at the moment of manufacture which allows it to penetrate in the empty spaces between coils or across wide mesh, whether the product is liquid, viscous, gaseous, granular or locally viscous.
 This fluidity can be due to temperature as for injection, vulcanization, warm pressing techniques or equivalents, or due to the nature of materials before maturation by polymerization, hardening, drying, hardening, or any other physical or chemical process that would give the materials the required properties after manufacturing. This not only results in a compact and light sole but also allows one to control its lateral expansion.
 Indeed, for a configuration with a single layer of tubes, there will be a natural tendency for the sole to increase its width more than its height in the proportion equal to the number of loops of the coil. The foam in the interstitial space is pulled during the vertical expansion of tube. It will lengthen and thin out between two tubes while exerting a lateral compression on them and give them a slightly oval shape. Each zone can contain more than one superimposed layers of the same coil; the use of a configuration with several layers also Mows to limit the tendency to lateral widening. Depending on the diameter of the tubes, it's possible to use a configuration with two, three, or more layers.
 The choice of diameter, number of layers and possible variations in diameter of the tubes for each zone of coils allows for numerous combinations. The standard diameters are mainly between 4 and 20 mm, the number of layers between 1 and 5. Configurations with 2 mm micro-tubes and up to 10 layers mainly concern strongly air tight materials.
 It is also possible to limit the lateral expansion of the sole by wrapping parallel coils by means of a large mesh canvas. Moreover, another such canvas is laid between coil layers in order to increase the lateral stiffness and to prevent the sole from buckling under the effect the various constraints.
 The objective of controlling the total lateral expansion is to decrease the stress and the shearing constraints between the different components of the sole, especially at the contact surface with the shoe and at the contact surface with the outsole. On the contrary, there are advantages to expanding the width near the bottom of the sole if the outsole is expandable enough not to be damaged or if its shape with upwards curved lateral extremities help contain the expansion of the material.
 Whatever layout is chosen, one must always ensure that a rigid element remains on the outsides of the sole, so that the supporting part of the sole is as wide as possible to laterally support the foot
 For the configuration with foam layers, one will choose foam having good compression qualities and also good characteristics against tearing and stretching. Indeed, this foam bears part of the wearers weight, mainly between the zones of the tube's lower generatrix and the outsole, or the tube's higher generatrix and the shoe or between intermediate layers of foam.
 It also helps transmit lateral forces and partially compensates by its extension the forces produced by the tubes when they tend to increase the thickness of the sole.
 This compensation maintains an acceptable stiffness during the use of the sole when there is little or no air pressure in the flattened tubes. In order to help the foam transmit lateral forces and compensate for tube extensions and to avoid the accumulation of constraints in the glued zone between foam layers, on can use lengthwise ridged foam layers with a good quantity of glue.
 For the configurations where the filling between tubes is done with poured material, this material will also possess good compression, shearing, and stretching characteristics. For injected or vulcanized material, the working temperature will always remain below the maximum temperature of the material used for the coils, their reinforcements, the valves blocks and the pump. The fluidity during the filling phase will allow the pouring material to flow between the tubes even of small diameter and between the canvas mesh. In order to locally reduce the stiffness of the sole due to the air pressure in the coils, it's possible to make extra loops at the chosen place, as for example would be done under the arch of the foot.
 The interconnection of the tubes or their connection to the valve system is made by inserting the tube ends into a hard metal or plastic small nozzle with an outside circular groove and by wrapping this assembly with a nylon flat ring. This layout allows for a fast, economical and air tight assembly even when the inflation pressure is high.
 Special connecting nozzles allow the interconnection of tubes of different diameters.
 The number of sole zones varies normally between 1 and 8, 4 being the most standard configuration. The number of valves, depending on the chosen valve system, will thus correspond to this number of zones, the other characteristics remaining applicable to all other configurations.
 The explanations given for different characteristics of the invention in this chapter or in any other chapter of this document, including the drawings and their keys, aren't limiting and are sufficient for somebody who has knowledge of the art to realize the invention or to develop variations or extensions that would result from the invention and be recognized as part of it. These characteristics and configurations are not exclusive and on the contrary can be complementary and can combine to form families of variations. Dimensions, when they are mentioned, give a general range and are not limiting.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 The drawings are not to scale, they give a range corresponding to the average size of a foot (around 30 centimeters) for general proportions, and they are sometimes magnified in certain areas to show the details of smaller parts.
 The item number for one part or for similar parts is kept identical throughout the document A letter of the alphabet will be added to this item number for variations or similar parts fulfilling the same function.
 The parts forming a given subassembly will be identified by the same item number as the assembly followed by a point and a number in the prescribed order.
 FIG. 1: Exploded view of the different elements of a shoe. The shoe (1) has a lower surface (1.1) on which a sole will be assembled. The set of coils (3) is sandwiched between the upper layer of foam (2.1) and the lower layer of foam (2.2) whose contact faces are ridged and that have been imprinted with the coil's path shape. The pump (4) and the valves block (5) are pre-assembled on the coil (3). The outsole with upward curved sides (6) will host the assembly which will be inserted and glued. The top of the outsole's curved sides will be connected to the lower part of the shoe by traditional means (glue, sewing . . . ). Some openings are provided in the outsole for the pump and valve control buttons. A very similar drawing would illustrate the case where the foam layers (2.1 and 2.2) would be injected or vulcanized depending on the fusion temperatures of the different materials; also the use of a flat outsole would follow the same principal.
 FIG. 2: Simplified view of a section at the heel describing shoe models I and II, differentiated by the number and diameter of the coil tubes, according to their different configurations:
 A) sole with maximum thickness
 B) sole with minimum thickness
 C) sole with maximum incline
 The example shows a type I sole with a tube of large diameter on one layer, and type II with a medium sized diameter on two layers.
 FIG. 3: Simplified view of a section at the heel describing shoe models of type I in configurations A (sole with maximum thickness), B (sole with minimum thickness) and type D models (with classic thick sole) and type E (with classic thin sole). The shoes are shown in a position with vertical load in column III and with inclined load in column IV. The oblique lines on the drawings in column IV represent the maximum incline obtained (short line) in relation to the better incline obtained with the type I shoe configuration C (long line furthest to outside). The type D sole provides the least stable result
 FIG. 4: Simplified view of a section at the heel describing shoe model type II with an average sized diameter on two layers of coils with ridged foam layers glued. The upper drawing shows a configuration with upper and lower tubes aligned, and the lower drawing shows a configuration with offset upper and lower tubes. The perfect alignment or offset of the coils in the transversal planes is not possible given the sinuous path of the coils, but can either be desired or not.
 The lower foam layer (2.2) is glued to the outsole (6.1) its upper imprint envelops the 1st layer of coils on the right side (3.2a) and on the left side (3.1a) and the ridges will hold the glue (2.5) which will fix it to the middle layer (2.3), itself supporting the 2nd layer of coil on the right (3.2b) and on the left (3.1b), its upper ridges holding the glue (2.4) that fixes the middle layer (2.3) to the upper layer (2.1) which is directly glued onto the lower part of the shoe (1.1), making for example a lasting board. FIG. 5: General view of a coil assembly
 The 4 zones are made up of a front right (3.4) and front left (3.3) coil each having a loop (3.5) designed to reduce the lengthwise stiffness of the sole, of the 1st and 2nd layers of coil of the hears right zone (3.2a) and (3.2b), and of the layers of coil of the heel's left zone (3.1a) and (3.1b).
 A large mesh canvas (2.6) is located between the two layers of coils at the back and above the layer of coils at the front The valves block (5) is connected to the coil assembly.
 FIG. 6: Cross section of a tube connection. The two parts of the tubes (3.1) are locked onto a small rigid nozzle with an outside circular groove (3.6) and then wrapped with a flexible and non extendible flat ring (3.7), for example made of nylon.
 FIG. 7: Cross section of a U-shaped connecting nozzle. The two parts of the tube (3.1) are locked onto a small U-shaped rigid nozzle with an outside circular groove (3.8) and then wrapped with a flexible and non extendible flat ring (3.7), for example made of nylon.
 FIG. 8: main diagram of a universal sole assembly.
 The 4 zones (3.1), (3.2), (3.3) and (3.4) are connected to the manifold (5.1) of the valves block via their isolating valves (5.2a), (5.2b), and (5.2c), (5.2d). The manifold (5.1) of the valves block is connected to the filter (7) via the isolating valve (5.2e). This filter (7) is also connected to the isolating valve of the pump suction (5.2f), then to the suction non-return valve (8.1), then to the pump (4), and to the discharge non-return valve (8.2) that leads to the manifold (5.1). The pump discharge is also connected to the safety valve (8.3).
 FIG. 9: Cross section of the upper row of a simple valves block according to FIG. 8.
 Le valves block (5.1) contains tapped holes in which the threaded parts of the valves (5.3a) to (5.3f) are screwed. The needles of the valves (5.2a) to (5.2f) will tightly seal the extremities of the tubes (5.6a) to (5.6f) which constitutes the valves seats and on which the coil tubes will be connected. The cylindrical parts of the valves, located between the threaded parts and the needles, are smooth and go through O-rings (5.4 a) to (5.4f) which are inserted in corresponding block grooves in order to ensure tightness of the manifold towards the outside. The valves (5.2a) to (5.2e) are housed in the same block cavity (5.1) which constitutes the manifold. The manifold's air tightness doesn't need to be as perfect as that of the valves given that the manifold is subject to pressure only for small periods of time or is subject to the pump pressure. Valve (5.2f) is housed individually in another cavity which is connected to non-return valve (8.1).
 FIGS. 10 and 11: Top and side cross sections of the lower part of a valves block according to the diagram of FIG. 8.
 Valves block (5.1) contains tapped holes in which the threaded part of the valves (5.3a) to (5.3f) are screwed. These threaded parts are extended by cylinders pushing plungers (5.2a) to (5.2f) that will tightly seal the tubes (5.6a) to (5.6f) by pinching, thus constituting the valve. The cylindrical parts of the valves located between the threaded parts and the plungers are smooth and go through O-rings (5.4a) to (5.4f) which are inserting in corresponding block grooves in order to ensure tightness of the manifold towards the outside. The extremities of the tubes (5.6a) to (5.6e) are either connected to the same valves block cavity (5.1) which constitutes the manifold, or are simply interconnected. One extremity of tube (5.6f) is individually connected to the non-return valve (8.1). The flexible blade (5.5a) holds together in position several plungers without interfering with their strokes.
 FIG. 12: Main diagram of a universal sole assembly.
 The 4 zones (3.1), (3.2), (3.3) and (3.5) are connected to the manifold (5.1) of the block via their isolating valves (5.21) and (5.22) each one with 4 positions. The 4-position valve (5.23) connects, depending on its different positions and variations, the block manifold (5.1) to the filter (7) or to the pump (4), the filter (7) to the suction non-return valve (8.1) of pump (4) or the discharge non-return valve (8.2) to the block manifold (5.1). The pump discharge is also connected to the safety valve (8.3).
 The holes drilled in the valves block (5.21) and (5.22) are in the same plane as the elbowed openings drilled in the valves rotating cylinders. The holes drilled in the valves block (5.23) are located in different 2 parallel planes, each one coinciding with a plane of the elbowed openings of the rotating cylinder of the valve.
 FIG. 13: schematic representation of connections realized by valve (5.23).
 3 configurations (5.23a), (5.23b) and (5.23c) are shown according to the 4 different positions: V for vent S1 for isolation 1, S2 for isolation 2, and P for pumping. The holes drilled in the valves block are shown as straight segments on the outside of the circle and the elbowed openings as circular arcs or straight segments on the inside of the circle. The arcs and segments drawn in a continuous line are located in the fore plane; those in discontinued lines are located in the back plane. Venting through the fitter is shown at the top of the circle, the pump suction to the left, the pump discharge at the bottom, and the manifold to the right.
 Valve configuration (5.23a) connects the manifold to the filter, the pump discharge to the filter and to its suction when in V position; isolates the manifold and the filter and connects the discharge and the suction of the pump when in position S1; isolates the manifold and the suction of the pump, and connects the pump discharge and the filter when in position S2; connects the pump suction and the filter, and the pump discharge and the manifold when in position P. This configuration allows to connect the discharge of the pump to the vent in order to avoid the use of the safety valve (8.3) during normal functioning in position S2.
 Valve configuration (5.23a) connects the manifold to the filter and isolates the pump discharge and the pump suction when in position V; isolates the manifold, the filter, the pump discharge and the pump suction when in position S1; isolates the filter, the manifold, the pump suction, and the pump discharge when in position s2; connects the pump suction and the filter, the pump discharge to the manifold when in position P.
 This variation permits putting to put the discharge of the pump in the vent to avoid using the safety valve (8.3) when in a normal functioning position.
 Valve configuration (5.23b) connects the collection device to the filter, isolates the outlet pump and its suction when in position V; isolates the collection apparatus, the filter, isolates the outlet pump an its suction when in position S2; connects the suction pump with the filter, and the outlet pump with the collection device when in position P.
 Valve configuration (5.23c) connects the manifold to the filter in the venting direction, isolates the filter, the pump discharge and the pump suction when in position V; isolates the manifold and the filter, the pump discharge and the pump suction, when in position S1; isolates the filter, the manifold, the pump discharge and the pump suction, when in position S2; connects the pump suction and the filter, and the pump discharge to the manifold when in position P. This configuration allows, due to the non-return valve, to better drain the air from the coils to obtain a thin sole.
 FIGS. 14 and 15: Frontal and side cross sections of an alternate valves block (5.21), (5.22) and (5.23). The side view is a simplified representation according to section D-D, the view from the front is a simplified view, where the part corresponding to valve (5.21) is viewed in plane A-A, the part corresponding to valve (5.22) is viewed in plane B-B, and the part corresponding to valve (5.23) is viewed in plane C-C. Only the main dotted lines are shown for easier understanding. Block (5.1) is made up of lower part (5.1a) and upper parts (5.1b), assembled by gluing after centering with the help of centering pins (5.10).
 During manufacture, all the drillings and machining of the semi-blocks are done before assembly, including the surfacing of the supporting thrust of O-rings (5.41) and with the exception of the finishing of the bores housing the rotating cylinders (5.21) (,5.22) and (5.23) of the valves which is made lastly: The cylindrical then conical part (5.236) at the end of the rotating cylinders of the valves (5.21, 5.22, 5.23) allows the assembly in the block already fitted with O-rings without them being released from their supporting surface and favors the compression of these O-rings for better tightness and slight friction on the rotating cylinder. Here the manifold (5.1c) consists of a drilled hole in connection with the 3 parts of the valves. It is sealed with the plug (5.1d) after being drilled.
 The pins (5.10) can be replaced or completed by pins (5.11) which, lodged inside the groove (5.231) block the translation movement of the valves. An O-ring (5.42) inserted in groove (5.233) ensures the air-tightness towards the outside. The maneuvering knob (5.232) of the rotating cylinders is equipped with a thumbwheel that indicates the position. The elbowed openings in the rotating cylinders (5.234) and (5.235) are located on the front or back plane. The tubes are connected to inserted nozzles (5.6) at the outlets of the orifices. Zone (5.1e) can be equipped with a non-return valve for to execute valve configuration (5.23c) of FIG. 13.
 FIGS. 16 and 17: Side cross section and exploded perspective view of safety valves and non-return valves.
 The ball of non-return valve (8d) is housed in a hole drilled in the pump's (4) body, is stopped by the reduction in diameter. Insert nozzle (8a), equipped with a cross-shaped piece (8b) with a contact point (8c) is inserted and fixed in the hole of larger diameter. The chosen flexibility of elements (8b) and 8c) as well as their optional prestressing given during assembly, allows the ball to function as a non-return or a safety valve.
 FIG. 18: Side cross section of the pump (4).
 The directions of the discharge non-return valve (8.2) and discharge safety valve (8.3) and the nozzle (4.6) of the inlet of the compression chamber are shown in the view to simplify the drawing but in reality their axis is in the direction of the coil's tubes.
 The coils (3.1a) and (3.1b) are housed in the foam (2) between the lasting board located under the shoe (1.1) and the outsole (6). The latter is equipped with a hole which holds the convex disk (4.1) between the pump and the ground. The pump body (4.4) rests on the coil's tubes, thus moving as they inflate. The pump plunger (4.3) slides in an air-tight manner in the chamber thanks to an O-ring (4.5), the air goes through the suction nozzle (4.6), then goes through the space between the pump body (4.4) and spring washer (4.2) before entering the compression chamber via the non-return suction valve (8.1). The spring washer (4.2) is elastic and lifts the pump plunger during the suction phases; on the other hand, the fact that the air goes through the space between (4.4) and (4.2) allows, due to the large surface area which is then under vacuum, to maintain the plunger at the bottom of the chamber to maintain a minimum thickness of the pump when the air inlet side is isolated during normal use of the shoe.
 FIG. 19 : Variation of a membrane pump
 Side cross section the pump (4). The directions of the discharge non-return valve (8.2) and discharge safety valve (8.3) and the nozzle (4.6) of the inlet of the compression chamber are shown in the view to simplify the drawing.
 The coils (3.1a) and (3.1b) are housed in the foam (2) under the outsole (6). The pump body is split into two parts (4.4a) and (4.4b). The pump plunger (4.3) slides in an air-tight manner in the chamber thanks to a membrane (4.51); the convex disk (4.1) between the pump and the ground, the inlet nozzle (4.6), the spring washer (4.2), the suction non-return valve (8.1) can be of the same type as in FIG. 18.
 FIG. 20: Section of a coil's tube (3.1a) with a diamond-shaped reinforcement mesh (3.11).
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT INVENTION
 The best standard method to carry out the invention consists in manufacturing a sole assembly using a coil made of four zones, front right, front left, right heel and left heel and made of a nylon-reinforced rubber tube of diameter 8 mm and 2 mm wall thickness. The diameter under maximum pressure is 14 mm. A single layer of coil is used in the front zones two layers are used in the heel zones. The valves block houses the six needle valves isolating the four zones, the suction of a plunger-pump with a convex disk located under the heel, the vent and its filter.
 The spaces between the coil's tubes are filled by layers of pre-cut foam, made of a type of vinyl acetate ethylene copolymer (eva) for example, ridged and pre-imprinted with the coil path. One thus has a lower foam layer whose upper face, ridged and imprinted with the coil path, is pre-glued; a set composed of the coils, valves block and pump is placed upon it, then an intermediary foam plate whose lower face is ridged and imprinted with the coil's path is placed on the front and back zones, so that the second layer of coil will fit on it. Its upper face will be ridged and pre-imprinted with the path of the second layer of coil in the heel zones and will be smooth in the front zones. Finally, a layer of foam whose lower face is ridged and pre-imprinted with the path of the second layer of coil, will be put on the heel zone, this layer will be of reduced length and its thickness will decrease from the back of the heel up to the arch of the foot. Its upper face is smooth and joins the upper face of the intermediate layer to form a continuous surface. In order to house the valves block which is around 30 mm long by 15 mm high and 20 mm deep under the arch of the foot, a cut has already been made in the intermediate layer of foam and an imprint has been left on the upper and lower layers. The lower face of the lower layer and the outside part of the convex contact disk of the pump are pre-glued and this assembly is then laid and pressed onto the outsole. The product is ready to be dispatched to a shoe manufacturer to be assembled, for example, just under a lasting board. Height can vary around 20 mm for the heel and 10 mm for the front of the shoe.
 A more sophisticated way to carry out the invention is to use tubes of diameter 6 mm with wall thickness 1.5 mm giving a maximum diameter of 10 mm; with a single layer on the two front zones, and three layers of this same type of tube on the two back zones at the heel. The valves block consists of 3 multi-position valves. One valve controls the connections between the manifold and the right and left front zones, another valve controls the connections between the manifold and the right and left back zones, the third controls the connections between the manifold, vent, pump suction and pump discharge. The valves are operated by the rotation of their corresponding knobs on the front of the valves block. The outlet of the manifold toward the vent is realized via a non-return valve, the manifold is equipped with an electrical pressure gauge with a socket accessible on the outside to use an independent instrument The pump is a plunger pump with a convex contact disk on the outside. This system is assembled in an upward curved outsole whose edges extend to the height where the shoe will be attached, and a filling material such as rubbery foam is poured almost up to the top of the curved edges to fill the spaces between the tubes. The sole is ready to be dispatched to a shoe manufacturer to be assembled under a shoe. Height can vary around 20 mm for the heel and 7 mm for the front of the shoe.
POSSIBLE INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS
 The products derived from the invention can form six main sole sub-products. All the sub-products have applications for manufacturing all types of shoes: town, sports, hiking, orthopedic shoes. They provide, for different zones of the foot, an adjustable range of sole thicknesses and characteristics. Their manufacture and their quality varies depending on the kind of sub-product chosen, all being based on the concept of combining the use of coils of elastic and extendable tubes, one or several layers of such tubes, the division of the sole into several zones, and a valves block, pumping system, connectors . . . .
 a) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block and a pumping system. This system is then assembled and depending on its complexity is possibly wrapped in bandages. The sub-product is dispatched to a sole manufacturer who will use it as a part of a sole.
 b) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block and a pumping system and of pre-cut layers of foam. These layers, in a quantity corresponding to the maximum number of coil layers, will possibly be ridged and pre-imprinted with the coil path. This system will be assembled with glue and the sub-product will be dispatched to a sole manufacturer who will use it as a middle part of the sole.
 c) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block, a pumping system, pre-cut layers of foam and a regular flat outsole or one with upward curved edges. These layers, in a quantity corresponding to the maximum number of coil layers, will possibly be ridged and pre-imprinted with the coil path. This system will be assembled with glue and the sub-product is a finished sole that will be dispatched to a shoe manufacturer.
 d) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block, a pumping system, bandages or even a canvas, the part being inserted into a mould and its empty spaces being filled with a poured filling material, such as for example liquids prior to maturation by polymerization or sizing, by injection, vulcanization, warm pressing or any other process for which the pouring temperature is lower enough than the maximum temperature acceptable for the inserted parts; this poured material must meet the desired characteristics after transformation. This assembled system is dispatched to a sole manufacturer who will use it as a part of a sole.
 e) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block, a pumping system, bandages or even a canvas, the part being inserted into a mould and its empty spaces being filled with a poured filling material. This assembled system is applied to and glued onto a flat outsole or one with upward curved edges and the sub-product is a finished sole that will be dispatched to a shoe manufacturer.
 f) Part of a sole which is composed of a coil, a valves block, a pumping system, bandages or even a canvas, the part being inserted into an outsole with upward curved edges and whose empty spaces are filled with a poured filling material. This assembled system is a finished sole that will be dispatched to a shoe manufacturer.
 In terms of manufacturing costs, the tube used for the coils is continuous and several meters long. It will be cut as required into different lengths to form the sets of coils. The valves blocks and pumping systems are standard parts used for various shoe sizes and their manufacture doesn't require sophisticated machinery. Coils and valves block sub-assemblies can therefore be cheaply prefabricated and mass produced.
 In the manufacturing of valves blocks, pumps and connectors, hard plastics will be chosen over metal because plastic can pass through metal detectors without setting off an alarm.
Patent applications by Philippe Biesse, Bellegarde FR
Patent applications in class Pneumatic
Patent applications in all subclasses Pneumatic