Patent application title: OUTSOLE WITH TANGENTIAL DEFORMATION
Hans-Georg Braunschweiler (Ruschlikon, CH)
Glide'n Lock GmbH
IPC8 Class: AA43B1318FI
Class name: Boots, shoes, and leggings soles cushion
Publication date: 2012-07-05
Patent application number: 20120167412
An outsole, especially for sports shoes, that can be formed with a large
amount of elastic deformability even in the tangential direction towards
the front and the back, enabling a good cushioning effect even when the
tread of the foot is inclined and somewhat slipping. Beyond at least one
critical deformation in the deformed region, the sole remains essentially
rigid in relation to tangential deformation. In this way, the runner has
a secure footing on the respective tread point. The elastic deformability
of the sole also in the tangential direction is caused by at least one
first element, and the rigidity of the sole in relation to tangential
deformation beyond the at least one critical deformation, in addition to
the degree of the at least one critical deformation in the deformed
region is due to at least one second element.
1. An outsole having a heel region and a ball region along a longitudinal
direction, said outsole being elastically deformable both forwards and
backwards in the tangential direction and being essentially stiff with
respect to tangential deformation only beyond a critical deformation in
the region deformed so far, wherein said outsole comprises first elements
and at least one second element, wherein said first elements affect the
elastic deformability of said outsole in the tangential direction,
wherein said at least one second element affects the stiffness opposing
the tangential deformation beyond said critical deformation as well as
the degree of said critical deformation in the region deformed so far,
and wherein said first elements are tangentially deformable in all
directions, wherein said first elements are hollow and are thereby
deformable up to the critical deformation also in case of strictly
vertical stresses, wherein, in the heel region and in the ball region of
the outsole: said first elements form first zones, said at least one
second element forms second zones, said first and second zones repeatedly
alternate in the longitudinal and in a transverse direction transverse to
the longitudinal direction, said a least one second element forms a
coherent surface, in which said first elements are disposed in a
scattered fashion, said at least one coherent surface having depressions
and said first elements are disposed in said depressions of said coherent
surface, protrude with respect to said surface and can be deformed also
at an angle into said depressions.
2. The outsole according to claim 1, wherein, beyond the critical deformation, said first elements are aligned with said at least one second element in the region deformed up to the critical deformation.
3. The outsole according to claim 1, wherein said at least one second element is not stressed until said critical deformation in the region, deformed up to the critical deformation, is reached.
4. The outsole according to claim 1, wherein said first elements and said at least one second element are fastened to the underside of an intermediate sole.
5. The outsole according to claim 1 and having a vertical axis, wherein said first elements have a rotationally symmetric shape with regard to the vertical axis.
6. The outsole according to claim 1, wherein said critical deformation is reached only after a tangential and/or vertical deformation path which is greater than 20% of the deformable thickness of the outsole.
7. The outsole according to claim 1, said outsole having a possible tangential deformation path and a possible vertical deformation path, wherein the extent of the possible tangential deformation path until the critical deformation is reached corresponds approximately to the possible vertical deformation path until the critical deformation is reached.
8. The outsole according to claim 1, said outsole having a tangential path and/or a vertical deformation path, wherein said critical deformation is reached only after reaching the tangential and/or vertical deformation path, the tangential and/or vertical deformation path being greater than 50% of the deformable thickness of said outsole.
9. The outsole according to claim 1, wherein said first elements and said at least one second element are formed at a layer of an elastically deformable material in one-piece.
10. The outsole according to claim 9, wherein the layer has a total height of h1, said first elements have a height in the range of 8 to 12 mm, and said at least one second element has a height h2 in the range of 4 to 8 mm.
11. The outsole according to claim 1, being an outsole for sport shoes.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/885,027 filed Aug. 24, 2007, which is a National Stage application of International Application No. PCT/CH2006/000114, filed on Feb. 23, 2006, which claims priority of Swiss application number 00327/05, filed on Feb. 24, 2005.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to an outsole, especially for sport shoes, which is elastically deformable both forwards and backwards in the tangential direction and is essentially stiff with respect to tangential deformation only beyond a critical deformation in the region deformed so far.
 Deformation in the tangential direction is understood here to be a deformation, brought about, for example, by shearing, in a direction tangential and/or parallel to the two-dimension of extent of the outsole or its tread. Deformations in a direction perpendicular to the two-dimensional extent of the outsole or its tread, caused, for example, by compression, must be differentiated from this. Tangential directions coincide approximately with horizontal directions and perpendicular directions with vertical directions on a horizontal substrate.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Elastically yielding outsoles are known in large numbers in different constructions, elastic materials of different hardnesses being used. Outsoles with embedded air or gel padding are also known. They are intended to cushion stresses which occur while running and, by these means, take care of the locomotor system of the runner, especially of the joints, and impart a pleasant running sensation.
 Most of the running shoes for sports purposes, obtainable commercially at the present time, have spring characteristics, which permit cushioning primarily in the vertical direction or in the direction perpendicular to the tread with compression of the sole, which is, however, relatively stiff in the horizontal and tangential directions and not sufficiently yielding when the foot is set down obliquely at an angle. The reason for this may very well lie therein that a greater deformability of the sole in the horizontal direction would produce a sort of swimming effect, which would have a negative effect on the stability and steadiness of the runner. The runner would also lose some distance with each step, since the sole, while being pushed off from the point of impact, would first be deformed somewhat in the direction opposite to the one in which the foot is set down. To some extent, the swimming effect, of course, already occurs in conventional commercial sports shoes. In order to avoid this effect, the front region of the sole of most of these sport shoes, from which pushing off usually takes place, is relatively hard and constructed to not be yielding.
 On the other hand, in spite of the pronounced tangential deformability, the outsoles of the above-mentioned type, as also disclosed in the WO 03/102430, avoid the swimming effect, in that, beyond at least a critical deformation in the region deformed so far, they are essentially stiff with respect to tangential deformation. For the runner, after the critical deformation is reached, there is a secure stance on the respective stepping or stressing point, from which he can push off once again without loss of way.
 In the WO 03/102430, different examples are described, by means of which the solution principle of tangential deformability of the sole in conjunction with its stiffness beyond the at least one critical deformation can be well understood. For example, tubular hollow elements of a rubber material are described, which, under perpendicular, but especially also under tangential deformation, can be compressed completely forwards and backwards and then, due to friction between their upper and lower half shells, prevent further tangential deformation.
 Patent No. EP 1264556 discloses an outsole for sports shoes, the sole of which has an outer softer layer and an inner harder layer. Projections at the inner, harder layer penetrate the softer outer layer and protrude beyond the latter in the form of supports. A tangential deformability of the sole is not provided and would also be prevented by the supports.
 A sole, known from FR 2709929, has a similar construction. The interior layer is provided with sharp metallic peaks.
 Patent No. UK 2285569 discloses a training shoe with a sole, which has yielding first and stiff second elements. The first elements are inclined at an angle towards the rear in the direction of the heel and collapsed under load in this direction between the second unyielding elements, which subsequently take up the load. A corresponding deformation of the first elements towards the front is not possible because of their arrangement relative to the second elements.
 Patent No. JP 5309001 discloses a shoe with a sole, which is provided in an inner zone with projections, which are deformable tangentially in all directions and are provided with a cavity. This inner zone is surrounded by an edge zone with stiff low ribs, which, from a particular deformation of the hollow projections onwards, absorb the load.
 The German utility model G 8126601 discloses a shoe with a sole, into which brush-like pieces with rearward directed stiff bristles are inserted. These bristles are intended to make a rapid forward start possible and, by pointing to the rear, a forward sliding. A corresponding deformation of the bristles to the front is not provided and, very likely, also not possible.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,299,544 discloses a shoe with a sole, the front heel region of which is provided with transverse ribs, which are directed backward. In comparison to the ribs, the rear edge zone forms a somewhat lower plateau. Under normal running conditions, the ribs are intended to make contact with the ground before the plateau does and, at the same time, to deflect towards the rear until the plateau makes contact with the ground and limits further deformation of the ribs.
 Patent No. DE 29818243 discloses a shoe mechanism with a sole, with elements, which are inclined to the rear and, when the foot is set down, fold over in the direction of the heel and contact the remaining sole.
 Within the scope of practical applications of the principle, known from WO 03/102430, as well as of the tubular hollow elements described therein, it has turned out that these cannot do justice to all practical requirements, at least not in their concretely described form. It is not by chance that, in the area of sport shoes, such shoes which are specially constructed, coordinated with the requirements of the respective sport, are offered for almost any type of sport. Especially, the construction of the soles in each case play an important, if not even decisive role for their respective suitability.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to indicate how the outsoles of the type, known from the WO 03/102430, can be adapted better, in an economic manner, to practical requirements, including the requirements of different types of sport.
 Pursuant to the invention, this objective is accomplished by the distinguishing features given in the claims.
 The two functionalities, required for the desired effect, namely the tangential deformability on the one hand and the stiffness with respect to tangential deformation beyond at least a critical deformation on the other, are assigned, pursuant to the invention, to different elements. Owing to the fact that at least one first element and at least one second element can be conceived, dimensioned and produced independently of one another, far more design, construction and variation possibilities arise in practice, with which the desired adaptation to practical requirements can be achieved better than was the case previously with elements, such as the known tubular hollow elements, which fulfill the two functions named simultaneously.
 A corresponding division into several tangentially deformable first elements and several stiff second elements is basically also provided as in the aforementioned JP 5309001. The first and second elements are, however, disposed separately from one another there. The first elements are in a first inner zone and the second elements in the boundary zone surrounding the inner zone. As a result, it may happen that the so-called inner or outer foot runners, who will be dealt with in greater detail further below, uncoil exclusively over the hard elements, which are disposed in the boundary zone, or that, when uncoiling takes place over the center of the sole, practically only first elements are stressed and there is a swimming effect here, which is the very thing that the present invention wishes to avoid.
 The invention therefore sees to it that, in the heel region and/or in the ball region of the sole, zones, which are determined on the one hand by the at least one first element and, on the other, by the at least one second element, alternate repeatedly in the longitudinal direction (from the heel to the ball region). By these means, it is ensured that, while uncoiling over the heel and/or over the ball region, both functionalities are always used in a sufficiently tight temporal as well as spatial relationship with one another. The characteristics of the inventive sole therefore correspond largely to those of the WO 03/102430.
 Several first elements may be provided. The zones, determined by the at least one first element, may be formed by one, but also by several first such elements. Correspondingly, several second elements may be provided and the zones, determined by the at least one second element, may in each case be formed by one but also by several second such elements.
 Like the outsoles, known from the WO 03/102430, the outsoles of the present invention can also be dimensioned so that the at least one critical deformation, limited locally while running, is reached only in the maximally stressed zone and, temporally, only about the stress maximum. The at least one critical deformation, at which the tangential deformability of the inventive outsole is, so to say, "frozen in" depends on the type of deformation. The deformation need also not be only tangential. A critical deformation may also be reached in the case of a strictly perpendicular or vertical deformation.
 In accordance with a preferred development of the invention, the critical deformation is reached only after a tangential and/or vertical deformation path, which is greater than 20% of the deformable thickness of the sole and optionally even greater than 50% of this thickness. Preferably, the tangential deformability should even correspond approximately to the perpendicular deformability. Absolutely, this may well amount to approximately 1 cm.
 For spring and damping paths, so dimensioned, the inventive outsole effectively dampens the forces and stresses arising while running. In particular, the inventive sole behaves optimally damping while landing in that the horizontal forces, predominating here, can yield softly in the running direction, for example, by shearing. For the running shoes, provided with outsoles of the prior art, a high stress peak arises here, even if these shoes are provided with pronounced vertical damping, because there is practically no tangential deformability. During uncoiling, the inventive sole absorbs the predominant vertical forces by a vertical deformation equally well due to a damping action. In addition, it also reacts in this phase by different tangential deformations in different directions of movement between the foot and the ground, which usually manifest themselves in a sliding about of the foot in the shoe and frequently lead to rubbed-through socks or even to the formation of blisters. The shoe does not resist the movement, which the foot would like to carry out with respect to the ground during the uncoiling movement. The shoe makes a largely fatigue-free running possible. During complete loading in the pushing off phase, on the other hand, the inventive sole loses its damping properties practically completely. In this phase, damping is also no longer required and would only be a hindrance for effective pushing off. In the pushing off phase, the inventive sole behaves as if it were "hard."
 The wear pattern of outsoles, which had been used for some time by different runners, revealed great differences with respect to the predominant stressing. This is due to the characteristic running styles, which are different for the individual runners. Differences also arise out of the different distances run. For example, short-distance runners run predominately on the front of the feet, practically only on the ball region being stressed. On the other hand, long-distance runners land predominately on the heel and uncoil over the whole foot. A differentiation is made here between the so-called outer foot runners and inner foot runners. Outer foot runners land on the outside of the heel, uncoil over the outer region of the middle foot and push off also in the outer ball region or from the region of the small toes. The situation is the reverse for inner foot runners. There are also mixed forms, which, for example, land on the outside, uncoil transversely over the middle foot and push off from the region of the large toe and vice versa. The inventive sole, being deformable vertically as well as tangentially as well as forwards and backwards, can adapt itself well to these different stresses and participate in the natural movements of the foot.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The invention is explained in greater detail in the following by way of examples in conjunction with the drawing, in which
 FIG. 1 shows a sport shoe in side view with an outsole of a first embodiment of the invention, a) in the unstressed state, b) when stressed forward at an angle and c) during the pushing off towards the rear,
 FIG. 2 shows first and second elements of the outsole of FIG. 1 in a diagrammatic detailed representation, a) in the unstressed state, b) when stressed forward at an angle and c) when stressed vertically,
 FIG. 3, in a similar representation, also shows first and second elements, which are, however, embedded partially and anchored positively in an intermediate sole,
 FIG. 4, in a similar representation, shows an embodiment for which only first elements are embedded in an intermediate sole, whereas second elements are formed in one piece with this intermediate sole,
 FIG. 5 shows a variation of the embodiment of FIG. 4, a) in the not stressed state and, b), in the stressed state, the first elements, however, being embedded so deeply in the intermediate sole, that second elements, as extra parts, are no longer required,
 FIG. 6 diagrammatically under a) and b), shows further variations of the type of FIG. 5,
 FIG. 7 in a diagrammatic detailed representation, shows a continuous layer or stratum, on which first and second elements are formed, a) unstressed, b) stressed forward at an angle and c) stressed vertically,
 FIG. 8 shows several views a) to d) of the running surface of the outsoles of the present invention, and
 FIG. 9 under a) to e), shows further layers of FIG. 7 in the unstressed state.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 To begin with, an embodiment is described by FIG. 1, which is not necessarily the preferred embodiment, but by means of which, however, the inventive teachings can be represented well.
 FIG. 1 shows a running shoe 2, which is equipped with an inventive outsole 1. The outsole 1 is formed by a plurality of first profile-like hollow elements 3a, similar to those already known from WO 03/102430, as well as by several platform-like second elements 3b. The hollow elements 3a may have a height of, for example, 15 mm and the platform-like elements 3b may have a height of, for example, 10 mm. The hollow elements 3a, as well as the second elements 3b may extend over the whole width of the running shoe 2. They may also, however, be disposed in several rows next to one another. The platform-like elements 3 may also enclose individual or several hollow elements 3a, at least partly, in annular fashion. The elements 3a, 3b are attached to the underside of an intermediate sole 4 of the running shoe 1, for example, by adhesion.
 The hollow elements 3a are prepared from a material, which can be deformed elastically under the stresses occurring during running. The second elements 3b, as well as the intermediate sole 4, may also have a certain resilience. However, in comparison with the hollow elements 3a, they are essentially stiff, especially stiff with respect to tangential deformation. Compared to the platform-like elements 3b, the hollow elements 3a are also higher, protruding downward from them.
 Within the sense of the definition given above, the hollow elements 3a in each case form "certain zones through the at least one first element". If several hollow elements 3a are disposed next to one another, they can also be classed jointly with such a zone. The situation is similar for the platform-like second elements 3b, which in each case form "certain zones through the at least one second element". As a result, in the longitudinal direction of the sole, the different zones alternate repeatedly in the ball region as well as in the heel region. If the platform-like second elements 3b enclose individual or several hollow elements 3a, at least partly, in annular fashion, different zones, which additionally are mixed among one another, are disposed on the sole surface.
 If the running shoe 2 is produced as shown, for example, in FIG. 1b and, when a step is taken, stressed at an angle to the front as shown by the stress arrow P1, initially only the protruding hollow elements 3a come into contact with the ground 5 and are deformed vertically and also horizontally with elastic cushioning of the stresses. This deformation is limited by the adjacent, platform-like second elements 3b, as soon as the hollow elements 3a are aligned with these at the same height. From this time onwards, the platform-like second elements take over the main portion of the stress and, because of their already mentioned higher stiffness, no longer permit at least any significant tangential displacement of the running shoe with respect to the ground 5. In this phase, the wearer of the running shoe stands securely and steadily on the ground. In addition, as shown in FIG. 1 under c), he can also once again push himself off from the position of FIG. 1 c) in order to carry out the next step, without having to accept a loss of distance here, since the platform-shaped second elements practically cannot be deformed horizontally here to an extent worth mentioning in the direction of the new stresses, indicated by the arrow P2, during the pushing off.
 In a detailed representation, FIG. 2 shows one of the hollow elements 3a as well as to platform-shaped elements 3b of FIG. 1 and, moreover, under a) in the unstressed state and, under b), under a tangential stress. Under c), a deformation, vertical or perpendicularly downward is shown, from which it becomes clear that the above-explained advantages with respect to stability and pushing off, without loss of distance, are also achieved in the case of a strictly vertical stress.
 For the previously described outsole, the hollow elements 3a permit the desired elastic deformability, while the platform-like elements 3b, on the one hand, determine and limit the possible degree of deformation of the hollow elements 3a and, on the other hand, ensure the desired stiffness of the sole against tangential deformation beyond the critical deformation. Since these two functionalities are distributed among different elements, there is a greater degree of configurational freedom with respect to these elements. For example, different materials can be used for the first and second elements. The hollow elements 3a also no longer need to make a fixed frictional connection under load possible as in the case of the WO 03/102430 and, on the whole, are stressed significantly less. Above all, they need not carry all the dynamic weight and the stress on them is relieved by the second elements 3b at a still noncritical degree of deformation. It is advantageous if the surfaces of the second elements 3b, coming into contact with the ground, have a good grip on the ground, which may be attained optionally by a special nature of these surfaces.
 The hollow elements 3a may be characterized as "damping elements" and the platform-like elements 3b as supporting elements.
 The embodiments, explained above, are distinguished by extremely large deformation paths, which, between the unstressed state, for example of FIG. 1a) and the state, for example, of FIG. 1b) may amount to more than 20% and even to more than 50% of the vertical overhang of the hollow element 3a over the platform-shaped elements 3b. The runner therefore hovers "as if on clouds" and, at no time, has a sensation of unsteadiness.
 For the embodiments described above, the first and/or the second elements 3a, 3b are subjected to quite high alternating loads, for example, due to tangential or shearing forces. If attached strictly by gluing, the elements could, in the long run, detach from the intermediate sole 4. An improvement can be achieved here, for example, by partly embedding and, optionally, additionally positively anchoring the elements 3a and/or 3b in the intermediate sole 4, as shown in FIG. 3 for one of the hollow elements 3a and two of the platform-shaped elements 3b.
 FIG. 4 shows an embodiment, for which only the hollow element 3a shown is embedded in the intermediate sole 4. On the other hand, the two elements 3b are constructed in one piece with the intermediate sole 4 and integrally molded to the latter directly. In addition, the hollow element 3a is anchored in the intermediate sole even better by a dovetail connection.
 A variation of the embodiment of FIG. 4 is shown in FIG. 5 and, moreover, in the unstressed state in FIG. 5a and in the stressed state in FIG. 5b. The hollow elements 3a are embedded here so deeply in the intermediate sole 4, that platform-like protruding second elements, like the elements 3b that were described previously, are no longer required at all and are therefore also not formed. For this construction, the "normal" surface 4.1 of the intermediate sole 4 assumes the function of the previously described second elements 3b. So that the hollow elements 3a can be deformed "recessed", that is, at an angle in the depression 4.2, in which they are disposed, until they are aligned with the surface 4.1 of the intermediate sole, the depressions 4.2 must be constructed sufficiently broad and wide, as is also shown in FIG. 5.
 FIGS. 6a and 6b show further variations of the type of FIG. 5, for which the first elements 3a also are embedded relatively deeply in the intermediate sole 4 and for which the "normal" surface 4.1 of the intermediate sole 4 assumes the function of the above-described second elements 3b. The individual variations of FIGS. 6a and 6b differ only in the construction of the first elements 3a. On the left side of FIGS. 6a and 6b, in each case the unstressed state is shown and, on the right side, the stressed state in the phase of critical deformation.
 For the construction of FIG. 6a, the first element 3a, which can be deformed, for instance, at an angle or tangentially, is constructed in the form of a pin. The indentation 4.2 may, for example, be constructed round here. All around, the edge of the indentation is the same distance from the pin 3a, which is disposed in the center of the indentation, as sketched in the two detailed representations in the lower part of FIG. 6a.
 For the construction of FIG. 6b, the deformable element 3a is constructed in the form of a small tube, which is disposed with its axis perpendicular to the intermediate sole 4. Otherwise, the construction and representation correspond to those of FIG. 6a.
 FIG. 7a shows a layer or stratum 6 of an elastically deformable material, at which first elements 6a and second elements 6b are alternately formed in the unstressed state. This layer 6 can be produced in one piece and as a large piece. The same sequence of first elements 6a and second elements 6b may be provided in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing, so that a structure results, for which each first element is surrounded by four second elements and vice versa. The first and second elements are then also mixed with one another again, as was already discussed. Pieces of this layer, suitably cut to size, may be fastened by adhesion, for example, to the underside of a running shoe or of the intermediate sole 4 of the running shoe 2 of FIG. 1, as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 7a.
 The first elements 6a have the shape of truncated cones, are hollow and somewhat higher than the elements 6b, which consists of a solid material and also have the shape of a truncated cone here. Like the previously described first elements 3a, the first elements 6a are relatively soft and can be deformed tangentially forward and rearward as well as vertically. Due to their rotationally symmetrical form, the first elements 6a can even be deformed tangentially in the same manner in all directions, which may be additionally advantageous in relation to the desired uncoiling behavior.
 In comparison, the second elements 6b are essentially stiff and correspond functionally to the previously described second elements 3b. The elements 6a and 6b may be smaller than the elements 3a and 3b. For example, the height (h1) of the total layer 6 and, with that, of the first element 6a may be 8 to 12 mm and preferably 10 mm and the height (h2) of the second elements 6b may be 4 to 8 mm and preferably 6 mm. The thickness of the layer 6 in the transition region between the first and second elements may, for example, be 2 mm. The thickness of the bottom of the first elements 6a, however, preferably are greater than 2 mm. The horizontal distance between the centers of the first and second elements 6a, 6b may, for example, be 10 to 20 mm, and preferably 15 mm.
 FIG. 7b shows the layers 6 loaded at an angle on a ground 5. The first elements 6a are deformed vertically under this load, especially, however, tangentially or horizontally and no longer protrude over the second elements 6b. Further deformation of the first elements 6a is prevented by the second elements 6b. The distances of the first and second elements preferably are selected to have such a magnitude, that the first elements 6a can achieve the deformation shown. The extent of the tangential deformation path before it reaches the critical deformation is larger here than the possible vertical deformation path and, for the dimensions given above, amounts to at least 5 mm absolute.
 FIG. 7c shows the layer 6 under a vertical load.
 The elasticity of the first elements 6a should be selected so that the critical deformation occurs at a load of approximately 1 kg to 10 kg. This value depends on the number of elements and their arrangement on the surface of the sole (local density), the desired damping and the weight of the runner. With his (optionally dynamic) weight, the runner, at least while pushing off, must be able to bring about the critical deformation. This is true for all possible embodiments of inventive outsoles and correspondingly also for elements of the type of elements 3a. A different compliance or a different number of first elements 3a/6a must be selected for small shoes sizes (a runner of lesser weight) land for larger shoes sizes (a runner of greater weight). For first elements of the element 3a type, a number of 8 to 15 elements, distributed over the heel and ball region, is usually sufficient. Because of their smaller size, usually more than 20 first elements of the 6a type are required.
 There is further configurational latitude with regard to the shape of the first elements 6a and second elements 6b of layer 6 of FIGS. 7a to 7c and their arrangement relative to one another. For example, the second elements 6b may be constructed perpendicular to the plane of the drawing as elongated ribs, regularly or irregularly shaped platforms or the like, as shown in FIGS. 8b and 8c. The second elements 6b may even form a coherent surface, in which the first elements 6a are disposed in a scattered fashion, as shown in FIG. 8d.
 From the geometries, shown in FIGS. 8a to 8d, it is evident that the first elements 6a are disposed mixed with the second elements 6b, embedded regularly between the second elements 6b and, consequently, protected against excessive loading with high abrasion. Along each possible uncoiling path, first and second elements 6a, 6b are stressed by these means also in each case in close spatial as well as temporal sequence, so that the behavior of the sole and the running sensation are always determined always by both elements. The mixed distribution of the first and second elements 6a, 6b also extends over the whole of the ball and heel regions.
 In the transition region between the heel and the ball, first and second elements usually are not required. It is therefore usually sufficient for most applications if layers 6 are disposed separately in each case only in the ball and heel regions. Instead of, or in addition to, a division transverse with respect to the longitudinal direction of the shoe, a longitudinal division could also be made. A longitudinal and transverse division with four layers 6 is shown in FIG. 8c. By this configuration, adaptation to different shoes sizes could also be attained with standard elements, in that these are simply disposed suitably, especially closer together or further apart from one another. Finally, different layers with different properties could be provided in the different regions.
 The zones, which are introduced above and are determined either by at least one first element or by at least one second element, can be equated in the embodiments of FIGS. 8a to 8d with the first elements 6a and the second elements 6b respectively. In the example of FIG. 8b, the several first elements 6a, which are disposed next to one another in the transverse direction, can also be counted as only one zone. Conversely, the coherent surface 6b in the example of FIG. 8d may be considered as being formed of several zones, which alternate in the longitudinal direction with first elements 6a or with zones formed by these elements.
 Further possible configurations of layers 6 are described below in FIGS. 9a to 9e.
 For the layer 6, shown in FIG. 9a, the first elements 6a correspond to those of FIG. 7. The second elements 6b are provided with a rectangular cross-section.
 For the layer, shown in FIG. 9b, the first elements 6a are made from a solid material; however, they have a thickened head on a narrower neck and may thus be deformed well sideways in all directions as well as tangentially.
 For the embodiments, shown in FIGS. 9c and 9d, the first elements 6a are formed by dimensionally stable burls 6aa, which are connected over a type of an elastically deformable membrane 6ab with the second elements 6b and by this configuration, can be deflected vertically as well as, to about the same extent, horizontally.
 For the version, shown in FIG. 9e, two elastic strata are connected with one another, at least the outer layer being continuous and relatively flat with the exception of indentations. The indentations, together with approximately opposite, similar protrusions of the inner layer, form first elements 6a. The indentations, moreover, in the form of a buffer, enable different first elements 6a to be deformed simultaneously tangentially in different directions. The second elements 6b are formed by the outer layer between the indentations and the platforms or ribs below, as shown, by way of example, in FIG. 9a).
 Within the scope of the specification above, only some possible embodiments have been described by way of example. Further embodiments are, of course, possible and may result, in particular, from mixed shapes of the examples described.
Patent applications by Hans-Georg Braunschweiler, Ruschlikon CH
Patent applications by Glide'n Lock GmbH
Patent applications in class Cushion
Patent applications in all subclasses Cushion