1. A protective cover to be worn over the shoe or foot of an individual person to essentially completely enclose the foot portion, comprising a flexible sheet material body defining a pocket having a top opening through which the foot is inserted, said body being formed with a sole portion and an upper enclosing top portion, said top portion including said top opening and a heel portion and a toe portion and having a seam extending longitudinally of the toe portion from the sole portion to the top opening,
2. The cover as defined in claim 1, wherein said resilient strip is secured within said toe seam and secured at a plurality of spaced points to create a multiple gathering of the flexible material along the corresponding length of the toe portion.
3. The cover as defined in claim 1 and further including a second resilient strip secured about the periphery of the top opening for resiliently collapsing the periphery of said opening against the upper portion of shoe and/or leg of the individual to completely enclose the foot portion.
4. The cover as defined in claim 1 and further including a grounding strap means for preventing buildup of static electricity on said person, said grounding strap means being secured along the exterior sole portion of the covering, said strap having an extension portion extending from the heel portion of the cover for attachment to the body of the wearer.
5. The cover of claim 1, wherein one end of said first resilient strip terminates at said sole portion and the opposite end of said strip terminates at said top opening, said sole portion being smooth and free of gathering.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a sanitary protective cover for the feet and shoes of a person and particularly for temporary application so as to maintain a sterile condition for hospital rooms and the like.
In certain work and personnel areas, special shoe coverings are provided to cover the shoes of personnel within the room and thereby prevent dust and other contaminants on the shoes from contaminating the area atmosphere. A shoe cover may also advantageously be applied to protect the wearer's shoes which can be damaged by airborne foreign matter which can come in contact with the shoe. For example, in a hospital, various rooms, such as surgical procedure rooms, are subject to severe restrictions on contamination of the atmosphere. Further, in hospital cast rooms and the like, the plaster of paris material may tend to fall onto the shoes of persons working near the casting table. As such material will adversely affect shoe leathers, the shoes of personnel are advantageously covered. Similar situations may be encountered in commercial establishments. As a result, a demand exists for a relatively inexpensive and replaceable shoe cover.
Various shoe covers for use in such applications have been suggested. For example, U. S. Pat. No. 3,648,109 discloses a sanitary shoe covering which is formed of a foldable material folded along a heel line and sewed throughout the sole and toe area with elastic provided about the foot opening and the sole area to accommodate various size shoes. A conductive tape is sewn into the sole seam and projects outwardly. The end extends inwardly and through the foot opening for attachment to the body of the wearer to prevent the static charge accumulation on the person. This shoe covering can be adapted to a large variety of shoe or foot sizes. The lower elastic portion is, of course, subjected to the pressure of the wearer and the lower seam may create a small ridge or multiple humps.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is particularly directed to a new and improved sanitary and protective foot and/or shoe covering which is readily adapted to a large variety of sizes while maintaining simplicity and reliability in construction. Generally, in accordance with the present invention, the covering is formed of a flexible, continuous sheet which is folded laterally upon itself and sewed in the heel and toe portions of the foot while defining a completely continuous and uninterrupted sole portion. The toe and heel sewed portions terminate in a leg accommodating opening which is provided with a suitable elastic construction for accommodating the leg of the wearer. In addition, an elastic means is provided in the seam of the toe portion to permit the expansion of the cover to accommodate a wide variety of shoe and foot sizes. The elastic means is thereby maintained above the sole portion and thus is not subject to the pressure and forces of the person's foot or the like. This provides greater protection to the stretch construction.
Where an antistatic means is to be employed, a tape or strap is, in accordance with a further aspect of this invention, attached to the sole portion lying parallel to the sole portion and with an end extended upwardly at the heel for attachment to the wearer. This maintains a smooth, continuous sole portion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
The drawing furnished herewith illustrates the best mode presently contemplated by the inventors for carrying out the subject invention in which the above advantages and features are clearly disclosed, as well as others which will be readily understood from the following description.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shoe cover applied over a shoe and the foot of a wearer and constructed in accordance with the teaching of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the protective covering;
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the cover;
FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the cover;
FIG. 5 is a vertical section taken on line 5--5 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 6 is a developed view of the material prior to folding and sewing.
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT
Referring to the drawing and particularly to FIG. 1, a sanitary and protective cover 1 defines a pocket overlaying and enclosing a shoe 2 of a wearer 3. The cover 1 completely encloses the shoe 2 and includes a top foot opening 4 which fits snugly about the foot of the wearer 3 immediately above the top edge of the shoe 2.
The cover 1 is formed of any suitable flexible and foldable material. The cover 1 can be readily and conveniently formed of a suitable paper or cloth material which can be sewed and which has sufficient strength to permit wearing by a person under normal walking conditions within a given room or area. The cover 1 may also be formed from a suitable plastic or of a material having a plastic portion in the seam areas as hereinafter discussed for interconnection through heat, pressure and combinations thereof.
The shoe cover 1 in accordance with the present invention includes a continuous, uninterrupted sole portion 5 which is joined with an upper or top portion having a toe seam 6 and a heel seam 7. The heel and toe seams 6 and 7 extend upwardly and terminate in spaced relation to each other at the edge of the foot opening 4 which allows the wearer to apply and remove the covering from the shoe 2 as shown in FIG. 1.
The heel seam 7 is a fixed, nonextendible, sewed seam in the illustrated embodiment of the invention.
In contrast, the toe seam 6 is sewed with an integrated elastic material, shown as a rubber strip 8 which is sewn into the seam by the interconnecting thread 9. The strip 8 is applied in an expanded position and secured along the seam 6 to produce a plurality of attachment points. When the sewed seam 7 is released, the elasticity of the inner strip 8 provides an automatic, incremental gathering of the material to shorten the length of the cover 1 to a minimum size. This provides an elastic support of the toe portion such that when the cover 1 is applied over a shoe 2, it permits resilient extension of the toe portion. This results in conforming of the cover 1 to the shoe 2 of the wearer 3 as shown in FIG. 1, over a wide range of shoe sizes and styles.
In addition, an elastic material 9 is similarly sewed into or otherwise interconnected to the peripheral edge of the opening 4 and in the illustrated embodiment of the invention completely encircles the opening. This establishes a reduced resilient opening to firmly apply the edge against the leg portion of the wearer 3 to additionally retain the cover 1 to the foot and to completely enclose the shoe and thereby prevent escape of any foreign matter carried on the foot, or the contact of any airborne matter with the shoe.
A conductive strap 10, which may conveniently be conductive tape material, is attached to the sole portion 5 so as to lie flat upon the sole portion. An end of the strap 10 extends upwardly through the heel portion of the cover 1 for attachment to the wearer's body as at 11 in FIG. 1. The strap 10 is shown sewed to the sole portion 5, but may be attached in any suitable manner.
In particular, the illustrated cover 1 is preferably formed from a single sheet 12 of material such as shown in FIG. 5 which can be readily die cut or otherwise formed on a mass production process from an elongated length of the material for the cover. The back heel edge 13 is a straight line. The leg opening 4 is formed by the opposite side edge 14 extending from the back edge 13 and terminating in the edge 15 which is curved to produce a tapered toe portion. In the construction, the sheet 12 is merely folded upon itself to align the opposite halves of the back heel edge 13 to define a generally straight heel portion and a more or less curved toe portion. The heel and toe seams 6 and 7 are then interconnected in any suitable manner such as sewing or the like along a seam line as shown at 16 and 17 where the material is a paper-like fabric or similar material. If formed of a heat and/or pressure sealable material, at least in the seam portions, the edges may be correspondingly attached. The toe seams 6 and the top opening 14 are provided with the expanded or stretched resilient material, which can be the strips 8 and 9 of a suitable rubber, synthetic rubber or the like. The elastic material results in a contraction of the toe portion and the foot opening. As a result, when the cover 1 is applied to the shoe, it will generally conform to the shoe with the opening snugly drawn about the upper portion of the foot to completely enclose the shoe.
The antistatic contact strap 10 can, of course, be applied before or after the sewing of the toe and heel portions. It can advantageously be first applied and then sewed into the adjacent lower ends of the heel and toe portion, as shown. The integral attachment extension extends upwardly and through the top opening for convenient application to the wearer as shown in FIG. 1.
This provides a convenient and inexpensive covering construction which can be practically applied in special rooms and areas of hospitals, commercial and other institutional buildings and the like.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims, particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention: