Title:
REPLACEABLE ORNAMENT FOR FLIP-FLOP SANDAL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flip-flop or other article of apparel includes a fastening member at least a substantial portion of which is embedded into article of apparel and releaseably receives mating fastening member that is attached to an ornament.



Inventors:
Seckler, Tracy Kramer (North Egremont, MA, US)
Chase, Kathe K. (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/504229
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/16/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/244, 36/11.5, 206/278
International Classes:
A43B23/00; A41D27/08; A43B3/12; B65D85/18
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORSE, BARNES-BROWN & PENDLETON, P.C. (ATTN: Patent Group Director CityPoint 480 Totten Pond Road, 4th Floor, WALTHAM, MA, 02451, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A flip-flop comprising: a sole; a thong having first and second ends, the first end of the thong being attached to the sole at a position so as to fit between a pair of toes of a wearer when the flip-flop is worn by the wearer; and, a flip-flop fastening member, a substantial portion of the flip-flop fastening member being embedded into the second end of the thong, the flip-flop fastening member being arranged to releaseably receive an ornamental fastening member.

2. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a snap.

3. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a loop.

4. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a prong receiving hole.

5. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a magnet.

6. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a hole having a notch extending into a side thereof.

7. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a hole having an insert therein, and wherein the insert comprises a notch extending into the insert.

8. The flip-flop of claim 1 wherein the flip-flop fastening member is one of a male fastening member and a female fastening member.

9. A marketable package including a pair of flip-flops and at least one pair of ornaments, the pair of ornaments being arranged to interchangeably and releaseably attach to the pair of flip-flops, each flip-flop in the marketable package comprising: a sole; a thong having first and second ends, the first end of the thong being attached to the sole so that the thong, when the flip-flop is worn be a wearer, is between a pair of toes of the wearer; and, a flip-flop fastening member, a substantial portion of the flip-flop fastening member being embedded into the second end of the thong, the flip-flop fastening member being arranged to releaseably receive an ornamental fastening member; and, each ornament in the marketable package comprising: an ornamental design; and, an ornamental fastening member being attached to the ornamental design, the ornamental fastening member having dimensions so as to interact with the flip-flop fastening member to thereby fasten the ornamental design to the thong.

10. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a first snap member, and wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a second snap member mateable with the first snap member.

11. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a loop, and wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a hook.

12. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a prong receiving hole, and wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a prong.

13. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a first magnet, wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a second magnet, and wherein the first and second magnets have opposite polarities.

14. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a notch, and wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a prong.

15. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member comprises a hole having an insert therein, wherein the insert comprises a notch extending into the insert, and wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a post having a prong cooperating with the notch.

16. The marketable package of claim 9 wherein the flip-flop fastening member is one of a male fastening member and a female fastening member, and wherein the ornamental fastening member is the other of the male fastening member and the female fastening member.

17. The marketable package of claim 9 further comprising multiple pairs of ornaments contained in the package.

18. An ornament attachable to a flip-flip comprising: an ornamental design; and, an ornamental fastening member being attached to the ornamental design, the ornamental fastening member, the ornamental fastening member having dimensions so as to specifically interact with a flip-flop fastening member a substantial portion of which is embedded into a thong of a flip-flop.

19. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a snap.

20. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a hook.

21. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a prong.

22. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a magnet.

23. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a prong.

24. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a female fastening member.

25. The ornament of claim 18 wherein the ornamental fastening member comprises a male fastening member.

26. An article of apparel comprising: a material; and, an article fastening member, at least a substantial portion of the article fastening member being embedded into the material, the article fastening member being arranged to releaseably receive a mating ornamental fastening member attached to an ornament.

27. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a snap.

28. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a loop.

29. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a prong receiving hole.

30. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a magnet.

31. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a hole having a notch extending into a side thereof.

32. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member comprises a hole having an insert therein, and wherein the insert comprises a notch extending into the insert.

33. The article of apparel of claim 26 wherein the article fastening member is one of a male fastening member and a female fastening member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/081,105, filed Jul. 16, 2008, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. This application also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/147,622, filed Jan. 27, 2009, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present application discloses footwear such as a sandal or flip-flop having an embedded attachment mechanism that is useful in attaching replaceable and interchangeable ornaments such as charms or other decorative ornament or attachment to the footwear.

BACKGROUND

Flip-flop type sandals are becoming increasingly popular. A variety of styles of these sandals are being worn and ornaments are occasionally attached to the sandals as permanent decorations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C illustrate a clip and loop that are usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal;

FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C illustrate a snap that is usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal;

FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C illustrate a prong that is usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal;

FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C illustrate another snap that is usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal;

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate a magnet based arrangement that is usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal;

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate a shaft and notch arrangement that is usable to fasten an ornament to a flip flop sandal; and,

FIG. 7 illustrates a package that is ready for marketing and that contains a plurality of replaceable and interchangeable ornaments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

According to the detailed description below, a fastening system is employed to fasten an ornament to a flip-flop. The fastening system includes first and second fastening members. At least a substantial portion of the first fastening member is embedded in the thong of the flip-flop. The second fastening member is suitably attached to an ornament. The first fastening member may be a male member, and the second fastening member may be a female member. Alternatively, the first fastening member may be a female member, and the second fastening member may be a male member. As a further alternative, the first and second fastening members may be neutral members. Other alternatives are possible. The first fastening member may be referred to as a receiver fastening member because it receives the second fastening member whether the second fastening member is a male member, a female member, a neutral member, or otherwise. The fastening system permits the ornament to be removably fastened to the flip-flop.

However, even though flip-flops are presented as specific implementations of the fastening system described herein, the fastening system can be used in connection with other articles of apparel such as pocket books, shoes, clothing, and other articles of apparel that are worn by people.

At least a substantial portion of the first fastening member (the receiver fastening member) is embedded in the apparel in order to receive the second fastening member that is attached to the ornament. Because the receiver fastening member is integrated into the apparel such as the flip-flop, the receiver fastening member is more secure, more stable, and more permanent than known fastening mechanisms which are currently in use to attach an ornament to a shoe. The receiver fastening member is hidden and protected by the shoe, sheltering the receiver fastening member from surface tension, surface contacts, and other outside elements that could weaken the receiver fastening member, or diminish the longevity of adherence of the receiver fastening member. Furthermore, the risk that the foot's normal rocking motion will eventually destabilize a fastening member that is affixed to the top of a shoe and not at least substantially embedded in the shoe is substantially reduced. The receiver fastening member described herein is specifically designed for frequent ornament switching, making it simple to both push in and pull out the ornament, while keeping the ornament securely fastened when it is in place. Fastening members are known which make it easy either to attach an ornament or to remove an ornament, but no known fastening member does both, and no known fastening member is integrated into the shoe, making it completely durable and sturdy.

FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C show a flip-flop sandal 10 that has a sole 12 and straps 14 formed as is common in flip-flop sandals. First ends of the straps 14 are suitably attached to the sole 12. A thong 16 extends from the sole 12 to second ends of the straps 14 and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 16 has a post base 18 embedded in the sole 12 and a top portion 20 that engages the straps 14. The straps 14 and the thong 16 may be integrally formed or the straps 14 may be suitably attached and fixed to the thong 16.

A fastening system 22 is provided to fasten a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 to the flip-flop sandal 10. The fastening system 22 includes a loop 26 (a female fastening member) and a clip 28 (a male fastening member). The loop 26 has both of its ends embedded such as by molding into the thong 16 of the flip-flop sandal 10 so that at least a substantial portion of the loop 26 is embedded into the thong 16. The clip 28 includes a clip base 30 that is in the form of a disk or any other shape and that is suitable for receiving and retaining the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24. The replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 may be fixedly fastened to the clip base 30 in any desired manner such as by soldering, gluing, or welding. Alternatively, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 may be fastened to the clip base 30 in any suitable releasable manner. The clip 28 further includes a hook 32 attached to the clip base 30 by a hinge 33. The clip base 30 includes a tine 34 and the hook 32 includes a tine receiver 36. The tine receiver 36 may include a recess just large enough to receive the tine 34 in a friction fit.

The second ends of the straps 14 joined to the top portion 20 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 20 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 14 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 14.

During fastening of the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 to the flip-flop sandal 10, the hook 32 is inserted through the loop 26 and the clip is secured to the flip-flop sandal 10 by pressing the tine 34 in the tine receiver 36. According, the tine receiver 36 holds fast to the tine 34 by a friction fit and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 is thereby replaceably and interchangeably fastened to the flip-flop sandal 10.

If the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 is to then be replaced by another replaceable and interchangeable ornament, the tine 34 is unfastened from the tine receiver 36, and the hook 32 is pulled back through the loop 26 to remove the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 from the flip-flop sandal 10. The other ornament can then be replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 10 in the same manner as the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 24 was replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 10 (i.e., in the manner described in the immediately preceding paragraph).

FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C show a flip-flop sandal 100 that has a sole 102 and straps 104 formed as is common in flip-flop sandals. A thong 106 extends from the sole 102 to the straps 104 and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 106 has a post base 108 embedded in the sole 102 and a top portion 110 that suitably engages the straps 104.

A fastening system 112 is provided to fasten a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 to the flip-flop sandal 100. The fastening system 112 has a male fastening member that includes a rod 116 extending through and embedded into the thong 106, a first rod disk 118 at one end anchored in the post base 108, and a second rod disk 120 at the other end attached to a snap post 122 (a male fastening member). Thus, at least a substantial portion of this male fastening member is embedded into the thong 106. The second rod disk 120 sits on top of the thong 106. The fastening system 112 further includes a snap base 124 (a female fastening member) that has a disk shape and that is suitable for receiving and retaining the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114. The replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 may be suitably fastened to the snap base 124. For example, the replaceable ornament 124 may be fixedly or releaseably fastened to the snap base 124 in any desired manner. The snap base 124 further includes a snap post receiver 126. The snap post receiver 126 may include a recess just large enough to receive the snap post 122.

The second ends of the straps 104 joined to the top portion 110 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 110 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 104 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 104.

During fastening of the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 to the flip-flop sandal 100, the snap post 122 is pressed into the snap post receiver 126. According, the snap post receiver 126 holds fast to the snap post 122 by a friction fit as is typical for snaps, and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 is thereby fastened to the flip-flop sandal 100.

If the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 is to then be replaced by another replaceable and interchangeable ornament, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 is pulled so that the friction fit between the snap post 122 and the snap post receiver 126 is overcome and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 is withdrawn from the flip-flop sandal 100. The other ornament can then be replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 100 in the same manner as the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 114 was replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 100 (i.e., in the manner described in the immediately preceding paragraph).

FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C show a flip-flop sandal 200 that has a sole 202 and straps 204 formed as is common in flip-flop sandals. A thong 206 extends from the sole 202 to the straps 204 and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 206 has a post base 208 embedded in the sole 202 and a top portion 210 that suitably engages the straps 204.

A fastening system 212 is provided to fasten a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 to the flip-flop sandal 200. The fastening system 212 includes prong receiving holes 216 (female fastening members) molded into and embedded within the thong 206. Thus, at least a substantial portion of this female fastening member is embedded into the thong 206. The fastening system 212 further includes a prong base 218 that has a disk shape and that is suitable for fixedly or releaseably receiving and retaining the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214. The replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 may be fastened to the prong base 218 in any desired manner. The prong base 218 further includes prongs 220 (male fastening members).

The second ends of the straps 204 joined to the top portion 210 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 210 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 204 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 204.

During fastening of the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 to the flip-flop sandal 200, the prongs 220 are pressed into and through the prong receiving holes 216. According, the prongs 220 hold fast to the straps 204 by a friction fit. Alternatively, the ends of the prongs 220 may have tabs that lock to the underside of the straps 204 when the prongs 220 are pressed into and through the prong receiving holes 216.

If the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 is to then be replaced by another replaceable and interchangeable ornament, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 is pulled so that the friction fit between the prongs 220 and the prong receiving holes 216 is overcome and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 can be withdrawn from the flip-flop sandal 200. Alternatively, the prongs 220 are pinched toward each other until the tabs clear the underside of the straps 204, and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 is withdrawn from the flip-flop sandal 200. The other ornament can then be replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 200 in the same manner as the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 214 was replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 200 (i.e., in the manner described in the immediately preceding paragraph).

FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C show a flip-flop sandal 300 that has a sole 302 and straps 304 formed as is common in flip-flop sandals. A thong 306 extends from the sole 302 to the straps 304 and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 306 has a post base 308 embedded in the sole 302 and a top portion 310 that suitably engages the straps 304.

A fastening system 312 is provided to fasten a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 to the flip-flop sandal 300. The fastening system 312 includes an elastic member 316 (which may instead be a rod or another mechanism that functions in a similar manner to the elastic member). The elastic member 316 extends through and is embedded in the thong 106 and has an anchor 318 at one end anchored in the post base 308 and a snap button support 320 (a male fastening member) at the other end. The elastic anchor 318 could be a rod or some other mechanism. Thus, at least a substantial portion of this male fastening member is embedded into the thong 306. The fastening system 312 includes a snap base 324 that has a disk shape and that is suitable for receiving and retaining the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314. The replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 may be fixedly or releaseably fastened to the snap base 324 in any desired manner. The snap base 324 includes a snap button receiver 326 (a female fastening member). The snap button receiver 326 may include a recess just large enough to receive a snap button 328 (a male fastening member) securely supported by the snap button support 320. The snap button 328 is embedded in the thong 306. The fastening system 312 could instead be a snap-like assembly.

The fastening system 312 includes, but need not include, an elastic to give the assembly flexibility and/or give when the wearer is detaching the ornament from the fastener. The elastic may be replaced with some other mechanism that functions in the same manner as the elastic.

The second ends of the straps 304 joined to the top portion 310 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 310 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 304 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 304.

During fastening of the replaceable ornament 314 to the flip-flop sandal 300, the snap button 328 is pressed into the snap button receiver 326. According, the snap button receiver 326 holds fast to the snap button 328 by a friction fit as is typical for snaps, and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 is thereby fastened to the flip-flop sandal 300.

If the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 is to then be replaced by another replaceable and interchangeable ornament, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 is pulled so that the friction fit between the snap button receiver 326 and the snap button 328 is overcome and the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 can be withdrawn from the flip-flop sandal 300. The other ornament can then be replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 300 in the same manner as the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 314 was replaceably and interchangeably secured to the flip-flop sandal 300 (i.e., in the manner described in the immediately preceding paragraph).

The replaceable and interchangeable ornament is attached by a two part fastener, one of the fastening parts being embedded in the thong. The fastener may be any of the fastening system 22, the fastening system 112, the fastening system 212, the fastening system 312, the fastening system 412, and/or any other fastening system that has one piece embedded in the thong and the other piece attached to the ornament. Additionally, the fastener may be a magnet assembly.

Accordingly, FIGS. 5A and 5B show a flip-flop sandal 400 that has a sole 402 and straps 404 formed as is common in flip-flop sandals. A thong 406 extends from the sole 402 to the straps 404 and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 406 has a base 408 embedded in the sole 402 and a top portion 410 that suitably engages the straps 404.

A fastening system 412 is provided to fasten a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 414 to the flip-flop sandal 400. The fastening system 412 includes first and second magnets 416 and 418. The first magnet 416 is suitably fastened to the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 414, and the second magnet 418 is embedded such as by molding into the thong 406 of the flip-flop sandal 400. Thus, at least a substantial portion of the second magnet 418 is embedded into the thong 406. The first and second magnets 416 and 418 (one of which may be considered to be a male fastening member and the other of which may be considered to be a female fastening member) have opposite magnetic polarities. Accordingly, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 414 may be magnetically, releaseably, and interchangeably fastened to the thong 406.

The second ends of the straps 404 joined to the top portion 410 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 410 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 404 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 404.

Alternatively, the fastener may use a shaft and notch.

Accordingly, FIGS. 6A and 6B show an ornament attachment arrangement 500 for attaching a replaceable and interchangeable ornament 502 to a flip-flop sandal. A thong 506 extends from a sole 504 to straps 508 of a flip-flop sandal and is positioned so that it fits between the first and second toes of the wearer. The thong 506 has a base 510 embedded in the sole 504 and a top portion 512 that suitably engages the straps 508.

A fastening assembly 514 is provided to fasten the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 502 to the flip-flop sandal. The fastening assembly 514 includes an insert 516 (a male fastening member) and a receiver 518 (a female fastening member). A substantial portion of this female fastening member is embedded into the thong 506. The insert 516 includes a post 520 that has a prong 522 at an end thereof. The prong 522, for example, has a tooth like edge. The receiver 518 includes a hole 524 and a receiver insert 525 that is within the hole 524 and that has a shape matching the shape of the insert 516. Thus, the receiver insert 525 has a notch 526 that accommodates the prong 522. The receiver insert 525 may have barbs around its exterior arranged to dig into the thong 506 so as to securely retain the receiver insert 525 in the hole 524. The post 520 and the receiver insert 525 may be plastic or any other suitable material.

The post 520 and/or the top portion 512 of the thong 506 is flexible enough to permit the post 520 to slide through the hole 524 so that the prong 522 passes through the top portion 512 until the prong 522 becomes nested in the notch 526 and rigid enough so that, once the prong 522 is nested in the notch 526, the friction between the post 520 and the top portion 512 resists accidental dislodgement of the replaceable ornament 502 from the thong 506. Accordingly, the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 502 is releaseably and interchangeably fastened to the thong 506.

The second ends of the straps 508 joined to the top portion 512 may be separate ends suitably attached to one another and they may be integrally formed together. Similarly, the top portion 512 may be suitably attached to the second ends of the straps 508 or may be integrally formed with the second ends of the straps 508.

The prong 522 and the notch 526 may have other shapes, and the prong 522 and the notch 526 may have any desired length or numbers. For example, the post 520 may have the prong 522 as a first prong on one side and a second prong on another side, such as the opposite side, of the post 520. In this example, the hole 524 has the notch 526 as a first notch on one side and a second notch on another side, such as the opposite side) of the hole 524. Accordingly, when the releasable and interchangeable ornament is to be releaseably attached to the sandal, the post 520 is inserted into the hole 524 so that the first prong passes through the top portion 512 until it becomes nested in the first notch and so that the second prong passes through the top portion 512 until it becomes nested in the second notch.

As another example, the post 520 may have four prongs 522 distributed therearound, and the hole 524 may have four corresponding notches 526.

As still another example, the one or more prongs 522 may be replaced by a single ring shaped catch extending around the post 520, and the one or more notches 526 may be replaced by a single continuous notch extending around the hole 524.

Also, the ornament attachment arrangement 500 may be combined with the magnet arrangement shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B. In such a case, the post 520 and the hole 524 may be provided with magnets of opposite polarity to assist in releaseably fastening the replaceable and interchangeable ornament 502 to the thong 506. For example, a first magnet may be provided at the end of post 520 farthest from the replaceable ornament 502 and a second magnet may be placed at the bottom of the hole 524.

As still further alternatives, the fastener may use a screw, a hook and loop, a clip, or any combination of these or other mechanisms, or any other releasable mechanism, to attach the ornament to the sandal.

Accordingly, if the wearer wants to replace an ornament attached to a sandal with a different ornament, the fasteners described herein may simply be unfastened and a replacement ornament may then be fastened to the sandal.

The part of the fastener that is embedded into the sole or the strap post of the shoe or flip-flop may be embedded in a variety of ways including through molding, gluing, sewing, and any other means available to securely attach the fastener to the thong or sole of the shoe or flip-flip.

The flip-flop sandals described herein provide an apparatus for decorating the sandal with a replaceable and interchangeable ornament on the part of the thong that is between the big toe and the second toe.

As shown in FIG. 7, the sandals can be sold as a package 600 containing a pair of sandals 602 and sets 6041, 6042, . . . , 604n of replaceable and interchangeable ornaments (e.g., each set contains two ornaments, one for each sandal) so that the wearer can change out ornaments on the sandals from time to time.

Alternatively, the sandals can be sold in a package with only a single set of replaceable and interchangeable ornaments (i.e., only one ornament per sandal). In this case, if the wearer wishes a different look to the sandals, the wearer can separately purchase replacement ornaments to replace to original ornaments that came with the sandals.

The sandals can be sold with the replaceable and interchangeable ornaments pre-fastened to the sandal. However, because the ornaments are replaceable and interchangeable ornaments, the replaceable and interchangeable ornaments need not be pre-fastened to the sandal.

Specific fasteners have been described herein. However, other fasteners could be used as well as long as at least a substantial portion of the fastener associated with the thong is embedded into the thong.

Also, any materials, such as plastic, can be used for the fasteners. Preferably, a material should be chosen so that the fastener securely yet removably fastens the ornament to the flip-flop. Also preferably, the material should be chosen so that the fastener is non-corrosive and can withstand water, sand, and other waste though which the wearer of the flip-flop may walk.

The flip-flops described herein may be molded using any suitable molding technique, such as over-mold. The molding technique, with respect to a rubber flip-flop, or a rubber-like flip-flop, may be, for example, an over-molding technique. The receiver fastening member and it's mating fastening member attached to the ornament may be composed of a compound with a higher durometer than the shoe. This higher durometer material could be plastic, or a thermoplastic rubber compound, or any other material. The manufacturing technique, with respect to a leather, or leather-like flip-flop, will be different from the molding process used to manufacture the rubber-like flip-flop. However, the receiver fastening member that is embedded into the leather, or leather-like flip-flop, will be similar to, or identical to, the piece that is embedded into the rubber, or rubber-like flip-flop, in order to accommodate the same mating fastening member as the rubber, or rubber-like shoe. The manufacturing technique with respect to the manner in which the receiver piece gets embedded into any other type of shoe or other apparel may vary from shoe to shoe or from apparel to apparel in order to ensure that the portion of the fastening member that is embedded into the shoe or other apparel is done so in the most secure, sturdy, and permanent manner.

Alternatively, the flip-flops can be other materials such as leather. The manufacturing technique, with respect to a leather, or a leather-like flip-flop, may be different from the molding process used to manufacture a rubber-like flip-flop. However, a fastening portion embedded into a leather thong, or a leather-like thong, can be similar to, or identical to, or different from, a fastening portion embedded into a rubber thong, or a rubber-like thong.

Certain modifications of the present invention have been discussed above. Other modifications will occur to those practicing in the art of the present invention. Accordingly, the description of the present invention is to be construed as illustrative only and is for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the best mode of carrying out the invention. The details may be varied substantially without departing from the spirit of the invention, and the exclusive use of all modifications which are within the scope of the appended claims is reserved.