Title:
SHOE GUARD FOR PREVENTING DISCOMFORT AND INJURY
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A shoe insert or guard to improve comfort and to limit and prevent traumatic injury to a wearer's foot. The shoe guard includes an anterior superior portion, a toe portion, an anterior sole portion, a posterior sole portion, and a rear portion. The shoe guard protects against foot injuries caused by downward impact on the anterior sole portion of the foot during ambulation, forward movement of the foot during ambulation, and abrasions to the foot secondary to movement of the foot within the shoe during ambulation.


Inventors:
Moore-hill, Debra (Harlem, GA, US)
Application Number:
14/060035
Publication Date:
04/23/2015
Filing Date:
10/22/2013
Assignee:
MOORE-HILL DEBRA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/71
International Classes:
A43B7/14; A41B11/00; A43B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Claims:
1. A shoe guard adapted to provide protection to a wearer's foot, comprising: an anterior superior portion adapted to overlie the front of the wearer's foot extending from the surface of the front foot the length of the wearer's foot to the wearer's toes; a toe portion adjacent to the anterior superior portion extending in front of and around the toes of the wearer; an anterior sole portion adjacent to the toe portion extending beneath the anterior sole of the wearer's foot to the arch of the wearer's foot; a posterior sole portion adjacent to the anterior sole portion extending under the arch and bottom heel of the wearer's foot; and a rear portion adjacent to the posterior sole portion extending vertically along the wearer's Achilles tendon.

2. The shoe guard according to claim 1, wherein the anterior sole portion comprises an elevated contour beneath the metatarsal phalangeal joint and proximal toes of the wearer's foot.

3. The shoe guard according to claim 2, wherein the elevated contour follows the natural curvature of the wearer's proximal toes and foot.

4. The shoe guard according to claim 3, wherein the height of the elevated contour is adjustable.

5. The shoe guard of claim 1, wherein the shoe guard comprises a resilient material.

6. A shoe comprising the shoe guard of claim 1.

7. A sock comprising the shoe guard of claim 1.

8. A stocking comprising the shoe guard of claim 1.

9. The shoe guard of claim 1, wherein at least one of the anterior superior portion, toe portion, anterior sole portion, posterior sole portion, and the rear portion of the shoe guard are detachable.

10. A shoe guard adapted to provide protection to a wearer's foot, comprising: an anterior superior portion adapted to overlie the front of the wearer's foot extending from the surface of the front foot the length of the wearer's foot to the wearer's toes wherein the anterior superior portion is adapted to extend along a section of a shoe's superior anterior rim; a toe portion adjacent to the anterior superior portion extending in front of and around the toes of the wearer; an anterior sole portion adjacent to the toe portion extending beneath the anterior sole of the wearer's foot to the arch of the wearer's foot; a posterior sole portion adjacent to the anterior sole portion extending under the arch and bottom heel of the wearer's foot; and a rear portion adjacent to the posterior sole portion extending vertically along the wearer's Achilles tendon wherein the rear portion is adapted to extend along a section of a shoe's posterior interior rim.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of inserts and guards for shoes and, more specifically, to guards for placement into a shoe to improve comfort and to limit and prevent traumatic injury to the wearer's feet.

BACKGROUND

Generally speaking, women's fashion has long included footwear intended to be visually pleasing but that is impractical and uncomfortable to wear. For instance, many women wear high-heel shoes as a part of their staple wardrobe only to suffer from injury to the feet and toes.

Wearing high-heel shoes can result in the formation of blisters, calluses, bunions, nerve damage, and other pathologic toe injuries and foot deformities. Wearing high-heel shoes that fit improperly can also lead to, and exacerbate, back and knee pain as well as other musculoskeletal ailments.

Wearers of high-heel shoes often note that, even after correctly choosing an appropriately sized shoe, there is movement of the foot while walking. Ambulating while wearing shoes with an elevated heel results in forward and downward movement of the foot during impact. The forward movement may result in strain to the anterior portion of the distal toes and in abrasions of various degree to the front and rear portions of the foot.

The downward movement of the foot during walking may result in impact to the anterior sole region of the foot and callus formation.

Further, as individuals often choose to wear shoes without socks or other comparable garments, there may be additional abrasions incurred on the front of the foot where the anterior rim of the shoe crosses the wearer's metatarsals, the metatarsal phalangeal joints, or the phalanges. A similar type of abrasive injury can occur along the posterior interior rim of the shoe as it crosses the Achilles tendon and extends around the ankle or foot. Further injury can occur in these areas by the continued motion of the foot during ambulation. Often, those who experience this trauma resort to placing bandages in various locations on the foot in a feeble attempt to protect from further injury.

The foot discomfort and trauma described above typically occurs regardless of the care taken to ensure correct sizing of shoes. This foot trauma may occur when wearing various styles of shoes. Trauma to the distal end of the toes generally occurs secondary to the anterior displacement of the center weight bearing area of the foot which may occur when wearing shoes with an elevated heel.

Shoe inserts and shoe shapers have been developed that are meant to prevent forward slippage of the foot and also to preserve the shape of the shoe. Most shoe shapers that have been developed are designed for use when the shoe is not being worn.

There are also various methods to stretch shoes, notably to avoid ill-fitting and rubbing abrasions, however, this stretching may promote further movement when walking and thereby promote further foot trauma.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,827,707 (Davis 2010) discusses a shoe insert made from foam that can be placed into the distal end of the shoe. The embodiment described by Davis involves shoes in which the toes experience extreme amounts of pressure secondary to being placed into sharply pointed toe-regions. Davis also notes that the shoe inserts will be of use when children's shoes are bought up to two sizes too large (i.e., to permit growth), or when activity requires the use of undersized shoes such as ski boots. The resultant shoe insert is made of foam intended to provide comfort to the wearer. The shoe insert would be made of pillow-shaped quadrate bodies, which would be cut and fitted as needed.

U.S. Pat. App. Pub. No. 2013/0117948 (Dorosin 2013) describes a shoe shaper and insert embodiment that can be used as either a stand-alone insert or as a manufactured part of a shoe. The embodiment is designed to prevent heel slippage and maintain the fashionable design aesthetic of pointed-toed shoes. Dorosin describes the shoe shaper as typically made of a dense foam or other resilient material that will help maintain the original shape of the shoe's pointed region; i.e., solid or dense foam to maintain fullness of the shoe's pointed-toe area but resilient so that it will not cause discomfort to the toes of the wearer. The function of Dorosin's shoe insert is primarily to prevent toe slippage into an extended anterior portion of the shoe, which is not meant to house the toes but is extended beyond the tips of the toes for a fashionable appearance.

Although shoe inserts or guards have been the subject of prior efforts, a need exists for shoe guards that provide an improved level of protection and comfort. More specifically a need exists for shoe guards that protect against foot injuries caused by downward impact on the anterior sole portion of the foot during ambulation, forward movement of the foot during ambulation, and abrasions to the foot secondary to movement of the foot within the shoe during ambulation.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, in one aspect, the present invention embraces a shoe guard that provides protection to a wearer's foot. The shoe guard includes an anterior superior portion that overlies the front of the wearer's foot. The anterior superior portion extends from the surface of the wearer's front foot down the length of the wearer's foot to the wearer's toes. The shoe guard also includes a toe portion that is connected to the anterior superior portion. The toe portion extends around the wearer's toes. Additionally, the shoe guard includes an anterior sole portion connected to the toe portion that extends beneath the anterior sole of the wearer's foot to the arch of the wearer's foot. Further, the shoe guard includes a posterior sole portion connected to the anterior sole portion that extends under the arch and bottom heel of the wearer's foot. Finally, the shoe guard includes a rear portion that is connected to the posterior sole portion and extends vertically along the wearer's Achilles tendon.

In an exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard's anterior sole portion includes an elevated contour beneath the metatarsal phalangeal joint and proximal toes of the wearer's foot.

In another exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard's elevated contour follows the natural curvature of the wearer's proximal toes and foot.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, the height of the elevated contour is adjustable based upon the wearer's preferences.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard includes a resilient material.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard is a non-removable part of the insole of a shoe.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard is a part of a modified sock.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, the shoe guard is a part of a stocking.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, at least one of the anterior superior portion, toe portion, anterior sole portion, posterior sole portion, and rear portion of the shoe guard are detachable from the remaining portions of the shoe guard.

In another aspect, the present invention embraces a shoe guard that provides protection to a wearer's foot. The shoe guard includes an anterior superior portion that overlies the front of the wearer's foot. The anterior superior portion extends from the surface of the wearer's front foot down the length of the wearer's foot to the wearer's toes. The anterior superior portion is also adapted to extend along a section of a shoe's superior anterior rim. The shoe guard also includes a toe portion that is connected to the anterior superior portion. The toe portion extends around the wearer's toes. Additionally, the shoe guard includes an anterior sole portion connected to the toe portion that extends beneath the anterior sole of the wearer's foot to the arch of the wearer's foot. Further, the shoe guard includes a posterior sole portion connected to the anterior sole portion that extends under the arch and bottom heel of the wearer's foot. Finally, the shoe guard includes a rear portion that is connected to the posterior sole portion and extends vertically along the wearer's Achilles tendon. The rear portion is also adapted to extend along a section of a shoe's posterior interior rim.

The foregoing illustrative summary, as well as other exemplary objectives and/or advantages of the invention, and the manner in which the same are accomplished, are further explained within the following detailed description and its accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating components of an exemplary shoe guard according to the present invention within a shoe and on a wearer's foot.

FIG. 2 is a side view illustrating components of an exemplary shoe guard according to the present invention standing alone.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating components of an exemplary shoe guard according to the present invention within a shoe.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the anatomical bone structure of a wearer's foot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention embraces inserts or guards for shoes. In particular, the present invention embraces guards for shoes to improve comfort and to limit and prevent injury.

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating an exemplary shoe guard 10 in use within a high-heel shoe 18 on a wearer's foot 17. FIG. 2 illustrates components of the exemplary shoe guard 10 standing alone (i.e., prior to being placed within a shoe or on the wearer's foot), and FIG. 3 illustrates components of the shoe guard 10 shown within a high-heel shoe 18.

Although a high-heel shoe is depicted in FIGS. 1-3 and referred to herein, the shoe guard 10 may be used with any number of types and styles of shoes (e.g., sling back, pumps, wedge, platform, loafers, or boots). References in the disclosure to particular types or styles of shoes are not intended to limit the disclosure to any particular type of shoes.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the shoe guard 10 may include, but is not limited to, an anterior superior portion 11, a toe portion 12, an anterior sole portion 13, a posterior sole portion 14, and a rear portion 15. The shoe guard 10, however, may omit any number of these sections where the style of shoe or the preferences of the wearer dictate that certain sections be removed. As a non-limiting example, in open-toe shoes with an elevated heel, the toe portion 12 of the shoe guard 10 may be removed; however, all of the other portions of the shoe guard 10 may be included in this embodiment. In this aspect, the shoe guard 10 may be customizable in that it incorporates break-away or detachable sections.

Alternatively, the respective portions of the shoe guard 10 may be releasably attachable when connected by attachment mechanisms that are known within the art (not shown).

The respective sections of the shoe guard 10 may incorporate, either individually or in some combination, materials such as silicon, plastic, foam (i.e., viscoelastic polyurethane memory foam), rubber, or resilient materials capable of providing support under pressure and resistance to abrasion. The various portions of the shoe guard 10 may include different materials in order to provide comfort and protection in those regions.

The anterior superior portion 11 of the shoe guard 10 covers sections of the front-foot 17A of the wearer (i.e., the upper, front-side of the foot). The anterior superior portion 11 extends down the front-foot 17A the length of the foot 17 to the distal phalanges 106 of the wearer's foot (FIG. 4).

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the anatomical bone structure of a typical wearer's foot 100 of the exemplary shoe guard 10 of the present invention. The anatomical structure of a wearer's foot 100 (i.e., the anatomical structure of a human foot) is also set forth in the Atlas of Human Anatomy, Fifth Edition (Dr. Frank Netter 2011), which is incorporated herein by reference, or similar medical treatises that are known in the art. Although reference numerals are not provided for each bone or joint depicted in FIG. 4, reference numerals for a single bone or joint (e.g. the distal phalanges 106) may also relate to the additional four bones or joints of the wearer's foot 100.

The anterior superior portion 11 of the shoe guard 10 may be designed to cover, or to expose, a variable amount of the front-foot 17A and the superior portion of the proximal phalanges 102 of the wearer.

The anterior superior portion 11 of the shoe guard 10 may be designed to cover the interior of the shoe's superior anterior rim 19, as best illustrated at FIG. 3, as the rim 19 crosses the front-foot 17A of the wearer. The superior anterior rim 19 of the shoe generally crosses the front-side of the foot along the phalanges 101, metatarsals 103, metatarsal phalangeal joint 104, or at some combination of various front-foot 17A locations depending upon the type or style of shoe that is being worn.

The area in which the shoe's superior anterior rim 19 crosses the front-foot 17A of the wearer is a potential source of irritation to the front-foot 17A of the wearer during ambulation. Accordingly, the anterior superior portion 11 of the exemplary shoe guard 10 may be specifically designed to protect and lessen irritation in this area.

As set forth above, the location of the shoe's superior anterior rim 19 will vary depending upon the style and shape of the shoe being worn. The shoe guard 10, including the anterior superior portion 11, may be moldable or shapeable for use by a wearer regardless of the shape of the shoe. For instance, the shoe guard 10 may be cut in order to obtain a custom fit, portions may be detached along predetermined or perforated lines for different shoe types, portions may be releasably attached by way of interlocking sections (i.e., grooves), portions may otherwise be releasably attached using other fastening mechanisms (i.e., hook and loop), or portions of the shoe guard 10 may be pliable such that the portions may be adapted for a proper fit.

The anterior superior portion 11 of the shoe guard 10 may be manufactured using thin, minimal space occupying material. The shoe guard 10, including the anterior superior potion 11, may include material that is resilient, nonabrasive, and impact resistant and which has venting, moisture wicking, odor absorbing, and antibacterial properties. Non-limiting examples of materials that may be suitable include polyester blends, types of resilient foam, and other materials as previously set forth above.

The toe portion 12 of the shoe guard 10 extends around the phalanges 101 of the foot of the wearer. The toe portion 12 of the shoe guard 10 protects against direct impact pressure of the phalanges 101 against the front of the shoe 18 when ambulating. The toe portion 12 may be designed to occupy minimal physical space.

The anterior sole portion 13 extends beneath the foot 17 of the wearer under the anterior sole of the foot 17B and toward the arch of the foot 17C of the wearer. The anterior sole region 17B of the wearer's foot is the portion of the plantar sole (i.e., the bottom surface of the foot) inferior to the distal phalanges 106 and extending to about the proximal angle of the arch of the wearer's foot 17C.

The anterior sole of the foot 17B is generally a major weight bearing portion of the foot when walking, particularly while wearing shoes having an elevated heel. The portion of the anterior sole region 17B that will typically receive the most impact during ambulation will vary depending on the characteristics of the wearer, the type of shoe being worn, and the relative height of the shoe's heel. Relative height of the shoe's heel is generally the height of the heel minus the height of the anterior sole.

As a non-limiting example, the anterior sole portion 13 of the shoe guard 10 can be made of a variable thickness, pliable, impact resistant material (e.g., plastic, silicon, rubber, gel, or neoprene) to protect against the downward pressure and impact on the anterior sole of the foot 17B.

The thickness and the materials that are used for the anterior sole portion 13 may be customizable to support a greater downward pressure, which often results from wearing shoes with progressively higher elevated heel portions. As non-limiting examples, the shoe guard 10 may have an anterior sole guard 13 with layers that may be gradually removed, or otherwise added, in response to varying downward pressure. The anterior sole portion 13 may include an air or gel bladder that is adjustable.

The shoe guard 10, including but not limited to the anterior sole portion 13, may also incorporate raised dimples 21 (or other geometric shapes). The dimples or other shapes may increase the wearer's comfort and increase the contact area between the wearer's foot and the shoe in order to increase the load absorption and therefore decrease the load intensity that is borne by the wearer's foot.

The anterior sole portion 13 may also incorporate custom contours of various thicknesses at the area between the metatarsal phalangeal joint 104 and the proximal inter-phalangeal joint 105 of the wearer's foot to promote comfort and limit forward movement of the foot. These contours may mirror the natural curvatures of the wearer's foot including the region at the boundary of the metatarsal phalangeal joints 104 extending to the proximal inter-phalangeal joints 105 of the phalanges 101 of the wearer's foot. The configuration of these contours and the respective thicknesses may be varied to compliment the shoe configuration and height of the heel.

A posterior sole portion 14 of the shoe guard 10 extends under the arch 17C and bottom heel 17D of the wearer's foot.

A rear portion 15 of the shoe guard 10 extends vertically over the posterior heel 17E and the Achilles tendon 16 of the wearer. The rear portion 15 may be designed to cover the interior of the shoe's posterior rim 20, as best illustrated at FIG. 3, as it crosses the Achilles tendon 16 and extends around the ankle or foot of the wearer. In this regard, the rear portion 15 of the exemplary shoe guard 10 of the present invention may be designed to protect and lessen irritation that can occur in this area.

The rear portion 15 may be constructed from a pliable, impact resistant nonabrasive material to protect against abrasions and rubbing injury that can occur with the continued motion of the foot during ambulation. Non-limiting examples of materials that may be suitable for the rear portion 15 have previously been set forth above.

With reference to FIGS. 1-3, the respective portions (11, 13, 14, and 15) of the shoe guard 10 may be customizable to fit various users and shoe types, and the respective characteristics may be varied accordingly (i.e., material type, length, thickness, width, and pliability).

In exemplary embodiments, the shoe guard 10 may be a stand-alone shoe insert or may otherwise be manufactured as a part of a shoe's insole. The shoe guard 10 may releasably attach to the interior of a shoe through the use of adhesives or other types of attachment mechanisms known in the art. In other embodiments, the shoe guard 10 may be incorporated into a stocking, hosiery, or some other type of modified sock (i.e., dress sock, athletic sock, knit sock, trouser sock, or tights).

In the specification and/or figures, typical embodiments of the invention have been disclosed. The present invention is not limited to such exemplary embodiments. The use of the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items. The figures are schematic representations and so are not necessarily drawn to scale. Unless otherwise noted, specific terms have been used in a generic and descriptive sense and not for purposes of limitation.