Title:
Shoe with collapsible upper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shoe includes a sole and a collapsible upper attached to the sole. The upper includes a vamp portion to be worn around the toes and forepart of a foot of a wearer, a heel portion to be worn adjacent the heel of the wearer, side portions provided between the vamp portion and the heel portion to be worn adjacent the sides of the foot of the wearer, and insets, at least one inset being provided between each side portion and the heel portion of the upper. The insets are made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to allow the vamp portion, side portions and heel portion of the upper to collapse onto the sole when not being worn.



Inventors:
Cahan, Jane F. (St. Louis, MO, US)
Application Number:
10/098476
Publication Date:
09/19/2002
Filing Date:
03/18/2002
Assignee:
CAHAN JANE F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/9R
International Classes:
A43B3/24; A43B23/02; (IPC1-7): A43B3/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANTONELLI, TERRY, STOUT & KRAUS, LLP (Upper Marlboro, MD, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A shoe, comprising: a sole; and a collapsible upper attached to the sole, the upper including a vamp portion to be worn around the toes and forepart of a foot of a wearer, a heel portion to be worn adjacent the heel of the wearer, side portions provided between the vamp portion and the heel portion to be worn adjacent the sides of the foot of the wearer, and insets, at least one inset being provided between each side portion and the heel portion of the upper, the insets being made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to allow the vamp portion, side portions and heel portion of the upper to collapse onto the sole when not being worn.

2. The shoe according to claim 1, further comprising an additional inset between each side portion and the vamp portion of the upper, the additional insets being made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to assist folding of the vamp portion and side portions of the upper.

3. The shoe according to claim 1, further comprising a tongue having a front portion attached to a rear portion of the vamp.

4. The shoe according to claim 3, further comprising a pocket provided in the tongue and a bag provided in the pocket, the bag being foldable to be stored within the pocket and of sufficient size when unfolded to fit at least one shoe within the bag.

5. The shoe according to claim 4, wherein the bag is attached to the tongue in the pocket.

6. The shoe according to claim 4, wherein the bag includes a closure element.

7. The shoe according to claim 6, wherein the closure element is a drawstring.

8. The shoe according to claim 4, further comprising an additional inset between each side portion and the vamp portion of the upper, the additional insets being made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to assist folding of the vamp portion and side portions of the upper.

9. The shoe according to claim 4, further comprising lace retainers provided at an upper portion of each side portion of the upper for retaining a shoe lace over the tongue.

10. The shoe according to claim 9, wherein at least some of the lace retainers comprise hooks.

11. The shoe according to claim 1, wherein the vamp, the heel, and the side portions of the upper include a lining and an outer layer.

12. The shoe according to claim 1, wherein at least the outer layer of the vamp, the heel, and the side portions of the upper are made of leather.

13. The shoe according to claim 1, wherein inserts are made of a material selected from the group consisting of nylon, elastic, mesh fabric and silk.

14. The shoe according to claim 1, wherein inserts are made of rip stock nylon.

15. The shoe according to claim 2, wherein inserts and additional inserts are made of a material selected from the group consisting of nylon, elastic, mesh fabric and silk.

16. The shoe according to claim 2, wherein inserts and additional inserts are made of rip stock nylon.

17. The shoe according to claim 8, wherein inserts and additional inserts are made of a material selected from the group consisting of nylon, elastic, mesh fabric and silk.

18. The shoe according to claim 8, wherein inserts and additional inserts are made of rip stock nylon.

19. The shoe according to claim 4, wherein bag is made of nylon.

20. A shoe, comprising: a sole; an upper attached to the sole, the upper including a vamp portion to be worn around the toes and forepart of a foot of a wearer, a heel portion to be worn adjacent the heel of the wearer, side portions provided between the vamp portion and the heel portion to be worn adjacent the sides of the foot of the wearer the vamp portion, side portions and heel portion of the upper being collapsible onto the sole when not being worn; a tongue having a front portion attached to a rear portion of the vamp, the tongue including a pocket within the tongue; and a bag provided in the pocket, the bag being foldable to be stored within the pocket and of sufficient size when unfolded to fit at least one shoe within the bag.

21. The shoe according to claim 20, wherein the bag is attached to the tongue in the pocket.

22. The shoe according to claim 20, wherein the bag includes a closure element.

23. The shoe according to claim 22, wherein the closure element is a drawstring.

Description:

[0001] This application claims benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of the filing date of prior provisional application No. 60/276,188, filed Mar. 16, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a shoe having a collapsible upper allowing the shoe to be made compact for travel and storage.

[0003] While many travelers would like to bring several types of shoes with them on trips, often the choice of shoes is limited by suitcase size. For example, with more and more people exercising regularly and many hotels and motels offering fitness centers, many travelers would like to pack a “cross-trainer” athletic shoe. However, high quality cross-trainers are bulky and require a large amount of suitcase space.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,127,170 discloses a collapsible athletic shoe. The athletic shoe disclosed therein has a moveable, rigid heel portion in the upper or a separate heel piece. In a first, upright position, the heel portion or piece provides rigid support while in a second detached position or in a horizontal position, the remainder of the upper may be collapsed to form a flattened shoe. This patent describes a number of embodiments, each including some mechanical connection of the heel of the upper to the sole. For example, the heel portion and the sole each may have a slot therein, the heel slot being vertically aligned with the sole slot, and the slots having an elongated member contained therein, the member being pivotally connected to the sole at a pivot member forward of the sole slot. When the heel portion is desired to be collapsed, the elongated member is raised in the heel slot to extend above the sole slot and pivoted about the pivot member so as to engage the upper rear portion of the sole.

[0005] The athletic shoe of U.S. Pat. No. 5,127,170 requires a complicated mechanical arrangement to allow the shoe to collapse. This not only makes the shoe more difficult to manufacture, but adds additional weight to the shoe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention relates to a shoe that includes a sole and an easily collapsible upper attached to the sole.

[0007] According to one aspect of the invention, the upper includes a vamp portion to be worn around the toes and forepart of a foot of a wearer, a heel portion to be worn adjacent the heel of the wearer, side portions provided between the vamp portion and the heel portion to be worn adjacent the sides of the foot of the wearer, and insets, at least one inset being provided between each side portion and the heel portion of the upper. The insets are made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to allow the vamp portion, side portions and heel portion of the upper to collapse onto the sole when not being worn.

[0008] According to another aspect of the invention, the shoe includes a tongue having a front portion attached to a rear portion of the vamp, the tongue including a pocket within the tongue, and a bag provided in the pocket, the bag being foldable to be stored within the pocket and of sufficient size when unfolded to fit at least one shoe within the bag.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a side view of the shoe of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a top view of the shoe of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the shoe of the present invention showing the upper collapsed.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the shoe of the present invention showing the bag opened and removed from its pocket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013] FIGS. 1-4 show an embodiment of the present invention wherein the shoe is a cross-trainer. However, the invention is not limited to cross-trainers but is applicable to most other types of shoes, including golf shoes.

[0014] FIGS. 1 and 2 are side and top views, respectively, of one embodiment of the shoe of the present embodiment with the shoe in the uncollapsed position, ready to be worn. The shoe includes a sole 2 made of a light weight, relatively rigid material typically used for cross-training athletic shoes. For example, the sole can be made of a polymeric rubber-like material. An upper, generally designated by the reference numeral 4, is attached to the sole 2 in a manner known in the art, e.g., by gluing or stitching. The upper 4 includes a vamp portion 5 to be worn around the toes and forepart of a foot of a wearer, the heel portion 6 to be worn adjacent the heel of the wearer, and side portions 7, 7′ provided between the vamp portion 5 and the heel portion 6 to be worn adjacent the sides of the foot of the wearer. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the upper includes decorative insets 8, 8′ and 9 on the sides and vamp of the shoe. These decorative insets 8, 8′, 9 do not have any function and can be eliminated without changing the overall function of the shoe.

[0015] The upper 4 is made to be collapsible onto the sole 2 while not being worn. This is achieved by the use of insets 10, 10′. At least one such inset 10, 10′ is provided between each side portion 7, 7′ and the heel portion 6 of the upper 4. The insets 10, 10′ are made of a thin, flexible material which can be easily folded to allow the vamp portion 5, the side portions 7, 7′ and the heel portion 6 of the upper 4 to collapse onto the sole 2 when not being worn. Examples of material which can be used to make the insets 10, 10′ are nylon, elastic, mesh fabric and silk. One particularly preferred material for making the insets 10, 10′ is rip stock nylon, i.e., the material used for parachutes, since it is strong, light, durable, and comes in a variety of colors. However, any material which is thin and flexible and can be easily folded can be used for the insets 10, 10′.

[0016] In the embodiment shown in the drawings, for a cross-trainer, the upper 4 is preferably made of leather or synthetic leather. As is known in the art, the upper may be made from a liner and an outer layer attached together by any means known in the art, e.g., by sewing or gluing. Other materials, such as mesh, nylon and canvas can be used for the liner, the outer or both. Of course, other materials would be used for shoes other than cross-trainers, as would be known in the art.

[0017] Whatever materials are used for the upper 4, the material for the insets 10, 10′ is chosen to be more flexible and preferably thinner than the material used for the remainder of the upper 4 so that the insets 10, 10′ can be more easily folded, as will be explained hereinafter.

[0018] The shoe also includes a tongue 12, the front portion of which is attached, e.g., by stitching, to the rear portion of the vamp 5. The upper portions 14, 14′ of the sides 7, 7′ of the upper 4 includes lace retainers 15, 16 for retaining a shoe lace, not shown, over the tongue 12. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the lace retainers include eyelets 15 and hooks 16. The use of a combination of eyelets and hooks is known in the shoe art, e.g., in connection with hiking boots. The hooks can be made of any rigid material, such as metal or plastic, as is known in the art.

[0019] In the embodiment shown in the figures, additional insets 18, 18′ are provided between the side portions 7, 7′ and the vamp portion 5 of the upper 4. The additional insets 18, 18′ can be made of the same material as the insets 10, 10′ and can assist the folding of the vamp portion 5 and the side portion 7, 7′.

[0020] Because of the use of insets 10, 10′, the upper 4 can be collapsed onto the sole 2 to flatten the shoe and considerably reduce its thickness, as shown in FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows the shoe with the upper 4 in the collapsed state. As can be appreciated from FIG. 3, the vamp portion 5 and side portions 7, 7′ of the upper 4 can be collapsed onto the sole 2 and the heel portion 6 collapsed by folding the insets 10, 10′. The use of the insets 10, 10′ allows the upper 4 to be collapsed virtually completely onto the sole 2 of the shoe without the use of any complicated mechanical hinges or connections for the heel 6. According to the present invention, the heel 6 is collapsed onto the sole 2 by merely folding the insets 10, 10′. The connection of the heel 6 to the sole 2 remains the same (e.g., sewing or gluing) in the collapsed and uncollapsed state. Thus, collapsing the upper 4 of the shoe of the present invention is a simple operation not requiring any mechanical hinge-like arrangement which would otherwise increase the cost of manufacture and the difficulty of operation. The insets 10, 10′ may have a diagonal stitch 11 (best shown in FIG. 1) to help the inset 10, 10′ fold easily.

[0021] Another aspect of the present invention can best be seen with reference to FIG. 4. According to this aspect of the invention, the tongue 12 can include a pocket in which a bag 20 can be provided. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the tongue 12 is made of suitable materials, e.g., nylon mesh backed with interfacing, and is made to have front and back portions 22, 23, respectively, which can be attached together using, e.g., a hook and loop fastener (e.g., Velcro) 24. When the front and back portions 22, 23 of the tongue 12 are closed using the hook and loop fastener 24, the tongue 12 functions as a normal, padded tongue. However, in the open position shown in FIG. 4, the tongue reveals the pocket within which the bag 20 is stored. The bag 20 may be attached to the pocket within the tongue 12, e.g., by sewing or gluing. The bag 20 is foldable so that it can be stored in the pocket of the tongue 12 when not in use. When unfolded, the bag can be flipped inside out by moving it in the direction of the arrows in FIG. 4 to fit the shoe within the bag. The bag is made large enough to fit one or both shoes within it. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the bag is provided with a closure element, e.g., a drawstring 26. The bag 20 can be used for easily packing and carrying the shoe of the present invention.

[0022] The use of hooks 16, rather than eyelets, allows the lace (not shown) to be readily moved aside to enable the tongue 12 to be pulled upwardly between the sides 7, 7′ of the upper 4, thereby allowing the tongue 12 to be opened and the bag 20 withdrawn from the pocket therein.

[0023] For some types of shoes, it may be desirable for the heel portion 6 of the upper 4 to have a heel counter provided between the liner and the outer layer. While traditional heel counters extend from the heel along the side of the shoe, if a heel counter is provided in the heel 6 of the upper 4 of the present invention, the counter would be smaller than a traditional counter, e.g., of an approximate inverted trapezoid shape, as described in provisional application No. 60/276,188, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

[0024] While the invention has been described in terms of its preferred embodiments, it should be understood that numerous modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. It is intended that all such modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims.