Title:
Protective sole for athletic shoes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device is provided for attachment to the sole of athletic shoes to protect the sole of athletic shoes from damage caused by walking on off-court or street surfaces. The device comprises a base member and securement members for securing the base member to the sole of an athletic shoe and allows the user to avoid having to change from street shoes to athletic shoes before stepping on a court surface and then having to remove his athletic shoes and don street shoes before leaving the playing venue.



Inventors:
Blackburn, Randy G. (Loa, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/188177
Publication Date:
01/02/2003
Filing Date:
07/01/2002
Assignee:
BLACKBURN RANDY G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/7.1R
International Classes:
A43B3/12; A43B5/18; A43C11/14; (IPC1-7): A43B3/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080034619Moisturizing footwear and solesFebruary, 2008Van Dyck
20030105193Thermoplastic insoleJune, 2003Wang
20080098626Healing Shoe and Decorative Strap ThereforMay, 2008Wright
20080179859Motorcycle foot peg and boot cleat assemblyJuly, 2008Boehmke et al.
20040187346COUPLING DEVICE FOR A DETACHABLE SHOE UPPER ON A SHOESeptember, 2004Bianchi et al.
20040159015Shoe insole with layered partial perforationAugust, 2004Dennis et al.
20050166422Shoe with an articulated spring-loaded outsoleAugust, 2005Schaeffer et al.
20070294920Soft shell boots and waterproof /breathable moisture transfer composites and liner for in-line skates, ice-skates, hockey skates, snowboard boots, alpine boots, hiking boots and the likeDecember, 2007Baychar
20090293318HEAT MOLDABLE SPORT SHOESDecember, 2009Garneau et al.
20020083617Shoe with a transparent toe capJuly, 2002Tsou et al.
20090300944PROTECTIVE SAFETY SHOE INSERTDecember, 2009Miller



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRISS OBRYANT COMPAGNI CANNON, PLLC (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A protective device for protecting the sole of an athletic shoe from damage caused by walking on conventional street surfaces, comprising: a base member for contacting the sole of an athletic shoe, said base member being substantially coextensive with the sole of an athletic shoe; and securement members attached to said base member and positioned to engage an athletic shoe positioned on said base member to secure said base member to the sole of an athletic shoe in contact with said base member.

2. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said securement members comprise a toe-engaging securement member and a heel-engaging securement member.

3. The protective device of claim 2 wherein said securement members further comprise an instep-engaging securement member.

4. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said securement members comprise a toe-engaging securement member and an instep-securement member.

5. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said securement members have selectively securable structure for facilitating fastening attachment and detachment of said base member to an athletic shoe.

6. The protective device of claim 5 wherein said selectively securable structure of said securement members comprises a hook and loop system for adjustably positioning said securable members about an athletic shoe in contact with said base member.

7. The protective device of claim 5 wherein said selectively securable structure of said securement members comprises a buckling system for adjustably positioning said securable members about an athletic shoe in contact with said base member.

8. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said base member has a bottom surface structured to provide traction with a walking surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority to provisional application Serial No. 60/302,924 which was filed Jul. 2, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to devices for the protection of the soles of athletic shoes and specifically relates to protective devices which are structured to be easily secured about and removed from athletic shoes to protect the soles thereof.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Athletic shoes have become very popular in the past few decades as footwear not only for sports participation, but for general everyday wear. With their increased popularity has come a corresponding increase in the cost of athletic shoes such that a single pair of athletic shoes may cost over two hundred dollars. Therefore, there is a great incentive to maintain the condition of one's shoes to maximize the wear and serviceable life of the shoes.

[0006] For people who play sports, there is a particular concern for maintaining the condition of the shoes since athletic shoes that are designed for a certain sport may be very expensive. For example, athletic shoes that are designed for playing indoor basketball are constructed to provide maximum traction and foot protection on wooden floors. If a basketball player then wears those athletic shoes off the basketball court, the soles of the shoes become worn and degraded by the cement or gravel of conventional walking surfaces. In no time at all, the sole of the shoes become unsuitable for use on an indoor basketball court.

[0007] Owners of wooden-floor basketball courts are particularly concerned about the wearing of athletic shoes on the court when those shoes have been worn outside because the soles of the shoes pick up, or are embedded with, gravel and other fine abrasives that scratch the floor of the court. The damage that can occur to wooden-floor basketballs courts is significant and costly to repair. Therefore, court owners now routinely prohibit players, or anyone else stepping on the court, from wearing street shoes on the court. To accommodate that prohibition, players must change their shoes before playing on the court. Players arrive at the court venue, remove their street shoes and put on their athletic shoes, then remove their athletic shoes after the game and put their street shoes back on.

[0008] Indoor basketball players typically take their athletic shoes off in a locker room or other dressing area before leaving the building to preserve their shoes. However, stopping to remove one's shoes can be time consuming and if players are in a hurry to leave the venue, they may not have time to stop and change their shoes. This is particularly true in the case of young boys or girls of middle school or high school age who play successive games of basketball at different schools. If they are being transported by bus, for example, to a nearby school for another game and they must quickly board the bus, they may not have time to change their athletic shoes to street shoes and then back to athletic shoes when they arrive at their next game destination.

[0009] Therefore, for both professional and non-professional players alike, it would be advantageous to provide a device to protect the soles of athletic shoes which is easily attached to and detached from the athletic shoes while the wearer has the shoes on so that the wearer may avoid having to remove his athletic shoes before walking on a non-court surface, and which allows the wearer to walk in any area or on any surface off the court without causing damage to the soles of the athletic shoes.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] In accordance with the present invention, a device is provided for protecting the soles of athletic shoes which is easily attached to and removed from the athletic shoes while the shoes are on the wearer's feet, thereby allowing the wearer to walk on any surface without damaging the soles of the athletic shoes. While the sole-protecting device of the present invention is disclosed herein with respect to use with athletic shoes, the device may be employed with any kind of shoe the sole of which the wearer wishes to protect from damage caused by walking on street surfaces.

[0011] The sole-protecting device of the present invention comprises a base member and securement members attached to the base member to secure the base member to the sole of an athletic shoe. The base member generally comprises a substantially flattened structure which is sized to approximate the size, shape and/or dimension of the sole of a shoe. The size of the base member may vary, but it is generally desirable for the base member to be co-extensive in size with the sole of the athletic shoe, and to even be slightly larger in size so that the sole of the shoe resides entirely within the perimeter of the base member. The base member may be made of any material suitable for use as the sole of a shoe, including natural and synthetic materials. Preferably, the base member is made of a flexible material which allows the base member to bend with the athletic shoe sole when walking.

[0012] The securement members of the present invention may be any suitable device, apparatus or system that secures the base member to the sole of an athletic shoe. It is preferred, however, that the securement members be a simplified system which allows the wearer to quickly attach the device to an athletic shoe and quickly remove the device. Therefore, by way of example only, the securement members may comprise a toe-engaging member which secures the toe of the shoe to the base member and a more rearwardly positioned engaging member which secures the rearward portion of the shoe to the base member. For example, the rearward engaging securement members may comprise a heel-engaging member or an instep engaging member, or both.

[0013] The sole-protecting device of the present invention may be configured such that the securement members are arranged to provide easy slip-on and slip-off of the device relative to the athletic shoe. Moreover, the securement members may preferably be structured to provide selectively adjustability of the securement members over or about the athletic shoe to increase engagement of the device to the shoe and to accommodate various sizes of shoes. The securement members may, therefore, be constructed with selective adjustment apparatus or members.

[0014] The foregoing elements and features of the present invention, and the function of the invention, are described in further detail hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] In the drawings, which illustrate what is currently considered to be the best mode of the invention:

[0016] FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of one embodiment of the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a view in perspective of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1, further illustrating the device engaging an athletic shoe;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a view in perspective of the rearward portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a plan view of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3; and

[0020] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0021] A first embodiment of the sole-protecting device of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. Referring to FIG. 1, the sole-protecting device 10 comprises a base member 12 which may generally be flat to contact the sole of an athletic shoe, and is sized in shape and dimension to receive the sole of an athletic shoe thereon, as further shown in FIGS. 2-4. The sole-protecting device 10 further comprises securement members 14 which are configured and located to detachably secure the base member 12 to an athletic shoe 16, as shown, for example, in FIG. 2.

[0022] The base member 12 may be made of any suitable material which supports the sole of the athletic shoe and does not damage the sole of the shoe. The material may, most suitably, have some degree of flexibility to facilitate flexure of the sole-protecting device 10 while the wearer is walking with the device 10 attached to his or her shoes. However, the material may, in certain applications, be more suitably selected to be substantially inflexible. Exemplar materials that may be used in forming the base member 12 include, but are not limited to, rubber, flexible plastic, polymeric materials, leather and the like. The material may be synthetic or natural. Moreover, the base member 12 may be structured with a bottom surface 13 which is configured to provide particular traction on walking surfaces, such as may be encountered in the winter.

[0023] The securement members 14 may be any suitable device, apparatus or means for securing the base member 12 to the sole of the athletic shoe 16 (FIGS. 2-4) in a manner which allows the wearer to easily and quickly secure the base member 12 to the athletic shoe 16, and then quickly remove the base member 12 from contact with the athletic shoe 16 when desired. By way of example only, FIGS. 1-5 illustrate various types of securement members 14 and arrangements that may be used in the present invention.

[0024] The securement members 14 comprise at least one toe-engaging member 20 which is positioned to fit over and engage the athletic shoe 16 in the region of the toe of the shoe 16. The securement members 14 further comprise at least one rearwardly shoe-engaging member 22 which is positioned to fit about a rearward portion of the athletic shoe 16 to secure the rear of the shoe 16 to the base member 12. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, the rearwardly shoe-engaging member 22 may comprise a heel-engaging member 23 positioned to fit about the heel 24 of the athletic shoe 16 to maintain the sole-protecting device 10 in secure engagement with the shoe 16. FIG. 5 further illustrates an alternative embodiment of the invention in which the securement members 14 comprise a heel-engaging member 23.

[0025] In a particularly suitable embodiment, shown in FIGS. 1-4, the securement members 14 may further include an instep-engaging member 26 which is positioned to span over and engage the instep portion 27 of the athletic shoe 16. In yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the sole-protecting device may comprise a toe-engaging member 20 and an instep-engaging member 26 with no heel-engaging member, thereby providing a slip-on type configuration.

[0026] The securement members 14 may be attached to the base member 12 in any suitable manner and may be structured in any suitable manner which will provide easy attachment and detachment of the base member 12 to the athletic shoe 16. As shown, for example, the securement members 14 may be configured as straps that are secured to the base member 12 and are sized to span about or across the shoe 16, the sole of which is positioned on the base member 12. The securement members 14 or straps may be made of any suitable material that is either moderately elastic or inelastic.

[0027] It may be desirable to structure the securement members 14 to provide selective adjustability thereof to assure a snug fit of the sole-protecting device 10 to the athletic shoe 16 and to accommodate varying size or shapes of shoes. Thus, for example, the securement members 14 may be made of slightly elastic material which allows the securement members 14 or straps to engage the shoe. Further, the securement members 14 may be configured with a selectively adjustable mechanism. For example, toe-engaging member 20 may further comprise an adjustable first fastening element 28 connected to the base member 12 along one edge thereof, and a second fastening element 30 connected to the base member 12 along an opposing edge thereof.

[0028] The first fastening element 28 and second fastening element 30 are preferably structured with interlocking means 32 which allow the two elements to be quickly engaged and secured together, and then quickly disengaged to remove the base member 12 from the shoe 16. By way of example only, the interlocking means 32 may be hook and loop tabs 34, one positioned on the free end of second fastening element 30, as shown in FIG. 1, and a corresponding hook and loop tab 36 positioned at the free end of first fastening element 28.

[0029] Similarly, the instep-engaging member 26 may be comprised of a first fastening element 38, which is illustrated in FIG. 1 as being secured to an anchoring tab 39 that is in turn connected to the base member 12 along one edge thereof, and a second fastening element 40 which is illustrated as being secured to an anchoring tab 41 that is connected to the base member 12 at the opposing edge thereof. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the first fastening element 38 and second fastening element 40 may each be connected directly to the base member 12. The instep-engaging member 26 is also structured with interlocking means 32 to secure the first fastening element 38 and second fastening element 40 together. The interlocking means 32 thereof may also be structured with a hook and loop tab 42 positioned at the free end of second fastening element 40 and a corresponding hook and loop tab 43 positioned at the free end of first fastening element 38.

[0030] The heel-engaging strap 23 may be configured as a single length of material having a first end 44 which is secured, such as by stitching, to the second fastening element 40 of instep-engaging strap 26 and having a second, free end 46 which is structured to be secured to the first fastening element 38 and anchoring tab 39 by some means, such as stitching.

[0031] The sole-protecting device 10 may further include at least one side member 48 which is secured at one end to the toe-engaging member 20 and secured at the other end to a rearwardly-engaging member 22, either the instep-engaging member 26 or the heel-engaging member 23. In an alternative embodiment, as suggested in phantom in FIG. 3, the sole-protecting device 10 may further comprise a second side member 49 which is likewise secured at one end to the toe-engaging member 20 and secured at the other end to a rearwardly-engaging member 22.

[0032] FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative configuration of the present invention comprising a base member 12 having a toe-engaging member 20 and a single rearwardly-engaging member 22 comprising a heel-engaging member 23. The heel-engaging member 23 may also be comprised of a first fastening element 54 and a second fastening element 56 which are selectively securable one to the other such as by use of interlocking means 58. As previously described, any interlocking means 58 may be used, but hook and loop tabs are shown by way of example only. Further, it is shown that a buckle 60, positioned on the toe-engaging member 20, may be employed as but one alternative type of interlocking means. It should also be noted that the toe-engaging member 20 does not need to be structured as two elements for securing together, but may be a single continuous length of material securely attached at both ends to the base member 12, thereby allowing the wearer to slip the toe of the athletic shoe beneath the toe-engaging member 20.

[0033] The sole-protecting device of the present invention is designed to protect the soles of athletic or other types of shoes from wear or degradation by contacting conventional street surfaces. The sole-protecting device may be adapted to any number of different types of shoes other than athletic shoes. Hence, reference herein to specific details of the structure and function of the present invention is by reference only and not by way of limitation.