Title:
Shoe with cleats and cleat cleaner membrane
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shoe (10) with a removable membrane (16) for attaching relative to the bottom surface (14) of the shoe (10) and allowing the cleats (12) of the shoe (10) to pass through the membrane (16). After wearing the shoe (10), the membrane (16) is easily removed from the shoe (10), thereby substantially dislodging any debris that has become located against the membrane (16) and/or between two or more of the shoe cleats (12).



Inventors:
Knowles, Kayce (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/439004
Publication Date:
11/20/2003
Filing Date:
05/15/2003
Assignee:
KNOWLES KAYCE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/15
International Classes:
A43C15/10; (IPC1-7): A43C15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
STASHICK, ANTHONY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
W. Thomas Timmons (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A device for removably attaching to the bottom of a shoe, comprising in combination: a membrane; an adhesive on one side of the membrane; and an adhesive-protective backing attached to the adhesive side of the membrane, wherein the adhesive-protective backing can be removed and the adhesive side of the membrane can then be attached to the bottom of the shoe.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein a plurality of cleats are attached to the bottom of the shoe and the membrane forms a plurality of holes corresponding to the cleats, wherein when the adhesive side of the membrane is attached to the bottom of the shoe, the holes fit over the cleats and the membrane is thereby removably attached to the bottom of the shoe.

3. A shoe, comprising in combination: a bottom; a membrane; an adhesive on one side of the membrane, wherein the adhesive removably attaches the membrane to the bottom and the membrane can be easily removed from the shoe bottom when the membrane has become covered with debris.

4. A shoe according to claim 3 further including a plurality of cleats attached to the bottom, and wherein the membrane forms a plurality of holes corresponding to the plurality of cleats and the holes fit over the cleats wherein the membrane removably attaches to the bottom.

5. A method for protecting a shoe bottom from debris, comprising in combination the steps of: creating a membrane with substantially the same shape at the shoe bottom; applying an adhesive to one side of a membrane; attaching the adhesive side of the membrane to the shoe bottom; removing the membrane from the shoe bottom when the membrane has become covered with debris.

6. A method according to claim 5, wherein a plurality of cleats are attached to the bottom of the shoe, further comprising the step of forming a plurality of holes in the membrane corresponding to the plurality of cleats, wherein the membrane holes fit over the cleats and the membrane removably attaches to the shoe bottom.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present embodiments relate to shoes that have cleats attached to or otherwise integrated into the shoes and are more particularly directed to an apparatus and method for efficiently removing debris from between the cleats on the shoe.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Shoes that include cleats or have cleats somehow attached to the shoe are used in many environments. Indeed, such shoes are prevalent in many types of athletics, including sports that are popular across the world. Such shoes are typically worn to provide the wearer improved traction and thereby improving the wearer's athletic performance. In this regard, however, it is well known that often debris becomes lodged between one or more of the shoe cleats. For example, when an athlete is participating in an event on a muddy or other surface with loose material, that material can adhere between the shoe cleats and also to the bottom of the shoe. Such accumulation becomes a distraction to the shoe wearer (e.g., athlete) and also may become uncomfortable as well as negatively affecting his/her athletic performance.

[0005] In view of the above, various U.S. patent have issued for tools to clean debris from between shoe cleats, and athletes also may be commonly observed during breaks in an event working to use such tools or even their hands and fingers in an effort to remove the debris from between their shoe cleats. Indeed, some athletes also may be observed to hit their shoe bottoms against hard materials in an effort to dislodge debris from the bottom of the shoe. This process is often only partially effective and it also may cause damage to the shoe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In view of the above, there arises a need to address the drawbacks of previous approaches directed to the above-stated problems, as is achieved by the preferred embodiments described below.

[0007] The preferred embodiments include a shoe with cleats and a removable membrane for fixing relative to the bottom of the shoe and allowing the cleats to pass through the membrane, where the membrane may be easily removed from the shoe bottom, thereby substantially dislodging any debris that has become located against the membrane and/or between two or more of the shoe cleats.

[0008] These and other objects, advantages and features of this invention will be apparent from the following description taken with reference to the accompanying drawing, wherein is shown a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0009] FIG. 1 is a side view of a shoe with a number of cleats;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the shoe of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a top view of a membrane according to the present invention for use with the shoe of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0012] FIG. 4 illustrates two different membranes 161 and 162 as particular embodiments, where each membrane has a different shape of cleat opening to illustrate different types of shoes to which the membrane may be attached;

[0013] FIG. 5 illustrates membrane 162 from FIG. 4 once it is removed from the adhesive-protective backing and adhered to the bottom of a shoe 10;

[0014] FIG. 6 illustrates the shoe 10 from FIG. 5 once the shoe has been worn and exposed to a debris-laden surface; and

[0015] FIG. 7 illustrates the shoe 10 from FIG. 6 once the membrane 162 is partially removed from the shoe.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0016] The preferred embodiments include shoes that include cleats, as are common in various sports such as soccer, baseball, football, golf, and still others, and the invention has particular benefits in removing debris (e.g., mud) and the like that has become lodged between two or more of the cleats and typically along the bottom surface of such shoes.

[0017] Referring now to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, a shoe 10 has a number of cleats 12. A long known problem in the art of such shoes is that when, the wearer of such a shoe steps in a surface that is muddy or of a comparable situation, the surface (e.g., mud) typically attaches to the bottom surface 14 of the shoe between the cleats 12. Indeed, there are many prior art scraping devices for then attempting to dislodge the mud so that the mud may be removed. Without the use of such a device, the shoe becomes less comfortable and the gripping advantage provided by the cleats may be considerably diminished.

[0018] Referring also to FIG. 3, a membrane 16 according to the preferred embodiment is to be used in combination with shoe 10 in FIGS. 1 and 2. With the exception of a tab 20, membrane 16 generally has the same shape and dimensions as the perimeter of the bottom surface 14 to which the membrane will be attached as detailed below. Membrane 16 also includes a number of openings 18 that correspond to the location, size, shape, and dimensions of the cleats 12 on the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10. In FIG. 3, openings 18 are shown as squares simply to indicate locations of cleats, where as shown below and as known in the shoe art it should be understood that cleats may have various different locations, sizes, shapes, and dimensions. In use, membrane 16 is affixed to the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10, and note then that the positioning of each opening 18 is such that a respective cleat 12 can pass through the opening 18. As a result, when the membrane 16 is fully affixed to the shoe 10, the surface area of the membrane 16 lies in a fixed relationship relative to, and preferably adjacent (i.e., in contact with), the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10, while each cleat 12 then protrudes through a respective 18.

[0019] Another aspect of the invention is that membrane 16 is easily removable from the bottom surface 14 of shoe 10. For example, membrane 16 may include some type of adhesive on the side that contacts the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10, where the attachment provided by that adhesive may be released by pulling on the membrane as detailed below. Alternatively, some other type of attachment mechanism may be implemented. In any case, the goal is to have membrane 16 removable from the shoe 10 in a relatively quick and complete manner.

[0020] Given the structure above, the intended use of the combination of the shoe 10 and the membrane 16 is as follows. Prior to encountering a muddy or other debris-laden surface, the wearer of the shoe 10 affixes membrane 16 relative to the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10. Thereafter, when the wearer walks or runs along the surface, the majority of the debris will now lodge between the cleats 12 but also against the bottom surface of the membrane 16 rather than the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10. Once the shoe wearer desires to remove this accumulated debris, the wearer grabs tab 20 and pulls the membrane 16 away from the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10. As shown by way of example below, the present inventor has experimentally confirmed that such an action will pull away the majority of the debris along with the membrane 16, thereby leaving the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10 substantially free from any debris as between cleats 12. Thereafter, the shoe wearer can repeatedly replace the membrane 16, either by cleaning and re-attaching the original membrane or by substituting another membrane in place of the previous one. Further in this regard, also contemplated is the attachment of multiple membranes on the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10, whereby one at a time may be removed to dislodge any accumulated debris, while leaving the remaining membranes) attached to the bottom surface 14 of the shoe 10, such that each such remaining membrane(s) provides the same function as did the now-removed membrane.

[0021] FIG. 4 illustrates two different membranes 161, and 162 as particular embodiments of the preceding, where each membrane has a different shape of cleat opening to illustrate different types of shoes to which the membrane may be attached. Generally, each membrane has the same attributes as described above, including a plurality of openings 18 and a tab 20. Further, in the illustration, each membrane has an adhesive on one side, as may be provided by cutting the membrane from a material comparable to large-width electrical tape as is commercially available from electric supply institutions. While the adhesive is not explicitly illustrated, note that each membrane is temporarily attached to an adhesive-protective backing 221 or 222, such as a light plastic material or wax paper.

[0022] When a wearer is ready to use a particular membrane from FIG. 4, he/she tears the membrane 16 away from the backing 22 and then places the adhesive-side of the membrane against the shoe bottom, while of course positioning each cleat 12 on the shoe 10 to align with a respective opening 18 in the membrane 16 so that the cleat protrudes through the membrane and may then contact the ground. Further in this regard, FIG. 5 illustrates membrane 162 from FIG. 4 once it is removed from the adhesive-protective backing 222 and adhered to the bottom surface 14 of a shoe 10. As can be seen, each of the many (e.g., twelve) cleats 12 of the shoe 10 protrude through respective ones of the twelve openings of the membrane 162, and the membrane 162 is adhered to the bottom of the shoe 10.

[0023] FIG. 6 illustrates the shoe 10 from FIG. 5 once the shoe has been worn and exposed to a debris-laden surface, where in the example of FIG. 5 the debris is mud (which also includes grass and possibly other small materials wedged within the mud). As seen the debris extensively covers the non-adhesive side of the membrane 162 that is attached to the shoe bottom surface. As a result, the effectiveness of the cleats to contact the ground and to improve the traction of the wearer is significantly reduced.

[0024] FIG. 7 illustrates the shoe 10 from FIG. 6 once the membrane 162 is partially removed from the shoe 10. As explained earlier, this step may be achieved by grabbing the tab 20 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) of the membrane 162 and pulling both the tab 20 and the membrane 162 away from the bottom surface of the shoe 10. As can be appreciated, any debris that was along the non-adhesive side of the membrane 162 is removed along with the membrane, thereby leaving the shoe bottom 142 substantially free of that debris. In this action, therefore, the debris is also removed from between the various cleats. As a result, following removal of the debris in this manner the effectiveness of the cleats to contact the ground and to improve the traction of the wearer is significantly enhanced. Additionally, once the membrane 162 is completely removed from shoe 10, the non-adhesive side of the membrane 162, may be cleaned so as to remove the debris, and then that membrane or another membrane may be placed back on the bottom 142 of the shoe 10. Thus, the wearer may then once again proceed to the debris-laden surface, with at least temporary improved traction and comfort as opposed to the level of traction and comfort provided by shoe 10 in the state illustrated in FIG. 6.

[0025] Given the preceding, various additional observations may be made with respect to the preferred embodiments. The preferred embodiments provide a mechanism to easily remove debris from the bottom of a cleat-including shoe. By using the preferred embodiments, a wearer is able to easily to dislodge debris from the bottom of such a shoe with relatively little effort and greater speed as compared to using a specialized tool or other device that scrapes debris from between each different pairing of cleats. Using the preferred embodiment, the wearer may simply remove the membrane 16 and clean it or dispose of it Note also that additional commercial value may be provided wherein a shoe manufacturer provides both the shoe and one or more of the described membranes along with the shoe. For this and other reasons, the preferred embodiments contemplate a combination of a shoe with cleats as well as a membrane consistent with the inventive teachings.

[0026] Also having described the preferred embodiments, note that a membrane 16 according to the preferred embodiments may be formed in various manners. For example, if a material with a single adhesive side is used such as described above, then a sheet of such a material may be used where from the sheet numerous pieces are cut from the sheet so that the perimeter of each piece is substantially the same size and shape as the shoe to which the piece will be attached, again leaving a tab along an edge of the piece. Thereafter, appropriate openings are formed in each piece so as to accommodate the cleats of the shoe to which the piece will be attached. Indeed, a mechanism for stamping or otherwise forming these openings and possibly more than one such opening up to all openings in a single instance may be desirable. Still further, note that a shoe manufacturer or other person skilled in the art can provide more complex processes for forming membranes in accordance with the inventive teachings. For example, using a mold or alternative device or process, membranes may be formed given the known dimensions and shape of a shoe provided by that manufacturer or other shoe manufacturers. Still further, while one preferred embodiment includes a fairly thin, flexible, and one-adhesive sided material, membrane 16 may be constructed of various different materials. In any event, preferably a mechanism is included so as to attach the membrane in a fixed relationship relative to, and preferably adjacent, the bottom of a corresponding shoe, where the mechanism may be adhesive as described above, or could be some mechanical fitting such as hooks, tongues and grooves, fittings, flanges, male/female counterparts, and still others as may be ascertained by one skilled in the art. In any event, preferably the membrane is attachable to the shoe in a manner that assures a great chance of the membrane remaining attached to the shoe during normal use, while facilitating a manner in which the membrane is easily and quickly removed when the user intends to do so. Indeed, such an attribute may permit a user to clean his/her shoe bottoms routinely during an event and, indeed, could perhaps change the very nature of some athletic or other activities in which such shoes are worn.

[0027] From the above, it may be appreciated that the above embodiments improve upon the prior art as described earlier. Moreover, the preceding has demonstrates various alternatives that may be formed while remaining within the present inventive teachings. Consequently, while the present embodiments have been described in detail, various substitutions, modifications or alterations could be made to the descriptions set forth above without departing from the inventive scope.

[0028] From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is well adapted to attain all of the ends and objectives hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are inherent to the apparatus.

[0029] It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

[0030] As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the figures of the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.





 
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