Title:
Item of footwear
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An item of footwear, has a sole (1) and an upper portion (8) for receiving and releasably retaining a wearer's foot. Cover means (12) for covering at least part of the upper portion is releasably attachable to the upper portion by fasteners such as press studs (40, 42). The arrangement is preferably such that the cover means can be attached or removed while the items is retained on a wearer's foot.



Inventors:
Flack, Andrew Colin (London, GB)
Application Number:
10/467401
Publication Date:
07/08/2004
Filing Date:
02/09/2004
Assignee:
FLACK ANDREW COLIN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/101
International Classes:
A43B3/18; A43B3/24; A43B7/12; A43B23/02; A43C11/00; A43C11/04; A43C11/12; A43C13/00; (IPC1-7): A43B3/24
View Patent Images:
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20080235988SHOE GRIPOctober, 2008Wyland
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20040107603Kind of indoor cloth wrap soleJune, 2004Wei
20080034617Shoe for Wearing on a Foot of Restricted Mobility During Physiotherapeutic TrainingFebruary, 2008Anderson
20090100717BOOT WITH IMPROVED TIGHTENING OF UPPERApril, 2009Cabanis
20080263905OUTSOLE WITH AN EMBEDDED FABRIC LAYEROctober, 2008Tai
20090083999SHOE SOLE FOR REVERSED APPEARANCE OF SHOESApril, 2009Fadem
20070271818Shoe spring and shock absorbing systemNovember, 2007Rabushka



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William M Lee Jr (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An item of footwear, the item comprising a sole, an upper portion for receiving and releasably retaining a wearer's foot, cover means for covering at least part of the upper portion and fastening means for releasably attaching the cover means to the upper portion.

2. An item of footwear according to claim 1, in which the cover means and the fastening means are so arranged that the cover means can be attached or removed while the item is retained on a wearer's foot.

3. An item of footwear according to claim 1 or claim 2, in which the fastening means is attached to the upper and/or the cover means, to enable the cover means to be directly attached to the upper.

4. An items of footwear according to claim 3, in which the fastening means comprises a first portion, mounted on the cover means for making and engaging a second portion mounted on the upper portion.

5. An item of footwear according to claim 4, in which the first portion is mounted on the underside of the cover means.

6. An items of footwear according to claim 3 or claim 4, in which the first portion of the fastening means comprises a number of female connectors and the second a number of non filamentary male connectors, the arrangement being such that, with the cover means in place, each male connector engages a respective female connector.

7. An item of footwear according to claim 5 or claim 6, in which the fastening means comprises a number of press studs.

8. An item of footwear according to claim 7, in which the press studs are situated towards the periphery of the cover means and the lower edge of the upper portion.

9. An item of footwear according to any of the preceding claims, in which the item includes at least one ventilation opening which is covered by the cover means, when the latter is in place on the upper portion, and which is revealed when the cover means is removed, thereby to provide, in use, ventilation for a wearer's foot.

10. An item of footwear according to any of the preceding claims, in which the cover means comprises a cover which, when in place on the upper portion, extends from the region of the sole on one side of the upper portion, over the top of the upper portion and to the region of the sole on the other side of the upper portion.

11. An item of footwear according to claim 10, in which the upper portion incorporates, or is adapted to receive, adjustable tensioning means for releasably drawing the upper portion against the wearer's foot to retain the item thereon, wherein the cover is such that, when on the item, it extends over and covers such tensioning means.

12. An item of footwear according to claim 11, in which the upper portion is adapted to receive tensioning means in the form of laces by virtue of having holes through which the laces thread.

13. An item of footwear according to claim 11, in which the upper portion incorporates straps and buckles for tightening the straps against the foot.

14. An item of footwear according to any of claims 11 to 13, in which the cover has an opening which is selectively closeable by a fastener and which allows access to the tensioning means with the cover attached to the upper portion.

15. An item of footwear according to any of claims 11 to 14, in which the upper portion also includes a tongue for providing an intermediate layer between the laces and the wearer's foot.

16. An item of footwear according to any of the preceding claims, in which the cover means is waterproof.

17. An item of footwear according to any of the preceding claims, in which the cover means includes a resiliently extendable portion, enabling movements between the upper portion and the cover means to be accommodated.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to items of footwear, and in particular to shoes and sandals.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The footwear industry offers a diverse range of items of footwear for use in many different situations, and with a wide variety of appearances to comply with differing tastes and fashions.

[0003] Conventionally, a wearer will use different pairs of shoes for use in different situations. For example, a shoe having an upper of a light, cool material or a sandal may be worn in hot, dry conditions, but is unlikely to be suitable for use in cold and/or wet weather. In addition, when an upper becomes dirty, scuffed or worn, it can be difficult to restore the shoe to its original appearance (particularly if the shoe has a fabric upper).

[0004] The versatility of a pair of shoes can be improved by providing the shoes with removable/interchangeable uppers. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,778,564 shows a sports shoe having a rough finish upper to which an outer portion can be attached by means of hook and eye fasteners. However, changing the outer portion can be a time-consuming process as the shoe laces need to be threaded through both inner and outer portions. Furthermore, the tongue of the shoe is attached to the outer portion, and the shoe is therefore not adapted to be worn without an outer portion.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,800 shows a tap dance shoe having an elastic removable cover. The cover has a sleeve portion which extends around the underside of the shoe to hold the cover in place. Such a cover can be awkward to fit or remove, and also can be prone to damage as it extends across the underside of the sole.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] According to the invention, there is provided an item of footwear, the item comprising a sole, an upper portion for receiving and releasably retaining a wearer's foot, cover means for covering at least part of the upper portion and fastening means for releasably attaching the cover means to the upper portion, the arrangement preferably being such that the cover means can be attached or removed while the item is retained on a wearer's foot.

[0007] Since the upper is separate from the cover means, the item may be worn with or without the cover means. In addition, the provision of fastening means for fastening the cover means to the upper portion facilitates the attachment or removal of the cover means. The preferred feature, that the cover means may be added or removed while the item is being worn, may be achieved by providing cover means which, when in place, overlies the upper portion, with no part of the upper portion and no other element fixed to the upper portion (for example laces) extending through the cover means. Being able to add or remove the cover means while the item is being worn allows the item to be conveniently altered by the addition, removal or replacement of the cover means.

[0008] Preferably, the fastening means is attached to the upper and to the cover means, to enable the cover means to be directly attached to the upper. Preferably, therefore; the fastening means comprises a first portion, mounted on the cover means (preferably on its underside) for making and engaging a second portion mounted on the upper portion.

[0009] Preferably, the first portion of the fastening means comprises a number of female connectors and the second a number of non filamentary male connectors, the arrangement being such that, with the cover in place, each male connector engages a respective female connector.

[0010] Since the male connectors are less prone to blocking than the female connectors, situating the male members on the upper reduces the likelihood of the fastening means being adversely affected by dirt coming into contact with the upper portion while the item is being worn without the cover means.

[0011] The fastening means conveniently comprises a number of press studs, preferably situated towards the periphery of the cover means and the lower edge of the upper portion.

[0012] Preferably, the item includes at least one ventilation opening which is covered by the cover means, when the latter is in place on the upper portion, and which is revealed when the cover means is removed, thereby to provide, in use, ventilation for a wearer's foot. Where the item of footwear comprises a shoe, the ventilation opening means may comprise one or more apertures in the upper portion. Alternatively, the item of footwear, with the cover removed, may function as a sandal, in which case the opening means may comprise the spaces between the straps and/or thongs constituting the upper portion.

[0013] Preferably, the cover means comprises a cover which, when in place on the upper portion, extends from the region of the sole on one side of the upper portion, over the top of the upper portion and to the region of the sole on the other side of the upper portion.

[0014] Preferably, the upper portion incorporates, or is adapted to receive, adjustable tensioning means for releasably drawing the upper portion against the wearer's foot to retain the item thereon, wherein the cover is such that, when on the item, it extends over and covers such tensioning means.

[0015] The upper portion may be adapted to receive tensioning means in the form of laces by having holes through which the laces are thread. Alternatively, the upper portion may incorporate straps and buckles for tightening the straps against the foot.

[0016] Preferably, the cover has an opening which is selectively closeable by a fastener, for example a sliding clasp (i.e. zip) fastener, and which allows access to the tensioning means with the cover attached to the upper portion.

[0017] If the upper portion is adapted to accept laces, it preferably also includes a tongue for providing an intermediate layer between the laces and the wearer's foot.

[0018] Preferably, the cover is waterproof.

[0019] Thus, the invention provides an item of footwear such as a shoe which, for fashion purposes, may have its appearance altered by the relatively straightforward process of interchanging the cover with another cover. In addition, the upper portion may be formed of a light, breathable material, or may be apertured as described above, to provide a well ventilated shoe for summer use, but which may be made waterproof by attaching a suitable cover.

[0020] Preferably, the cover means includes a resiliently extendable portion, such as an elasticated gusset, enabling movements between the upper portion and the cover means to be accommodated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0022] FIG. 1 is a prospective view of an item of footwear in accordance with the invention, the item comprising a shoe having a removable cover;

[0023] FIG. 2 is a corresponding view, and shows the shoe with the cover removed;

[0024] FIGS. 3 and 4 are plan views of the shoe, respectively with and without the cover; and

[0025] FIG. 5 is a view of the underside of the cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] The shoe shown in the drawings is a shoe for use in sporting or athletic activities, but which may also be used as casual wear. With reference to FIG. 1, the shoe comprises a sole 1 extending from the heel end 2 to the toe end 4 of the shoe, and which is attached to the bottom edge 6 of an upper portion comprising an upper 8. The sole 1 is a resiliently flexible synthetic rubber compound, although it will be appreciated that other materials may be used for the sole. The upper 8 is attached to the sole 1 by means, for example by means of an adhesive, and is formed from suede which has been treated so as to be waterproof. The upper 8 also includes a reinforced, raised, waterproof toe portion 10. A cover 12 of a suitable waterproof material, for example gore-tex, nylon or neoprene extends over the front portion of the upper 8, from one side of the shoe to the other.

[0027] The upper 12 is releasably held in position on the upper 8 by means of press studs fasteners, for example fastener 14, described in more detail below.

[0028] The upper 8 includes the tongue 16 which extends beneath a central portion that carries a series of holes, for example 18 through which a lace 20 is threaded. In addition, the cover includes a series of elongated ventilation openings 22, 24 and 26 on one side of the cover, and a corresponding series 28, 30 and 32 on the other side of the upper 8 (see FIG. 4). Each ventilation opening extends from the lower portion of the upper 8 (in the region of the sole 1) to the region of the lace 20.

[0029] The male connectors of the press stud fastenings, such as connector 34, are all attached to the upper 8. Three of the fastenings shown in FIG. 2, referenced 36, 38 and 40, are situated adjacent the sole 1. It will be appreciated that there are three corresponding connectors on the other side of the shoe. The remaining connectors, including the connector 34, are all situated adjacent the portion 10. In total, there are thirteen male connectors, and each of these is engageable with a respective one of thirteen female connectors on the underside of the over 12 as shown in FIG. 5. Thus, in use, the male connector 40 matingly engages with the female connector 42, the male connector 38 with female connector 44 and the male connector 36 with the female connector 48, whilst the connector 34 corresponds with connector 50. As can be seen from FIG. 5, the female connectors are arranged around the periphery of the cover 12.

[0030] The centre of the cover 12 includes a zip fastener 52 which, with the cover in place on the upper 8, is situated above the tongue 16 and over the lace 20. With the zip 52 closed, the cover 12 helps to prevent ingress of water through the interface between the tongue 16 and the portion of the upper 8 which overlies the tongue. The fastener 52 may be undone to provide access to the lace beneath. The cover also includes an elasticated gusset 54 on one side, and a corresponding gusset (55) on the other. The arrangement is such that the gussets 54 are synunetrically arranged either side of the fastener 52. The gussets 54 help to maintain tension in the cover 12, thus holding it in place on the upper 8. In use, a wearer can remove the cover 12 simply by disengaging all the female connectors on the cover 12 from the male connectors of the press stud fastenings. This can be done without removing the shoe. With a cover so removed, the ventilation openings 22-32 are exposed, and therefore allow effective cooling of the wearer's foot.

[0031] If the wearer wishes the shoe to be made waterproof, he or she simply re-attaches the cover 12.

[0032] The cover 12 may also be interchanged with other, similar covers, bearing different ornamental features or patterns, so as to alter the appearance of the shoe.