Title:
Footgear
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The object of the present invention is to provide footwear that exactly matches the feet of many people, the movement of a big toe inward and away from a second toe is not restricted, movement of the five toes is not limited, the base sections of the toes are stimulated, putting on the footwear is easy, the toes are made uncomfortable, and the footwear will not slip off even during fast walking. The footwear comprises a sole and instep covers formed of a soft material, wherein five openings and holes are provided on toe tip parts of the instep covers, the instep covers serve as guides, the five toes are led to the corresponding openings and holes, the five toes can easily protrude from the openings and holes, and broad sections between the openings and holes serve as straps.



Inventors:
Takaba, Akira (Aichi, JP)
Application Number:
11/107711
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
04/14/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/7.5, 36/94
International Classes:
A43B3/00; A43B3/10; A43B3/12; A43B7/00; A43B7/26; A43B23/02; (IPC1-7): A43B3/10; A43B3/12; A43B7/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. Bruce Hamburg (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. Footwear comprising: a sole; and an instep cover formed of a soft material, wherein five openings are provided on the instep cover.

2. Footwear according to claim 1, further comprising four rectangular sections, wherein said five openings are notches, said four rectangular sections are alternated with the five notches, said four rectangular sections are each twisted, and tips of the four rectangular sections are attached to the sole at positions corresponding to four respective spaces between toes.

3. Footwear according to claim 1, further comprising four rectangular sections, wherein said five openings are notches, said four rectangular sections are alternated with the five notches, said four rectangular sections are each folded in a V-shape to serve as respective straps, and tips of the four rectangular sections are folded in two and attached to the sole at positions corresponding to four respective spaces between toes.

4. Footwear according to claim 1, wherein said five openings are teardrop-shaped holes, and sections alternated with the five teardrop-shaped holes serve as straps.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to footwear, such as shoes, zori (Japanese sandals), geta (clogs), and slippers, that enables walking in a manner close to walking barefoot by using a constitution such that movement of toes is not restricted, that facilitates the slipping in of toes into the corresponding space between straps (hereinafter called “putting on of footwear” or a variant thereof), that facilitates the heel-to-toe rolling motion, and that naturally works with the foot as a single unit.

2. Background Art

More than 4 million years are said to have passed since an ancestor of humankind began to walk upright, and 150-180,000 years have passed since the birth of Mitochondrial Eve, considered to be an ancestor of modern humans. For most of this time, man lived barefoot. The sandals of the ancient Egypt, said to be the oldest footwear, first appeared merely four thousand years ago.

The Japanese, after their barefoot period, wore straw sandals, which is footwear comprising a sole made of soft straw that comes in contact with the sole of a foot and is tied thereto with a string called “o” in the Japanese. Because it is made of a soft material and because the sole part adapts to the form of the foot sole, and the toes protrude beyond the sole part, these sandals can be characterized as footwear that is not too distant from barefoot.

In this way, until recent history, we have gone barefoot or almost barefoot, and it can be said that our feet are designed for walking barefoot. Today, most Japanese wear shoes, but it was only several decades ago that the average Japanese began wearing shoes.

Shoes cover the five toes, instep and the foot above the heel almost to the ankle, confining the toes and securing a shoe on the foot so that it does not fall off during walking. Thus there is the problem that people cannot walk normally unless they select the proper shoe size for their feet.

People usually choose shoes that fit the length of their foot. However, even among feet with the same length, there will be differences in foot width and thickness. This leads to the problem that, unless a special order is placed for each foot, with foot length, foot perimeter, foot height, arch height, heel width and other measurements taken, people will not find shoes that fit their feet exactly.

The heel-to-toe rolling motion in human walking is the motion of landing on the heel, gradually shifting body weight forward, and pushing off with the big toe at the end. During push-off with the big toe, the big toe splits off from the second toe, moving inward.

Even if a person wears shoes of a size that fit his feet exactly, these shoes will restrict the big toe from moving inward, preventing a person from pushing off with his big toe. As a result the person is forced to use the middle toe, which does not have sufficient strength for the task, or else walks in an unnatural manner, without pushing off, causing injury to knees and back. In particular, the longer the distance from tip of big toe to shoe tip, the more the push-off function is inhibited.

Further, the foot has, functioning as cushions, the longitudinal arch extending from heel to big toe and the transverse arch extending from big toe to the fifth toe. When movement of the big toe is restricted, the longitudinal arch and the transverse arch are unable to function as cushions, and this brings injury to the knees and back. In particular, shoes that are pointed in the tip center, which are common among women's shoes, often cause such painful conditions as hallux valgus, bring discomfort to women.

During the action of walking, the movement of feet and toes causes muscles to squeeze blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, thus functioning to help circulate blood and lymph throughout the body (hereinbelow called “milking action”). Because walking with shoes on restrains movement of the toes, where capillaries are concentrated and blood can easily accumulate, there is the further problem that the milking action that walking should provide is inhibited.

On the other hand, zori (Japanese sandals), geta (clogs), sandals, slippers and other footwear have the problem of not functioning as a unit with a foot. Zori and geta are better in this regard than sandals and slippers because they have a strap that is sandwiched by the big toe and second toe. Even so, the foot and bottom portion of the footwear separate from each other, causing the problem that when a person walks fast, a zori or geta can easily slip off. Sandals, slippers and other slip-on footwear are worse than zori or geta in terms of becoming one with a foot and thus are not suitable for extended walking.

Conventionally, there have been designs and inventions wherein an instep cover and sole are linked with a strap (for example, see patent documents 1-3). However, in the configuration of these designs and inventions the instep cover and straps are separate parts, and there is no toe tip guiding function when such footwear is put on the foot; there is also a lack of flexibility due to shortness of the strap itself.

Thus there is the problem that straps will get in the way of the toes' tips when the footwear is put on, and a person must use his hands to guide each toe one by one through the gaps between straps, making the putting on of such footwear a complicated process.

There have also been health-footwear-related inventions and designs comprising two (i.e., right and left) instep straps or belts and four toe straps (for example, see patent documents 4 and 5). However, such inventions do not provide health footwear with the function of holding a foot in a flexible manner or of guiding the tips of toes when the footwear is put on, giving rise to the problem discussed above.

There have also been designs and inventions comprising tubular parts into which the five toes are individually inserted and a separate instep belt (see patent documents 6 and 7). However, these designs and inventions do not provide sandals with the function of holding a foot in a flexible manner or of guiding the tips of toes when the footwear is put on, giving rise to the problem discussed above.

Further, the straps of the inventions or designs of patent documents 1-5 do not grip the toes, allowing footwear to slip off during walking, interfering with normal walking.

Further, in the inventions or designs of patent documents 1-7, straps are separate parts, causing an increase in the number of parts and leading to more manufacturing steps and increased manufacturing costs.

Patent document 1: Laid-open Utility Model Application No. H6-48403

Patent document 2: Utility Model Registration No. 3033390

Patent document 3: Laid-open Patent Application No. 2000-50901

Patent document 4: Laid-open Patent Application No. H9-37803

Patent document 5: Utility Model Registration No. 3073758

Patent document 6: Utility Model Registration No. 3082006

Patent document 7: Laid-open Patent Application No. 2002-345501

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention was conceived with a view toward eliminating the above drawbacks of the prior art, and its object is to provide footwear that exactly fits the feet of many people by eliminating the problem, inherent to conventional shoes, that a person is unable to walk normally unless he chooses a shoe size that matches his feet.

Another object is to eliminate such problems of conventional shoes as injuring the knees and back, by providing footwear that does not restrict the movement of the big toe as it splits from the second toe, moving inward, when it pushes off in the final stage of the heel-to-toe rolling motion, and that allows the longitudinal arch and transverse arch to function as cushions, thus in particular freeing women from the pain caused by hallux valgus.

Still another object is to provide footwear that does not limit the movement of toes, where capillaries are concentrated and blood can easily accumulate, thus attaining the milking action effect from walking and the effect of improved blood circulation by stimulating the base section of the toes.

Another object is to provide footwear that will not slip off even during fast walking and is suitable for extended walking, through the elimination of the problems of zori (Japanese sandals), geta (clogs), sandals, slippers and other footwear.

Still another object is to provide footwear that does not have problems such as not having the function of holding the foot in a flexible manner or not having the function of guiding toe tips when putting footwear on, such problems being evident in designs in which instep cover and sole are joined with a strap, in inventions of health footwear comprising two (i.e., right and left) instep straps or belts and four toe straps, and in designs of sandals comprising tubular parts in which the five toes are individually inserted and a separate instep belt.

Still another object is to provide footwear having a strap that is unitarily formed with an instep cover and functions to grip toes, allowing a person to walk normally without the problem of the footwear slipping during walking; and, further, to simplify the manufacturing process and reduce manufacturing costs.

The present invention is footwear comprising a sole and an instep cover that is formed of a soft material. Five openings are provided on a toe tip part of the instep cover, and when the front part of a foot is inserted into the instep cover, the instep cover serves as a guide, leading the five toe tips to their respective openings, so that the five toes are easily positioned so as to protrude from their respective openings.

The present invention employs a configuration such that a section of material having a broad width serves as a strap, and the broad strap part is folded and sandwiched between toes, so that the strap parts grip the toes.

Because the area around the toes is left completely open and the instep cover is formed of a soft material, the present invention provides footwear that functions as a unit with the foot, allowing for easy walking, even if the instep cover is larger than the foot, and thus exactly fitting the feet of many people.

Further, the present invention eliminates the problem of causing injury to knees and back, by not restricting the movement of the big toe at the end of the heel-to-toe rolling motion when the big toe pushes off so as to split off from a second toe to move inward, and by allowing the longitudinal arch and transverse arch to function as cushions.

More specifically, the present invention is footwear wherein the area around the toes is left open, so as not to cause conditions such as hallux valgus, freeing women from the pain caused by such conditions.

The present invention also provides footwear that does not restrict the movement of toes, where capillaries are concentrated and blood easily accumulates, allowing walking to produce a milking action effect and further improving the blood circulation by stimulating the base section of the toes.

The present invention also provides footwear that does not have the problem of not having the function of guiding toe tips when putting footwear on, such problem being evident in designs in which instep cover and sole are joined with a strap, in inventions of health footwear comprising two (i.e., right and left) instep straps or belts and four toe straps, and in designs of sandals comprising tubular parts in which five toes are individually inserted and a separate instep belt.

Further, the present invention provides footwear suitable for extended walking, configured such that broad strap parts are folded and sandwiched between toes, thus gripping the toes. Because the footwear acts with the foot in a unitary manner, it will not slip off even during fast walking.

Further, there is no need for a strap that is a separate part, simplifying the manufacturing process and reducing manufacturing costs, as there are fewer parts. In addition, the present invention provides durable footwear not subject to strap slackening, slippage or breakage.

A first aspect of the invention is footwear comprising a sole and an instep cover formed of a soft material, wherein five openings are provided on a toe tip part of the instep cover, allowing the five toes to protrude individually from the openings.

This footwear comprises four broad sections of material between pairs of openings, such sections serving as straps. The straps, which become folded with the sandwiching by the toes, grip the toes in turn, and thus the footwear functions in a unitary manner with the foot.

The sole may be a single layer of wood, leather, rubber, cloth, synthetic resin or braided plant material, or it may have a multilayer construction comprising any of the foregoing. In a multilayer case, it is preferable that the section to come contact with the ground be made of a material with high wear resistance and rigidity, and the section to come in contact with the sole of the foot be made of a soft and comfortable material.

For an instep cover, a soft material may be used such as tanned leather, soft rubber, soft cloth, or soft synthetic resin. A soft material is used to prevent injury to the skin. Further, a material that will not break easily when used as an instep cover should be used, as a material that breaks easily is not sufficiently durable for footwear.

Five openings are provided at positions corresponding to the five toes. Thus putting on the footwear is easy, as when the foot is inserted into an instep cover, each toe automatically proceeds to its respective opening. Further, the toes are not confined.

A second aspect of the invention is footwear in connection with the first aspect of the invention, wherein five notches are provided at the toe tip part of an instep cover, the four broad rectangular sections alternated with the notches are each twisted to serve as a strap with twisting shape, and at positions corresponding to the respective four spaces between toes, a tip of the strap is attached to the sole.

By providing rectangular broad sections in a twisting shape, and having notches as openings and the twisting shape surface as guide, toe tips are guided to the openings. Further, making the straps long facilitates the putting on of the footwear.

A third aspect of the invention is footwear in connection with the first aspect of the invention, wherein five notches are provided on the toe tip part of an instep cover, four broad rectangular sections alternated with the five notches are each folded in a V-shape to serve as straps, and at positions corresponding to the four respective spaces between toes, a tip of the strap part is folded in two and attached to a sole.

It is preferable to configure a V-shaped strap so that the fold is to the outside and the angle of the V points inwardly.

Between adjacent strap parts folded in a V-shape is an opening that gradually widens in the toe tip direction, and in a state where an instep cover fixes the position of foot and footwear relative to each other in a flexible manner, the strap surface serves as a guide, leading toe tips to the openings. Further, by making the straps long, the putting on of the footwear is facilitated.

A fourth aspect of the invention is footwear in connection with the first aspect of the invention, wherein five teardrop-shape holes are provided on the toe tip part of an instep cover, allowing the five toes to protrude individually from the holes.

Holes that gradually widen in the toe tip direction serve as openings, and the broad sections other than the openings serve as straps. In a state where the position of foot and footwear to each other is flexibly maintained by an instep cover, toe tips are guided to the openings. Further, straps are made long, thereby facilitating the putting on of the footwear.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of footwear of the first embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of footwear of the first embodiment in a state of use;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of footwear of the second embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of footwear of the third embodiment; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a plurality of types of footwear of the fourth embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The first embodiment of the present invention will be explained with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. A footwear 1 of the first embodiment comprises a sole 5 and an instep cover 6. The instep cover 6 may be larger than the size of a foot that will wear the footwear.

Five notches are provided in a toe tip part 6a of the instep cover 6, four rectangular broad sections alternated with the five notches are each twisted to serve as a twisting-shape strap 6c, and at positions corresponding to the four respective spaces between toes, tips of the straps 6c are attached to the sole 5.

The straps 6c are attached to the sole 5 with the following method. Four hollows 5b are provided on an upper surface 5a of the sole in advance, and tips of the straps 6c are inserted into and attached to the hollows 5b using an adhesive.

With the invention of the first embodiment, the straps 6c are formed in a twisting shape. Thus the notches serve as openings 6b and in a state where the position of foot and footwear 1 relative to each other is flexibly maintained by the instep cover 6, the twisting shape surface serves as guide, leading toe tips to the openings 6b. Further, the straps 6c are made long, facilitating the putting on of footwear.

When the footwear 1 of the first embodiment is to be put on, it is put on so that five toes 9 (namely, big first toe 9a, second toe 9b, third toe 9c, fourth toe 9d, and fifth toe 9e) individually protrude from the respective openings 6b of the instep cover 6. In this way, a foot is flexibly held by the instep cover 6, and the four straps 6c are respectively sandwiched by adjacent pairs of the five toes 9. Because the top part of the straps 6c can be folded into a V-shape and the top parts of the straps 6c folded into V-shapes grip the toes 9, the foot and footwear 1 operate as a unit, making walking easy, ensuring that the footwear does not slip off during fast walking, and providing footwear that is suitable for extended walking.

The footwear 1 of the first embodiment is configured so that the area around the toes 9 is completely open and the instep cover 6 is formed of a soft material, so that even if the instep cover 6 is larger than a foot, the footwear 1 works as a unit with the foot, making walking easy, and can exactly match the feet of most people.

Further, by not restricting the movement when a big toe pushes off at the end of the heel-to-toe rolling motion as it attempts to move inward, away from the second toe 9b, the footwear of the first embodiment allows the longitudinal arch and transverse arch to perform their cushioning function.

Further, the area around the toes 9 is completely open, the movement of toes, where capillaries are concentrated and blood easily accumulates, is not restricted, and the base sections of the toes are stimulated by the straps 6c.

The second embodiment of the present invention will be explained with reference to FIG. 3. A footwear 2 of the second embodiment comprises a sole 5 and an instep cover 7.

Five notches are provided in a toe tip part 7a of the instep cover 7, four rectangular broad sections alternated with the five notches are each twisted in a V-shape to serve as straps 7c, and at positions corresponding to the four respective spaces between toes, tips of the straps 7c are folded in two and attached to the sole 5.

The V-shaped straps 7c are configured so that the fold faces outward and the angle of the V-shape faces inward. Four hollows 5b are provided in advance on an upper sole surface 5a, and the respective tips of the straps 7c are inserted into and attached to the corresponding hollow 5b using an adhesive.

The invention of the second embodiment is configured such that the straps 7c are formed folded in a V-shape, thereby providing openings 7b that gradually widen in the toe tip direction between the straps 7c. In a state where the position of foot and footwear 2 relative to each other is flexibly maintained by the instep cover 7, the surfaces of the straps 7c serve as a guide, leading the tips of the toes 9 to the openings 7b. Further, the straps 7c are made long, facilitating the putting on of the footwear.

The method of putting on the footwear 2 and the effects of the second embodiment are as set forth in the description of the first embodiment.

The third embodiment of the present invention will be explained with reference to FIG. 4. A footwear 3 of the third embodiment comprises a sole 5 and an instep cover 8.

On a toe tip part 8a of an instep cover 8, at positions corresponding to the respective five toes, five teardrop-shaped holes 8b are provided. The holes 8b serve as openings and broad sections alternated with the holes 8b serve as straps 8c.

The invention of the third embodiment is configured such that holes 8b that gradually widen in the tip toe direction are provided, and in a state where the position of foot and footwear 3 relative to each other is flexibly maintained by the instep cover 8, the tips of toes 9 are guided to the holes 8b. Further, straps 8c are made long, facilitating the putting on of the footwear.

The method of putting on the footwear 3 and the effects of the second embodiment are as set forth in the description of the first embodiment.

As the fourth embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of types of footwear will be explained with reference to FIG. 5. Included are: infants/children's shoes 4a with a zipper attached to an instep cover, sandal-like shoes 4b with low heels, sandals 4c with a strap, shoes for seniors 4d with a belt on an instep cover for easy putting on, walking shoes 4e suitable for extended and fast walks, and boots 4f covering the calves.

The present invention can be used in industries manufacturing shoes, zori (Japanese sandals), geta (clogs), sandals, slippers and other footwear and in industries distributing and selling footwear, as well as in service industries such as government or sports instructors providing instructions for walking for the purpose of maintaining health and improving physical strength.

LEGEND

  • 1: Footwear
  • 2: Footwear
  • 3: Footwear
  • 4a: Children's shoes
  • 4b: Sandal-like shoes
  • 4c: Sandals
  • 4d: Shoes for seniors
  • 4e: Walking shoes
  • 4f: Boots
  • 5: Sole
  • 6: Instep cover
  • 6a: Toe tip part
  • 6b: Openings
  • 6c: Straps
  • 7: Instep cover
  • 7a: Toe tip part
  • 7b: Openings
  • 7c: Straps
  • 8: Instep Cover
  • 8a: Toe tip part
  • 8b: Holes
  • 8c: Straps
  • 9: Toes