Title:
Transparent sole saver with tread
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sole saver, including at least partially transparent material with a sticky backing and a removable cover for the sticky backing. A side of the material opposite the sticky backing includes a tread pattern that improves traction provided by the sole saver when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe.



Inventors:
Desaix, Nicole Dione (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/867466
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
06/14/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/71, 36/7.6
International Classes:
A43B13/26; A43B23/24; A43C15/00; (IPC1-7): A43C15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAYS, MARIE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dane C. Butzer (Columbus, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A sole saver, comprising: at least partially transparent material with a sticky backing; and a removable cover for the sticky backing; wherein a side of the material opposite the sticky backing includes a tread pattern that improves traction provided by the sole saver when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe.

2. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is completely transparent.

3. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is semi-transparent.

4. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is colored.

5. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is clear.

6. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is plastic.

7. A sole saver as in claim 6, wherein the plastic is less than 5 millimeters thick.

8. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the tread pattern is purely functional.

9. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the tread pattern includes an artistic element or elements.

10. A sole saver as in claim 1, further comprising decorative materials embedded in the material.

11. A sole saver as in claim 10, wherein the decorative materials are glitter.

12. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material is pre-cut to fit soles of shoes.

13. A sole saver as in claim 1, wherein the material comes in sheets upon which one or more outlines of shoes can be traced and cut-out using scissors.

14. A method of using a sole saver, the sole saver including at least partially transparent material with a sticky backing and a removable cover for the sticky backing, with a side of the material opposite the sticky backing including a tread pattern that improves traction provided by the sole saver when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe, the method comprising the steps of: removing the cover for the sticky backing from the sole saver; and attaching the sole saver to at least part of a sole of a shoe using the sticky backing.

15. A method as in claim 14, wherein the material is pre-cut to fit soles of shoes.

16. A method as in claim 14, wherein the material comes in sheets upon which one or more outlines of shoes can be traced and cut-out using scissors, the method further comprising the steps of: tracing at least part of an outline of the sole of the shoe onto the material; and cutting out a portion of the material defined by the traced outline.

17. A method as in claim 14, further comprising the steps of: removing the sole saver from the shoe when the sole saver becomes dirty or worn out; and applying a new sole saver to the shoe.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to sole savers, for example for the soles of men's or women's dress shoes. In particular, the invention relates to such sole savers that are at least partially transparent and that include a tread pattern of some type.

2. Description of the Related Art

High-end shoes, especially for women, often include artwork on the soles of the shoes. For example, avant-garde images can be painted or dyed onto the leather soles of shoes. One problem with this artwork is that it can be ruined as a person walks in the shoes.

Sole savers exist for protecting the soles of shoes, especially men's dress shoes. However, to Applicant's knowledge, existing sole savers are all opaque. Thus, use of such a sole saver to protect the artwork on the sole of a shoe is self-defeating because the sole saver hides the artwork.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One solution to the foregoing problem according to the invention is to use conventional clear contact paper as a sole saver. This is not an ideal solution because contact paper is smooth opposite its sticky side. The smooth surface offers significantly less traction than normal shoe soles, for example leather shoe soles, which can result in dangerously slippery shoes. This problem is exacerbated in wet conditions. Furthermore, contact paper adhesive does not hold up well on soles of shoes under the rigors of walking and running. Therefore, while this solution does offer some benefits, its drawbacks render the solution less than ideal.

A better solution is an at least partially transparent sole saver that includes a tread pattern to improve traction provided by the sole saver when in use.

Accordingly, one aspect of the invention is a sole saver that includes at least partially transparent material with a sticky backing and a removable cover for the sticky backing. A side of the material opposite the sticky backing includes a tread pattern that improves traction provided by the sole saver when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe.

The material can be completely transparent or semi-transparent, colored (e.g., tinted) or clear, as long as any artwork on the sole of the shoe is at least partially visible when the sole saver is in place.

In a preferred embodiment, the material is plastic between 1 and 5 millimeters thick. Other thicknesses can be used. Furthermore, any other suitably strong, flexible, and preferably water resistant material also can be used.

The tread pattern provided by a sole saver according to the invention can be purely functional or can include an artistic element or elements. Furthermore, decorative materials such as glitter can be embedded in the material. Alternatively, the sole saver can be completely plain.

In some embodiments, the material for the sole saver is pre-cut to fit soles of shoes. Different sizes and shapes of sole savers can be pre-cut to fit different sizes, styles, and even individual designs of shoes. Alternatively, the material for the sole saver can come in sheets upon which one or more outlines of shoes can be traced and cut-out using scissors.

The invention also encompasses methods of using the sole savers.

This brief summary has been provided so that the nature of the invention may be understood quickly. A more complete understanding of the invention may be obtained by reference to the following description of the preferred embodiments thereof in connection with the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a shoe with artwork on its sole.

FIG. 2 shows a sheet from which a sole saver according to the invention can be cut.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show examples of tread patterns for sole savers according to the invention.

FIG. 5 shows the shoe of FIG. 1 with a sole saver according to the invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 depict some variations for sole savers according to the invention.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a method of using sole savers according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows shoe 1 with artwork 2 on its sole 3. This type of artwork, shown in FIG. 1 as including an image and a logo (“LOGO”), is becoming increasingly common on high-end shoes, especially women's shoes. The artwork can cover part of the sole, as shown in FIG. 1, or the entire sole. One problem with this artwork is that it can be ruined as a person walks in the shoes.

FIG. 2 shows a sheet from which a sole saver according to the invention can be cut.

Briefly, a sole saver according to one embodiment of the invention includes at least partially transparent material with a sticky backing and a removable cover for the sticky backing. A side of the material opposite the sticky backing includes a tread pattern that improves traction provided by the sole saver when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe.

In more detail, sheet 5 is a sheet from which sole savers according to the invention can be cut and then attached to shoes. Sheet 5 is made of at least partially transparent material and has sticky backing 6 on one side. The sticky backing is covered by removable (e.g., peel off) cover 7. A side of the material opposite the sticky backing includes tread pattern 8, depicted as a series of wavy lines. These lines represent ridges and/or indentations in the material.

The material can be completely transparent or semi-transparent, colored (e.g., tinted) or clear, as long as any artwork on the sole of the shoe is at least partially visible when the sole saver is in place.

In a preferred embodiment, the material is plastic between 1 and 5 millimeters thick. Other thicknesses can be used. Furthermore, any other suitably strong, flexible, and preferably water resistant material also can be used.

Sticky backing 6 should be suitably strong enough to hold up through normal use on the sole of a shoe for at least several months. In one embodiment, the sticky backing provides a nearly permanent adhesion to the sole of the shoe. In another embodiment, the sticky backing is of a type that can be removed through application of a steady pulling force. These types of adhesives are well known in the art and could be selected without undue experimentation or further invention. Other types of adhesives could be selected.

Cover 7 can be any suitable removable (e.g., peel off) covering. Preferably, cover 7 can be written upon using a pen, pencil, and/or other standard writing instrument.

Tread pattern 8 improves traction provided by a sole saver cut from sheet 5 when the sticky backing is used to adhere the sole saver to a sole of a shoe. A great many different tread patterns can be used. For example, FIGS. 3 and 4 show other types of tread patterns that could be used.

Some tread patterns are purely functional such as the ones shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Other tread patterns can include artistic elements such as the diamond patterns shown in FIG. 4. Still other tread patterns could combine functionality with artistic elements.

Decorative materials such as glitter 9 can be embedded in the material. The combination of an artistic tread pattern and embedded decorative materials allow great variety in the designs of sole savers according to the invention. Alternatively, sole savers can be completely plain.

FIG. 5 shows the shoe of FIG. 1 with a sole saver according to the invention. In the figure, sole saver 10 covers a part of sole 3 that includes artwork 2. Different embodiments of the invention might cover all, more, or less of the artwork and/or sole of a shoe.

FIGS. 6 and 7 depict some variations for sole savers according to the invention.

FIG. 6 shows that possible variations for the material from which the sole savers are made include at least different treads, transparent versus semi-transparent, different colors (including no color or clear), decorative materials such as glitter, and other variations.

FIG. 7 shows that packaging options include pre-cut and sized sole savers, one or two sheets of material for tracing and cutting out sole savers, and other variations.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a method of using sole savers according to the invention.

In step 11, all or part of a shoe is traced onto a sheet of material from which one or more sole savers are going to be cut. Preferably, the tracing is made on the removable cover side of the sheet so that any stray markings do not remain on the sole saver itself.

In step 12, sole savers are cut from the material based on the traced outline. The entire traced sole can be cut out, or only a portion of the traced sole can be cut out, depending on how much of the shoe's sole is going to be covered by the sole saver.

In step 13, the removable backing is peeled off of the cut out sole saver. The sole saver is then attached to the shoe's sole in step 14.

When the sole saver runs out, it can be removed and replaced in step 15.

In an alternative embodiment, sole-savers are provided in pre-cut form. For those sole savers, steps 11 and 12 can be skipped. Alternatively, the steps can be used to trim the sole saver down for a better match to the sole of the shoe.

Alternative Embodiments

The invention is not limited to the specifics of any particular preferred embodiment disclosed herein. Many variations are possible which remain within the content, scope and spirit of the invention, and these variations would become clear to those skilled in the art after perusal of this application.