Title:
Footwear with resilient heel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article of footwear includes a lower sole portion which has at least a lower heel region, and an upper sole portion which includes a front end connected to the lower sole portion and a remaining part extending rearwardly from the front end above the lower sole portion. The remaining part includes an upper heel region which is spaced apart from and extends above the lower heel region. The upper sole portion is formed integrally as one piece with the lower sole portion and is resilient.



Inventors:
Tseng, Yu-lin (Kaohsiung City, TW)
Chang, Hsing-fang (Chang-Hua Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
10/894385
Publication Date:
01/19/2006
Filing Date:
07/19/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/27
International Classes:
A43B3/12; A43B13/28
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAEGRE DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP (FORT WAYNE, IN, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An article of footwear comprising a sole unit which includes: a lower sole portion having at least a lower heel region; and an upper sole portion including a front end connected to said lower sole portion, and a remaining part extending rearwardly from said front end above said lower sole portion, said remaining part including an upper heel region which is spaced apart from and extends above said lower heel region, said upper sole portion being formed integrally as one piece with said lower sole portion and being resilient.

2. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said lower sole portion further includes a lower front region connected to said lower heel region, said front end of said upper sole portion being connected to said lower sole portion between said lower front and heel regions, said upper heel region being inclined with respect to said lower heel region.

3. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, further comprising a strap connected to said lower front region.

4. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said lower and upper sole portions are made of a composite material which includes a fiber component and a resin component.

5. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a tread member attached to a bottom side of said lower sole portion.

6. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein said sole unit further includes a connecting plate which has top and bottom ends connected respectively to rear ends of said upper and lower heel regions, said connecting plate being bent to protrude into a space formed between said upper and lower heel regions.

7. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein said lower sole portion is planar.

8. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein said lower sole portion is arched upward between said lower front and heel regions.

9. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein said sole unit further includes an upward support plate which extends curvedly and upwardly from a rear end of said lower heel region and has a top free end.

10. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 2, wherein said sole unit further includes a downward support plate which extends curvedly and downwardly from a rear end of said upper heel region and has a bottom free end.

11. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 10, wherein said sole unit further includes a stop piece projecting upward from said lower heel region adjacent to said bottom free end.

12. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said lower sole portion further includes a lower front region which has a front end, said upper sole portion further having an upper front region above said lower front region, said front end of said upper sole portion being connected to said front end of said lower front region.

13. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 12, wherein said upper front region is spaced apart from said lower front region substantially in parallel with said lower front region, said upper heel region being inclined with respect to said lower heel region.

14. The article of footwear as claimed in claim 13, wherein said upper and lower sole portions form a U-shaped turn at the juncture of said upper and lower front regions.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to footwear, more particularly to improved footwear having a resilient heel.

2. Description of the Related Art

High-heeled shoes or sandals typically include a sole plate made of rubber or plastic, and a solid heel block attached to the bottom of a heel part of the sole plate. While the solid heel block can raise the heel part, because the solid heel block is not resilient and can produce a certain weight, the conventional high heel shoe or sandal is generally uncomfortable. In addition, the shapes and configurations of the conventional high heel shoes or sandals are limited by the construction of the solid heel blocks attached to the heel parts thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide improved footwear with a novel heel which is not only durable but also resilient and comfortable.

According to this invention, an article of footwear comprises a sole unit that includes a lower sole portion having at least a lower heel region; and an upper sole portion which includes a front end connected to the lower sole portion, and a remaining part extending rearwardly from the front end above the lower sole portion. The remaining part includes an upper heel region which is spaced apart from and extends above the lower heel region. The upper sole portion is formed integrally as one piece with the lower sole portion and is resilient.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention:

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the second preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of the third preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of the fourth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of the fifth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the sixth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIG. 1, a first preferred embodiment of the footwear according the present invention is configured as a high-heeled sandal 100 which includes a sole unit 10 and a strap 20 attached to the sole unit 10.

The sole unit 10 includes a lower sole portion 12 having a lower front region 121 and a lower heel region 122, and an upper sole portion 11 which is formed integrally as one piece with the lower sole portion 12. The lower sole portion 12 is planar. The upper sole portion 11 has a front end 111 connected to the lower sole portion 12 at a location between the lower front and heel regions 121 and 122. The remaining part of the upper sole portion 11 extends rearwardly from the front end 111 above the lower heel region 122 and includes an upper heel region 112 which is spaced apart from and extends above the lower heel region 122. The upper sole portion 11 thus acts as a cantilever. The strap 20 is connected to the lower front region 121 of the lower sole portion 12.

The upper and lower sole portions 11 and 12 are made of a composite material which includes a fiber component, and a resin component, such as a thermoplastic resin, or a thermosetting resin. The fiber component may include one or more fibers selected from carbon fiber, glass fiber and Kevlar fiber. In a preferred embodiment, the composite material includes 60%-80% by weight of the fiber component and 20%-40% by weight of the resin component.

The high-heeled sandallo o further includes ananti-slip layer 13 attached to the top surfaces of the upper sole portion 11 and the lower front region 121 of the lower sole portion 12. Tread members 14 are attached to the bottom surface of the lower sole portion 12.

Due to the use of the aforesaid composite material, the high-heeled sandal 100 not only has a light weight but also is strong and durable for resistance against breakage. In addition, because of the cantilever-like configuration of the upper sole portion 11, the sole unit 10 has a measure of resiliency so that the sole unit 10 is able to absorb shock and provides a feel of comfort. Moreover, the sole unit 10 presents a novel outer appearance different from those of the prior art.

Referring to FIG. 2, a second preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention which is substantially similar to the first preferred embodiment except that a connecting plate 15 is additionally provided in the second preferred embodiment. The connecting plate 15 has top and bottom ends connected respectively to the rear ends of the upper and lower heel regions 112 and 122. The connecting plate 15 is bent inward so that it protrudes into a space between the upper and lower heel regions 112 and 122. Thus, the connecting plate 15 can be flexed when the upper and lower heel regions 112 and 122 are subjected to external pressure. The connecting plate 15 reinforces the upper and lower heel regions 112 and 122 so as to provide improved durability and resistance against breakage.

Referring to FIG. 3, a third preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention includes a strap 20 and a sole unit 10A. The sole unit 10A includes a lower sole portion 12A and an upper sole portion 11. The lower sole portion 12A is arched upward at an intermediate part 123A between a lower front region 121A and a lower heel portion 122A. The front end of the upper sole portion 11 is connected to the lower sole portion 12A at the arched intermediate part 123A. The arched intermediate part 123A provides an advantage in that, when the wearer who wears the sandal of this embodiment steps on gravels, debris or the like, the arched intermediate part 123A can prevent the middle part of the wearer's foot from being pressed or pained by gravels or debris.

Referring to FIG. 4, a fourth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention is substantially similar to the first preferred embodiment except that the lower heel region 122 of the lower sole portion 12 additionally has an upward support plate 124 which extends curvedly and upwardly from the rear end of the lower heel region 122 and thereafter turns inward. An anti-abrasion pad 113 is made of an abrasion-resistant material and is attached to the bottom side of the upper heel region 112 of the upper sole portion 11. When the upper heel region 112 is moved downward due to the pressure exerted by the wearer's foot, a top free end of the upward support plate 124 will contact the anti-abrasion pad 113, thereby preventing the upward support plate 124 from abrading the upper heel region 112.

Referring to FIG. 5, a fifth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention is substantially similar to the first preferred embodiment except that the upper heel region 112 of the upper sole portion 11 has a downward support plate 114 which extends curvedly and downwardly from the rear end of the upper heel region 112 to a position proximate to the rear end of the lower heel region 122 of the lower sole portion 12. A stop piece 125 projects from the lower heel region 122 adjacent to a bottom free end of the downward support plate 114. As such, when the upper heel region 112 is moved downward due to the pressure exerted on the upper heel region 112, the bottom free end of the downward support plate 114 contacts against the lower heel region 122 so that the upper heel region 112 is supported by the downward support plate 114. The stop piece 125 serves to prevent the downward support plate 114 from bending excessively and to maintain the downward support plate 114 in a proper position.

Referring to FIG. 6, a sixth preferred embodiment of the footwear according to the present invention includes upper and lower sole portions 11B and 12B. The lower sole portion 12B is planar and includes a lower front region 121B and a lower heel region 122B. The upper sole portion 11 includes an upper front region 111B and an upper heel region 112B. The front end of the upper front region 111B is connected to a front end of the lower front region 121B. The upper front region 111B is spaced apart from the lower front region 121B substantially in parallel to the lower front region 121B. The upper heel region 112B is inclined with respect to the lower heel region 122B. The upper and lower sole portions 11B and 12B form a U-shaped turn at the juncture of the front ends of the upper and lower front regions 1113 and 121B. A connection plate 15 interconnects the rear ends of the upper and lower heel regions 112B and 122B.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.