Title:
Surfing footwear with leash anchor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article of footwear specifically designed for surfing has an ergonomic forefoot construction that completely envelops the toes. A thin rubber outsole wraps from underneath the forefoot construction onto both the lateral and medial sides. A molded protruding edge is present on the lateral portion of the outsole to create significant support for lateral force. An ankle brace which wraps around onto itself to become a loop and pile fastened strap incorporates a molded anchor to function as a leash for the user. A support piece which is connected to the ankle brace and the forefoot construction maintains rearward tension that prevents the forefoot construction from becoming dislodged during aggressive use.



Inventors:
Collins, Matthew Kevin (Newton, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/327682
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
01/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B5/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050229428Stowable overshoes traction solesOctober, 2005Holcomb
20060277787Chimney structures for footwearDecember, 2006Vattes et al.
20090082180LEG LIFT DEVICE AND ASSOCIATED METHODMarch, 2009Castellano
20080229624Diagonally Twisted SoleSeptember, 2008Mueller
20090172975ADJUSTABLE GOLF SPIKEJuly, 2009Keough
20080250667Strap System with Integrated EyeletOctober, 2008Rasmussen et al.
20020083621Lacing deviceJuly, 2002Durocher
20030121174Ventilated insoleJuly, 2003Tsai et al.
20080313924Footwear Sole and Footwear Having Said SoleDecember, 2008Righetto
20040163282Sole slide-proof deviceAugust, 2004Pan
20080163517Ventilated Shoe with HeelJuly, 2008Chen



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MATTHEW COLLINS (NEWTON, MA, US)
Claims:
1. An article of footwear comprising: an ergonomic forefoot construction which envelops a user's toes terminating partially along said user's metatarsals, and a flexible sole portion wrapping from underneath said user's forefoot to lateral and medial sides of said user's forefoot, and an ankle brace wrapping around said user's ankle attaching with an adjustable fastening device, and an anchor component secured to said ankle brace, and a secondary support construction connecting with said ankle brace and said forefoot construction, whereby: (a) said user's toes are protected by said forefoot construction from injury, and (b) said user's heel will have direct contact with a surfboard, and (c) said user will not be required to equip an independant leash strap, and (d) said forefoot construction will remain secured on said user's forefoot with aggressive use.

2. The article of footwear of claim 1 further including a lateral support edge for creating a physical barrier to lateral rolling of said user's forefoot.

3. The article of footwear of claim 1 further including a removable heel portion secured to said user's foot with an adjustable fastening device, and means for protecting said user's heel during transport to and from said user's desired surfing location.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/642,136 filed 2005 Jan. 6 by the present inventor.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to aquatic footwear, specifically to the sport of surfing.

2. Prior Art

Surfing is a sport that is typically performed barefoot. Under the extreme conditions, most surfers wish to have direct contact with the board as well as utilizing natural unobstructed movement of the foot to ensure their maneuvers are precise. Even under cold or rocky conditions surfers will usually opt to go barefoot. Current articles of aquatic footwear are often inadequate for surfing because they are too thick and encompass the entire foot eliminating any direct contact with the board. Additionally, aquatic footwear to date has always gravitated to strictly ergonomic outsole and tread design that relies on rubber nodes as traction for lateral and longitudinal movement. While this does provide some additional traction, the benefits thus far have not been sufficient enough to convince surfers to employ any of the current footwear offerings with any regularity.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,322,894 to Dykes (1982) attempts to remedy the first problem with a booty construction that includes an open toe area. This would give the user direct contact with the board. However, the booty construction would be considered cumbersome because of lateral and longitudinal movement constriction in the ankle and arch. When the surfer then attaches his leash, which is typically wrapped around the ankle to tether the rider to his board, he would be utilizing more equipment than he would typically be comfortable with.

This construction also contradicts it's purpose. Because aquatic footwear is typically used in surfing under cold or rocky conditions, the exposure of the toes leaves the most sensitive and vital appendages for surfing vulnerable to frostbite and/or knicks and cuts from jagged or rocky beaches.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,205,071 to Hergenroeder (1993) provides a less restrictive solution to the surfing footwear problem. This surfing sandal allows for direct contact with the surf board in several places as well as unfettered ankle movement. The outsole, however, provides most of its coverage under the arch of the foot culminating at the joint of the fifth metatarsal bone and the proximal phalange on the lateral side. Subsequently, if a surfer's steering foot has the majority of the body weight on the phalange bones, the lateral traction of the outsole would be almost nonexistent. Also, this coverage could adversely affect the natural torsion that occurs in the midfoot.

This concept leaves the toes exposed to extreme elements as well, rendering the sandal inadequate for cold water use and providing little protection on jagged or rocky beaches. The rider is also required to fasten his own leash around the ankle creating a potential for uncomfortable overlapping of hardware.

In conclusion, insofar as I am aware, no surf or aquatic footwear has been developed that offers natural flexibility of the ankle and midfoot while providing superior lateral support, direct contact with the board, integration of a surfing leash and protection for sensitive forefoot appendages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION—OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, the objects and advantages of the present invention are:

(a) to provide a surfer with a protective footwear option that offers natural flexibility in the ankle and midfoot;

(b) to provide a surfer with superior lateral support under the harsh conditions;

(c) to provide a surfer with the maximum amount of direct physical contact with the surfboard without sacrificing protection for the surfers sensitive forefoot appendages;

(d) to eliminate the need for additional hardware by incorporating a surfing leash into the footwear.

Further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

SUMMARY

The invention, an article of footwear, is an elastic ergonomic construction that would slide over the forefoot terminating halfway along the fifth metatarsal on the lateral side and halfway along the first metatarsal on the medial side. This sock like construction of waterproof materials, would fit tightly around the protuberances of the forefoot. A thin rubber outsole would be attached to the bottom with the medial side wrapping ergonomically around the foot. The lateral side of the outsole would wrap around the foot with a protruding lateral support piece at the base. An elastic secondary support construction, preferably made of neoprene, would be suspended from an ankle strap to keep the forefoot portion from sliding off under extreme conditions. The ankle strap would be secured by loop and pile fasteners and would incorporate a surfing leash to eliminate the need for additional hardware.

The combination of the elements of this invention would provide surfers with a natural flexibility in the ankle and arch as well as direct contact with the surf board, solid lateral support, complete cold weather and terrain protection for the sensitive forefoot and would eliminate the need for a separate surfing leash.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a lateral view of the Surfing Footwear as it sits on the footwear last (24).

FIG. 2 is a medial view of the Surfing Footwear as it sits on the footwear last (24).

FIG. 3 is an aerial view of the Surfing Footwear

FIG. 4 is bottom view of the forefoot construction of the Surfing Footwear (23)

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the Surfing Footwear at ¾ view

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of alternative construction of Surfing Footwear with removable heel portion (28)

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

    • 11 Ankle Brace
    • 12 Loop and Pile Fastened Strap
    • 13 Secondary Support Construction
    • 14 Vamp
    • 15 Toecap
    • 16 Lateral Portion of the Outsole
    • 17 Lateral Support Edge
    • 18 Molded Plastic Anchor
    • 19 Medial Portion of the Outsole
    • 20 Interior Lining
    • 21 Nether Portion of the Upper
    • 22 Ankle Strap Pull tab
    • 23 Forefoot Construction
    • 24 Footwear Last
    • 25 Loop and Pile Fastened Heel Strap
    • 26 Heel Outsole
    • 27 Neoprene Heel Wrap
    • 28 Removable Heel Portion

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT—FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

A preferred embodiment of the surfing footwear is illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 is a lateral view of the Surfing Footwear as it sits on the footwear last (24). The toecap (15) is double stitched to the mesh vamp (14). The secondary support construction (13) fits inside the forefoot construction (23) and is stitched to the mesh vamp (14) and the toecap (15). The lateral portion of the outsole (16) is wrapped from the toecap (15) underneath the forefoot and is secured with industrial adhesive and stitching. The lateral support edge (17) is a molded detail of the lateral portion of the outsole and protrudes several millimeters to give the rider additional lateral support. The ankle brace (11) wraps around on itself to become a loop and pile fastened strap (12) with an ankle strap pull tab (22) that is secured with a stitching flange. The ankle brace (11) is secured to the secondary support construction (13) with stitching. A molded plastic anchor (18) is welded to the ankle brace (11) to act as the leash for the surf board.

FIG. 2 is medial view of the Surfing Footwear as it sits on the footwear last (24) showing the medial portion of the outsole (19) wrapping from the toecap (15) underneath the forefoot and is secured with industrial adhesive and stitching. The toecap (15) is double stitched to the mesh vamp (14). The secondary support construction (13) fits inside the forefoot construction (23) and is stitched to the mesh vamp (14) and the toecap (15). The ankle brace (11) wraps around on itself to become a loop and pile fastened strap (12). The ankle brace (11) is secured to the secondary support construction (13) with stitching. A molded plastic anchor (18) is welded to the ankle brace (11) to act as the leash for the surf board.

FIG. 3 is an aerial view of the Surfing Footwear showing the lateral portion of the outsole (16) and the medial portion of the outsole (19) wrapping from the toecap (15) to underneath the forefoot. The lateral support edge (17) is a molded detail of the lateral portion of the outsole (16) and is shown extending outward several millimeters. The interior lining (20) shows the coverage of the Surfing Footwear underneath the forefoot.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the outsole and tread of the Surfing Footwear. The lateral portion of the outsole (16) and the medial portion of the outsole (19) wrap over the nether portion of the upper (21) and are secured with industrial adhesive and stitching. The nether portion of the upper (21) is attached to the toecap (15) with a closed seam. The lateral support edge (17) is a molded detail of the lateral portion of the outsole (16) and is shown extending outward several millimeters.

FIG. 5 is a perspective drawing of the Surfing Footwear in ¾ view which illustrates the outsole as it is attached to the upper and the construction of the ankle brace (11).

Description—Alternative Embodiment—FIG. 6

FIG. 6 is a perspective drawing of an alternative embodiment of the Surfing Footwear in ¾ view further including a removable heel portion (28). The removable heel portion (28) consists of a neoprene heel wrap (27) with an ergonomic molded rubber heel outsole (26) attached with industrial adhesive and stitching. A loop and pile fastened heel strap (25) wraps around the users foot holding the removable heel portion (28) securely in postion.

Operation—Preferred Embodiment—FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

In operation, the user of the Surfing Footwear pulls the forefoot construction (23) over his forefoot until the construction is secured firmly around the protrusions at the tip of the first and fifth metatarsals. The ankle brace (11) is wrapped around the users ankle and is secured by the loop and pile fastened strap (12). The secondary support construction (13) provides additional support to the forefoot construction (23) by maintaining rearward tension from the ankle brace (11). The user attaches a standard surfing leash cord to the molded plastic anchor (18) on the ankle brace to serve as an active board leash.

When in use, the flexible forefoot construction (23) of the Surfing Footwear will completely encompass the surfer's toes squeezing any excess water out of the construction and protecting them from cold weather elements. This construction will also allow the surfer to walk across jagged or rocky terrain while protecting the sensitive forefoot from pain or injury. The lateral support edge (17) will provide the user with superior lateral support by creating a physical barrier to rolling of the foot caused by extreme force. The secondary support construction (13) will ensure the forefoot construction (23) will remain securely in position when the surfer applies rearward longitudinal force on the board. The ankle brace (11) when properly secured will maintain rearward tension of the secondary support construction (13) that protects the forefoot construction (23) from dislodging under extreme conditions. The molded plastic anchor (18) will function as an active board leash and keep the surfer tethered to his board if he were to fall.

Operation—Alternative Embodiment—FIG. 6

An alternative embodiment of the Surfing Footwear shown in FIG. 6 will further include a removable heel portion (28) which will be secured around the users heel and secured with a loop and pile fastened heel strap (25) wrapping around the users foot. This removable heel portion (28) will provide the user with heel protection comparable to a traditional sandal during travel to and from the beach.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS AND SCOPE

Accordingly, the reader will see that the Surfing Footwear described would provide the user with superior traction and stability while maintaining the maximum amount of direct surfboard contact. In addition, the ergonomic and elastic properties of the forefoot construction, combined with the secondary support construction suspended from the ankle brace, ensure the footwear will remain in place. The incorporation of the molded plastic anchor on the ankle brace eliminates the need for the user to purchase or utilize additional hardware to secure their board leash. The lateral molded edge of the outsole will create a physical barrier to rolling of the forefoot under intense lateral pressure.

Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention.

Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.