Title:
Systems and methods for storing footwear
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for storing footwear comprises a footwear cover configured to substantially contact a majority of an exterior surface area of the footwear.



Inventors:
Hardigree, John W. (Canton, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/080167
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/15/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
422/5
International Classes:
D06M10/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GOLIGHTLY, ERIC WAYNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sami O. Malas (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. A method for storing footwear comprising: placing a footwear cover around the footwear such that the footwear cover is substantially in contact with a majority of an exterior surface area of the footwear.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to clean the footwear.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to conserve the footwear.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to condition the footwear.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to deodorize the footwear.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to polish the footwear.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the footwear cover comprises at least one chemical configured to disinfect the footwear.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising: manufacturing the footwear prior to placing the footwear cover around the footwear.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising: wiping the footwear with a cloth prior to placing the footwear cover around the footwear.

10. The method of claim 1, further comprising: removing a foot from inside the footwear prior to placing the footwear cover around the footwear.

11. The method of claim 1, further comprising: inserting the footwear and the footwear cover in a storage container after placing the footwear cover around the footwear.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Footwear may have limited use because the footwear may degrade in function and/or appearance over time. This may result in the expenditure of time and money by consumers who try to replace or restore the degraded footwear. Therefore, there exists a need for systems and/or methods for addressing these and/or other problems associated with footwear. For example, there exists a need for systems and methods for reducing degradation in function and/or appearance of footwear.

SUMMARY

Systems and methods for storing footwear are provided. A system of storing footwear comprises a footwear cover configured to substantially contact a majority of an exterior surface area of the footwear. The footwear cover may comprise one or more chemicals (natural and/or synthetic) to be applied to the footwear. A method for storing footwear comprises inserting footwear into a footwear cover comprising one or more chemicals to be applied to the footwear.

Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present invention will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present invention. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

FIG. 1A depicts a footwear cover that is configured to fit around a footwear.

FIG. 1B depicts footwear that may be covered by the footwear cover.

FIG. 1C depicts a footwear cover that is wrapped around the footwear.

FIG. 1D depicts a box configured to store footwear.

FIG. 2A depicts a footwear cover that is configured to fit around a footwear.

FIG. 2B depicts footwear that may be covered by the footwear cover.

FIG. 2C depicts a footwear cover that is wrapped around the footwear.

FIG. 3A depicts a footwear cover that is configured to fit around a footwear.

FIG. 3B depicts a footwear cover that includes a zipper configured to enable a user to partially close the opening after a footwear is inserted in the footwear cover.

FIG. 3C depicts a footwear cover that includes snaps configured to enable a user to partially close the opening after a footwear is inserted in the footwear cover.

FIG. 3D depicts a footwear cover that includes Velcro configured to enable a user to partially close the opening after a footwear is inserted in the footwear cover.

FIG. 3E depicts a footwear cover that includes a button configured to enable a user to partially close the opening after a footwear is inserted in the footwear cover.

FIG. 3F depicts a footwear cover that includes a string configured to enable a user to partially close the opening after a footwear is inserted in the footwear cover.

FIGS. 4A-4C depict respective views of a footwear cover that is configured to substantially contact a footwear

FIG. 5 is a flow chart depicting a method according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart depicting a method according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart depicting a method according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart depicting a method according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart depicting a method according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a table listing materials that may be applied to a footwear cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1A depicts a footwear cover 10-1 that is configured to fit around a footwear 12-1 (FIG. 1B). Footwear cover 10-1 comprises a fabric 19 that defines an opening 11. In one embodiment, the fabric 19 comprises an elastic material that enables the fabric 19 to be stretched (e.g., so that it may fit around footwear 12-1). The fabric 19 may comprise one or more types of material, including, but not limited to, cotton, polyester, rubber, spandex, nylon, silk, rayon, wool, and/or linen, among others, depending on a desired implementation. Furthermore, the fabric 19 is preferably configured to enable air to flow through it (e.g., to allow air to flow to footwear 12-1 after it is inserted in the footwear cover 10-1). The fabric 19 may have, for example, a density of 1-100,000 Denier depending on a desired implementation. The footwear cover 10-1 may comprise one or more layers of material (e.g., fabric) of similar or different composition.

According to one embodiment of the invention, the fabric 19 is used as an applicator of (e.g., is impregnated with) one or more of the following materials:

TABLE 1
Materials that may be included in/on the footwear cover fabric
MATERIAL
TYPEEXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE MATERIALS
CleaningMink oil, Neat's foot oil, Glycerin Soap, Ammonia,
oxalic acid, wood alcohol
ConditioningLanolin, Cetyl-allylether, Oleyl alcohol,
Carnauba wax, Mink Oil, Oils
MoistureBentonite clay, Silica gel, Polyester, Benzoyl,
AbsorbingSulphur hexafluoride, Alumina, Anthracite, Garnet
OdorCarbon, Sodium Bicarbonate
Neutralizing
PolishingTrichloroethylene, Methylene chloride, Nitrobenzene,
Oleyl-ethyl, Carnauba wax, Wax, Turpentine, Dye,
Citric Acid
Anti MicrobialTriclosan, Microban, benzalkonium chloride

A footwear cover 10-1 may also include one or more release agents configured to enable one or more of the chemicals listed in Table 1 to be gradually applied to a footwear over an extended period of time (e.g., several days). The release agent(s) may comprise, for example, silicone and/or some other material that is suitable for releasing the chemical(s) included in the footwear cover 10.

The footwear cover 10-1 may be configured to fit tightly around a specific type and size of footwear 12-1 (FIG. 1B) or may be configured to fit a wide range of types and sizes of footwear. Therefore the footwear cover 10-1 (and other footwear covers described herein) may have a different shape than that shown in the figures. The fabric 19 may be stretched in order to expand the opening 11 such that the footwear 12-1 may be inserted into the opening 11. FIG. 1C depicts a footwear cover 10-1 that is wrapped around the footwear 12-1. The footwear 12-1 along with the surrounding footwear cover 10-1 may then be inserted in a storage container 14 (FIG. 1D) (e.g., along with a matching footwear that is covered by a footwear cover 10-1). The storage container 14 may comprise, for example, a cardboard box.

FIG. 2A depicts a footwear cover 10-2 that is configured to fit around a footwear 12-2 (FIG. 2B). The footwear cover 10-2 comprises a fabric 19 that defines openings 11 and 13. As discussed above, the fabric 19 may comprise an elastic material that enables the fabric 19 to be stretched, and may be configured to enable air to flow through it. The fabric 19 may be used as an applicator of (e.g., is impregnated with) one or more of the materials listed in Table 1. The fabric 19 may be stretched in order to expand the opening 11 such that the footwear 12-2 (FIG. 2B) may be inserted into the opening 11.

FIG. 2C depicts a footwear cover 10-2 that is wrapped around the footwear 12-2 (FIG. 2B). As shown if FIG. 2C, the footwear 12-2's heel extends through the opening 13 (FIG. 2A). The footwear 12-2 along with the surrounding footwear cover 10-2 may then be inserted in a storage container 14 (FIG. 1D) (e.g., along with a matching footwear that is covered by a footwear cover 10-2).

FIG. 3A depicts a footwear cover 10-3 that is configured to fit around a footwear (e.g., footwear 12-1 (FIG. 1B)). The footwear cover 10-3 comprises a fabric 19 that defines an opening 31. The opening 31 may be partially closed after the footwear 12-1 is inserted inside the footwear cover 10-3. The opening 31 may be partially or completely closed and re-opened by using one or more fastening devices such as, for example, Velcro, button(s), snap(s), string(s), and/or zipper(s).

As discussed above, the fabric 19 may comprise an elastic material that enables the fabric 19 to be stretched, and may be configured to enable air to flow through it. The fabric 19 may be used as an applicator of (e.g., is impregnated with) one or more of the materials listed in Table 1.

FIG. 3B depicts a footwear cover 10-4 that includes a zipper 32 configured to enable a user to partially close the opening 31 after a footwear 12 is inserted in the footwear cover 10-4.

FIG. 3C depicts a footwear cover 10-5 that includes snaps 33 configured to enable a user to partially close the opening 31 after a footwear 12 is inserted in the footwear cover 10-5.

FIG. 3D depicts a footwear cover 10-6 that includes Velcro (not shown) configured to enable a user to partially close the opening 31 after a footwear 12 is inserted in the footwear cover 10-6. The Velcro may be located behind, for example, portion 34 of the fabric 19.

FIG. 3E depicts a footwear cover 10-7 that includes a button 35 configured to enable a user to partially close the opening 31 after a footwear 12 is inserted in the footwear cover 10-7.

FIG. 3F depicts a footwear cover 10-8 that includes a string 36 configured to enable a user to partially close the opening 31 after a footwear 12 is inserted in the footwear cover 10-8.

FIG. 4A-4C depict respective views of a footwear cover 10-4 that is configured to fit around a footwear. Footwear cover 10-4 comprises a fabric 19 that defines an opening 11, and that is attached to a sole 41. In one embodiment, the fabric 19 comprises an elastic material that enables the fabric 19 to be stretched (e.g., so that it may fit around a footwear). The sole 41 is preferably less flexible than the fabric 19.

The fabric 19 may comprise one or more types of material, including, but not limited to, cotton, polyester, rubber, spandex, nylon, silk, rayon, wool, and/or linen, among others, depending on a desired implementation. Furthermore, the fabric 19 is preferably configured to enable air to flow through it (e.g., to allow air to flow to a footwear after the footwear is inserted in the footwear cover 10-4). The sole 41 may comprise, for example, rubber, leather, or plastic.

According to one embodiment of the invention, the fabric 19 is used as an applicator of (e.g., is impregnated with) one or more of the types of chemicals listed in Table 1. On the other hand the sole 41 is preferably not impregnated with any of the types chemicals listed in Table 1. In an alternative embodiment, the sole 41 comprises a much smaller amount (e.g., less than 50%) of a type of chemical listed in Table 1 than does the fabric 19.

The footwear cover 10-4 may be configured to fit tightly around a specific type and size of footwear or may be configured to fit a wide range of types and sizes of footwear. Therefore the footwear cover 10-4 (and other footwear covers described herein) may have a different shape than that shown in the figures.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart depicting a method 500 according to an embodiment of the invention. The steps in method 500 include providing a footwear cover (e.g., footwear cover 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-5, 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, and/or 10-10 (FIGS. 1A, 2A, 3A-3F)), as indicated in step 501. The footwear cover is then impregnated with one or more of the materials listed in FIG. 10, as indicated in step 502.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart depicting a method 600 according to an embodiment of the invention. The method 600 may be implemented by, for example, a footwear manufacturer. The steps in method 600 include manufacturing footwear 12 (e.g., shoes, sandals, boots), as indicated in step 601. Each individual piece of footwear 12 is then inserted into a footwear cover 10 (e.g., footwear cover 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-5, 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, or 10-10 (FIGS. 1A, 2A, 3A-3F)), as indicated in step 602. The footwear 12 (and footwear cover 10) are then inserted inside a storage container (e.g., a shoe box) as indicated in step 603.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart depicting a method 700 according to an embodiment of the invention. The method 700 may be implemented by, for example, a footwear user. The steps in method 700 include removing footwear 12 from a footwear container (step 701), removing footwear from a footwear cover 10 surrounding each individual footwear (step 702), and wearing the footwear (step 703).

FIG. 8 is a flow chart depicting a method 800 according to an embodiment of the invention. The method 800 may be implemented by, for example, a footwear user. The steps in method 800 include removing a foot from footwear (step 801) and inserting the footwear inside a footwear cover 10 (step 802).

FIG. 9 is a flow chart depicting a method 900 according to an embodiment of the invention. The method 900 may be implemented by, for example, a footwear user. The steps in method 900 include removing a foot from footwear (step 901), wiping the footwear with a cloth (e.g., a soft cloth) (step 902), and inserting the footwear inside a footwear cover 10 (step 903).

FIG. 10 is a table 1000 listing materials that may be applied to a footwear cover 10, such as, for example, footwear cover 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-5, 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, or 10-10 (FIGS. 1A, 2A, 3A-3F). Each footwear cover 10 may include one of more of the materials listed in FIG. 10. These materials are applied to a footwear 12 over an extended period of time during which a footwear cover 10 surrounds the footwear 12. As a result, the footwear 12 may be cleaned, conditioned, preserved, deodorized, polished, and/or disinfected by the footwear cover 10.

A footwear cover 10 may also include one or more release agents configured to enable one or more of the chemicals listed in FIG. 10 to be gradually applied to a footwear over an extended period of time (e.g., several days). The release agent(s) may comprise, for example, silicone and/or some other material that is suitable for releasing the chemical(s) included in the footwear cover 10.

It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present invention are merely possible examples, among others, of the implementations, setting forth a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments of the invention without departing substantially from the principles of the invention. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of the disclosure and present invention and protected by the following claims.