Title:
Shoe slimming insole
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insole for use in a shoe or other footwear which enables a better fit for feet that are narrower in girth than the upper of a shoe and/or narrower than the width of the sole. The insoles are also useful in footwear that have uppers that have stretched over time and/or feet that change in size due to swelling or weight gain and weight loss. The insole has at least one pair of flaps that are substantially vertical or perpendicular with respect to the insole pad when inserted into the footwear, and are positioned between a wearer's foot and the sidewalls of the upper, thus adjusting the inner girth of the footwear and decreasing the space within the upper. The insoles can be manufactured with varying thicknesses of the insole pad and/or flaps, or alternatively, a kit with removable, interchangeable and replaceable flaps and insoles of varying thicknesses can be made that enable the user to choose the insole and/or flaps which provide the best fit in varying types and styles of footwear. The flaps can be integral with the insole, securably attached, or instead removably attachable to the insoles by attachment members.



Inventors:
Gallegos, Alvaro Z. (Albuquerque, NM, US)
Application Number:
11/088543
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/24/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/43
International Classes:
A43B13/38; A43B3/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF RAY R. REGAN, P.A. (CORRALES, NM, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An insole for narrowing the internal girth in a cavity of an upper of footwear comprising: an insole body having a top side, a bottom side, and side edges; at least one pair of flaps, wherein the flaps are attached to the insole body and are positioned to extend beyond the side edges of the insole, the flaps being adapted to be upwardly positioned against sidewalls of the upper when placed within the footwear; and wherein said flaps narrow the internal girth of the footwear by decreasing space within the footwear upper.

2. The insole of claim 1, having a body and/or flap comprised of multiple layers.

3. The insole of claim 1, wherein the flaps are integral or removably attached to the insole body.

4. The insole of claim 1, wherein each flap has a furrow adjacent to the side edges of the insole body to facilitate positioning of the flaps to a substantially vertical position within the footwear.

5. The insole of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the insole and/or flaps are comprised of padding material.

6. The insole of claim 5, having a top layer comprised of cloth material, wherein the top layer covers the padding material.

7. The insole of claim 1, further comprising a flap support member, wherein the support member is placed within the flap or upon the flap.

8. The insole of claim 6, wherein the layers are held together by heat bonding and/or stitching.

9. The insole of claim 1, having a first pair and a second pair of flaps.

10. The insole of claim 9, wherein the first pair of flaps is positioned near a metatarsal area of a foot, and wherein the second pair of flaps is positioned in a heel area of a foot or between a heel area and an arch area of a foot.

11. The insole of claim 1, having a body that conforms to a shape of an underside of a wearer's foot and has a heel area that is at least partially concave and/or an arch area that is at least partially raised.

12. The insole of claim 1, wherein the pad and/or flaps have a thickness of at least 1/16 inch to at least about ½ inch.

13. The insole of claim 12, wherein during use the flaps are positioned between a wearer's foot and the sidewalls of the upper.

14. The insole of claim 13, wherein the girth adjustment within the footwear is at least ⅛ inch to 1 inch.

15. The insole of claim 1, wherein a portion of the side edges of the insole body are contoured or cut in an area adjacent to said flaps to facilitate upward positioning of the flaps.

16. The insole of claim 1, further comprising attachment members on at least a portion of the insole body and flaps, wherein the attachment members are used to removably attach the flaps to the insole body.

17. An insole kit for narrowing the internal girth of a cavity of an upper of footwear comprising: an insole body having a top side, a bottom side, and side edges; at least one pair of flaps, wherein the flaps are removably attachable to the insole body and extend beyond the side edges of the insole body when attached to the body; attachment members on at least portion of the insole body and flaps, wherein the attachment members are used to removably attach the flaps to the insole body and form an insole, and wherein the flaps are adapted to be upwardly positioned against sidewalls of the upper when placed within the footwear; and wherein the flaps narrow the internal girth of the footwear when placed within the footwear, by decreasing space within the footwear upper.

18. The kit of claim 17, comprised of a plurality of insole bodies and a plurality of flaps, wherein at least one insole that comprises a body and at least one pair of flaps is made from said kit.

19. A method of narrowing the internal girth of a cavity of an upper of footwear comprising: providing an insole body having a top side, a bottom side, and side edges; providing at least one pair of flaps; making an insole by removably or securably attaching the at least one pair of flaps to the insole body, wherein the flaps are positioned to extend beyond the side edges of the insole body; placing the insole within the cavity of the upper; and positioning each flap of the pair to a substantially vertical position, thereby causing an internal girth adjustment within the cavity of the upper.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the flaps have a thickness of at least 1/16 inch to ½ inch, thereby causing an internal girth adjustment of at least ⅛ inch to 1 inch.

21. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of placing a furrow in each flap, wherein the furrow is positioned adjacent to the side edges of the insole and facilitates the positioning of the flaps within the footwear to a substantially vertical position.

22. The method of claim 19, further comprising the steps of: providing a first pair of flaps and a second pair of flaps; positioning the first pair of flaps near a metatarsal area of a wearer's foot; and positioning the second pair of flaps in an area between a heel and an arch area of a wearer's foot; and attaching the first pair of flaps and the second pair of flaps to the insole body prior to placing the insole in the footwear.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the insole is used in footwear that are wider in width that a wearer's foot and/or that has an upper stretched from wear.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein the insole is used in footwear for feet that change in size due to swelling or weight changes.

25. The method of claim 19, wherein during use the flaps are positioned between a wearer's foot and sidewalls of the upper to decrease space within the cavity of the upper.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to an insole for footwear that is adjustable and can be used for footwear and feet of various widths in order to get a better, firmer, and more comfortable footwear fit.

BACKGROUND

Modem footwear manufacturing techniques enable footwear suppliers to make large quantities of mass produced footwear that may be based on “the average” foot girth and/or width, but these vast quantities of footwear often do not fit nearly as well as they should.

In fact, foot girth dimensions measured for example at the transverse circumference around the foot, and at the ball waist and instep of the foot, can vary over a range of up to about two inches for each length size. However many types of footwear are sold in only one width per length, which allows the marketing of a wider variety of styles with minimum inventory. Often end users prefer style and price to fit and comfort, and fit and comfort is sacrificed in favor of style and price.

Further even if the footwear initially fits well, the upper of the footwear may stretch after wear. Also, feet may vary in girth up to about two standard widths daily, and even greater changes can be caused by a variety of physiological conditions which give rise to fluid and/or tissue buildup in the foot. Also, changes in a wearer's body weight or a wearer's medical conditions may cause the feet to change in size and also cause challenges in fitting.

Therefore in order to get a firmer fit and/or a more comfortable fit in footwear, the insoles of this invention may be inserted and/or incorporated into a variety of types of footwear.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of an assembled insole for the left foot that has not been placed within footwear;

FIG. 2 is a top view of an assembled insole for the right foot that has not been placed within footwear;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of an assembled left insole that has not been placed within footwear;

FIG. 3A is an end view of a flap of an insole of this invention;

FIG. 3B is a cross section of the layers of an embodiment of an insole and/or flap;

FIG. 3C is a cross section of an embodiment of an insole and/or flap;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of an embodiment of an insole body of this invention for the left foot, which has not been assembled into an insole;

FIG. 4A is a bottom view of a frontward flap of this invention that is not attached to the insole body of FIG. 4;

FIG. 4B is a bottom view of a heel-ward flap of this invention that is not attached to the insole body of FIG. 4;

FIG. 5 is a perspective top view of a left foot insole;

FIG. 5A is a side view of a flap of this invention having a support member on the surface of the flap;

FIG. 5B is a side view of a flap of this invention having a support member within the flap;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the insole of FIG. 2 with the flaps in an upward position;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the insole of FIG. 1 with the flaps in an upward position;

FIG. 8 is a top view of footwear with a right foot insole of this invention placed within the cavity of the footwear upper;

FIG. 8A is a side view of the insole of this invention as it appears when it is placed within the cavity of the upper of the footwear; and

FIG. 9 is a side view of a right foot in footwear with an insole of this invention inserted into the cavity of the footwear upper.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

For purposes of the description of this invention, the terms “uppermost,” “right,” “left,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” “top,” “bottom,” “beyond,” and other related terms shall be defined in relation to embodiments of the present invention as it is shown and illustrated in the accompanying figures. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative structures and processes and still be within the scope and meaning of this disclosure. Further, it is to be understood that any specific dimensions, shapes, and/or physical characteristics related to the embodiments disclosed herein are capable of modification and alteration while still remaining within the scope of the present invention and are, therefore, not intended to be limiting.

The following drawings show insoles and/or insole parts that are in some cases for right feet and right side/right foot footwear, and in other cases for left feet and left side/left foot footwear. Typically when the term “insole” is used herein, it refers to the assembled insole that comprises an insole body and flaps. It should be understood that the right foot insole and right foot footwear are substantially mirror images of the left foot insole and left foot footwear. It should also be understood that the word “footwear” is intended to be synonymous with all articles of footwear, including but not limited to boots, sandals, open-toe shoes and closed-toe shoes for casual and formal dress as well as footwear for sports and work. Footwear also includes diving boots, swimming flippers, water and snow ski boots, and skates.

Furthermore, it should also be understood that the insoles can be manufactured with different thicknesses of materials for the insole body 7 and/or flaps 15 to give further fit choices.

The present invention is directed to an insole that provides adjustment in the fit of the girth of the cavity in the upper of footwear. The insole of this invention can also be used when a wearer's foot is narrower than the width of the sole. When used as a noun, “an upper” or “the upper” of the footwear is defined as the part of the shoe, boot or footwear above the sole or base portion of the footwear, and typically is comprised of sidewalls. As shown in FIGS. 1-8, 8A, and 9, the insole has a top surface 4 and a bottom surface 6, and at least one pair 17 of flaps 15 that extend beyond the side edges 48 or perimeter of the body 7 of the insole. As used herein, “extending” or “extend” when used to describe the orientation of the flaps means that the flaps can extend above the insole body, from the side of the insole body, from below the insole body, and that the flaps can also be positioned upward, outward, downward, sideways with respect to the insole body, and can also extend from the front or rear of the insole body.

The adjustable insole assembly causes a width and/or girth adjustment by flaps 15 that rest against the sidewalls 32 of the upper 30 and the feet during use. See e.g. FIG. 9. The flaps can be of various lengths and can extend part-way up the foot. Alternatively, if desired, the flaps can extend up to the top 46 of the foot, and even around the foot. While the insoles can have flaps that are unpaired, i.e., located on only one side of the insole and foot, flaps that are paired 17, i.e., located on both sides of the foot, are preferred since paired flaps cause a greater decrease in girth and paired flaps cradle the wearer's foot 45 causing a more even fit. See e.g., FIG. 9. Usually the paired flaps 17, see e.g. FIG. 1, are located opposite to one another, but do not have to be opposite to one another. Single flaps that are unpaired may force the foot into the sidewalls 32 of the upper and/or the top inner surface 31 of the upper 30 of the footwear, causing discomfort as well as undesired rubbing or friction. Girth in this application can be defined as the transverse circumference of the shoe at a particular portion of the shoe or other footwear, near or at about its mid-portion, which is the portion between the toe and heel regions, and including the ball, waist, and instep portions. Better fit of the footwear 26 can also be accomplished by placing an insole of this invention within the cavity 35 of the footwear by causing change in the dimensional relationship between the fitting height 28 and the width 34 inside the cavity of the footwear. See e.g. FIGS. 8A, 9. The footwear cavity is contained within the upper 30 and the floor 38 of the upper, see e.g. FIGS. 8, 8A and 9, and the upper can be at least partially open, such as in sandals. The fitting height 28 is the vertical distance between the floor of the shoe in the cavity and the uppermost inside portion of the upper, and the width 34. By filling a portion of the sides of the upper 30, as well as a portion below the wearer's foot 45 and above the original base or floor of the footwear, the fitting height is also reduced, in addition to girth.

When the insole is placed within footwear, the flaps decrease the space between a wearer's foot and the sidewalls of the upper. By using the insoles of this invention, an adjustment to the footwear can be accomplished over the range of commercially available girths and provides a fit of a narrower girth. The adjustment to the girth may be minimal such as narrowing an A size shoe girth to AA, AAA, or AAAA, and also encompasses the narrowing of any of the wider sizes and girths of all footwear from B sizes, C sizes, D sizes, and even wider girths such as E size girths, including EEEE to girths that are narrower. For example a shoe of a standard width, such as a women's size of B width may be adjusted to fit like a narrower shoe of 1A to 2A to 4A widths, with similar adjustments in men's sizes from EE to C. Shoes or footwear of other widths may be also be narrowed, as desired by using the insoles. Of course the same narrowing characteristics can be seen in footwear for children or youths.

The flaps 15 and/or body of the insole 7 can be made in varying thicknesses, sizes, and shapes so that the desired adjustment in fit can be accomplished. The insoles can be assembled during manufacture, or alternatively, a kit with removable, interchangeable and replaceable flaps and insoles of varying thicknesses can be made that enable the user to choose the insole and/or flaps which provide the best fit in varying types and styles of footwear. A kit comprises one or more insole bodies/pads with one or more flaps, such as the pad and flaps shown in FIGS. 4, 4A, and 4B, and more preferably a plurality of insole pads and flaps which allows the user to choose the desired thickness and/or size and/or shape of the flaps and/or insole body. Also the flaps and/or insole bodies can be made in a variety of widths, shapes, and sizes to give more fit options. Also, if desired portions of the pad and/or flaps can cut or cut off to get a more customized fit. The insoles can be sold in an assembled or unassembled state, and the flap and insole body can be removable, replaceable or interchangeable. The flaps can be integral with the insole body, securably attached, or instead removably attachable to the insole body by attachment members as well as other ways known to one skilled in the art. The flaps that are removably attachable, attach to the insole bodies by way of the attachment members described herein, as well as any other attachment members known to one skilled in the art. Additionally if desired, the flaps and/or insole body can be directly attached to the footwear rather than to each other.

Additionally, sellers can choose to stock the insole bodies and flaps in different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses that can be assembled and custom fit for the wearer and the wearer's footwear by the sellers.

Typically, no change, or little change usually occurs in the inside 42 and outside circumferences 40 of the footwear during such fit adjustments using the insole of this invention. See e.g. FIGS. 8, 8A, and 9.

The upper 30 includes the upper of all types of footwear, and the insole invention is suitable for use in all types of footwear, especially closed toe and closed heel footwear, such as a daily wear shoes, dress shoes, athletic shoes, work boots, hiking boots, and the like. The insole can be used to get a firmer fit in footwear for a wearer's foot or feet which are narrower in width than the manufactured footwear or in footwear with uppers that have stretched from wear. Also, the insole can be used to get a better fit in footwear for feet that change in size due to feet swelling or the wearer's weight changes.

During use, the insole is placed within footwear 26 with the flaps adjacent to the sidewalls of the upper and the body of the insole rests upon the floor 38 of the footwear 26. When a wearer's foot is inserted into the footwear, the flaps will be positioned between a wearer's foot and the sidewalls of the upper. As shown in FIG. 8, the insole 2 provides an adjustment in fit of the girth 36 of the cavity 35 in the upper 30 of the footwear. The insole assembly can be placed in the footwear unattached in the footwear or instead, permanently fastened to the footwear by suitable means such as adhesive and/or stitching or other ways known to one skilled in the art, during or after manufacture. Alternatively the insole can be removably attached to the inside of the upper and/or the floor of the footwear by hook and loop type fasteners, studs, or other such fasteners or other ways known to one skilled in the art. As a further alternative, the insole may simply be placed within the footwear and unattached to the footwear so it can be taken out, if desired, and used in additional footwear that also require an adjustment in fit.

The body or pad 7 of the insole 2 can extend at least the length and the width of the footwear or less or greater than the length and width of the footwear. Also if desired, the insole can be made so that it is thinner and/or tapered in the toe area of the footwear, and thicker in the heel and/or arch areas. The arch of the insole can also be raised, if desired, for support of the arch of the foot. The insole body is preferably made of a material that is at least semi flexible, but if additional support is desired, the insole may be at least semi-rigid or rigid. The insole can be fabricated by pouring foamed materials into a frame that is heated and processed into sheets that are then cut to size. However, the cost of cutting and shaping foam is high and results in significant material wastage. To avoid wasting materials, the insole and/or insole body and/or insole flap can be molded for each size and style of footwear.

Preferably the insole and/or flaps have cushioning capabilities, and may have one or more layers of padding 56. If the insole and/or flaps are made of layers, the layers can be held together by an adhesive and/or by stitching, as well as by heat bonding. Foam or rubber type padding is preferred, but other types of padding known by one skilled in the art can also be used. The insole bodies and/or flaps can be made of one or more layers of components. FIG. 3A is an end view of a flap of an insole of this invention which has a bottom layer 54, a middle padding layer 13 and a top layer 50 of covering material 51. FIG. 3A also shows an optional tapering 19 that extends to the peripheral edge 14 of the flap. FIG. 3B is a cross-section of the padding 13 layers of an embodiment of an insole and/or flap that are joined 11 by heat and/or glue bonding, as well as stitching 10. FIG. 3B also has top layer 50 of covering and has a bottom layer 54. FIG. 3C is a cross section of an insole embodiment, having an insole body and/or flap made of a unitary piece, which does not have layers.

The insole flaps can be a single piece which extend from each side of the insole body as shown in FIGS. 3, 4A, 4B, or instead can be separate pieces, which extend from each side. The flaps can be attached to the top or bottom of the insole body, as well as from the side edges.

If foam or rubber is used, a top layer of cloth type material 51 is optimally used to keep a wearer's foot from slipping or sticking to the padding, but is not necessary. Further, even if stockings, socks, or hose are worn, a cloth layer is still preferred and to keep the foot from perspiring onto the rubber or foam layer, which can be less comfortable. If the insole has a top layer, it is preferably made of cloth comprised essentially of cotton, cotton blends, polyester, felt, nylon, or a combination thereof or other types of materials used by one skilled in the art for such purposes, and the top layer 50 is superimposed over the pad layer. See FIG. 3B. The optional top layer 50 can also be made from other materials, including leather, polyester, stretchable spandex fabric, or wool, or other woven or spun fabrics. The chosen materials can then be bonded to the insole 2 by adhesives or glue and/or stitching or other ways of joining materials to another that are known to one skilled in the art.

As is apparent, one can make, use and sell insole bodies and flaps of a variety of different sizes, shape, widths, and heights to afford adjustments in fit.

The insole body 7 and/or flaps 15 of the insole can be comprised of one or more layers of materials that are superimposed and/or connected by one or more ways, such as adhesive, glue, with or without heat, and thermo-welding or bonding, as well as hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro™ as well as other ways known to one skilled in the art for attaching a layer of material to another. Stitching 10 can also be used to hold the layers together alone, or with other ways of holding the layers together, known to one skilled in the art. See e.g. FIGS. 1 and 3B.

The padding or cushioning 13, which comprises the body of the insole and/or flaps can be made from a variety of materials, especially foamed materials which have elastic or rebounding properties, such as those consisting essentially of silicon, polyester, neoprene, natural rubber foams, synthetic rubber foams, polyurethane, polyether and polyester foams, neoprene, Vinyl Nitrile, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR), Polyethylene (PE), ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), ethylene propylene terpolymer (EPT), EPT/PE/Butyl Rubber, Neoprene/EPT/SBR, epichlorohydrin (ECH), and nitrile (NBR) or a combination thereof, or other cushioning materials known or used by one skilled in the art. If there is an additional bottom layer of the insole and/or flaps, it can be comprised of natural materials, such as leather, cotton, felt, linen, plastic, metal, any of the foregoing foam or rubber materials, and other such synthetic or natural materials known to one skilled in the art. If the insole body and/or flaps are made of layers of materials, the layers can be removably attached by a hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro™, or other types of suitable fasteners. The fasteners can be attached to the layers by glue, adhesive and/or stitching, and any other way known by one skilled in the art.

The padding 13 may be of a variety of heights/thickness and may vary depending upon the wearer's needs and/or uses as well as the type of padding utilized. The padding can be compressible or non-compressible. In an embodiment, the padding is between about 1/16 inch to about ½ inch in thickness, but in other embodiments can be ½ inch to 1 inch or more, but can also be of lesser or greater thickness as well.

Preferably the cushioning or padding 13, such as foam, has a low to medium density so it is deformable, as well as other suitable densities known to one skilled in the art. A low-density padding comprises material within the range of about 0.08 g/cm3 to about 0.50 g/cm3. A more preferred range of densities for padding is material with densities typically between about 0.1 g/cm3 to 0.30 g/cm3.

The padding 13 can be constructed of a closed-cell foam material or open closed-cell foam material, or a combination thereof.

Closed-cell foam material, in general, may demonstrate a greater resistance to wear as compared to open-cell foams. Open cell foam is a material where the open-air chambers in the foam are interconnected. This makes for extremely soft and highly compressible foam. While open-cell foam may be very comfortable, it has some disadvantages because of the high compressibility of the foam, especially if it is of a density that is too low or of a material that absorbs water. In contrast, the air chambers in the closed-cell foam are completely surrounded by walls and are not interconnected.

As a further alternative, since open-cell foam is typically more comfortable, i.e., more compressible and since closed-cell foam provides firmer support, a dual or multi-density padding may also be used, alternating layers of closed-cell foam and open-cell foam, with the closed cell foam giving stability and the open cell foam giving a cushioning effect.

In a variation of the insole, the thickness of the flaps can be tapered 19 and have a thinner outer peripheral edge 14. FIG. 3A shows an end view of a flap that has tapered edges 19, a cloth top layer 50, and a layer of padding 13 with a bottom layer 54. FIG. 5A shows a side view of a flap with padding tapered edges 19, a support member 16, a top layer 50 and a furrow 20.

The flaps can be integral with the insole body or can instead be securably attached to the underside of the insole 6, see e.g. FIG. 3, or the top of sides of the insole body. A pair of flaps can be constructed of one piece (see e.g. FIGS. 4a, 4B) for ease of manufacturing, but also each flap can a separate piece. Obviously if a pair of flaps is constructed from a single piece, when they are positioned and attached to the insole pad they will be adjacent to each other and across from one another as in FIG. 1. If the pair of flaps is instead made from two separate pieces they can be positioned separately at different locations. Still, it is preferred that each flap be positioned at the sides of the insole body so one flap is at least substantially adjacent to and across from another flap. A pair of flaps may be able to provide a satisfactory fit if they are offset within ½ inch to 1 inch or even 2 inches or more from another flap on the opposite side of the insole body. The flap can be secured to the insole permanently using conventional techniques such as gluing, and can also be secured by adhesive, with or without heat such as in heat bonding, and can also be stitched together. Alternatively, the flaps can be removably attachable to the pad 7 of the insole. For example, the flaps can be removably attached to the bottom or top and/or side edges of the insole by attachment members such as by a stud and aperture connection, Velcro™, i.e., mated hooks and loops counterpart fasteners as shown in FIGS. 4, 4A, and 4B. As an alternative, other means of attachment such as fasteners, magnets, a wedge and aperture connection, snaps, hook and eye, or a combination thereof, as well as other fastening members used by one skilled in the art for such purposes can also be used to attach the flaps to the insole body. The attachment members can also be positioned so as to allow further fit adjustment of the footwear by moving the flaps anteriorly toward the toe area or posteriorly toward the heel area at various positions 74 along the longitudinal axis 72 of the insole body. See e.g., FIG. 1. The attachment members can be located upon the entire surface of the portions of the insole body and/or flaps that are removably attachable, or only a part of the surface of the insole body and/or flaps.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of an embodiment of an insole of this invention for left-footed footwear, in an unassembled state, FIG. 4A is a bottom view of a frontward flap of this invention that is detached from the bottom side of the insole of FIG. 4, and FIG. 4B is a bottom view of a heel-ward flap of this invention that is detached from the bottom side of the insole of FIG. 4. In an embodiment, the flap has a furrow and a notched area 25. See FIG. 4B. FIGS. 4, 4A, and 4B show an insole with attachment members 22 on a portion of the insole body, and attachment members 22 on the flaps 15. The flaps may also be of different widths and lengths, see e.g. FIGS. 4A, and 4B.

FIGS. 1-3 and 5 show an insole that has not been placed in footwear. FIGS. 6 and 7 show the insole of FIG. 2 and FIG. 1, respectively with the flaps 15 in the upward position and in a perpendicular or nearly perpendicular position with respect to the pad 7 of the insole. If desired, support members 16 such as stays can be placed within the flap or upon the flap. The support members can assist in maintaining the upward position of the flaps. Typically, unless there are support members 16 such as stays are within the flap or upon the flap, the flaps usually will lie substantially horizontally before they are placed in footwear. The flaps extend beyond the perimeter or side edges of the insole body and when inserted into footwear may be of an angle to the horizontal of about 75 degrees or less, to about 105 to 120 degrees or more with respect to the body of the insole, depending upon the style of the footwear. When the insole is inserted into the footwear cavity, the flaps become upwardly positioned 62 and rest against the sidewalls 32 of the upper of the footwear. See FIGS. 8, 8A, and 9. Thus if desired, flexible or rigid to semi-rigid materials such as plastic, metal, and metal alloys can be used as a support members 16 on the undersides of the flaps, see FIG. 5A, or embedded within the flaps, see FIG. 5B, so that the flaps stay again the sidewalls 32 of the footwear 26 once the insoles are inserted into the footwear. The support members can be in the form of sheets or pieces of material, or strands of material, such as wire.

The flaps can also be of various lengths. The flaps in FIGS. 8, 8A and 9 are shown as extending only part way up the sidewalls of the upper and a wearer's foot. However, if desired, the flaps can be made in longer lengths. In fact, flaps can be made that completely encircle the foot, and may be made of a unitary piece or a plurality of pieces. It is likely that a wearer will prefer that the flaps are not visible to others, thus the length and width of the flaps can be chosen based upon the style and type of footwear.

As an aid to position the flaps in an upward or vertical or substantially vertical position, furrows 20 can be optionally placed in a portion of the flap 15 adjacent to the side edges 48 of the insole. See e.g. FIG. 1. Also, when the furrows are located near the side edge of the insole in curved or straight area of the insole, a notch can be made in each end 21 of the flap to facilitate upward positioning of the flap. See e.g. FIG. 1. The furrows 20 are areas of decreased thickness of the padding in the flaps. See FIGS. 1, 4A, 4B, 5 and 5A. As an alternative to the furrows 20, there may be narrowly cut out notched areas 25 of the insole body edges adjacent to the flaps to aid in the upward positioning of the flaps. See FIG. 2.

The insole preferably has a first pair 23 and a second pair 24 of flaps. See e.g. FIGS. 1-3, 4, 5-9. The first pair of flaps 23 is positioned substantially near a metatarsal foot area 47, and the second pair of flaps 24 is positioned near the heel end 64 of the foot or between the heel area 64 and the arch 67 area of the foot 45. See e.g. FIG. 9. The flaps can be of different lengths, widths and/or shapes, as well as thickness to accommodate differences in footwear and/or in the narrowness of feet. Further, once the flaps are placed in the shoes, they can be cut, as needed, if they extend above the top edge of the footwear opening 74 or if they create a fit that is too tight. The flaps are typically made so that they extend about 1 inch in length to about 4 inches in length beyond the side edges of the insole body, and they are typically about ⅛ inch to about ½ inches in width, or more. Of course the flaps can be made in other lengths and widths.

Moreover, additional or fewer flaps can be attached to the insole body to provide for further variations and fit characteristics.

The insole body is typically substantially planar, but also can conform to the shape of the underside of a foot. In an embodiment, the insole has a heel area 65 that is at least partially concave 66 and/or has an arch area 68 that is at least partially raised 70. See e.g. FIGS. 5, 8A, 9.

Depending upon the desired adjustment, the flaps can be of substantially same thickness as the insole body, but can be thicker or thinner if necessary, or desired.

By using the insole, the internal girth adjustment in the footwear is at least about ⅛ inch to about ½ inch, and can be made so that the girth adjustment is ½ inch to 1 inch, and even 1-2 inches or more.

It may also be desired to make the insole so that the side edge margins of the insole are contoured along their lengths.

A method of accommodating different foot widths in footwear is also contemplated that comprises providing an insole comprised of a body having a top side and a bottom side, and providing at least one pair of flaps that extend from the side edges 3 of the insole, see e.g. FIGS. 1-3. The flaps are adapted to be upwardly positioned 29 against sidewalls of footwear to a substantially vertical position 62 during use, see e.g. FIGS. 8, 8A, and 9. The insoles of this invention thereby cause an internal girth 36 adjustment within the footwear and/or an adjustment in the width of the footwear, to accommodate different foot widths in footwear and the changes in size of a wearer's foot.

In this method, the flaps have a thickness of at least about 1/16 inch to about ½ inch or more in thickness such as to 1 inch or more, thereby causing an internal girth adjustment of at least about ⅛ inch to about ½ inch and more, and even to 1-2 inches or more, depending upon the thickness of the flaps. During use, the flaps are positioned between a wearer's foot and the sidewalls of the upper of the footwear and decrease the space within the cavity of the upper. Further, in this method a furrow may be placed in each flap, wherein the furrow is adjacent to the side edges of the insole and aids in the positioning of the flaps within the footwear to a substantially vertical position, but furrows are not necessary.

Also in an embodiment, a first pair and a second pair of flaps can be provided with the first pair of flaps being located substantially near a metatarsal foot area 68, and the second pair of flaps being placed in the foot area or between the heel area and the arch area of a wearer's foot 45. See e.g. FIG. 9. If the flaps are removably attachable, they can be located elsewhere along the longitudinal axis of the insole body. Again, the flaps do not have to be paired and for example could have one flap on one side of the insole, and a plurality of flaps on the opposite side, but work better when paired.

The insole embodiments of FIGS. 1-9 can be placed in a variety of footwear, and since the insole need not be secured to the footwear, it can be interchanged or added and removed as desired. For example, the footwear may fit well with socks, but not without socks. The insole can be placed inside the footwear when socks are not desired or needed. Also, because of the versatile adjustability due to the interchanging and adding of the flaps over its designed fitting range, it can afford a somewhat loose fit if so desired, as well as a quick, and non-permanent means of fit adjustment.

Also the invention can be used without changing the actual girth of the shoe. Typically if adjustments are needed, they are in the critical fitting areas of the footwear including the mid-portions of the shoe known as the ball, waist and instep portions.

The insole provides a means of adjustment that is substantially unobtrusive so as to not affect the appearance of the shoe.

The insole provides an adjustment means that is infinitely adjustable over a designed fit range.

The insole is easily adaptable for use in unlined shoes with the widest possible choice of conventional sole and/or bottom materials.

The foregoing description is that of preferred embodiments of the invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings are illustrative rather than limiting. It should further be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention described herein. Various alterations and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention as defined in the appended claims, which are to be interpreted in accordance with the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents.