Title:
Self-adhering pedicure footwear
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cushioned foot pad configured to adhere to the bottom surface of an individual's foot without the use of straps, ties, or other securing devices the might otherwise engage with the toes and toenails of the individual during use. The cushioned foot pad may be configured to accommodate a variety of different foot shapes and sizes in a unitary design through the use of detachable pad portions. The cushioned foot pad is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and may be stored in bulk without consuming undo space.



Inventors:
Strong, Vonda Manley (Corona, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/140503
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B13/14; A43B13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cushioned foot pad for use during the application of a pedicure, comprising: an elongated pad body extending between a heel portion and a toe portion and between a left side and a right side, the pad shaped and sized to follow a contour of a human foot; and an adhesive surface disposed on an upper surface of the pad body, the adhesive surface configured to removably secure the pad body to a sole of a foot when applied thereon, the adhesive surface further configured to inhibit the pad body from detaching from the sole once applied thereon, wherein the pad body is contoured to provides a protective margin about the foot and to not engage the toe nails of the foot when applied thereon, worn, and removed therefrom.

2. The foot pad of claim 1, wherein pad body is strapless.

3. The foot pad of claim 1, wherein the pad body has at least one detachable section configured to tailor the pad to a variety of foot shapes and sizes and provide the user with an improved fit and comfort.

4. The foot pad of claim 3, wherein the at least one detachable section is defined by a perforation on the pad body.

5. The foot pad of claim 4, further comprising shoe size indicators on at least one of the upper and a lower surface of the pad body, the indicators configured to associate a particular perforation with a selected shoe size.

6. The foot pad of claim 3, wherein the at least one detachable section is defined by a scoring on the pad body.

7. The foot pad of claim 3, wherein the at least one detachable section is a detachable side section on at least one of the left and right sides of the pad body, the detachable side section selectively detachable to conform the pad to a left or right foot.

8. The foot pad of claim 3, wherein the at least one detachable section is disposed along at least one of the toe portion and heel portion, the detachable section selectively removable to allow customization of the pad body to accommodate a variety of different foot sizes.

9. The foot pad of claims 1, further comprising toe separators to space a user's toes from one another.

10. The foot pad of claim 9, wherein the toe separators are integrally formed on the pad body and are defined by selected perforated regions of the pad body.

11. The foot pad of claim 10, wherein the toe separators are at least partially separated from the pad body about the perforations such that the toe separators extend between the toes of the foot.

12. The foot pad of claim 1, further comprising a protective layer of a generally resilient material disposed on a lower surface of the pad body, wherein the protective layer is configured to resist punctures, tears and moisture.

13. The foot pad of claim 12, wherein the protective layer has a patterned portion that provides the pad body with improved traction when worn by the user.

14. The foot pad of claim 1, further comprising a liner removably attached to the adhesive surface, the liner configured to protect the adhesive surface prior to use of the pad.

15. A cushioned foot pad for use during the application of a pedicure, comprising: an elongated pad body extending between a heel portion and a toe portion and between a left side and a right side, the pad shaped and sized to follow a contour of a human foot; an adhesive surface disposed on an upper surface of the pad body, wherein the adhesive surface removably secures the pad body to a sole of a foot when applied thereon and inhibiting detachment of the pad body from the sole to allow a user to walk while wearing the pad body; and means for customizing the pad body to one of a variety of foot shapes and sizes, wherein the pad does not engage the toe nails of the foot when applied thereon, worn, and removed therefrom.

Description:

PRIORITY INFORMATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/574,664 filed May 26, 2004, the entire contents of which are hereby expressly incorporated by reference and should be considered a part of this specification.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present teachings relate generally to footwear and more particularly to a self-adhering cushion that protects the lower portion of the foot without the use of straps or ties.

2. Description of the Related Art

After the performance of a pedicure or similar beautification treatment, an individual normally must wait a predetermined length of time before putting on a conventional shoe, sandal or slipper to avoid marring or damaging recently applied nail polish or lacquer. The setting time for such treatments may be an hour or more and even after this time the polish can still be easily scratched by a shoe worn before the polish has completely dried. Consequently, an individual's mobility may be undesirably hampered limiting what activities can be performed and may result in a long wait time in the salon after completion of the pedicure.

Conventional pedicure sandals have been developed in an attempt to address this problem, by allowing the individual to wear a generally lose fitting article of footwear that provides some degree of protection to the bottom portion or sole of the foot. A limitation associated with these designs however, is that the sandals still employ straps, ties, or various securing assemblies that render the freshly polished nails of the individual's foot susceptible to damage when the sandals are put on or taken off. Additionally, these securing assemblies may rub against toenails during use and undesirably affect the nail treatment. Consequently, it is desirable to provide an improved article of footwear that does not require securing assemblies that are prone to engage with the nail surface during use.

Another consideration is that many salons provide their customers with pedicure sandals to be worn both before and after pedicure treatments. In such instances, maintaining a sufficient quantity of sandals to accommodate a large number of customers represents an expensive undertaking. Therefore, it is desirable for such sandals to be constructed in a cost-effective manner and in some instances be disposable. Furthermore, providing sandals for customer use may be problematic as a result of the need to maintain a sufficient stock to accommodate a variety of different foot sizes. Storage problems may also arise as a result of to the generally bulky nature of conventional sandals making them inconvenient to store in large quantities. For these and other reasons, it is desirable to provide an article of footwear that may be inexpensively produced and easily stored in bulk quantities. Additionally, it is desirable that such footwear be adjustable to fit a variety of different foot sizes and configurations.

SUMMARY

The aforementioned needs are satisfied by a self-adhering pedicure article according to the present teachings. The pedicure article comprises cushioned or foam footwear formed from a shaped pad that includes an upper adhesive surface used to secure the pad to the bottom portion or sole of a foot. The footwear does not require the use of straps, ties, or other securing devices that might interfere with an individual's toenails and therefore avoids damaging recently applied polish, coatings, or lacquer. The footwear may be worn before, during and after pedicure treatments and may be further used outdoors reducing or eliminating mobility constraints imposed upon the individual while waiting for the pedicure treatment to set and dry.

In one aspect, the footwear is formed in such a manner so as to accommodate a variety of different foot sizes and/or shapes in a singular configuration. Detachable portions of the shaped pad are used to tailor it to an individual's foot thereby providing improved fit and comfort. In certain embodiments, the detachable portions may be used to conform the footwear to a plurality of different shoe sizes. Additionally, the shaped pad may be configured individually for right/left feet or a universal design may be used with a single configuration conformable to both feet based on the shape of the pad or through the use of detachable side portions. In another aspect, the footwear may include toe separators formed from a portion of the shaped pad that may be used to provide a convenient means for spacing the individual's toes from one another.

The footwear of the present design may be manufactured relatively inexpensively to provide a disposable design amenable to temporary use both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, in certain embodiments, the footwear is configured to be manufactured and stored in bulk without taking up significant amounts of space thereby making it more convenient for salons to keep a large stock on hand to service incoming clients.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a cushioned foot pad secured to a user's foot.

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of a cushioned foot pad showing its bottom surface.

FIG. 3 illustrates a plurality of detachable members formed about the toe and heel regions of the foot pad.

FIG. 4 illustrates a protective liner covering an adhesive portion of the foot pad.

FIG. 5 illustrates a plurality of toe-spacers used in connection with the foot pad.

FIG. 6 illustrates detachable side members used in connection with the foot pad.

FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the material used in the fabrication of the cushioned foot pad.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a cushioned foot pad 100 to be secured to an individual's foot 105 providing a degree of protection without shoes. The cushioned foot pad 100 is sized and shaped in such a manner so as to follow the contours of the foot 105 and provides a margin 110 about the periphery of the foot. The cushion foot pad 100 further comprises an adhesive surface 120 that secures the pad 100 to the foot 105 in a removable manner. The adhesive surface 120 provides sufficient adhesive properties such that the individual may walk and move about as desired without the foot pad 100 becoming detached from the foot 105 during use. Additionally, when removed from the foot 105 the foot pad 100 leaves little or no residue on the foot 105 and therefore may be taken off and replaced immediately by socks and shoes as desired.

The cushioned foot pad 100 is configured with a selected cushioning thickness 130 such that when secured to the foot 105 a degree of comfort is provided when standing or walking. The foot pad 100 may be formed from numerous compositions including but not limited to foam, rubber, plastic, or other materials, and, as will be described in greater detail hereinbelow, may include a layered composition of different materials. In general, the foot pad 100 provides a barrier between the foot 105 and the ground such that the individual may walk about without soiling the bottom of the foot 105. The foot pad 100 is typically constructed to be flexible or semi-flexible providing improved contact with the bottom portion of the foot 105 and allowing a relatively large surface area of the bottom foot to be adhered to the foot pad 100.

In one exemplary application, the cushioned foot pad 100 may be used in connection with pedicure treatments wherein the individual's toes are painted, coated, or lacquered and set to dry for a period of time before shoes are put on. Unlike conventional pedicure sandals, the foot pad 100 of the present design desirably does not engage with the toenails of the individual when put on, taken off, or worn. Consequently, this manner of use provides an improved degree protection to the individual's recently treated toenails without necessitating straps or other securing means that might otherwise damage the pedicure treatment.

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of the cushioned foot pad 100 depicting one configuration of its overall shape and lower surface 140. In one aspect, the lower surface 140 may be formed from a generally resilient material capable of resisting punctures, tears, and moisture. The composition of the lower surface 140 may differ from or be the same as the other portions of the foot pad 100 and fabricated from foam, rubber, or plastic and may include a patterned or treaded portion 150 that provides improved traction and avoids slippage during use.

FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of the cushioned foot pad 100 including one or more detachable sections 160. Each detachable section 160 comprises a portion of the foot pad 100 which has been perforated or scored 170 to allow the foot pad 100 to be adjusted as desired. The detachable sections 160 may reside along a toe portion 180 or heel portion 185 of the foot pad 100 with a plurality of perforations or scorings 170 provided to allow customization of the foot pad 100 to accommodate a variety of different foot sizes and shapes. During use, the foot may be placed directly on the adherent portion 120 of the pad 100 and those sections 190 that extend beyond the area secured to the foot 105 removed by tearing along the appropriate perforation or score 170. Alternatively, shoe size indicators 195 may be imprinted about the upper or lower surfaces of the foot pad 100 and used to associate a particular perforation or scoring with a selected shoe size. In this embodiment, prior to use, the individual detaches that appropriate sections 160 from the foot pad 100 resulting in proper sizing of the pad 100.

Unlike conventional pedicure sandals that are manufactured to predesignated sizes (e.g. small, medium, large), the foot pad of the present design provides a one size fits all approach that can be tailored for individual use without leaving significant residual material extending beyond the surface area of the bottom of the foot. It will be appreciated that use of the detachable sections 160 in connection with the foot pad imparts a customization feature to the foot pad 100 that improves comfort and reduces the likelihood of the individual tripping on excess material. At the same time, this configuration also simplifies supply requirements for a salon or store providing the foot pad 100 to its customers wherein inventory difficulties associated with maintaining ample stock of selected sizes can be simplified and substantially illuminated.

FIG. 4 illustrates a removable liner or peel-off portion 210 of the foot pad 100 that covers and protects the adhesive layer 120 prior to use. In one aspect, the liner 210 comprises a paper or plastic layer (possibly treated with an anti-stick coating) that may be easily removed from the adhesive layer 120 and allows the foot pads 100 to be stored or stacked together without adherence to each other. In various embodiments, the liner 210 is of a commercially available type associated with the selected adhesive used in connection with the foot pad 100.

FIG. 5 illustrates the use of a plurality of integral toe-spacers 230 formed from a portion of the foot pad 100. In various embodiments, the toe-spacers 230 may be formed by perforating selected regions of the foot pad 100 in the general region of the toes of the individual. During use the toe spacers 230 are at least partially separated from the foot pad 100 about the perforations such that they extend between the toes of the foot. The use of toe-spacers 230 desirably facilitates various operations of the pedicure including toenail painting and polishing by retaining the individual's toes in a selected position.

FIG. 6 illustrates one embodiment of the foot pad 100 that provides a unitary design 250 capable of being configured for either the right or left foot. Detachable side sections 260 may be selectively removed based on which foot the foot pad 100 will be used. Construction of the foot pad 100 in this manner may be desirable from both a manufacturing and marketing perspective to maintain a lower overall cost associated with use of the foot pad 100.

FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-section of the foot pad 100 depicting its various layers and components. In once aspect, the pad 100 is formed from a closed cell synthetic resin foam with a buoyant or cushioning layer 305 comprising cross linked ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer foam, cellular cushioning material (e.g., bubble wrap®), or other type of material. The cushioning layer 305 may be formed of a thickness of approximately 10 mm though 50 mm or more depending on the desired degree of cushioning and protection sought.

The adhesive portion 120 is formed on the upper surface 310 of the cushioning layer 305 with the liner 210 residing in contact with the adhesive layer 120 until use. Additionally, the resilient or protective layer 140 may be optionally formed on the lower surface 320 of the cushioning layer 305 and have a selected thickness sufficient to provide protection against punctures, tears, and other sources of potential injury or discomfort to the user.

As will be appreciated by one of skill in the art, the aforementioned design features of the foot pad 100 may be combined in numerous different ways and are not mutually exclusive of one another. In general, the foot pad 100 of the present teachings desirably maintains a low cost construction technique that is also amenable to bulk storage without taking up large amount of space. For example, the foot pads may be manufactured using a foam sheet or roll material that may be conveniently stacked and stored in relatively large quantities without occupying as much room as conventional designs.

Given the above description of the various foot pad configurations their use will be readily understood.

Prior to use, the user determines which foot (right or left) to which the pad 100 is to be applied. If the pad 100 is provided with detachable sections, the user may elect to tear the unused or extending sections away, along the perforations. The user may alternatively wish to initially allow all sections to remain attached to the foot pad to provide increased protective coverage, and subsequently detached later.

Next the user exposes the adhesive layer 120 by removing the liner portion 210 of the foot pad 100. This may be done by simply lifting the mating edges upwardly and pulling the remainder of the liner sections 210 from the adhesive surface 120. In this form, the pad 100 may be attached to the desired foot 105.

The pad 100 is attached by pressing the selected foot 105 onto the adhesive surface 120, taking care to substantially center the foot 105 to engage the appropriate portions of the pad 100 which aid in aligning other portions of the pad 100 along the bottom surface of the foot 105. The adhesive layer 120 will releasably secure the pad 100 to the user's foot 105, and at the same time protect the bottom surface of the foot 105. Attachment in this manner provides not only a resilient barrier but also increases sanitaryness as the user stands or walks about.

In addition to the aforementioned uses described in connection with pedicure applications, it will be appreciated that the pad 100 may also be used for other purposes such as to improve cleanliness when in a public shower, locker room, hotel, or other facility where an individual may desire to remove one's footwear and walk about without directly contacting the floor. In such instances the pad 100 provides a convenient means by which to protect the feet from dirt or germs present on the floor and can be disposed of after use.

For example, at security checkpoints at airport terminals an individual may be required to remove his shoes to pass through a metal detector. In the process, the individual may be required to walk barefoot or in stocking feet on the floor. The use of the pad 100, after removal of the shoes directly on one's feet (or attached to the socks, nylons, or other foot coverings) may desirably prevent foot contact with the airport floor which may be dirty or contaminated and thus improves overall safety and hygiene.

In another embodiment, the pad 100 may be configured as a device to be secured to the sole of a shoe rather than directly to the foot. In this embodiment, the pad 100 provides the ability to improve cleanliness in a similar manner and may used to prevent dirt from being tracked across a carpet or rug.

Although the foregoing description of the present teachings has shown, described and pointed out novel features of the invention, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form of the detail of the apparatus as illustrated, as well as the uses thereof, may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the present invention. Consequently the scope of the present teachings should not be limited to the foregoing discussion but should be defined by the non-provisional application and claims contained therein to be subsequently filed.





 
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