Title:
Foot cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Thin, lightweight footwear made of a polyethylene material that is composed of a top part and a sole part that are sewn together such that when fitted properly to the wearer's foot the footwear encompasses the foot and extends to the level of the ankle. The top part is porous allowing the ingress and egress of soap and water. The sole has slip resistance properties due to the material from which it is made and the texture of its outer surface. The finished product can be folded and compressed for storage, then later unfolded and worn without the folding adversely affecting its intended function of providing a barrier between the wearer's feet and the tub or shower floor on which the wearer stands while the wearer showers.



Inventors:
Thomas, Jeff C. C. (Indianapolis, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/807345
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
05/25/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/83
International Classes:
A43B5/08; A43B3/00; A43B3/10; A43B3/24; A43B5/00; A43B7/06; A43B9/02; A43B13/22; A43C11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAYS, MARIE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAEGRE DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
1. A method for protecting a foot of the wearer during showering, comprising the steps of: providing a foot cap including a non-porous bottom component for covering a bottom of the foot from heel to toe; an upper component covering the foot of the wearer and coupled to the non-porous bottom component circumferentially and in the plantar plane, the upper component including a flexible, thin plastic material covering the foot from heel to toe, an opening for receiving the foot of the wearer and a plurality of openings for permitting the ingress and egress of water; and an elastic component coupled to the upper component and extending around a circumference of the opening, the elastic component providing contraction around an ankle of the wearer, wherein the foot cap has a use configuration wherein the foot cap is configured to receive the foot therein and a storage configuration, the storage configuration being smaller than the use configuration; placing the foot cap on the foot by inserting the foot through the opening in the upper, plastic component; and introducing water and soap through the plurality of openings.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the upper component is coupled to the non-porous bottom component through an elastic component extending completely around the foot cap.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of openings are arranged in a plurality of rows, at least a portion of the plurality of openings being positioned in a toe region of the flexible, thin plastic material.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: removing the foot from the foot cap; and placing the foot cap in the storage configuration by compressing and folding the foot cap.

5. A foot cap, comprising: a non-porous bottom component for covering a bottom of the foot from heel to toe; an upper component covering the foot of the wearer and coupled to the non-porous bottom component circumferentially and in the plantar plane, the upper component including a flexible, thin plastic material covering the foot from heel to toe, an opening for receiving the foot of the wearer and a plurality of openings for permitting the ingress and egress of water; and an elastic component coupled to the upper component and extending around a circumference of the opening, the elastic component providing contraction around an ankle of the wearer, wherein the foot cap has a use configuration wherein the foot cap is configured to receive the foot therein and a storage configuration, the storage configuration being smaller than the use configuration.

6. The foot cap of claim 5, wherein the upper component is coupled to the non-porous bottom component through an elastic component extending completely around the foot cap.

7. The foot cap of claim 5, wherein the plurality of openings are arranged in a plurality of rows.

8. The foot cap of claim 7, wherein at least a portion of the plurality of openings are positioned in a toe region of the flexible, thin plastic material.

9. The foot cap of claim 7, wherein the plurality of rows extend along a first side of the flexible, thin plastic material, across a toe region of the flexible, thin plastic material, and along a second side of the flexible, thin plastic material.

10. The foot cap of claim 5, wherein the flexible, thin plastic material is made of a polyethylene material.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/860,507, filed Jun. 4, 2004, titled “DISPOSABLE AND NON-DISPOSABLE FOOT CAP”, Atty Docket (JTH-P0001), the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein, and which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/691,921, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to shower footwear articles worn on the feet by persons as a means to reduce the risks of contracting athlete's foot, plantar warts and other pathological conditions of the feet secondary to using away from home showers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Due to the abundance of material related to health care and the easy access to this information, many individuals have become more conscientious about their personal health and on maintaining it. One concern that is significantly important to people who frequent fitness centers, travel, or work in industrial settings, is the maintenance of disease-free feet when using on site shower facilities. The objective is to avoid contracting foot problems such as athlete's foot and plantar warts. The usual approach is to create a barrier between the feet and the floor of the shower or tub. Barriers have included bath towels placed on the floor, socks or regular shoes worn in the shower, and more commonly, sandals and similarly configured footwear worn in the shower. Regarding the items mentioned above, one might consider any of those items to be relatively bulky and quite cumbersome to carry around just for the purpose of using when in the shower.

Given the above discussion, it would be quite convenient to have at one's disposal a foot cover designed specifically as a prophylaxis against contracting athlete's foot, plantar warts, or other pathologic conditions of the feet as a result of using an away from home showering facility. The invention would perform as a foot cover to be worn in the shower. Feet could be washed effectively during the showering process without having to remove the article from the feet. The invention would have a slip-resistant sole as a safety feature to reduce the risk of slips and falls in the shower. Instead of creating an add-on attachment to provide slip-resistance, the sole itself would be made of a specially processed polyethylene material manufactured in such a way that a high coefficient of friction is created between the sole or bottom of the invention and the wet or dry shower floor surface as the wearer is showering.

Another favorable characteristic of the invention is that it be low in weight (lightweight) and non-rigid or compressible, such that it is easily foldable. That is to say—easily foldable and lightweight in the same manner as a current-day, inexpensive, thin, disposable, plastic showercap. This characteristic would allow the invention to be compressed, folded, and placed in a small compartment such as shirt or pants pocket, or in a small space inside of a travel bag or standard-sized purse. The invention would be, in essence, an “ultra-lightweight” showercap for the foot—resembling a disposable showercap in structure, weight, and compressibility.

In Summary, the invention proposed here in this document is an article of footwear to be worn in the shower: It is ultra-lightweight and compressible for easy portability, fits the foot like a bootie, has a slip-resistant sole, and allows each foot to be thoroughly cleansed without removing the item from the foot while showering.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following is a summary of the drawings and will serve to further clarify the characteristics of the invention in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the shower footwear invention 5.

FIG. 1a is preformed representative of a side elevation view of top component 6 interrupted posteriorly, thus forming non-confluent flaps in the back. The figure reflects top component 6 prior to assembly into footwear invention 5.

FIG. 1b is an alternative representative of a side elevation view of top component 6 circumferentially confluent and without interruption in the back. This figure reflects an alternative configuration of top component 6 prior to assembly into footwear invention 5.

FIG. 1c is a side view of bottom component 7 prior to assembly into footwear invention 5.

FIG. 1d is an exploded view of a section of the outside surface of bottom component 7 illustrating one of several patterns or textures on the outside surface. The purpose of the pattern is to provide additional slip-resistance.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a section demonstrating a manner of attachment of elastic component 10 to top component 6 via stitching 13.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a section demonstrating a manner of attachment of elastic component 8 to top component 6 via stitching 13 to form opening 9. (Similarly done is the attachment of elastic component 11 to top component 6 and bottom component 7 via stitching 13).

FIG. 4 provides two (2) perspective views of the invention 5 as it would appear on a foot. Note: The configuration of the stitching 13 may vary from that shown in the figures as long as it serves its purpose of attaching the components and elastic materials together to create invention 5, while preserving the form and function of invention 5.

DETAILED DESCIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Note: The terms “footwear” or “invention” are used interchangeably throughout this document and both terms refer to the same thing—the invention.

With reference to FIG. 1, the shower footwear, according to the present invention is shown therein and denoted by numeral 5. Footwear 5 has a top component 6 which has multiple discrete holes 12 in it for the ingress and egress of soap and water, a non-porous sole or bottom component 7, an elastic component 8 which is directly attached to top component 6 to form an expandable opening 9. Opening 9 receives the wearer's foot. Elastic component 10 is attached posteriorly to component 6 via stitching 13. Elastic component 10 extends vertically along top component 6 and intersects elastic component 8 above down to bottom component 7 and elastic component 11 below. The attachments are created via stitching 13. Elastic component 11 is integrated with top component 6 and bottom component 7 via stitching 13, circumferentially, and in the plantar plane—along the front, sides, and back of footwear 5. Elastic component 10 may be incorporated into the finished product as shown in FIG. 1 using top component 6 (as shown in FIG. 1a). Attachments are made via stitching 13. Elastic component 10 could be excluded from invention 5 if the alternative top component 6 (as shown in FIG. 1b) is used. The alternative top component 6 is not interrupted in the back, thus no stitching is needed posteriorly along top component 6. Excluding elastic component 10 will not change form or function, and may provide a costs savings in manufacturing invention 5.

At present the incorporation of elastic component 10 in invention 5 may provide a small amount of stretch in the back of footwear 5 along the heel of the wearer, and may minimize the pulling off of the posterior aspect of footwear 5 from the heel of the wearer should a forward directed shearing force be applied to sole 7 when footwear 5 is on the wearer's foot. Alternatives to stitching 13 as a means of securing the components of invention 5 to each other include the use of adhesive bonding, temperature or friction bonding, stapling, zippers (where possible) or other fastening methods that provide the same form, function and chief characteristics as outlined in this document. Top component 6 contains multiple strategically placed holes that allow the ingress and egress of soap and water through the multiple holes 12. The wearer can wash the foot with footwear 5 remaining on the foot during the showering process.

With reference to FIG. 1, elastic component 8 provides opening 9 with stretching capability to accommodate insertion of a foot into opening 9. Once the foot is inserted, elastic component 8 provides contraction around the ankle or foot to help keep footwear 5 on the wearer's foot. In FIG. 1, elastic component 8 is attached to top component 6 via stitching 13 to form opening 9.

The invention also allows for other means of attaching elastic component 8 to top component 6 to form opening 9. Examples of alternatives to stitching 13 to attach the individual components of the invention 5 to each other are mentioned above.

With reference to FIG. 1, top component 6 is attached to bottom component 7, circumferentially and in the plantar plane by elastic component 11. Top component 6 and bottom component 7 are secured to each other along their edges along with elastic component 11 via stitching 13. Slack is introduced along the joined edges of top component 6 and bottom component 7, in the plantar plane. Top component 6 and bottom component 7 are attached to elastic component 11 via stitching 13. Expansion and recoil in the plantar plane is provided by elastic component 11. Alternatives to using stitching 13 are mentioned above.

While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that certain modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. All such modifications are intended to come within the scope of the claims which follow: