Title:
FOLDABLE ACTIVE SHOE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sport or active shoe that can be stored in a compact configuration can be folded generally in half and secured closed with a closure connected to the heel and toe. The shoe includes a single layer upper to facilitate folding. The shoe can be folded into a very compact configuration and stored conveniently in a pocket, pack, purse, etc., allowing a user to keep a pair of the shoes handy for wearing before or after sports activities or specialized activities requiring specialized or bulky footwear.



Inventors:
Kuramoto, Janette Jean (Chicago, IL, US)
Kuramoto, Rachelle Lynn (Norcross, GA, US)
Parker, Kristin Anne (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/559444
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
11/14/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/25R, 36/43, 36/50.1, 36/51
International Classes:
A43B5/00; A43B11/00; A43B13/00; A43B13/38; A43C11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070163145Waterproof Foot CoveringJuly, 2007Lavers
20080201981Spray-formed reinforcement for footwearAugust, 2008Halberstadt et al.
20080115389Shoe Sole with Shock Absorbing CapabilityMay, 2008Hsieh
20040177532Favorite sports team footwear constructionSeptember, 2004Lawrence
20080256829METHOD FOR IMPROVING CIRCULATIONOctober, 2008Ritter
20090205224SHOE SUSPENSION SYSTEMAugust, 2009Rosenbaum
20060143948Socks and footwear for preventing sole from slippingJuly, 2006Beak
20050005474Sole construction for an athletic shoeJanuary, 2005Lai et al.
20090090025Article of Footwear with Sole StructureApril, 2009Cassiday et al.
20080127509FOOTWEAR SEAM CONSTRUCTION AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAMEJune, 2008Amado et al.
20090044431Ventilated Shoe or InsoleFebruary, 2009Hypponen



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARDNER GROFF & GREENWALD, PC (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An active shoe, comprising: a toe section; a heel section; an intermediate section connecting the toe section to the heel section; and a fastening device comprising a first element and a second element that mates with the first element, wherein the first element of the fastening device is secured to the toe section and the second element of the fastening device is secured to the heel section and wherein the shoe can be folded generally in half and secured in a compact configuration by mating the first element of the fastening device with the second element.

2. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the fastening device is a snap.

3. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the fastening device is a magnetic closure.

4. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the fastening device comprises hook and loop material.

5. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the fastening device comprises a hook attached to the heel portion and a slit or loop attached to the toe portion.

6. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe is foldable about the intermediate section.

7. The active shoe of claim 1, wherein the shoe includes an upper constructed substantially of a single-layer material to facilitate folding the shoe.

8. A shoe, comprising: a toe portion; a heel portion; and an intermediate portion, wherein the intermediate portion connects the toe portion to the heel portion and comprises an elastic band for facilitating the folding of the shoe.

9. The shoe of claim 8, further comprising a latch to allow the heel portion to be removably secured to the toe portion.

10. The shoe of claim 9, wherein the latch comprises a snap, wherein one portion of the snap is attached to the toe portion and the other portion of the snap is attached to the heel portion.

11. The shoe of claim 10, wherein the snap is magnetic.

12. The shoe of claim 8, wherein the elastic band wraps around the shoe.

13. The shoe of claim 8, wherein the elastic band has a width between about one and about two inches.

14. An active shoe, comprising: an upper, wherein the upper is formed of a single-layer material; a sole permanently affixed to the upper, wherein the upper and the sole create a generally enclosed active shoe having a front portion, an intermediate portion, and a rear portion; and a closure, wherein a first element of the closure is attached to the front portion and a second element of the closure is attached to the rear portion, wherein the shoe can be folded about the intermediate portion and secured in a compact configuration with the closure.

15. The shoe of claim 14, wherein the upper is constructed of a waterproof material.

16. The shoe of claim 14, wherein the intermediate portion is a band of elastic material that wraps around the shoe.

17. The shoe of claim 14, further comprising a pair of skid-resistant sole pads.

18. The shoe of claim 14, further comprising a highly compressible insole.

19. The shoe of claim 14, wherein the shoe can be stored in compact configuration in a pouch.

20. The shoe of claim 14, wherein the closure is attached to the sole at both the front and rear portions.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention in general relates to shoes and in particular relates to an active or sport shoe that can be folded and fastened into a compact configuration.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Currently, there is a lot of specialized footwear on the market for sports, recreation, business, etc. Such specialized footwear includes ski boots, rollerblades, ice skates, golf shoes, baseball cleats, heavy work boots, high heel shoes, etc. The specialized footwear functions well for the intended purposes; however such specialized footwear does not function well for any other activity and is generally a poor choice for general footwear use (such as walking, driving, etc.). For example, ski boots function well for skiing but not as well when the skiers are walking back to the ski lodge or enjoying time in the chalet. Similarly, mountain and road cycling shoes and cleats function well for their intended purposes but not for walking or driving a car. Additionally, for women who commute in metropolitan areas, high-heeled shoes are appropriate for a professional office environment but are extremely uncomfortable and impractical during the process of traveling to and from work.

Because specialized footwear can be bulky and impractical for general footwear use, it would be advantageous to the person wearing the specialized footwear to keep a lightweight and compact pair of shoes with him or her for use before and/or after the specialized activity.

Thus, there exists a need in the industry for a general purpose piece of footwear that is lightweight, compact, portable, and suitable for use in conjunction with specialized footwear.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, the present invention is a general purpose piece of footwear or active shoe that can be folded into a compact configuration and stored in a pocket, pouch or pack, or looped over a belt when not in use. When a person is wearing specialized footwear (e.g., ski boots, roller blades, ice skates, golf shoes, cycling shoes, water booties, high heels, etc.), the person can store the active shoe in a compact configuration while he/she is engaged in the specialized activity. When the person is finished with the specialized activity or sport, he/she can remove the specialized footwear and put on the active shoe of the present invention for general footwear use. For example, a person who finishes skiing can remove his/her ski boots and wear the active shoe of the present invention to walk to or from the ski slopes. While skiing, the person can store the active shoes in a backpack or in a pocket of his ski suit.

In a first form, the present invention is an active shoe having a toe section, a heel section, an intermediate section connecting the toe section to the heel section, and a fastening device for securing the shoe in a compact configuration. Preferably, the fastening device has a first element that is secured to the toe section and a second element that is secured to the heel section. Thus, the first and second elements of the fastening device can be mated together so as to store the shoe in a compact configuration. In exemplary embodiments, the fastening device can be a snap, a magnetic closure, hook and loop material, or a hook attached to the heel section and a slit or loop attached to the toe section.

In another form, the present invention is a shoe having a toe portion, a heel portion, and an intermediate portion, wherein the intermediate portion connects the toe portion to the heel portion and comprises an elastic band for facilitating the folding of the shoe. Preferably, the shoe also includes a latch to allow the heel portion to be removably secured to the toe portion. Also preferably, the elastic band has a width between about one and about two inches and wraps around the shoe. The latch can comprise a snap or a magnetic closure, wherein one portion of the snap or magnetic closure is attached to the toe portion and the other portion of the snap or magnetic closure is attached to the heel portion.

In still another form, the present invention is an active shoe having an upper formed of a single-layered material; a sole permanently affixed to the upper, wherein the upper and the sole create a generally enclosed active shoe having a front portion, an intermediate portion, and a rear portion; and a closure, wherein a first element of the closure is attached to the front portion and a second element of the closure is attached to the rear portion. Thus, the shoe can be folded about the intermediate portion and secured in a compact configuration using the closure and can be stored in a pocket or a pouch. Preferably, the upper is constructed of a waterproof material. Also preferably, the intermediate portion is a band of elastic material that wraps around the shoe. Optionally, the shoe can further include a pair of skid-resistant sole pads and a highly compressible insole.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an active shoe according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bottom of the active shoe of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the active shoe of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a pouch housing the active shoe of FIG. 1 and shown in a compact configuration.

FIG. 5 is a side view of an active shoe according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of an active shoe according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawing figures, in which like reference numbers refer to like parts throughout the several views, preferred forms of the present invention will now be described by way of example embodiments. It is to be understood that the embodiments described and depicted herein are only selected examples of the many and various forms that the present invention may take, and that these examples are not intended to be exhaustive or limiting of the claimed invention. Also, as used in the specification including the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include the plural unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from “about” or “approximately” one particular value and/or to “about” or “approximately” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent “about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, a foldable sport or active shoe 10 includes an upper 12 affixed to a sole 14 which together form a generally enclosed shoe in the shape of sport shoe or slipper shoe. The shoe 10 has a front or toe portion 16, an intermediate portion 18, and a rear or heel portion 20. At the heel portion of the shoe 10 and adjacent the intermediate portion 18 is an opening 22 (or ankle hole) for inserting the foot. Those skilled in the art will also understand that the shoe 10 of the present invention can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Those skilled in the art will further understand the shoe 10 of the present invention also can have the general form of conventional tennis shoes having a tongue and shoelaces, hook and loop straps, zippers, etc. However, for many uses, such as skiing, skating, surfing, or commuting, it is preferred that the shoe be constructed as a slip-on to make the shoe easier to put on and take off.

Preferably, the upper 12 is formed of a single layer of material to facilitate folding the shoe. Also preferably, the single layer of material is very thin, which is more conducive to folding than folding thick or multiple layers of fabric over one another. More preferably, the single layer of material is waterproof or water resistant, flexible, and insulated. Exemplary materials can include a single layer of fabric, whether coated or uncoated, such as nylon, polyester, vinyl, or leather. However, those skilled in the art will understand that various other materials can be employed for the upper as well without deviating from the scope of the present invention. Alternatively, the upper can be constructed of a dual layer material such as the Waterproof Nylon, Breathable Membrane Fabric by American Home & Habitat Inc., which has an outer nylon fabric that is semi-permeable to water bonded to a micro-porous urethane membrane that allows water in vapor form to pass through.

Preferably, the sole 14 is permanently affixed to the upper 12 and has a pair of sole pads or tread pieces 26 and 28 attached or cemented thereto. The sole 14 can wrap over the sides of the upper 12 and cap the heel portion 20 and toe portion 16 to provide added support and stability. Preferably, the sole 14 is constructed of a durable, skid-proof and flexible material, such as TOUGHTEK® neoprene. However, those skilled in the art will understand that various other materials can be employed for the sole as well without deviating from the scope of the present invention.

One sole pad 26 is positioned beneath the toe portion 16 of the shoe 10, and the other sole pad 28 is positioned beneath the heel portion 20 of the shoe. Preferably, each sole pad 26 and 28 is constructed of a material that is abrasion-resistant, scuff-proof, and non-skid such as Grabber Non-slip from Denver Fabric Co. However, those skilled in the art will understand that the sole pads 26 and 28 can be constructed of other abrasion-resistant, scuff-proof, and non-skid material.

Preferably, the intermediate portion 18, which is adjacent the opening 22, facilitates folding of the shoe 10 and provides an elevated pitch. The intermediate portion 18 can include a band or strap 30 of elastic material that creates an elevated arch support while also facilitating the folding of the shoe. Preferably, the elastic band 30 has a width of about one to about two inches, encircles the center of the shoe 10, and extends between the two sole pads or tread pieces 26 and 28.

Preferably, the shoe 10 has a highly compressible insole 32 that comprises a lightweight breathable material that provides warmth and cushioning. Exemplary materials for the insole 32 include gel-filled insole pads or highly compressible sponge insulation. The insole also provides support for the heel and forefoot.

The shoe 10 is foldable about the intermediate section 18 such that the heel 20 and toe 16 of the shoe can be releasably attached together with a fastening device, closure, or latch 40, as shown in FIG. 4. In exemplary embodiments, the shoe 10 has a length that is about 6.75 inches long to about 12.15 inches long and about 3 inches to about 5 inches wide. Preferably, the shoe folds generally in half, which is approximately the size of a man's wallet or winter glove. Thus, the shoe 10 folds into a configuration that is approximately 3-6 inches long, approximately 3-5 inches wide, and approximately 1-2 inches thick, although those skilled in the art will understand the dimensions can be smaller or larger depending on whether the shoe is made for a youth or an adult. Thus, the shoe 10 can be stored in a pouch 50, pocket, backpack or around a belt or strap of the user.

In the depicted embodiment, the fastening device 40 is a snap closure with the male portion 42 attached to the toe 16 and the female portion 44 attached to the heel 20, although the male portion can be attached to the heel and the female portion can be attached to the toe. Preferably, the fastening device 40 is attached to the sole 14 of the shoe 10 where it caps the toe 16 and the heel 20, although the fastening device can be secured to the material of the upper 12. Alternatively or additionally, the fastening device 40 can be magnetic such that one portion of the fastening device is a magnet and the other portion comprises ferromagnetic material attached at the opposite end of the shoe. However, those skilled in the art will understand that a variety of fastening devices 40 can be used. For example, FIG. 5 depicts another embodiment of a sport or active shoe 110 having a fastening device comprising hook and loop material. A patch of hook material 142 is placed at either the heel or the toe and a patch of loop material 144 is attached at the opposite end of the shoe. Alternatively, straps of hook and loop material can be used to fasten the toe of the shoe to the heel. Still alternatively, FIG. 6 depicts yet another embodiment of a sport or active shoe 210 having a fastening device comprising a durable and substantially rigid hook and a slit or slot for receiving the hook. A hook 244 formed of a durable material such as plastic, rubber, metal, or other durable material can be attached at the heel and mate within a slit 242 at the toe. For example, the slit 242 can be located within the sole 214 at the toe such that hook fits within a gap between the sole and the upper 212. The hook 244 can be constructed of the same material as the sole 214. Alternatively, the hook 244 can mate with a loop of fabric, metal, or other durable material secured at the toe. Still alternatively, the hook 244 can be at the toe 216 and the slit 242 at the heel 220. Those skilled in the art will understand that various other closures can be employed without deviating from the scope of the present invention. Thus, the shoe can be folded into a compact configuration that can be stored in a pocket or pack or folded over a belt.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred and example embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications, additions and deletions are within the scope of the invention, as defined by the following claims.





 
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