Title:
Progressive Compression Attachment for Shoes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cushioning attachment for shoes including athletic shoes and, in particular, running shoes includes two component features: a cushioning feature, and a resilient/traction feature. In addition, the cushioning attachment can include a securing feature for securing the device to the outsole of the shoe of a wearer In the cushioning attachments, the cushioning feature is typically a first layer of the attachment while the resilient/traction feature is typically a second layer of the attachment.

In one aspect, a cushioning attachment has a shape suitable for attaching to the outsole of a shoe and comprises:

  • a. a first upper layer comprising a cushioning material;
  • b. a second lower layer comprising a resilient material;
  • c. a securing means for permanently or removably attaching the cushioning attachment to a shoe.

In another aspect, a cushioning attachment for a shoe comprises:

  • a. a first upper layer comprising an anti-fatigue material;
  • b. a second lower layer comprising a wear resistant material;
  • c. a securing means for attaching the attachment to an outsole of a shoe.

In yet another aspect, an attachment to be worn on the sole of a shoe and which is capable of providing for an increase in the progressive compression of the shoe when worn, comprises

  • a. a first layer comprising a progressive compression providing material;
  • b. a second layer which is in contact with the ground when a shoe having the attachment attached thereto is worn by a person; and
  • c. securing means for attaching the attachment to an outsole of a shoe such that the attachment will not detach from the shoe when a person wearing the shoe with the attachment is jogging.




Inventors:
Rosen, Steven E. (Davie, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/924792
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/26/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/7.5, 36/62
International Classes:
A43B23/24; A43B3/12; A43C15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030145494Lightening device for a shoeAugust, 2003Hsu
20090076427THERAPEUTIC BOOTS STABILIZATION WEDGEMarch, 2009Ponsi et al.
20070209235SHOE STRAP AND METHOD OF EMPLOYMENTSeptember, 2007Brunelle-wright
20090007457SHOESJanuary, 2009Skirrow
20090158621BootsJune, 2009Yamamoto
20060277801InsoleDecember, 2006Schwarze et al.
20050172520Platform shoe with storage compartmentAugust, 2005Simmons-gettig
20030172552Back leaning shoe shapeSeptember, 2003Wu
20080271348SHOE SNAP FOR ATTACHING EMBELLISHMENTS TO SHOESNovember, 2008Fromm
20100069808FOOT ABDUCTION BRACING APPARATUSMarch, 2010Mitchell
20080272577Arrangement Consisting of a Ski Binding and a Ski BootNovember, 2008Kogler et al.



Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven Rosen (Davie, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An attachment to be worn on the sole of an athletic shoe and which is capable of providing for an increase in the progressive compression of the shoe when worn, which attachment comprises a. a first layer comprising a progressive compression providing material; b. a second layer which is in contact with the ground when a shoe having the attachment attached thereto is worn by a person; and c. securing means for attaching the attachment to a shoe such that the attachment will not detach from the shoe when a person wearing the shoe with the attachment is walking, running or jogging.

2. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the progressive compression material is a closed cell cellular material.

3. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the first layer further includes at least one reinforcement layer attached to each side of the progressive compression material.

4. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the reinforcement layers comprise nylon fabric.

5. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the first layer is curved up on at least one end thereof.

6. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the second layer comprises a solid rubber material.

7. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the securing means comprises a Velcro attachment means.

8. The attachment according to claim 1 wherein the securing means comprises a framework having a shape with a toe section and a heel section, where the toe section and the heel section provide a means for attaching the attachment onto the shoe.

9. The attachment according to claim 1, wherein the securing means further comprises at least one strap for attaching the attachment to a foot.

10. The attachment according to claim 1 further comprising an anti-sliding device which is capable of decreasing outward lateral sliding of a shoe when the attachment is attached to a shoe and worn by a person.

11. The attachment according to claim 11 wherein the anti-sliding device comprises a piece of material attached to an outside edge of the first layer of the attachment when an attachment is attached to a shoe and worn by a person.

12. An cushioning attachment having a shape suitable for attaching to the sole of a athletic shoe comprising: a. a first upper layer comprising a cushioning material; b. a second lower layer comprising a resilient material; c. a securing means suitable for attaching the cushioning attachment to a shoe, wherein the first layer: (i) is attached to the second layer by a Velcro attachment means; (ii) has a thickness which is not greater than about 2 inches. (iii) includes a reinforcement layer comprising at least one fabric layer on the top and bottom thereof, and (iv) is curved up on both ends thereof, and further wherein the cushioning material comprises a closed cell material has a compression deflection of not greater than 0.7 according to ASTM D575 or not greater than 30 psi according to ASTM D105.

13. An anti-fatigue attachment for a shoe comprising: a. a first upper layer comprising an anti-fatigue material; b. a second lower layer comprising a wear resistant material; c. a securing means for attaching the attachment to a sole of a shoe.

14. The attachment according to claim 13 wherein the first upper layer comprises a Nitricell® material.

15. The attachment according to claim 13 wherein the second lower layer comprises a high-carbon rubber.

16. The attachment according to claim 13 wherein the securing means allows the attachment to be removably attached to a shoe.

17. An cushioning system for a shoe comprising: a. a first upper layer comprising a cushioning material; b. a second lower layer comprising a resilient material; wherein the cushioning system is capable of being attached to a shoe.

18. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the first upper layer comprises a closed cell cellular material

19. The cushioning system according to claim 17, wherein the first upper layer comprises cellular rubber

20. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the first upper layer comprises a polyethylene, a polyvinyl chloride, a polychloroprene, a nitrile, a nitrile-butadiene a urethane, a latex, a polyethylene-vinyl acetate material, a polyvinyl chloride-nitrile material, a vinyl-nitrile material, a nitrile-butadiene material, Duralon® or mixtures thereof

21. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the cushioning material comprises at least one polymer, which is in its viscoelastic state between the temperatures of 10 F and 120 F, and which has been blown into a closed-cell cellular material.

22. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the first layer further comprises at least one reinforcement layer attached to one or both sides of the cushioning material.

23. The cushioning system according to claim 22 wherein each reinforcement layer comprises at least one fabric layer.

24. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the second layer comprises a high carbon rubber.

25. The cushioning system according to claim 17 wherein the second layer comprises two or more pieces of material that together form the desired shape of the second layer.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This application claims priority under 35 USC 119 from provisional U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/855,714 entitled “A Progressive Compression Attachment for Shoes” by Steven E. Rosen, filed Oct. 30, 2006, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

In 2004, nearly 500 million pairs of athletic shoes were sold in the U.S. In addition, there have been a number of studies looking at the impact of shoes on injuries in runners. See, for example:

http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2005/0105/asplund.htm

http://www.cbssportsstore.com/sm-running-shoe-buyers-guide--bg-222919.html

The present invention relates to shoes and, in particular, to cushioning attachments for shoes, such as athletic shoes and running shoes.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Among other aspects, the invention relates to cushioning attachments for shoes including athletic shoes and, in particular, running shoes.

The cushioning attachments of this invention include two component features: a cushioning feature, and a resilient/traction feature. In addition, the cushioning attachment can include a securing feature for securing the device to the outsole of the shoe of a wearer.

In the cushioning attachments of this invention, the cushioning feature is typically a first layer of the attachment while the resilient/traction feature is typically a second layer of the attachment

In one embodiment, the invention relates to a cushioning attachment having a shape suitable for attaching to the outsole of a shoe, where the attachment comprises:

a. a first upper layer comprising a cushioning material;

b. a second lower layer comprising a resilient material;

c. a securing means for permanently or removably attaching the cushioning attachment to a shoe.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to a cushioning attachment having a shape suitable for attaching to the outsole of a shoe comprising:

a. a first upper layer comprising a cushioning polymeric material;

b. a second lower layer comprising a resilient material;

c. a securing means for attaching the attachment to a shoe.

In still another embodiment, the invention relates to a cushioning system for an athletic shoe comprising:

a. a first upper layer comprising a cellular rubber material;

b. a second lower layer comprising a solid rubber material;

c. a securing means for attaching the cushion system to an athletic shoe.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to a cushioning attachment for a shoe comprising:

a. a first upper layer comprising an anti-fatigue material;

b. a second lower layer comprising a wear resistant material;

c. a securing means for attaching the attachment to an outsole of a shoe.

In yet another embodiment, the invention relates to an attachment to be worn on the sole of a shoe and which is capable of providing for an increase in the progressive compression of the shoe when worn, which attachment comprises

a. a first layer comprising a progressive compression providing material;

b. a second layer which is in contact with the ground when a shoe having the attachment attached thereto is worn by a person; and

c. securing means for attaching the attachment to an outsole of a shoe such that the attachment will not detach from the shoe when a person wearing the shoe with the attachment is jogging.

In another aspect, the invention relates to the combination of a cushioning attachment and a shoe to which it is attached.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a-c illustrate one embodiment of an attachment device according to the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of the invention as attached to a running shoe;

FIG. 3 illustrates one example of the invention where the second layer of the device comprises more than one piece;

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate alternative securing means for the device;

FIGS. 5a and 5b illustrate embodiments of an anti-sliding feature suitable for use with the device; and

FIGS. 6a-c illustrate another suitable securing means for the device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A. The Cushioning Feature

One feature of the cushioning attachments of this invention is a cushioning feature which is typically a first layer of the device. The first layer comprises a material capable of providing a cushioning effect for the foot of a wearer when the attachment is attached to the bottom of the shoe.

Two primary considerations in connection with the first layer are (i) the material of construction and (ii) the thickness of the first layer.

A first consideration for the first layer is the material of construction:

In an example of a suitable material, the first layer can comprise a cushioning polymeric material. By “cushioning polymeric material” it is meant a material comprising at least one polymer, which polymer is in its viscoelastic, or rubbery, state between the temperatures of 10 F and 120 F, preferably at ambient temperature.

The cushioning polymeric material can comprises copolymers such as block copolymers and random copolymers, modified polymers or even blends of two or more polymers.

In one exemplary embodiment of the invention, the cushioning polymeric material includes those polymers which have been blown into a closed-cell cellular material.

Specific examples of suitable cushioning polymeric materials include one or more of foamed ethylene vinyl acetate, foamed polyurethane, foamed polyvinlychloride-polyacrylonitrile copolymer or foamed elastomeric polypropylene. One example of a suitable commercially available material is sold under the trademark of Duralon®.

The invention also includes the use of first layers which comprise cellular materials. The cellular material can be either an open-cell cellular material or a closed cell cellular materials, in many instances, closed cell materials can be preferred.

The cellular material can be any cellular material recognized in the art, with cellular foam materials being a specific example of a suitable cellular material.

Specific examples of suitable cellular material include polyethylenes, polyvinyl chlorides, polychloroprenes, nitrites, nitrile-butadienes, urethanes, latex materials, and mixtures thereof.

Other examples of suitable cellular materials include polyethylene-vinyl acetate materials, polyvinyl chloride-nitrile materials, vinyl-nitrile materials, and nitrile-butadiene materials

In addition, the cellular material can comprise a rubber material. Suitable rubbers can include both natural and man-made rubbers. Specific examples of suitable rubber include, but are not limited to neoprene rubbers, nitrile rubbers, natural rubbers, styrene-butadiene rubbers, and ethylene propylene-diene rubbers.

In certain embodiments of the invention, suitable materials for use in connection with the first layer include those materials having an elastic modulus (compressibility), which is measured in megapascals (MPa) that is not greater than 1 MPa. In other embodiments, the first layer comprises materials having an elastic modulus not greater than 0.9 MPa, or even no greater than 0.8 MPa.

In addition, the first layer can comprise materials having an elastic modulus not less than 0.6 MPa, and even, not less than 0.5 MPa or, even still not less than 0.4 MPa.

The invention also envisions the use of first layers which comprise materials having a compression deflection of not greater than 0.7 according to ASTM D575. Moreover, in certain embodiments of the invention, the use of materials having a compression deflection of not greater than 0.5 according to ASTM D575 can be employed.

In addition, the first layer can employ those materials having a compression deflection of not less than 0.2 according to ASTM D575. Moreover, the use of materials having a compression deflection of not less than 0.1 according to ASTM D575 can be employed.

The compression deflection of suitable materials employed in the first layer can also be characterized according to ASTM D1056. In this regard, the use of cellular materials having a compression deflection of not greater than 30 psi according to ASTM D1056 can be employed. In other embodiments, the use of cellular materials having a compression deflection of not greater than 20 psi according to ASTM D1056 can be employed. In still other embodiments, the use of materials having a compression deflection of not greater than 17 psi according to ASTM D1056 can be employed.

The invention also includes embodiments wherein the material for the first layer has a compression deflection of not less than 9 psi according to ASTM D1056. In addition, the attachment of the invention includes embodiments where the material for the first layer has a compression deflection of not less than 6 psi according to ASTM D1056. Still other embodiments employ materials having a compression deflection of not less than 4 psi according to ASTM D1056.

In addition, additives such as internal lubricants (or plasticizers) and mineral fillers can be introduced into the polymer in order to modify or improve one or more property of the polymer. Specific examples of suitable additives include carbon and silica fillers.

Additional suitable materials for use in connection with the first layer include those materials previously employed in an “anti-fatigue” environment, e.g., anti-fatigue pads, mats, runners and the like. In this regard, anti-fatigue mats are designed to make workers more comfortable when they must stand on their feet for many consecutive hours. Anti-fatigue mats offer more cushioning not only for comfort but also to improve circulation and absorb shock, helping to reduce muscle tension, aches, and general fatigue.

Suitable materials include those rubber materials-both natural and man-made-materials employed in connection with anti-fatigue mats and the like. Examples of such materials include natural rubbers, nitrile rubbers and modified nitrile rubbers which are recognized in the art. Specific examples of suitable anti-fatigue materials are sold under the Nitricell® trade name from the Wearwell Company.

As can be seen, the first layer can comprise a variety of cushioning materials. In fact, the first layer can comprise any material capable of providing the desired progressive compression function when the attachment device is attached to a shoe and worn by a user.

The term “progressive compression” in the context of this invention relates to those materials capable of providing the desired cushioning effect for the wearer by compression of the first layer progressively over the course of a step, e.g., a running step, i.e., the planting of the foot in stride, the rolling of the foot as the opposite foot swings forward and the lifting of the foot at the completion of the running step.

However, it is also preferred that the desired cushioning material is not overly soft as overly soft materials can (i) cause instability, increasing the risk of loss-of-balance as well as adverse effects on overall body posture during use and/or (ii) negate all or part of the progressive compression effect by collapsing too quickly thus transferring force more rapidly to the joints of the wearer.

One specific example of a suitable material for use in the first layer is Ensolite® available from Armacell LLC. Ensolite is a PVC/NPR polymer having the following characteristics:

25% Compression Resistance (psi), ASTM D-1056, 5.0 to 8.0

50% Compression Set (%), ASTM D-1056, 25 max.

Density (lb/ft. 3), ASTM D-1056, 6.5 to 8.5

Water Absorption (lb/ft 2), ASTM D-1667, 0.1 max.

Tensile (psi), ASTM D-412, 80 min.

Elongation (% ), ASTM D-412, 100 min.

C-Tear Strength (lbs/in.) ASTM D-624 Die C 10 min.

Temperature Use: ASTM D-1056 Cold Crack—20 C and High 200 C

A second consideration in connection with the first layer is the thickness of the layer:

The thickness of the first layer is capable of affecting the cushioning ability of the attachment. As such, the preferred thickness can be dependent upon a number of factors including the material of construction for the first layer, the type of shoe to which the device is to be attached, the desired function of the shoe for the wearer, the shape, height and weight of the wearer of the shoe/attachment combination and even the environment and weather conditions that the wearer is likely to face.

For example, a 300 lb man may prefer the use of an attachment with a thicker first layer than a 100 lb woman. Similarly, a runner who is running on harder surfaces may prefer a different thickness than one who is running on relatively softer surfaces.

While the exact thickness is not critical, the invention includes a variety of embodiment including, but not limited to, those embodiments where the first layer has a thickness which is not greater than about 2 inches, as well as those embodiments where the first layer has a thickness which is not greater than about 1.5 inches. In addition, the invention includes embodiments where the first layer has a thickness which is not greater than about 1 inch.

The attachment according to the invention also includes embodiments where the first layer has a thickness which is not less than about 0.25 inches as well as embodiments where the first layer has a thickness which is not less than about 0.15 inches and even those embodiments where the first layer as a thickness which is not less than about 0.1 inches.

Optimization of the thickness for any particular material of construction would be within the purview of those skilled in the art. For example, in optimizing the thickness of the first layer, one should also consider the concept of bottoming out, i.e. the bottoming out point for the material in question, and the “densification strain” (bottoming out point as a percentage of thickness). The invention envisions the use of densification strains greater than 20%, greater than 30%, greater than 40%, greater than 50%, greater than 60%, and even greater than 70% or 80%.

Moreover, the first layer can have a thickness which is substantially the same throughout its entire length, or, in the alternative, the thickness of the first layer can vary at one or more places over the length of the layer.

In one embodiment, it is envisioned that the thickness of the first layer is tapered at both the front, i.e., the toe end of the device, and the rear, i.e., the heel end of the device. For example, it has been found that tapering the first layer for the first one to two inches from the front of the device and final one to two inches from the rear of the device.

The first layer typically has a shape generally corresponding to the shape of the sole of the shoe to which the attachment is being attached. While the attachment finds particular utility in connection with athletic shoes and, in particular, running shoes, the attachment according to the invention can be employed with any shoe where the wearer seeks greater cushioning when the shoe is worn.

In addition, the first layer has a shape which is substantially flat or it can be curved up at one or more of the edges thereof.

The first layer can be a single unitary piece of material or it can include multiple pieces of material that are attached together to provide the desired shape. In this regard, the two or more pieces can be attached either permanently by, e.g., an adhesive material, or removably, e.g., Velcro attachment means. The use of multiple pieces with removable attachment means would allow for parts of the first layer subject to higher wear and tear to be replaced without replacing the entire layer or entire attachment.

In addition to the cushioning material, the first layer can further include other features.

For example, the first layer can include one or more reinforcement means attached to one or both sides of the cushioning material. In certain embodiments, the use of a reinforcement layer is capable of increasing the useful life for the first layer. Specifically, the use of a reinforcement layer may decrease the wear and tear on the first layer and thus, allow for an increase in useful life for the attachment.

In this aspect of the invention, the first layer can include a reinforcement layer on either or both of the top and bottom thereof. Moreover, the reinforcement layer can comprise one or more layers of material, however, in most situations, a single layer is adequate.

The reinforcement layer can comprise any material that can be effectively attached to the cushioning material and capable of improving the durability of the cushioning material. For example, the use of a reinforcement layer can improve the tensile or tear resistance of the first layer. Specific examples of suitable materials include fabric materials such as nylon, Dacron, polyester, cotton, or mixtures thereof.

The reinforcement layers can be attached to the cellular material by way of any technique recognized in the art of Suitable techniques include the use of adhesive materials such as polyurethane, acrylic, epoxy, and cyanoacrylate adhesives that are recognized in the art.

B. The Resilient/Traction Feature

Another feature of the cushioning attachment device is a resilient/traction feature that is typically a second layer of the device.

Functions of the second layer are dependent on the shoe to which the attachment is to be attached and the desired purpose of that shoe. In this regard, the function can include one or more of (i) providing for a more resilient surface, e.g., sole, in contact with the ground, as compared to the first layer, when the cushioning attachment device is attached to a shoe and worn by a user, (ii) improving the resiliency of the device by protecting the first layer from the wear and tear associated with wearing of the attachment device, and (iii) improving the traction for a shoe when the device is attached to the shoe.

The material of construction for the second layer is not critical and can include any material capable of providing the desired resiliency and/or traction effects.

Examples of suitable materials include rubbers and in particular solid rubbers such as high carbon rubbers, and cross-linked rubbers. In addition, the second layer can include fillers or other additives which can increase the resilience of the second layer. For example, where rubbers are employed, suitable additives include carbon and silica fillers.

In addition, suitable materials include both new and recycled materials. For example, one class of suitable materials is recycled rubber materials including but, not limited to, recycled automotive tires.

The overall shape of the second layer is similar to, but not necessarily identical to the shape of the first layer. As discussed above, the primary function of the second layer is to provide a more resilient surface for the attachment device, as such, any shape which is capable of providing the desired function can be employed.

In this regard, the second layer can comprise a single unitary piece of material or, in the alternative, two or more pieces of material which form the desired shape of the attachment. Specifically, the second layer can comprise two, three, four or even more pieces of material.

Where two or more pieces are employed, it can be desirable that the individual pieces having shapes which allow them to be interconnected to form the desired shape of the attachment. Such an arrangement allows for portions of the second layer which are subjected to increased wear to be replaced without replacing the entirety of the second layer. In one example of this feature, one of the pieces of the second layer corresponds to the heel portion of the attachment device.

The thickness of the second layer is not critical to the invention as long as it does not adversely impact the resilience function of the second layer or the cushioning function of the first layer.

The attachment device of the present invention envisions the use of a second layer having a thickness not greater than about 0.5 inches, even not greater than about 0.25 inches and still even not greater than about 0.1 inches.

In this regard, the entire thickness of the second layer can be provided by a single layer of material or by a laminate-like arrangement of two or more layers of material.

While, as was the case with the first layer, the thickness of the second layer can vary over the length of the device, in most embodiments it is desirable that the second layer have substantially the same thickness throughout the entire length of the layer.

The second layer can be attached to the first layer by any technique recognized in the art as being effective in attaching the materials in question together. More specifically, the two layers can be attached by either removable attachment means such as Velcro or more permanent attachment techniques such as adhesives. Suitable adhesives include polyurethane, acrylic, epoxy, and cyanoacrylate adhesives that are recognized in the art.

In one embodiment of the invention, the shape of the first layer is modified so as to minimize, or even eliminate, contact between the edges of the second layer and the ground. For example, the first layer is designed so that when the attachment is attached to a shoe that is subjected to a complete running step, i.e., the planting of the foot in stride, the rolling of the foot as the opposite foot swings forward and the lifting of the foot at the completion of the running step, the toe edge of the second layer does not touch the ground. Because the leading edges of the second layer are not in contact with the ground, wear on the layer can be reduced and the usage life of the layer prior to replacement can be increased.

For example, the first layer can include an, at least substantially, linear portion between a front portion and a rear portion which are both curved. That is, the first layer comprised a curved front, e.g., toe, portion, a middle linear portion, and a curved, e.g., heel, portion.

In one example of this embodiment, the front portion is curved for an amount not less than 0.5 inch, for example, about 1 inch, or about 1.5 inches or about 2 inches. In addition, the rear portion is curved for an amount not less than 0.25 inches, for example, about 0.5, about 0.75 or about 1 inch.

In another example of the embodiment, the curved portion of the front and rear ends of the attachment do not touch the ground during running except of a portion not greater than 1 inch above the linear portion of the first layer.

In addition, the bottom surface of the second layer, i.e., the surface that is not attached to the first layer, can have a pattern thereon, in order to enhance traction.

It is well known in the art of shoe design, that how well a shoe needs to grip depends on purpose of the shoe. For example, a shoe suitable for use in a cross country event run on a rainy day may be different than that needed on a hard compacted surface. Similarly, a basketball player may need an outsole that will grip well when running, but not when they are pivoting.

The traction properties of a shoe, really a measure of the friction between the bottom of the shoe and the playing/running/walking surface, are directly related to the materials used in the construction as well as the pattern on the bottom of the second layer.

Suitable patterns include those currently being employed in the art in connection with existing outsoles.

C. Securing of the Device to a Shoe

Another aspect of this invention relates to the ability to securing the cushioning feature and the resilient/traction feature to a desired shoe.

The precise securing means is not critical to the invention as long as it is effective in securing the device to the desired shoe. In this regard, suitable securing means include both techniques for permanently attaching the device to the outsole of a shoe and techniques for removably attaching the device to a shoe so that the device is secured to the outsole of the shoe.

Specific examples of permanent attachment means include adhesives such as polyurethane, acrylic, epoxy, and cyanoacrylate adhesives that are recognized in the art. The adhesive can be used to attach the device to the outsole of a desired shoe.

In addition, permanent attachment means can include mechanical means suitable for attaching the device to the desired shoes. Such mechanical means can include screws, e.g., nylon or metal screws, or straps, to directly attach the device to the outsole of a desired shoe.

Examples of suitable means for removably attaching the device to a shoe include, but are not limited to, Velcro attachment means, loop tensioning means, buckles, straps, laces and the like.

For example, the removable attachment means suitable for use with the cushioning attachment device can include one or more straps for securing the device to the shoe of a wearer. One specific example of such an arrangement includes two straps, a first strap to attaching the cushioning attachment to the toe end of a shoe and a second strap for attaching the attachment to the heel section of a shoe. The straps can be attached by any means recognized in the art such as, e.g., Velcro or buckles or the like.

In another embodiment, the securing means comprises one or more fabric straps or laces that are attached to the device and which fabric straps or laces can be attached to an ankle of a wearer. The portion of the securing means, which is attached to the device, can comprise, for example, a strap that is attached to the device. The strap, and in particular, a strap near the rear of the device, that is directly attached to the device can extend generally vertically from, or at an angle relative to, the first and second layers of the device. The exact angle is not critical to the invention, however it is preferred that the straps extend in the general direction of the rear of the shoe.

In addition to the foregoing, the securing means can include a framework having a shape with a toe section and a heel section, where the toe section and the heel section provide a means for attaching the attachment onto the shoe. This embodiment can further include undercuts along a vertical rise in the heel section on the inside of the heel section. This embodiment also includes suitable means such as straps for connecting the device to a shoe. For example, a plurality of Velcro straps can be employed to attach the framework to a shoe.

D. The Shoe and Additional Optional Features

Another aspect of the invention relates to the combination of the cushioning attachment and a shoe.

As discussed above, the cushioning attachment means can be designed to be attached to any shoe where the wearer desires to have a desired cushioning effect. Suitable shoes include any and all types of athletic shoes. Since the cushioning effect can be particularly useful in walking and jogging environment, running shoes are particularly suitable for use with the cushioning system of the invention.

In addition to the foregoing three features, the cushioning device of the present invention can include additional optional features.

For example, the device can include an anti-sliding feature that is capable of decreasing lateral sliding of a shoe when the attachment is attached to a shoe and worn by a person. In this regard, the feature can be placed to prevent either inward or outward sliding of a shoe depending on the needs of the user.

In this regard, it has been found that, particularly under certain weather conditions, the outsole of the shoe may undesirably slide along the surface of the first layer. The anti-slide feature seeks to minimize and/or eliminate this sliding action.

One example of a suitable feature comprises a wedge shaped material attached to an outside edge of the first layer of the attachment when an attachment is attached to a shoe and worn by a person. The shape of the wedge is selected so as to allow it to prevent sliding of the shoe when the attachment is secured thereto. For example, one preferred shape would direct the outward sliding force of the shoe, downwards towards the first layer. An example of the placement of such a shape to prevent outward sliding is illustrated by FIGS. 5a and 5b. Of course, the device could alternatively be placed on the other side to prevent inward sliding of a shoe.

One example of a suitable anti-slide feature comprises a wedge shaped material attached to an outside edge of the first layer of the attachment when an attachment is attached to a shoe and worn by a person. The material of construction of wedge shaped material is not critical; however, for sake of cost efficiency and convenience, it can comprise the same material of construction as the first layer. However, it is within the scope of the invention to employ a material of construction for the wedge which differs from that of the first layer. Suitable materials of construction can include plastic, wood or metals, depending on factors such as cost and durability.

The anti-sliding feature can be removably attached to the cushioning attachment by any suitable means, e.g., a Velcro strap. The shape of the strap can be selected to more effectively secure the anti-sliding device to the assembly. For example, the Velcro strap can have any suitable shape, e.g., substantially L-shaped, so as to attach to both the first layer and the securing means. In another example of this feature, the Velcro strap can be C-shaped where the lower portion of the strap extends across a significant portion, greater than 50%, 60% or even 75% of the first layer to which it is attached.

In addition, the anti-sliding feature can be attached to the strap by suitable means, such as adhesive to more effective hold it in place when the attachment device is attached to a shoe and worn by a user.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate one embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the attachment device 1 can be attached to shoe 2 as seen in FIG. 2.

The attachment device 1 includes first upper layer 10, second lower layer 20 and securing means 30. The securing means includes a Velcro securing means 31. The use of a generally vertical strap as relating to the direction of the portion of the strap that attaches to the first and second layers, relative to the first and second layers is shown in FIGS. 1b and c. One example of an alternative arrangement where the portion of the strap attached to the first and second layer is attached at an angle 32 relative to the first and second layers can be seen in FIGS. 1d-e where FIG. 1e is a bottom view of the device of FIG. 1d at a cross section between the first and second layers.

As can be seen in FIG. 1C, the first upper layer 10 can include reinforcement layer 11.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second layer 20 which comprises two pieces 21 and 22.

FIGS. 4a and b illustrate two examples of suitable mechanical attachment means 30′ and 30″ for attaching the device to a shoe 2.

FIGS. 5a and 5b illustrate two examples for an anti-sliding wedge device arrangement for use in connection with the attachment. The two examples both illustrate a wedge 41 and a securing means 42 for the wedge. As discussed previously, the wedge can be secured to the attachment via suitable means such as Velcro, as illustrated in FIGS. 5a-b.

FIGS. 6a-6c illustrate examples of another strap attachment device suitable for use with a shoe. In each of the illustrated embodiments, the strap 60 is attached by mean of Velcro 62, 63, 64. The strap can comprise, for example, a nylon web.

In FIG. 6a, a portion of the strap 60 is “pinched” at one side of the lateral strap 61. In this example, the other side of the strap does not include the “pinch.” Velcro areas 62 can either be hook or loop Velcro as long as the attachment can be secured to the shoe.

FIGS. 6b and 6c both illustrate a strap 60 with hook Velcro 63 and loop Velcro 64 with the primary difference between the examples shown in the figures being the Velcro type and placement as shown in the figures.