Title:
Footwear and Related Methods of Manufacturing Same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Footwear and related methods of manufacturing the same are provided herein. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, a method of manufacture of footwear is provided. The method includes providing a upper, the upper defining a lower perimeter. An outsole is provided, the outsole including a lip extending along the upper perimeter of the outsole. A thread is stitched through the lower perimeter of the upper and at least a portion of the lip of the outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between the upper and the outsole. A last is inserted into the foot receiving space defined by the upper and the outsole to set the shape of the upper.



Inventors:
Bethke Jr., James Charles (Kirkwood, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/837648
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
12/142T, 12/145, 12/146C, 36/55
International Classes:
A43B23/00; A43B9/00; A43B23/07; A43D11/00; A43D29/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020133974Anti-ice and anti-snow bottom for application under the shoe soleSeptember, 2002Bartolini
20060059719Ankle guard for a shoeMarch, 2006Lebo
20060096125Shoe sole having heel cushioning memberMay, 2006Yen
20090133292FOOTWEAR ORTHOSISMay, 2009Salvatelli et al.
20080216357Article of Footwear with Mesh on Outsole and InsertSeptember, 2008Fogg et al.
20080189986Ventilated and resilient shoe apparatus and systemAugust, 2008Elnekaveh
20080052842Contoured insole constructionMarch, 2008Palmer
20040211088Sport shoe with impact absorber systemOctober, 2004Volkart
20010008053Vibration absorbing device, particularly for shoes or sports implementsJuly, 2001Belli
20040049944Disposable slipperMarch, 2004Lee
20080062677Electroluminescent communication system between articles of apparel and the likeMarch, 2008Konig et al.



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORITY & MANNING, P.A. (GREENVILLE, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A method of manufacture of footwear, comprising: providing a upper, said upper defining a lower perimeter; providing an outsole, said outsole including a lip extending along the upper perimeter of said outsole; stitching thread through said lower perimeter of said upper and at least a portion of said lip of said outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between said upper and said outsole; inserting a last into said foot receiving space defined by said upper and said outsole to set the shape of said upper.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said upper comprises a wool blend.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the step of providing a upper further comprises cementing nylon reinforcement tape to the lower perimeter of said upper.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein said upper comprises leather.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein said upper comprises a polymeric material.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein said upper further comprises a liner material.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein said outsole comprises ethylene vinyl acetate having a Shore A hardness from about 45 to about 90.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein said thread comprises nylon.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of inserting a last further comprises applying heat to said last.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein said heat comprises steam.

11. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a contoured footbed and positioning said footbed within said foot receiving space defined by said upper and said outsole.

12. A method of manufacture of footwear, comprising: providing a upper, said upper defining a lower perimeter; providing an ethylene vinyl acetate outsole having a Shore A hardness of from about 50 to about 80, said outsole comprising a lip measuring from about 2 mm to about 6 mm and extending along the upper perimeter of said outsole; stitching thread through said lower perimeter of said upper and at least a portion of said lip of said outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between said upper and said outsole; inserting a last into said foot receiving space defined by said upper and said outsole and applying heat to said last to set the shape of said upper.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the step of providing a upper further comprises providing a leather upper with nylon reinforcement tape cemented to the lower perimeter of said upper, said tape being sandwiched between said lip and said upper so as to not be visible when said upper and said outsole are stitched together.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein said upper comprises leather.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein said upper comprises a polymeric material.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein said upper further comprises a liner material.

17. An article of footwear comprising: an upper, said upper defining a lower perimeter; an outsole, said outsole having a lip extending along the upper perimeter of said outsole; said upper being attached to said outsole by thread along said lower perimeter of said upper and at least a portion of said lip of said outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between said upper and said outsole.

18. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said upper comprises wool.

19. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said upper comprises leather.

20. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said upper comprises a polymeric material.

21. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said outsole comprises ethylene vinyl acetate having a Shore A hardness from about 45 to about 90.

22. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said lip measures from about 2 mm to about 6 mm.

23. The article of footwear of claim 17, further comprising a contoured footbed positioned within said foot receiving space defined between said upper and said outsole.

24. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said article of footwear weighs from about 0.1 lbs to about 0.5 lbs.

25. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said article of footwear weighs from about 0.25 lbs to about 0.35 lbs.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are a wide variety of methods to manufacture footwear. Such methods generally involve some manner of attaching an upper and an outsole. A common approach to manufacturing footwear is the utilization of cemented construction. With a cemented footwear construction, the upper is lasted over an insole with the outsole then cemented thereto. Although this construction is relatively durable, resulting footwear is quite heavy and the process generates considerable waste. Therefore, a more simplified method of manufacture would be desirable in which more lightweight footwear can be manufactured.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In general, the present disclosure is directed improved footwear and related methods of manufacturing the same.

In one embodiment of the present disclosure, a method of manufacture of footwear is provided. The method includes providing an upper that defines a lower perimeter. An outsole is provided that defines a lip extending along the upper perimeter of the outsole. A thread is stitched through the lower perimeter of the upper and at least a portion of the lip of the outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between the upper and the outsole. A last is inserted into the foot receiving space defined by the upper and the outsole to set the shape of the upper.

In still another embodiment, an article of footwear is provided which includes an upper defining a lower perimeter. An outsole is provided having a lip extending along the upper perimeter of the outsole. The upper is attached to the outsole by thread along the lower perimeter of the upper and at least a portion of the lip of the outsole whereby a foot receiving space is defined between the upper and the outsole.

Other features and aspects of the present disclosure are discussed in greater detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A full and enabling disclosure of the present disclosure, including the best mode thereof to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth more particularly in the specification, including reference to the accompanying Figures in which:

FIG. 1 represents an embodiment of a shoe in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 represents an embodiment of a portion of a shoe in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 represents an embodiment of an interface between an outsole and an upper in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 represents an embodiment of a sandal in accordance with the present disclosure.

Repeat use of reference characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent the same or analogous features or elements of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

It is to be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the present discussion is a description of exemplary embodiments only, and is not intended as limiting the broader aspects of the present disclosure, which broader aspects are embodied in the exemplary construction.

Generally, the present disclosure is described in connection with a casual shoe. A footwear construction of the present disclosure is illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 and designated 10. In general, shoe 10 can include an upper 20 secured to an outsole 30. Upper 20 can be secured to outsole 30 with stitching 22 along the lower perimeter 21 of upper 20. An optional footbed (not shown) can be utilized as well.

Referring to FIG. 3, an outsole 30 is illustrated in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. Outsole 30 includes a surface 32 and lip 34. Surface 32 includes a side surface 36 and bottom surface 39 and top surface 40. Lip 34 extends upwardly from side surface 36 about perimeter 38 of outsole 30. Lip 34 can be present at a portion of outsole perimeter 38, or along the entirety of outsole perimeter 38. Outsole 30 and lip 34 can be unitary so as to be formed from one-piece of material.

One purpose for lip 34 is to receive stitching 22, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, for attaching an upper 20 to outsole 30. Lip 34 can measure from about 1 mm to about 10 mm from said outsole perimeter 38 to upper edge of lip 34. Thread 28 or other stitching material may be stitched into lip 34. Additionally, upper 20 can be positioned flush with side surface 36 if positioned at lip 34. In some embodiments, stitching 22 can be located about 0.5 mm to about 10 mm from upper lip edge 44. Lip 34 can be wide enough so as to accommodate stitching 22 and thread 28 of various widths and sizes.

Outsole 30 can be manufactured from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or relatively hard rubber or other sufficiently durable and wear-resistant material. In certain embodiments, outsole 30 can have a Shore A hardness from about 45 to about 90. In some embodiments, outsole 30 can have a Shore A hardness from about 50 to about 80. In some embodiments, outsole 30 can have a Shore A hardness from about 55 to about 75. Top surface 40 of outsole 30 forms a foot receiving surface and is contoured to suit a wearer's foot, either with or without an optional footbed. The bottom surface 39 can be textured to improve the traction and aesthetic appeal of the shoe.

With reference to FIG. 1, an upper 20 can include vamp 24, collar 25, mudguard (not shown), and lower perimeter 21. Upper 20 can be manufactured from wool, leather, canvas, polymeric materials, or other suitable materials and may include other conventional accessories. Different types of leather can include full grain, corrected, crazy horse, nubuc, cow, pig, deer, elk, moose, bison, goat, sheep, sherling, bovine, or any other type of leather as would be known in the art. In some embodiments, an upper 20 can be about 50 percent by weight to about 99 percent by weight wool. In certain embodiments, an upper 20 can be about 65 percent by weight to about 75 percent by weight wool. In certain embodiments, an upper can be 1 percent by weight to about 50 percent by weight polyester. In certain embodiments, an upper can be 25 percent by weight to about 35 percent by weight polyester.

Upper 20 is constructed such that lower perimeter 21 can be stitched into lip 34 of outsole 30. In some embodiments, as in FIGS. 1 and 2, the lower perimeter 21 covers the entirety of the outsole perimeter 38. In other embodiments, as in FIG. 4, the lower perimeter 21 only covers a portion of outsole perimeter 38.

Any suitable thread can be used for stitching. In some embodiments, nylon thread can be utilized. One or more stitch lines can be utilized to secure an upper 20 to lip 34 of outsole 30. In some embodiments, lower perimeter 21 of an upper 20 can be thinner than the remainder of the upper. In certain embodiments, reinforcement taping can be present on lower perimeter 21 of an upper 20 and lip 34. Such reinforcement taping can aid in the securement of lower perimeter 21 and upper 20.

Upper 20 and outsole 30 define a foot receiving space when stitched together. In certain embodiments, the weight of each shoe 10 is from about 0.1 lbs to about 0.5 lbs. For example, in certain embodiments in which the shoes do not have a footbed present, the weight of each shoe 10 can be from about 0.2 lbs to about 0.4 lbs and, in certain embodiments, from about 0.25 lbs to about 0.35 lbs. The footwear of the present disclosure weigh less than similar shoes constructed using other methods.

A liner (not shown) can be secured to the inner portion of an upper 20 so as to contact a wearer's foot. This liner can optionally extend the full length and/or width of an upper 20 or some portion thereof. Liner can be formed from acrylic, fleece, cotton, mesh, nylon, CAMBRELLE®, twill, canvas, polyester, wool, flannel, terry cloth, soy, bamboo, hemp, cotton, flax, cellulose, leather, foam, sherling, combinations thereof, or any other material as would be known in the art.

A foot bed can be optionally utilized in accordance with the present disclosure. The foot bed can be constructed from EVA foam, or any other suitable cushioning material. The rigidity and the flexibility of the EVA foam can be varied from application to application as desired. The foot bed can be secured to the outsole 30 as desired to ensure it does not move within the upper. In embodiments which include a footbed, the weight of each shoe can be from about 0.25 lbs to about 0.45 lbs and, in certain embodiments, from about 0.3 lbs to about 0.4 lbs. With the optional footbed, the weight of the shoe 10 is still less than shoes manufactured by conventional methods.

Manufacture of the shoe 10 will now be described. Upper 20 is manufactured using generally conventional techniques and apparatus. The desired upper material is cut to form the upper, including its elements, such as the vamp. Pieces of an upper can be fitted and sewn together if necessary or a unitary piece of material can be utilized to form an upper. In some embodiments, a center seam is preferred when the upper is stitched together. In other embodiments, a butt seam, inseam with whipstitch, zigzag stitch, or the like can be utilized. In addition, material can be perforated, overlayed, underlayed, laser cut, or the like.

Outsole components can be injection molded or pour molded from a suitable material as described herein using conventional molding apparatus. The tread pattern on bottom surface 39 of the outsole, as well as lip 34 extending upwardly from side surface 36 about the perimeter 38 of outsole 30 can be formed during the molding operation. Optionally these features, as well as any contours or shapes of the outsole components, can be molded into outsole 30. The outsole components may be trimmed as desired to ensure fit with an upper 20.

Upper 12 and outsole 30 may be stitched together using conventional apparatus. As noted above, one or more stitching threads 28 runs through the lower perimeter of the upper 21 and at least a portion of lip 34 of the outsole 30 so as to define a opening 46 between an upper 20 and outsole 30. A machined lock stitch is preferred but any stitch as would be known in the art can be utilized such as a hand stitch or the like so long as the stitching adequately secures the upper to the outsole. In certain embodiments, nylon reinforcement tape can be affixed to the lower perimeter of the upper. Suitable methods of affixing include heat sealing or cementing the tape to the lower perimeter of the upper.

A last is inserted in the opening between an upper and outsole. As is known in the art, lasting involves tightly shaping the upper over the contour of a last, a piece of wood or synthetic material roughly following the shape of the foot and acting as a form on which the shoe is made. The upper is heated with a last inserted so as to form the desired shape and/or desired size. In some embodiments, it is important to heat the upper and last to between about 60° C. and about 70° C. for between about 15 minutes and about 20 minutes. In this regard, temperature can be important because hotter temperatures can result in the upper to shrink. In certain embodiments, an upper can be heated by steam. The last is removed and the shoe is allowed to cool. Additionally, the upper can be wet shrunk on the last as would be known to one of ordinary skill in the art

In some embodiments, a footbed can be inserted within the opening between an upper 21 and the outsole 30.

Finishing steps can include spraying the footwear with any desired treatment such as a mold prevention treatment, water proofing treatment, or the like.

Any references to claim elements in the singular, for example, using the articles “a,” “an,” “the,” or “the,” is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular.

These and other modifications and variations to the present invention may be practiced by those of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, which is more particularly set forth in the appended claims. In addition, it should be understood that aspects of the various embodiments may be interchanged both in whole or in part. Furthermore, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing description is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the invention so further described in such appended claims.