Title:
SNAKEBITE PROTECTIVE FOOTWEAR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Footwear assemblies that include a sole assembly and an upper portion secured to the sole assembly. The upper portion includes a tightening structure that extends up a portion of the height of the footwear assembly, and an extension of snakebite material positioned above the tightening arrangement. The extension of snakebite material is typically loose fit around the user's lower leg. The tightening arrangement provides adjustable tightening of the footwear assembly about the user's foot and lower leg at locations below the extension of snakebite material. The footwear assembly can include snakebite resistant material that covers substantially all of the surface area of the upper portion. Additional support, waterproofing, insulating and padding layers or materials can be used throughout the footwear assembly.



Inventors:
Rackiewicz, Kyle Daniel (Red Wing, MN, US)
Geer, Kenton Donald (Red Wing, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/243614
Publication Date:
04/09/2009
Filing Date:
10/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/2R, 36/25R, 36/54
International Classes:
A43B3/00; A41D17/00; A43B13/00; A43B23/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A footwear assembly, comprising: a sole assembly; an upper portion, comprising: a top end, the top end defining an opening; a bottom end secured to the sole assembly; a first material extending from the bottom end of the upper portion to the top end of the upper portion; a second material extending from the bottom end of the upper portion to a location short of the top end of the upper portion; a tightening arrangement provided on the second material, the tightening arrangement configured to adjustably tighten a portion of the footwear about a portion of the user.

2. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the first material is configured to serve as a tongue portion of the footwear.

3. The footwear assembly of claim 2, wherein the tongue portion is integral with the second material.

4. The footwear assembly of claim 3, wherein the tightening arrangement includes a lace member over the tongue portion and a plurality of eyelet members on either side of the tongue portion.

5. The footwear assembly of claim 4, wherein the eyelet members are connected to the second material.

6. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the tightening arrangement is spaced at least four inches from the top end of the upper portion.

7. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the portion of the upper portion of the boot above the tightening arrangement is free standing such that it extends upward even when the top end is not connected to the user's leg.

8. The footwear assembly of claim 1, wherein the first material includes a snakebite resistant material.

9. The footwear assembly of claim 7, wherein the second material is leather.

10. A footwear assembly, comprising: a sole member; a first upper portion having a first bottom end and a first top end that defines an opening into which a user's foot can be inserted; and a second upper portion including an adjustable tightening arrangement, the adjustable tightening arrangement configured to adjustably constrict the footwear assembly about the user's foot, the second upper portion having a second top end and a second bottom end, the second bottom end being secured to the sole assembly and the first bottom end of the first upper portion extending from the second top end of the second upper portion, wherein both the first and second upper portions include a snakebite resistant construction.

11. The footwear assembly of claim 10, wherein the first upper portion defines a continuous, generally cylindrical structure.

12. The footwear assembly of claim 10, wherein the first upper portion extends between about 4 to 10 inches above the second top end.

13. The footwear assembly of claim 12, wherein the first upper portion extends between about 6 to 8 inches above the second top end.

14. The footwear assembly of claim 10, wherein the first upper portion has sufficient structural rigidity between the first top and bottom ends to remain upstanding from the second upper portion such that the first top end extends upward even when it is not connected to the user's leg.

15. The footwear assembly of claim 10, wherein the first upper portion is constructed of a snakebite resistant material.

16. The footwear assembly of claim 15, wherein the second upper portion is constructed of material that is not snakebite resistant.

17. The footwear assembly of claim 16, wherein the snakebite resistant material of the first upper portion overlaps with and is stitched to the material of the second upper portion in a tongue portion of the footwear to form an integral tongue that does not slide from side to side relative to the second upper portion of the footwear.

18. A footwear assembly, comprising: a lower member including a snakebite resistant construction; an upper member including a snakebite resistant construction removably connected to the lower member; wherein the upper member has sufficient structural rigidity to remain upstanding around a user's leg while being connected only to the lower member and not directly to the user's leg; wherein the upper member is separable along a longitudinal direction to enable the upper member to be removed without removing the lower member; wherein no portion of the upper member extends under the lower member.

19. The footwear assembly of claim 18, wherein the lower portion includes a first locking structure along a side of the lower member that is configured to engage a second locking structure on the upper member.

20. The footwear assembly of claim 19, wherein the first locking structure includes a hook type connector and the second locking structure includes an elastic material that is configured to be stretch over the hook type connector.

21. The footwear assembly of claim 18, wherein the upper member has a camouflaged outer surface.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional application No. 60/997,134 filed on Oct. 1, 2007 titled Snake Bite Protective Footwear, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to footwear, and more specifically relates to footwear and footwear systems that include snakebite protective material.

BACKGROUND

A majority of snakebites occur below the knee and when a person is walking through heavy undergrowth areas. Some types of footwear have characteristics that protect the user against snakebites. These types of boots are commonly called “snakebite boots”. Snakebite boots are typically taller than standard shoes or boots to better protect the user's lower leg against snakebites. Taller boots can be uncomfortable due to the significant surface area of the boot upper that is engaging and rubbing against the user's leg. Snakebite boots usually include either a tight fit construction that is maintained tight against the user's leg with a set of adjustable laces, or is loose fit to reduce the amount of contact of the boot upper with the user's leg.

There is a need to address these and other issues involved with snakebite boots.

SUMMARY

The present invention relates to footwear assemblies that include snakebite resistant materials. An example footwear assembly includes a sole assembly and an upper portion secured to the sole assembly. The upper portion includes a tightening structure that extends up a portion of the height of the footwear assembly, and an extension of snakebite material positioned above the tightening arrangement.

The extension of snakebite material is typically loose fit around the user's lower leg.

The tightening arrangement provides adjustable tightening of the footwear assembly about the user's foot and lower leg at locations below the extension of snakebite material. The extension of snakebite material can be integral with the rest of the footwear assembly, or can be releaseably mounted to the remainder of the footwear assembly in the form of a gaiter structure. The footwear assembly can include snakebite resistant material that covers substantially all of the surface area of the upper portion. Additional support, waterproofing, and padding layers or materials can be used throughout the footwear assembly.

The above summary of the present invention is not intended to describe each disclosed embodiment or every implementation of the present invention. The Figures and the detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify certain embodiments of the invention. While certain embodiments will be illustrated and describe embodiments of the invention, the invention is not limited to use in such embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an example footwear assembly in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a left side view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a right side view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a rear view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 5 taken along cross-sectional indicator 7-7.

FIG. 8 is a close-up view of a portion of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 7.

FIGS. 9-15 are additional views of the footwear assembly shown in FIGS. 1-8;

FIG. 16 is a front perspective view of an example prior art snakebite boot having a tightening arrangement that extends from a foot portion of the footwear to a top end of the footwear.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another example prior art snakebite resistant footwear having a tightening arrangement that extends from an ankle portion to a top end of the footwear.

FIG. 18 is a front perspective view of another example footwear assembly in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 19 is a side perspective view of the footwear assembly shown in FIG. 18 with the gaiter portion open and removed from the footwear assembly.

FIG. 20 is a rear perspective view of the footwear shown in FIG. 18.

FIG. 21 is a close-up view of a gaiter connection assembly of the gaiter shown in FIG. 18.

FIG. 22 is a close-up view of the gaiter connection assembly shown in FIG. 21 coupled to the footwear shown in FIG. 18.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure generally relates to footwear that is adapted to resist puncture or penetration from, for example, a snakebite. The present disclosure is directed to at least two general configurations. In the first configuration, the footwear is a boot style footwear that includes snakebite resistant material that extends from a top end of the boot to the sole portion of the boot. The footwear includes a tightening arrangement that extends only partially up the height of the boot, preferably to at least an ankle portion of the boot. The top end of the boot is constructed to provide a relatively loose fit around the user's lower leg (i.e., below the knee and above the tightening arrangement). In a second configuration, a footwear assembly includes a footwear such as a boot and a removable gaiter. Both the boot and the gaiter include snakebite resistant material. The gaiter can be permanently or removably mounted to the boot.

Snakebite resistant materials have been used in footwear and other clothing in the past. FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate two different example commercially available footwear 200, 300 that include snakebite resistant material. Footwear 200 shown in FIG. 16 includes a tightening arrangement 220 that includes laces 234 and a plurality of eyelets 236 that extend from an instep portion 228 of the footwear to a top end 230 of the footwear. The tightening arrangement 220 provides customized tightening of the footwear about the user's foot, ankle and lower leg. Because of the footwear's significant height, which is typically in the range of about 16-20 inches, the footwear extends over numerous moving body parts. The use of a single tightening arrangement that extends from the foot, through the ankle area, and up the lower leg of the user is often inadequate for providing comfort to the user during extended use of the footwear 200. In some instances, the user would prefer to have a tighter fit around certain body parts (e.g., the foot and ankle) and a looser fit along other body parts (e.g., the calf and shin area of the lower leg) near the top end 230. The use of a single tightening arrangement as shown in FIG. 16 has shortcomings with regard to customized fit at each area of the user's body covered by the footwear 200.

FIG. 17 illustrates another example footwear that includes snakebite resistant material. The footwear 300 includes a different tightening arrangement 320 that extends from an ankle area 324 to a top end 330 of the footwear 300. The tightening arrangement includes a zipper closure structure. When the zipper closure structure is open (not shown) it is easier for the user to insert their foot into the footwear 300. Closing the zipper closure provides some tightening of the footwear about the user's lower leg from the ankle area up the lower leg. However, a zipper closure structure provides a “one size fits all” configuration that cannot be adjusted for improved comfort to the user. Specifically, the footwear 300 lacks adjustability for tightening the footwear 300 about the user's foot, ankle, and lower leg. Many of the example footwear assemblies disclosed herein address the shortcomings described with reference to the footwear 200, 300 of FIGS. 16 and 17.

The invention can be more completely understood with reference to the above descriptions and the following examples. The examples included herein are given for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention to what is illustrated and described herein. The same or similar reference numbers are used throughout the figures for those features that are common.

Example Footwear Assembly of FIGS. 1-15

Referring now to FIGS. 1-15, an example footwear assembly 10 is shown and described. FIGS. 1-8 are drawings of the example footwear assembly 10. FIGS. 9-15 are schematic line drawings illustrating certain aspects of the footwear assembly 10.

Footwear assembly 10 includes an upper 12 and a sole assembly 14. The upper 12 includes a tightening arrangement 20 that extends only partially up a total height of the footwear assembly 10. The upper 12 further includes a foot portion 22, an ankle portion 24, a top portion 26, an instep portion 28, a top end 30, and a bottom end 32. The foot portion 22 includes a forefoot portion 21, a midfoot portion 23, and a hindfoot portion 25 as shown in FIG. 1 that are adapted to correspond with related anatomical features of the user's foot.

The tightening arrangement 20 includes a set of laces 34, a plurality of eyelets 36, a tongue member 38, reinforcing material 40, and an upper boundary 42 (see FIG. 2). The eyelets 36 are mounted to the reinforcing material 40. The reinforcing material 40 extends from at least an upper eyelet 36A to a lower most eyelet 36B. The reinforcing material 40 also defines the upper boundary 42 of that portion of the footwear 10 that includes the tightening arrangement 20. In some cases, the upper eyelet 36A defines the upper boundary 42 as opposed to the reinforcing material 40 defining the upper boundary.

The eyelets 36 illustrated in FIGS. 1-8 include a loop or hook structure that retains the laces 34. Other lace retaining structures such as, for example, holes formed in the reinforcing material 40 could be used in place of or in combination with eyelets 36. The eyelets can comprise various materials such as, for example, metal, plastic, or other suitable material.

The reinforcing material 40 is shown extending along significant portions of the footwear upper 12 from the sole assembly 14 to a height H1 (see FIG. 2). In other arrangements, the reinforcing material 40 can cover a less significant surface area of the footwear upper 12. The height H1 is typically in the range of about 4 to about 12 inches, preferably in the range of about 6 to about 11 inches, and more preferably in the range of about 8 to about 11 inches. The height H1 is typically less than the total height H2 of the footwear as shown in FIG. 2. H2 is typically in the range of about 12 to about 20 inches, more preferably about 14 to 18 inches, and still more preferably in the range of about 16 to about 18 inches. The height H2 can also be defined relative to the height H1. For example, the height H2 can be in the range of about 1 to about 12 inches taller than H1, more preferably about 4 to about 10 inches greater than H1, and still more preferably about 6 to about 8 inches greater than H1.

The height of the upper boundary 42 can also be defined as that portion of the upper extending from a top portion of the sole assembly 14. This distance can be calculated by subtracting the thickness T of the sole assembly 14 from the height H1.

The material of footwear upper 12 that extends above the upper boundary 42 can be defined as a snakebite material extension 45 (see FIG. 2). The extension 45 comprises at least a single layer of snakebite resistant material. In some arrangements, the snakebite resistant material can be combined with a waterproof layer, insulating layers, and padding layers that provide protection and comfort to the user. The snakebite material extension 45 can have a construction that provides a self-supporting structure. A self-supporting structure can extend vertically upward from the upper boundary 42 before, during, and after use to help provide snakebite protection to the user's lower leg without further tightening or securing structures above the tightening arrangement 20. However, in some instances a cinching member 43 can be included along the top end 30 of upper 12 to provide some adjustment of the size of the opening of the top end 30 relative to a user's leg or other clothing.

The snakebite material extension 45 has an opening 49 along the top end 30 as shown in FIG. 6. The opening 49 typically defines an area that is greater than the size (i.e., cross-sectional size) of the user's leg. The opening 49 can be sized to provide insertion of the user's pants or other clothing within the footwear 10 along with the user's leg rather than positioning the clothing on the outside of the footwear 10. Preferably, the size of opening 49 is such that there is not significant abrasion or agitation of the user's leg along the inside surfaces of the snakebite material extension 45.

The snakebite material extension 45 preferably has a cross-sectional area measured at any location between the upper boundary 42 and the opening 49 that is also sized greater than the user's leg.

The tightening arrangement 20 is shown including a set of laces 34 and eyelets 36. In other arrangements, the laces 34 can be used in combination with or replaced by other adjustable tightening features or arrangements such as, for example, a hook and loop arrangement, straps, buckles, cable systems and the like.

Some example snakebite resistant materials include, for example, those materials disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,837,623 and 5,565,264. Some commercial snakebite resistant materials include SNAKEGUARD produced by Emtex Inc. of Danvers, Me., TURTLESKIN made by Warrick Mills of New Ipswich, N.H., and VIPERCLOTH used in Chippewa brand boots. Some other example materials that may be applicable include Kevlar, aramid (aromatic polyamide) fabric, and other synthetic fiber fabrics that are resistant to penetration.

Snakebite resistant material can be characterized by some of the material components and properties of the material. For example, some snakebite resistant materials include a stitch bonded polyester or a spun bonded polypropylene. Some such materials can have properties of breatheability while still maintaining resistance to puncturing with a sharp object such as snake fangs that are applied to the material with significant force or at non-perpendicular angles relative to a primary surface of the material.

Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, the footwear assembly 10 is shown in cross-section. The sole assembly shown in FIG. 7 includes an outsole positioned along a bottom side of the footwear assembly, a midsole 52, a lasting member 54, and an insole 56. Typically, a bottom peripheral edge of the upper 12 is sewn or otherwise secured to an underside edge of the lasting member 54. The outsole 50 and midsole 52 can be cemented or molded onto the upper 12 and lasting member 54. Typically, the insole 56 can be assembled as a removable member that sits on top of the lasting member 54. In other arrangements, welt constructions are possible for the footwear assembly wherein the upper 12 is secured to a lasting board and sewn or otherwise attached to the sole assembly 14.

The upper 12 includes a snakebite resistant material 44, a waterproof layer 46, and a padding layer 48 (see FIG. 8). FIG. 7 illustrates that the snakebite resistant material 44 extends from the top end 30 to the bottom end 32 of the upper 12. In this embodiment, the waterproof layer 46 and padding layer 48 also extend from the top end 30 to the bottom end 32. The combination of the snakebite resistant material 44, waterproof layer 46 and padding layer 48 define the tongue member 38 in the area of the tightening arrangement 20. The reinforcing material 40 is positioned on an outward facing surface of the snakebite resistant material 44 along the foot portion 22, ankle portion 24, and into the area of the top portion 26 of the upper 12. The reinforcing material 40 can provide additional strength and structure for supporting the eyelets 36 and holding the upper 12 tightly against the user's foot, ankle and lower leg when the laces 34 are pulled tight and tied.

The tongue member 38 can provide an expandable gusset in the upper 12 to accommodate different sizes of the user's foot and lower leg. Typically, the tongue member 38 includes snakebite resistant material. The tongue can be constructed as a separate member from the snakebite material extension 45 and the tightening arrangement 20. In other arrangements, the tongue member 38 can be a continuous or integral with the snakebite material extension 45. The snakebite material extension 45 and tongue 38 can be characterized as a gaiter member that is formed integral with and permanently mounted to the footwear assembly 10.

The footwear assembly 10 includes a snakebite resistant material along the entire height of the footwear upper 12, while the tightening arrangement 20 extends along only a portion of the height of the footwear assembly 10. There can be multiple kinds or types of snakebite resistant material used in the footwear upper 12. Alternatively, the same type of snakebite resistant material can be used throughout the footwear upper 12. Further, the snakebite resistant material can be a continuous piece throughout the upper 12, or can comprise several individual pieces of snakebite resistant material that abut, overlap, or are secured or otherwise attached to each other. The upper 12 can also include multiple layers of snakebite resistant material, for example, in areas where additional protection is desired.

The snakebite resistant material can be included as a layer within the construction of footwear assembly 10 at any desired location. For example, the snakebite resistant material can be positioned as the outermost layer of the footwear assembly 10 to define an outer exposed surface thereof. In another example, the snakebite resistant material is included as an embedded layer in the construction of the footwear assembly 10.

The Example Footwear Assembly of FIGS. 18-22 Referring now to FIGS. 18-22, another example footwear assembly 100 is shown and described. The footwear assembly 100 includes a footwear (e.g., a boot) 110 and a gaiter 160. The footwear 110 includes an upper 112 and a sole assembly 114.

The upper 112 includes a tightening arrangement 120, a foot portion 122, an ankle portion 124, an instep portion 128, a top end 130, and a bottom end 132. The upper 112 also includes a snakebite resistant material 144 that extends throughout much if not all of the outer surface area of the upper 112. The snakebite resistant material 144 typically extends from at least the top end 130 to the bottom end 132. A padding layer 148 can be included on at least a portion of the interior surface area of the upper 112.

The tightening arrangement 120 includes a set of laces 134, a plurality of eyelets 136, a tongue member 138, first and second reinforcing materials 140, 141, and an upper boundary 142. Some of the plurality of eyelets 136 are positioned on the first reinforcing material 140. Others of the plurality of eyelets 136 are positioned on the second reinforcing material 141. The tightening arrangement 120 extends from the foot portion 122 through the ankle portion 124 along the instep portion 128 of the footwear 110. The upper boundary 142 is positioned near the top end 130 of the upper 112. Typically, the upper boundary 142 is positioned within, for example, about 0.5 to about 2 inches of the top end 130. Alternatively, an uppermost eyelet 136A (see FIG. 20) defines the upper boundary. The uppermost eyelet 136A is typically positioned within about 0.5 to about 2 inches of the top end 130.

The footwear 110 further includes first and second side boot connectors 180, 182, and a rear boot connector 184; The connectors 180, 182, 184 are configured to connect with a plurality of gaiter connectors positioned on the gaiter 160, as will be described in further detail below.

The footwear 110 typically has a height H1 in a range of about 4 to about 12 inches, preferably about 6 to about 10 inches, and more preferably in the range of about 8 to about 10 inches (see FIG. 19). The sole assembly 114 has a thickness T in the range of about, for example, 0.5 to about 3 inches, and more preferably about 1 to about 2 inches (see FIG. 18). The footwear 110 usually has a height H1 wherein the upper 112 extends around at least a portion of the user's ankle. A footwear with such a height can provide additional support for the gaiter 160. In other embodiments, the footwear 110 can have a smaller height H1 similar to a common walking shoe that are sized below the user's ankle. Such footwear includes features to permit attachment of the gaiter in a way that supports the gaiter while providing proper protection for the user's lower leg features against potential snakebites.

The gaiter 160 includes a top end 162, a bottom end 164, a zipper closure assembly 166, and a connection assembly 168. When the gaiter 160 is mounted to the footwear 110, the bottom end 164 is positioned vertically lower than the top end 130 of the upper 112. The top end 162, as shown in FIG. 18, has a height H2 measured from a bottom side of the sole assembly 114. Typically, the height H2 is in the range of about 12 to about 20 inches, preferably in the range of about 16 to about 20 inches, and more preferably in the range of about 16 to 18 inches. The height H2 can also be defined with reference to the top end 130 of the upper 112. For example, the height H2 can be in the range of about 2 to about 12 inches taller than the top end 130, preferably about 4 to about 10 inches, and more preferably about 6 to about 8 inches taller than the top end 130. Described in an alternative way, the height of the top end 162 of the gaiter 160 or the height of the footwear 110 can be measured relative to the top of the sole assembly 114 by subtracting the thickness T from the heights H1, H2.

The zipper closure assembly 166 is shown in a closed state in FIG. 18 and in an open state in FIG. 19. FIG. 18 illustrates the zipper closure assembly 166 positioned forward facing in the footwear assembly 100 in alignment with the instep portion 128. In other arrangements, the zipper closure assembly 166 can have alternative constructions and be arranged in different orientations relative to features of the footwear 110. Alternatively, the zipper closure assembly 166 can be replaced with other types of closure constructions and features such as, for example, laces, hook and loop members, buckles, snaps, cable systems, and other fasteners.

In still further arrangements, the gaiter 160 can be void of any closure mechanism such that the gaiter maintains a permanent cylindrical shape and cannot be adjusted into the open state shown in FIG. 19. In such a permanent cylindrical shape, the gaiter 160 could be mounted to the user's lower leg prior to the user inserting their foot into the footwear 110.

In another arrangement, the gaiter 160 can comprise an elastic construction that permits inserting the footwear through the gaiter 160 to position the gaiter 160 on the user's lower leg after the footwear 110 has already been positioned on the user's foot. In a still further arrangement, the gaiter 160 can have an internal size sufficiently large to permit mounting of the gaiter 160 over the footwear 110 after the footwear has been positioned on the user's foot. In this arrangement, the gaiter 160 could be at least partially tightened around at least the bottom end 164 using some type of tightening construction so as to provide a desired mounted state to the footwear 110 while still providing a loose fit around the user's leg at the open top end 162.

In some cases, the gaiter 160 can include a cinching member 143 along the top end 162. The cinching member 143 can provide at least a partial closure or reduction in the size of the opening into the top end 162 of the gaiter 160 when the zipper closure assembly 166 is in the closed state.

The connection assembly 168 includes first and second side gaiter connectors 170, 172 and a rear gaiter connector 174 as shown in FIG. 21. The gaiter connectors 170, 172, 174 are arranged for connection to the boot connectors 180, 182, 184, respectively, as shown in FIGS. 20 and 22 to help mount the gaiter 160 to the footwear 110. The gaiter connectors 170, 172, 174 can comprise an elastic material that can help in mounting the gaiter connectors to the boot connectors 180, 182, 184. Numerous other connection assembly configurations are possible for mounting the gaiter 160 to the footwear 110. In one example, the footwear 110 includes a storage pouch wherein the gaiter 160 can be stored when not needed for use while remaining permanently fixed to the footwear 110.

The gaiter 160 includes snakebite resistant material 176. The snakebite resistant material 176 is shown extending over substantially the entire surface area of the gaiter 160. In some arrangements, portions of the gaiter 160 can be void of snakebite resistant material. For example, that portion of the gaiter 160 that overlaps with the ankle portion 124 of the footwear 110 does not necessarily require snakebite resistant material to provide protection of the user's ankle and foot in that area because of the snakebite resistant material 144 positioned on the footwear 110. Alternatively, portions of the footwear 110 that overlap with portions of snakebite resistant material 176 on the gaiter 160 can be void of snakebite resistant material.

Each of the footwear 110 and gaiter 160 can include multiple layers of snakebite resistant material. Also, portions of the snakebite material 144, 176 can be covered with additional materials such as the reinforcing materials 140, 141 on the footwear 110, or additional reinforcing, aesthetic, or other functional materials (e.g., waterproof and padding) or layers. The snakebite resistant materials 144, 176 can be the same type of snakebite resistant material. Alternatively, the materials 144, 176 can be different types of snakebite resistant material while still providing the desired properties of resistance to snakebites. The footwear assembly 110 can be characterized as including a first material (e.g., a snakebite resistant material) that extends from the top end 162 of the gaiter 160 to the bottom end 132 of the upper 112, and a second material (e.g., one of the first and second reinforcing materials 140, 141) that extends over only a portion of the footwear assembly (e.g., to the height H1 or the upper boundary 142). The footwear assembly 100 can also be described as having a tightening arrangement that extends up to only a portion of the height of the footwear assembly (e.g., H1) while a substantial portion of the footwear assembly (e.g., the gaiter 160) extends above the tightening arrangement and does not include a tightening arrangement so that the portion of the footwear assembly 100 above the tightening arrangement can be loose fit on the user's leg.

The gaiter 160 can comprise materials that provide the gaiter 160 as a free-standing structure, particularly when the zipper closure assembly 166 is in the closed state. When the gaiter 160 has a free-standing construction, the gaiter 160 can remain standing vertically upward when supported at only a single end (e.g., the bottom end 164) by the footwear 110. The gaiter 160 does not require any further attachment, tightening or engagement structures for engaging the user or the user's clothing at any point above the point of connection between the gaiter 160 and the footwear 110.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

One aspect of the present disclosure relates to a footwear assembly that includes a sole assembly and an upper portion. The upper portion includes a top end, the top end defining an opening, a bottom end secured to the sole assembly, a tightening arrangement, and first and second materials. The tightening arrangement is configured to adjustably tighten a portion of the footwear about a portion of the user. The first material extends between the top and bottom ends of the upper portion. The second material extends partially between the top and bottom ends of the upper portion.

Another aspect of the present disclosure relates to a footwear assembly that includes a footwear member and a gaiter. The footwear member includes a sole assembly and an upper portion secured to the sole assembly. The upper portion includes a tightening arrangement configured to constrict a size of the upper portion, and a snakebite resistant material that extends over substantially an entire surface area of the upper portion. The gaiter includes a snakebite resistive material that extends over substantially an entire outer surface area of the gaiter. The gaiter can be configured to releaseably mount to the footwear member.

Another aspect of the present disclosure relates to a footwear assembly that includes a sole member, a first upper portion, and a second upper portion. The first upper portion includes a first bottom end and a first top end that defines an opening into which a user's foot can be inserted. The second upper portion includes an adjustable tightening arrangement. The adjustable tightening arrangement is configured to adjustably constrict the footwear assembly about the user's foot. The second upper portion includes a second top end and a second bottom end, wherein the second bottom end is secured to the sole assembly and the first bottom end extends from the second top end. The first and second upper portions include a snakebite resistive material that extends from the first top end to the second bottom end.

A still further aspect of the present disclosure relates to a method of constructing a footwear assembly. The footwear assembly includes a sole assembly, a first upper portion, and a second upper portion. The second upper portion includes a tightening arrangement and a gusset member aligned with the tightening arrangement. The first and second upper portions include a snakebite resistant material. The method includes mounting the second upper portion to the sole assembly, and extending the first upper portion from the second upper portion at an end of the second upper portion opposite the sole assembly, wherein the gusset member is constructed as a continuous member with the first upper member.

The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims hereinafter appended.