This is a regular patent application based upon provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/231,871 filed Sep. 12, 2000, now pending.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a removable and interchangeable shoe tongue.
Most shoes are made with an opening having a tongue originating near the front of the shoe which allows a person to more easily insert a foot into the shoe. The shoe's tongue protects the foot from the elements and/or protects a person's instep from fastening means which may be present above the tongue. The shoe's tongue usually runs along the instep up to the point where the person's shin meets the foot at or about the ankle line. Shoes with tongues are constructed such that the tongue is permanently attached to the shoe, i.e. the tongue cannot be removed without causing damage or destroying the shoe.
- OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
There is a need for a shoe with a removable tongue. A removable tongue allows a person to change the aesthetic appearance of the shoe by exchanging one tongue for another. In addition, a removable tongue makes cleaning the shoe easier, as the areas of the shoe below the laces or other fastening means is often times the most difficult to access for cleaning and/or polishing.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a shoe with a removable tongue.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an interchangeable tongue for a shoe.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a removable tongue such that the shoe tongue can be removed and reattached by a simple method.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is another object of the present invention to provide an interchangeable tongue for a shoe with indicia such that the shoe can be customized for a particular purpose or event.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is a detachable tongue for a shoe. The shoe has an upper covering, disposed on a sole, which defines an instep opening and an ankle opening communicating therewith. The instep opening has a fore end near the front of the shoe and an aft end adjacent the ankle opening. The openings permit insertion of a person's foot in the shoe such that the instep opening is adjacent the person's instep when the foot is in the shoe. The detachable tongue is an elongated strip of material having fore and aft ends which is disposed in the instep opening such that the fore and aft ends of the strip substantially align with the fore and aft ends of the instep opening, respectively. The shoe with the detachable tongue includes a fastener at the fore end of the strip to attach the tongue to the upper covering near the fore end of the instep opening. The fastener for the detachable tongue includes a fabric fastener defining a hook and loop fastening system, one or more buttons, a snap system, a hook and eye system, a zipper, and a string system. The fastener can be hidden from view such as by locating it on an underside of the upper covering. The detachable tongue can include cushioning.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention can be found in the detailed description of the preferred embodiments when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1A diagrammatically illustrates a shoe with a removable tongue;
FIG. 1B diagrammatically illustrates the removable tongue separate from the shoe;
FIG. 1C diagrammatically illustrates an interchangeable tongue;
FIGS. 2A and 2B diagrammatically illustrate a shoe with a removable tongue having a fabric fastener;
FIG. 3 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of a shoe with a removable tongue having a zipper fastener;
FIG. 4 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of a strap or string system fastener between the removable tongue and a shoe;
FIG. 5 diagrammatically illustrates a cross-sectional view of the removable tongue;
FIG. 6 illustrates a partial view of a button system fastener between the interchangeable tongue and the upper covering of the shoe;
FIG. 7 illustrates a partial view of a hook and eye fastening system between the detachable tongue and the shoe; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C illustrate the detachable tongue with various indicia.
The present invention relates to a detachable tongue for a shoe. The detachable tongue can be utilized on all types of shoes with an instep area accommodating a flexible material utilized for fastening and removing the shoes. For example, the detachable tongue can be used for dress shoes, deck shoes, tennis shoes, cleats, or other athletic shoes. The detachable tongue permits the wearer to customize the shoes by replacing one tongue for another. For example, the members of a sporting team could replace the tongues on their shoes to have their team insignia, logo or mascot displayed on the tongue of their shoes.
FIG. 1A diagrammatically illustrates a shoe 20 with a removable or detachable tongue 12. The shoe 20 illustrated in FIG. 1A is a tennis shoe-style athletic shoe, commonly referred to as a sneaker. The shoe does not have a shoe string or lace threaded through its eyelets 26. The tongue 12 protrudes upward through the instep opening 30 defined by the upper covering 32 of the shoe. The upper covering 32 refers to the entire upper portion of the shoe, which would include what is traditionally referred to as the shoe's vamp, tip, collar, quarter, foxing and mudguard. The upper covering 32 is attached to the sole 34 and defines an instep opening 30 and an ankle opening 36 communicating therewith. The instep opening 30 has a fore end 40 near the front of the shoe, an aft end 42 adjacent the ankle opening 36, and two opposing sides 44, 46. The instep opening 30 and ankle opening 36 are large enough to permit insertion of a person's foot in the shoe 20. The shoe's tongue 12 is disposed within the instep opening 36 and typically covers a person's instep, that is, the upper surface of the arched middle portion of the foot in front of the ankle joint. Similar items are identified by similar reference numbers throughout the drawings.
The detachable tongue 12 is an elongated strip of material having fore and aft ends 50, 52 which is disposed in the instep opening 36 such that the fore and aft ends of the strip 50, 52 substantially align with the fore and aft ends of the instep opening 40, 42, respectively. The strip or detachable tongue 12 can be made of any material suitable for the particular type of shoe and known by those skilled in the art, such as leather, cloth, canvas, vinyl, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the detachable tongue 12 includes cushioning 58 (see FIG. 5) which can be a synthetic sponge material, for example, or similar material.
FIGS. 1B and 1C diagrammatically illustrate two interchangeable, detachable tongues 12. Tongue 12 in FIG. 1B includes indicia 14 in the form of a star. Tongue 12 in FIG. 1C illustrates a star and stripes indicia 14, 16.
In one embodiment, the shoe 20 with the detachable tongue 12 includes one or more fasteners at the fore end of the strip to attach the tongue to the upper covering 32 near the fore end 40 of the instep opening 30. FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C illustrate the use of a snap system to removably fasten the tongue 12 to the upper covering 32. In FIGS. 1B and 1C, two snaps 60, 62 are disposed on the fore end 50 of strip 12. The snaps 60, 62 correspond to the snap counterparts 70, 72 (shown in dashed circles) located on the underside or beneath the upper covering 32 at the fore end 40 of the instep opening 30. This embodiment allows the fastening means to be hidden from view.
FIGS. 2A and 2B diagrammatically illustrate another embodiment of the shoe 20 and detachable tongue 12 in which the fastening means between the interchangeable tongue 12 and upper covering 32 is a fabric fastener 22. The fabric fastener 22 defines a hook and loop fastening system in which a strip of fabric having small hooks is affixed to one surface and another strip of fabric having miniature loops is affixed to the other surface, such that a mechanical bond is formed when the two strips come in contact with each other. In FIG. 2A, one part of the fabric fastener system 22 is attached to the underside of the upper covering 32 at the fore end 40 of the instep opening and the other part of the fabric fastener 10 is attached to the fore end 50 of the detachable tongue 12.
FIG. 3 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of another embodiment of the fastening system between the shoe 20 and a corresponding detachable tongue 12. The tongue 12 in FIG. 3 is attached or fastened to the shoe 20 by a zipper system 74 in which the fore end 50 of the strip and the two opposing sides 54, 56 are connected to the instep opening 30. A portion of the aft end 52 of the strip is not attached. The zipper system 74 can also be utilized to connect only a portion of the tongue 12 to the upper covering 32. For example, the zipper 74 can be used to connect only the fore end 50 of the tongue 12 to the upper covering 32 at the fore end 40 of the instep opening 30. Likewise, two zipper systems can be utilized to fasten the tongue 12 to either of the upper covering opposing sides 44′, 46′.
FIG. 4 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of another embodiment of the fastener between the detachable tongue 12 and shoe 20. In FIG. 4, a string or lace system is utilized in which the detachable tongue 12 is laced to the fore end of the upper covering 32. The laces 76 are held taut or fastened through the use of a buckle 78. The strings or laces 76 can also be tied together as regular shoe laces are traditionally tied.
FIG. 6 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of a button fastening system. In FIG. 6, buttons 80, 80′ are attached to the tongue 12. The buttons substantially align with button slits 82, 82′, respectively. Besides fastening the tongue 12 to the upper covering 32 of the shoe, the buttons also serve to change the appearance of the shoe through the indicia 14 marking the surface of the button.
FIG. 7 diagrammatically illustrates a partial view of one embodiment of a hook and eye fastening system. The detachable tongue 12 includes small hooks 84, 84′ which latch on to small eyelets or loops 86, 86′ attached to the shoe's upper covering.
There are numerous fasteners that can be utilized to securely attach the tongue 12 to the upper covering 32 of the shoe 20 commonly known by those skilled in the art. For example, the previously described hook and eye system could be used throughout the tongue. Also, the fabric hook and loop system described earlier can be used in conjunction with small straps. The fasteners included in the drawings are merely exemplary, and not intended to limit the scope of the present invention.
FIG. 5 diagrammatically illustrates a cross-sectional view of the detachable tongue 12 from the perspective of reference line 5′5″ in FIG. 4. The detachable tongue in FIG. 5 is constructed with three layers. The outer layers 48, 48′ are made on leather or similar material commonly used to construct shoes. The inner layer 58 is made of a cushioning material, such as a synthetic sponge material to add comfort.
The detachable tongue 12 allows the wearer to interchange one tongue for another to change the look, and sometimes the style of the shoe. For example, the shoe 20 and interchangeable, detachable tongues 12 depicted in FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C have indicia 14, 16, 18. The shoe 20 includes a star 18 on the side of the upper covering 32. The tongue 12 in FIG. 1B includes a star 14 at the aft end 52 of the strip. The interchangeable tongue 12 in FIG. 1C includes a double-star 14 and stripes 16. By taking out one tongue and replacing it with another with different indicia, the shoe can be customized. The wearer or owner of the shoe could attach a tongue with the wearer's indicia, for example, the wearer's initials or name. See indicia 14 in FIG. 8C. Several members of a team could change the tongues of their shoes to include indicia bearing the team's letters, colors, mascot, etc. See indicia 14 in FIG. 8B. Children's shoes could include several tongues bearing favorite cartoon characters. The tongue can also include trademark indicia or be used to advertise a particular brand as illustrated in FIG. 8A.
The claims appended hereto are meant to cover modifications and changes within the scope and spirit of the present invention.