Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20030200676 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/295,679
Publication dateOct 30, 2003
Filing dateNov 14, 2002
Priority dateApr 30, 2002
Publication number10295679, 295679, US 2003/0200676 A1, US 2003/200676 A1, US 20030200676 A1, US 20030200676A1, US 2003200676 A1, US 2003200676A1, US-A1-20030200676, US-A1-2003200676, US2003/0200676A1, US2003/200676A1, US20030200676 A1, US20030200676A1, US2003200676 A1, US2003200676A1
InventorsHoward Gross
Original AssigneeGross Howard M.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interchangeable modular stackable sole system for footwear
US 20030200676 A1
Abstract
A series of interchangeable stackable intermediate core sole modules have mating connectors for stacking a series of the core modules. Footwear uppers have a conventional top foot accommodating structure and a bottom surface with mating components to interconnect with the core modules. Footwear bottoms have a bottom surface with conventional soles and have an upper surface with mating components to interconnect with the core modules. Interchangeable core modules vary in material, color, texture, style, shape, thickness, and other physical features for individualizing footwear.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(23)
What is claimed is:
1. A footwear system having interchangeable components to alter the height, shape, style, material, color, texture, pattern, and other features of the footwear, the system comprising:
at least one core module having two faces with at least one interconnecting means on a first face capable of connecting with at least one mating interconnecting means on a second face from another identical core module, wherein a series of core modules are stackable and interchangeable;
a top component having an upper portion configured as a wearable portion of a piece of footwear and a bottom face having at least one interconnecting means capable of connecting with the interconnecting means on the first face of the at least one core module;
a bottom component having a bottom portion configured as a sole portion of a piece of footwear and a top face having at least one interconnecting means capable of connecting with the mating interconnecting means on the second face of the at least one core module.
2. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein a series of core modules are stackable and interchangeable in any desired order and number, and the core modules each have characteristics which may vary from other core modules in material, color, texture, pattern, style, shape, thickness, and other physical features.
3. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one core module has two flat faces and the at least one interconnecting means comprises mating hook and loop fasteners.
4. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises at least one protruding guide post and the mating interconnecting means comprises at least one mating opening.
5. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one core module further comprises a peripheral edge which assists in retaining an adjacent core module in contact therewith.
6. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises the at least one core module having an upper surface patterned with a mating surface configuration to a bottom sole configuration.
7. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a hook and pivot hinge.
8. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a spherical end on a post aligned for interconnection with a mating hole having a narrow passageway communicating with a spherical interior hollow space.
9. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a series of pins aligned for interconnection with a series of mating longitudinal openings.
10. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises two mating halves of a snap fastener.
11. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating zipper configuration.
12. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises an elongated thin tabular element mounted on a post which is insertable in a mating opening in an adjacent core module and then capable of twisting within an enlarged interior space to retain the tabular element.
13. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating paired slot and ridge configuration.
14. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating latching means and pin.
15. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating S-clip and pin.
16. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating pivotable angled insert and receiving opening.
17. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a screwing means through the top and bottom components and the at least one core module.
18. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a pair of mating curved layers creating suction.
19. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a strap wrapped around the at least one core module and the top and bottom components.
20. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a mating attractive paired surface on the at least one core module.
21. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises an adjustable tightening means such as a pulley and cord through the top and bottom components and the at least one core modules.
22. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one interconnecting means comprises a contractible means through the top and bottom components and the at least one core module.
23. The footwear system of claim 1 wherein the at least one core module is fabricated of a material taken from the list of materials including real rubber, artificial rubber, rubber-like material, leather, plastic, foam, fibre, resin, nylon, metal, inflatable material, air-filled material, liquid-filled material, composite material, solid material, resilient material, bendable material, flexible material, and rigid material.
Description
REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of patent application Ser. No. 10/136,870 filed Apr. 30, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to footwear and in particular to footwear having an interchangeable modular system of stackable soles which can be attached in any desired number of layers and any desired color and style configuration for customizable footwear.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Footwear is usually purchased in a finished state from shoe stores, department stores and various other outlets selling shoes. What you see is what you get. There is very little opportunity if any to add your own sense of style or individual expression to the footwear.

[0006] The footwear is usually a specific type with a certain thickness of sole and thickness of heel that is not alterable. To change the height of the footwear, you have to switch to a different pair.

[0007] When footwear wears out normally you have to take them to a cobbler to have the soles and heels replaced or throw them away. Often putting a new sole on the footwear actually causes the width to narrow due to the attaching means of the new soles. It can also be somewhat expensive for such repairs and often damaging to the footwear.

[0008] While there have been a number of attempts to offer flexibility in footwear with replaceable soles or heels or other parts of the footwear, including the ability to use different soles for different purposes, this is usually done only for sports shoes with different sole options for different sports or different weather conditions.

[0009] Some prior art patents have addressed the interchangeable sole and heel question, but none provide a very wide range of change possibilities.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 3,538,628, issued Nov. 10, 1970 to Einstein, shows replaceable soles for shoes that have downwardly pointing pins with enlarged heads that insert into holes in the soles to secure the soles along with mating hook and loop fasteners between the sole and the shoe.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,801, issued Nov. 28, 2000 to Frederiksen, provides a sandal including a sole portion having a front end and a rear end and a pair of sides. The sole portion is comprised of a plurality of layers of elastomeric material including a planar lower layer, an angling intermediate portion, and an upper layer adapted to receive the foot of a wearer thereon. The sole portion includes a plurality of intermediate layers. The upper layer is provided with a pair of longitudinal slits adjacent to the rear thereof and four circular holes adjacent to the front thereof. A top strap has an upper section positionable over the instep of a wearer's foot and a lower section positioned through the slits and extending there beneath. The strap has four apertures adjacent to the forward edge thereof in the upper portion. Two cords with four central extents each have two upper extents extending through associated apertures of the strap and two lower extents looped around the holes in the upper layer. Four cylindrical sleeves encompass the cords.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,280, issued Jul. 9, 1996 to Halliday, puts forth footwear with interchangeable components that includes a base footing supporter, an interchangeable middle sole, an interchangeable insole, an interchangeable base interlocker, an interchangeable ridge connector, and an interchangeable upper member. The interchangeable middle sole is removably mounted to the base footing supporter so that the interchangeable middle sole can be readily changed by user according to user preference. The interchangeable insole is removably mounted to the interchangeable middle sole so that the interchangeable insole can be readily changed by user according to user preference. The interchangeable base interlocker is removably mounted to the base footing supporter so that the interchangeable base interlocker can be readily changed by user accordingly to user preference. The interchangeable ridge connector is removably mounted to the interchangeable insole so that the interchangeable ridge connector can be readily changed by user according to user preference. And, the interchangeable upper member is removably mounted to the interchangeable base interlocker so that the interchangeable upper member can be readily changed by user according to user preference.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 6,345,454, issued Feb. 12, 2002 to Cotton, shows a shoe (20) having a removable sole includes an upper (22) and a removable lower sole (34). The upper has an upper sole (24), a heel portion (26), and a toe portion (28). Upper sole (24) has a plurality of upwardly opening alignment holes (30). A lock tab (32) is connected to toe portion (28) and forwardly projects therefrom. The removable lower sole (34) has a heel portion (36) and a toe portion (38). A rearwardly opening slot (40) disposed in toe portion (38) is shaped and dimensioned to receive lock tab (32). Removable lower sole (34) has a plurality of upwardly protruding alignment pins (42) which are engageable with alignment holes (30) in upper sole (24). Lower sole (34) is held in place by inserting lock tab (32) into the rearwardly opening slot (40) in the toe and engaging connector (44) to connect heel portion (26) of upper (22) to heel portion (36) of lower sole (34).

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 5,661,915, issued Sep. 2, 1997 to Smith, claims a shoe with a removable spike plate. A shoe includes a spike plate with spikes thereon, removably attached to a sole portion of the shoe to permit selective removal of the spike plate. The shoe includes a rib extending around the peripheral side wall of the sole, and the spike plate includes an upright wall extending around a peripheral edge of a base plate, the spike plate wall having a groove formed on an interior surface thereof cooperable with the rib to selectively connect the spike plate to the shoe. The spike plate includes a forward section pivotally connected to a rearward section along a transverse axis, to permit the forward section to pivot downwardly generally orthogonal to the rearward section of the spike plate.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 4,875,300, issued Oct. 24, 1989 to Kazz, describes a track shoe with a detachable spike plate by the use of plastic spikes. This invention is a track shoe comprised of an upper, an outsole and a spike plate. The outsole, made of an elastic material, has a bottom surface similar to the bottom surface of the spike plate. The bottom surface of the outsole, in addition, has spike receiving sockets where plastic spikes fit in and attach a detachable spike plate. The spike plate has seven apertures to allow for the insertion of seven plastic spikes which hold the spike plate to the outsole. The spike plate can be replaced by exchanging spike plates. The plastic spikes are designed to be lighter and more cost effective than steel ones, yet as easy to replace by the use of a common spike wrench.

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 4,377,042, issued Mar. 22, 1983 to Bauer, discloses footwear having a removable sole. Athletic shoes with removable outsoles are disclosed. Each upper is designed to fit an individual foot and ankle of a particular wearer and such upper is provided with an insole securely and permanently connected therewith. Each insole terminates along its peripheral margin with one part of a bead-and-recess mechanically detachable locking member. A removable outsole is provided with a surface contacting tread which is selected to not only best match the surface of a particular sports area but also the condition of such surface at a particular time of use. A flexible member is permanently connected with the outsole and terminates along its peripheral margin with the other part of the mechanical locking member. The outsole and the insole are further connected together by mating Velcro and Duallock members, tongues and grooves carried by the outsole and insole in paired relations, and other interlocking means. The forms and shapes of the bead and recess parts of the bead-and-recess mechanically detachable locking member are illustrated and described.

[0017] U.S. Pat. No. 4,062,132, issued Dec. 13, 1977 to Klimaszewski, indicates footwear having a replaceable heel and sole. Footwear having a body portion receptive of a person's foot during use and a replaceable tread portion. The tread portion is releasably locked into the body portion by a flange having gripping members on the inner peripheral surface. The tread portion has a hollowed top portion having an outer peripheral surface with gripping apertures therein in which the gripping members are received. The outer peripheral surface of the hollowed top portion is closely received in the flange and the tread portion is thus prevented from moving both laterally and perpendicularly thereby.

[0018] U.S. Pat. No. 4,974,344, issued Dec. 4, 1990 to Ching, concerns a shoe with an interchangeable vamp and sole which comprises a sole (10) with a heel (11) which an air inlet guide (14) is formed in and with an air inlet hole (111) located at the bottom, exposed portion; a guide hole (141) located at the inside, near the rearmost of the portion of the sole (10); a receiving channel (12) with a channel inlet (121) and a channel cavity (122); a plurality of annular segments (13) which are put in the channel cavity (122); an upper-shoe assembly (20) which has a vamp (21), an insole (22); a welt (211) which extends downward from the connected portion of the vamp (21) and the sole (22), a gas bladder (24) with an air inlet (241) and a bladder glove (23); by inflating or deflating the gas bladder (24), the vamp and the sole could be interchanged with the same size of device.

[0019] U.S. Pat. No. 6,311,413, issued Nov. 6, 2001 to Chern, illustrates a replaceable elastic air cushion shoe structure which includes a sole, and a vamp. The sole has a top provided with a plurality of oblique conical locking grooves and having a periphery provided with a plurality of waterproof ribs. The sole has a periphery defining a plurality of locking recesses each provided with a catch piece. The vamp has a bottom provided with a plurality of oblique conical locking blocks each locked in the locking groove of the sole. The bottom of the vamp defines a plurality of waterproof slots for receiving the waterproof ribs of the sole therein so that the vamp is integrally formed with the sole. A plurality of U-shaped snapping pieces are each secured in the bottom of the vamp and each have two sides each provided with a hook. A plurality of snapping knobs are each detachably secured on the snapping piece and each include a press button secured in the locking recess and locked by the catch piece of the sole, and a snap pivotally mounted on the press button and snapped on the hook of the snapping piece.

[0020] U.S. Pat. No. 4,317,294, issued Mar. 2, 1982 to Goodyear, is for a replaceable shoe sole comprised of a mid-sole, which is securely attached to the upper portion of the shoe, and an out-sole removeably attached to the mid-sole. The upper surface of the out-sole is provided with a continuous ridge which is snapped into a matching, deformably resilient groove recessed into the bottom surface of the mid-sole. The configuration of the ridge and the resiliency of the out-sole and the mid-sole material, which is preferably a polyurethane resin or foam, permits the out-sole to be easily and selectively removed and replaced by an out-sole having a new or distinctive tread pattern, the replaced out-sole being reusable if desired. The ridge on the out-sole is provided with an undercut portion to provide secure retention of the out-sole in the mid-sole, although the specific cross sectional shape of the ridge may vary depending upon the retentiveness required by a particular activity.

[0021] U.S. Pat. No. 4,279,083, issued Jul. 21, 1981 to Dilge, is for a shoe construction including a shoe body which is conventional except that it does not include a shoe sole, a first layer of material fixed to the undersurface of the shoe body, a second layer of material for attaching to and detaching from the first layer of material, and a shoe sole fixed to the second layer of material. The first and second layers of material include means such as velcro for enabling attachment and detachment of the two layers. With this construction, when a shoe sole becomes worn, it can be detached from the shoe body and replaced by a new shoe sole.

[0022] U.S. Pat. No. 4,114,296, issued Sep. 19, 1978 to Smith, is about a shoe adapted for facile interchangeability into a multiplicity of styles comprising an outsole having a heel portion, with there being an intervening zone of flexure therebetween. Forward and rearward inner soles are provided on said outsole and with their adjacent end portions in overlapping relationship for relative slidability during foot movement. A retaining strap extending lengthwise of the shoe serves to optionally maintain a rear upper in operative position as well as to promote integration of the shoe components in selected mode of wear. A readily widthwise adjustable front upper or vamp is detachably mounted upon the forward portion of said outsole and replaceable by a thong detachable to the forward portion of the sole.

[0023] U.S. Pat. No. 5,317,822, issued Jun. 7, 1994 to Johnson describes an athletic shoe with an interchangeable wear sole which can be selected to match a specific sport, is disclosed. An upper portion of the athletic shoe is designed for an individual foot of a particular wearer. This upper portion of the athletic shoe contains an attached upper sole which has molded on the bottom surface a plurality of strategically placed protruding resilient knobs and a protruding resilient edge rail which engages knob chambers and a rail slot located on the upper surface of the wear sole. VELCRO surface on the upper sole and the wear sole also are engaged. Interlocking devices on the edge of the upper sole and wear sole are pinned together. The above combination holds the selected wear sole firmly on the upper sole attached to the upper portion of the athletic shoe.

[0024] U.S. Pat. No. 4,745,693, issued May 24, 1988 to Brown, provides a shoe having an upper portion and a sole-and-heel portion which portions are releasably joined together by a circumferential zipper connection means.

[0025] U.S. Pat. No. 3,019,534, issued Feb. 6, 1962 to Kauffman, is for shoes with interchangeable soles and heels that have transverse tongue and groove patterns allowing the soles and heels to slide sideways on and off the shoes.

[0026] U.S. Pat. No. 3,902,259, issued Sep. 2, 1975 to Cracco, provides a sandal assembly with five interchangeable elements which assemble together to form the sandal.

[0027] None of the prior art really addresses the need for complete flexibility in being able to change color, style, and height of footwear as well as materials and other features.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0028] An object of the present invention is to provide a wide range of flexibility in footwear design, style, height, color, and materials.

[0029] Another object of the present invention is to provide a modular system of soles for shoes to create a multilevel stackable sole which can easily be altered as desired for the appearance or characteristic desired.

[0030] One more object of the present invention is to provide footwear that is changeable in height and types of materials to put the footwear to different uses according to the desired degree of elevation and softness or hardness of the soles.

[0031] In brief, a multilayer interchangeable system of modular stackable footwear elements including decorative or functional bottom soles and intermediate interchangeable sole modules that are quickly and easily added to and removed from a stack arrangement of any desired height, color, shape, or material attached to the bottom of a shoe, sandal, boot, or other type of footwear.

[0032] Intermediate sole core modules comprise essentially flat interlocking pieces that are stackable and lock together using insertable pins in mating holes and mating hook and loop fasteners for quick assembly and disassembly. Each core module has at least two spaced guides or locking pins extending from one side of the core unit and at least two mating spaced holes in the opposite side and mating configurations of mating hook and loop fastening means attached to the two sides of each core module, so that when two core modules are interconnected the guides or locking pins of one core module engage and are secured in the mating holes of the adjacent core module and the hook fastener configuration of one core module engages the mating loop configuration of the adjacent core module to form two layers in the pattern of the built-up sole.

[0033] The top component of the footwear of the invention has a normal top configuration of a sandal or thong, shoe, boot, or other conventional footwear and a bottom configuration to mate with a core module having either protrusions or holes and having either hooks or loops.

[0034] The bottom component of the footwear of the invention has a normal bottom configuration of a sole of a sandal or thong, shoe, boot, or other conventional footwear and a top configuration to mate with a core module having either protrusions or holes and having either hooks or loops.

[0035] The core modules and bottom and top components can each be fabricated of a variety of materials in a variety of colors and patterns and outline shapes, which may all be combined in any desired combination for a truly unique look created by each individual for his or her footwear.

[0036] An advantage of the present invention is that footwear of unique styles, colors, shapes, heights, designs, and other configurations can be created.

[0037] Another advantage of the present invention is that soles and design configurations can be changed quickly and easily.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0038] These and other details of my invention will be described in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are furnished only by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention, and in which drawings:

[0039]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the top, bottom and core modules of the invention aligned for assembly;

[0040]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a bottom of a core module;

[0041]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the components of the invention assembled into a piece of footwear;

[0042]FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the interconnecting means including protruding guide posts and mating receiving holes and mating hook and loop fasteners;

[0043]FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means including hollow protruding guide posts with built-in holes inside the guide posts to receive guide posts from adjacent core modules and mating hook and loop fasteners;

[0044]FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing each core module having an upper surface patterned with a mating surface configuration to the bottom sole configuration;

[0045]FIG. 7A is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a hook and pivot hinge configuration;

[0046]FIG. 7B is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 7A showing the interconnecting means comprising a hook and pivot hinge configuration with the two core modules attached together;

[0047]FIG. 8 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing three different embodiments of the interconnecting means including a spherical end on a post aligned for interconnection with a mating hole having a narrow passageway communicating with a spherical interior hollow space, a series of pins aligned for interconnection with a series of mating longitudinal openings, and two mating halves of a snap fastener aligned for interconnection;

[0048]FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating zipper configuration;

[0049]FIG. 10A is a partial perspective view of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising an elongated thin tabular element mounted on a post which is insertable in a mating opening in an adjacent core module and then capable of twisting within an enlarged interior space to retain the tabular element;

[0050]FIG. 10B is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 10A showing the interconnecting means comprising an elongated thin tabular element mounted on a post which is insertable in a mating opening and then capable of twisting within an enlarged interior space to retain the tabular element;

[0051]FIG. 11 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating paired slot and ridge configuration;

[0052]FIG. 12 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating latch (clasp or hook) and pin configuration;

[0053]FIG. 13 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating S-clip and pin configuration;

[0054]FIG. 14 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating pivotable angled insert and receiving opening configuration;

[0055]FIG. 15 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a screw or bolt and nut through all the core modules configuration;

[0056]FIG. 16 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising mating curved layers forming creating suction between the core modules;

[0057]FIG. 17 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a strap wrapped around all the core modules;

[0058]FIG. 18 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a mating attractive paired surface configuration which could include magnetic or adhesive surfaces such as tape or glue;

[0059]FIG. 19 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising an adjustable tightening means such as a pulley and cord through all the core modules;

[0060]FIG. 20 is a partial cross-sectional view taken longitudinally through the core modules of an alternate embodiment showing the interconnecting means comprising a contractible means such as a spring or elastic string or strap through all the core modules.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0061] In FIGS. 1-20, a footwear system 20 has interchangeable components to alter the height, shape, style, material, color, texture, pattern, and other physical features of the footwear. The system comprises a series of core modules 40-40R, a top foot attaching member 30, and a bottom sole member 50.

[0062] Each core module 40-40R has two faces with at least one interconnecting means on a first face, such as spaced guide posts 41 and 41A or locking pins and loop material 45A and a peripheral ridge 49, capable of connecting with at least one mating interconnecting means on a second face, such as spaced mating holes 42 (as seen in FIG. 2) and 42A (as seen in FIG. 5) and mating hook material 45B and a mating recessed edge 47, from another identical core module, so that a series of core modules are stackable and interchangeable to form a layered sole (as seen in FIG. 3).

[0063] A series of core modules 40-40R are stackable and interchangeable in any desired order and number, and the core modules each have characteristics which may vary from other core modules in material, color, texture, pattern, style, shape, thickness, and other physical features to create individualized unique variable footwear.

[0064] A top component 30 has an upper portion configured as a wearable portion of a piece of footwear, such as a thong sandal top 33 with an over-foot strap 36 and toe piece 37 or any other footwear top including shoes and boots and a bottom face having at least one interconnecting means, such as spaced holes 42 and hook material 45B and a recessed edge 47 (as seen in FIG. 2), capable of connecting with the interconnecting means, such as mating spaced guide posts 41 or locking posts and mating loop material 45A and a mating peripheral ridge 49, on the first face of the core module 43.

[0065] A bottom component 50 has a bottom portion configured as a sole 54 of a piece of footwear and a top face 53 having at least one interconnecting means, such as spaced guide posts 41 or locking posts and loop material 45A and a peripheral ridge 49 capable of connecting with the mating interconnecting means, such as the spaced mating holes 42 and mating hook material 45B and a mating recessed edge 47, on the second face 44 of the core module 40.

[0066] In FIG. 4, the spaced guide posts 41 or locking posts are formed as solid protrusions on the top surface 43 of the core modules 40 and the mating spaced openings 42 are formed as openings in the bottom face 44 of the core modules 40.

[0067] In FIG. 5, in an alternate embodiment of the core module 40A, the spaced guide posts 41A are formed from a sheet of plastic 48 or other somewhat shape holding material molded to form a protrusion post 41A that has a hollow interior forming the opening 42A in the bottom face 44 of the core module 40A.

[0068] The core modules 40-40R may have any of a variety of interconnecting means which also interconnect with the top component 30 and the bottom component 50. In each case, although generally shown with one of the mating components on the top of the core module 40-40R and the other of the mating components on the bottom of the core module 40-40R, it is understood that the mating components could be reversed.

[0069] In FIG. 6, an alternate embodiment shows each core module 40B having an upper surface 61 patterned with a mating surface configuration to the bottom sole configuration 62 on the bottom of each core module 40B and the sole of the bottom component 50.

[0070] In FIG. 7A, an alternate embodiment of the core module 40C shows the interconnecting means comprising a hook 70 and pivot hinge 71 configuration aligned for connection in FIG. 7A and actually interconnected in FIG. 7B.

[0071] In FIG. 8, on a single pair of core modules 40D, three different embodiments of the interconnecting means are shown (although would each likely be used separately, including a spherical end 80 on a post aligned for interconnection with a mating hole 81 having a narrow passageway communicating with a spherical interior hollow space, a series of pins 82 aligned for interconnection with a series of mating longitudinal openings 83, and two mating halves of a snap fastener 84 and 85 aligned for interconnection.

[0072] In FIG. 9, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40E shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating zipper configuration 90.

[0073] In FIGS. 10A and 10B, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40F shows the interconnecting means comprising an elongated thin tabular element 100 mounted on a post which is insertable in a mating opening 101 in an adjacent core module and then capable of twisting within an enlarged interior space to retain the tabular element at a right angle to the opening as shown dashed in FIG. 10A.

[0074] In FIG. 11, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40G shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating paired slot 111 and ridge 110 configuration fitting slidably together either from side to side or end to end.

[0075] In FIG. 12, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40H shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating latch 120 (clasp or hook) and pin 121.

[0076] In FIG. 13, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40J shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating S-clip 130 and pin 131.

[0077] In FIG. 14, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40K shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating pivotable angled insert 140 and receiving opening 141.

[0078] In FIG. 15, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40L shows the interconnecting means comprising a screw 150 or bolt and nut 151 through an opening with recessed ends 152 through all the core modules.

[0079] In FIG. 16, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40M shows the interconnecting means comprising mating curved layers concave 161 and convex 160 creating suction between the core modules 40M.

[0080] In FIG. 17, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40N shows the interconnecting means comprising a strap 170 wrapped around all the core modules 40N.

[0081] In FIG. 18, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40P shows the interconnecting means comprising a mating attractive paired surface configuration which could include a layer of attractive material 180 which could be magnetic or adhesive surfaces such as tape or glue on one core module 40P to interconnect with the adjacent core module 40P.

[0082] In FIG. 19, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40Q shows the interconnecting means comprising an adjustable tightening means such as a pulley 192 on a top component 30A and cord 190 tied off by an enlarged end element 191 on a bottom component with the cord extending through all the core modules 40Q interconnecting them.

[0083] In FIG. 20, an alternate embodiment of the core modules 40R shows the interconnecting means comprising a contractible means such as a spring or elastic string or strap 200 through all the core modules 40R and secured by an enlarged top end piece 201 on the top component 30B and an enlarged bottom end piece 201 on the bottom component 50B.

[0084] The core modules 40-40R, and where appropriate the top components 30 and bottom components 50, may be formed of real or artificial rubber or rubber-like material, leather, plastic, foam, fibre, resin, nylon, metal, inflatable or air-filled material, liquid-filled material, composite material, solid material, resilient material, bendable material, flexible material, rigid material. or any other desired material. The core modules 40 and 40A and top components 30 and bottom components 50 may have any desired color, texture, pattern, peripheral shape, thickness, material, or other physical characteristic to provide variety, visual interest and different physical characteristics to the layered footwear allowing for individualized expression and custom designing for specific functional use.

[0085] It is understood that the preceding description is given merely by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6976323 *Jun 7, 2004Dec 20, 2005David Charles HallidayFootwear system with readily interchangeable components
US7578076 *Sep 14, 2007Aug 25, 2009The Timberland CompanyModular shoe
US7600332 *Feb 13, 2006Oct 13, 2009Nike, Inc.Article of footwear with a removable foot-supporting insert
US7744513 *May 14, 2008Jun 29, 2010Bradley CastellanoLeg lift device and associated method
US7900379Sep 17, 2009Mar 8, 2011Nike, Inc.Article of footwear with a removable foot-supporting insert
US7984569 *May 14, 2007Jul 26, 2011Omni Trax Technology, Inc.Modular footwear system
US8544189Jun 3, 2011Oct 1, 2013Ot Intellectual Property, LlcModular footwear system
US8640362Mar 1, 2011Feb 4, 2014Nike, Inc.Article of footwear with a removable foot-supporting insert
WO2006125997A1May 26, 2006Nov 30, 2006Jason KershawInter-engaging fasteners
WO2013169284A1 *Oct 11, 2012Nov 14, 2013Mulholland Sarah MelissaConvertible shoe
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/15
International ClassificationA43B13/20, A43B13/18, A43B13/36
Cooperative ClassificationA43B13/189, A43B13/36, A43B1/0081, A43B13/20
European ClassificationA43B1/00V, A43B13/18G, A43B13/20, A43B13/36