US 20040049951 A1
A shoe includes a shell to cover the wearer's foot and a pocket provided at an inner surface of the shell to receive a filling material so that the pocket and the filling material project into an interior space of the shoe and provide better fit for the wearer. The filling material is removable from the pocket for replacement and may be configured to have any shape and thickness so as to fit the foot of an individual. The filling material may be a foam, a fluid, a moisture absorbent, a heat-generating element, or a stiffener.
1. A shoe comprising:
a shell adapted to cover the wearer's foot and having an inner surface; and
at least one pocket attached to said inner surface, said pocket having an opening for access to an interior of said pocket; and
a filling material inserted into said pocket, said filling material being removable from said pocket through said opening.
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 1. Field of the Invention
 The invention relates to a shoe, more particularly to a shoe which includes thereinside a pocket to receive a filling material which is removable from the pocket for replacement.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Since lasts are used in mass producing shoes, the dimensions and configurations thereof are usually standardized so as to satisfy most wearers. These standardized dimensions and configurations practically do not conform to all wearers' feet which vary either in size or shape so that the mass-produced shoes normally cannot provide a good fit to every wearer. On the other hand, in order to provide conveniences in mass production, the shape of a last usually is not exactly the same as that of the wearer's foot. For example, the projecting external and internal malleoluses and the indented achillies tendon (calcaneal tendon) of the wearer's foot are not presented on the profile of a last. Shoes produced by using such a last generally have loose fit with the wearers' feet, especially at a region corresponding to the calcaneal tendon. In addition, even if the shape of a shoe upper can be in conformity with that of the wearer's foot, this shape can not be maintained after the upper is lasted and heat-formed because of the pulling force applied to the bottom margin of the upper on a last during a lasting process.
 Attempts have been made to provide a good fitting shoe by lining the inner side of the shoe with a layer of thick and soft foam or sponge. However, this shoe is still insufficient to satisfy every user since the lining thereof is not replaceable or interchangeable.
 An object of the present invention is to provide a shoe with a pocket inside the shoe to receive removably a filling material so that a selected filling material having the desired shape and thickness to fit the foot of an individual may be put into the pocket to provide better fitting.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a shoe with an interior pocket for attaching interchangeably filling materials such as those capable of cushioning the wearer's foot, absorbing the moisture generated inside the shoe, providing heat to warm the wearer's foot, and stiffening the heel part of the shoe.
 Accordingly, a shoe comprises: a shell adapted to cover a wearer's foot and having an inner surface; and at least one pocket attached to the inner surface, the pocket having an opening for access to an interior of the pocket; and a filling material inserted into the pocket, the filling material being removable from the pocket through the opening.
 Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:
FIG. 1 shows a side view of a shoe embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view showing a portion of the shoe of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a side view of another shoe embodying the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view showing a portion of the shoe of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a view of an air cushion insertable into the pocket of the shoe of FIGS. 1 or 4;
FIG. 7 is a side view of still another shoe embodying the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a side view of still another shoe embodying the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along lines 9-9 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is an elevation view showing a stiffener and a pocket used in the shoe of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 is the same view of FIG. 8 but with the stiffener being removed from the shell.
 The preferred embodiments of the present invention will be illustrated with reference to FIGS. 1 to 7 in which like elements are represented by like numerals. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a shoe 1 embodying the present invention is shown to have a shell 10 which includes a toe portion 11, a heel portion 12, two quarter portions 13 (only one is shown) connected between the toe portion 11 and the heel portion 12, a tongue 14, and a lacing 15 passing over the tongue 14. A lining 20 is disposed inside the shell 10 to line an inner surface of the upper 10. The lining 20 has a first surface confronting the inner surface of the shell 10 and an opposite second surface which is formed with a pocket 21 having two openings 22 for access to the inside of the pocket 21. In this embodiment, the pocket 21 is elongated and disposed in the heel portion 12 at a location corresponding to the calcaneal tendon of the wearer's foot. The pocket 21 is configured to substantially conform to a horse-shoe shape and has an intermediate section 24 curved at a rear end of the heel portion 12 and two end sections 23 extending in a direction toward the toe portion 11.
 Two pieces of filling material 30 are inserted into the pocket 21 through the openings 22 in such a manner that the pocket 21 projects from the second surface of the lining 20 with a suitable thickness. When the shoe 1 is in use, the filling material 30 is placed at the region corresponding to the calcaneal tendon of the wear's foot to contact intimately or press the calcaneal tendon, thus providing a good fit for the wearer's foot.
 Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, in another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a pair of pockets 21′ are disposed respectively at left and right sides of the heel portion 12 in the region corresponding to the calcaneal tendon and are sewn to a lining (not shown) disposed inside the shell 10. Each pocket 21′ has a substantially rounded shape and is provided with an opening 22′ through which a piece of filling material 30 is inserted. The filling material 30 in each pocket 21′ is shaped to be substantially circular and is convex inward.
 The filling material 30 in the above-mentioned embodiments, is made of a foamed material, and may be configured to have any shape and thickness suitable for accommodating the wearer's foot. In addition, the filling material 30 is removable from the pocket 21 or 21′ for replacement so that a piece of filling material 30 having the desired shape and thickness may be selected and placed in the pocket 21 or 21′ to fit the foot of an individual.
 Since the pocket 21 or 21′ permits replacement of the filling material 30, the filling material 30 may be replaced with another filling material, such as a cushion bag 31, as shown in FIG. 6. The cushion bag 31 contains a fluid, such as, air or water. When the filling material is an air cushion or air duct, external air may be introduced into the air cushion or air duct and then delivered into the interior of the shoe 1. As such the filling material not only provides good fit but also helps air circulation inside the shoe 1. Other filling materials usable in the present invention include a moisture absorbent or drying agent to absorb the moisture or perspiration vapor produced by the wearer's foot, and a heat-generating element to provide heat inside a shoe so as to warm the wearer's foot. When the shoe is used in cold weather, the heat-generating element may be put into the pocket 21, 21′ to warm the wearer's foot. The heat-generating element may be a heating pad which includes an iron-based powder capable of undergoing an exothermic oxidation reaction to produce heat. The filling material used in the present invention may also be a temperature-controllable foam, well-known as “COMFORTEMP,” which can store heat and which can absorb excess heat and wick away moisture to prevent overheating inside the shoe.
 Referring to FIG. 7, another shoe embodying the present invention is shown to have a shell 10A with a pocket 21A formed directly on an inner surface thereof to receive the filling material (not shown). The pocket 21A is disposed at a location corresponding to the instep of the wearer's foot where the wearer may encounter a loose fit if his foot is slim. The filling material inserted into the pocket 21A can provide better fit to the wearer.
 Referring to FIGS. 8, 9, 10, and 11, still another shoe embodying the present invention is shown to include a shell 10B and a pocket 21B attached to the inner surface of the heel portion 12B of the shell 10B. A filling material or a stiffener 32 is placed inside the pocket 21B. Both of the pocket 21B and the stiffener 32 are configured as a segment.
 The pocket 21B is formed by stitching a piece of textile material or leather to the shell 10B. The stiffener 32 is a rigid plate or sheet to stiffen the heel portion 12B of the shell 10B like a shoe counter. The stiffener 32 may be a non-woven fiber web made of a fibrous material such as paper pulp, or a plastic sheet made of a thermoplastic material. When the stiffener 32 is removed from the pocket 21B, the heel portion 12B collapses as shown in FIG. 11. In this situation, the heel of the wearer's foot may be exposed from the shell 10B.
 While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.