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Publication numberUS20050022430 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/847,808
Publication dateFeb 3, 2005
Filing dateMay 18, 2004
Priority dateJul 31, 2003
Publication number10847808, 847808, US 2005/0022430 A1, US 2005/022430 A1, US 20050022430 A1, US 20050022430A1, US 2005022430 A1, US 2005022430A1, US-A1-20050022430, US-A1-2005022430, US2005/0022430A1, US2005/022430A1, US20050022430 A1, US20050022430A1, US2005022430 A1, US2005022430A1
InventorsKerry Terry
Original AssigneeTerry Kerry L.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Protective covering for athletic shoes
US 20050022430 A1
Abstract
A two-piece covering for athletic shoes having spikes, cleats or other protrusions extending from the soles of the shoes. The covering comprises a toe member that wraps around a front part of a shoe, and a heel member that is positioned around a back part of the shoe. The toe member comprises two flaps that open up to accept the toe of the athletic shoe and a front bottom member attached to the flaps that prevents the cleats or spikes on the front of the shoe from contacting the ground. The heel member comprises a cup portion that fits around the heel of the shoe and a back bottom member attached to the cup portion that prevents cleats or spikes on the back of the shoe from contacting the ground.
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Claims(20)
1. A covering for a shoe having a sole from which one or more protrusions extend comprising:
a right flap comprising a first piece of material that wraps around at least a part of the right front side of the shoe;
a right strap comprising an elongated member that extends from the right flap and that has sufficient length to extend around a heel of the shoe;
a left flap comprising a second piece of material that wraps around at least a part of the left front side of the shoe, the left flap being separable from the right flap to allow a front part of the shoe to be positioned between the right flap and the left flap, the right flap and the left flap being attachable to each other with a flap fastener to secure the covering around the front part of the shoe;
a left strap comprising an elongated member that extends from the left flap and that has sufficient length to extend around the heel of the shoe, the left strap attaching to the right strap to secure the right strap and the left strap around the heel of the shoe; and
a bottom member attached to the right flap and to the left flap, the bottom member being adapted for covering at least a part of the sole of the shoe, but less than all of the sole, so that the bottom member helps prevent the protrusions from contacting a walking surface when the covering is wrapped around the front part of the shoe.
2. The covering of claim 1 wherein the first piece of material and the second piece of material are each comprised of a flexible material.
3. The covering of claim 2 wherein the flexible material comprises neoprene.
4. The covering of claim 1 wherein the flap fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener.
5. The covering of claim 1 further comprising:
a front protective sole attached to the toe member underneath the bottom member.
6. The covering of claim 1 further comprising:
a right fastener attached to the right strap; and
a left fastener attached to the left strap so that the right strap can be attached to the left strap.
7. A covering for a shoe having sole protrusions comprising:
a toe member adapted for wrapping around a front part of a shoe having a sole from which one or more protrusions extend, the toe member comprising:
a right flap comprising a first piece of material that wraps around at least a part of a right front side of the shoe;
a right strap comprising an elongated member that extends from the right flap;
a left flap comprising a second piece of material that wraps around at least a part of a left front side of the shoe, the left flap being separable from the right flap to allow the front part of the shoe to be positioned between the right flap and the left flap, the right flap and the left flap being attachable to each other with a flap fastener to secure the toe member around the front part of the shoe;
a left strap comprising an elongated member that extends from the left flap; and
a first bottom member attached to the right flap and to the left flap, the first bottom member being adapted for covering at least a part of the sole of the shoe, but less than all of the sole, so that the first bottom member helps prevent at least some of the protrusions from contacting a walking surface when the toe member is wrapped around the front part of the shoe; and
a heel member adapted for positioning around a back part of the shoe, the heel member comprising:
a cup portion comprising a third piece of material that fits around the back part of the shoe; and
a second bottom member attached to the cup portion, the second bottom member being adapted for covering at least a part of the sole of the shoe, but less than all of the sole, the right and left straps of the toe member attaching to the heel member to help in securing the heel member to the shoe, the heel member being a separate piece from the toe member when the right and left straps are not attached to the heel member.
8. The covering of claim 7 wherein the first piece of material and the second piece of material are each comprised of a flexible material.
9. The covering of claim 8 wherein the flexible material comprises neoprene.
10. The covering of claim 9 wherein the neoprene has a thickness of approximately three millimeters.
11. The covering of claim 7 wherein the flap fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener.
12. The covering of claim 7 wherein the first bottom member comprises neoprene.
13. The covering of claim 7 wherein the second bottom member is adapted for helping to prevent at least some of the protrusions from contacting the walking surface.
14. The covering of claim 7 further comprising:
an ankle strap extending from a first side of the heel member and being adapted for positioning over an ankle of a person wearing the shoe and attaching to a second side of the heel member.
15. The covering of claim 7 further comprising:
a front protective sole attached to the toe member underneath the first bottom member.
16. The covering of claim 15 wherein the front protective sole comprises a thermoplastic rubber.
17. The covering of claim 7 further comprising:
a rear protective sole attached to the heel member underneath the cup portion.
18. A covering for a shoe having spikes or cleats comprising:
a toe member adapted for wrapping around a front part of a shoe having a sole from which one or more spikes or cleats protrude, the toe member comprising:
a right flap comprising a first piece of flexible material that wraps around at least a part of a right front side of the shoe;
a right strap comprising an elongated section of the first piece of flexible material that extends from the right flap;
a left flap comprising a second piece of flexible material that wraps around at least a part of a left front side of the shoe, the left flap being separable from the right flap to allow the front part of the shoe to be positioned between the right flap and the left flap, the right flap and the left flap being attachable to each other with a flap fastener to secure the toe member around the front part of the shoe;
a left strap comprising an elongated section of the second piece of flexible material that extends from the left flap;
a first bottom member attached to the right flap and to the left flap, the first bottom member being adapted for covering at least a first part of the sole of the shoe, but less than all of the sole, so that the first bottom member helps prevent at least some of the spikes or cleats from contacting a walking surface when the toe member is wrapped around the front part of the shoe; and
a front protective sole attached to the toe member underneath the first bottom member; and
a heel member adapted for positioning around a back part of the shoe, the heel member comprising:
a cup portion comprising a third piece of flexible material that fits around a back part of the shoe;
a second bottom member attached to the cup portion, the second bottom member being adapted for covering at least a second part of the sole of the shoe, but less than all of the sole, so that the second bottom member helps prevent any spikes or cleats that protrude from a back part of the sole from contacting a walking surface when the heel member is positioned around the back of the shoe, the right and left straps of the toe member attaching to the heel member to help in securing the heel member to the shoe, the heel member being a separate piece from the toe member when the right and left straps are not attached to the heel member; and
a rear protective sole attached to the heel member underneath the second bottom member.
19. The covering of claim 18 wherein the first piece of flexible material and the second piece of flexible material are each comprised of neoprene.
20. The covering of claim 18 wherein the flap fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of provisional application 60/491,230, filed Jul. 31, 2003.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Technical Field
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to protective coverings for shoes having spikes, cleats, taps or other protrusions extending outward from the bottom of the shoe, and more particularly to a covering comprised of a front part that wraps around the front of the shoe and keeps protrusions on the front of the shoe from touching the ground, and a back part that fits over the heel of the shoe for keeping heel protrusions off the ground.
  • [0004]
    2. Background Information
  • [0005]
    In many athletic activities, participants wear special shoes that have spikes, cleats, taps or other protrusions extending outward from the bottom of the shoe. Examples of such activities include track and field, soccer, American football, baseball, golf, tap dancing and many other sports.
  • [0006]
    Generally, the protrusions (especially, spikes, cleats and taps) are made from a metal, but they can also be made of hard plastic or rubber, or of other materials. Regardless of the composition of the protrusions, several problems are presented by such shoes. One problem is that the protrusions wear down quickly when a person wearing the shoes walks on a hard surface such as asphalt, concrete, dirt, metal or wood. Oftentimes, athletes will walk on the sides of their feet, on their heels or even in bare feet in an effort prevent the spikes, cleats or taps from contacting the hard surface and suffering wear and tear.
  • [0007]
    Another problem, and one that is sometimes exacerbated by the first problem, is that it can be difficult to walk safely on hard surfaces when one is wearing shoes having spikes or other protrusions. The protrusions can cause the wearer to slip or they can catch on a surface and trip the wearer. Still another problem is that a floor or other walking surface can be damaged by the protrusions.
  • [0008]
    In view of these problems, there are many examples of protective shoe coverings in the prior art that attempt to reduce these problems in various ways. One approach is to provide a protective sole that covers the protrusions extending from the athletic shoe. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,722,189 discloses a hard sole that covers the cleats on golf shoes. A problem with this type of athletic shoe covering is that a custom designed sole is required for each style of shoe, size of shoe or cleat pattern on the shoe. Another approach is to provide a slip-on cover that slides over part or all of the athletic shoe. For example, U.S. Published Patent Application No. 2004/0035026 discloses a pocket-like covering for spiked track shoes that slips over the front of the shoe. Coverings of this type are hard to put on because they can catch on the spikes or other protrusions.
  • [0009]
    What is needed is a protective covering for athletic shoes that reduces the problems associated with shoes having protrusions from the sole and that will fit many styles and sizes of athletic shoes while being quick and easy to put on.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0010]
    Briefly, the present invention is a covering for shoes having spikes, cleats, taps or other protrusions extending from the soles of the shoes. The covering comprises a toe member and a heel member. The toe member is adapted for wrapping around the front part of the shoe having a sole from which one or more of the protrusions extend, and comprises a right flap, a right strap, a left flap, a left strap and a first bottom member. The right flap comprises a piece of material that wraps around at least a part of the right front side of the shoe and the right strap comprising an elongated piece of material that extends from the right flap. Similarly, the left flap comprises a piece of material that wraps around at least a part of the left front side of the shoe and the left strap comprises an elongated piece of material that extends from the left flap. The right flap and the left flap attach to each other with a first fastener to secure the toe member around the shoe. The first bottom member covers at least a part of the sole and prevents at least some of the protrusions from contacting a walking surface when the toe member is wrapped around the shoe.
  • [0011]
    The heel member is adapted for positioning around the back part of the shoe and comprises a cup portion and a second bottom member. The cup portion comprises a piece of material that fits around the back part of the shoe and the second bottom member covers at least a part of the sole and can prevent some protrusions from contacting the ground. A second fastener is used to attach the right strap of the toe member to the heel member and a third fastener is used to attach the left strap of the toe member to the heel member to help in securing the heel member to the shoe. The heel member is a separate piece from the toe member when the right and left straps are not attached to the heel member.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the shoe covering according to the present invention, shown in relation to a shoe which is not part of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the shoe covering according to the present invention, positioned on a shoe which is not part of the present invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the heel member of the shoe covering according to the present invention; and
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the toe member of the shoe covering according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a protective covering for a shoe 10 comprised of a toe member 14 and a heel member 18. The shoe 10 has a plurality of protrusions 20, such as spikes, cleats or taps, extending downward from the sole 21 of the shoe 10. The shoe 10, which is not part of the present invention, also includes a toe section 22, a heel section 23 and an opening 57. The sole 21 extends along the length of the shoe 10 underneath the toe section 22 and the heel section 23. In FIG. 1, a protective covering for a left shoe is illustrated, but the protective covering for a right shoe is analogous to the left shoe covering, and is basically its mirror image.
  • [0017]
    The toe member 14 comprises a right flap 24, a right strap 26, a left flap 28, a left strap 30 and a front bottom member 32. The left flap 28 wraps around the left front side of the shoe 10 and the right flap 24 wraps around the right front side of the shoe 10 and over part of the left flap 28 (as shown in FIG. 2). The front bottom member 32 covers at least part of the sole 21 at the front of the shoe 10. The front bottom member 32 covers less than one hundred percent of the sole 21 because the member 32 doesn't extend backward underneath the heel section 23. The front bottom member 32 covers the protrusions 20 that extend from the sole of the shoe 10 underneath the toe section 22. After the toe member 14 is properly positioned around the shoe 10, the right flap 24 and the left flap 28 are fastened together with a fastener. In the preferred embodiment, the fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener such as Velcro® brand hook and loop fastener. However, other fasteners, including snaps, buttons, zippers or laces, can also be used to secure the flaps 24 and 28 together.
  • [0018]
    In FIG. 1, a patch of hook fasteners 36 is positioned along an edge of the right flap 24 and a patch of loop fasteners 38 is positioned along an edge of the left flap 28. When the right flap 24 is positioned over the left flap 28, the hook fasteners 36 engage the loop fasteners 38, thereby securing the right flap to the left flap. The right strap 26 has a patch of loop fasteners 40 positioned at its end, and the left strap 30 has a patch of loop fasteners 42 positioned at its end.
  • [0019]
    The heel member 18 comprises a cup portion 46 and a back bottom member 48. The cup portion 46 comprises a piece of material that fits around the heel 23 of the shoe 10. The back bottom member 48 is attached to the cup portion and covers at least part of the sole 21 at the back of the shoe 10. The back bottom member 48 covers less than one hundred percent of the sole 21 because the member 48 doesn't extend forward underneath the toe section 22. The back bottom member 48 covers the protrusions 20 that extend from the sole of the shoe 10 underneath the heel section 23, if there are any such protrusions. One or more fasteners are positioned on the cup portion 46 to provide a means for attaching the left strap 30 and the right strap 26 to the heel member 18. In the preferred embodiment, most of the outside surface of the cup portion 46 is covered with hook fasteners 50, such as Velcro® brand hook fasteners. However, other fasteners, including snaps, buttons, zippers or laces, can also be used to secure the straps 26 and 30 to the heel member 18. An ankle strap 54 extends from the right side of the cup portion 46. One or more fasteners are positioned on the ankle strap 54 to provide a means for attaching the ankle strap 54 to the heel member 18. In the preferred embodiment, the ankle strap 54 has a patch of loop fasteners 56, such as Velcro® brand loop fasteners, positioned at its end for attachment to the hook fasteners 50, but other types of fasteners can be used.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2 illustrates the protective covering positioned around the shoe 10. In the preferred embodiment, the toe member 14 is wrapped completely around the front part of the shoe 10, forward of the opening 57 in the shoe 10 where the ankle of a person wearing the shoe 10 would extend out of the shoe. The left flap 28 is wrapped snuggly over the top of the shoe 10 with the right flap 26 wrapped over the top of the left flap 28 and securely fastened to the left flap 28 by the fasteners 36 and 38. A front protective sole 60 is attached to the outside of the toe member 14, adjacent to the bottom member 32. A pair of cuts 61 are made in the left flap 28.
  • [0021]
    The heel member 18 is positioned snuggly around the back section 23 of the shoe 10, behind the opening 57. The left strap 30 is attached to the cup portion 46 by the fasteners 42 and 50. Similarly, the right strap 26 is attached to the cup portion 46 by the fasteners 40 and 50, but this can't be seen in FIG. 2. The ankle strap 54 is shown in an unattached orientation, but in use, it would be pulled over the ankle of a person wearing the shoe 10 and attached to the cup portion 46 using the fasteners 56 and 50.
  • [0022]
    In alternative embodiments, the ankle strap 54 can be eliminated and the heel member 18 is held in place using only the straps 26 and 30 and/or the tight fit of the heel member 18 around the shoe 10. A rear protective sole 62 is attached to the outside of the heel member 18, adjacent to the bottom member 48. On the left strap 30, a stitch pattern 63 is visible on the outside of the strap 30 showing the stitches that hold the patch of loop fasteners 42 in place. Also, FIG. 2 illustrates that the toe member 14 and the heel member 18 do not cover one hundred percent of the sole 21 (shown in FIG. 1) of the shoe 10, because there is a gap between the front protective sole 60 and the rear protective sole 62 when the members 14 and 18 are positioned around the shoe 10.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 3 illustrates the heel member 18 in more detail. In the preferred embodiment the cup portion 46 comprises a single piece of material having a cup shape that fits around the heel of the shoe 10. Two sections of the cup portion 46, a right section 66 and a left section 68 extend underneath the back bottom member 48 and meet at an intersection 70. The intersection 70 is a cut in the material that extends back approximately to a curve 72 in the cup portion 46. An additional series of cuts (not shown) are made in the right section 66 and the left section 68 in a radial pattern. The cuts (approximately six to eight cuts) are approximately one inch in length and extend from the curve 72 inward towards the intersection 70 in a semicircle pattern. The cuts help the material to be shaped into the cup-shape of the cup portion 46 by removing small amounts of material from between the cuts.
  • [0024]
    In the preferred embodiment, the cup portion 46 comprises a strong flexible material that can be stretched without losing its original shape, such as neoprene. Preferably, the cup portion 46 comprises approximately three millimeter thick neoprene and the back bottom member 48 comprises approximately seven millimeter thick neoprene. The neoprene has a nylon covering on both sides. After the radial cuts are made (during die cutting) in the right section 66 and the left section 68, an adhesive that will form neoprene to neoprene bonds, such as a contact cement like Weldwood™ brand contact cement, is applied to the radial cuts so that the neoprene that was separated by the cuts is rejoined, and the material is folded into the cup shape. Similarly, the adhesive is used to join the right section 66 and the left section 68 along the intersection 70.
  • [0025]
    In the preferred embodiment, the rear protective sole 62 comprises approximately two to three millimeter thick thermoplastic rubber, such as Dynaflex® brand thermoplastic rubber. The rear protective sole 62 is attached to the outside of the cup portion 46 using an adhesive, such as Loctite® 401 brand ethyl cyanoacrylate adhesive. A primer, such as Loctite® 770 brand primer is applied to the protective sole 62 first to facilitate formation of the thermoplastic rubber to nylon bond, and is allowed to dry. Then the adhesive is applied on top of the dried primer and the rear protective sole 62 is immediately pressed against the bottom of the right section 66 and the left section 68, thereby attaching the rear protective sole 62 to the heel member 18.
  • [0026]
    The back bottom member 48 is attached to the cup portion 62 above the right section 66 and the left section 68, using an adhesive that forms nylon to nylon bonds (because the neoprene is covered with nylon), such as 3M Scotch-Grip Plastic Adhesive 1099™. The specific thickness and composition of the back bottom member depends on the type and size of the protrusions 20.
  • [0027]
    Earlier in the assembly process, usually after die cutting the cuts in the neoprene but before shaping the cup portion 62, the patch of the hook fasteners 50 is sewn onto the outside of the cup portion 62, so as to cover approximately all of the outside surface area of the cup portion 62, except for the strap 54, the right section 66 and the left section 68. The patch of the loop fasteners 56 are sewn onto an inside surface of the ankle strap 54.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 4 illustrates the toe member 14 in more detail. In the preferred embodiment the right flap 24 and the right strap 26 comprise a single piece of material. Similarly, the left flap 28 and the left strap 30 comprise a single piece of material. During manufacturing, the flaps 24 and 28 are joined together to form a single piece of material that can be wrapped around the front part of the shoe 10. A V-shaped space 74 exists between right flap 24 and the left flap 28. A right portion 76 of the flap 24 is positioned underneath the front bottom member 32, and a left portion 78 of the flap 28 is positioned underneath the front bottom member 32. The right portion 76 and the left portion 78 meet at an intersection 80.
  • [0029]
    The intersection 80 is the interface where the right portion 76 and the left portion 78 are joined. The intersection 80 extends all the way up to the space 74 so that the right portion 76 is separated from the left portion 78 all the way up to the space 74. Additional cuts are made in the right portion 76 and in the left portion 78 to facilitate shaping the toe member 14 into a shape that conforms to the shoe 10, by removing small amounts of material from between the cuts. Preferably, approximately five cuts are made in the left portion 78 at forty-five to ninety degree angles to the intersection 80, and similar cuts are made in the right portion 76. The cuts can extend into the left flap 28 as is indicated by the cuts 61 shown in FIG. 2 to help the left flap 28 curve around the shoe 10.
  • [0030]
    In the preferred embodiment, the right flap 24, the left flap 28 and the straps 26 and 30 are comprised of a strong flexible material that can be stretched, such as neoprene. Preferably, the neoprene is approximately three millimeters thick. The front bottom member 32 comprises approximately seven millimeter thick neoprene, and all of the neoprene used in the toe member 14 has a fabric, such as nylon, covering both the inside and outside surfaces of the neoprene. After the cuts are made in the right portion 76 and the left portion 78, an adhesive that will form neoprene to neoprene bonds, such as a contact cement like Weldwood™ brand contact cement, is applied to the cuts so that the neoprene that was separated by the cuts is rejoined. Similarly, the adhesive is used to join the right portion 76 and the left portion 78 along the intersection 80.
  • [0031]
    In the preferred embodiment, the front protective sole 60 comprises approximately two to three millimeter thick thermoplastic rubber, such as Dynaflex® brand thermoplastic rubber. The front protective sole 60 is attached to the outside of the toe member 14 using an adhesive such as Loctite® 401 brand ethyl cyanoacrylate adhesive, and a primer, such as Loctite® 770 brand primer, as was described previously with respect to the rear protective sole 62. After the adhesive have been applied to the front protective sole 60, it is quickly pressed against the right portion 76 and the left portion 78 simultaneously, thereby attaching the front protective sole 60 to the toe member 14.
  • [0032]
    The front bottom member 32 is attached above the right portion 76 and the left portion 78, using an adhesive such as 3M Scotch-Grip Plastic Adhesive 1099™. The specific thickness and composition of the front bottom member 32 depends on the type and size of the protrusions 20.
  • [0033]
    Earlier in the assembly process, usually after the cuts are made in the neoprene to shape the toe member 14, the patch of hook fasteners 36 is sewn onto the inside of the right flap 24, and the patch of the loop fasteners 38 is sewn onto the outside of the left flap 28. In FIG. 4, a stitch pattern 82 is visible on the inside surface of the left flap 28 showing the outline of the patch of the loop fasteners 38. Similarly, patches of the loop fasteners 40 and 42 are sewn onto inside surfaces of the straps 26 and 30, respectively.
  • [0034]
    Referring to FIG. 1, it is obvious that there are several ways that the protective covering can be assembled around the shoe 10. However, a representative way of putting on the covering is the following: The right and left flaps 24 and 28 of the toe member 14 are opened up as is shown in FIG. 4. Then, while the shoe 10 is being worn, the toe (front part) of the shoe 10 is inserted into the toe member 14 with the spikes 20 being positioned over the bottom member 32 and the toe of the shoe 10 being positioned between the right flap 24 and the left flap 28. The left flap 28 is then folded over the shoe 10, the right flap 24 is folded over the left flap 28 and the two flaps 24 and 28 are fastened together by pressing the hook fasteners 36 into the loop fasteners 38.
  • [0035]
    The heel member 18 is then positioned around the heel (back part) of the shoe 10 with the sole of the shoe 10 resting on the bottom member 48. The right strap 26 is pulled back towards the heel member 18 and the loop fasteners 40 are attached to the hook fasteners 50 on the right side of the cup portion 46. Then the left strap 30 is pulled back towards the heel member 18 and the loop fasteners 42 are attached to the hook fasteners 50 on the left side of the cup portion 46. Finally, the ankle strap 54 is pulled over the front of the ankle and the loop fasteners 56 are attached to the hook fasteners 50. Again, the order of attachment is not important and the shoe covering can be assembled in other sequences. Oftentimes, once the protective covering has been positioned over the shoe 10, it can be pulled off of the shoe 10 without unfastening the straps 26 and 30, and then can be repositioned on the shoe 10 at a later time, without unfastening the straps 26 and 30.
  • [0036]
    In alternative embodiments, the straps 26 and 30 are modified to produce a toe member 14 that is positioned around the shoe 10 in a slightly different manner. In a first alternative embodiment, the straps 26 and 30 are lengthened so that they extend around the heel section 23 of the shoe 10, and the loop fasteners 40 and 42 are replaced with fasteners that allow the strap 30 to be attached to the strap 26. For example, the patch of loop fasteners 40 is replaced with a patch of hook fasteners, and the patch of loop fasteners 42 are moved to the other side of the strap 30 so that the loop fasteners occupy the region outlined by the stitch pattern 63 shown in FIG. 2. After the toe member 14 has been positioned around the toe section 22 of the shoe 10, the straps 26 and 30 are pulled around the heel section 23 and hooked together using the hook and loop fasteners on the straps 26 and 30. This embodiment eliminates the need for the heel member 18, and can be used in situations where the protrusions 20 only extend from the front part of the shoe 10. However, even in this situation, it is preferable to still use the heel member 18, so that the front and back of the shoe 10 are both approximately an equal distance off the ground.
  • [0037]
    In a second alternative embodiment, the straps 26 and 30 are permanently fastened together, such as by sewing or by making the straps out of a continuous piece of material. The straps 26 and 30 are then pulled over the heel section 23 of the shoe 10 after the toe member 14 is positioned, thereby eliminating the need for the heel member 18.
  • [0038]
    There are many advantages inherent in the design of the protective shoe covering of the present invention. First, the flexibility of the neoprene used in the construction of the toe member 14 means that a single size design of the toe member 14 can fit many styles and sizes of the shoe 10. For example, it has been found that just three sizes of the toe member 14 and three sizes of the heel member 18 can be used to fit all of the American shoe sizes from size three to size twelve or thirteen. This is possible, in part, because the toe member 14 and the heel member 18 are comprised of a flexible material. Hence, as used herein, the term flexible material means a material that stretches to fit more than one shoe size.
  • [0039]
    Similarly, the ability of the right flap 24 and the left flap 28 to be pulled apart and opened up as shown in FIG. 4, allows one size of the toe member 14 to be used with several sizes and styles of shoe and makes it easy to position the toe member 14 around the shoe 10. This is especially important when the shoe 10 has sole protrusions, such as cleats or spikes. If the toe member 14 didn't open up, the protrusions would catch on the covering as it was pulled over the shoe. This also allows a person to step into the toe member 14 without having to stand on one leg while they attempt to pull a covering over the shoe.
  • [0040]
    The fact that the heel member 18 is a separate piece from the toe member 14 also allows a single size of heel member to be used with several sizes and styles of the shoe 10. It is also easy to position the heel member 18 over the shoe 10 and use the straps 26, 30 and 54 to achieve a tight fit of the toe and heel members 14 and 18 on the shoe 10.
  • [0041]
    The use of both the toe member 14 and the heel member 18 also makes it easier for the person wearing the protective covering to walk. If for example, a protective covering only covers the toe of the shoe 10, then a person wearing the shoe 10 is walking on an uneven sole. However, if both the toe member 14 and the heel member 18 are used together, then a more even sole is achieved. The use of the front protective sole 60 on the toe member 14 and the rear protective sole 62 on the heel member 18 facilitates the comfort and traction of the shoe covering.
  • [0042]
    There are many reasons for using the protective covering. First, for shoes that have the protrusions 20, such as spikes, cleats, taps, extending from the bottom of the shoe, the protective covering protects the protrusions 20 from wearing out prematurely. In this usage, the protective coverings are positioned around the shoes 10 when the wearer is off the track or playing field and is walking on a hard walking surface, like asphalt, concrete, wood or tile. Generally, it is the front bottom member 32, and sometimes the back bottom member 48, that protect the protrusions 20 from premature wear. The thickness and composition of the front and back bottom members 32 and 48 depends on the type and size of the protrusions 20.
  • [0043]
    For example, for track and field shoes, regulating bodies usually allow a maximum of six spikes per shoe, and these cannot exceed a quarter inch in length when running on all-weather track. Furthermore, all shoes worn by sprinters only have spikes in the toe region, not in the heel region. For such shoes, a seven millimeter thick neoprene front bottom member 32 provides the primary protective cushion for the spikes to sink into, and is said to help prevent at least some of the protrusions 20 from contacting the walking surface. The front protective sole 60 provides a durable sole that reduces the likelihood of slipping and also provides some extra cushioning for the spikes. If there are spikes on the heel of the shoe 10, then the back bottom member 48 will provide cushioning for these spikes, and is said to help prevent at least some of the protrusions 20 from contacting the walking surface. However, even in cases where there are no heel spikes, the back bottom member 48 and the rear protective sole 62 are preferably used so that the heel and toe of the shoe 10 are resting on surfaces approximately the same height off the ground. For other types of protrusions 20, such as football or baseball cleats, or golf spikes, the composition and thickness of the bottom members 32 and 48 can be varied.
  • [0044]
    Another reason for using the protective covering is to cover dirty shoes, such as muddy soccer shoes. Use of the protective covering keeps the mud mostly inside of the protective covering, thereby protecting floors, carpets, car interiors or other areas from getting soiled. Similarly, it is often desirable to protect walking surfaces, such as floors, carpets, golf greens and other surfaces from damage by the spikes. Use of the protective coverings protects such surfaces.
  • [0045]
    Although the present invention has been described in terms of the presently preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that such disclosure is not to be interpreted as limiting. Various alterations and modifications will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art after having read the above disclosure. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims be interpreted as covering all alterations and modifications as fall within the true scope of the invention.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification36/72.00R, 36/133, 36/7.10R, 36/96
International ClassificationA43B3/18, A43B5/18
Cooperative ClassificationA43B1/0081, A43B3/18, A43B5/185
European ClassificationA43B1/00V, A43B3/18, A43B5/18S