FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a shoe having ankle protection.
Among other reasons, shoes often provide protection from abrasive walking surfaces as well as from bumps against other objects, such as furniture, walls, and the like. However, in some environments, additional foot protection may be needed, such as when the foot may be subjected to severe blows or falling objects. In that effort, shoes having steel toes were provided for environments where objects may fall upon the foot and shoes having guards on the sides were provided for environments where the foot may be impacted on the ankle.
Shoes having side protection may have a hard plate attached to the side. A problem with the hard plate is that it is usually permanently secured to the shoe in at least one area of the hard plate. This is because any flexing of the foot may cause the plate, because it is hard and rigid, to separate from the shoe as the plate may not flex or bend with the shoe. If a soft material is used, such as a cushion or air or gel filled chamber, another problem may arise where the side protection may be inadequate.
A further problem that is usually associated with side protectors in general is that the side protector is often placed in the same area of the shoe without regard to accommodating various sizes or locations of different ankles from different users. Hence, a wearer with an ankle located higher on the foot may be fitted with the same shoe as another wearer with an ankle located lower on the foot.
U.S. Pat. No. 746,338 to Keen, U.S. Pat. No. 2,444,428 to Carrier, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,109,613 to Van Dyke all appear to relate to a covering for the ankle. However, none of these references seem to disclose a covering that adjusts to accommodate various sizes and locations of ankles or ankle regions.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,454,173 to Falguere also appears to relate to a covering for the ankle. However, the covering seems to have limited adjustability, particularly in a lateral direction. Moreover, the covering looks to be permanently attached to, or at least a fixture or integral part of, the shoe.
U.S. Pat. No. 2,918,734 to Hyde, U.S. Pat. No. 6,032,286 to Thomas, U.S. Pat. No. 2,972,822 to Tanner, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,564,393 to Davies all appear to have a covering for an ankle is inferiorly attached to the shoe.
In Tanner, Hyde, and Thomas, the covering is typically secured to the shoe using laces or straps, which may require a user to loosen and tighten the laces or straps multiple times each time the covering is attached so that proper fit and/or comfort may be achieved. Using this type of attachment, a user may find adjustment, which may entail continuous loosening and tightening of the laces or straps, to be bothersome and frustrating.
In Davies, although laces or straps are normally not employed, the covering appears to suffer from similar disadvantages as Tanner, Hyde, and Thomas in that tension and comfort may not be repeated easily without multiple loosening and tightening of the covering.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
What is desired, therefore, is a cover for covering an ankle region of a shoe that is easy to adjust. What is also desired is a cover that may be adjusted without multiple loosening and/or tightening of the cover. Another desire is to provide a cover that accommodates various sizes and locations of ankles or ankle regions of various users. A further desire is a cover for an ankle or ankle region of a shoe that permits quick and easy attachment to and removal from the shoe.
Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide a cover for covering the ankle region of the shoe that is easy to use.
Another object is to provide an ankle cover that is easily adjusted for covering various sized ankles and various locations of ankles.
A further object is to provide an ankle cover that may be repeatedly and quickly attached to and removed from the shoe.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved by an ankle guard having an anchoring mechanism attached to a side of a shoe and a plate removably attached to the anchoring mechanism. The anchoring mechanism has a plurality of securing locations for securing the plate to the anchoring mechanism, where the plate is removably attached to any one of the plurality of securing locations.
The plate of the ankle guard is adjustably attached to the anchoring mechanism depending on which selected location from the plurality of securing locations to which the plate is secured.
In some embodiments, the plurality of securing locations extend laterally across a width of the anchoring mechanism and the plate is removably attached to any one location of the plurality of securing locations. In other embodiments, the plurality of securing locations extend vertically along a length of the anchoring mechanism and the plate is removably attached to any one location of these plurality of securing locations.
The anchoring mechanism may be a rod and the plurality of securing locations may be a plurality of holes where the plate has at least one aperture for permitting a fastener to pass through the plate and be secured to any hole of the plurality of holes.
In another embodiment, the anchoring mechanism is a pad having hook or loop fasteners instead of threaded holes.
The ankle guard may be attached to the upper or sole. The ankle guard, particularly the plate, should have a surface large enough to substantially cover an ankle region of the side.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another aspect of the invention, the ankle guard includes an anchoring mechanism that has both a plurality of securing locations extend laterally across a width and vertically along a length of the anchoring mechanism and where the plate is removably attached to any one location of the plurality of securing locations that extend across a width or along a length of the anchoring mechanism.
FIG. 1 depicts the ankle guard in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 depicts an assembly view of the ankle guard in accordance with FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 3 depicts the ankle guard of FIG. 1 using a different anchoring mechanism for securing a plate of the ankle guard to the shoe.
FIG. 1 depicts ankle guard 10 in accordance with the invention. Plate 40 is removably attached to side 22 of shoe 20 in any one of a plurality of positions. Because plate 40 is placeable in any selected position, plate 40 accommodates various sizes and locations of different ankles from various users.
Further, although side 22 is shown to be on the outer side of a user's foot, guard 10 may be applied to an inner side 23 of shoe 20 in addition to, or instead of, the outer side 25.
In reference to FIGS. 1-2, anchoring mechanism 30 includes plurality of securing locations 34, which are holes and where each hole is threaded for receiving fastener 56, such as a screw, for securing plate 40 to a selected one location 32, or threaded hole.
Also as shown in FIGS. 1-2, plate 40 has through hole 42 on a side of a plate 40 through which fastener 56 may pass in order to be threaded into the selected location 32. Fastener 56 includes a rivet, screw, adhesive, and the like. It is understood that second anchoring mechanism 36, which includes all the limitations of anchoring mechanism 30, as well as a second hole 44, which also includes all limitations of hole 42, may be employed on an opposite side of guard 10 or more adequately secure plate 40 to side 22 of shoe 20. It is also understood that side 22 included the upper, sole, or any combination thereof.
Optionally, plate 40 may further include a resilient member placed between plate 40 and side 22 for enhancing comfort to a user. The resilient member may be any cushioned layer and is often employed in embodiments where plate 40 is made of a tough or hard material, which is generally desirable when shoe 20 is used for heavy activity where blows to the ankle may be severe. In other embodiments, plate 40 is made of a soft material, such as a gel filled or air filled bag, which is generally desirable when shoe 20 is used for light duty activities.
The specific material used to make plate 40 should not be a limitation of the invention. Tough or hard materials include metal, plastic, graphite and the like. Soft materials include leather, woven materials, rubber, gel, and the like.
In another embodiment, shown in FIG. 3, anchoring mechanism 30 and plate 40 are held together with hook and a loop fastener 54. Plurality of securing locations 34 are various localized areas on anchoring mechanism 30, which is shown as a strip of hook or loop fasteners and where the hook or loop fastener is on a strip attached to plate 40. A user may repeatedly attach and reattach plate 40 anchoring mechanism 30 to accommodate different sized ankles of different users. In these embodiments, through hole 42 and holes in anchoring mechanism 30 are obviated.
It is also understood that guard 10 may not be desired. Generally, such situations arise when comfort is desired over ankle protection. In these scenarios, shoe 20 may be worn without plate 40.