US 20070130805 A1
The present invention relates to a system for individualizing a shoe. The system includes a shoe with a first surface region having at least one first design element and at least one second design element having a contact surface. The contact surface and/or the surface region are configured such that the second design element can be rubbed onto any arbitrary location on the surface region of the shoe.
1. A system for individualizing a shoe, the system comprising:
a shoe defining a surface region, the surface region comprising at least one first design element; and
at least one second design element, the second design element comprising a contact surface, wherein at least one of the contact surface and the surface region are configured such that the second design clement is arbitrarily positionable onto the surface region of the shoe by rubbing.
2. The system of
3. The system of
4. The system of
5. The system of
6. The system of
7. The system of
8. The system of
a handle region; and
a rubbing region, wherein the rubbing tool increases in width from the handle region to the rubbing region.
9. The system of
10. The system of
11. The system of
12. The system of
This application incorporates by reference, and claims priority to and the benefit of, German Patent Application Serial No. 102005058927.8, which was filed on Dec. 9, 2005, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to a system for individualizing a shoe, in particular children's shoes.
Shoes today are mass-produced, such that identical models are produced in high numbers for reducing manufacturing costs. Although there are a great variety of models on the market, selecting a shoe with respect to its outer appearance is generally limited to given shoe models.
At the same time, there is a trend for individualization in many areas of society. The wearer of a shoe wants to identify with his shoe and to make it different from other shoes. For example, major shoe manufacturers now offer the possibility to configure a shoe over the Internet within certain limits to provide the name of the owner on the shoe. This does not, however, provide a real individual shoe design. Furthermore, the configuration requires knowledge that many customers are lacking, in particular children.
In order to overcome these disadvantages, several approaches are known in the prior art. For example, assignee of the present application distributed shoes for children in the mid-80's that had white uppers together with a set of pens for individually designing the shoe; however, the result achieved was not always aesthetically pleasing.
Other approaches for individualizing the outer design of a shoe are known from U.S. Pat. No. 5,673,501 (the '501 patent) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,136,726 (the '726 patent), the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein. The '501 patent discloses, for example, a shoe wherein a number of attachment means are integrated on to a shaft. The attachment means operate similar to a snap-on device and allow a wearer to attach, depending on the preferences of the wearer, different decorating elements, such as a ribbon or the like. These elements, however, can only be arranged at the locations of the few predetermined attachment means.
The '726 patent discloses a shoe where almost the entire outer surface is a fabric forming a hook and loop type fastener together with another fabric on the backside of a decorative element. Therefore, one or more decorative elements can be almost arbitrarily distributed on the surface of the shoe; however, the limitation of the fabric, which forms one side of the hook and loop type fastener, not only strongly impairs the usability of the shoe, but also its outer appearance. Furthermore, there is the risk that the upper material becomes permanently dirty when using a shoe according to the '726 patent, because the required open structure of the upper material is very easily soiled.
There is, therefore, a need for a system for individualizing a shoe, which provides a large amount of design freedom for the exterior of the shoe, but also is easy to use and does not impair the practical usability of the shoe.
A system in accordance with the invention allows the easy realization of an unlimited number of different overall designs of a shoe by rubbing one or more second design elements at different locations onto the surface region of the shoe. As a result, no shoe is identical to another, which leads to the highest degree of individualization.
In one aspect, the invention relates to a system for individualizing a shoe. The system includes a shoe defining a surface region having at least one first design element and at least one second design element. The second design element has a contact surface. At least one of the contact surface and/or the surface region is configured such that the second design clement is arbitrarily positionable onto the surface region of the shoe by rubbing.
In various embodiments, the system includes a plurality of second design elements. Each of the second design elements can have smaller dimensions than the surface region of the shoe. As a result, there is a high degree of flexibility where and in which combinations the plurality of second design elements are arranged on the surface region of the shoe with the first design element. The surface region can be arranged on an instep, the tongue, the heel and/or a side of an upper of the shoe. In one embodiment, the first design element and the at least one second design element are thematically related to each other, which results in a particularly advantageous overall aesthetic impression being easily obtained. At least one of the surface region of the shoe and the contact surface of the at least one second design element can be configured such that the at least one second design element is removable from the surface region without damaging the first design element. This can be accomplished by the first and second design elements having different levels of abrasion resistance based, for example, on different materials, attachment means, and/or surface preparations. In one embodiment, the first design element on the surface region has a greater abrasion resistance than the rubbed-on second design element. For example, the first design element can have an abrasion resistance such that it survives an abrasion test with a 280 grit sandpaper at a force of about 9.8 N for about 200 cycles, substantially without damage, and the second design element can be removable from the surface region in an abrasion test with a linen at a force of about 9.8 N for about 20 to about 30 cycles. The combination of these material properties makes it possible to repeatedly arrange and remove second design elements on the surface without damaging the first design element.
Furthermore, the system can include a removing means to remove the at least one second design element from the surface region of the shoe. The system can also include a rub-on tool for rubbing the at least one second design element onto the surface region. The rub-on tool can include a handle region and a rubbing region, wherein the rubbing tool increases in width from the handle region to the rubbing region. Additionally, the rubbing tool can include an attachment opening that allows the tool to be mounted like a key-fob.
These and other objects, along with advantages and features of the present invention herein disclosed, will become apparent through reference to the following description, the accompanying drawings, and the claims. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the features of the various embodiments described herein are not mutually exclusive and can exist in various combinations and permutations.
In the drawings, like reference characters generally refer to the same parts throughout the different views. Also, the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to the following drawings, in which:
In the following, embodiments of the system are further described with reference to an example of an individual design of children's footwear; however, it is to be understood that a system in accordance with the invention can also be used to individualize the design of other types of shoes independent from their field of use and size.
As shown in
The second design elements can be provided as a set 20 of rub-on pictures on a foil or a similar carrier, as known in the art. As indicated by the dashed arrow in
In one embodiment, the set of rub-on design elements 20 relates to the same topic or theme as the first design elements 15 that are permanently arranged on the upper material of the shoe 1. In
A particularly good and long-lasting attachment of the rubbed-on design elements 21 can be achieved if the surface region, where the rubbed-on design elements are arranged, as well as the rub-on design elements themselves, have specific material properties. In one embodiment, the first design elements 15 are fixed on the upper with a greater degree of abrasion resistance than the abrasion resistance of the applied second design elements.
In one embodiment, the first design elements substantially survive an abrasion test according to DIN EN-ISO 11640 with a 280 grit sandpaper without visible damage. To this end, a stamp provided with the sandpaper is moved over the surface region with a force of about 9.8 N and the first design elements are subsequently examined for visible damage. The screen-print or the other method used for applying the first design elements 15 should be made such that this test is survived at about 200 to about 300 movement cycles, i.e., substantially no damage to the first design elements 15 can be seen.
The rubbed-on second design elements 21 should have material properties such that a clearly reduced abrasion resistance results. For example, the second design element 21 can be substantially removed from the surface region in an abrasion test according to DIN EN-ISO 11640 with a linen and again a stamp with a force of about 9.8 N after about 20 to about 30 cycles, preferably 25 cycles, so that other design elements 21 can be applied. The indicated values of the abrasion resistance of the first design elements 15 and the second design 21, enable the realization of many different aesthetic overall impressions of the shoe with a system in accordance with the invention; however, it is also possible to add a clear coat to the system to cover once rubbed-on design elements 21 to protect them permanently against damage.
In another embodiment it is also possible to configure the rubbed-on design elements 21 for even more easy removal by, for example, using different surface properties or compositions of the surface region of the shoe and/or the contact surface of the second design elements. Removing a rubbed-on design element can also be achieved by mechanical scratching or by using a suitable solvent, e.g., a common nail-polish remover. In this case, the shoe may be repeatedly re-designed over its lifetime in a particularly simple manner. In this case, it may be advantageous if the shoe regions provided with the first design elements 15 are additionally provided with a coating preventing unintentional damage when removing the rubbed-on images. This coating can be applied by different techniques, e.g., spraying on or laminating.
In one embodiment, a mounting projection 33 is disposed on top of the handle region 32. The mounting projection 33 can include an opening 34 that allows for attaching the tool 30 to, for example, a key ring. The described tool 30 is not the only manner of applying the second design elements. Other rubbing tools, such as suitable wooden plates, can also be used. In fact, the tool 30 is not required at all and the rub-on design elements can be rubbed on using a fingernail or the like. The rub-on tool 30 can be made from a sufficiently soft plastic material to avoid damaging the first design elements 15 during rubbing.
Having described certain embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that other embodiments incorporating the concepts disclosed herein may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as only illustrative and not restrictive.