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Publication numberUS20080052964 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/838,588
Publication dateMar 6, 2008
Filing dateAug 14, 2007
Priority dateSep 1, 2006
Publication number11838588, 838588, US 2008/0052964 A1, US 2008/052964 A1, US 20080052964 A1, US 20080052964A1, US 2008052964 A1, US 2008052964A1, US-A1-20080052964, US-A1-2008052964, US2008/0052964A1, US2008/052964A1, US20080052964 A1, US20080052964A1, US2008052964 A1, US2008052964A1
InventorsKatherine Lee Taylor
Original AssigneeKatherine Lee Taylor
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Footwear item
US 20080052964 A1
Abstract
A footwear item takes the form of a flip-flop or a slipper style of footwear. It is configured to be rolled or folded into a packaged configuration and later unrolled or unfolded into a wearing or unpackaged configuration. In one embodiment, the footwear item may serve as temporary footwear to obtain relief from uncomfortable shoes. The footwear item includes a sole member and an attachment member for coupling or attaching the footwear item to a person's foot. The attachment member may be mechanically coupled to, integrally formed with, or otherwise connected to the sole member. During use, the footwear item helps to keep a bottom of a person's foot clean and substantially protected from the ground or other foot contact surface. The small footprint of the footwear item in the packaged configuration permits it to be easily stored and readily usable in a variety of environments.
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Claims(20)
1. A footwear item comprising:
a sole having a reduceable footprint area, the sole having a first footprint area when packaged and a second footprint area when unpackaged, the second footprint area configured to conform to a foot when unpackaged, the second footprint area substantially larger than the first footprint area; and
an attachment member coupled to the sole and arranged to attach the sole to the foot when unpackaged.
2. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the sole is made from a sheet of resilient and compressible material.
3. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the sole is made from a compressible, closed-cell foam material.
4. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the first footprint area of the sole when packaged includes the footprint area of the sole when the sole is in a rolled-up configuration.
5. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the first footprint area of the sole when packaged includes the footprint area of the sole when the sole is in a folded-up configuration.
6. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the first footprint area of the sole is sized to permit the footwear item to be placed in a small compartment and personally transported.
7. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the second footprint area includes an hourglass shape.
8. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the attachment member includes a plurality of straps coupled to the sole.
9. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the attachment member is integrally formed with the sole.
10. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the attachment member is integrally formed with the sole to provide a flip-flop styled footwear item.
11. The footwear item of claim 1, wherein the attachment member is fastened to the sole to provide a flip-flop styled footwear item.
12. A method of wearing a footwear item, the method comprising:
un-packaging the footwear item from a packaged configuration to an unpackaged configuration, the packaged configuration arranged such that a sole of the footwear item includes a first footprint area, the unpackaged configuration arranged such that the sole includes a second footprint area, the second footprint area configured to conform to a foot after being unpackaged, the second footprint area substantially larger than the first footprint area; and
attaching the sole to the foot with an attachment member coupled to at least a front portion of the sole.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein un-packaging the footwear item includes unsnapping a snap mechanism coupled to the sole, where the snap mechanism connects couple a toe portion of the sole to a heel portion of the sole when the footwear item is in the packaged configuration.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein un-packaging the footwear item includes removing a band of material from around the footwear item in the packaged configuration.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein attaching the sole to the foot with the attachment member includes attaching the sole to the foot in a flip-flop configuration.
16. A method of making a footwear item, the method comprising:
forming a sole member of the footwear item from a sheet of resilient material, the sole member having a first shape configured to substantially conform to a bottom of human foot; and
forming an attachment member for attaching the sole to the desired foot, wherein forming the attachment member includes cutting the attachment member from the sheet of resilient material such that the attachment member and the sole member are integrally connected.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein forming the sole member of the footwear item from the sheet of resilient material includes forming the sole member from a sheet of compressible foam material.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein forming the sole member of the footwear item includes configuring the sole member to have approximately an hour glass shape.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein forming the attachment member includes forming straps extending from a toe portion of the sole member.
20. The method of claim 16, wherein forming the attachment member includes forming strips of material that extend from a toe portion of the sole member and couple to opposite sides of the sole member.
Description
PRIORITY CLAIM

The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/841,811 filed Sep. 1, 2006, which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally pertains to a footwear item convertible from a packaged configuration to an unpackaged configuration, and more specifically to a footwear item that can be rolled or folded and then placed in a carrier, such as a purse.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a footwear item that takes the form of a flip-flop or a slipper style of footwear. The footwear item is configured to be rolled or folded into a packaged configuration and later unrolled or unfolded into a wearing or unpackaged configuration. The footwear item may have a variety of purposes, whereas one such purpose is as a temporary footwear item worn by a woman to obtain relief from uncomfortable shoes. The footwear item includes a sole member and an attachment member for coupling or attaching the footwear item to a person's foot. The attachment member may be mechanically coupled to, integrally formed with, or otherwise connected to the sole member. During use, the footwear item helps to keep a bottom of a person's foot clean and substantially protected from the ground or other foot contact surface. The small footprint of the footwear item in the packaged configuration permits it to be easily stored and readily usable for a variety of purposes and in a variety of environments.

According to at least one embodiment of the invention, a footwear item includes a sole coupled to an attachment member. The footwear item may be arranged in a packaged configured such that it is readily transportable in a personal carrying device like a purse. During use, the footwear item may be converted to an unpackaged configuration and worn by a user. In the unpackaged configuration, the footwear item operates as an intermediate barrier or protection member between the user's foot and a ground or contact surface.

In one aspect of the invention, a footwear item includes a sole having a reduceable footprint area, the sole having a first footprint area when packaged and a second footprint area when unpackaged, the second footprint area configured to conform to a foot when unpackaged, the second footprint area substantially larger than the first footprint area; and an attachment member coupled to the sole and arranged to attach the sole to the foot when unpackaged.

In another aspect of the invention, a method of wearing a footwear item includes un-packaging the footwear item from a packaged configuration to an unpackaged configuration, the packaged configuration arranged such that a sole of the footwear item includes a first footprint area, the unpackaged configuration arranged such that the sole includes a second footprint area, the second footprint area configured to conform to a foot after being unpackaged, the second footprint area substantially larger than the first footprint area; and attaching the sole to the foot with an attachment member coupled to at least a front portion of the sole.

In still yet another aspect of the invention, a method of making a footwear item includes forming a sole member of the footwear item from a sheet of resilient material, the sole member having a first shape configured to substantially conform to a bottom of human foot; and forming an attachment member for attaching the sole to the desired foot, wherein forming the attachment member includes cutting the attachment member from the sheet of resilient material such that the attachment member and the sole member are integrally connected.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred and alternative embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a footwear item in an unpackaged configuration according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the footwear item of FIG. 1 in the unpackaged configuration;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the footwear item of FIG. 1 in the unpackaged configuration according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the footwear item of FIG. 1 in a first packaged configuration according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the footwear item of FIG. 1 in a second packaged configuration according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a footwear item in an unpackaged configuration according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the footwear item of FIG. 6 in the unpackaged configuration; and

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a footwear item before a forward portion of an attachment member has been coupled to a sole member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In the following description, certain specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments of the invention. In other instances, well-known structures and methods associated with footwear items and methods of using, making and/or assembling the same may not be shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 1-3 show a footwear item 100 according to an embodiment of the invention. Preferably, the footwear item 100 takes the form of a flip-flop or a slipper style of footwear. The footwear item 100 is configured to be rolled or folded into a packaged configuration and later unrolled or unfolded into a wearing or unpackaged configuration. The footwear item 100 may have a variety of purposes, whereas one such purpose is as a temporary footwear item worn by a person to obtain relief from uncomfortable shoes. The temporary footwear item 100 helps to maintain a bottom of a person's foot clean and substantially protected from the ground or other walking surface. The footwear item 100 may be used for walking from an automobile to a gym, in a hotel, on a camping trip, in a medical clinic or hospital environment, etc.

The footwear 100 includes a sole member 102 and an attachment member 104 for coupling or attaching the footwear item 100 to the person's foot. The attachment member 104 is coupled to or integrally formed with the sole member 102. In one embodiment, a forward portion 108 of the attachment member 104 is secured to a plug device 106, which in turn is coupled to the sole member 102. An aft portion 110 of the attachment member 104 is integrally formed and extends from the sole member 102.

The plug device 106 may be made from polymeric, rubber, or other materials and may take a variety of forms, for example, but not limited to, a fastener, a button, a snap, a hook and loop fastening system, a staple, adhesive, etc. In the illustrated embodiment, the connection between the aft portion 110 and the sole member 102 takes the form of the aft portion 110 being integrally formed with the sole member 102 and separated there from by cutting the sole member 102. In other embodiments, the connection between the aft portion 110 and the sole member 102 may take other forms such as, but not limited to, a fastener, a button, a snap, a hook and loop fastening system (e.g., VELCROŽ), a staple, adhesive, etc.

The sole member 102 and the attachment member 104 may be made from a variety of materials, preferably materials that are sufficiently flexible to allow the footwear item 100 to be rolled or folded into a packaged configuration and later unrolled or unfolded into a wearing or unpackaged configuration. By way of example, the sole member 102 and the attachment member 104 are made from the same material, such as a soft rubber, natural rubber, a polymeric, a foam, or other equivalent type of material. Preferable, the sole member 102 and the attachment member 104 are made for a type of material that is easily rollable or foldable such that the footwear item 100 may be compressed into a small size for placement into a compartment, such as, but not limited to, a small purse, bag, glove box, or pocket. In one embodiment, the sole member 102 may have a relatively smooth upper surface 112, an opposing non-slip or otherwise grippable tread surface 114, and be capable of bearing a person's weight and withstanding frictional (e.g., walking) forces. It is appreciated that the materials for producing the footwear item 100 may be recycled or recyclable materials.

FIG. 4 shows the footwear item 100 in a first packaged configuration. In the illustrated embodiment, the footwear item 100 has been rolled up to take on a substantially reduced size or footprint. A wrap 116 having a first end 118 and a second end 120 may be used to maintain the shape and footprint of the footwear item 100 in the packaged configuration. The first and second ends 118, 120 are fastened or otherwise connected together, for example with a snap or with a hook and loop fastening system. Alternatively, the wrap 116 may take the form of a rubber band or other stretchable member, a plastic or fabric sleeve, or tape. In another embodiment, the footwear item 100 may be placed in the packaged configuration and then stored in a semi-rigid or rigid container, similar to an eye glass case.

FIG. 5 shows the footwear item 100 in a second packaged configuration. In this illustrated embodiment, the footwear item 100 has been folded up to take on the substantially reduced size or footprint. A band 122 secures the footwear item 100 in the packaged configuration. Similar to the wrap 116 describe above, the band 122 may take a variety of forms such as a rubber band or other stretchable member, a plastic or fabric sleeve, or tape 120 and may be fastened with a snap or with a hook and loop fastening system.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show a footwear item 200 having a sole member 202 and an attachment member 204. The attachment member 204 is integrally formed with the sole member 202, such that a plug device 106 like the one as described above is not required to connect the attachment member 204 to the sole member 202.

FIG. 8 shows a footwear item 300 in an unpackaged configuration having a sole member 302 and an attachment member 304. Prior to rolling or folding the footwear item 300 into a packaged configuration, the attachment member 304 may be placed around a periphery 306 defined by a rear portion of the sole member 302. In one embodiment, the periphery 306 defines a cut line where the attachment member 304 is cut or separated from the sole member 302. When the footwear item 300 is placed on the person's foot, the attachment member 304 is folded forward approximately along line 308 and then a front portion 310 of the attachment member 304 may be coupled to a first portion 312 of the sole member 302 in the various ways described above or by other equivalent means. In one embodiment, the front portion 310 of the attachment member 304 is cut such that the attachment member 304 comprises two straps extending from the sole member 302.

These and other changes can be made in light of the above detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all types of footwear items and components thereof, to include but not limited to flip-flop, sandal, and slipper-type footwear configurations that operate in accordance with the claims.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, different types of sole materials, attachment members, and packaging configurations may achieve similar advantages as the footwear items described above. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of the preferred embodiment. Instead, the invention should be determined by reference to the claims that follow.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8555524 *Jul 1, 2010Oct 15, 2013George HammerbeckOne-piece footwear
US8745893Aug 10, 2011Jun 10, 2014Gavrieli Brands LLCSplit-sole footwear
US8763275May 2, 2011Jul 1, 2014Mor Talia ShalomFoldable footwear
US20110016745 *Jul 1, 2010Jan 27, 2011George HammerbeckOne-piece footwear
WO2011119026A1Mar 21, 2011Sep 29, 2011Born In Saint-Tropez B.V.Foldable footwear item
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/100, 36/11.5, 36/25.00R
International ClassificationA43B3/12, A43B13/00, A43B3/24
Cooperative ClassificationA43B3/12, A43B3/24, A43B3/10
European ClassificationA43B3/24, A43B3/12, A43B3/10