FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to shoe inserts which can identify the wearer and/or provide useful information about the wearer or owner of the shoe, such as medical information, and to articles and apparatus which are useful in connection with such inserts.
The problem of identifying someone who is unable to speak or provide their name or other important information has been around for many years. In particular, a number of attempts have been made to provide means for identifying persons such as children. In addition, the problem of providing convenient means to identify adults who may be injured or become unconscious while running or jogging and not carrying any identification has been around for a number of years. Such problems can occur in any number of situations, such as when a young child is lost. In addition, such problems can arise when a natural disaster overwhelms a region, such as the case with when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other areas in 2005.
In the past, various attempts have been made to provide means for identifying a person wearing a shoe. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,254,566, issued to Haskell on Mar. 10, 1981, a foldable sheet is provided which can be secured via the shoelaces on an athletic shoe. Identifying information, such as the wearer's name, as well as pertinent medical information, can be placed onto the sheet. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,684,543, issued to Fernau on Feb. 3, 2004, discloses a shoe-mounted identification assembly which loops around shoelaces or the shoe tongue. For athletic and other shoes which do not have either shoelaces or a tongue, such conventional identification assemblies are not easily adapted for use. Still another conventional approach is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,589, issued to Kliewer on Mar. 9, 2004. In Kliewer, a shoe fastener is disclosed as an alternative to shoelaces, in which the fastener can be used with shoes in place of the laces. Kliewer also discloses that identification tags can be used with such fasteners. Nonetheless, the fasteners shown in Kliewer are not easily adapted for use with shoes which do not have openings or eyes for shoelaces (or other fasteners). Yet another approach is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,897,947, issued on Feb. 6, 1990, to Kass-Pious, in which a hinged carrier member is provided that can contain identifying information about the wearer, and which can be fastened to the shoe by placing the shoelaces or VELCO fastening strips through a base of the carrier.
Besides attempts to provide wearer identification assemblies attached via shoelaces or other fasteners, conventional approaches include providing identifying sheets in other locations of shoes. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,610,102, issued Sep. 9, 1986 to Hill, discloses a label that is located under a flap of VELCRO on the outside of a shoe heel. In U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,195, issued to Capozzola on Sep. 5, 1989, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,312,136, issued to Capozzola on May 17, 1994, an identification tag is disclosed which can be located inside a shoe, such as in the shoe heel area or the inside sole of the shoe.
Still another approach is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,494,431, issued on Feb. 27, 1996 to Telfer. In Telfer, a device is disclosed for emblazoning identifying indicia onto the soles of a shoe. As noted in Hill, U.S. Pat. No. 4,610,102 (described above), however, labeling on any part of the shoe which comes into contact with the ground is subject to removal or abrasion due to the contact of the shoe with the ground. In addition, labeling on parts of the shoe which come into contact with water, mud, sweat, or the like may wear off.
Shoe inserts and cushions are conventional. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,253,601, issued on May 31, 1966 to Scholl, discloses a foot cushion which can be placed inside a shoe and which conforms to the shape of the user's foot. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 4,642,912, issued Feb. 17, 1987 to Wildman et al., discloses a shoe insole which can be placed inside a shoe and which has multiple layers having specific compressive strength properties. Still other approaches to shoe insoles are shown in U.S. Pat. No. Des. 302,624, issued on Aug. 8, 1989, to Thompson et al., and Des. 288,621, issued on Mar. 10, 1987 to Surpuriya, which disclose different designs for shoe insoles. The use of foam or sponge rubber to form insoles is conventional. More recently, the use of gel insoles which contain a movable fluid or are made of a viscoelastic gel have been used. Such gel insoles may have a cloth layer attached thereto, such as by an adhesive. As described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,598,321, issued to Crane et al. on Jul. 29, 2003, a gel insole may be made of various materials, including styrene-olefin-rubber block copolymers, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic polyolefins, polyamides, polyureas, polyesters, and the like. In addition, spring walls can be provided in one or more recesses in the toe and heel portions of such an insole.
Each of the U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,254,566, 6,684,543, 6,701,589, 4,897,947, 4,610,102, 4,863,195, 5,312,136, 5,494,431, 4,610,102, 3,253,601, 4,642,912, Des. 302,624, Des. 288,621, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,598,321 are hereby incorporated by reference herein as if fully set forth.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
None of the prior art provides an assembly for providing identifying and medical information for the wearer of shoe that is durable, comfortable, and relatively easily and quickly used. Moreover, conventional approaches do not provide an assembly that is cheap and can be used by anyone. In addition, conventional approaches typically involve assemblies that are either uncomfortable or deemed unsightly, and do not provide for customization of ornamentation features. The invention in its various embodiments solves these and other problems of the prior art.
The problems associated with conventional approaches can be solved with the present invention. In one embodiment, an insert for a shoe is provided that has preprinted spaces for identifying and medical information so that appropriate information can be placed on the top face of the insert and the insert then placed inside the wearer's shoe. In one embodiment, the insert can be made and provided in standard shoe sizes for children or for adults, and can have additional design elements provided in addition to spaces for identifying the wearer and/or providing medical information about the wearer. In another embodiment, a package containing two inserts that each have a top surface which provide spaces for identifying information is provided, with the package also containing, for example, a permanent magic marker or the like for adding the desired information in the spaces provided on the top surface of each insert, with each of the inserts made to fit into a shoe of a standard shoe size, and with one insert for the left shoe and the other insert for the right shoe.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an insert for a shoe that can provide useful identifying and/or medical information.
It is another object of the invention to provide a package providing a pair of left and right inserts that are made to fit into corresponding left and right shoes of a standard size.
It is yet another object of the invention to provide a package allowing easy and quick use to provide identifying information to a shoe insert.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other objects of the invention are met via the embodiments of the invention as shown in the accompanying figures and the following description.
FIG. 1 is a drawing of an insole for a shoe in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a drawing of an insole for a shoe in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a drawing of a package containing insoles for shoes in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
Referring first to FIG. 1, an insole 1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is shown. As shown in FIG. 1, the insole 1 is in the outline of a human foot. The insole 1 is preferably made in a shape and size such that insole 1 easily slips into a shoe of a standard size. For example, insole 1 can be a man's size 8. In addition, the insole 1 can be made of such a size and shape that it is slightly larger than necessary to fit into a shoe of a preselected size (such as a man's size 8), so that the user can trim the insole 1, such as by using scissors or the like, to snugly fit inside a shoe. It will be appreciated that insole 1 can be made of any conventional material for insoles. such as those that are commercially available under the DR. SCHOLL'S trademark from the Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Inc. company. Such materials may include cloth, foam or sponge rubber, or viscoelastic polymers or silicone gels, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,598,321 (discussed above).
Still referring to FIG. 1, it can be seen that the insole 1 is in the shape of a normal human left foot. It will be appreciated that the following discussion, although made with respect to the insole 1 of FIG. 1, applies equally to an insole made in the shape of a normal human right foot. It will also be appreciated that although a particular size may be provided in the examples, the invention is not limited to any particular size. Furthermore, the insole 1 may be snugly placed inside a shoe without any adhesive or, alternatively and if desired, the insole 1 may be provided with an adhesive (not shown) on the bottom surface to secure the insole 1 within a shoe. For example, double-sided tape may be provided on the bottom of the insole 1 so that a user can secure the insole 1 within a shoe with such tape.
In FIG. 1, the insole 1 has a number of information fields 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65. As shown in FIG. 1, each of information fields 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65 has a printed term followed by one or more lines for someone to provide the appropriate information. Information field 5, for example, has the printed term “Name” in order to prompt a user to write the name of the wearer in the following space of information field 5. A user can use any conventional means to provide the name information in field 5. For best results, I prefer the use of a permanent magic marker, such as those which are commercially available under the SHARPIE trademark. It will be understood that the information can be added to the information fields by other means, such as a pen.
Still referring to FIG. 1, it can be seen that the information fields include spaces for the following information: field 5 provides a space for a person's name; field 10 provides a space for a person's address; field 15 provides a space for a person's city and state of residence; field 20 provides a space for a person's telephone number; field 30 provides a space for a person's allergies (if any); field 35 provides a space for the name of an emergency contact; field 40 provides a space for the telephone number of an emergency contact; field 45 provides a space for the name of a person's doctor; field 50 provides a space for a person's date of birth; field 60 provides a space for a person's medications (if any); and field 65 provides spaces for any additional pertinent information. Other information fields with additional or different information may be provided. Similarly, the order of the various information fields as shown and described herein may be varied as desired. The information fields can be durably printed on the top surface of the insole 1 by any conventional means, such as silk-screening with permanent ink. Although shown and described as being pre-printed on the top surface of the insole 1, it will also be appreciated that the information fields can be durably printed on the bottom surface of the insole 1, so that the information provided in the information fields is not readily visible to a casual observer once the insole 1 is placed in shoe, but is nonetheless available to anyone who removes the insole 1 from a shoe.
Referring now to FIG. 2, another embodiment of the invention is shown. As shown in FIG. 2, insole 100 is provided in the shape of a normal human left foot. Insole 100 differs from insole 1 (shown in FIG. 1 and described above), however, as insole 100 also has one or more ornamentation features 101 located on the top surface thereof. In FIG. 2, the ornamentation features 101 consist of a series of basketballs, and a basketball player, such as would be appropriate for a person who is fond of basketball. It will be appreciated, however, that other designs may be used, such as footballs, baseballs, baseball bats, and the like. In addition, logos of college, professional and other sports teams may be provided as ornamentation features.
As shown in Figure in FIG. 2, another ornamentation feature 105 is provided. As shown in FIG. 2, feature 105 consists of an alternating design around the edge of the insole 100. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the ornamentation feature 105 need not be limited to the edge of the insole 100 (as is shown in FIG. 2), but can be provided anywhere desired on the surface of the insole 100. In addition, the ornamentation feature 105 can be any desired pattern or color, including a plurality of colors, as may be desired.
Still referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that insole 100 has information fields 110, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, and 145, with information fields 110, 120, 125, 130, 135, and 140 for providing identifying information for the wearer of a shoe in which the insole 100 is placed, and information field 145 for providing medical information for the wearer. As shown in FIG. 2, information field 110 includes a space for the name of the wearer, information field 120 includes a space for the address of the wearer, information field 135 includes a space for the city and state of the wearer's residence, information field 130 includes a space for the telephone number of the wearer's parents (such as would typically be desired if the wearer is a child), information field 135 includes a space for the wearer's age, information field 140 includes a space for the wearer's school, and information field 145 includes a space for a listing of any allergies of the wearer. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that additional or different information fields for either or both identifying information and medical information may be provided by insole 100. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that any design or ornamentation features may be used that are pleasing to the wearer or the purchaser of the insole. It will also be appreciated that the insole 100 may be made of a material with a single desired color or with multiple colors or with multiple patterns. For example, the insole 100 can have a top surface background which is pink if the insole 100 is of a shape and size corresponding to a women's or girl's shoe size. In addition, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the insole 100 can have ornamentation features (not shown) that allow or encourage further ornamentation. For example, the insole 100 can be provided with outlines of figures of people, animals, and/or objects such that a person, such as the wearer, can color in the outlines and thereby customize the insole 100.
Now referring to FIG. 3, another embodiment of the invention is shown. As shown in FIG. 3, a package 300 is provided. Package 3 has two outer plastic parts 302, 304, which fit sealingly together at the side, top and bottom edges and provide a cavity portion to hold the contents. Preferably, the plastic of package 3 is transparent so that potential customers can easily view the contents. The package 300 preferably includes a first insole 305 and may also contain a second foot insole (not shown). It will be appreciated that insole 305 may be of the type of insole 1 or insole 100 described above.
Still referring to FIG. 3, the insole 305 of package 300 is made of a desired shape and size so that insole 305 is easily inserted into a standard shoe size, such as described above in connection with insoles 1, 100. For example, insoles 305 can be made so that it is easily inserted and removably and snugly fit into a boy's size seven shoe. For a package 300 containing insole 305 of such a shape and size, the front outer surface of package 300 can provide a label 320 indicating that the insole 305 in the package 300 is for a boy's size 7. Doing so allows a potential purchaser to more easily identify and select an appropriate package 300 from a retail display (not shown) of multiple packages 300.
Still referring to FIG. 3, it can be seen that the package 300 includes an opening 312 therethrough adapted to allow the package 300 to be hung from a hook of a conventional retail display (not shown). As shown in FIG. 3, the package 300 includes a body portion 350 which contains the insole 305, as well as a permanent marker 340. The body 350 includes an opaque area 310, upon which appropriate labels and other information can be provided, such as the size label 320 indicating the shoe size for which the insole 305 is designed, any instructions 325 that may be deemed desirable, such as instructions for use of the insole 305, and any trademarks or other information that may be desirable to include. The opaque area 310 defines the outside of a viewing portion through which a potential purchaser can see the insole 305 and the marker 340. As also shown in FIG. 3, the insole 305 contains information fields 360, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, and 366, adapting for providing a user's name, phone number, address, city and state, information about medications, information about any allergies, and contact information, respectively. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the package 300 can be made of various materials and have various shapes and sizes as may be desired. In one embodiment, the package 300 can be made of plastic, with a first portion containing the body portion 350 sealingly attached to a second, flat backing portion of package 300, as is conventional for retail packaging of many consumer items. The package 300 can be made of a clear, transparent plastic, or it can be translucent or opaque, and can be of differing colors as well. Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that the package 300 can also include more than just one insole 305. For example, the package 300 may include a first insole 305, such as a for a shoe for a left foot of a particular size, and then a second insole (not shown) for a right foot for a shoe of the same size. Alternatively, the package 300 may include the insole 305 and also a second insole of the same size and for the same foot, such as may be used as a replacement. Similarly, the package 300 may include more than one marker 340, such as by including multiple markers (not shown) of various colors to allow a user to customize the insole 305 by coloring the insole 305 with the multi-colored markers (not shown).
The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, and those skilled in the art will appreciate and understand that the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners. Any and all such modifications from the particular embodiment disclosed are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. The invention is to be defined only by the claims as set forth below. For example, those skilled in the art will appreciate that additional information fields beyond those shown and described may be used as desired, such as additional identifying information and/or medical information. In addition, those of skill in the art will appreciate that the invention can be practice with various materials, including one or more of those noted above. For example, the insole could be made of a gel portion with a cloth surface layer attached thereto, such as by an adhesive.