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Publication numberUS20080127518 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/742,678
Publication dateJun 5, 2008
Filing dateMay 1, 2007
Priority dateDec 1, 2006
Publication number11742678, 742678, US 2008/0127518 A1, US 2008/127518 A1, US 20080127518 A1, US 20080127518A1, US 2008127518 A1, US 2008127518A1, US-A1-20080127518, US-A1-2008127518, US2008/0127518A1, US2008/127518A1, US20080127518 A1, US20080127518A1, US2008127518 A1, US2008127518A1
InventorsRichard Byrne, James Walsh, Ronald Richards
Original AssigneeRichard Byrne, James Walsh, Ronald Richards
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable footbed system for footwear
US 20080127518 A1
Abstract
This invention relates to an adjustable shoe footbed system which allows for varying the width of a shoe. The footbed system consists of an upper member and a set of detachable lower members of various thicknesses. The effective width of a shoe can be varied by the proper choice of lower member.
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Claims(23)
1. An article of footwear, comprising:
an outsole;
an upper affixed to said outsole, said upper and said outsole defining a shoe cavity for receiving a user's foot, said shoe cavity having a width, said width being greater in area of said shoe cavity proximate to said outsole, and said width being lesser in an area of said shoe cavity remote from said outsole;
an insole located between said outsole and said upper, said insole having an upper surface and a lower surface, and said insole further having a heel area, a middle area, and a forefoot area;
a wedge member detachably affixed to said lower surface of said insole, said wedge member having an upper surface and a lower surface, said wedge member further having a rear area, a middle area, and a front area, and said wedge member having a thickness selected to position said forefoot area and said middle area of said insole at a selected height location within said shoe cavity.
2. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein the length of said wedge member as measured from said front area of said wedge member to said rear area of said wedge member is between ⅓ to ⅞ the length of said insole as measured from said forefoot area to said heel area of said insole.
3. The article of footwear of claim 2 wherein said front area of said wedge member is aligned with said forefoot area of said insole.
4. The article of footwear of claim 3 wherein said insole has a peripheral edge, and said insole peripheral edge forms an insole peripheral edge shape, and said wedge member has a peripheral edge and said wedge member peripheral edge forms a wedge member peripheral edge shape, and said insole peripheral edge shape is the same shape as said wedge member peripheral edge shape along the length of said wedge member.
5. The article of footwear of claim 4 wherein said wedge member has a greater thickness in said front area of said wedge member and a lesser thickness in said rear area of said wedge member.
6. The article of footwear of claim 5 wherein the thickness of said front area of said wedge member is equal to the thickness of said middle area of said wedge member, and the thickness of said rear area of said wedge member is lesser than the thickness of said middle area and said front area of said wedge member.
7. The article of footwear of claim 6 wherein said wedge member has a thickness ranging from 0.6 mm to 30.0 mm.
8. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein said wedge member is detachably affixed to said insole by a hook and loop fastener system, said hook and loop system comprising a hook component, and a loop component, wherein one of said hook component and said loop component is affixed to said lower surface of said insole, and wherein one of said hook component and said loop component is affixed to said upper surface of said wedge member.
9. The article of footwear of claim 8, wherein said wedge member comprises one or more protrusions proximate to one or more of said hook component and said loop component.
10. The article of footwear of claim 8, wherein said one or more of said hook component and said loop component affixed to said upper surface of said wedge member is embedded in said upper surface of said wedge member.
11. The article of footwear of claim 8, wherein said one or more of said hook component and said loop component affixed to said lower surface of said insole is embedded in said lower surface of said insole.
12. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein said upper surface of said wedge member further comprises one or more protrusions, and said lower surface of said insole further comprises one or more cavities for receiving said one or more stabilization protrusions.
13. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein said insole further comprises one or more ventilation channels, said wedge member further comprises one or more ventilation channels, and wherein said one or more insole ventilation channels is in fluid communication with said one or more wedge member ventilation channels.
14. The article of footwear of claim 13 wherein said one or more insole ventilation channels are vertical holes, and wherein said one or more wedge member ventilation channels are vertical holes.
15. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein said insole is formed of a relatively softer foam composition, and said wedge member is formed of a relatively harder foam composition.
16. The article of footwear of claim 1 wherein said wedge member is detached from said insole, and removed from the shoe.
17. The article of footwear of claim 4 wherein a segment of said insole peripheral edge is notched, and an adjoining segment of said wedge member peripheral edge is notched.
18. The article of footwear of claim 17, wherein said upper has a means of receiving said insole peripheral edge notches and for receiving said wedge member peripheral edge notches.
19. An article of footwear, comprising:
an outsole;
an upper affixed to said outsole, said upper and said outsole defining a shoe cavity for receiving a user's foot, said shoe cavity having a width, said width being greater in area of said shoe cavity proximate to said outsole, and said width being lesser in an area of said shoe cavity remote from said outsole;
an insole located between said outsole and said upper, said insole having an upper surface and a lower surface, and said insole further having a heel area, a middle area, and a forefoot area, said insole further having peripheral edge, and said insole peripheral edge having a peripheral edge shape;
a wedge member detachably affixed to said lower surface of said insole, said wedge member having an upper surface and a lower surface, said wedge member further having a rear area, a middle area, and a front area, said wedge member further having a length measured from said front area of said wedge member to said rear area of said wedge member, wherein said wedge member length is between ⅓ to ⅞ the length of said insole as measured from said forefoot area to said heel area;
said wedge member further having a peripheral edge, and said wedge member peripheral edge having a peripheral edge shape equivalent to said insole peripheral edge shape along said length of said wedge member length;
wherein said wedge member has a thickness selected to position said forefoot area and said middle area of said insole at a selected height location within said shoe cavity;
wherein said upper surface of said wedge member is detachably affixed to said middle area of said lower surface of said insole; and
wherein the thickness of said wedge member at said front area of said wedge member is equal to the thickness of said middle area of said wedge member, and the thickness of said rear area of said wedge member is lesser than said thickness of said middle area and front area of said wedge member, and thickness of said wedge member decreases from said greater thickness to said lesser thickness.
20. The article of footwear of claim 19 wherein said wedge member is detachably affixed to said insole by a hook and loop fastener system.
21. A method for providing an adjustable footbed system for footwear, comprising the steps of:
providing an insole, said insole having an upper surface and a lower surface, and said insole further having a heel area, a middle area, and a forefoot area;
providing one or more wedge member for detachably affixing to said lower surface of said insole, said wedge member having an upper surface and a lower surface, said wedge member further having a rear area, a middle area, and a front area, and said wedge members having a range of different thicknesses selected to increase the height of said insole; and
providing a combination package for said insole and said wedge members.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein the method for providing and adjustable footbed system further includes said insole and said varying thickness wedge members for a left foot, and said insole and said varying thickness wedge members for a right foot.
23. The method of claim 21 further including the steps of:
manufacturing said wedge members components, and said insole wherein said wedge member components and said insole are designed to fit a wide range of different shoe models, and different shoe brands; and
offering said combination packages for sale.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/250,821 filed Dec. 1, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an adjustable footbed system for footwear which allows for varying the internal dimensions of a shoe cavity. More specifically, the present invention relates to an adjustable footbed system for footwear wherein the user can vary the effective width of the shoe cavity by detachably affixing wedge members of varying thickness to the lower surface of the insole.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Shoes are produced and offered for sale in a myriad of styles and fashions to supply consumer demand for variations of fashion taste and function. Human feet also come in a variety of shapes and sizes of varying widths and lengths. For each shoe model offered for sale, manufacturers have traditionally produced and offered a variety of sizes, with varying lengths and widths, in order to accommodate many different sizes and shapes of feet.

Shoe sizes traditionally have two dimensions, length and width. The width of a shoe is measured across the ball of the foot at the level of the upper surface of the footbed of the shoe. In the U.S., standard shoe width sizes are denoted by letters of the alphabet, for example B, C, D, etc, wherein C is wider than B, and D is wider than C, etc. For each change in the width size, for example from B to C, there is ¼ inch change in shoe width, for example from 3½″ to 3¾″.

The length of the shoe is measured from the rear peripheral edge of the heel area to the front peripheral edge of the forefoot area. Traditionally, men's shoe sizes are sold in about 11 sizes corresponding to the length, from about size 7 to a size 12 in half-length increments. Generally, for each increase in foot size, for example 9 to 10, the standard with of the footbed, as measured across the ball of the upper surface of the footbed, increases about ¼ of an inch. Shoe widths are traditionally manufactured and sold in about 7 widths, from “A” to “EEE.” This means that for each model sold the shoe manufacturer must produce approximately 77 different sized shoes to meet consumer demand.

A disadvantage of manufacturing and distributing a wide range of sized shoes for one specific model is the increased cost of manufacturing and distribution. For example for a single shoe model offered in 77 different sizes, the manufacturer must retool production machines for each different size, the distributor must efficiently and effectively order, stock, and deliver the proper number of sized shoes, and manufacturers and retailers alike must accurately predict consumer demand for different sized shoes in order to avoid costly overruns or shortages. Ideally shoe producers would achieve a balance between producing enough different sized shoes to satisfy consumer demand, while at the same time minimizing overruns, retooling, and other inefficiencies associated with manufacturing and distributing 77 different sized shoes for each shoe model.

One known solution to this logistical problem is to reduce the number shoe widths manufactured and offered for sale. By limiting shoes to two widths per each shoe length size sold, e.g., medium and wide; or three widths, e.g. narrow, medium and wide; shoe manufacturers can limit the risks of incorrectly forecasting consumer demand, and thereby reduce unsold inventory, and increase goodwill, while at the same time providing three different options for shoe width for each sized shoe. This solution also avoids the cost and time spent retooling machines, designing different sized shoes, supplying retails stores with a variety of shoe sizes, and losses resulting from unsold shoes.

A disadvantage of decreasing the number shoe widths manufactured for each shoe model sold is increased consumer dissatisfaction resulting from the decrease in shoe width options offered for sale. By decreasing the number of sized shoes offered for each model the manufacturer may increase manufacturing and distribution efficiencies; however it does so at the risk of decreased demand and alienation of its consumer base.

A further disadvantage of reducing the number of shoe widths manufactured and sold is that the previously discussed manufacturing and distribution inefficiencies associated with producing and distributing a wide range of sized shoes still exists albeit to a lesser extent. A manufacturer selling three widths for every length size still must manufacture, distribute, and stock over 30 different sizes of a specific shoe model.

Several systems and methods have been developed to further overcome the disadvantages associated with manufacturing and distributing a wide range of sized shoes. For example U.S. Patent Application Nos. 2006/0107552 to Clark et al. and 2006/0107553 also to Clark et al. teach a system and method for altering the effective width size of the shoe footbed wherein a cartridge can be releasably attached to the forefoot region of the footbed to increase the effective thickness of the forefoot region of the footbed. Increasing the thickness of the forefoot region of the footbed with a cartridge decreases the effective width of the shoe as measured across the ball of the shoe because the interior width of the shoe cavity decreases as a function of increasing distance from the footbed. Employing this system, a shoe manufacturer can make and distribute a single width shoe for each shoe length size sold, and the consumer can customize the shoe width by selecting the correct width cartridge to insert. These systems decrease the disadvantages associated with manufacturing and distributing a range of sized shoes, while at the same time satisfying consumer demand for varying width shoes for each length size sold.

A disadvantage of the known insertable cartridge systems is that the foodbeds and associated cartridges are specific to individual shoe models, and are not readily used in other shoe models, or brands of a similar length. In other words, existing cartridge-footbed combinations are specific to a certain shoe model, size, and brand, and sold to the consumer with that specific product. These systems increase costs because the shoe manufacturer must distribute specific cartridge-footbed combinations simultaneously with the associated shoe models. This increasing stocking and distribution cost. These systems also limit consumer choice because the consumer can not purchase the system a later time and use it in a shoe of his own choice. A related disadvantage is that there is no generic adjustable system that can fit a wide variety of shoe models, and brands.

Another disadvantage of known systems is that they do not disclose a reliable means for releasably attaching the cartridge to the insole. In known systems the cartridge may inadvertently detach from the insole during use, or when the user is removing the combination from the shoe.

Another disadvantage of known systems is that sheer forces acting on the shoe sole during use, especially during heavy use such as in athletics cause the footbed to laterally slip relative to the cartridge resulting in an uneven alignment of the cartridge and footbed. The lateral slippage further results in an unstable footbed. Uneven alignment of the cartridge and the footbed results in an increasingly uncomfortable and uneven footbed surface for the user. The uneven alignment further increases the width of the shoe, the very problem the system is designed to alleviate. Finally, a cartridge footbed system that frequently becomes misaligned requires the user to remove the shoe, remove the cartridge-footbed combination, realign the cartridge-footbed combination, reinsert the cartridge-footbed combination, and put the shoe back on the foot.

Another disadvantage of known systems is that the shoe can not be worn without the cartridge. If the cartridge is removed, the footbed lacks sufficient stability and an even footbed surface, specifically in the forefoot region, to support the user's foot. This results in an uneven, unstable, uncomfortable shoe and poses safety risk to the user of the shoe.

Another disadvantage of known systems is that cartridge-footbed combinations have inadequate, if any, ventilation. It is currently known to use vertical ventilation channels in the insole to cool the foot during use of the shoe. Known systems do not disclose the use of ventilation channels in the cartridge-footbed combination that are aligned to form a continuous ventilation channel. The lack of ventilation results in a super heater footed, and leads to discomfort, poor support, and food odor.

Another disadvantage of known systems is that the means for attaching the wedge member to the insole creates an uneven footbed surface because the attaching means, located under the footbed, are of a different density than the surrounding material. Furthermore, the attaching means are generally affixed to the upper surface of the wedge member and the lower surface of the footbed, an object of a given thickness sandwiched between the footbed and the cartridge. Although the surface of the footbed may appear relatively flat, the different density material or additional thickness material creates the sensation of an uneven or uncomfortable footbed when foot pressure is applied.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an adjustable footbed system for footwear wherein the user can increase the thickness of the footbed, and thereby decrease the effective width of the shoe.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system comprising an insole and a wedge member, wherein the upper surface of the wedge member is detachably affixed to the lower surface of the insole to increase the effective thickness of the foot bed, and thereby decrease the effective width of the shoe.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a system and method for packaging and distributing an adjustable footbed system wherein a wedge member-insole combination is not specific to shoe model and/or brand and can be used in many different types of shoes.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a system and method for packaging and distributing an adjustable footbed wherein the insole is compatible with wedge members of varying thickness and the user can select a wedge member of specific thickness to achieve a desired shoe width.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system comprising a wedge member and an insole, wherein the wedge member is detachably affixed to the insole with a hook and loop fastener system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system comprising a wedge member and an insole, wherein the upper surface of the wedge member further comprises protrusions, and the lower surface of the insole comprises voids for receiving the protrusions, and the interlocking protrusions prevent lateral slipping of the wedge member relative the insole during use.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system comprising a wedge member and an insole, wherein the insole can be used without the wedge member.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system comprising a wedge member and an insole, wherein the wedge member-insole combination have ventilation channels passing vertically through the footbed, and the ventilation channels in the insole are in fluid communication with the ventilation channels in the wedge member.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system wherein the footbed surface evenly supports the user's foot.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable footbed system wherein the wedge member and the insole have matching notches in their sides, and wherein said notches mate with associated notches on the interior of the shoe upper to prevent the wedge member-insole combination from moving into shoe cavity during use.

These and other objects are achieved in one embodiment of present invention for an adjustable footbed system which will accommodate a variety of foot widths and lengths. The invention is based on the observation that the effective shoe width is measured across the ball of the upper surface of the insole. In shoe construction an upper is generally affixed to an outsole to form a shoe cavity. The upper can be designed, and generally is, so that the width of the shoe cavity decreases as a function of increasing height as measured from the outsole. The present invention allows the user to adjust the effective width of the shoe by increasing the thickness of the insole and thereby decreasing the effective width of the footbed.

A removable insole of elastomeric foam, or other suitable material, is detachably affixed to a wedge member. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention the insole is equivalent in length to the interior length of the shoe cavity as measured from forefoot to heel. The wedge member is approximately ⅓ to ⅞ the length of the insole. When the wedge member is detachably affixed to the insole, the front area of the insole, and the front area of the wedge member are aligned. The peripheral edge, or outline, of the wedge member is symmetric to that of the insole with the proviso that in the outline the heel portion of the wedge member is a missing. As mentioned above the wedge member is approximately a ⅓ to ⅞ outline of the insole. The advantage of having wedge member that is not equal in length to the insole is that the thickness of the heel of the footbed does not increase with the addition of the wedge member, a situation which could potentially lead to an unstable and loose fitting shoe.

The thickness of the wedge member changes uniformly from approximately 0.5 mm nearest the heel to approximately 0.6-30 mm in the front area of the wedge member. In some embodiments the thickness of the wedge member is constant from the middle area of the wedge member to the forefoot area of the wedge member. The combined thickness of the wedge member and the insole will determine the height of the footbed, specifically the height in the front area of the footbed and the middle area of the footbed. Similar to the insole, the wedge member is also preferably constructed of elastomeric foam, preferably of a higher density than that of the insole.

By increasing the thickness of the insole of the shoe, the effective width of the shoe, as measured across the ball of the upper surface of the insole decreases. The decrease is due to the fact that the width of the shoe cavity decreases as a function of increasing height as measured from the outsole.

Alignment of the wedge member relative to the insole is achieved by a form fitting relationship between the lower surface of the insole, and the upper surface of the wedge member. Both members have a substantially similar curvature, and when fit together provide a means of alignment. Alignment of the wedge member relative to the insole is further achieved by a means of detachably affixing the wedge member to the insole, for example with a hook and loop fastener.

Alignment of the wedge member relative to the insole is further achieved in some embodiments by means of ridges protruding from the upper surface of the wedge member, and associated voids in the lower surface of the insole for receiving the protrusions. In some embodiments the protrusions are aligned down the centerline of the wedge member so that the protrusions are received proximal to the means of detachably affixing the wedge member to the insole. In other embodiment the protrusions are located near the forefoot region of the wedge member, and the associated receiving voids are similarly located in the lower surface of the insole.

The method of attachment of the wedge member to the upper member should be one which meets a number of criterions. Foremost, the method of attachment should be innocuous and not affect the overall comfort of the shoe. The method of attachment should be reusable. The method should be nonspecific in that the attachment would allow an upper insole member to be able to attach to a variety of lower members of varying thicknesses. In one embodiment of the invention, the method of attachment is a hook and loop fastener such as Velcro®.

This invention and its particular features and advantages will become more apparent from the following detailed description considered with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an adjustable footbed system for footwear for improving the overall fit of a particular shoe without modifying the exterior appearance of the shoe.

FIG. 2 is a top, front, and left side perspective of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance one embodiment of the invention showing a top, front, and left side perspective view of an insole of the footbed system for footwear which is positioned above a wedge member of the footbed system for footwear also shown in a top, front and left side perspective view.

FIG. 3 is a clam shell or hinge perspective view of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the invention wherein the wedge member is shown from a top, front, and left side perspective view, and wherein the insole is shown in a bottom, front, and left side perspective view. The wedge member and the insole are shown in a clam shell arrangement for the purpose of showing the means for preventing lateral slippage of the wedge member relative to the insole.

FIG. 4 is a top, front, and left side perspective view of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention wherein the wedge member is shown detachably affixed to the lower surface of the insole.

FIG. 5 is front cut away perspective view of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention wherein the upper, shoe cavity, insole, wedge member, and outsole are shown. The ridge protrusions on the upper surface of the wedge member, and the associated receiving voids on the lower surface of the insole are further shown.

FIG. 6 is a top view of an adjustable footbed system and method for distributing said footbed for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the invention wherein an insole is shown with a variety of accompanying wedge members with increasing thickness, and wherein the user can choose a specific wedge member to achieve the desired effective width.

FIG. 7 is a top, front and left side perspective view of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention showing a top, front and left side perspective view of an insole of the footbed system for footwear which is positioned above a wedge member of the footbed system for footwear also shown in a top, front and left side perspective view.

FIG. 8 is a top, front, and left side perspective view of an adjustable footbed system for footwear in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention wherein the wedge member is shown detachably affixed to the lower surface of the insole.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the insole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a bottom plan view of the insole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a left side elevation of the insole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a right side elevation of the insole in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of a wedge member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of a wedge member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a left side elevation view of a wedge member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a right side elevation view of a wedge member in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the present invention in which the insole is positioned above and adjacent to the wedge member of the adjustable footbed system for footwear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to FIGS. 1-7 an embodiment of an adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 in accordance with the present invention is shown. Referring specifically to FIG. 5 a cutaway of one embodiment of the present invention is shown. The adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 includes an outsole 20 and an upper 22. The upper 22 is affixed to the outsole 20 to form a shoe cavity 28. The upper 22 maybe affixed to the outsole 20 by any known means in the art, such as stitching or adhesive.

Referring specifically to FIG. 5, the proposed invention further includes an insole 30, and a wedge member 60. The wedge member 60 is located above the outsole 20 and below the insole 30. The insole 30 is located above the outsole 20 and above the wedge member 60. Both the wedge member 60 and the insole 30 are located in the shoe cavity 28. It should be understood that the adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 may include additional components. For example, the system may include a sock liner, a midsole, multiple insoles, multiple wedge members, shoe laces, and other components.

It should further be understood that for the purpose of this disclosure, the Applicant defines term ‘insole’ broadly, so as to include any footbed member insertable in the shoe cavity 28 to support a user's foot. It should be understood, for example, that in some embodiments of the present invention the insole may be a sock liner, or midsole, or any other kind of removable footbed known in the art.

Referring to FIG. 5, the upper 24 is constructed so that the shoe cavity 28 becomes narrower as a function of increasing distance from an upper surface 21 of the outsole 20. In this instance shoe cavity 28 width refers to the dimension across the ball of the foot, as opposed to the length of the shoe cavity 28, measured from a heel to forefoot. For example, at a distance of 0.0 inches from the outsole 20, the shoe cavity 28 is at its widest, and the distance between the vertical walls of the upper 25 is at its greatest. The width of the shoe cavity 28 decreases as a function of increasing distance from of outsole 20. For example, ¼ inch above the outsole 20 the width of the shoe cavity 28 is narrower than the width of the shoe cavity 28 at the outsole 20. This relationship between shoe cavity 28 width and increasing distance from the outsole 20 continues, until such point where the vertical walls of the upper 25 meet to form the top wall 29 of the shoe cavity 28, or until such point where the vertical walls of the upper 25 meet a common shoe tongue 27 that forms the top wall 29 of the shoe cavity 28. The relationship between shoe 10 width and distance from the outsole 20 allows the user to adjust the effective width of the shoe 10 by increasing and decreasing the height of the insole 30 in the shoe cavity 28 relative to the outsole 20.

Referring to FIG. 2 the insole 30 includes a forefoot area 40, a middle area 38, and a heel area 36. The insole 30 further includes an upper surface 32, and a lower surface 34. The insole 30 has a thickness that may vary along the insole 30. For example the insole 30 is thinner in the forefoot area 40, and thicker in the heel area 36. It is preferred that the thickness of the insole 30 increases in the middle area 38 of the insole 30, such that there is a gradual transition from the thinner forefoot area 40 to the thicker heel area 36. The sides of the insole 30 in the heel area 36 are thicker then the center of the heel area 36 of the insole 30, forming a cup like surface on the upper surface 32 of the heel area 36 of the insole 30. The thickness variation in the heel area 36 of the insole 30 helps contour the insole 30 to the heel of the user's foot. The thickness variation of the insole 30 may further form a curvature. The curvature is used to align a similarly curved wedge member 60.

The insole 30 further has a peripheral edge 42 such that the insole 30 is of a shape which can support a human foot. The shape of the insole 30 and the shape of the peripheral edge 42 maybe designed to accommodate a left foot or a right foot. It should be understood that the designs and inventions disclosed herein apply equally to both left foot fitted shoes and right foot fitted shoes, regardless of whether a right foot embodiment is shown or described herein, or a left foot embodiment is shown or described herein.

Preferably the insole 30 is constructed from elastomeric foam. It is further preferable that the insole 30 is constructed from the elastomeric foam sold in the field under the brand name Ortholite. However, it should be understood that the insole 30 may be constructed from any material or combination of materials known in the field or any suitable material for forming an insole 30. For example the insole 30 may include ethyl vinyl acetate foam, known in the art as EVA or simply acetate. It should further be understood that the insole 30 may be constructed from multiple materials, or the insole 30 may be constructed from a singe material.

Referring to FIG. 3 the insole 30 includes a means of detachably affixing a wedge member 60 to the lower surface of the insole 34. The means for detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the insole 30 should be innocuous and not affect the overall comfort of the wearer. The means of attachment should be reusable. The means of attachment should be nonspecific in that the attachment would allow an upper insole 30 to be able to attach to a variety of wedge members 60 of varying thicknesses.

In some embodiments the means for detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the insole 30 is a hook and loop fastener system 45, such as Velcro®. The lower surface of the insole 34 includes either a hook component and/or a loop component 44 of a hook and loop fastener system 45. The fastener component 44 may be affixed to the lower surface of the insole 32 by adhesive, stitching, or any other means known in the art. It should be understood that the wedge member 60 may be detachably affixed to the insole 30 with any suitable means, such as a zipper, adhesive tape, snaps, form fitting components or any other means for detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the insole 30 known in the art.

Referring to the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, a bottom view of an insole 30 is shown, wherein the insole 30 includes a hook and loop fastener component 44. The fastener component 44 may be of any shape, and of any size. The fastener component 44 may be either a hook component or a loop component. The fastener component 44 may further be located at any location on the lower surface of the insole 34 wherein the upper surface of the wedge member 62 contacts the lower surface of the insole 34 when both components are inserted into the shoe cavity 28. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 the fastener component 44 is square, and approximately 1″ by 1″. The fastener component 44 is located on the lower surface of the insole 34 between the forefoot area of the insole 40 and the middle area of the insole 38, along the centerline of the insole 30.

Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 5 the adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 further includes a wedge member 60. The wedge member 60 includes an upper surface 62 and a lower surface 64. The wedge member 60 further includes a rear area 66, a middle area 68, and a front area 70. The wedge member 60 has a length that is approximately between ⅓ and ⅞ the length of the insole 30 as measured from the forefoot of the insole 40 to the heel of the insole 36.

The wedge member 60 has a thickness that may vary along its length. For example in the particular embodiment disclosed in FIGS. 1-7 the thickness of the wedge member 60 is greater at the front area of the wedge member 70 and lesser at the rear area of the wedge member 66. Preferably, the thickness of the wedge member 60 is constant between the front area of the wedge member 70 and the middle area of the wedge member 68. However, it is preferable that the thickness of the wedge member 60 gradually decreases from a middle area of the wedge member 68 to a rear area of the wedge member 66.

It is preferred that the thickness of the rear area of the wedge member 66 is approximately 0.6 mm and that the thickness of the wedge member 60 increases to a constant thickness at the middle area of the wedge member 68. The thickness of the middle area of the wedge member 68 and front area of the wedge member 70 may be as great 3.0 cm or greater; however the thickness of the middle area of the wedge member 68 and front area of the wedge member 70 varies from wedge member 60 to wedge member 60. The middle area of the wedge member 68 and the front area of the wedge member 70 increase the effective height of the forefoot area of the insole 40 and middle area of the insole 38 when the wedge member 60 is detachably affixed to the insole 30, and the wedge member-insole combination 90 is inserted into the shoe cavity 28. As mentioned above the thickness of the insole 30 gradually decreases between the middle area 38, and the rear area 36. This decrease in thickness allows the wedge member 60 to fit well with insole 30 and provide an even footbed surface 92, especially when the thickness of the insole 30 decreases from the heel area of the insole 36 to the forefoot area of the insole 40.

It should be understood, that many different variations of wedge member 60 thicknesses are envisioned, and in fact varying wedge member 60 thickness, and providing the user with a variety of wedge members 60 having different thickness is a fundamental concept of the present invention. By detachably affixing thicker wedge members 60 to the lower surface of the insole 34, the distance of the footbed 92 surface to the outsole 20 increases, and the effective width of the footbed 92 decreases. However, by detachably affixing a thinner wedge member 60 to lower surface 34 of the insole 30, the distance of the footbed surface 92 to the outsole 20 decreases, and the effective width of the footbed 92 increases. It should be understood that the wedge member 60 may be of any thickness, and that a range of wedge members 60 may have varying thicknesses to allow for the proper increase in footbed 92 height along the desired length of the footbed 92.

Referring to the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 1-7 the wedge member 60 has a peripheral edge shape similar to that of the insole 30 along the length of the wedge member 60. It is preferred that when the wedge member 60 and the insole 30 are detachably affixed the peripheral edge 42 of the forefoot area of the insole 40 is aligned with the peripheral edge 72 of the front area of the wedge member 70. Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the wedge member 60 and the insole 30 have the same peripheral edge 42, 72 shapes when aligned according to the preferred embodiment above. This alignment serves multiple purposes. First, it provides a wedge member-insole combination 90 that can fit the interior contours of the shoe cavity 28. Further, the matching shape of the insole 30 and the wedge member 60 provides for a constant increase in the height of the footbed 92 from the outsole 30 across the desired height increase area. Finally the same peripheral edge 42, 72 shapes of the wedge member and the insole provide even support in the footbed surface 92. If for example the wedge member did not have the same peripheral edge as the insole in the area of desired height increase, foot pressure on the footbed 92 would create an uneven and uncomfortable footbed surface 92. It should be understood that wedge members 60 with varying peripheral edge 72 shapes may by used, so long as each wedge member 60 provides the desired height increase of the footbed 92 within the shoe cavity 28.

Preferably the wedge member 60 is constructed from elastomeric foam. It is further preferable that the wedge member 60 is constructed using an elastomeric foam sold in the field under the brand name Ortholite. However, it should be understood that the wedge member 60 may be constructed from any material or combination of materials known in the field or any suitable material for forming a wedge member 60. For example the wedge member 60 may further include ethyl vinyl acetate foam, known in the art as EVA or simply acetate. It should be understood that the wedge member 60 may be constructed from multiple materials, or the wedge member 60 may be constructed from a singe material.

Referring to FIG. 2 the wedge member 60 includes a means of detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the lower surface of the insole 34. The means for detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the insole 30 should be innocuous and not affect the overall comfort of the wearer. The means of attachment should be reusable.

In some embodiments the means for detachably affixing the wedge member 60 to the insole 30 is a hook and loop fastener system 45, such as Velcro®. The upper surface of the wedge member 62 includes either a hook component 74 and/or a loop component 74 of a hook and loop fastener system 45. The fastener component 74 may be affixed to the upper surface of the wedge member 62 by adhesive or stitching, or any other means known in the art. It should be further understood that the wedge member 60 may be detachably affixed to the insole 30 using any suitable means, such as a zipper, adhesive tape, snaps, form fitting components or any other means for detachably affixing such components known in the art.

Referring to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, a top view of a wedge member 60 is shown, wherein the wedge member 60 includes a hook and loop fastener component 74. The fastener component 74 may be of any shape, and of any size. The fastener component 74 may be either a hook component 74 or a loop component 74. The fastener component 74 may further be located at any location on the upper surface of the wedge member 62 where the upper surface of the wedge member 62 contacts the lower surface of the insole 34. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 the fastener component 74 is square, and approximately 1″ by 1″. The fastener component 74 is on the upper surface 32 of the middle area 38 of the wedge member 60.

In one embodiment of the present invention the adjustable footbed system for footwear 10 is sold to the user in a package comprising a left insole 30, a right insole 30, multiple left wedge members 60 of varying thickness, and multiple right wedge members 60 of varying thickness. FIG. 7 shows one possible combination of wedge members 60 and an insole 30 that may be sold to a user. Such packages may be sold to the user together with a purchase of a shoe. For example, the adjustable system 10 maybe included in the shoe box by the manufacturer. In other embodiments of the present invention, a method of selling such systems is disclosed wherein the insole 30 and wedge members 60 are sold to the user separate from the shoe. For example the insole 30 and the wedge members 60 comprise an after market product.

In either example of selling the adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 above the shoe 10 may include an additional insole, sold initially with the shoe 10. It is preferred that the user removes this insole before inserting an after market adjustable footbed insole 30 and associated wedge member 60. However, it should be understood that an insole 30 with a wedge member 60 detachably affixed maybe inserted into the shoe cavity 28, and placed upon an existing insole 30.

After purchasing the system, the user can calibrate the adjustable footbed system for footwear 12 to achieve the desired effective shoe width. For example the user can first wear the shoe 10 to determine the effective width of the shoe 10 with an insole 30, but without any wedge members 60 inserted into the shoe 10. It should be understood that the insole 30 described herein, can be worn in the shoe without a wedge member 60. After determining the baseline width of the shoe, the user can detachably affix wedge members 60 of varying thickness to the insole 30 and then again try the shoe 10. As the thickness of the selected wedge member 60 increases, the effective width of the shoe 10 will decrease. The user can perform multiple iterations of this calibration technique until the user achieves the wedge member 60 and insole 30 combination that provides the desired effective footbed 92 width. It should be understood that the user may desire to use a wedge member 60 having a specific thickness in one foot, and a wedge member 60 having a different thickness in the other foot. It should further be understood, that the user may periodically perform this calibration procedure to correct changes to the footbed 92 width resulting from use of the shoe 10.

It is preferable to provide an even or level footbed 92 wherein when downward foot pressure is exerted on the footbed 92, the pressure is evenly distributed. Any irregularities in the footbed surface 92 or components of the insole 30 or wedge member 60, such as varying density components or irregular variations in thickness have the effect of creating an uneven surface. It is therefore preferable to minimize the effect of any components between the footbed surface 92 and the outsole 20, such as a means for detachably connecting the wedge member 60 to the insole 30. In one embodiment of the present invention the hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 affixed to the lower surface of the insole 34 and the upper surface of the wedge member 62 are embedded into either the lower surface of the insole 34 or upper surface of the wedge member 62. In some embodiments it is preferred that the upper surface of either fastener components 44, 74 protrude slightly from either the upper surface of the wedge member 62 or the lower surface of the insole 34.

The hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 may create an uneven footbed surface 92 because the components are located on the upper surface of the wedge member 62 and the lower surface of the insole 34. Each fastener component 44, 74 necessarily has a thickness, and the addition of these two components 44, 74 in between the insole 30 and the wedge member 60 provides an increased area of thickness equivalent to the thickness of each fastener component 44, 74 less any overlap. This increased thickness may create uneven or undesirable bump sensation in the user's foot. One embodiment of the present invention overcomes this disadvantage by embedding the fastener components 44, 74 within the wedge member 60 or within the insole 30. The fastener components 44, 74 are embedded at such a distance wherein the hook or loop fastener components 44, 74 protrude from the surface to the extent necessary to provide an effective means of affixing the components, and at the same time limit the effect of the fastener components 44, 74 on the bottom of the foot. By embedding the hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 a more even footbed surface 92 is achieved.

FIGS. 1-7 show a further means of decreasing the effect of the uneven footbed surface 92 resulting from the use of the hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 on the upper surface of the wedge member 62 and the lower surface of the insole 34. For example FIG. 2 shows the use of one or more support surfaces 76 protruding from the wedge member 60 in an area proximate to the hook or loop fastener component 74 wherein the support protrusion 76 is similar in thickness to the effective thickness of the hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 when compressed under the force of a user's foot. The support protrusion 76 provides additional support and more efficiently distributes the downward force of the foot on the footbed 92 because the effective area of the fastener components 44, 74 is greater. The support protrusion 76 thus minimizes the uneven footbed 92 effect created by the hook and loop fastener components 44, 74 by distributing the downward force of the foot over a greater area. It should be understood that many different combinations of embedded hook or fastener components 44, 74 and support protrusions 76 may be used to provide an even footbed surface 92.

Another feature of the present invention is disclosed in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-7. During use of the shoe 10 the foot and the outsole 20 exert sheer forces on the wedge member 60 and the insole 30. The sheer forces tend to increase as a function of increasing exertion on the shoe 10, for example during athletic activity. The sheer forces cause the wedge member 60 to slip in a horizontal plane relative to the insole 30. The wedge member 60 slips relative to the insole 30 in the horizontal plane between the upper surface of the wedge member 62 and the lower surface the insole 34. The hook and loop fastener system 45 may provide some means of preventing lateral slippage of the wedge member 60 relative to the insole 30, but this is limited to the extent of the effective sheer strength of hook and loop fastener 45 connection.

To further prevent lateral slipping of the wedge member 60 relative to the insole 30 the wedge member 60 further includes stabilization protrusions 78 on the upper surface of the wedge member 62, and the lower surface of the insole 34 further includes voids 46 for receiving the protrusions 78. The protrusions 78 and voids 46 provide an interlocking system that resists sheer force and the tendency of the wedge member 60 to slip relative to the insole 30 during use of the shoe 10.

Specifically referring to FIG. 3 an embodiment of the present invention is shown wherein the wedge member 60 includes protrusions 78 on its upper surface 62 and the lower surface of insole 34 includes receiving voids 46 for the protrusions 78. The protrusions 78 are approximately 1/16 of an inch in height as measured from the upper surface of the wedge member 62; however it is understood that the protrusions 78 can be of any height. FIG. 3 shows a clam shell configuration of the insole 30 and the wedge member 60 so that the top surface of the wedge member 62 is shown, and at the same time the bottom surface of the insole 34 is shown. Referring to FIG. 3, the bottom surface of the insole 34 contains voids 46 for receiving the protrusions 78. The voids 46 are located in such a manner as to receive the protrusions 78. The depth of the voids 46 is preferably such that the voids 46 can completely receive the protrusions 78. It is preferable that there is a receiving void 46 for each protrusion 78.

The location of the protrusions 78 and associated receiving voids 46 can be of any arrangement or configuration. For example, in the embodiment disclosed in FIGS. 1-7 of the present invention the protrusions 78 are rectangular and arrayed on the upper surface 62 of the front area 70 of the wedge member 60.

FIG. 7 discloses another means for maintaining the position of the wedge member 60 relative to the insole 30. The peripheral edge of the insole 42 and the peripheral edge of the wedge member 72 include a series of notches 50, 82, wherein the notches 50, 82 are in an identical position on the peripheral edge of the wedge member 72 and the peripheral edge of the insole 42, and the notches 50, 82 are of similar number. It is preferred that the notches 50, 82 are only on a relatively small area of the peripheral edge 42, 72. It is further preferred that the notches 50, 82 are in the forefoot area of the insole 40 and the front area of the wedge member, so that contour support for the heel on upper surface 32 of the heel area 36 of the insole 30 is not compromised by notches 50, 82.

The interior of the shoe cavity 28 preferably has a means of receiving the notched peripheral edge portions of the insole 30 and the wedge member 60. The receiving area may include opposing notches for receiving the notches on the peripheral edge of the wedge member-insole combination 90. When the wedge member-insole combination 90 is inserted into the shoe cavity 28, the notched area and the receiving area form a connection, preventing the wedge member-insole combination 90 from slipping inside the shoe cavity 28.

Referring to FIG. 2, the insole includes ventilation channels in the insole 48 to cool the shoe cavity 28. It is commonly known in the art to use ventilation channels 48 in the insole 30 to cool the shoe cavity 28 and foot. In the present invention the wedge member 60 further includes ventilation channels 80 for cooling the shoe cavity 28 and foot. It is preferable that one or more of the insole ventilation channels 48 is in fluid communication with the one or more of the wedge member ventilation channels 50 as to provide an effective means for cooling the shoe cavity 12.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the insole ventilation channels 48 are verticals holes in the insole 30. The holes pass from the upper surface of the insole 32 to the lower surface of the insole 34. The wedge member insole ventilation channels 80 are also vertical holes in the wedge member 60. The vertical holes pass from the upper surface of the wedge member 62 to the lower surface of the wedge member 64. It is preferred that the vertical holes of the insole 30 have the same configuration as the vertical holes in the wedge member 60 such that insole vertical holes 48 are in fluid communication with the vertical holes of the wedge member 50. To this end, the support protrusions 76, and stabilization protrusions 78, and means for detachably connecting the wedge member 60 to the insole 30, and notched peripheral edge 50, 82 and associated receiving area further serve as a means of maintaining the insole ventilation channels 48 in fluid communication with the wedge member ventilation channels 80. It should further be understood that the ventilation channels 48, 80 may have any configuration, and be in any position.

In some embodiments of the present invention is preferred that the insole 30 is formed of a relatively softer foam composition, and the wedge member 60 is formed of a relatively harder foam composition. As the user exerts downward pressure on the footbed 92, the softer foam of the insole provides a comfortable cushion for the user's foot. However this force also compresses the insole 30, and reduces the thickness of the insole 30. The wedge member 60 is constructed of denser foam such that it does not compress to the extent that the insole 30 does. This material difference ensures the height of the footbed 92 relative to the outsole 20 remains relatively constant, and thus the effective width of the footbed 92 remains constant. It should be understood that the insole 30 and the wedge member 60 may be constructed from foam of any density, or from any other material as previously discussed.

Referring to FIG. 8-17, another embodiment of the present invention is shown. Referring specifically to FIG. 8, the fastener component 144 on the lower surface of the insole 132 and the associated fastener component 174 on the upper surface of the wedge member 162 is rectangular. The ventilation channels 148, 180 in this embodiment are not in direct fluid communication; rather they are located in different positions in the insole 130, and the outsole 160. However, it should be noted that although the ventilation channel are not in direct fluid communication, they may still provide ventilation to the shoe cavity 128.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a particular arrangement of parts, features and the like, these are not intended to exhaust all possible arrangement or features, and indeed many other modifications and variations will be ascertainable to those of skill in the art.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7690133 *Jul 6, 2006Apr 6, 2010Kellismere LlcShoe, in particular for a child
US20120330795 *Jun 12, 2012Dec 27, 2012Hayes Roy SShoe with reconfigurable insole and method
US20140137431 *Nov 19, 2012May 22, 2014Brown Shoe Company, Inc.Multiplex sockliner system
WO2010011992A2 *Jul 27, 2009Jan 28, 2010Genesco, Inc.Adjustable footbed assembly for an article of footwear
WO2012100381A1 *Mar 14, 2011Aug 2, 2012Zhenqiu LiuShoe capable of adjusting its length, width, thickness and thinness
WO2012173986A2 *Jun 12, 2012Dec 20, 2012Roy Hayes Studio, Inc.Shoe with reconfigurable insole and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/97
International ClassificationA43B3/26
Cooperative ClassificationA43B7/143, A43B17/08, A43B7/1445, A43B7/142, A43B7/1465, A43B7/1425, A43B3/26, A43B7/1435, A43B7/145
European ClassificationA43B7/14A20C, A43B7/14A20B, A43B7/14A20P, A43B7/14A20M, A43B7/14A20F, A43B7/14A20A, A43B7/14A30R, A43B3/26, A43B17/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 4, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: C. & J. CLARK AMERICA, INC., MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BYRNE, RICHARD;WALSH, JAMES;RICHARDS, RONALD;REEL/FRAME:019248/0536
Effective date: 20070427