US 3012343 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 12, 1961 c. E. DINKEL 3,012,343
SOLE PROTECTOR FOR BOWLING SHOES AND THE LIKE Filed June 2'7, 1960 I INVENTOR. 2 CHAQLES Ea Dix/r54 my y United States Patent 3,012,343 SOLE PROTECTOR FOR BOWLING SHOES AND THE LIKE Charles E. Dinkel, 1319 /2 N. Shartel, Oklahoma City, Okla. Filed June 27, 1960, Ser. No. 38,866 1 Claim. (Cl. 36-7.2)
This invention relates to a device for protecting the sole portion of a shoe from exposure to undesirable substances. More particularly, but not by way of limitation, the present invention relates to a device constructed of light flexible material which may be quickly applied to a bowling shoe to protect the sole thereof from foreign substances which might otherwise tend to adhere thereto so as to interfere with the efiiciency of the bowler in performing the game.
The sport of bowling is an ancient one and has been participated in in this country since the earliest days of its history. At the present time the sport is one of the fastest growing amusements in the country and its nature is such as to permit participation by persons of all ages. With the rapid growth of this amusement, the equipment which is utilized by its participants has been constantly refined and improved. Thus, modern bowling has become predominantly an indoor sport requiring the availability of expensive alleys and'pins and relatively expensive balls. The construction of such alleys and the approaches thereto requires the use of careful workmanship and expensive materials of construction. The considerable financial investment of the proprietorof bowling establishments has led in most instances to the improvisation of certain rules which bowlers must follow in playing the game in order that the alleys and the approaches thereto shall be protected against unncessary Wear and deterioration. For example, most present-day bowling establishments require participants in the game to wear a special type of shoe which will not mark upon, or cause undue wear to, the approaches to the alleys.
In the development of shoes which will afford adequate protection to the surfaces of approaches to the alleys, bowling shoe manufacturers have also given considerable attention to the design of bowling shoes which will function to provide the least interference with the efiicient and accurate delivery of the bowling ball by the bowler who weais them. Consequently, a pair of bowling shoes typical of those used in current practice will include, in the case of a right-hand bowler, a left shoe having a sole which is constructed of a material having a low coefdcient of friction so that the left foot of the bowler may slide forward freely and easily upon the approach to the alley. The right shoe, on the other hand, has a sole of rubber or other material which has little tendency to slip.
Although the design of footwear to be used in the sport of bowling has effectively reduced the wear and deterioration of the surfaces of approaches to the alleys, and has also materially aided the bowler in improving his proficiency in the manner above described, such bowling shoes are frequently used by the wearer in a manner which substantially detracts from their ability to function in the manner intended. The use to which I refer is the widespread practiceof bowlers of leaving the immediate area of the alleys at some time during the period of play, and proceeding to remote locations in the bowling establishments such as the concession stand or restrooms. If the bowler, at such times, does not remove the bowling shoes, the soles of the shoes will be exposed to contact with such substances as chewing gum, candy, soft drinks and water which may have been spilled or dropped upon the floor. Moreover, there is the possibility that grit, pieces of glass, tacks or other sharp and abrasive objects may become imbedded in one or both of the soles of the shoes.
The adherence of these adhesive or sharp and abrasive materials to the soles of the bowling shoes gives rise to at least three distinct disadvantages which prevent the shoes from functioning in the manner intended when the bowler has returned to the alley area to proceed with the game. First, the presence of chewing gum or any sticky material upon the sole of the shoe which is intended to slide freely forward upon delivery of the bowling ball may result in serious sprain or other accidents resulting in injury to the bowler. Furthermore, even if such accidents do not result, the resistance which Such substances provide to the free sliding movement of the shoe along the approach to the alley will very detrimentally affect the proficiency of the bowler. This is especially true in the case of more accomplished bowlers such as professionals who have developed a set form or mode of delivery of the bowling ball. Finally, the presence on, or imbedded in, the sole of either of the bowling shoes of any of the foreign substances which have been mentioned defeats the function of the shoes in protecting the approaches to the alley against scarring, wear, etc.
It should also be mentioned that on some occasions a charge of static electricity is accumulated upon the soles of bowling shoes when the wearer walks upon certain types of carpeting located in some bowling establishments. This charge may, similarly to the substances mentioned, impair the free sliding action of the shoes as the bowler begins his delivery.
A further undesirable result accrues from the practice of Wearing the bowling shoes during trips away from the alley, in that the sole of the shoe which is intended to slide freely forward during delivery of the bowling ball provides very little traction to the wearer as he walks to and from the alley area. There is, therefore, a considerable risk of slipping and falling with the resultant incurrence of sprains and fractures.
The present invention contemplates a protective covering which may be quickly and easily placed in position on either or both of the shoes of a bowler, and which will, when thus in place, protect the soles of the bowling shoes from contact with any substance which might he stepped upon in walking to and from the alley area. The sole protector of the present invention comprises a main body portion of thin, flexible material having a pair of flaps adapted to extend around the toe of the shoe upon which they are to be worn and to be joined there-across by a band of elastic. The sole protector is further characterized by an elastic heel band which extends around the heel of the shoe and assists in securing the body portion in place over the sole.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the sole protector is constructed of three pieces of material, two of which are identical in composition. The sole protector thus constructed is of extremely light weight, may be folded compactly into a very small space, is adjustable to fit either the left or right bowling shoe, and also bowling shoes ofevery size. The sole protector, moreover, is washable, very inexpensive to manufacture and, most important of all, effectively protects the sole of a shoe upon which it is worn. It also provides a suflicient amount of traction to the user to substantially reduce the likelihood of accidental injury resulting from slipping and falling.
It is accordingly a broad object of the present invention to provide a sole protector which may be worn on any size of shoe, and which will "function to protect the sole of the shoe from contact with any type of material which might otherwise adhere to such sole or become imbedded therein.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a device for protecting the sole of a bowling shoe during the periods when such shoe is worn away from the immediate vicinity of the bowling alley and thereby prevent the adherence of any undesirable substances to the sole of such shoe.
, A further object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device which is extremely light in weight, may be compactly folded into a small space not larger than the pocket of a user, and is very inexpensive to manufacture.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device of light flexible material which is not detrimentally affected by repeated washing.
A further object of this invention is to provide a sole protective device which will prevent the accumulation of electrical charges upon the sole of a bowling shoe resulting from the walking upon certain types of carpeting.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device which may be worn interchangeably upon either the right or left shoe of a user.
Another object of the invention is to provide a sole protective device to be worn upon bowling shoes during certain periods of their use, which device will enhance the safety with which the game may be performed and imultaneously will reduce the wear imparted to the approaches to the alleys used in such game.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device which may be quickly placed in position upon a shoe by utilizing only one hand.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device which is constructed of a durable synthetic resin material which is very thin, flexible, and slightly elastic.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a sole protective device constructed of a material which is sufliciently durable to present an operating life which is at least the equivalent of the normal life of the sole of the shoe upon which it is to be worn- Other objects and advantages of the present invention Will be evident upon consideration of the following detailed description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate my invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention as it is worn upon a shoe to protect the sole thereof.
FIGURE 2 is a plan viewof the sole protector as it appears in flattened form before joining the flap portions thereof'to form the toe enclosure.
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of a modified embodiment of the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, and particularly to FIG. 1, reference character generally designates the main or body portion of the sole protective device of the present invention. A pair of side portions or flaps 12 extend outwardly and upwardly from the body portion 10 and are joined across the toe14 of the shoe by an elastic portion 16. A heel strap 18 of elastic material is connected at each of its ends to one side 20 of the body portion 10 and forms a loop which extends around the heel 22 of the shoe when the sole protector is in place.
The relative relation, as well as the configurations, of
the body portion 10, flaps 12, elastic 16 and heel strap 18 when they are projected into a common plane is illustrated in FIG. 2. It will be perceived in referring to FIG. 2 that the body portion 10 and flaps 12 may be formed from a generally hexagonal, single piece of material which is characterized by three straight sides and three arcuate sides. This particular configuration, I have found, provides a neater fit for the shoe as Well as one which will prevent the body portion 10 from slipping or moving with respect to the sole. Moreover, the construction illustrated is one which requires a minimum of material and thus is a desirable one from the standpoint of economy of manufacture. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the elastic member 16 provides a continuous band or bridge extending between the flaps 12- and is sufficiently flexible that the sole protector may be worn upon shoes of all sizes and shapes. The elastic member 16 and the heel portion 18 may be secured to the flaps 12 and body portion 10, respectively, in any suitable manner such as. by riveting, sewing, or thermal bonding.
A modified embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3. It will be apparent, in referring to the embodiment there depicted, that a pair of relatively thin elastic bands 24 have been substituted for the single broad band 16 of the preferred embodiment. This enables a further reduction in the cost of manufacture to be effected.
I have found that an especially durable material from which a sole protector according to the present invention .may be constructed to special advantage is a synthetic resin material of the well-known polyvinyl type. The outstanding chemical resistance and high tensile strength of this material assure long operating: life of sole protectors constructed of this material, even though the body portion 10 and flaps 12 are made relatively thin, and I have found that the useful life of such sole protectors frequently exceeds that of the sole of the shoe upon which the protector is to be used. Since sole protectors made of this material maybe made with a relatively thin dimension of the order of .004 inch, the resulting device is very light and may be compactly folded into a small space so that it may be easily carried in the pocket of the user. Another advantage of the polyvinyl resin construction is that the sole protectors made of this material may be repeatedly washedwithout apparent detriment.
It will be apparent that the sole protector of the present invention may be-quickly and easily applied to any size of shoe by the use of only one hand, and that its simplicity of construction is conducive to its use by persons of any age sufiicient to permit their participation in the sport of bowling. I am aware of certain constructions and designs of footwear extant in the prior art which function to cover portions of a shoe. However, I do not believe that any of such prior devices is effective to solve the particular problems which I have outlined above, or, if they can be used to effect a partial solution to one or more of such problems, will give rise to other disadvantages of an equal or more serious nature which the present invention effectively avoids.
Although this invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is manifest thatmany breast of the heel of said shoe substantially to the toe thereof; means for interconnecting two of said straight sides across the toe of said bowling shoe; and an elastic heel strap connected at its ends to opposite ends of the third straight side of said material cooperating with said means for interconnecting two of said straight sides for retaining said sole protector in place over the sole of said bowling shoe.
437,639 Bickford Sept. 30, 1890 6 Bailey Jan. 5, Bailey Jan. 5, Russ Oct. 1, Mapes June 30, Koetter Aug. 7, McAuley Oct. 20, Nyhagen May 4, Whitley June 24, Moen Jan. 5,