US 3603006 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Dallas N. Davenport, Seabrook, N.H.
 Inventors Sides! mit WEPWH Q ] Appl. No. 53,759  Filed July 10, 1970 [4S] Patented Sept. 7, 1971 [7 3 Assignee The General Tire & Rubber Company  FOOTWEAR ARTICLE 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs. I
 U.S. CI 36/115  lnt.Cl A43!) 3/12  Field of Search 36/1 1.5, 9 R, 9 A
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,119,233 5/!938 .ludkins 36/1l.5
2,534,975 12 1950 Johnson 3,002,297 10/1961 Neilson Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson AttorneysFrank C. Rote, Jr., John J. Murphey and Denbigh S. Matthews ABSTRACT: The conventional step-in or slide-on slipper tends to loosen and slide off the front of the foot during normal walking motion. Binding or otherwise tightly clasping the slipper to the foot defeats the general purpose of the slipper as an easily attired article of footwear. This invention is an article adapted to be rapidly assembled into a slipper of the step-in or slide-on type that remains comfortably loose during wearing and is adapted to remain secured to the foot during walking or other foot movement.
PATENTED SEP 7 IQTI 3,603; 006
sum 1 or 2 INVEN'I'OKS DALLAS N. DAVENPORT Y SIDNEY Z. SMITH & ATTORNEY vmminsar H971 3,603,006
sum 2 ur 2 I INVEN'I'ORS DALLAS N. DAVENPORT SIDNEY 2. SMITH BY a ATTORNEY FOOTWEAR ARTICLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention pertains to the field of footwear. More particularly, this invention relates to slippers of the step-in or slide-on type.
2. Description of the Prior Art Step-in or slide-on type slippers are those that generally comprise a sole portion and a frontal foot (including toe) encircling portion and noticeably lacks a heel clasping portion so that they may be attired by merely sliding ones foot along the sole portion and into the frontal foot encircling portion. Certain forms of this slipper are known in the vernacular as clackers because of the noise emitted by the rearward portion of the sole flapping against the heel of the foot during walking. These slippers are worn by persons of both sexes and all ages generally indoors but frequently out of doors and in the home and other areas such as in hospitals.
The major function of this type of slipper is to protect the foot during walking. Specifically with regard to use of them in hospitals, this type of slipper provides the patient with an easily accessible piece of footwear and for insulation from cold hospital floors, etc. In addition to these objectives, an additional aspect in regard to hospital environments that encourages the use of this type of slipper is that it may be put on and taken off by using the foot alone, i.e. it generally need not be put on by a third party (such as a nurse) and does not require the patient to bend over to tie or otherwise affix the slipper.
A common problem with this type of slipper is that it tends to slide off the foot. During walking, the weight of the body is shifted from a rather equal distribution over the entire length of the foot to the front of the foot that comprises the toes and the foot ball mass-the latter being the area under the joints of v the toes in the footit extends from the ball behind the great or large toe laterally across the width of the foot and ends at the ball behind the small toe; reference Human Figure John H. Vanderpoel, Bridgman Publishers, Inc. New York, 1948. This shift in weight causes the foot ball mass to temporarily spread thereby straining the foot-encircling loop of the slipper. Repeated straining of this loop in combination with the natural perspiration of the foot soon causes permanent stretching of the slipper loop and loosening of the slipper; during the forward step when the foot leaves the ground and the foot ball mass relaxes or narrows, the forward momentum imposed on the slipper sends it flying off the foot.
There have been many attempts made at retaining the slipper on the foot such as by application of bindings to the foot in the form of thongs, laces, and elastic bands. Many of these cure the tendency for the slipper to slide off, however, because they are bindings, they present an uncomfortable aspect and defeat the general purpose of the slipper as an easily attired article of footwear. Other methods such as passing a thong or narrow string from the sole up between the junction of the first and second toes of the foot and thence splitting it in two bindings that rejoint the sole on either side of the foot toward the heel has been partially successful, however, these too are uncomfortable.
In respect of hospital utilization of slide-on type slippers, one of the most perplexing aspects is that they must be packaged and boxed in different sizes to fit the different size feet of the patients. Packaging and boxing are necessary storing methods and utilize a great amount of storage space. Other disadvantages are the high initial cost of the slipper and the cost involved in washing them for reuse.
This invention is a flat article adapted for rapid assembly into a slipper to conform to a variety of foot sizes that has the unique aspect being capable of remaining on the foot during all stages of wearing, e.g. during sitting, walking, and running. The invention is based upon the discovery of a unique notch design in the foot encircling loop that permits the slipper to remain loose on the foot during periods when the foot has no weight upon it and then acts to gently clasp the slipper to the foot during walking or running. The slippers of this invention, moreover, are capable of being worn on either foot without discomfort.
Therefore, the main object of this invention is an article adapted for assembly into a slipper to fit a wide range of foot sizes. Other objects include a slipper that will remain securely attached to the foot during all aspects of walking and running; an article that may be stored flat and as such require an extremely small amount of storage space; an article that may be easily fabricated into the pattern necessary to assemble it into a slipper; an article that may be made from a wide range of inexpensive materials; an article that may be assembled into a slipper for either the left or right foot; and, an article that is disposable after use by a patient in a hospital without incurring the high cost of rewashing for reuse.
These and other objects of the invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art when reading the subsequent description of the preferred embodiment in light of the drawings attached hereto.
SUMMARY This invention is a fiat article adapted for rapid assembly into a self-retaining slipper comprising an elongated sole portion having front and rear ends forming the sole of the slipper; a first pair of straps extending outward from the sole portion, one on either side thereof and, adapted to be folded and joined into a loop to enclose the toes and other frontal portions of the foot, means in combination with the first pair of straps for joining the ends of the straps together, a second pair of straps located rearward of the first pair of straps extending outward from the sole portion one on either side thereof and adapted to be folded and joined into a loop that encircles the foot rearward of the foot ball mass, means in combination with the second pair of straps for joining the ends of the straps together, wherein the second pair of straps are characterized by forming a rearwardly extending notch at the frontmost junction with the sole portion, the notch acting to cause the second pair of straps to retain the slipper on the foot during flexation thereof.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of the preferred embodiment of the article of this invention.
FIGS. 2 and 3 show the preferred embodiment of the article of this invention in the form of a slipper positioned on a foot as the foot is at rest and in motion respectively.
FIGS. 4, S, and 6 are isometric views of different embodiments of the article of this invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT This invention is directed towards step-in or slip-on type slippers that may find use in both homes and hospitals and that may be made from a wide variety of materials. The preferred embodiment of this invention will be directed toward an article easily adapted for use in hospitals, which it is felt, will derive the most benefit from this invention. This should not be taken as a limitation to the utilization of this invention however but merely as the preferred embodiment thereof.
Referring particularly to the drawings wherein like parts are designated with like numerals throughout the six figures, FIG. 1 shows a plan view of the preferred embodiment of the article of this invention. The article in FIG. 1 is comprised of an elongated sole portion 1 having front end 3 and rear end 5, a first pair of straps 7 and 9 extending outward from sole portion l, one on either side of front end 3, means 11 and 13 in combination with straps 7 and 9 for joining the ends of the straps together, a second pair of straps l5 and 17 located rearward of first pair of straps 7 and 9, extending from sole portion 1, one on either side thereof, means 19 and 21 in combination with straps 15 and 17 for joining the ends of the straps together, and notches 23 and 25 at the frontmost junction of straps l5 and 17 with sole portion 1 whose specific function will be herein explained. The symmetrical design of the article permits the slipper assembled therefrom to be worn on either foot.
The article depicted in FIG. 1 should be made of flexible sheetlike material that is able to withstand the rigors of tension and abrasion placed upon it during utilization as a slipper. Materials having these specifications are readily available; examples include plastics, rubbers, certain fabrics, papers, and supported films. As a specific example of a material that generally meets all the qualifications for this article is that known as supported vinyl films- These are laminations of fabrics with a thin film or sheet of a fused, plasticized, vinyl polymer. These supported vinyl films are extremely flexible,
' are highly tear and abrasion resistant and are waterproof and insulating.
Fabrics for use in supported films may be knit, woven, or unwoven, however, the knit and the woven type are preferred. These fabrics may be made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, and silk, manmade fibers such as polyester, acrylic, etc., and mixtures thereof.
The vinyl polymer used to make the film is generally a ther- 'moplastic vinyl or vinyl-containing polymer or copolymer,
polymerized to a high molecular weight and admixed with a compatible liquid plasticizer such as dioctyl phthalate to form a pliable mass that is thereafter sheeted out in a calender and fused to form a film having a thickness varying from I to I mils. The'vinyl film may in addition contain pigments, fungicides, bacteriacides, colorants, fillers, and blowing agents. Generally speaking, the vinyl sheet is either coated with an adhesive and laminated in a calender with the fabric or the sheet and the fabric are simultaneously introduced into the nip of a calender roll at a temperature sufficient to soften the vinyl film and bond the two together. A host of other materials are as equally adaptable to this article as is the aforedescribed supported vinyl film.
A unique aspect of the article shown in FIG. 1 is that it may be made from scrap materials or materials that otherwise would have litter or no utilitarian value. In the production of supported films it is widely known that yardage containing printing and other defects and other spoiled yardage may not be chopped up and reused as would be the case of nonsupported vinyl films because the presence of the chopped fabric would interfere with other subsequent film forming processes. As this material is virtually useless, it may be stamped or otherwise cutout to form the article shown in FIG. 1 and used as a disposable slipper for a very low material cost; the printing and other defects would not generally destroy its utilization as a slipper. In addition, the flatness of the material used to make these articles permits them to be stacked by the hundreds in areas where one or two conventional premolded slippers are presently stored.
A further unique aspect of the article shown in FIG. 1 is that it may be assembled into a slipper that will fit either foot. Thus, all efforts at keeping and storing left-footed and rightfooted slippers are effectively eliminated.
Front end 3 of sole portion 1 in FIG. 1 forms the front or toe end of the slipper. It is generally a smooth end terminating in a curve of sufficient radius that, when formed into a loop via straps 7 and 9, the sole-forming portion of front end 3 will be flush with the ends of the toes and will not drag on the floor to catch or otherwise cause injury. Similarly, rear end 5 of sole portion 1 has a straight laterally cut end with rounded comers to be placed under the heel of the foot.
First pair of straps 7 and 9 extend outward from sole portion 1, one on either side of front end 3 and are adapted to be folded up over the sides of the foot and joined together into loop to enclose the toes and other frontal portions of the foot (reference FIGS. 2 and 3).
Means 11 and 13 are positioned in combination with the ends of straps 7 and 9 respectively and function to join the ends of the folded straps together. As shown in this particular embodiment, means 11 consists of a plurality of slits through straps 7 near the end thereof wherein the slits are centrally positioned therein whereas means 13 comprises a T-shaped tab on the end of strap 9. Joining of straps 7 and 9 is accomplished by folding the outer ends of T-shaped tab 13 inward in passing the tab through one of the slits until tab 13 protrudes through the slit and then springs opened to form the T-shaped tab that is locked in the slit. Means 11 is shown as a plurality of slits so that the wearer may assemble strips 7 and 9 to fit his particular size foot.
The second pair of straps l5 and 17 also extend one on either side of elongated sole portion 1 at a slightly acute angle with the central axis thereof. They are positioned rearward of first pair of straps 7 and 9 and are adapted to be folded and joined into a loops, similar to straps 7 and 9, that encircles the foot rearward of the foot ball mass as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. At or near the ends of straps 15 and 17 are located means 19 and 21 respectively for joining the ends of the straps together. In this particular embodiment, means 19 and 21 comprise slits and a T-shaped tab combination similar to means 1 l and 13, however, other means of joining the ends of the straps may be used. Examples include buttons on one strap and corresponding button holes on the other strap; male snaps on one strap and female snaps on the other strap, a fibrous pad on the outer side of one strap and a corresponding fiber-snagging pad affixed to the outer end of the other strap. These and other means of joining the strap ends may be used and are fully contemplated herein. Located at the frontmost junction of straps 15 and 17 with sole portion 1 are notches 23 and 25 that perform the footretaining function of this invention, i.e. that of retaining the slipper on the foot during fiexation of the foot and slipper during walking. Notches 23 and 25 are elongated openings having their closed ends extending toward rear end 5 and preferably are parallel to the central axis of sole portion 1. The major axis of the notches may vary from being parallel to the central axis of sole portion 1 up'to nearly therefrom, i.e. more or less perpendicular to the central axis of the sole portion 1, however it has been found that the best operation of the slipper is obtained when the major axis of notches 23 and 25 are parallel or substantially parallel to the central axis of sole portion 1.
The operation of notches 23 and 25 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Notches 23 and 25 permit straps 15 and 17 to join sole portion 1 behind the foot ball mass whereas straps 7 and 9 enclose the toes and frontal portions of the foot in front of the foot ball mass. Thus, at total foot relaxation, i.e., in a sitting or standing position, the slipper is relatively loose on the foot and may easily be slipped on and off. During fiexation of the foot, as in walking or running, the aforedescribed lateral spreading of the foot ball mass is permitted to occur unrestrained by either set of straps and, as the ball mass spreads, the instep of the foot flexes forward, the front portion of the loop, made by straps l5 and 17, is pulled to conform to the expansion of the weight-supporting section of the foot. This tension is transmitted to sole portion 1 and notches 23 and 25. Because of the offset condition created by notches 23 and 25, the tension at this point tends to bend the sole portion 1 inward. This mechanical action does not subject the encircling loop to undue strain by repeated stretching.
Although straps 7, 9, 15, and 17 may be made of elastic or other stretchable material, there is no requirement whatsoever for such a construction. Actually, fabric supported vinyl films are not stretchable and have been found to function exceedingly well in this article. This all stems from the unique location of notches 23 and 25 in permitting the foot to change shape without straining the straps.
FIGS. 4, 5, and 6 show other embodiments of this invention. They all have a sole portion 1 similar in functionality of sole portion 1 shown in FIG. 1 and a toe-retaining loop 27 similar in functionality to the-combination of straps 7 and 9. Each of these embodiments also incorporates a rearwardly located foot-encircling strap 29 similar in functionality to the combination of straps and 17 and incorporates a dogleg" or "reverse bend configuration 31 having the same function as notches 23 and 25, i.e., it permits expansion of the foot ball mass during walking motion and gently retains the slipper on the foot during all motions. These slipper configurations may be molded in one piece or assembled from a plurality of parts. In addition, they may be made from relatively stiffer materials than that of the article shown in FIG. 1. Examples of these materials include leather, rubber, vinyl and other plastics, and combinations thereof.
Although this description has been limited to a slipper for particular use in hospitals, it should be remembered that the article and slipper of this invention may find use in many other areas indeed all areas that utilize or deal with footwear.
What is claimed is:
1. A flat, flexible article adapted for assembly into a selfretaining slipper comprising:
a. an elongated sole portion having front and rear ends forming the sole of the slipper;
b. a first pair of straps extending outward from the front end of said sole portion, one on either side thereof and adapted to be folded and joined into a loop to enclose the toes and other frontal portions of the foot;
c. means in combination with said first pair of straps for joining the ends of said straps together;
d. a second pair of straps located rearward of said first pair of straps extending outward from said sole portion, one on either side thereof, and adapted to be folded and joined into a loop that encircles the foot rearward of the foot ball mass; and,
e. means in combination with said second pair of straps for joining the ends of said straps together;
f. wherein said second pair of straps are characterized by forming rearwardly extending notches at the frontmost junction with said sole portion having the closed ends thereof extending toward the rear end of said sole portion.
2. The article of claim 1, wherein said means in combination with said first and second pairs of straps are adapted to be joined together at multiple locations along said straps to form a variety of slipper sizes.
3. The article of claim 1 wherein said means in combination with said first and second pairs of straps comprise T-shaped" tabs at the end of one strap and slits near the end of said other strap for complemental reception thereof.
4. The article of claim 1 wherein said means in combination with said first and second pairs of straps comprise buttons at the ends of one strap and button holes near the end of the other strap for complemental reception thereof.
5. The flat article of claim 1 wherein said means in combination with said first and second pairs of straps comprise male snaps at the end of one strap and female snaps near the end of the other strap for complemental reception thereof.
6. The article of claim wherein said article comprises a fabric supported vinyl sheet.
7. The article of claim 1 wherein the major axis of said notch is substantially parallel to the major axis of said sole portion.