US20070017121A1 - Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor - Google Patents

Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070017121A1
US20070017121A1 US11336522 US33652206A US2007017121A1 US 20070017121 A1 US20070017121 A1 US 20070017121A1 US 11336522 US11336522 US 11336522 US 33652206 A US33652206 A US 33652206A US 2007017121 A1 US2007017121 A1 US 2007017121A1
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Prior art keywords
footwear
water
insole
coating
inner structure
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11336522
Inventor
Mary Boncutter
Wilson Chen
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BACK BEAT Inc
R and S Trading Co Inc
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R and S Trading Co Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B3/00Footwear characterised by the shape or the use
    • A43B3/10Low shoes; Slippers
    • A43B3/107Low shoes; Slippers characterised by the material
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B5/00Footwear for sporting purposes
    • A43B5/08Bathing shoes ; Aquatic sports shoes

Abstract

A water-resistant and floatable footwear including an outsole and insole, and an upper member affixed to the sole,wherein the footwear is floatable in water. In particular, the insole of the footwear is constructed of the material “marine buoy;” that is, the insole has an inner structure and an outer coating, the inner structure being constructed of a thermoplastic resin and the outer coating being constructed of a vinyl polymer. The footwear is advantageously water-proof and provides buoyancy in water.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/264,015, filed Oct. 3, 2002 which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/690,552, filed Oct. 17, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,016, issued Jan. 21, 2003.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to footwear, in particular, lightweight and comfortable footwear providing buoyancy in water and resistance to water absorption, and a method of manufacture therefor.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Casual and lightweight shoes, particularly, sandals are known. Many of these shoes and sandals (hereinafter collectively referred to as “footwear”) are flexible due to the materials used to construct the soles. However, because many of these materials are porous, such footwear readily absorb water and become heavy and cumbersome. The absorbed moisture or liquid may seep out over time causing discomfort to the wearer, or even causing the wearer to trip or fall. Moreover, such absorption may stain the footwear or promote the growth of unsightly or odor-causing fungus.
  • To avoid some of these problems, some footwear have provided drainage holes or other drainage features which unfortunately do not prevent the absorption of water, but simply provide an outlet for the water absorbed. However, seepage is not avoided, nor is the growth of unsightly or odor-causing fungus caused by the trapped moisture.
  • As with recreational footwear, particularly those adapted for use in water recreation, it is desirable to have footwear that have buoyancy and float in water. It is not uncommon for a shoe or sandal to slip off one's foot while ingressing or egressing a boat. It is also not uncommon for a shoe or a sandal to fall into a swimming pool. Accordingly, footwear which stay afloat in water, while resistant to the absorption of water, provide many advantages.
  • Another desirable feature in footwear is comfort in the areas of direct contact with the feet. While many footwear are desirably casual and lightweight, the desire to minimize weight has left many footwear with uncomfortable inner soles that lack a liner that is both comfortable and slip-resistant.
  • Furthermore, current fashion trends mandate footwear to come in a wide variety of colors. It is therefore desirable therefore to provide footwear which address the foregoing problems, but also be suitable to arrive in a variety of colors. In order to meet the ever-changing tastes of the marketplace, the color of the footwear should be easily alterable.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to a new and improved footwear comprising a sole including an outsole and insole, an upper member affixed to the sole, wherein said footwear is floatable in water. In particular, the insole of the footwear is constructed of the material “marine buoy;” that is, the insole has an inner structure and an outer coating, the inner structure being constructed of a thermoplastic resin and the outer coating being constructed of a vinyl polymer. As such, the footwear is advantageously water-proof and provides buoyancy in water. The upper members of the footwear may also be constructed of the marine buoy material and they may be configured as a continuous strap or flaps that are detachably attached to each other. The outsole of the footwear may be configured in close conformity with the insole, or it may include a peripheral border extending upwardly and around said insole.
  • The present invention is also directed to a method for producing a footwear with an insole, an outsole and upper members, comprising the steps of: forming the outsole, forming the insole by forming an inner structure from a thermoplastic resin, immersing the inner structure in vinyl polymer, arranging the upper members relative to the insole and the outsole to form said footwear, securely affixing the insole, the outsole and the upper members to each other. A step of the method may include providing apertures in the insole adapted for securing the upper members before immersing the insole in the vinyl polymer.
  • The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of the preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a footwear of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the footwear of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is top plan view of the footwear of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the footwear of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the footwear of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another alternative embodiment of the footwear of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the footwear of FIG. 8;
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of yet another alternative embodiment of the footwear of the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the footwear of FIG. 19; and
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of footwear of FIG. 10, with upper members detached from each other.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an embodiment of a footwear 10 of the present invention is shown. The footwear has a sole 12, including an insole 14 and an outsole 16, and upper member or members (hereinafter used interchangeably) 18 affixed to and extending above the sole 12 for securing the footwear 10 to the wearer's foot (not shown). The upper members 18 may include a strap 20 and a fastening member 22 both adapted and configured to conform to the wearer's foot. In particular, the strap 20 is configured to extend above the foot and the fastening member 22 is configured to extend between the toes of the foot. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the ends 24 of the upper members of this embodiment of the footwear 10 are securely affixed to the outsole 16 by, e.g., adhesives or glue. As understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, the upper members may connected to the sole 12 by a variety of different means, including the formation of a nub at the ends 24 of the upper members which are received in appropriately-sized apertures defined in the sole 12, or other fastening or connecting structures.
  • Referring to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the insole 14 and the outsole 16 are made from flexible materials and are of substantially the same configuration such that their respective peripheral outer edges are substantially even with each other. The outsole 16 may be constructed of a suitably flexible, elastomeric and/or durable material for resisting wear while providing tread. Rubber, for example, may be used to construct the outsole 16. In this illustrated embodiment, the outsole 16 has a substantially uniform thickness of approximately 3/16 inch throughout the length and width of the footwear 10 (see FIG. 2). A walking surface 19 of the outsole 16 is configured with a pattern to provide tread and friction (see FIG. 4).
  • Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the insole 14 may be constructed of a combination of flexible materials commonly referred to as “marine buoy” to resist water absorption and provide buoyancy in the footwear. The insole 14 includes an inner structure 30 that may be foam-like and is at least partially, if not substantially wholly, encapsulated in a water-proof, water-repellant and/or water-resistant sealant coating 32. The inner structure 30 is compressible and of a relatively low density compared to the outsole 16, such that it cushions the foot. Suitable materials for construction of the inner structure 30 include a thermoplastic synthetic resin or a thermoplastic synthetic resin containing a plasticizer. Such a suitable thermoplastic resin composition may comprise of the following:
    NBR (nature polybutadine rubber) 30%
    PVC (polyvinyl chloride paste resin) 30%
    Filler talc 12%
    Foaming agent 10%
    Plasticizer 12%
    Process oil  6%
  • The resin may be molded, trimmed, cut or otherwise configured (before, during or after curing, as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art) as desired, but preferably to conform substantially to outer shape of the foot. The thickness of the inner structure 30; however, may be as is desirable and/or functional. In a preferred embodiment, the thickness is substantially uniform throughout the length and the width of the sole 12 at approximately 1½ inches. It is understood that the thickness of the inner structure 30 may be nonuniform as desirable or appropriate to conform to the shape of the foot. The inner structure 30 has a top surface 34, a bottom surface 36 and a side surface 38 extending around the outer perimeter of the inner structure between the top and bottom surfaces.
  • The coating or surface 32 functions as a barrier or sealant of the inner structure 30 to the environment. As such, the coating 32 is flexible and has water-proofing, water-repelling and/or water-resistant properties. Suitable materials include vinyl polymer or vinyl co-polymer compositions (used interchangeably herein) which may be readily mixed with any of a variety of color pigments for coloring the coating 32 as desired.
  • As mentioned, color pigments may be added to, mixed in, and/or selected in the vinyl polymer. Accordingly, the footwear 10 may be readily manufactured in a variety of colors to suit the tastes of the marketplace without substantial changes in the manufacturing process or equipment. In that regard, the color of the insole may be selected to purposefully match or otherwise complement the color(s) of the upper members 18.
  • To apply the coating 32, the inner structure 30 once cured and shaped is immersed in the vinyl polymer. As such, the inner structure 30 is effectively encapsulated or sealed within an effective water-resistant, if not water-proof barrier. Moreover, the coating 32 so encapsulating the inner structure 30 provides a comfortable and slip-resistant upper surface 33 with which the foot directly contacts when the footwear 10 is worn. Once constructed, the insole 14 and the outsole 16 are securely affixed to each other and preferably by means of adhesive or glue.
  • The upper members 18, in particular the strap 20, may also be constructed similarly to insole 14. In that regard, as shown in FIG. 6, the strap 20 may have an inner structure 40 made of the foregoing resin and a coating 42 of vinyl polymer, whereby both the inner structure 40 and the coating 42 extend along the length of the strap 20. For the average-sized foot, the strap 20 may have a length of approximately 9.0 inches and a diameter of approximately 0.5 inches. Accordingly, the strap 20 and the insole 14 provide a comfortable contact surface for the foot, while also being water-resistant, if not water-proof, like the insole 14.
  • As also shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, the fastening member 22 may be a strip of woven textile 23 that is configured to provide a loop through which the strap 20 extends. A plastic or latex tube 25 may be used to secure together ends 44 of the fastening member.
  • As mentioned, the ends 24 of the upper members 18 are securely affixed to the sole 12 by adhesive or glue. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1, 5 and 6, apertures 26 are configured in the insole 14 to permit the ends 24 to pass through the insole 14 and come into direct contact with the outsole 16. In that regard, the apertures 26 are configured in the inner structure 30 before it is immersed in the vinyl polymer, so that the apertures are, too, provided with the coating 32.
  • Accordingly, the footwear of FIG. 1 may be constructed substantially by the following steps:
  • Step 1: providing the outsole 16;
  • Step 2: forming the insole 14, including preparing the resin composition and configuring it into the inner structure 30;
  • Step 3: immersing the inner structure 30 in the vinyl polymer to provide the coating 32;
  • Step 4: forming the strap 20 of the upper members 18, including preparing the resin composition and configuring it into the inner structure 40;
  • Step 5: immersing the inner structure 40 in the vinyl polymer to provide the coating 42 ;
  • Step 6: providing the upper members 18, including arranging the strap 20, the fastening member 22 and the tube 25 relative to each other; and
  • Step 7: securely affixing to each other, the outsole 16, the insole 14 and the upper members 18 by adhesive or glue.
  • The method of the present invention may also involve the following steps:
  • Step 2 a: forming the apertures 26 in the inner structure 30 before it is immersed in the vinyl polymer.
  • Moreover, Steps 4 and 5 may be bypassed if the upper members 18 are not to be constructed of the marine buoy material. It is therefore understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the foregoing steps need not be taken in the sequence presented, nor does each step need to be taken in manufacturing the footwear 10. The method may be altered as appropriate or desired depending on the desired configuration and/or embodiments of the footwear as described further below.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 7-11, the upper members 18 may adopt an unlimited number of variations in their configuration or manner of construction. The upper members 18 may take the form of two converging, relatively thin members 18 a (FIG. 7), a continuous, wider member 18 b in combination with a fastening member 22 b (FIGS. 8 and 9), or even two overlapping (adjustable) flaps 18 c that are detachable by Velcro® pads (FIGS. 10, 11 and 12). The materials of which these upper members are constructed may be man-made or otherwise, including pseudo-suede, nylon or nylon-based textiles, or the like. As illustrated, the apertures 26 (that is, the shape and size) are configured in conformity with the particular upper members 18 employed with the footwear.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 8-11, the sole 12 may also adopt unlimited variations in its configuration. In these illustrated embodiments, an outsole 44 is configured to with an upwardly extending peripheral border 50 (best illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 11) surrounding the relatively lower surface 52 on which the insole 14 sits. Thus, unlike the outsole 16 of FIGS. 1-6 which is of a substantially uniform thickness, the outsole 44 provides the peripheral border 50 which may have a thickness T of approximately 5/16 inch and a depth D of approximately ¼ inch.
  • For these other embodiment of the footwear of the present invention, the manufacturing thereof may substantially follow the steps set forth above. Clearly, where the upper members are configured or constructed differently, the steps may be altered as appropriate or desired.
  • Although the foregoing discloses the presently preferred embodiments of the present invention, it is understood that the those skilled in the art may make various changes to the preferred embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of the invention. As such, the invention is defined only by the following claims.

Claims (5)

  1. 1-25. (canceled)
  2. 26. A footwear comprising:
    a flexible sole including an outsole and an insole, the insole having:
    a flexible inner compressible structure having a top surface, a bottom surface and a side surface extending around the outer perimeter of the inner structure between the top and bottom surfaces; and
    a flexible outer coating forming a continuous layer that substantially covers the entire top, bottom and side surfaces of the compressible structure; and
    a strap extending from the sole;
    wherein the coating is a coating of vinyl polymer that forms a water barrier and the inner compressible structure is a different material than the outer coating; and, wherein the inner structure has at least one aperture for receiving the strap.
  3. 27. A footwear of claim 26 wherein the coating extends into the aperture.
  4. 28. The footwear of claim 26, wherein the inner compressible structure is substantially wholly encapsulated in the outer coating to be substantially waterproof.
  5. 29-38. (canceled)
US11336522 2000-10-17 2006-01-20 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor Abandoned US20070017121A1 (en)

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US09690552 US6508016B1 (en) 2000-10-17 2000-10-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10264015 US6766598B2 (en) 2000-10-17 2002-10-03 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10847262 US20040211089A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-05-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US11336522 US20070017121A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2006-01-20 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US11336522 US20070017121A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2006-01-20 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US12431707 US20090211113A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-04-28 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US10847262 Continuation US20040211089A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-05-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US12431707 Continuation US20090211113A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-04-28 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US20070017121A1 true true US20070017121A1 (en) 2007-01-25

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US09690552 Active US6508016B1 (en) 2000-10-17 2000-10-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US09949388 Expired - Fee Related US6477790B2 (en) 2000-10-17 2001-09-07 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10264015 Expired - Fee Related US6766598B2 (en) 2000-10-17 2002-10-03 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10790375 Abandoned US20040168346A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-02-29 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10847262 Abandoned US20040211089A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-05-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US11336522 Abandoned US20070017121A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2006-01-20 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US11336641 Abandoned US20060265901A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2006-01-20 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US12370572 Abandoned US20090255065A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-02-12 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US12431707 Abandoned US20090211113A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-04-28 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US09690552 Active US6508016B1 (en) 2000-10-17 2000-10-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US09949388 Expired - Fee Related US6477790B2 (en) 2000-10-17 2001-09-07 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10264015 Expired - Fee Related US6766598B2 (en) 2000-10-17 2002-10-03 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10790375 Abandoned US20040168346A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-02-29 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US10847262 Abandoned US20040211089A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2004-05-17 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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US12370572 Abandoned US20090255065A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-02-12 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor
US12431707 Abandoned US20090211113A1 (en) 2000-10-17 2009-04-28 Water-resistant and floatable footwear and method of manufacture therefor

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USD806999S1 (en) 2016-02-20 2018-01-09 Ono O. Donahue Toe spacer with magnet cap for decorative items

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US20040205979A1 (en) * 2003-04-18 2004-10-21 Hung-Chin Li Sandal having an ethylene-vinyl acetate sock lining and the method for producing the sandal
US6883252B2 (en) * 2003-07-25 2005-04-26 Bcny International Footwear with insole reinforcement
US20060026862A1 (en) * 2004-08-05 2006-02-09 Bcny International Article of footwear and associated of manufacture
US7490419B1 (en) * 2004-12-29 2009-02-17 Dennis E. Weiland Support devices for distributing pressure
USD513447S1 (en) * 2005-01-05 2006-01-10 Bernardo Footwear, L.L.C. Sandal
US20060236561A1 (en) * 2005-04-20 2006-10-26 Kenneth Lee Sole for footwear
US20070022632A1 (en) * 2005-07-29 2007-02-01 Lan Chung H Massaging footbed having sole with pattern of waves and method of making same
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US20090075537A1 (en) * 2007-09-18 2009-03-19 Devers James F Whitewater ankle floatation safety device
US8220184B2 (en) * 2008-07-23 2012-07-17 Andrew Albert Footwear having interchangeable components
US8336228B2 (en) * 2009-07-13 2012-12-25 Nike, Inc. Article of footwear with thong portion including grooves
DE102011002116A1 (en) * 2011-04-15 2012-10-18 Li & Co AG Outsole and processes for their preparation
US9844240B2 (en) * 2011-06-10 2017-12-19 Richard George Snap sandals
US20130247419A1 (en) * 2012-03-22 2013-09-26 Hari Mari, Llc Footwear With Enhanced Toe Post
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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20140325874A1 (en) * 2013-05-06 2014-11-06 Yolanda Irizar Bermudez Toe Buddies Sandal Toe Guard
USD806999S1 (en) 2016-02-20 2018-01-09 Ono O. Donahue Toe spacer with magnet cap for decorative items

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US20040168346A1 (en) 2004-09-02 application
US20020092200A1 (en) 2002-07-18 application
US6766598B2 (en) 2004-07-27 grant
CN1365642A (en) 2002-08-28 application
US20030088998A1 (en) 2003-05-15 application
US6477790B2 (en) 2002-11-12 grant
US20040211089A1 (en) 2004-10-28 application
US20090255065A1 (en) 2009-10-15 application
US20060265901A1 (en) 2006-11-30 application
US6508016B1 (en) 2003-01-21 grant
CN1245118C (en) 2006-03-15 grant
US20090211113A1 (en) 2009-08-27 application

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