US 3618235 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 9, 1971 G. R. CARY, JR
ADJUSTABLE FOOTWEAR Filed Jan. 19, 1970 'I NVENTOR E5. @maw- Um? Y, Jg,
United States Patent O U.s'. Cl.- 36--2.s B 11 Claims ABSTRACT oF THE DISCLOSURE An orthopedic shoe, or other footwear, is provided with a toe covering which includes vsections that are laterally adjustable-and easily fixed in any given position of adjustment. The toe covering is split along a mid-line of the shoe to form two lateral sections that can be adjusted towards and away from the shoe mid-line; and a tongue-like element is secured to a forward part of the shoe ,to voverlap the two lateral covering sections and to maintain the sections in desired adjusted positions. vInfinite adjustment is available by the use of Velcro fastening surfaces (see U.S. Pat. 2,717,437) placed on the top of the covering sections and on the underside of the tongue-like element which overlaps the sections to maintain an adjustment.
This invention relates to improvements in footwear, and it is especially concerned with providing for an orthopedic article of footwear having a toe portion which can be laterally adjusted to relieve` and prevent shoe pressure problems that develop in the distal one-third of ,the foot.
It is known in this art to provide for various constructions in shoes and slippers to permit some change in size or dimension of articlesof footwear. A typical construction for adjusting width of a shoe is shown in U.S. Pat. 2,362,010 wherein a toe portion of the shoe is split and adjusted lby means of a`lace or ribbon. Other constructions haveprovided separate toe pieces in combination with lateral side pieces in the toe portion of a shoe, and all of the pieces are secured together by laces. Structures of .this type are shown, for example, in U.S. Pats. 2,391,720 and 3,058,241. Also, it is known to use Velcro type fasteners to secure together portions of a shoe, as exemplied in U.S. Pats. 3,015,896and 3,106,790. j The. present invention providesfor an improved footwear construction which permits easy and frequent adjustment of a shoe to accommodate special problems in fitting or in changes in foot size or shape. It is contemplated that the principles of this invention can be utilized in footwear constructions for post-surgical patients who may have swelling difficulties of the forefoot and who require frequent adjustment of footwear to accommodate changing conditions'throughout convalescence. Also, the improved construction is useful for those with edema problems resulting in swelling of the feet during certain parts of the day; However, the invention is also applicable footwear for the normal foot which expands somewhat during normal upright. daily activity, for which it is desired to make quick and precise increments in change in the footwear to accommodate such expansion. Generally, the' invention is concerned with problems of size and changing shape in the distal one-third portion of the foot which isconsidered to include the toes and the ball of the foot. p
In accordance with this invention an article of footwear is provided with a sole and with a covering over a forward part of the sole to define a toe portion which can receive the distal part of a foot. The toe covering is ice divided into at least two basic parts by a split formed along an approximate mid-line of the shoe. The split in the shoe covering leaves two lateral sections secured along opposite sides of the shoe sole, with each lateral section extending upwardly and inwardly towards the longitudinal mid-line of the shoe. This arrangement leaves a free edge for each lateral section adjacent to the mid-line, and the free edges can be adjusted towards and away from each other to tit a foot shape and size at any given time. The invention also provides for a tongue-like element extending from a forward tip area of the shoe to a rear edge of the toe covering. The tongue-like element functions to secure the lateral sections in any given positions of adjustment, while at the same time, concealing the split in the shoe and improving the appearance of the footwear. The tongue-like element accomplishes its securing function by the use of fastening means positioned between an under surface of the tongue-like element and upper surfaces of the lateral sections. Preferably the fastening means should be in the form of Velcro pads positioned on the underside of the tongue-like element and on the upper surfaces of the toe covering so as to provide for cooperative fastening engagement for an infinite number of positions of the lateral sections relative to a mid-line of the shoe.
The construction of this invention eliminates any requirement for laces or ribbons, and an article of footwear can be applied or removed much more readily with the arrangement of this invention than with prior known constructions. This may be especially important for patients or individuals with limited mobility, irrespective of whether frequent adjustment of the footwear is required, however, the invention does permit frequent and easy adjustment of a shoe to accommodate changes in size or shape of a foot. By providing a tongue-like element to maintain positions of adjustable lateral sections, it is possible to include the features of this invention with existing shoe assemblies, thereby providing for an article of manufacture which can be assembled at a reasonable cost. However, the tongue-like element also functions to improve the appearance of the footwear article in all positions of adjustment, and this is an important aesthetic requirement for many users of orthopedic, or special design, footwear.
These and other advantages and features of the present invention will be discussed with reference to the accompanying drawings which are briey discussed below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. l is a perspective view of an article of footwear, in the form of a shoe, incorporating the features of the present invention as seen in a normal condition for being worn;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 1, of just the toe portion of the shoe shown in FIG. 1, and a tonguelike element has been stripped away from fastening engagement -with a toe covering of the shoe to show how the toe portion can be laterally adjusted when desired; and
FIG. 3 is a top plan view on reduced scale of the toe portion of a shoe incorporating the features of the present invention, as viewed when opposite lateral sections and the tongue-like element are fully opened up to allow an easy entry of a foot into the shoe.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION Referring to FIGS. 1 Iand 2, the invention is illustrated with reference to a construction for a shoe. However, it is to be understood that other forms of footwear can be constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention.
FIG. 1 illustrates a complete shoe in perspective view. The present invention is concerned with improvements in comfort and adjustment in the toe portion of the shoe, as dened generally at the forward part of the shoe. The illustrated shoe includes a typical sole 12 defining a bottom of the article of footwear, and a covering 14 is provided over at least the toe portion of the shoe to dene a space for receiving the distal part of a foot. In the illustrated embodiment, the toe covering 14 is coextensive with the back portions 16 of the shoe, but it may be formed as a separate construction if desired. Also, the toe covering 14 may be in other forms, and it may be a decorative type of covering with open spaces formed through it.
This specification, and the claims included herein, will refer to the toe covering 14 in a generic sense to describe its function of defining a toe portion 10 for an article of footwear. However, as shown in FIG. 2, the toe covering 14 actually comprises two or more basic sections which are formed over the forward end of the shoe sole to define a foot receiving area. In accordance with the invention, a longitudinal split 18 is formed through the toe covering 14 along an approximate mid-line of the shoe (as viewed in plan view). The longitudinal split 18 may be formed by cutting through a unitary toe covering 14, or alternatively, it may be defined by placing two lateral covering sections 20 and 22 in a side-by-side relationship and securing their outside edges to the sole. Either way, the split 18 results in a shoe construction having two lateral covering sections 20 and 22, each of which is secured to a forward edge of the sole 12 (along edge 24, for example), and each lateral covering section has a relatively free edge 26 situated along a line generally parallel to the mid-line of the shoe. With this arrangement, the two lateral sections 20 and 22 can be laterally adjusted towards and away from the mid-line to provide for a change in width of the toe portion of the shoe.
This adjustment can take place only after a tongue-like element 28 is removed from an overlapping and fastening relationship with the two lateral sections 20 and 22. FIG. l shows the tongue-like element in a position for maintaining shoe adjustment, and FIG. 2 shows the tonguelike element in a stripped away condition to permit quick and easy adjustment in width of the toe portion of the shoe. The tongue-like element 28 is secured at 30 to a forward tip of the shoe construction, preferably to the sole itself, leaving a free end 32 for grasping and moving the tongue-like element into and out of fastening engagement with the toe covering.
A further feature of the present invention provides for small incremental adjustments of the toe portion of a shoe by the use of Velcro fasteners. As shown in FIG. 2, Velcro pads 34 `are secured on upper surfaces of each of the lateral sections 20 and 22 in positions to be covered by another Velcro pad 36 positioned on the underside of the tongue-like element 28. This arrangement provides for an infinite number of very small adjustments in the toe portion of a shoe, and it also permits a very quick and easy release of the shoe from a foot, when desired. In use, it is only necessary to strip away the tongue-like element 28 when an adjustment is desired, and then the tongue-like element is returned to an overlapping relationship after the lateral sections 20 and 22 have been placed in preferred positions. Cooperation between the Velcro fasteners 34 and 36 assures a secure maintenance of the adjustment which is set in the toe portion. In this manner, adjustment can be made as frequently as desired and with very little difficulty.
Referring again to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the longitudinal split 18 extends from a rear edge 38 of the toe covering 14 to a point 40 which is positioned rearwardly from the very tip of the shoe. This arrangement leaves a third basic section for the shoe toe portion at 42, and this third section will be referred to as a tip section. Preferably, the tip section 42 is fixed in its position relative to the shoe sole, and the lateral sections 20 and 22 are movable relative to the tip section 42 because of a transverse split 44 which extends laterally across the tip area of the shoe covering. The transverse split 44 is in the form of two split sections extending laterally outwardly in opposite directionsl from the point 40 of the longitudinal split 18. Generally, the combination of the transverse split 44 with the longitudinal split 18 may be considered as T-shaped in form, however, other shapes and configurations may be provided. For example, when looking down on a shoe in the plan of FIG. 3, the combined longitudnial and transverse splits may appear as:
TTV/WY FIG. 3 illustrates an article of footwear having the features of construction discussed with reference to FIGS. l and 2. In the FIG. 3 mode, the lateral sections 20 and 22 have been opened completely away from the longitudinal mid-line of the shoe `along hinge lines 46. The hinge lines may be defined by flexible material of the lateral sections or by any other construction which will give a hinging effect to the lateral sections relative to the sole of the shoe. By permitting a complete opening up of the shoe, a patients foot can be easily placed onto the sole and the shoe can be carefully adjusted to the foot size. In a similar manner the tongue-like element 28 is hinged along a line 48. l
From the above, it can @be seen that a novel shoe construction is provided. The shoe construction is useful for many types of normal and special footwear needs, including special requirements of patients requiring orthopedic care. The entire construction can be easily manufactured at reasonable cost, and the shoe can be very easily adjusted, as frequently as desired, by a user. In addition, the multi-functional tongue-like element 28 serves to add a decorative finish to the shoe by completely covering the splits 18 and 44 and the fastening pads associated with the toe portion of the shoe. FIG. l shows the tongue-like element in one pattern of finish, but of course, other shapes and ornamentations may be used.
Although the invention has been described with reference to a specific embodiment, it will be appreciated by those skilled in this art that the principles of the invention can be practiced in other ways. Equivalent and obvious variations from what has been described above are intended to be included within the scope of this invention. For example, it may be desired to provide for lateral adjustment of only one lateral section 20 or 22, or the split line 18 may be offset from the mid-line of the shoe. Other variations will be apparent to those skilled in this art.
What is claimed is:
1. An improvement in footwear which provides for lateral adjustment of a toe poriton of the footwear, comprising a sole defining a bottom of the footwear,
Ia toe covering connected to said sole to define a toe portion for receiving a distal part of a foot, a longitudinal split formed along an approximate mid-line of the toe covering to form two lateral covering sections, at least one of which can be adjusted laterally towards and away from said mid-line, and fastening pads secured to upper surfaces of said lateral covering sections,
a tongue-like element secured to a forward part of said sole for overlapping both of said lateral covering sections, said tongue-like element having a free end so that it can be stripped away from its overlapping relationship with the toe covering to permit lateral adjustment of the covering sections or to permit insertion or removal of a foot into or out of the toe portion of the footwear, and a fastening pad secured to an under surface of the tongue-like element for cooperative fastening engagement with the fastening pads of said toe covering when the tongue-like element is placed in overlapping contact with the toe covering, whereby said tongue-like element functions i to maintain a lateral adjustment of said covering when the tongue-like element is fastened to the toe covering.
2. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said fastening pads comprise Velcro type fastening surfaces.
3. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said lateral covering sections are each hinged to opposite sides of said sole so that both lateral sections can be adjusted.
4. The improvement of claim 3 wherein said tonguelike element is hinged to a forward tip portion of said sole.
5. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said tonguelike element comprises a decorative element which covers said split to improve the appearance of the footwear.
6. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said toe covering includes a forward tip portion which substantially encloses a tip of the footwear, and wherein a transverse split extends laterally across the forward area of the toe covering to define said forward tip portion., said transverse split being in the form of two split sections extending laterally outwardly in opposite directions from the forwardmost end of said longitudinal split.
7. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said longitudinal split extends from a rear edge of said toe covering to a point short of a front edge of said toe covering, and including transverse splits extending outwardly and laterally in opposite directions from said longitudinal split from said point so as to form a substantially T-shaped splitting of said toe covering into three basic sections comprising a tip section, and said two lateral covering sections.
8. The improvement of claim 7 wherein said transverse splits extend from said longitudinal split at generally right angles.
9. The improvement of claim 7 wherein said transverse splits extend from said longitudinal split at generally acute angles.
10. The improvement of claim 7 wherein said transverse splits extend from said longitudinal split at generally obtuse angles.
11. An improved article of footwear having provision for lateral adjustment of its toe portion, comprising a sole,
a covering over a forward part of said sole to define a toe portion for the footwear, said toe portion being formed at least in part from two lateral sections secured along opposite sides of said sole and extending upwardly and inwardly towards a longitudinal midline of the footwear, said two lateral sections having free edges which can be adjusted towards and away from said mid-line,
fastening means assocatied with said lateral sections,
a tongue-like element extending from a forward tip area to a rear edge of said covering to cover the free edges of said lateral sections, and
fastening means secured to said tongue-like element for cooperating with said fastening means associated with the lateral sections so that said lateral sections can be maintained in a desired adjustment relative to said mid-line, said fastening means being releasable so that said tongue-like element can be removed from fastening engagement with said lateral sections.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS r ALFRED R. GUEST, Primary Examiner