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United States Patent Application 20160100653
Kind Code A1
LIGHT; Cynthia A. April 14, 2016

HIGH-HEEL TIP PROTECTOR AND REPAIR KIT

Abstract

A heel protector for use with a high heel having a heel tip with a bottom surface having a size and shape. The heel protector is a flat material that is substantially sized and shaped to conform to the exact size and shape of the heel tip bottom surface. The heel protector is adhered to the bottom of the high heel tip by an adhesive.


Inventors: LIGHT; Cynthia A.; (Red Bank, NJ)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

LIGHT; Cynthia A.

Red Bank

NJ

US
Family ID: 1000001585314
Appl. No.: 14/853603
Filed: September 14, 2015


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
13776207Feb 25, 2013
14853603
61610842Mar 14, 2012

Current U.S. Class: 12/147B
Current CPC Class: A43B 21/42 20130101
International Class: A43B 21/42 20060101 A43B021/42

Claims



1-17. (canceled)

18. A method of protecting a high heel having a heel tip with a bottom surface having a size and shape defining an outer perimeter, the method comprising: pre-forming a heel protector as a separate and unconnected flexible flat material sized and shaped to substantially be the same as the entire size and shape of the heel tip bottom surface including the outer perimeter, the pre-formed flat material having a first side with a first surface configured to be adhered to the bottom surface of the heel tip, and a second side opposite the first side, the second side configured to contact a ground surface.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising adhering the first surface to the bottom surface of the heel tip.

20. The method of claim 18, further comprising preparing the bottom surface of the heel tip with sandpaper.

21. The method of claim 18, wherein said heel tip includes a flat platform that forms the heel tip bottom surface and has at least one edge, the heel tip further including an elongated dowel with a head coupled with or embedded in the flat platform, wherein the flat material has at least one edge, and wherein each of the at least one edge of the flat material is substantially flush with each of the at least one edge of the heel tip platform.

22. The method of claim 18, wherein the size and shape of the flat material is substantially the same as the entire heel tip bottom surface including the entire outer perimeter.

23. The method of claim 18, wherein the flat material comprises vinyl.

24. The method of claim 18, wherein the flat material comprises rubber.

25. The method of claim 18, wherein the bottom surface of the heel comprises plastic.

26. The method of claim 18, wherein the bottom surface of the heel comprises rubber.

27. The method of claim 18, further comprising providing a plurality of heel protectors all formed from a single sheet, the plurality of heel protectors removably connected to the single sheet by a tab.

28. The method of claim 18, wherein the flat material is approximately 1-2 mm thick.

28. The method of claim 18, wherein the flat material is sufficiently flexible to conform to the shape of the heel tip bottom surface.

29. The method of claim 18, wherein the heel protector does not extend up along a side of the high heel.

30. The method of claim 18, wherein said heel protector does not have any side walls.

31. The method of claim 18, the heel protector consisting of said flat material is sized and shaped to substantially be the same as the entire heel tip bottom surface including the outer perimeter.
Description



RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/610,842, filed March 14, 2012, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a high-heel tip protector and repair kit. More particularly, the present invention relates to a high-heel tip protector and repair kit that is easy to use and doesn't require removal of the high-heel tip.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The heel of a shoe is found at the rear of the shoe and supports the heel of the wearer's foot. En a high-heel shoe, the heel can have different heights, widths, coverings and shapes. A top lift or heel tip is provided at the very bottom of the heel. The heel tip contacts the ground and can become worn over time. Traditional heel tips have a platform shaped to tit the heel. and an elongated metal dowel that extends upward from the platform, as shown in www.cobblersupplies.com, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference. The dowel fits into an elongated opening bored in the center of the heel of the shoe and has a flattened top that is embedded in a plastic, rubber, or other material that forms the platform that comes into contact with the ground during use.

[0004] Once the platform of the heel tip becomes worn, the entire heel tip must be replaced by pulling the dowel free of the heel using a tool (such as pliers or the like) and inserting a new heel tip. This process is difficult, costly and can result in damage to the heel, especially when performed by a layperson. Also, the placement of the dowel can be off and result in a poor fit. In addition, the elongated bores are not of uniform size and the plastic platform, as well as the distal end of the shoe heel, have different sizes and shapes. Thus, a user must determine the precise size of the dowel and shoe heel distal end in order to obtain a properly sized heel tip.

[0005] A number of heel protectors have been developed, such as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,439,435 and 1,263,555, and U.S. Publication No. 2013/0042505, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference. However, these heel protectors are generally formed as cups having a bottom and side walls. The heel tip is placed into the cup, and the side walls extend up along the outside of the distal end of the heel. Consequently, these heel protectors are very noticeable during use, especially the side walls that extend along the outside of the heel. And, the side walls of the heel protectors can damage the sides of the heel, which can be made of material such as leather.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a repair for a worn heel tip. It is a further object of the invention to provide a repair for a worn heel tip of a high heel shoe that is easy to apply. It is yet another object of the invention to provide a heel tip protector. It is a further object of the invention to provide a heel tip protector that is easily fit to an existing worn heel tip of a high heel shoe.

[0007] A heel protector is provided for use with a high heel having a heel tip with a bottom surface having a size and shape. The heel protector is a flat material that is substantially sized and shaped to conform to the exact size and shape of the heel tip bottom surface. The heel protector is adhered to the bottom of the high heel tip by an adhesive.

[0008] These and other objects of the invention, as well as many of the intended advantages thereof, will become more readily apparent when reference is made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGS.

[0009] FIG. 1 is a side view of a high heel shoe showing the high heel tip protector in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a cross-section exploded view of the heel shown in FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a top view of a sheet of high heel tip protectors; and,

[0012] FIG. 4 shows a sizing chart for use with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013] In describing the preferred embodiments of the present invention illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology is resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.

[0014] Turning to the drawings. FIGS. I and 2 show the heel protector or pad 50 of the present invention. As illustrated, the heel protector 50 is specifically designed for use with a high heel shoe 10. The heel 12 of the shoe is found at the rear of the shoe 10 and supports the heel of the wearer's foot. The heel can have different heights, widths, coverings and shapes. A top lift or heel tip 20 is provided at the very bottom or distal end 14 of the heel 12. The heel tip 20 contacts the ground. The heel tip 20 has a plastic platform 24 shaped to fit the distal end 14 of the heel 12, and an elongated metal pin or dowel 26 that extends upward from the platform 24. The dowel 26 fits into an elongated bore in the center of the heel 12 of the shoe 10 and has a T-shaped flat metal top or head 22 that is embedded in the plastic or other material that forms the flat platform 24 that comes into contact with the ground during use.

[0015] Over time, the platform 24 of the heel tip 20 can become worn down, even to the point that the metal top 22 and/or distal end 14 of the heel 12 is exposed. At that point, as best shown in FIG. 2, the heel protector 50 is affixed to the bottom side of the remaining worn plastic platform 24, and/or the flat metal head 22 (if exposed), and/or distal end 14 (if exposed). More specifically, the protector 50 has a top surface 52, a bottom surface 54, and one or more sides 56. The top surface 52 is fixed to the platform 24, and/or the head 22 (if exposed through the platform 24), and/or the distal end 14 (if exposed) of the heel, such as by glue, fastener, adhesive, or other means. The bottom surface 54 comes into contact with the ground as the user walks. The protector 50 is relatively flat and thin and has a rectangular cross section. However, the top and bottom surfaces 52, 54, can have any suitable size and shape, as discussed further below.

[0016] The heel protector 50 is designed to substantially match the size and shape of a particular heel tip 20, and particularly the size and shape of the plastic platform 24. The heel tip protector 50 is preferably substantially the same size and shape as the heel tip platform 24, which in turn is substantially the same size as the distal end 14 of the high heel 12, as shown. Thus, the protector 50 substantially covers the entire bottom surface of the platform 24. The top surface 52 of the protector 50 extends across the entire bottom surface of the platform 24, so that the protector sides 56 are substantially flush (or slightly smaller than, by up to about 1 mm, preferably 0.5 mm and more preferably 0.2 mm) with the platform sides 28.

[0017] The protector 50 should not be so large (even by as much as about 0.5-1 mm or even 0.2-0.5 mm or less) that it extends over the sides 28 of the heel tip platform 24, since that could potentially catch on the ground surface, cause the wearer to trip or become unbalanced, and it would look improper. The protector 50 should also not be too small (even by as much as about 0.5-1 mm or even 0.2-0.5 mm or less) that it does not reach the sides 28 of the heel tip platform 24, since that could reduce traction, provide incomplete protection to the heel tip, and could potentially lead to the wearer being unsteady. In addition, because the protector 50 substantially has the exact same size and shape as the platform 24, the surface area is maximized between the two so that a strong adhesion can be provided without having excess adhesive at the sides. In addition, the protector 50 does not detract from the look of the shoe and is barely noticeable. The protector 50 preferably is black to match the color of most heel tips 20, but can be provided in any desired color.

[0018] The heel protector 50 is preferably formed of a material that is durable so that it can withstand continued use. And, is also somewhat flexible so that it can adapt to and conform with the surface of the worn heel tip, especially if the surface is uneven. It can also be relatively easy to cut with standard scissors so that the user can make small adjustments to the size or shape to provide a desired fit, if necessary.

[0019] For instance, the heel protector 50 can be made of plastic vinyl having a thickness of up to about 2 mm, and most preferably no greater than 1 mm. However, the heel protector 50 can also be made of rubber, also having a thickness up to about 2 mm. At that thickness, the protector 50 is sufficiently flexible to conform to the shape of the platform 24, the head 22 (if exposed), and/or distal end 14 (if exposed), to thereby form a reliable and strong connection to the bottom surface of the platform 24. However, the protector 50 should not be too thick (i.e., over 2 mm. and more preferably over 1 mm for vinyl), or it can compress under the weight of the user, thereby extending beyond the sides 28 of the platform 24. The side edges of the platform 24 and/or the sides 16 of the distal end of the heel 12 can be sharp and can cut into any portion of the heel protector 50 that extends beyond the edges of the platform 24 and/or distal end of the heel 12. At that thickness, the protector 50 is also sufficiently thin that it can be cut with scissors so that a user can make any necessary adjustments to size or shape to obtain a proper fit.

[0020] The vinyl can withstand normal temperatures and ranges from -20.degree. F. to 160.degree. F., and the glue can withstand temperatures from -65.degree. F. to 180.degree. F. Alternatively, the heel protector can be made of a rubber material or any other suitable material that is durable, has good traction, can have ridges, and is preferably not prone to leaving scuff marks.

[0021] As shown in FIG. 3, multiple heel pads or protectors 50 can be manufactured at one time from a single sheet 100 of material. Multiple heel tips 50 can be punched or stamped from a single sheet 100 of material, then removed and placed in packaging, such as a bag, purse pouch, and/or box. An assortment of various sizes and/or shapes can be placed in the same packaging.

[0022] Alternatively, the heel tips 50 can be left in place on the sheet 100 and held in place by small tab connections that extend between the protector 50 and the sheet 100. The tab connections can be easily broken by the user when ready to use so that the heel tips can be removed for use. The heel tips 50 in the sheet 100 can be a single size and shape for use on a single pair of high-heel shoes, or can be different sizes and shape for use with different high-heel shoes. The sheet 100 makes it easy to retain all of the protectors 50 in one place so that a protector pair does not get separated and lost from each other. And, it makes it easy for the user to see the various sizes and shapes that are available. The size of the protector 50 can also be branded or formed in or on the sheet near to the corresponding protector 50. Though the sheet 100 is shown as a square shape having 5 rows of four (two pair) protectors 50, it can have rounded corners or other suitable shapes and sizes.

[0023] The invention further includes a high-heel shoe repair kit that has a set of heel protectors 50, sanding paper and super glue. The kit can include one or more sheets 100, and each sheet can have multiple protectors 50 that are all the same size and/or shape, or a combination of sizes and shapes. In use, the worn heel tip platform 24 is sanded down slightly using the sanding paper. This creates an even, roughened, and clean surface so that the protector 50 can uniformly bond to the surface. The sanding paper also allows the user to shape the heel tip and scratch the heel tip surface to improve adhesion. The glue can be any suitable adhesive, such as an instant glue or high strength glue. Once the heel tip platform 24 bottom surface has been prepared by sanding, the glue (a permanent adhesive) is applied to the bottom surface of the heel tip platform 24, the metal dowel top 22 (if exposed), the distal end 14 (if exposed), and/or the top surface 52 of the protector 50. The proper sized and shaped protector 50 can then be removed from the sheet 100. The protector 50 is then applied to the heel tip surface and pushed on to ensure a strong adhesion between the heel tip 20 and the heel tip protector 50. Once the glue has dried, the shoe can be used. The sides 56 of the protector 50 can also be sanded, if needed, to provide the optimal fit.

[0024] The protector 50 is preferably made of vinyl since it adheres well to the plastic platform 24 using super glue, unlike rubber and plastic. However, the protector 50 can be made of plastic or rubber (or can be bonded to rubber) by using an adhesive that can create a strong bond between the platform 24 and the protector 50 materials. In addition, the vinyl or rubber protector 50 can be adhered to a rubber platform 24 by using an adhesive that can create a strong bond between those materials. The protector 50 is flat without any projections or walls that might otherwise be used to secure the protector 50 to the platform 24. Thus, the only connection between the protector 50 and the platform 24 is by the use of an adhesive applied to their respective surfaces, or if the dowel has fallen out or is otherwise removed.

[0025] The heel tip protector 50 should be sized so that it substantially covers the entire heel tip surface. This provides a brand new surface for the heel tip 20 to maximize the duration of the heel tip 20. Thus, the heel tip protector 50 extends the life of the heel tip 20 and prolongs or eliminates the need to remove the dowel 26 from the shoe 10 or otherwise replace the entire heel tip 20. Preferably, the heel tip protector 50 should be applied before the heel tip 20 is worn down to the metal dowel head 22, and especially before the metal dowel head 22 breaks the plane of the heel tip platform 24 and becomes exposed. Of course, the heel protector 50 can be used on a brand new shoe before the heel platform 24 is worn at all, to protect the heel and extend the life of the heel tip 20. And, as the protector 50 itself becomes worn, a new protector 50 can be placed over the worn one (or the worn one can be sanded off or removed), to further extend the life of the heel tip 20. In addition, the protector 50 can be placed directly on the distal end of the heel and the dowel rod (if the dowel top 26 is worn away or if the dowel is removed or lost).

[0026] In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the heel tip protector 50 can have an adhesive preloaded on the protector surface. A wax paper or the like can cover the adhesive to prevent it from becoming dirty or adhering to an unintended surface. The wax paper can be removed shortly before the protector is applied to the heel tip surface. The preloaded adhesive eliminates the need for separate glue in the kit, and the user need not place glue on the platform 24 or protector 50.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 3, the heel tip protectors 50 can have sort of a U-shape with a straight leading edge at one side 56' and a rounded trailing edge at another side 56''. That U-shape is common for women's high heels, and the protectors 50 are sized and shaped to exactly match those of standard heel tips. For illustration of the invention without intending to limit the invention, the protector shape shown in FIG. 3 has a U-shape with a length of 12 mm and a longest height (at the center of the U) of 12 mm. However, any suitable U-shape size can be provided, such as 12.times.12 mm, 13.times.13 mm and 14.times.14 mm, as shown by the sizing 12, 13, and 14 in the figure (though those numbers preferably aren't printed on the protector).

[0028] Of course, any suitable shape and size can be provided, including round, oval and rectangular. The protector 50 is substantially flat, though ridges or ribs can optionally be formed on the surface of the protector to increase traction for the wearer. The ridges can be formed, for instance, by heat pressing them into the surface of the material, or by any other suitable method. In addition, the protector 50 can be provided in any color and the color can be associated with a cause, such as pink for breast cancer awareness. A sizing chart can also be provided to enable the user to identify the proper size of protector, such as the one shown in FIG. 4.

[0029] It is noted that the invention has been shown and described for use with women's high heel shoes, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, However, the protectors can be used on other shoes not limited to high heels, such as boots or men's shoes. And, the protectors can be used on other parts of the shoe, not limited to the heel. In addition, more than one protector can be used at a time on a single heel. For instance, a second protector can be placed on top of a first protector. Both protectors can be made of the same material or different material. And, both protectors can be the same size, or the top protector can be slightly smaller than the bottom protector so that it does not expand beyond the heel sides as it is compressed by the weight of the user. In addition, if a protector is made with a thicker material for larger heels, it can be tapered inward slightly so that the protector does not expand beyond the heel sides as it is compressed by the weight of the user.

[0030] As shown and described, the high heel protector 50 of the present invention is a single flat piece of material that is adhered to the bottom of a high heel tip. As such, the protector 50 does not detract from the look of the shoe and is barely noticeable during use. The protector 50 does not have a cup shape and does not have any side walls that extend up along the outside of the distal end of the heel. Thus, the protector 50 does not have any side walls or other features that are noticeable during use and might otherwise detract from the look of the shoe. Likewise, the protector 50 is adhered to the heel by use of an adhesive such as super glue. The protector 50 does not need any fasteners--such as tape, screws, nails or the like--which are bulky, noticeable, or otherwise detract from the look of the high heel shoe. And, because the protector 50 does not contact the sides of the heel, it cannot damage the material on the sides of the heel.

[0031] The description and drawings of the present invention provided in the paper should be considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. The invention may be configured in a variety of ways and is not intended to be limited by the preferred embodiment. Numerous applications of the invention will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, it is not desired to limit the invention to the specific examples disclosed or the exact construction and operation shown and described. Rather, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

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