1. Field of the Disclosure
The present disclosure relates to toe protection in athletic footwear. In particular, the present disclosure relates to an athletic shoe that includes protection for a user's toes.
2. Related Art
Athletes, whether professional, amateur or scholastic, are exposed to a variety of injuries.
One common injury suffered by an increasing number of athletes is toe injuries. While such injuries appear minor compared to concussions and the like, these injuries are often very painful and take a long time to heal. Even after healing, athletes are often vulnerable to reinjuring their toe. Toe injuries are common in sports such as football or baseball, particularly when played on artificial field surfaces, but also occur on natural grass as well. Football players often suffer toenail injuries caused when other players step on their feet. In addition, toe injuries are not uncommon in basketball, either from other players stepping, stomping or landing on their toes or by landing awkwardly after they jump. Baseball players have the added risk of being hit in the toe by foul balls or errant pitches as well. For professional athletes, these type of injuries can be career threatening. Thus, protecting high salaried players from such injuries would make good financial sense to team owners who invest substantial sums in their players.
Various sports include protective equipment to protect various parts of the player's body, however, generally, athletic shoes provide little protection. Indeed, athletic shoes provide virtually no protection to the toe area. in the toe by foul balls or errant pitches as well. For professional athletes, these type of injuries can be career threatening. Thus, protecting high salaried players from such injuries would make good financial sense to team owners who invest substantial sums in their players.
Various sports include protective equipment to protect various parts of the player's body, however, generally, athletic shoes provide little protection. Indeed, athletic shoes provide virtually no protection to the toe area.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an athletic shoe that resolves these and other problems.
It is an object of the present disclosure to provide an athletic shoe that provides protection for the user's toes. More specifically, it is an object of the present application to provide an athletic shoe that includes a substantially rigid shield mounted in or on a front part of the shoe to protect the user's toes.
An athletic shoe in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure includes a sole, an upper mounted on the sole and configured to receive a foot of a user and a concave shield element positioned in a toe area of the athletic shoe and configured to protect the user's toes when wearing the athletic shoe.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention which refers to the accompanying drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 1 is an exemplary illustration of an athletic shoe including toe protection in accordance with an embodiment of the present application.
FIG. 1 is an exemplary embodiment of an athletic shoe 10 that includes a toe shield 12 positioned in the front of the shoe to protect the user's toes. The shoe 10 is illustrated as a cleat of the type typically used by baseball, football or soccer players. The shoe 10 preferably includes a sole 10 a with an upper 10 b mounted thereon and configured to receiver a user's foot. The shoe 10, however, may be any type of athletic shoe, including but not limited to a basketball sneaker, a tennis sneaker, rugby shoe, lacrosse shoe etc.
In one embodiment, the toe shield 12 is made of a lightweight and substantially rigid material sufficiently strong to resist deformation when exposed to collision. The toe shield 12 may be made of hard plastic or any other suitably firm and preferably light material. The shield 12 may be made of, or include, ultra-light carbon fiber materials, materials including carbon nanotubes and/or Kevlar® (a registered trademark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company). In one embodiment, the toe shield 12 is built into the structure/sole of the shoe 10, or in the upper thereof. For example, the front of the shoe 10 may include a space between an inner liner and the outer portion of the upper 10 b of the shoe in which the toe shield 12 is mounted.
In another embodiment, the toe shield 12 may be inserted into the shoe and positioned in the front, next to the user's foot. In this case, the material used in the toe shield 12 is preferably relatively thin so as not to interfere with the fit of the shoe 10. In addition, the toe shield 12 is preferably available in different sizes to be matched to corresponding shoe sizes. The toe shield 12 may also include some cushioning on the inner surface thereof, which is in contact with the user's foot, to increase comfort. In this embodiment, the toe shield 12 is easily replaced in the event that it wears, breaks or otherwise suffers reduced performance.
In another embodiment, the toe shield 12 may be attached to the outside of the front portion of the shoe 10. In this embodiment, an attachment device (not shown) is provided to attach the toe shield 12 to the shoe 10. Any suitable attachment device may be used, including but not limited to a button, strap or a hook-and-loop type fastener. In addition, or alternatively, an adhesive may be applied to the toe shield 12 and/or to the shoe 10 to allow for attachment. This embodiment also allows for easy replacement of the toe shield 12 without the need to replace the whole shoe 10.
In a preferred embodiment, the shied 12 has a substantially concave shape where the user's toes extend into the recess portion thereof. The top of the toe shield 12 thus extends over the top of the user's toes. In a preferred embodiment, however, the top portion of the shield 12 extends over a relatively small portion of the user's toes such that it does not interfere with flexing or bending of the toes. In this manner, the user is able to freely run and pivot wearing the shoe 10 while still protecting their toes. The shield 12 preferably provides protection in the fore foot area which extends from at least the end of the users toes to the ball of the foot. In this manner, the 14 toe bones on each foot of the user are protected from concussive impact.
The toe shield 12 thus provides for direct protection of the user's toes from impact while allowing for the user a full range of motion. The toe shield 12 may be incorporated into the shoe 10 for convenience, or may be added inside or outside the shoe to allow for easy replacement. In any embodiment, the user's risk of toe injury is substantially reduced.
Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art.