CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation-in-part of, and claims the benefit to U.S. application Ser. No. 12/748,402, filed Mar. 27, 2010, and U.S. application Ser. No. 12/075,924, filed Mar. 19, 2008, which claims priority to U.S. application Ser. No. 10/822,051, filed Apr. 10, 2004, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Appl. No. 60/463,653, filed Apr. 17, 2003, each of which applications are entirely incorporated herein by reference.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Known scent related disclosures scents are used to mask offensive odors, such as room deodorizers. However, there is need to provide marketable features of shoes or boots that provide novelty for marketing.
The present invention provides at least one sole and at least one shoe comprising an outside wearable surface layer of a shoe sole comprising an added fragrance that is released and has an aroma when the shoe is at rest or there is friction being applied to the wear surface of the outsole surface. The term “scented shoes” or “scented outsole” are herein defined as soles, outsoles or shoes comprising added fragrance to a sole material/formulation compound(s) as incorporated into the outsole or as added using plugs or inserts.
In many scent related disclosures not having anything to do with the present invention, scent is used to mask offensive odors, such as room deodorizers. This is not the case with the present invention, where the unique aroma due to the scent or fragrance added to the material/formulation compound is a salient, distinguishing, and marketable feature of the shoe comprising the fragrance releasing scented shoe sole, and may comprise any desired scent or fragrance. The shoe comprising the scented shoe sole gives off a unique aroma when the shoe is at rest, and when the shoe is in use. Friction, heat buildup, and wear due to use is an effective means of releasing the fragrance or aroma; and wear of the scented shoe sole serves to expose fresh surface area of the scented material/formulation. Wear and tear of a given shoe has the greatest impact on the sole of the shoe, and it is this wear and tear aspect that enable special dynamics of the disclosed sole to emerge. For purposes of this disclosure, the term “scented shoes” refers to shoes comprising scented shoe soles.
The intended purpose of embellishing shoe soles with scent or fragrance is to provide a marketable feature to end-users. For example, nine and ten year old girls could respond favorably, if not preferably, to athletic shoes that feature cherry or strawberry scented soles. A golfer could get a kick out of golf shoes that smell like turf, or better yet, hundred dollar bills. The purpose of scent is to provide an additional reason for a given purchaser to select the scented product over another that isn't scented. A dream scenario for a manufacturer offering athletic shoes comprising scented soles would be where a given purchaser struggles with whether to buy the vanilla scented shoes, versus the cherry scented shoes, versus the orange scented shoes, where said purchaser is totally ignoring a competitor's unscented athletic shoes.
Also, scented shoes may incorporate any aroma, scent, or fragrance that show evidence of stimulating a buying behavior. One such aroma could comprise the use of citrus scents.
Scented shoes could also provide a means of product differentiation for the manufacturer as well. For instance, a given shoe manufacturer tends to have at least several large nationwide retailers selling its products. Such a manufacturer can offer a given retailer a special distinguishing scented shoe offering not available to the other retailers, without changing or compromising the performance features of the basic shoe design. Also, the manufacturer can choose to offer “limited editions” of shoes, such as doing limited runs of a new aroma for a given model of shoe at a given periodic interval. Furthermore, athletic shoe manufacturers vie for the “hottest” athletes, so in addition to offering an athlete humongous sums of money for an endorsement deal, a given manufacturer can offer a special shoe design to said athlete that also incorporates a particular scent or fragrance that especially appeals to the athlete. Assuming proper promotion in the retail environment, displaying scented shoes could result where countless shoppers can't resist stopping to smell the sample shoes, which could pull attention from the competition's unscented offerings. Scent gives potential shoe buyers a totally new way to interact with the product offering.
Also, any kind of pheromone or pheromones may be used in addition to, or in place of the scent or fragrance agents in a scented shoe, whether the pheromones are in the construction materials in the outsole, and/or the plugs or inserts, etc. For example, pheromones that suggest or indicate the ability to attract members of a desired gender can be used in a given shoe, and could provide an incentive for purchase to a woman “on the hunt” for a man. Such could also be useful in boots for the sportsman “on the hunt”, where the boot soles comprise a pheromone intended to attract wild game.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Pheromones that suggest or indicate the ability to induce a buying behavior can prove very useful, such as where shoes that incorporate one or more such pheromone(s), or combination of pheromone(s) and scent or fragrance, can induce a buying behavior for the shoes themselves.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 1 and 2 (side and bottom views respectively) show schematics of a shoe or boot 101 comprising an upper 102, an outsole 103 comprising a bottom wear surface 103 a and sides 103 b, and an interior insole (not shown) above and interior to the outsole 193 and the upper 102, wherein the bottom wear surface 103 a of the outsole 103 comprises at least one void comprising at least one receptacle 104 and 105, for at least one scented plug or insert 106 and 197 respectively, wherein the at least one scented plug or insert 106 or 107 comprises at least one added fragrance according to the present invention, wherein the interior cavity provided by the upper 102 and the insole (not shown) conforms to the shape/size of the user's foot capable of wearing the shoe, such that the shoe does not fit over another shoe or boot, to which the shoe or boot of the present invention conforms to, or is the size of.
The disclosed shoe comprises any footwear, such as. any athletic shoes, any exercise shoes, any work boots, any hunting boots, any casual shoes, any casual boots, any dress shoes, any dress boots, any open-toed shoes, any sandals, or any slippers.
It is important to understand the shoe of the present invention. The claimed shoe comprises an upper 102 and an interior insole, both of which in combination provide an interior cavity designed to fit the size of a user's foot, and an outsole 103. The outsole 103 is the bottom-most exterior sole of the shoe. The bottom wear surface of the outsole 103 a is the surface of the outsole that comes in direct contact with the ground that is walked or ran upon, such as asphalt pavement, cement sidewalk, floor, carpet, etc., where walking/running produces “wear and tear” on the bottom wear surface of the outsole 103 a.
The shoe of the present invention can also comprise a midsole, a toe box, a toe cap, a tongue, laces, eyelets, a vamp, a throat, a welt, a counter, a heel, a platform, a lining, a sock liner, a pull tab, foxing, an arch support, a collar, and other parts that are well known in the art.
It is absolutely vital to understand that the shoe of the present invention is a shoe whose interior cavity comes in direct contact with, and directly encloses, the user's foot. For purposes of this disclosure, “direct contact” with the user's foot comprises where the user's foot has a sock or stocking on it, or where the user's foot has no sock or stocking on it, and “directly encloses” the user's foot pertains to where the shoe directly encloses a foot having a sock or stocking on it, or a bare foot. The phrase “directly encloses” can mean full enclosure of a foot, such as how a boot fully encloses a foot, or can mean partial enclosure of a foot, such as how a sandal or a “peep-toe” dress shoe partially encloses a foot due to their inherently open construction. Also, while the above “interior cavity” is easily envisioned with a boot, “interior cavity” is also intended to apply to more “open” footwear such as sandals and slippers as well.
On the other hand, this disclosure absolutely excludes “footwear” or a “footwear-related item” that does not directly contact, or directly enclose, a user's foot. Such excludes a separate galosh that is slipped over a shoe or boot, where the galosh does not directly contact, or does not directly surrounds a user's foot, but rather attaches to, directly contacts or directly encloses a shoe or boot. Also excluded is an overshoe that does not directly contact, or directly enclose a user's foot, but rather attaches to, directly contacts or directly goes over a shoe or boot. Also excluded is an attachment that attaches to a shoe or boot, such as any sole attachment, that does not directly contact, or directly enclose a user's foot, but rather attaches to, directly contacts, or directly attaches to, a shoe or boot.
As mentioned earlier, the shoe of the present invention is limited to having an interior cavity designed to fit the size of a user's foot. Another way of thinking is where the interior cavity is intended for a user's foot. As a result, the shoe of the present invention does not have an interior cavity designed to fit the size of a user's shoe or boot, nor is the interior cavity of the present invention intended for a user's footwear such as a separate shoe or boot. Such is intended to further exclude a separate galosh that is slipped over a shoe or boot, an overshoe that goes over a shoe or boot, or an attachment that attaches to a shoe or boot, as none of these have an internal cavity designed to fit the size of a user's actual foot, nor is the internal cavity intended for a user's foot; rather, the internal cavity of a galosh, overshoe, or attachment is designed to fit the size of a separate shoe or boot. Another way of considering this is where the internal cavity of a galosh, overshoe, or attachment is intended for use with, on, attached to, or over a user's separate shoe or boot.
The scenting agent(s) for the scented shoe soles may comprise any scent producing agent(s) such as those comprising, but not limited to, water, oil, or glycol soluble scents, in any range of scent or fragrance concentration that achieves the desired aesthetic result. The aroma of the scenting agent(s) may comprise any desired aroma, such as citrus scents (lemon, orange, etc.), fruity scents (coconut, cherry, etc.), spice scents (cinnamon, vanilla, etc.), to the earlier mentioned less usual scenting aromas (grass, money, etc.). Also, the scenting agent(s), as used in the scented shoe soles, may comprise any kind(s) of pheromone(s) in place of, or in addition to, the abovementioned at least one scent or fragrance.
Known construction materials for shoe soles comprise different types of rubber, treated leathers, and other materials natural and/or synthetic in nature. The disclosed scented shoe soles can comprise the use of any suitable construction materials.
The shoe soles may be scented or fragranced by any possible means, such as where at least one scent or fragrance is added as an ingredient to the shoe sole material/formulation compound; or where the material/formulation compound is laced with encapsulated or microencapsulated scent(s) or fragrance(s), and/or pheromone(s), either with or without the basic material/formulation compound being scented itself; or even where a finished shoe sole, or the pre-fabrication sole material(s), such as leather or rubber sole material, is coated with or steeped in a scenting or fragrancing means, all of which, for purposes of this disclosure, are to be known as scented sole material/formulation compounds.
In addition to where the scented outsole material/formulation compound is laced with non-encapsulated, encapsulated or microencapsulated scent(s) or fragrance(s), and/or pheromone(s), the scented outsole material/formulation compound could optionally comprise any smoking means that deploys or releases non-colored or colored smoke, where the deployment of said smoke acts as an entertaining or amusing visual effect, especially for younger shoe wearers. One means of doing this is by having one or more layers of smoke emitting material within the shoe outsole itself, where the smoke deploys at certain wear levels. Another way to release colored or non-colored smoke is by employing any encapsulated means embedded in the material/formulation compound, where the encapsulated means uses capsules or microcapsules that rupture due to exposure and wear, thereby releasing non-colored/colored smoke. Smoke may be attained using any means, such as through a chemical reaction, or the release of a powder that deploys airborne particles. Such encapsulated means could be concentrated in a particular area of the outsole material/formulation compound, or may be randomly distributed in the outsole material/formulation compound, where the colored or uncolored smoke deploys at any given moment due to random wear, thereby adding an element of “surprise” to the wearer. It is possible in certain embodiments to have this smoke feature in addition to either scented or unscented outsole material/formulation compounds.
Furthermore, it is disclosed as a possibility or option that a given shoe upper and/or outsole can be colored in accordance to the scent of the shoe outsole, such as a red colored cherry scented shoe upper and/or outsole, or an orange colored orange scented upper and/or outsole, a yellow colored banana scented upper and/or outsole, etc. Additionally, a given pair of shoes can comprise a mixed set, where each shoe in said given pair comprises a differently scented outsole.
It is possible for a given shoe outsole to comprise more than one shoe outsole material/formulation compound, where the two or more outsole material/formulation compounds comprise the same, similar, or different scents or fragrances, or where one or more unscented outsole material/formulation compound(s) is in the presence of one or more scented outsole material/formulation compound(s). For example, a given singular scented shoe outsole may comprise two or more sections either along the depth, and/or two or more sections either perpendicular to and/or parallel, on the wearable surface of said shoe outsole, where at least one of the sections comprises scented outsole material/formulation compound, and where the sections comprising said scented outsole material/formulation compound might comprise the same, similar, or different scents. For example, the outside wearable surface layer of a given shoe outsole could give off a musky aroma, which subsequently wears down to a middle layer that gives off a sea breeze aroma, which subsequently wears down to an inner layer that gives off a vanilla scent, where any or all three of the layers may or may not additionally release a pheromone. In another example comprising two exposed sections on the wearable surface of the shoe outsole, one section can comprise an apple scent, while the other section that is side-by-side/parallel with the first section can comprise a vanilla scent, with the end result comprising a very dynamic intermingling of the two simultaneously wearing scented material surfaces.
Another manner of scenting the shoe outsoles is to use scented plugs or inserts. For the sake of disclosure, a scented plug or insert may comprise pheromones in place of, or in addition to, scent or fragrance; may comprise other attributes in addition to scent or fragrance and/or pheromones, that will be discussed later; or may even comprise said other attributes in place of said scent or fragrance and/or pheromones.
A scented plug or insert can be installed on the disclosed shoe outsole that comprises scented material/formulation compound, and/or pheromones, or it may be installed on shoe outsoles not comprising any of the abovementioned attributes. What is important is that the shoe outsole comprises at least one void anywhere on the bottom wear surface of the outsole where the void comprises a receptacle that is intended for and allows for the insertion of at least one plug or insert.
A given scented plug or insert, and its corresponding void or receptacle can comprise any shape, design, directional orientation, size, or depth. Also, a plug or insert can comprise a shape that fills a void in the form of a groove, channel, or crevice comprising any shape, design, design pattern, directional orientation, size, or depth. It may be desirable for a given void or receptacle to accommodate two or more plugs or inserts, either along the depth of said void, side-by-side along/across the opening gap of said void, or both. Such could be useful in a situation where a singular plug or insert comprising a smoking means (which will be disclosed) is situated beneath a singular plug or insert comprising a pheromone.
The scented plug may be scented using any of the means disclosed earlier for the scented material/formulation compound. The scented plug or insert can comprise any color, or if desired, colors. The scented plug or insert can comprise any material/formulation compound; however, the material/formulation compound that is ultimately used should be carefully considered, because if the material/formulation compound used for a scented plug or insert, especially on the bottom wear surface of an outsole, is too hard compared to the shoe outsole material/formulation compound, excess noise and/or friction can result. If the material/formulation compound is too soft, then excess debris can get lodged in the material/formulation compound, or the material will erode too quickly. While best bets for the novelty-scented plug or insert material/formulation compound are compounds similar, if not identical, to the material/formulation compounds used in the actual shoe outsole; or erodible materials, preferably erodible materials with ideal wear characteristics (not too hard, not too soft, but “just right”). For the sake of disclosure, the scented plugs or inserts can comprise material formulation/compounds identical to, similar to, or different from the material formulation/compound comprising the shoe outsole. A non-limiting selection of such compounds or materials for the scented plug or insert includes durable materials such as plastic, polymer, thermoplastic elastomer, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, thermoplastic rubber, resin, leather, etc.
The scented material/formulation compound might also comprise with regard to the appearance of the plug or insert, which will be known as a visual aspect. A visual aspect comprises any unique or interesting appearance item or items. Such items may be reflective, refractive, sparkling, shining, holographic, jewel-like, pearlescent, fluorescent, glow-in-the dark, etc. For instance, the material composition could comprise silver glitter, tiny glass reflective beads similar to those used in road signs, or day-glow fluorescent orange reflective material. The visual aspect does not “produce” light, nor does it comprise the use of a chemical reaction that produces light. The scented plug or insert itself could also comprise a material composition that releases colored or non-colored smoke, especially if worn down to a given level, where, as mentioned earlier, the deployment of smoke acts as an entertaining or amusing visual effect. Also, the scented plug or insert may use, in addition to, or in place of the material composition, any encapsulated means, where the encapsulated means uses capsules or microcapsules that rupture due to exposure and wear, thereby releasing non-colored/colored smoke. Smoke may be attained using any means, such as through a chemical reaction, or the release of a powder that deploys airborne particles.
A singular scented plug or insert can be as simple or sophisticated as desired, and may comprise any one, or any combination or permutation comprising more than one, of the following attributes: at least one material compounds; at least one color; at least one scent and/or fragrance; at least one pheromone; at least one visual aspect; or at least one smoke releasing means.
The scented plug or insert may comprise a plug or insert comprising multi-sectional construction, where a singular plug or insert comprises two or more sections, where any one given section, or even two or more sections, can be oriented either along the depth of the plug or insert, and/or along or across the surface area that is visible on the shoe outsole after installation (where the two or more sections are side by side; or, where two or more sections are side by side, over top of a third section that is hidden underneath). Furthermore, any one given section can comprise any one, or any combination or permutation comprising more than one, of the following attributes: at least one material compound; at least one color; at least one scent and/or fragrance; at least one pheromone; at least one visual aspect; or at least one smoke releasing means. The combinations are endless and versatile. For instance, a singular plug or insert comprising two sections (a top and bottom section) along the depth can have a cherry scented red glitter section adjacent to the wear surface of a new shoe outsole; then, when the outsole and the plug or insert both wear down, the bottom section of the plug or insert comprising a lemon scented yellow glitter section is revealed. Likewise, the top section of a plug or insert can comprise pink glitter that smells like bubblegum, or be just an unscented top section, that wears down to the abovementioned smoke releasing mechanism that gives off an orange smoke.
Making the scented plugs or inserts may comprise solid plugs or inserts that are formed by any forming means including plugs or inserts that comprise any means of molding, casting, die cutting, extruding and cutting, molding and cutting, casting and cutting, etc. For example, a given plug or insert may be injection molded into the desired shape.
Similar means may be adapted to make multi-sectional scented plugs or inserts. For example, the first such material comprising color/scent/pheromones/visual aspects/etc., can be placed in a mold and be subsequently covered by the second, third, etc., similar or different materials while still in the mold; or two or more materials can be inserted side-by-side in the mold, with or without being oriented on top of one or more additional materials in the mold; two or more materials can be placed side by side and/or layered on top of one another and then die-cut; or two or more materials can be placed side by side and/or layered on top of one another and extruded one or more times, and then cut.
Also with regard to the multi-sectional plug, two or more materials can be formed separately, and then joined, such as forming a cherry scented insert, and joining it with a capsule that releases a smoke releasing means when ruptured.
Also, scented plugs or inserts may comprise semi-solids that are introduced into the void(s) or receptacle(s) using any void-filling means such as pouring, pumping, injecting, spraying, etc., where the semi-solids subsequently dry and harden into a solid, much in the way glues or caulks do; or, may comprise semi-solids that are heated, and subsequently cool and harden, such as molten metals or hot glues. Multi-sectional scented plugs or inserts using semi-solids may be attained by layering or combining different semi-solid materials, much in the same manner that solid multi-sectional plugs are configured, where said semi-solids are either layered or combined prior to being placed in the void(s) or receptacle(s), or where the semi-solids are layered or combined in the actual void(s) or receptacle(s).
Voids in the outsoles may occur using any void creating means. For example, in the case of an athletic shoe outsole, such may be attained by having the void(s) molded along with the other design features of the outsole during the manufacturing process, or the void(s) can be created by void creating means such as milling, drilling, etc. It is intended that a given scented plug or insert is designed, or is able to be modified, to be inserted in a corresponding void or receptacle of the shoe outsole by any possible inserting or installing means, either automatically by machine, or by hand with or without the use of tools. Also, it is intended that a given scented plug or insert can be secured in the corresponding void or receptacle of the shoe outsole using any securing means, whether said scented plug or insert is glued in, pressure-fitted, heat set, screwed in, set using grooves or serrations on the plug and/or the shoe outsole, held by elastic means, etc.
Installation may comprise any number and/or combination of different scented plugs or inserts on a given shoe outsole, where differences comprising a given plug or insert can comprise any variation with regards to any one or more of the following: material compounds(s); color(s); scent(s) and/or fragrance(s); pheromone(s); visual aspect(s); smoke releasing means, single section construction versus multi-sectional construction, etc., where the use of different scented plugs or inserts allows for the customization of said shoe outsole to comprise endless variants and permutations. For example a singular shoe outsole that comprises eight voids can have eight corresponding plugs or inserts, where two of the plugs or inserts are red sparkle cherry scented, two of the plugs or inserts are white sparkle vanilla scented, two of the plugs or inserts are blue sparkle berry scented, with the remaining two of the of the plugs or inserts comprising smoke releasing means.
The scented plugs or inserts may be factory installed, or may be installed as an aftermarket item by aftermarket entities such as retailers, end users, etc. scented plugs or inserts can be made available and/or sold as a separately offered aftermarket item or items, to allow customization of the disclosed shoe outsole comprising at least one void by aftermarket installers.
Aftermarket entities can install the scented plugs or inserts, or the semi-solid scented plug or insert material, on shoe outsoles that come supplied from the factory with one or more voids; or, aftermarket entities can install voids in any shoe outsole by any void creating means, such as by milling or drilling the void(s) in the shoe outsole. As mentioned earlier, shoe outsoles comprising voids for scented plugs or inserts may comprise scented or unscented friction material/formulation compound.
Also scented plug or insert material that takes the form of semi-solids which harden, either by drying, or cooling, or both, can be made available to aftermarket entities in any kind of can, bottle, tube or similar vessel, such as tubes that use a caulk gun for expelling the semi-solid, or screw-top tubes or squeeze bottles, or cans similar to those used for paint. Also, such semi-solid material can already have scent/fragrance and/or pheromones, as well as color, visual aspects, encapsulated smoking means, etc., already mixed in, or scent/fragrance and/or pheromones/color/visual aspects/smoking means, etc. can be added to the semi-solid material that does not yet comprise such attributes by aftermarket entities.
Finally, it could possibly be desirable that a given plug or insert be removed from the void of the disclosed shoe outsole for whatever reason, such as after a plug comprising smoking means has deployed, and the end user wishes to install a new plug comprising smoking means. Any removing means may be contemplated as an antidote to overcome prior installation, even if such removing means are as basic as using tweezers, a drill or a dremel tool to remove the plug or insert, or remnants of a deployed plug or insert comprising smoking means.
- Potential Aspects or Elements of the Claimed Invention That Can be Optionally Excluded or Negatively Claimed
Modifications and variations within the scope of the disclosure should be apparent to those skilled in the art.
The present invention can also in particular claimed embodiments exclude or negatively claim one or more aspects of the following list, e.g., to more particularly recite or exclude embodiments or elements that might occur in cited or other published art. Accordingly, the present invention can optionally exclude, not include, or not provide, one or more, or any combination of, any component or aspect disclosed herein, e.g., but not limited to any one or more or any combination of: a type of shoe or hoot, such as an athletic shoe, an exercise shoe, a work boot, a hunting boot, a casual shoe, a casual boot, a dress shoe, a dress boot, an open-toed shoe, a sandal, or a slipper; a part of a shoe or boot, such as an upper, an insole, a midsole, a toe box, a toe cap, a tongue, laces, eyelets, a vamp, a throat, a welt, a counter, a heel, a platform, a lining, a sock liner, a pull tab, foxing, an arch support, a collar; suitable materials for the plug or insert such as plastic, polymer, thermoplastic elastomer, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, thermoplastic rubber, resin, leather; materials that are too soft or poorly-wearing for the plug or insert such as cotton, wool, paper, cellulose, natural fiber, synthetic fiber, sponge, felt; an aspect of a plug or insert such as an added scent, an added pheromone, a color, a reflective visual component, a refractive visual component, a sparkling visual component, a shining visual component, a holographic visual component, a jewel-like visual component, a pearlescent visual component, a fluorescent visual component, a smoke component, a glow-in-the dark visual component; a component that produces light; a component that produces light through a chemical reaction; footwear or a footwear-related item that does not directly contact or directly enclose a user's foot; footwear or a footwear-related item that indirectly contacts or indirectly encloses a user's foot; footwear or a footwear-related item intended for use with, on, attached to, or over a separate shoe or boot; a galosh; a galosh that attaches to, directly contacts, or directly encloses a shoe or boot; an overshoe; an overshoe that attaches to, directly contacts or directly encloses a shoe or boot; an attachment; an attachment that attaches to, directly contacts or directly encloses a shoe or boot; an auxiliary sole; an auxiliary sole that attaches to, directly contacts, or directly encloses a shoe or boot; or, a shoe or boot that has an interior cavity designed to fit the size of a user's shoe or boot.