The instant invention is a one piece thong constructed from a flexible
base. A cut line along the front of the base provides an upwardly
extending tab for insertion between the first and second toe. The
tab is shaped to conform to the toes and uses an enlarged upper
portion for securing the base to the foot. A second cut disposed
along the back of the base provides a flexible strap for securement
around the heel of the foot. In the preferred use, the heel strap
couples directly to the toe tab providing a slip-on thong by forming
a strap that fits over the bridge of the foot.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved thong characterized by a base having an outer perimeter
edge shaped to accommodate the heel and toes of a human foot, said
base having a toe tab for insertion between the first and second
toe and a heel strap being of such configuration as to cooperatively
secure to said toe tab, the improvement comprising:
a base constructed from a first sheet of low density foam rubber
material bonded to a second sheet constructed from high density
foam rubber material forming an upper surface and a lower surface,
said first sheet providing a cushioned walking surface and said
second sheet providing abrasion resistance and traction on slippery
a toe tab shaped like a human toe and formed integral to said base,
said toe tab defined by a space apart first and second cut line
connecting said upper and lower surface, each cut line extending
inwardly approximately 40 mm from said outer perimeter edge toward
a middle section a first distance terminating in a circular hole
along a distal end forming a flexible hinge allowing said toe tab
to lay flat or bend upwardly,
said heel strap formed integral to said base defined by a U-shaped
opening connecting said upper and lower surface placed inboard said
perimeter edge along a heel portion of said base and extending toward
said middle section approximately 95 mm, said opening separating
said heel portion from said heel strap a fixed distance with a first
and second end of said opening terminating in a circular hole and
a heel cutout placed in said heel strap along an edge of said U-shaped
opening, said heel cutout having a shape and width to accommodate
the tendon of a human foot with said cutout extending outwardly
from said U-shaped opening leading to a centrally disposed tear
drop shaped coupling hole;
whereby said heel cutout allows for securing said heel strap to
said toe tab or securing said heel strap to the heel of a wearer
with said cutout having a shape accommodating the tendon of a human's
2. The improved thong according to claim 1 wherein said U-shaped
cut line provides a spacing of approximately 10 mm between said
heel portion and said heel strap to accommodate the heel tendon
when worn as a thong.
3. The improved thong according to claim 1 wherein said coupling
hole is operatively associated with said toe tab forming said thong
into a sandal.
4. The improved thong according to claim 1 wherein one of said
sheets is constructed of EVA.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to footwear and more particularly
to an improved thong having integrated toe and heel securement.
Footwear has been used throughout the ages to protect a person's
foot while walking. Footwear protection is now required by modern
societies causing the sole of a person's feet to become soft and
easily injured should one decide to walk barefoot. For this reason
most people now rely on the protection and traction provided by
footwear even in situations where walking barefoot is permissible.
For instance, while a visit to a beach is an ideal place to walk
barefoot, everyone has experienced the pain of stepping on a sharp
rock, hot sand, or running across hot pavement. The end result is
typically injury to the sole of the foot. Persons bathing are susceptible
to injury due from slipping and falling on a wet surface, such as
a bathtub or shower, since bare feet do not provide the traction
of conventional footwear. Hardly a day goes by without hearing about
an elderly person who has fallen while taking a bath or shower due
to slippery surfaces.
Bodily injury is not the only reason for wearing footwear. It is
well known that athletes can withstand a fall without injury. However
in many instances walking barefoot can lead to another form of injury.
For instance, in team sports the athletes use the same shower room
wherein fellow bathers may spread waterborne fungus such as athletes
feet or the like.
Even sterile environments require foot protection. Hospitals are
required by insurance carriers to provide patients with footwear.
This typically is nothing more than a cloth sock which can be more
slippery than had the patient gone barefoot. If the socks are fitted
with a non-slip surface it adds to the cost of manufacture yet cannot
be worn in a shower or reused.
The thong is one type of footwear used to address the aforementioned
problems. Dating back centuries, a thong is basically footwear having
a base that is secured to the sole of the foot. Attachment to the
foot is typically maintained by a toe or bridge strap. If the thong
relies only upon a toe strap, then the thong will "clap"
when the wearer walks since the heel is not attached.
A problem with the conventional thong is the manner in which the
attaching strap is secured to the base of the thong. A separate
strap such as leather that is sewn to the base adds an expense to
the manufacture of the thong and can pull loose from the base if
the attachment becomes wet.
A thong having an attachment strap made of rubber must be glued
or otherwise integrated into the base. This is also an expensive
manufacturing process that requires modification of the base for
acceptance. Further, if the manufacturing costs of the conventional
thong could be reduced, the lack of heel support is not acceptable
for instances in which traction is necessary.
Thus, what is needed in the art is an inexpensive footwear device
having the simplicity of a disposable thong and an improved strap
attachment that eliminates sewing, gluing or the like attachments.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention satisfies this need through provision of
a one piece thong that locks into position for use as a slip-on
thong or alternatively provides securement to both the toe and heel
of the foot.
The invention consists of a flexible base allowing flat storage
wherein strategically placed cut lines permit use as either a modified
thong or sandal. A cut line disposed along the front of the base
provides an upwardly extending toe tab for insertion between the
wearer's first and second toes. The tab is shaped to conform to
the toes and employs an enlarged upper portion for coupling to a
strap formed by a second cut line disposed at the rear of the base.
In the preferred embodiment, the strap is folded to engage the toe
tab which fits within an insertion hole placed in the strap. The
strap provides securement around the bridge of the foot allowing
the wearer to slide their foot into and out of the thong. The strap
remains flexible allowing the thong to accommodate a large range
of foot sizes. For storage, the toe tab can be removed from the
insertion hole allowing the base to return to its original flat
position. In an alternative embodiment, the heel strap is used in
a conventional manner where the toe tab is inserted between the
wearer's and the heel strap is hooked over the achilles tendon.
The thong of the instant invention is constructed from a single
piece of material which may include multiple layers to provide various
comfort levels. A single piece of rubber provides a low cost thong
that can be sterilized repeatedly for use in hospitals and locker
rooms. A soft piece of foam material may be bonded to a rubberized
base providing a cushion walking surface on top of a base having
superior traction. Materials or layers can be added having color
so that the thong provides fashionable footwear.
Thus, a primary objective of the instant invention is to provide
an inexpensive footwear device that is stored or shipped in a flat
position and available for use as a slip-on thong capable of accommodating
a large range of foot sizes.
Another objective is to provide a single piece thong having an
alternative use engaging both the toe and heel of a foot.
Still another objective is to provide a thong that is cut from
a single piece of material which may include multiple layers of
material providing an upper surface that is cushioned for the sole
of the foot and a lower surface that provides superior wear and
Other objectives and advantages of this invention will become apparent
from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying
drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example,
certain embodiments of this invention. The drawings constitute a
part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of
the present invention and illustrate various objects and features
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a top view of the thong illustrating the cut lines;
FIG. 2 is a side view of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of FIG. 1 illustrating the preferred use
of the device wherein the toe tab and heel strap are coupled together;
FIG. 4 is a top view of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a pictorial side view of the instant invention in its
preferred use when placed on a foot;
FIG. 6 is a side view of FIG. 1 illustrating an alternative use
of the device wherein the toe tab and heel strap are used separately;
FIG. 7 is a pictorial side view of the instant invention wherein
the alternative use of the thong is illustrated wherein the toe
tab and heel strap are used separately.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Although the invention has been described in terms a specific embodiment,
it will be readily apparent to those skilled in this art that various
modifications, rearrangements and substitutions can be made without
departing from the spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention
is defined by the claims appended hereto.
Now referring to FIG. 1, shown is the thong 10 of the instant invention
which is constructed from at least one piece of flexible material
such as rubber, ethylene vinyl acetate or a similar material. Preferably
a low density foam is used providing a soft upper surface 12 and
a high density rubber is used to provide lower surface 14 capable
of wear resistance. The perimeter 16 of the thong base defines an
edge shaped to accommodate the sole of a human foot. A toe tab 18
is formed by a first cut line 20 and second cut line 22 beginning
at a toe section 23 of said base connecting said upper surface 12
and lower surface 14 and extending inwardly toward a middle section
24 a first predetermined distance d.sub.1 of approximately 35 mm
to 45 mm. Each cut line ends in circular holes 26, 28 to prevent
tearing. The toe section 23 has a unique ornamental shape depicting
toe curvature of a human foot. Further, the end of the toe section
23 is mushroomed so as to engage a heel strap in a preferred embodiment
or hook over the top of the toes in an alternative embodiment.
The heel strap 30 is formed from a U-shaped cut line 32 connecting
the upper surface 12 and lower surface 14 and is placed inboard
from the perimeter edge along a heel portion 34 of the base extending
toward the middle section 24 a predetermined distance d.sub.2 between
90 mm and 100 mm and ending in circular holes 36 and 38 to prevent
tearing. The cut line is enlarged between 1 mm to 10 mm for ease
of foot insertion.
In the preferred embodiment, through hole 42 is located at the
end of cut line 32 and used for coupling the toe tab 18 upon folding
of the heel strap 30 to the toe tab 18. A centrally disposed cut
line 40 extending outwardly from said cut line 32 allows for the
slidable insertion of the toe tab 18 for ease of engaging through
hole 42. The thong is thus placed in a form allowing for the slidable
insertion of a human foot, the body of the toe tab 18 being inserted
between the first and second toes of the wearer's foot.
Referring to FIG. 2, the thong can be constructed from a single
piece of material or more preferably, from a first piece of material
44 such as foam rubber providing a cushioned upper surface 12. The
first layer of material 44 is permanently bonded to a second layer
46 of material such as high density rubber to provide abrasion resistance.
The lower surface 14 of the second layer 46 can be altered to provide
traction over a wide variety of surfaces.
FIGS. 3 through 5 illustrate the preferred use of the thong providing
slidable attachment to the foot. In this embodiment the thong is
depicted with a raised toe tab 18 coupled to heel strap 30. In forming
the configuration, the toe tab 18 is inserted into through hole
42 by folding the heel strap 16 toward the front of the thong so
as to slide the side walls 20, 22 of toe tab 18 through slot 40
to engage the lower surface of the heel strap with the underside
of the toe tab 18. It should be noted that heel strap 16 is inverted
providing the thong with an alternative color to the strap.
Referring in particular to FIG. 5, the pictorial view of a human
foot 100 inserted into the device as formed in Figures 3 and 4 illustrate
the preferred use wherein the toe piece extends slightly above the
toes 102 for engaging heel strap 30. In this embodiment the heel
strap 30 provides securement for the bridge 106 of the foot allowing
the foot to be easily inserted from the rear of the device. Thus,
upon coupling the toe tab 18 to the heel strap 30 the combination
provides a flexible opening for insertion of the foot 100. Upon
removal of the foot, the heel strap 16 can be removed from its coupled
connection to the toe tab 18 wherein the thong 10 returns to a flat
position suitable for storage.
FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate an alternative use of the thong providing
attachment to the heel of a foot. In this embodiment the thong is
depicted with a raised toe tab 18 and heel strap 30. The foot 100
is inserted into the device wherein the toe tab 18 extends above
the foot allowing securement by means of the toes 102. The heel
strap 30 is then placed over the heel 104 of the foot 100 deforming
slightly to accommodate the tendon. The heel 104 positions directly
over the heel portion 34 of the device providing protection of the
sole of the foot from the toe to heel. The heel strap is enlarged
so as to provide an area to grasp thereby assisting foot insertion
when using the heel strap.
It is to be understood that while I have illustrated and described
certain forms of my invention, it is not to be limited to the specific
forms or arrangement of parts herein described and shown. It will
be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may
be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the
invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown in the
drawings and described in the specification.