Sunday, February 7, 2016

Oh, patents! Stride Rite® Infant shoes

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Yes, even infant shoes are patented! Indeed, they should be, so as to ensure the best-designed stability and support during the very important evolutionary transition to upright!

US2009272010, titled “Infant shoes”, and filed by Stride Rite®, recites "a support portion and a sole, configured to form a void that securely receives and holds an infant’s foot". The patent further discloses several additional and characterizing aspects of the infant shoe invention.

First, the sole and upper are rounded on the sides in contrast to the angled edges of prior art infant shoes. This rounded shape is designed to better correlate with the rounded shape of an infant's foot, and to prevent falls when small toddlers teeter.

Secondly, in another aspect of the invention, the infant shoe includes a strap which serves both to secure the shoe on the infant’s foot, and to extend the opening of the shoe, thus securing easy-on access for even the chubbiest little feet.

Thirdly, in another aspect of the invention, the infant shoe has a heel tab designed to facilitate pulling the shoe on the infant’s foot.

Outsole groove structurre
 And finally, in yet another aspect of the invention the shoe consists of an outsole with a ground contacting surface and an inner surface. The ground contacting surface is further designed with a series of concentric and overlapping elliptical grooves, each groove serving to enhance the flexibility of the infant shoe. Thus, it is assumed that the flexibility of the shoe, afforded by the grooved sole structure, enables the child to obtain sensory feedback from the ground to assist with the development of a proper gait, somewhat like walking barfeoot.

As for the outsoles’ inner areas, they each contain recessed spaces, in the toe and heel areas, both designed to receive a memory foam inner sole which, together with the outer sole inner configuration, will cradle the infant’s foot, enhancing comfort and it is also assumed, the desire to keep shoes on.

It is further specified that the inner sole consist of a layer of foam measuring 1 to 8 mm, preferably 5 mm, to create a soft and cushioned footbed. And to enhance the softness, flexibility and comfort of the upper, the patent further includes specifications  for the various materials that can be used to manufacture the shoe uppers (i.e.; premium leathers, textiles or non-woven materials). 

The scope of this invention is then extended to include all sorts of different shoe models each comprising the various aspects of the invention (i.e; round edges, strap, tab, outer and inner soles structure).

The abstract for US2009272010, titled “Infant shoes”, is included below with Figures 1 and 7 of the patent drawings and an image of the patented product, currently marketed.

An infant shoe includes a shoe outsole defining a longitudinal axis and a transverse axis. The outsole defines a substantially arcuate shape along both the longitudinal and transverse axes. A shoe upper is secured to the shoe outsole. The shoe upper and the shoe outsole together define curved side surfaces. [Abstract US2009272010)

Stride Rite® founded in 1919, also markets shoes under the well-known brand names of KEDS®, Saucony®, and Robeez® baby shoes.  

For another Patent on the soles of happy little feet, see Stride Rite® Twinkle shoes here!

Stride Rite®

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