Patent application title: Shoe surface and heel repair/protective device
Marcela N. Desiderio (Bedminster, NJ, US)
Ernest D. Buff (Far Hills, NJ, US)
Ernest D. Buff (Far Hills, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AA43B1322FI
36 72 B
Class name: Boots, shoes, and leggings protectors heel
Publication date: 2011-09-29
Patent application number: 20110232137
A heel repair/protective kit carried in a women's purse or handbag
contains one or more cup members designed to be slipped onto the heel
stem tip of a high-heel shoe. The cup member is composed of elastic
material that fits snugly over the heel stem tip, covering a chipped or
broken tip surface. The cup members may extend partway up the heel stem,
and may contain decorative elements such as gems, rhinestones, studs and
the like. The kit may additionally contain one or more sheets having a
plurality of peel-and-stick patches of various sizes, colors, and shapes.
These peel-and-stick patches may be applied to the heel stem and the
sides or front of the shoe sole to cover up scuffs and scratches, and
provide a decorative appearance that protects the sides, front or heel
stem from further damage. The patches are composed of cloth, polymeric
sheets or metallic foils having a stretch-release adhesive backing. The
heel protection kit fixes high-heel shoe damages in an efficient,
reliable manner. On-the-fly repair is readily effected, affording
continuous usage without need for tools or shoe repair personnel.
1. A stem heel repair/protective kit for women's high-heeled shoes,
comprising: a. at least one small sized cup member adapted for repairing
a damaged heel stem tip of a high-heeled shoe, said cup member fitting
snuggly around said damaged tip of said heel stem and extending a part
way up said stem when slipped thereon to enable said cup member to remain
in place; whereby the high-heel shoe can be repaired on-the-fly from kit
components carried in a purse or handbag reducing chance of injury and
improving wearability of said high-heel shoe.
2. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member is made of an elastic material and holds said cup member on the heel stem by elastic stretch force and friction.
3. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member extends 1.5 to 3 times the cross sectional length of the cup member covering the heel stem of the high heel shoe.
4. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member has a cylindrical cross section designed to fit a cylindrical heel stem.
5. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member has a rectangular cross section designed to fit a rectangular heel stem.
6. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member has a hexagonal cross section designed to fit a hexagonal heel stem.
7. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein said cup member has a thin side wall for easy insertion of said cup member into said heel stem, and said ground contacting portion of said cup member has increased thickness providing increased wear resistance and ground friction.
8. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, wherein cement, glue or other chemical or mechanical fastening means is provided for use when affixing said cup-member to said bottom of said heel stem.
9. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 1, further comprising a flat sheet having plurality of peel and stick patches adapted for covering scratches and scuff marks and preventing further damage to the sides and back of said heel stem.
10. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 9, wherein said plurality of peel and stick patches are fabricated from a group consisting of cloth, polymeric sheets, and metallic foil, with an adhesive layer at the bottom for securing said patches to cover a scratch or a scuff on the external surface of the high-heel shoe or heel stem.
11. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 10, wherein polymeric sheet is a vinyl sheet, acrylic sheet, oriented PET Mylar sheet, polyester sheet, and said metallic foil is composed of gold, copper, silver and combinations thereof.
12. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 10, wherein said plurality of peel and stick patches are decoratively printed or appropriately colored or embedded with gems or rhinestones, studs, and base-relief designs.
13. A stem heel repair/protective kit as recited by claim 9, wherein said plurality of peel and stick patches comprise a series of wide patch strips having varying widths for covering wide scuffed or scratched areas, and a series of narrow patch strips, present in a variety of narrow widths, for covering narrow scuffed or scratched areas at the front or sides of a shoe sole.
14. A stem heel sheath kit for women's high-heeled shoes, comprising: a. a sheath that snuggly surrounds a bottom portion of a high-heel shoe stem and extends partway up a side of said stem; b. said sheath being a cylindrical member having a show surface, and being held in place on said stem by elastic and frictional forces.
15. A stem heel sheath kit for women's high-heeled shoes as recited by claim 14, wherein said sheath is formed from a peel-away patch resident on a backing sheet.
16. A stem heel sheath device as recited by claim 15, wherein said sheath is composed of vinyl, rubber, metal or the like.
17. A stem heel sheath device as recited by claim 15, wherein said show surface of said sheath includes a decorative design.
18. A stem heel sheath device as recited by claim 15, wherein said sheath is transparent.
19. A stem heel sheath device as recited by claim 15, wherein said sheath has embedded therein a plurality of gem stones, rhinestones, or studs.
20. In a method for fixing a broken stem of a high-heel shoe, the improvement comprising: covering said broken heel stem with a cup member that includes a thick disk-like member adapted to fit snuggly around a bottom of said high-heel shoe stem and extend partway up said heel stem, said cup-shaped member being slipped onto said stem and remaining in place thereon to effectuate an on-the-fly shoe repair.
 This application claims the benefit of provisional application No.
61/340,901, filed Mar. 24, 2010.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to a shoe surface and heel repair and protective device; and more particularly to the immediate repair and ongoing protection of high-heel shoes using a repair/protective device that comprises in one aspect a cup or sheath appointed to surround the bottom tip of the stem portion of a high-heel shoe, and in another aspect a surface repair device comprising a plurality of peel and stick elements that cover up scuff marks and adorn the heel stem, toe or side of a shoe.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Typically, high-heel shoes wear somewhat unevenly, with the result that the bottom of the stem becomes uneven. Sometimes, the worn portion on the bottom of a high-heel shoe becomes so uneven that, when placed on a flat surface, the high-heel shoe tips over. This loss of balance leads to accidents, especially in a wet, uneven or snow covered pavement, resulting in potential injury. The uneven bottom of the high-heel shoe makes it more difficult to keep one's balance when walking. It promotes additional wear, and oftentimes causes the heel to break.
 A number of prior art patents address the problem with high-heel shoe wear and damage. These devices are too cumbersome to be easily carried by a women's purse, and would not be readily available for quick, on-the-spot repair of a high-heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 914,810 to Dempsey discloses a removable rubber heel. This removable heel is slipped over the heel of a man's shoe. This removable rubber heel would not be appropriate for repairing a broken heel stem of a ladies' high heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 1,138,725 to Capdevila discloses repair heel for rubber footwear. This repair device fixes a worn rubber shoe without the need for vulcanization. Such a repair device would not operate to repair a broken heel stem of a ladies' high heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 1,828,246 to Destro discloses a heel protector. The heel protector covers and protects the heel's finish and substantially the entire back of the shoe against scarring and soiling. The heel protector may be readily slipped on and off the shoe encase the heel and back thereof. It is composed of a resilient material such as rubber, which provides a suction cup-like effect. The heel protector is held in place by a hook that slips over the top of the shoe back after stretching the protector. The bottom of the protector is made substantially thicker, ˜ 3/16'' while the sides are only 1/16''. This thin protection material is incapable of repairing a damaged heel stem tip. Moreover, the large-size device cover the entire back portion of the shoe, necessitating specific sizing for each shoe size and design. Since the heel protector is slipped on and off of the shoe back, it may inadvertently slip off, causing problems.
 U.S. Pat. No. 1,841,027 to Gruber discloses a heel protector or shield. The shield is stamped from a metallic sheet and covers the sides and back of a high heel shoe. A lip on the shield secures the shield against the shoe. The shield does not repair a broken heel stem at the tip or protect the heel stem tip.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,076,514 to Huffman discloses a shoe heel and decorative cover therefor. This easily removable cover slips over heels of slippers, pumps and the like and has different colors. The shoe has vertical and horizontal grooves which engage with corresponding ridges present in the decorative cover. This decorative cover does not repair a broken heel stem or protect it from further damage. It is not readily attached without a special heel construction that mates heel grooves with ridges in the decorative cover.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,109,193 to Field et al. discloses a heel cover for ladies' shoes. A flexible or rigid sheet member encloses the back and sides of the high heel shoe. A flange engages a groove present on one side of the shoe and a second flange is pushed into a groove present on the other side of the shoe thereby securing the heel cover. The heel cover does not repair a broken heel stem or protect it from further damage. It requires a special heel construction that mates a heel groove with a flange in the decorative cover.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,035,357 to Valenti discloses high heel protection and repair device. The heel protection and repair device is a hollow conical complex shape element with a flat surface engaging the front flat portion of the high heel shoe while its sides or curved matching the curved shape of the heel of the shoe. The protection and repair device is held in place by pointed teeth or several nails driven therethrough. The high heel protection and repair device is not a cup member inserted at the bottom of the broken heel stem and is not held in place by elastic stretch of the cup member.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,153,289 to Martin discloses a heel guard. The heel guard fully covers the heel and upper rear portions of the shoe to protect these vulnerable shoe portions from damage. This glove-like device is made from cloth, sheet plastic leather and the like. It has an opening in front and fits around the sides of the shoe. An oval spring clip holds the ends of the open front. This thin protection material is incapable of repairing a damaged tip of a heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,097 to Sanders discloses an adjustable heel protector for women's shoes. The adjustable women's shoe heel protector has a body of thermoplastic material in the shape of a shoe heel. An annealed metal tab covered with a resilient plastic material is bent over the upper counter of the shoe and held together in a desired shape by a pressure sensitive adhesive. Perforations are provided in the adjustable heel protector for tearing the material at the closest height desired. The adjustable heel protector does not repair damage to the tip of a heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,872,271 to Allen discloses a shoe heel scuff protector. The heel and counter portions of a women's shoe are protected against marring caused by contact with the floor of an automobile while driving. The protector is comprised of upper and lower endless elastic bands interconnected by an endless wall or sleeve. Installation of the protector on the shoe is facilitated by a pull-on loop. The upper endless band grips the shoe around the back of the counter and under the shank. The lower endless band grips the shoe about the top of the heel adjacent the bottom of the counter. The wall fits loosely over the shoe between the endless bands. The protection band does not surround the heel stem and does not repair damage to the tip of a heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,907,351 to Hirai discloses a heel device for shoes. The heel device has a heel and a heel lift detachably attached to the heel. An insertion hole is formed longitudinally at the heel. An insertion rod having a shape corresponding to that of the insertion hole is inserted to detachably secure the heel lift. The insertion rod is rigidly held by a clamping member formed of a material having expansible and contractible properties and strong frictional force. The heel lift is held in place by the insertion rod and the clamping member. Such an operation cannot be performed quickly; it requires a hammer to remove the clamping ring member.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,044,097 to Young discloses a protective covering device for the heel of a women's shoe. The protective covering device comprises an integrally molded body formed from an elastic material such as latex and has a conical portion into which the heel of the shoe is inserted together with an upper portion which wraps around the heel part of the upper of the shoe. The elastic effect of the material when stretched over the shoe causes sufficient adhesion to remain attached to the shoe. The conical heel portion has a plurality of convolutions surrounding the heel, which allow the heel portion to expand or be compressed to accommodate different heel heights. The protective covering device surrounds the heel stem and upper back portion of the shoe as shown in FIG. 6. Since this integral device wraps around the entire back portion of the high-heel shoe, it is a thin elastomeric membrane and is ineffective in repairing damage to the tip of a heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,052,129 to Lobasso, et al. discloses heel repair patches. The heel repair patch includes an adhesive material appointed for application to the heel of the shoe. The heel repair patch has a built-in heel lift and a tab which fits over the seam at the heel breast to improve holdability. The patch consists of a panel composed of relatively resilient material characterized by a shape that conforms to the heel of the woman's shoe. A pressure sensitive adhesive is applied to the inner surface of the panel. When the panel is applied to the heel and folded at fold lines on two sides, the adhesive will cause the panel to stick to the heel with a seam formed at the heel breast. The panel can be fabricated out of various colored materials, which can then be applied to the heel for changing the appearance of the shoe. A built-in heel lift is pivotally hinged at the rear end to a bottom edge of the panel. The panel is applied to the heel, by a nail or the like, for replacing an original worn out heel lift on the shoe. The heel repair patch surrounds the entire shoe and is held in place by an adhesive. When the modified heel repair patch is provided with a heel lift to replace a worn tip of a heel stem, it is required to be nailed in place. This device requires a nailing operation, and cannot be readily used on-the-fly to replace a damaged or worn heel stem tip of a high-heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,315,767 to Bradbury discloses a shoe sole saver. The shoe sole saver is a removable, durable, substitute sole attached to an athletic shoe. The substitute sole is an all-rubber elastic and stretchable overshoe formed so that the upper part of the overshoe maintains an intimate and snug fit with the inner shoe. A durable sole may have a wear-resistant elastomeric bonding agent at the toe and heel portions as part of the manufacturing process of the overshoe. The shoe sole saver is for use with athletic shoes and does not repair a lady's high-heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,419,060 to Choi discloses a shoe with a detachable heel structure. The shoe has a detachable heel, a heel mounting block and a cushion sandwiched between the heel and the block. The heel has a coupling recess and a pair of coupling arms. The heel mounting block has a projecting insert engaged with the coupling recess, a pair of sliders, a pair of receptacle holes receiving the coupling arms, a pair of arm hooks fixed in the sliders and engaged with the coupling arms, a small diameter shaft telescopically received in a larger diameter shaft with a slider returning spring fitted over the shafts, and a guide pin for guiding the rectilinear movement of each slider. The shoe shown in the figures is not a lady's high-heel shoe. Moreover, the heel replacement is held in place by multiple attachments, and cannot be used for the tip of a high-heel shoe stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,421,104 to Talley discloses a screw on shoe heel replacement system. The screw on shoe heel enables anyone to quickly and easily replace their own worn shoe heels using only a simple screwdriver without the need for taking the shoes to a shoe repair professional. The screw on heel has a set of holes running there through. The shoe has an arch support plate traversing its length and both the shoe and the support plate have a set of screw holes (corresponding to the holes in the screw on heel) in the heel area. The screw holes in the support plate are threaded. A cushion covers the arch support plate to keep the shoe comfortable to wear. When the heel is screwed onto the shoe, the heads of the screws are recessed into the heel shielding them from contact with the ground. The shoe shown in the figures is not a lady's high-heel shoe and the heel replacement is held in place by multiple screwed attachments, a feature unavailable at the tip of a high-heel shoe stem.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,533,280 and 6,976,323 to Halliday disclose a footwear system with readily interchangeable components. The footwear with interchangeable components includes, an interchangeable mid-sole foot bed w/upper, an interchangeable mid-sole chassis, an interchangeable mid-sole foot bed interlocker, and an interchangeable lug-treading. The interchangeable lug-treading is removably mounted to the interchangeable mid-chassis so that the interchangeable lug-treading can be readily changed by the user according to user preference. The footwear with interchangeable components changes the individual components of a shoe according to the preference of a user and does not repair the heel stem of a women's high-heel shoe.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,771,607 to Dean discloses a shoe heel protector. This shoe heel protector is provided for the protection of the heel of a vehicle driver and is formed of an elongate blank of flat, planar leather, vinyl, or other suitable material. The protector includes a relatively wide center area, about which a plurality of darts are cut. These darts are then sewn or secured together along facing edges, to gather the periphery of the central area together and thereby form a heel pocket therein. The heel pocket is then placed over the lower rear edge of the shoe heel, with the opposite elongate straps of the protector being secured together over the top of the shoe or foot by mating hook and loop fastening material or other suitable fastening devices. The shoe heel protector does not repair the tip of a damaged heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,007 to Expose discloses a heel protector. This protective device is for the heel and back portion of a footwear article and includes a cover member, two user adjustable straps for securing the cover member to a footwear article, and a sealable pouch attached to the cover member. Attaching the sealable pouch permanently at its center and with a restickable adhesive along its two sides allows the opening of the sealable pouch to be easily opened for inserting and removing a treated polishing cloth that is stored within the sealable pouch for use in touching up and polishing small scuffs and other minor damage to the footwear article. The heel protector merely wraps around the back portion of the shoe, with the result that the device does not repair a damaged heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,272,898 to McAllister discloses a shoe protection device. The shoe protection device comprises a metal or plastic member having an arcuate backwall and integrally formed sidewalls, which project toward curved distal ends. The device may be formed of an elastically deflectable core part having an outer coating or overmolded layer or a removable sleeve, or the sidewalls and backwall may be formed of a single solid part. The device is adapted to be slipped over the heel of a shoe or boot to protect the same while the wearer of the shoe or boot is driving a motor vehicle. As shown in FIG. 2, a women's high-heel shoe has the shoe protection device merely wrapped around the back portion of the shoe. Consequently, the device does not repair a damaged heel stem.
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,596,888 to Meschan, et al. discloses a shoe with flexible plate. The flexible plate is positioned between the bottom and the upper portion of the shoe. The peripheral portions are restrained from movement in a substantially vertical direction relative to the interior portion, so that the interior portion is capable of being deflected relative to the peripheral portions in a vertical direction. The flexible plate is used with an athletic shoe to provide better performance in terms of cushioning and spring. It is not suited for on-the-spot repair of a lady's high-heel shoe stem.
 US Patent application 20080196279 to Epping discloses support sleeve for thin and/or high heels on ladies' shoes. This support sleeve is for high heels on ladies' shoes and has a sleeve body to accommodate a heel of the shoe. The sleeve body has a substantially larger base than the base of the heel to be accommodated. The heel stem has rib or fin type projections adapted to engage with threaded fixing means for attaching the sleeve to the heel. The ground contacting portion of the sleeve is filled with gel and the like, and is therefore not well suited for fixing a broken heel stem.
 There remains a need in the art for a small light weight device that can be carried by a lady in a purse or handbag, and which can be pulled out to fix a damaged high-heel shoe stem tip. There also exists a need for a protective covering that may be applied to scratches or scuffs on the heel stem or the front or side of a shoe sole, and which are arranged in a variety of sizes on a simple effective medium that may be carried in a purse or handbag.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention provides a heel repair device comprising a cup appointed to surround the entire surface of the bottom of the stem portion of a lady's high-heel shoe. The cup extends up the heel stem for a length sufficient for it to remain in place at the bottom portion of the heel stem during subsequent use of the shoe. The heel repair device is fabricated from a flexible elastomeric material such as rubber and the device thickness at the bottom ground contacting portion of the cup is larger, typically in the range of 0.125'' to 0.25'' providing longer wear life, and may be composed of an elastomer comprising wear resistant fillers. The wall portions of the cup are generally thinner, typically in the range of 0.075'' to 0.175'', enabling easy insertion of a damaged heel stem into the cup. In an optional embodiment, the upper-most edge of the cup has a taper with progressively decreasing wall thickness enabling easier insertion of a damaged heel stem into the repair cup. The heel stems of a high-heel shoe may be rectangular, hexagonal, circular or semi-circular in cross section with a size ranging from 0.375'' to 0.625''. The heel stem generally reduces in cross section as a function of distance from the ground contacting location. The cup may be made from a flexible elastomeric material exactly matching the heel stem bottom shape and size; and a quantity of the cups may be sold with the shoe. On the other hand, the cups may be sold separately in different sizes, colors, and shapes. Due to the light weight and size of the repair cups, they may carried within a lady's purse or handbag, so as to be available at all times to readily fix problems with a chipped or cracked heel stem tip. The present invention solves the wear problems associated with high-heel shoes resulting from unexpected damage to the tip of the high-heel stem, a common problem that results in loss of balance.
 In accordance with the invention, there is provided a cup-shaped member that fits snuggly around the bottom of the stem, and extends a small distance, approximately 1.5 to 3 times the size of the cup, and climbs up the stem of a high-heel shoe when the cup is inserted at the bottom tip of the heel stem. The cup is easily slipped onto the stem, and owing to its elastic properties remains in place without need of further fastening means.
 In addition, the present invention provides a plurality of peel and stick decorative patches affixed to a flat sheet suited for carrying in the lady's purse or handbag. The damage to a high-heel shoe may also include scratches to and along the heel stem. These scratches or scuffs, which may occur to the back portion, side portion or front portion of a high-heel shoe, create an unsightly appearance. Typically, such scratches or scuffmarks appear in common places that are contacted by other hard objects, and tend to occur over and over again. According to the present invention, a lady picks an appropriately sized patch from the peel and stick kit and affixes the patch over the scratch or scuff mark. The peel and stick patch is made from a material selected from a group consisting of cloth, polymeric sheets including vinyl, polyacetate, polyester, metallic foils each having an adhesive underlayer. The peel and stick patches may have material of different length and width, color and print texture, to provide decorative effects when used on a high-heel shoe. Since the adhered patch protects the portion of the shoe where it is applied, further damage to the shoe is avoided.
 In still another embodiment of the invention, there is provided a sheath, which surrounds the bottom of the stem and extends partway up the sides of the stem. This light weight sheath may be carried in the lady's purse or handbag and is available for use to cover damage or scratches on the heel stem of a high-heel shoe or even to change the color and appearance of the heel stem at any time. The sheath is a cylindrical member composed of vinyl, rubber, metal or the like. It can be designed to create a decorative effect or be clear, so as to preserve the original appearance of the heel stem. Since the heel stem has a complex shape, this cylindrical sheath fits at the largest size location of the stem and is retained in place. Decorative sheaths can have crown shaped top portions. They would extend approximately 25% to 50% of the way up the heel stem or, in other embodiments, cover substantially the entire heel stem. They can be multi-colored and/or provided with gem stones or other decorative pieces. The sheaths shield or otherwise preserve the sides of the heel stem from being roughed up during use. They are affixed in much the same way as the stem cups; are secured in place by virtue of the elastic effect of the material used to form the sheath. In other embodiments, they can be attached to the heel stem by chemical or mechanical means. In still further embodiments, they can be arranged as peel-away strips on one or more backing sheets suitable for carriage in a women's purse or handbag.
 In yet another embodiment there is provided a light weight, small sized kit that is conveniently carried in a lady's purse or handbag. The kit is designed for on-the-spot-repair of a broken heel stem tip or surface scratches along the heel stem. The kit contains one or more heel stem tip covering cup members, at least one sleeve, and one or more peel and stick patches.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
 The invention will be more fully understood and further advantages will become apparent when reference is had to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention and the accompanying drawing, in which:
 FIG. 1 is a front view of a lady's high-heeled shoe having a worn heel, wherein a cup member is to be placed around the bottom of the stem and extend a small distance up the stem of a high-heel shoe;
 FIG. 2 is a front view of the shoe of FIG. 1 with the cup member there attached;
 FIG. 3a is a front view of an embodiment of the cylindrical shaped cup member of FIGS. 1-2;
 FIG. 3b is a front of an embodiment of the cylindrical shaped cup member with tapered top edges;
 FIG. 3c is a front of an embodiment of the rectangular shaped cup member;
 FIG. 3d is a front of an embodiment of the hexagonal shaped cup member with tapered top edges;
 FIG. 4 is a front view of a lady's high-heeled shoe, wherein a sheath is about to be placed onto the stem for protection of the stem and/or decorative purposes;
 FIG. 5 is a top front view of the shoe of FIG. 4 with the sheath placed on the stem;
 FIG. 6 is a front view of an embodiment of the sheath of FIGS. 4-5; and
 FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a sheet containing a plurality of peel and stick patches.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 A heel repair/protective device constructed as a cup is provided to surround substantially an entire surface of a bottom of a stem portion of a lady's high-heel shoe, along with a method of use. Alternatively, a sheath is provided for protecting/or decorating the stem.
 FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of the cup member appointed to repair/protect a stem heel and/or part of the stem portion. FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a lady's high-heeled shoe having a worn heel wherein a cup-shaped member is to be placed onto the shoe. The heel stem is shown here as a cylindrical member and is detailed in FIG. 3a. The heel stem may have a rectangular cross sectional shape as shown in FIG. 3c. The heel stem may have a semi-circular cross sectional shape (not shown) or a hexagonal cross sectional shape as shown in FIG. 3d. Additionally, the cross section may vary from the ground contacting tip along the length of the heel stem. Since the cup member contacts the tip end of the heel stem, it must be shaped and dimensioned appropriately, providing an effective fit. Since the cup member is fabricated from a flexible elastomeric member such as rubber, it can stretch to provide an effective fit. In FIG. 1, the cup is shown as a circular cylinder fitting a cylindrical heel stem tip.
 FIG. 2 is a front view of the shoe of FIG. 1 with the cup member attached. A stem heel repair/protective device is provided for attachment to a lady's high-heeled shoe 1. Shoe 1 is constructed with conventional features of high-heeled shoes, including a stem 2 with a stem bottom 3 having a heel pad 3' thereon. Heel pad 3' is worn from wear and is uneven, compromising the comfort and safety of the shoe 1 as well as its appearance. A cup member 11 is provided in order to repair the stem bottom 3. Cup member 11 comprises a thicker ground contacting pad portion 12 and walls 13. Walls 13 extend a small distance up stem 2 as shown. Walls 13 may be shallow walls having a short height, as shown, or may be longer and extend up to a greater area of the stem 2. Preferably, walls 13 are transparent. Alternatively, walls 13 include a decorative surface and/or decorative jewels, beads, sequence, and the like. The cup member 11 fits snuggly around a bottom of a stem of the high-heel shoe 1 and extends a small distance up the stem 2. Preferably the cup member 11 is made from of an elastic rubber material including various compositions of rubber such as natural rubber, synthetic rubber or silicone with or without fillers that improve wear resistance of the cup. The cup member 11 is easily slipped onto the stem 2 and remains in place without need of further fastening means. In the alternative, cement, glue or other chemical or mechanical fastening means can be used to affix the cup to the bottom of the stem.
 FIGS. 3a through 3d illustrate various embodiments of the cup used to repair the tip of a heel stem. In FIG. 3a, there is shown a cylindrical cup 11 designed to fit at the tip of a cylindrical stem. The bottom of the cup 11 is thick, as shown at 12, and the side walls are thin, as shown at 13. Due to the smaller thickness of the side walls, the cup may be easily stretched on the cylindrical heel stem, while the thicker bottom resists wear against the ground, providing reduced wear and better friction. FIG. 3b illustrates an embodiment wherein the side wall 13 is tapered at the end, as shown at 13', and the stretchability of the cup is improved for easy insertion of the cup at the tip of the heel stem. FIG. 3c illustrates a rectangular cup 11' designed to fit a rectangular heel stem. The bottom of the rectangular cup is thick, as shown at 12', while the side walls 13' are thinner, facilitating easy insertion of the rectangular cup into a rectangular heel stem. Here again, the thickness at the top of the cup may be reduced to produce a tapered side wall similar to FIG. 3b. FIG. 3d shows a hexagonal cup 11'' fitting a hexagonal heel stem.
 FIGS. 4-6 depict views of an embodiment of the sheath appointed to repair/protect/ or decorate the stem. FIG. 4 is a top view of a lady's high-heeled shoe, wherein a sheath is about to be placed onto the stem for protection of the stem and/or decorative purposes. FIG. 5 is a top plane view of the shoe of FIG. 4 with the sheath placed on the stem. FIG. 6 is a plane view of an embodiment of the sheath of FIGS. 4-5. A stem heel sheath device 30 is provided for attachment onto a lady's high-heeled shoe 21. Shoe 21 is constructed as general high-heeled shoes, including a stem 22 with a stem bottom 23 with a heel pad 23' thereon. In order to protect the stem 22, cover a damaged stem 22, or simply provide decoration of a rose to the stem 22, the sheath 30 is placed onto stem 22. Sheath 30 snuggly surrounds the bottom 23 of a stem 22 and extends partway up sides of said stem 22. Sheath 30 may extend all the way over stem 22. Sheath 30 does not cover heel pad 23', but merely traverses over pad 23' when it is being placed on stem 22. Sheath 30 is constructed as a cylindrical member 31 having a tubular shape with two open ends 32, and a show surface 33. Sheath 30 may be is composed of vinyl, rubber, metal or the like. The show surface 33 may include a plethora of decorative designs. Alternatively, sheath 30 may be transparent, so as to preserve the original appearance of the heel stem.
 Decorative sheath 30 can have crown shaped top portions. They would extend approximately 25% to 50% of the way, and on other occasions as much as substantially the entire way, up the heel stem. They can be clear, colored and textured to match the color and texture of the shoe body, multi-colored and/or provided with gem stones, studs or other decorative pieces. The sheath shields or otherwise preserves the sides of the heel stem from being roughed up during use. They are affixed in much the same way as the stem cups. In some embodiments, they are secured in place by virtue of the elastic effect of the material used to form the sheath. In other embodiments, they can be attached to the heel stem by chemical or mechanical means.
 FIG. 7 shows a flat sheet with numerous peel and stick patches. These patches may have different widths, lengths and shapes of different colors and printed textures. The patches may be fabricated from cloth or polymeric sheets such as vinyl, acrylic, mylar (oriented PET) or polyester sheets with a peel and stick adhesive on the underside. The sheet may be assembled as a convenient book or multi-sheet pack that will fit into a lady's purse of handbag. The peel and stick patches can be removed from a backing sheet and affixed to the heel stem to cover up and/or shield the stem against scuffing. When thus affixed, the peel and stick patches adorn the heel, enabling the wearer to match the heel color with accessories such as jewelry, pocketbooks, and the like, as well as wearing apparel. The peel and stick patches can be affixed with a releasable adhesive, such as a stretch-release adhesive or the like, to facilitate their removal and replacement with peel and stick patches of a different color, thereby enabling color matches with changes in accessories or wearing apparel. They can be applied to other areas of the shoe sole, such as raised portions of the sole located at the front or sides of a shoe, to cover up scuffs or prevent scuffing, while adding an element of style and adornment.
 Having thus described the invention in rather full detail, it will be understood that such detail need not be strictly adhered to, but that additional changes and modifications may suggest themselves to one skilled in the art, all falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the subjoined claims.
Patent applications by Ernest D. Buff, Far Hills, NJ US
Patent applications by Marcela N. Desiderio, Bedminster, NJ US
Patent applications in class Heel
Patent applications in all subclasses Heel