Patent application title: Zipper Lace
Anton Warren Jones (Aiken, SC, US)
IPC8 Class: AA43C100FI
Class name: Boots, shoes, and leggings uppers closure
Publication date: 2014-01-09
Patent application number: 20140007457
The Zipper Lace is an innovative zipper design used as a shoelace for
footwear. It provides a method for securing a foot in the housing of
footwear, especially athletic footwear, which may loosen thus creating a
potentially hazardous condition for athletes. The Zipper Lace is designed
as a closure system for holding the foot in the foot-housing member using
the existing eyelet design of footwear. It is flexible and can be
threaded through the eyelets of existing shoes instead of standard fabric
laces. The zipper design allows the wearer to firmly secure the foot to
the shoe housing. Instead of tying cloth shoelaces to maintain a secure
fit and comfort, the Zipper Lace employs a fastening means which is used
to lock both ends of the Zipper Lace in place. This combined with the
natural locking of the Zipper Laces, secures the footwear.
1. The Zipper Lace comprising: (a) An elongated narrow strip having a
plurality of teeth protruding from the elongated narrow strip and a
fastening means or pulley mechanism; (b) Wherein the elongated narrow
strip has a first end, a second end and the zipper is modified with a
connector located on each one of the first end and second end; (c)
Wherein the elongated narrow strip is adapted to pass through eyelets of
footwear; (d) Wherein the teeth lock into the eyelets creating a
stand-along locking mechanism; and (e) Wherein the fastening means
exemplified by a pulley, slides onto the first end and the second end of
the elongated strip to engage and lock the teeth, thus zipping or locking
2. A method for utilizing the zipper lace in a manner to provide a closure and securing means for footwear using eyelets. The method of utilizing the Zipper Lace of claim 1, comprises the steps of (a) Lacing the zipper lace through each eyelet in a manner similar to standard cloth shoelaces; (b) The method further includes the step of utilizing a fastening means or mechanism to slide over the connectors located at the tips of each the first end and second end. The connectors are held adjacent and parallel to each other to facilitate sliding the fastening means over the ends to engage, lock and zip the zipper; (c) The method further includes the step of sliding of the fastening means and continued zipping and locking the teeth of the zipper which facilitates a tight secure fit and closure of the foot wear.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of a U.S. Provisional Patent Application, No. 61/440,679, filing date, Feb. 8, 2011 entitled Zipper Shoelace.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND PRIOR ART
 1. Field of the Invention
 The disclosed embodiments generally relate to footwear and, more particularly, a footwear closure device designed to securely hold the footwear to the users feet. The invention also relates to systems, methods and processes using disclosed embodiments for securing footwear to one's foot. In general, embodiments and processes exemplify a foot closure system that maintains adequate pressure on the foot and/or closure of the shoe housing to securely hold the foot in the shoe housing member.
 2. Class of Invention
 The Classes and/or subclasses of the Zipper Lace are as follows
 Class: 024 Shoes Laces; Subclass 715.4+
 Class: 036 Boots, Shoes, and Leggings.
 3. Prior Art
 The following Prior Art Patents and/or References were used to analyze the Patentability of the invention:
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,855,715--Johnson, Dec. 24, 1974 BOOT ZIPPER;
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,918,840--Nardulli, Apr. 24, 1990, Footwear fastener;
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,203,053--Rudd, Apr. 20, 1993, Shoe fastening device;
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,214,826--Fortune, Jun. 1, 1993, Fastener for use with shoes;
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,327,662--Hallenbeck, Jul. 12, 1994, Shoe, especially an athletic, leisure or rehabilitation shoe having a central closure;
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,557,864--Marks, Sep. 24, 1996, Footwear fastening system and method of using the same;
 U.S. Pat. No. 6,898,876--Kerrigan, May 31, 2005, Zipped football boot;
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,069,626--Issler, Jul. 4, 2006, Lacing system.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Footwear generally employs laces as the closure means in addition to other items such as zippers, buttons, clasps, ties, or other similar closing devices.
 For footwear that typically employs laces or ties, opening and closing the shoe usually involves tying and untying the laces or ties each time the footwear is worn. This repetition is often exacerbating should the footwear to be worn is tied or laced too tightly or too loosely, which often results in untying and retying the laces or ties to obtain the proper fit. Moreover, tying and retying a shoe each time it is to be worn can be a lengthy process depending upon the wear's age, dexterity, shoe type and purpose.
 What is desired is a footwear closing mechanism that permits repetitive operation that securely affixes the footwear to the user's foot. This is desired not only for athletes but for the elderly who may have difficulty is tying standard laces and for young children who may not have learned how to tie their shoes. Also, because laces can easily become untied this facilitates a serious risk of injury. Therefore an easy and secure footwear closure mechanism that permits faster ingress and egress of the footwear over conventional shoelaces and more securely affixes the shoe to the wearer is desired. A further desire is a closing/lacing mechanism that can be used with existing shoes that are designed to use standard laces and have the eyelet configuration.
 The Zipper Lace fulfills the above unmet need. This invention is envisioned to be used by and have utility for all consumers, however, athletes, the elderly and children can benefit specifically from the secure fit created by Zipper Laces. This invention provides a quick, easy and secure closure mechanism for athletic shoes that typically require laces. Laces create a hazard if said laces are not tied properly or become loose while the athlete is running or performing some physical activity. The elderly who may have lost dexterity in their hands can more easily close a zipper using the fastening means or pulley as opposed to tying standard shoe laces. Further, children often walk around with untied shoe laces, which the Zipper Lace invention obviates.
 The Zipper Lace meets each objective or requirement noted above and its innovative design permits ease of operation, security and utility in existing shoe designs.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The Zipper Lace is a new and innovative design that uses existing zipper technology as shoelaces to provide a secure closure means or mechanism for athletic footwear as well as all other types of footwear that are designed to be secured via shoelaces.
 There are several long standing problems with the existing footwear closure technology that the Zipper Lace obviates. The Zipper Laces obviates the requirement to tie shoelaces. One simply zips the zipper to the desired tightness and locks the zipper with the pulley to secure the shoe to the foot. This eliminates the problem and hazards of shoelaces becoming untied for athletes, senior citizen and children. Specific examples of hazards obviated or solved by the Zipper Lace are kids getting shoelaces stuck in elevators which has caused serious injuries and by providing athletes continual ankle and foot support, the Zipper Lace can improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injuries like Achilles Tendonitis. Therefore, there is not only a time savings from the initial task of tying the shoelaces, but subsequent tying if the laces become loose or untied. The Zipper Lace facilitates faster ingress and egress into the shoe with a more secure closure mechanism.
 The Zipper Lace provides a closure mechanism that can be used with existing footwear designs. The various colors and styles of the Zipper Lace allow it to be used on a wide variety of footwear already designed to use laces and eyelets.
 The Zipper Lace provides a closure system that in accordance with other aspects of the invention may be used to secure other types of apparel on a body, such as shirts, blouses, pants, coats, jackets, etc as well as can be used as jewelry and other purposes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1A illustrates a perspective front view of a Zipper Lace according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention showing the Zipper Lace on footwear used as a shoelace;
 FIG. 1B illustrates a front view of the Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the Zipper Lace being in a semi-fastened position;
 FIG. 1C illustrates a front view of the Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the Zipper Lace being in the fastened position. The fastening means is shown in a tightened position to secure the foot to the footwear;
 FIG. 2A illustrates a front view of a Zipper Lace according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention showing the zipper being removed from the tap;
 FIG. 2B illustrates a perspective front view of the Zipper Lace of FIG. 2A showing the zipper and the fastening means exemplified by in the FIG. 2B by the pulley, after the removal from the tap;
 FIG. 3 illustrates a detailed view of a Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the Zipper Lace passing through an eyelet;
 FIG. 4 illustrates a detailed view of a Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the moment on which the pulley is being attached to both strings of the zipper or ends of the elongated narrow strip;
 FIG. 5 illustrates a detailed view of a Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the moment in which the pulley is being slid through both strips of the zipper or ends of the elongated narrow strip; and
 FIG. 6 illustrates a detailed view of a Zipper Lace of FIG. 1A showing the Zipper Lace in the fastening position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carry out exemplary embodiments of the invention. The following is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since it is anticipated that numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
 Broadly, an embodiment of the present invention generally provides Zipper laces (zipper shoelaces) comprising a modified zipper, zipper ends and fastening means exemplified by a pulley designed to provide the user with a locking means or mechanism to keep the laced-up footwear in place.
 The most common type of closure system for footwear is a lacing system. In a standard lacing system, a shoelace is strung between the two sets of eyelets, one set on each side of a throat of footwear. Unfortunately, as the footwear is worn, the user is required to frequently re-tie the shoelaces in order to maintain a proper fit for the most comfort and hazard prevention.
 FIG. 1A illustrates a Zipper Lace 10 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention showing the Zipper Lace 10 laced on footwear 20. The Zipper Lace 10 may be threaded through the eyelets 30 of the footwear 20. The footwear 20 may be shoes, boots, sandals or any type of footwear.
 FIG. 1B illustrates that the Zipper Lace 10 may include an elongated narrow strip 40 having a plurality of teeth 50 protruding from the elongated narrow strip 40. The Zipper Lace 10 may be various lengths and widths as necessary to pass through eyelets of various diameters and throats of various lengths having various numbers of eyelets which support the closure of the shoe throat. The elongated narrow strip 40 may have a first end 60 and a second end 70. The elongated narrow strip 40 may be adapted to pass through eyelets of the footwear 20. The teeth 50 may lock into the eyelets 30 of the footwear 20, creating a stand-alone locking mechanism.
 In some embodiments, a fastener means 90 may be added to join the two connectors 80. The fastener means 90 may provide a secondary locking mechanism to the Zipper Lace to secure the footwear 20 without having to tie the shoelace.
 FIG. 1C illustrates that the Zipper Lace in a fastened position, locked and secured to the foot by the fastening means 100, which exemplifies the variety of fastening means that can be used to facilitate zipping the Zipper Lace and securing the shoe to the foot.
 The elongated narrow strip 40 may be made of fabric. The elongated narrow strip 40 may serve as support for the teeth 50.
 The teeth 50 may be made of a metal or other various materials as necessary including but not limited to plastic, ceramic. The number of teeth 50 and the length of the elongated narrow strip may depend on the size of the footwear 20.
 The user may convert a standard zipper into a Zipper Lace 10 by cutting any loose fabric from the edge of the standard zipper (FIG. 2A). The end of the zipper tape may them be melted, leaving only the zipper metal teeth, 50, and the elongated narrow strip 40 keeping the metal teeth together.
 Then, the user may lace the Zipper Lace 10 in the eyelets of the footwear 20. Lacing the teeth 50 through the eyelets may lock the teeth 50 in place 30 with no need for a secure tie of the ends of the elongated narrow strip at the top of the footwear 20. Optionally, the user may attach the ends together with a fastener means 90.
 In some embodiments, the Zipper Lace 10 may be used as jewelry. In some embodiments, the Zipper Lace 10 may be necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, earrings, and clips for securing clothing.
 The forgoing description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, as modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention which is best defined by the appended claims.
Patent applications in class Closure
Patent applications in all subclasses Closure