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Title:
FOOTWEAR FOR MODERN DANCE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/021919
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Embodiments relate generally to dance footwear to be worn on a human foot and methods of making such footwear. The footwear may comprise: a fabric tube formed of a continuous elastic material to receive and partially cover the foot, the tube comprising a heel end and an opposite toe end having at least two toe openings to receive toes; and at least one floor-engaging forefoot pad disposed on the tube near the toe end to underlie a ball of the foot; wherein the tube defines first and second openings at the heel end and a heel strap to extend around the Achilles tendon of the heel between the first and second openings and thereby retain the footwear on the foot.

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Inventors:
HEATHCOTE, Timothy Charles (110 Broughton Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria 3027, AU)
HEATHCOTE, Simone Nicole (110 Broughton Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria 3027, AU)
LANG, Lang (16/F New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
LI, Sun (16/F, New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
LIN, Luo Hai (16/F New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
Application Number:
AU2011/000922
Publication Date:
February 23, 2012
Filing Date:
July 20, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HEATHCOTE, Timothy Charles (110 Broughton Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria 3027, AU)
HEATHCOTE, Simone Nicole (110 Broughton Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria 3027, AU)
LANG, Lang (16/F New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
LI, Sun (16/F, New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
LIN, Luo Hai (16/F New Century Mansion,No. 15 Miduqiao Road, Hangzhou City, CN)
International Classes:
A43B5/12; A43B13/18; A43B17/00
Foreign References:
US20060179549A12006-08-17
US20060288609A12006-12-28
US20090100715A12009-04-23
US20060196078A12006-09-07
US20090064540A12009-03-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FB RICE (Level 23, 200 Queen StreetMelbourne, Victoria 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. Dance footwear to be worn on a human foot comprising:

a fabric tube formed of a continuous elastic material to receive and partially cover the foot, the tube comprising a heel end and an opposite toe end having at least two toe openings to receive toes; and

at least one floor-engaging forefoot pad disposed on the tube near the toe end to underlie a ball of the foot;

wherein the tube defines first and second openings at the heel end and a heel strap to extend around the Achilles tendon of the heel between the first and second openings and thereby retain the footwear on the foot.

2. The footwear of claim 1, wherein the elastic material is a medical-grade compressive sock material.

3. The footwear of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the heel strap comprises first and second strap portions that are continuous with the tube and are joined together at a position substantially overlying the Achilles tendon. 4. The footwear of claim 3, wherein the first and second strap portions are stitched together.

5. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the at least two toe openings are separated by stitches in the tube at the toe end.

6. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the at least two toe openings are separated by at least one flexible strip.

7. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the elastic material of the tube is seamless where it overlies the midfoot.

8. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the tube has a single seam where it overlies the midfoot.

9. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the at least one forefoot pad has an irregular shape sized to extend underneath at least some metatarsal bones of the foot but not the tarsal bones. 10. The footwear of claim 9, wherein the at least one forefoot pad has a medial portion and a lateral portion to respectively underlie medial and lateral parts of the ball of the foot.

11. The footwear of claim 10, wherein the lateral portion extends posteriorly to a substantially greater extent than the medial portion.

12. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the at least one forefoot pad comprises a single pad. 13. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the at least one forefoot pad comprises separate medial and lateral pads.

14. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein the at least one forefoot pad is stitched to the tube.

15. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the at least one forefoot pad comprises a suede material.

16. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the first opening is sized to allow the calcaneus to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material.

17. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein the second opening is sized to allow the base of the tibia and fibula to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material and is sized so that the elastic material covers less than all of the talus.

18. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 17, wherein the elastic material extends posteriorly of the at least one forefoot pad to overlie most or all of the arches of the foot.

19. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 18, wherein the tube is mostly single- layered except for the at least one forefoot pad and optionally a portion adjacent the toe openings. 20. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 19, wherein the tube has a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to a dance floor than the at least one forefoot pad has relative to the same dance fioor.

21. The footwear of any one of claims 1 to 20, wherein the elastic material is selected to readily permit sliding of the elastic material over a dance floor and to have a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to the dance floor than that of human skin.

22. A method of manufacturing modern dance footwear, the method comprising: forming at least one forefoot pad near a first end of a fabric tube of continuous elastic material, the tube having a first opening at the first end and a second opening at an opposed second end;

affixing the tube to itself adjacent the second opening to close at least a central part of the second opening;

cutting first and second portions of the tube from the second end to define a heel strap extending between third and fourth openings, the third and fourth openings being sized to receive the heel and ankle respectively; and

coupling the tube together across the first opening at at least one location to define at least two toe openings to receive all toes of a foot.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the at least one forefoot pad is formed on the tube by stitching a pad material to an external face of the tube.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein the at least one forefoot pad is formed on the tube by impregnating the tube with a friction-increasing component.

25. The method of any one of claims 22 to 24, wherein the material of the tube is selected to have a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to a dance floor than the at least one forefoot pad has relative to the same dance floor.

26. The method of any one of claims 22 to 25, wherein the coupling includes stitching portions of the tube together at the at least one location.

27. The method of any one of claims 22 to 25, wherein the coupling includes joining portions of the tube together using at least one flexible strip.

28. The method of any one of claims 22 to 27, wherein the affixing comprises stitching. 29. The method of any one of claims 22 to 28, wherein the cutting comprises cutting the first portion between a first location on the tube second end defining one edge of the heel strap and a second location on an adjacent side edge of the tube, thereby defining the third opening. 30. The method of claim 29, wherein the cutting comprises cutting the second portion between a third location on the tube second end defining an opposite edge of the heel strap and a fourth location on an opposite adjacent side edge of the tube, thereby defining the fourth opening. 31. The method of claim 29 or claim 30, wherein the cutting of at least one of the first portion and the second portion is performed along a curved line.

32. The method of any one of claims 22 to 31, further comprising overlocking edges defined by the cutting with elastic material.

33. The method of any one of claims 22 to 32, further comprising, after the cutting and before the coupling, reorienting the tube so that the third and fourth openings are longitudinally aligned. 34. The method of any one of claims 22 to 33, wherein the third opening is sized to allow the calcaneus to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material when the footwear is worn on a foot of appropriate size.

35. The method of any one of claims 22 to 34, wherein the fourth opening is sized to allow the tibia and fibula to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material and is sized so that the elastic material covers less than all of the talus when the footwear is worn on a foot of appropriate size.

36. The method of any one of claims 22 to 35, wherein the elastic material extends posteriorly of the at least one forefoot pad to overlie most or all of the arches of the foot when worn on a foot of appropriate size.

37. The acts, steps, processes, features, integers, structures, elements, compositions, materials and/or compounds disclosed herein or indicated in the specification and drawings of this application individually or collectively, or any combination of two or more of said acts, steps, processes, features, integers, structures, elements, compositions, materials and/or compounds.

38. Footwear substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the figures.

39. A method of making footwear substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the figures.

Description:
Footwear for modern dance and method of manufacturing same

TECHNICAL FIELD

Described embodiments relate generally to footwear for dancers performing modern dance and methods of manufacturing such footwear. In particular, embodiments relate to modern dance footwear mostly comprising a single form-fitting layer to surround much of the forefoot and midfoot portions and having a heel strap.

BACKGROUND

Dancers performing modern dance, which is also called contemporary dance, often perform in bare feet. However, over the course of hours of rehearsal and practice, the bare feet of the dancer frequently drag across the floor. For parts of the foot that are not calloused, such as those areas that do not contact the ground during walking, such dragging contact with the floor can end up removing skin and be a source of discomfort. It is desired to address or ameliorate one or more shortcomings or disadvantages associated with prior footwear for modern dance, or to at least provide a useful alternative thereto.

SUMMARY

Some embodiments relate to dance footwear to be worn on a human foot comprising:

a fabric tube formed of a continuous elastic material to receive and partially cover the foot, the tube comprising a heel end and an opposite toe end having at least two toe openings to receive toes; and

at least one floor-engaging forefoot pad disposed on the tube near the toe end to underlie a ball of the foot;

wherein the tube defines first and second openings at the heel end and a heel strap to extend around the Achilles tendon of the heel between the first and second openings and thereby retain the footwear on the foot.

The elastic material may comprise a medical-grade compressive sock material. The heel strap may comprise first and second strap portions that are continuous with the tube and that may be joined together at a position substantially overlying the Achilles tendon. The first and second strap portions may be stitched together.

The at least two toe openings may be separated by stitches in the tube at the toe end. Alternatively, the at least two toe openings may be separated by at least one flexible strip.

The elastic material of the tube may be seamless where it overlies the midfoot. Alternatively, the tube may have a single seam where it overlies the midfoot or a seam on each side of the midfoot.

The at least one forefoot pad may have an irregular shape sized to extend underneath at least some metatarsal bones of the foot but not the tarsal bones. The at least one forefoot pad may have a medial portion and a lateral portion to respectively underlie medial and lateral parts of the ball of the foot. The lateral portion may extend posteriorly to a substantially greater extent than the medial portion.

The at least one forefoot pad comprises a single pad. Alternatively, the at least one forefoot pad may comprise separate medial and lateral pads. The at least one forefoot pad may be stitched to the tube. The at least one forefoot pad may comprises a suede material.

The first opening may be sized to allow the calcaneus to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material. The second opening may be sized to allow the base of the tibia and fibula to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material and is sized so that the elastic material may cover less than all of the talus. The elastic material may extend posteriorly of the at least one forefoot pad to overlie most or all of the arches of the foot. The tube may be mostly single-layered except for the at least one forefoot pad and optionally a portion adjacent the toe openings.

The tube may have a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to a dance floor than the at least one forefoot pad has relative to the same dance floor. The elastic material may be selected to readily permit sliding of the elastic material over a dance floor and may have a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to the dance floor than that of human skin.

Some further embodiments of the invention relate to a method of manufacturing modern dance footwear, the method comprising:

forming at least one forefoot pad near a first end of a fabric tube of continuous elastic material, the tube having a first opening at the first end and a second opening at an opposed second end;

affixing the tube to itself adjacent the second opening to close at least a central part of the second opening;

cutting first and second portions of the tube from the second end to define a heel strap extending between third and fourth openings, the third and fourth openings being sized to receive the heel and ankle respectively; and

coupling the tube together across the first opening at at least one location to define at least two toe openings to receive all toes of a foot.

The at least one forefoot pad may be formed on the tube by stitching a pad material to an external face of the tube. The at least one forefoot pad may be formed on the tube by impregnating the tube with a friction-increasing component.

The material of the tube may be selected to have a substantially lower coefficient of friction relative to a dance floor than the at least one forefoot pad has relative to the same dance floor. The coupling may include stitching portions of the tube together at the at least one location. Alternatively, the coupling may include joining portions of the tube together using at least one flexible strip. The affixing may comprise stitching.

The cutting may comprise cutting the first portion between a first location on the tube second end defining one edge of the heel strap and a second location on an adjacent side edge of the tube, thereby defining the third opening. The cutting may comprise cutting the second portion between a third location on the tube second end defining an opposite edge of the heel strap and a fourth location on an opposite adjacent side edge of the tube, thereby defining the fourth opening. The cutting of at least one of the first portion and the second portion may be performed along a curved line. The method may further comprise overlocking edges defined by the cutting with elastic material.

The method may further comprise, after the cutting and before the coupling, reorienting the tube so that the third and fourth openings are longitudinally aligned.

The third opening may be sized to allow the calcaneus to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material when the footwear is worn on a foot of appropriate size. The fourth opening may be sized to allow the tibia and fibula to be substantially uncovered by the elastic material and is sized so that the elastic material covers less than all of the talus when the footwear is worn on a foot of appropriate size. The elastic material may extend posteriorly of the at least one forefoot pad to overlie most or all of the arches of the foot when worn on a foot of appropriate size. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments are described in further detail below, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a side perspective view of footwear according to some embodiments, shown on a foot in demi-pointe position;

Figure 2 is a top perspective view of the footwear of Figure 1, shown on a foot standing flat;

Figure 3 is a side view of the footwear of Figure 1 , shown on a foot standing fiat;

Figure 4 is a bottom view of the footwear of Figure 1, shown in a flattened form; Figure 5 is a bottom view of a forefoot pad of the footwear of Figure 1, shown superimposed over the sole of a foot to indicate the intended position of the forefoot pad relative to the ball of the foot;

Figure 6A is a plan view of a tube of flexible material in one stage of manufacture of the footwear;

Figure 6B is a plan view of the tube of material in another stage of manufacture of the footwear; and

Figure 6C is a plan view of the tube of material having been transformed into the footwear at a final stage of manufacture. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Described embodiments relate generally to footwear for dancers performing modern dance and methods of manufacturing such footwear. In particular, embodiments relate to modern/contemporary dance footwear mostly comprising a single form-fitting layer to surround much of the forefoot and midfoot portions and having a heel strap.

Referring firstly to Figures 1 to 5, the embodiments of the dance footwear 100 are shown and described in further detail. Footwear 100 is particularly intended for use by dancers performing modern dance, where it is common to practice, rehearse or perform in bare feet. Footwear 100 is intended to provide protection to the skin of the foot from rubbing or abrasion against the floor or other surfaces, and to also provide a degree of arch support and compression around the midfoot and forefoot. Although the term footwear is used herein in relation to the described embodiments, footwear 100 may alternatively be termed as a light shoe, foot covering, slipper, stocking or sock, or alternatively as a type of glove for a foot.

The footwear 100 is formed primarily of a fabric tube 110 formed of a continuous elastic material to receive and partially cover the foot. The tube 110 may be seamless or have one or two side seams, for example. The tube 110 may be formed of a medical grade compressive sock or stocking material, for example such as a Nylon- Spandex (elastane) material. Other suitable elastic materials for fabric tube 110 may comprise lycra, lycra mesh, neoprene cotton lycra mesh and nylon mesh, for example. Whichever material is used to form fabric tube 110, it should be woven with fibres of selected strength and elasticity to closely and snugly fit the contours of the foot in a way that provides a degree of compression to support the foot and promote (or at least not significantly hinder) blood flow. The fit of footwear 100 should not permit significant or visible puckering, sagging or looseness across any part of the foot.

Dancers performing modern dance also perform a variety of spinning, turning or rotating moves on the ball of the foot that are difficult to execute in bare feet because of the coefficient of friction of human skin against normal dance surfaces. The tube 110 of footwear 100 provides a means of attaching (or otherwise providing) a forefoot pad that has a floor-engaging surface with a lower coefficient of friction more suited for spinning, turning or rotating than the skin of the ball of the foot. Footwear 100 is intended to be form- fitting and snug and may be provided in a variety of sizes to accommodate different foot sizes. Generally, footwear 100 is designed to elastically expand somewhat in width and length as it is fitted onto a dancer's foot. The degree of elasticity of the tube material is selected (for an appropriate foot size) to provide a degree of compression that does not hinder blood flow in the foot or make the dancer uncomfortable when worn for a period of time in the order of a few hours.

Two items of footwear 100 are generally intended to be worn on the dancer's feet, with each foot having footwear 100 in opposed left and right forms. However, for simplicity of illustration, only footwear 100 for a right foot is illustrated.

When worn on the foot, footwear 100 generally extends from around the base of the toes (ie. around the base of the phalanges and, in most cases distally of the metatarsophalangeal joints) back across the dorsal and plantar surfaces of the foot, including covering the metatarsal bones, most or all of the tarsal bones and most or all of the arches of the foot. The dorsal part of the foot is covered by a dorsal portion 140 of the tube 110 and the plantar portion of the foot is covered by a plantar portion 150, while the base of the toes (around the phalanges) is at least partially covered by a toe portion 120 of the tube 110. Toe portion 120 is folded over or under and stitched in place. Portion 120 provides two or more toe openings to receive and accommodate all of the toes. The toe openings are defined by a stitch 125 (or optionally a flexible strip, such as a fabric strip stitched to toe portion 120) between opposed parts of toe portion 120, defining one opening sized to receive the big toe and another larger opening to receive all four of the remaining toes. In other embodiments, 3 or 4 or 5 toe openings may be defined by affixing opposed parts of toe portion 120 to each other at spaced locations across a toe end 102 of the footwear 100.

As well as the toe openings at the toe end 102, footwear 100 has heel and ankle openings at an opposite heel end 104 of footwear 100. The heel and ankle openings are defined by overlocking elastic material extending along opposed edges 162, 161 respectively, between which extends a heel strap 160. Heel strap 160 is preferably a continuous strap, stitched together from two strap portions at the back by stitches 163 (see Figure 4). Heel strap 160 is arranged to extend along a generally longitudinal direction and to easily stretch and overlie the Achilles tendon above the calcaneus. The width of the heel strap 160 may be around 0.8-2.5 cm, for example, when lying flat across the Achilles tendon as shown in Figures 1 and 3.

The tube 110 is designed to stretch so that the heel and ankle openings allow much of the ankle and heel to remain uncovered. For example, the heel opening allows the area of the heel around the calcaneus to remain uncovered so that when the dancer is standing flat, the heel contacts the floor and provides grip and positional stability together with the exposed toes protruding from the toe openings. If the heel opening is too small, the amount of contact between the heel and the floor would be diminished and the dancer may experience grip and stability problems during movement. The ankle opening is intended to allow the base of the tibia and fibula, as well as some or all of the talus, to remain uncovered. This avoids the edge of the opening being positioned at parts of the ankle that frequently flex, so that the flexible overlocking material at the edges around the ankle opening does not rub or abraid the skin at those parts.

The heel and ankle openings may be sized to be approximately the same size when the footwear 100 is not being worn, but are intended to be able to stretch in different ways to accommodate the shape of a heel 165 and ankle 167 when the footwear 100 is fitted onto a person's foot.

A forefoot pad 130 is formed on the tube 110 near the toe end 102, but positioned posteriorly of the toe portion 120 to positionally correspond with the ball of the foot where it contacts the floor. Forefoot pad 130 may be formed as one piece of fabric, such as suede or similar fabrics. Forefoot pad 130 may alternatively comprise separate medial and lateral pad portions (not shown) of suede or similar fabrics. For ease of illustration, a unitary forefoot pad 130 is described and depicted in the drawings, although some variation in the exact size, shape and proportions of forefoot pad 130 is intended to be encompassed by the described embodiments. As shown in Figure 5, forefoot pad 130 is intended to provide support under the medial and lateral metatarsophalangeal joints, as well as the lateral metatarsals, while not extending substantially under the arches of the foot. Thus, forefoot pad 130 has a medial portion 134 and a lateral portion 136, with the lateral portion 136 extending more posteriorly (and roughly in alignment with the lateral metatarsals) than the medial portion 134. For the depicted embodiments in which forefoot pad 130 comprises a layer of material, such material may be stitched by stiches 132 to a part of the tube 110 near toe portion 120 that is to underlie the ball of the foot. Alternative embodiments may involve the forefoot pad being adhered, embedded or impregnated into the tube material. Such alternative embodiments may employ a non-fabric material, such as a curable plastic or resin, that has frictional characteristics that provide less grip than human skin but more grip than the tube material. In further embodiments, the fabric forefoot pad may be combined with a non-fabric material disposed on the floor- engaging surface to provide selected characteristics of support, grip and/or cushioning.

Referring now to Figures 6 A, 6B and 6C, a method of manufacturing footwear 100 is described in further detail. Figure 6A shows a plan view of a tube of material 611 in a state 610 of partial formation into footwear 100. In state 610, forefoot pad 130 has been stitched or otherwise fixed to an area of tube 611 roughly adjacent to, but posterior of, the toe portion 120. Also, prior to state 610, part of the elastic fabric of the tube material 611 was folded over or under and stitched in order to form toe portion 120. Tube 611 may be manufactured as an endless, seamless straight tube using existing equipment. In state 610, tube 611 has a straight rear edge 612 and is flattened to define a first side edge 613 and an opposed second side edge 614 adjacent the rear edge 612. At this stage, rear edge 612 defines an opening bounded by the endless band (in lateral cross-section) of the tube material. Figure 6B shows a further state 620 of partial manufacture of footwear 100, following stitching of the tube fabric 611 to itself using stitches 163 along a central portion of rear edge 612, thereby at least partially closing off the opening at the rear end. Stitches 163 are made adjacent at least the centre part of the rear edge 612 and any excess material rearward of the stitching may be trimmed.

Also in state 620, portions of the tube 611 have been cut away from each lateral side and the side edges exposed by the cutting are overlocked with an elastic material, for example comprising elastic thread, and optionally covered with a suitably elastic trim. This cutting effectively defines a heel opening (extending from rear edge 612 to side edge 613) within edge 162 and an ankle opening (extending from rear edge 612 to side edge 614) within edge 161. Strap 160 extends between the heel and ankle openings and has first and second heel strap portions (only one of which is visible in Figure 6B) coupled together by stitches 163. In alternative embodiments, other means of affixing the heel strap portions together may be used. As is visible in Figure 6B, the cuts of the fabric tube 611 used to form the heel and arch opening are curved, extending from the rear edge 612 to the respective closest adjacent side edge 613 or 614. The edges 162, 161 of the heel and arch openings thus extend between about a quarter and a half of the total length of the footwear. The length of the cuts is dictated by the desired size of the openings and the desired coverage of the foot by the flexible tube material.

In Figure 6B, the cuts along edges 161, 162 are shown to be generally symmetrical, thereby defining heel and ankle openings of about the same dimensions (when not worn on a foot). Alternatively, the cuts need not be the same shape or length, thereby defining differently dimensioned openings for receiving the heel and ankle. In particular, in such alternative embodiments, the ankle opening may be formed to be slightly larger than the heel opening, rather than relying on greater stretch of the flexible tube material 110 around the ankle opening compared to the heel opening.

Figure 6C shows a further state 630 of manufacture, in which the partially formed footwear in state 620 is rolled or folded into an orientation that is 90 degrees from the state 620. Thus, the state 630 shows the tube 110 with the forefoot pad 130 and the openings defined by edges 161, 162 being generally longitudinally aligned. If the heel and arch openings are of roughly the same size, then the openings will also be substantially laterally aligned in state 630.

Once in the 90 degree rotated position shown in state 630, footwear 100 is formed by stitching part of toe portion 120 to itself by stitches 125 across the unitary opening that previously existed, thereby creating two or more toe openings.

In alternative embodiments, instead of using stitches 125 to directly couple opposed sides of toe portion 120, one or more flexible strips may be used to define the toe openings. Such strips may comprise bands of fabric or non-fabric materials that can be coupled to opposed sides of toe portion 120 by stitching, adhesion or other affixation means. If stitching 125 is used, as shown in Figure 6C, then it is preferred that such stitching be performed in such a way as to allow for sufficient strength of coupling between the opposed parts of toe portion 120 to avoid or mitigate tearing or separation, while also not being uncomfortable for the wearer. After the coupling of parts of toe portion 120 to opposed parts thereof at as many locations as is desired (corresponding to the number of toe openings desired to be provided across the toe end), the footwear 100 is complete and ready to wear.

Advantages associated with the use of medical-grade compressive stocking material for the described footwear embodiments include at least the following:

1. Support: the medical-grade compressive stocking material of footwear 100 may reduce the chance of a muscle tear from vibration and limit soft tissue damage. This helps to protect the dancer against injury and to decrease muscle soreness caused from exercise

2. Blood Circulation: the medical-grade compressive stocking material of footwear 100 may reduce the amount of blood pooling in the extremities and aids in encouraging blood flow from the foot back to the heart. This improves oxygenation and can give the dancer a feeling of having more energy in the feet and legs. This action can also reduce the feeling of tired and aching legs and feet.

3. Reduced Toxins: the medical-grade compressive stocking material of footwear 100 may reduce the accumulation of toxins in the blood stream due to increased blood circulation. This is important to dancers as it facilities muscle recovery during and after exercise. Because of this, dancers can be advised to wear the footwear 100 during rest periods.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as

"comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps.

Any discussion of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been included in the present specification is solely for the purpose of providing a context for the present invention. It is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present invention as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application.