Title:
Mesh Glove
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A glove or hand covering comprising a breathable material (such as a knitted or woven mesh) in the grasping area of the glove or hand covering. The breathable material presents a relatively high coefficient of friction, to increase the gripping or grasping force that the user can apply to the object grasped and further comprises a plurality of apertures or openings to provide the breathability characteristic.



Inventors:
Cabauy, John (Miami, FL, US)
Cabauy, Peter (Miami, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/424363
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
06/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BEUSSE WOLTER SANKS MORA & MAIRE, P. A. (390 NORTH ORANGE AVENUE, SUITE 2500, ORLANDO, FL, 32801, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hand covering, comprising: a grasping area comprising: a first material layer defining apertures therein for permitting air flow therethrough; and a second material layer overlying a first surface of the first material layer, the second material layer having a coefficient of friction greater than a coefficient of friction of the first material layer and disposed on an external surface of the grasping area.

2. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein an aperture opening dimension is between about 0.1 mm and about 15 mm.

3. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the first material layer comprises a mesh material having between about 5 and about 100 apertures per inch.

4. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the grasping area comprises a palm region of the hand covering.

5. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the grasping area comprises an inside-facing finger region of the hand covering.

6. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the grasping area comprises an inside-facing thumb region of the hand covering.

7. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the second material layer comprises one of latex, rubber, polyvinylchloride, silicon elastomer, acrylic and silicon, and wherein the second material layer maintains its coefficient of friction when the grasping area is subjected to moisture.

8. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the first material layer comprises a mesh formed from one of or a combination of polyester, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, Kevlar and cotton.

9. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein an aperture shape comprises round, oblong, hex, square, diamond, elliptical, random or rectangular.

10. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein an inner surface of the first material layer provides a perspiration wicking effect.

11. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein a thickness of the second material layer is between about 0.1 mm and 0.5 mm.

12. The hand covering of claim 1 further comprising a third material layer overlying a second surface of the first material layer, the third material layer having a coefficient of friction greater than a coefficient of friction of the first material layer, the third material layer disposed on an internal surface of the grasping area.

13. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein an aperture opening is sufficient to permit a wearer's skin to protrude through the apertures into contact with a grasped object.

14. The hand covering of claim 13 wherein the aperture opening is greater than about 0.8 mm.

15. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the second material layer is disposed non-uniformly on the first material layer.

16. The hand covering of claim 1 wherein the high coefficient of friction is greater than about 0.2.

17. A grasping region of a hand covering, comprising: a first and a second material layer each defining apertures therein for permitting air flow therethrough; an intermediate material layer between the first and the second material layers, the intermediate material layer comprising elongated elements configured to define openings between the elements; and the first material layer presenting a high coefficient of friction for objects held within the grasping region, the first material layer disposed on an external surface of the grasping region.

18. The grasping region of claim 17 wherein the intermediate layer comprises a knitted or woven filament defining openings between segments of the filament.

19. The grasping region of claim 17 wherein a thickness of the intermediate layer is between about 1 and about 10 millimeters.

20. A hand covering, comprising: a grasping area comprising a mesh material having a high coefficient of friction and defining apertures permitting airflow therethrough; and a cloth fabric comprising other areas of the hand covering.

Description:

The present application claims the benefit of the Provisional Patent Application No. 60/690,782 filed on Jun. 15, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a glove and specifically to a glove having improved breathability and user grip in the palm region of the glove.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

The external palm region of gloves for sports, work and other activities is often made of high coefficient of friction (COF) material to enhance the user's grip. Some examples of such high COF materials include acrylics, latex, leather, nitrile, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber, silicon, synthetic leather and vinyl. Unfortunately, these materials are intrinsically impervious to moisture and air circulation thereby trapping the users' sweat and heat generated by the user's hand within the glove. This problem is compounded by the fact that one of the highest concentrations of sweat glands in the human body is located in the palms of the hands. Gloves constructed from solid cloth-like breathable fabric materials with a high impedance to air flow are known. It is therefore desired to reduce this air flow impedance.

Those skilled in the art have attempted to alleviate sweat build up and heat entrapment in the palm region of the glove using a variety of glove materials and designs. In one example, combinations of breathable fabrics (which are known to have a relatively low COF) are strategically placed in areas of the glove not requiring a high gripping-force surface. In addition, it is known to use inner linings within the palm area to help wick the perspiration from the palm and transmit it to breathable other areas of the glove away from the palm. However, such inner linings tend to reduce the user's feel sensitivity and are relatively slow in removing moisture from the palm of the hands.

In another example, direct ventilation areas are created through pinhole or microscopic perforations on the backside of the glove, between the fingers and to a lesser extent in the palm and palm-finger area. Such pinhole perforations may not provide sufficient air flow to remove entrapped sweat and/or may not be located in the desired glove area to effectively reduce accumulated palm and hand moisture.

The breathable fabrics used in gloves are typically low COF materials that are knitted, woven or non-woven and are made of natural and synthetic fibers and yarns. These low COF materials are not suitable for the palm region of the glove if a good grip is desired. One example of a highly breathable fabric that can be used for gloves and other articles of clothing (e.g. sneakers and traffic safety vests) is a mesh fabric, also referred to as mesh. Meshes are knitted or woven and made of natural and/or synthetic fibers and yarns. They provide excellent breathability due to their screen like architecture that provides easy passage for air flow due to the visible repeating pattern of apertures throughout the material, but offer a relatively poor gripping surface.

Currently it is known in the art to use a class of mesh fabrics known as warp knitted mesh made of polyester or nylon for work or sports gloves. Patches of this mesh may be sewn on to the backside of the glove and/or between the fingers. The glove offers optimum ventilation in those areas due to the screen-like porosity of the mesh fabric's apertures. As noted above, other breathable fabrics used in gloves, such as knitted cotton, polyester, rayon, and other combination fabrics are porous but do not provide the same degree of breathability as a mesh fabric, since the former fabrics present a significantly higher impedance to air flow due to their smaller apertures.

Those skilled in the art have attempted to use mesh fabrics in the palm region of gloves due to its high breathability, but these attempts have not met with success due to the low COF grip of the mesh fabric. In the few cases where mesh fabrics are used in the palm region (e.g. cyclist gloves, lacrosse gloves and women's weight training gloves), their use has been limited only to small patches of mesh, with the remainder of the palm area comprising a less breathable but high grip material. Thus these glove designs attempt to mitigate the need for high grip and highly breathability by placing the mesh in areas of the palm where the need for a strong gripping force is perceived to be less.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment, the present invention comprises a hand covering, further comprising, a grasping area, further comprising a first material layer defining apertures therein for permitting air flow therethrough and a second material layer overlying a first surface of the first material layer, the second material layer having a coefficient of friction greater than a coefficient of friction of the first material layer and disposed on an external surface of the grasping area.

According to another embodiment, the present invention comprises a grasping region of a hand covering comprising a first and a second material layer each defining apertures therein for permitting air flow therethrough, an intermediate material layer between the first and the second material layers, the intermediate material layer comprising elongated elements configured to define openings between the elements and the first material layer presenting a high coefficient of friction for objects held within the grasping region, the first material layer disposed on an external surface of the grasping region.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention can be more easily understood and the advantages and uses thereof more readily apparent when the following detailed description of the present invention is read in conjunction with the figures wherein:

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate gloves constructed according to different embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS 3A, 3B and 3C illustrate different mesh materials for use in the gloves of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a section of a glove of the present invention gripping a golf club shaft.

FIG. 6 illustrates the air flow and sweat absorption mechanism of certain glove embodiments according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention using a spacer fabric construction.

In accordance with common practice, the various described device features are not drawn to scale, but are drawn to emphasize specific features relevant to the invention. Like reference characters denote like elements throughout the figures and text.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Before describing in detail the exemplary methods and apparatuses related to a glove having desired gripping and breathability properties, it should be observed that the present invention resides primarily in a novel and non-obvious combination of elements and process steps. So as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, certain conventional elements and steps have been presented with lesser detail, while the drawings and the specification describe in greater detail other elements and steps pertinent to understanding the invention.

The following embodiments are not intended to define limits as to the structure or method of the invention, but only to provide exemplary constructions. The embodiments are permissive rather than mandatory and illustrative rather than exhaustive.

The present invention asserts that perspiration can be adequately removed from the inside (palm/grip) glove (i.e., a hand covering) area consistent with providing a grip suitable for the desired use or application of the glove. Specifically, the invention relates to a glove that facilitates greater air circulation and sweat evaporation in the palm and finger grip areas while maintaining an excellent grip with a high COF mesh in the palm area.

A glove of the present invention comprises an external palm area surface formed partially or completely from a knitted or a woven mesh material, fabric, textile or cloth (referred to as a mesh). Those skilled in the art recognize that various processes (including both knitting processes and weaving processes) can be used to form a mesh material suitable for use according to the teachings of the present invention. Generally, a knitted material comprises substantially parallel courses of natural or synthetic yarn, fiber, filament, textile or any knittable product joined by interlocking loops, including interlocking knots. Generally, a woven material comprises two sets of natural or synthetic yarn, fiber, filament, textile or any weavable product that are combined or interlaced to form a cloth-like material.

Hand perspiration and moisture is transferred and vented from the palm through a plurality of holes or apertures in the mesh. According to different embodiments the mesh material presents a high coefficient of friction surface or the mesh fabric is treated with a coating to provide a high coefficient of friction surface while maintaining the plurality of holes that provide excellent breathability.

FIG. 1 illustrates a glove 20 comprising a grasping surface 22 further comprising a palm region 24, finger regions 26 and a thumb region 28. Generally, these are considered grip regions for the glove 20 since the gloved hand contacts a grasped object in these regions. The grasping surface 22 comprises a mesh fabric having a relatively high COF to permit the user to maintain a tight grip on the object. A specific COF value is dependent on the material employed, the material of the object that is grasped and the conditions of the interfacing surface (e.g., wet, dirty). In any case, the material should present a sufficiently high COF such that the user maintains a tight grip on the object for completing the desired task. COF values greater than about 0.2 should be capable of providing a sufficiently tight grip for the user.

A FIG. 2 embodiment of a glove 40 comprises a grasping surface 42 further comprising the palm region 24 and partial finger and thumb regions 46 and 48, respectively. The grasping surface 42 comprises a mesh material as described herein.

In the various described glove embodiments a composition of the glove backside material is not relevant to the inventive features and can therefore comprise any common glove material, cloth, fabric, etc.

Candidate mesh fabric materials for use as the grasping surface are constructed using known processes (e.g. warp knitting, weft knitting, woven etc.) and made of known materials (e.g., polyester, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, cotton, acrylic etc.). Suitable mesh fabrics are available from Apex Mills of Inwood, N.Y.; Fablok Mills, Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J. and Gehring Textiles, Inc. of Garden City, N.J.

Suitable mesh fabrics comprise a repeating or random pattern or relatively closely spaced holes/apertures for providing the desired features. See FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C. FIG. 3A illustrates substantially square mesh apertures and FIG. 3B illustrates elliptical mesh apertures. The thread knitting or weaving density is greater in the mesh fabric of FIG. 3A than that of FIG. 3B. In FIG. 3C a mesh fabric with varying aperture shapes and sizes repeats across the mesh fabric intermediate a zigzag knitting pattern. Other shaped apertures are also suitable, including for example, round, oblong, hex, square, diamond, elliptical and rectangular.

The grasping surface can comprise a single mesh aperture pattern and aperture size formed from a single thread size and type. Alternatively, different aperture patterns, aperture sizes, thread sizes and types can be used in different portions of the grasping surface. Thread types and sizes can be chosen to provide mesh fabric properties that are easy to integrate into the glove and comfortable for the user to wear. For example, threads may be chosen to be thicker for high durability and padding in work gloves, while thinner threads may be chosen for a more tactile skin feel in sports gloves.

Aperture sizes with openings ranging from about 0.1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters are all suitable for use with the present invention. Larger or smaller apertures may also be suitable, depending on the use for the glove. Variously shaped apertures are also suitable, including for example, round, oblong, hex, square, diamond, elliptical and rectangular. One example of an untreated mesh fabric for use with the glove of the present invention comprises a warp knitted mesh made of nylon thread (resulting in a nylon mesh material) with a thickness of about 0.013 inches, weighing about 2.2 ounces per square yard and having roughly 7-8 apertures per inch. In another embodiment, the mesh material comprises up to about at least 100 apertures per inch. In still another embodiment the mesh material comprises less than about 30 apertures per inch.

Preferably, the present invention comprises a mesh material formed from a high COF yarn, fiber, filament, thread. In another embodiment a mesh material formed from a material with a relatively low COF is treated with a high COF coating such as acrylic, latex, rubber, silicon elastomer or another coating that enhances the grip characteristics by increasing the mesh material COF. Such an untreated mesh fabric may be purchased from Apex Mills of Inwood, N.Y. The fabric comprises a warp knitted material of nylon thread with a thickness of about 0.013 inches, weighing about 2.2 ounces per square yard and having roughly 7-8 apertures per inch.

Coating thicknesses according to the present inventions vary depending on the intended glove application. For instance, thinner coatings tend to retain the original mesh substrate properties, such as flexibility and tensile strength. Relatively thin coatings do not substantially reduce the aperture (opening) size. Thicker coatings can increase padding (cushioning) between the user's hand skin and the object as well as provide more protection from abrasion and the elements when the glove is worn. However, such a relatively thicker coating tends to reduce the aperture size. It is preferable that the aperture size of the coated mesh material be within the approximate range of about 0.1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters.

The mesh fabrics with a relatively low COF may be treated with high COF coatings before or after the fabric is knitted or woven. However, it is preferable to apply the coating after the fabric has been knitted or woven into a mesh. Some exemplary processes that may be used to apply high COF coatings to mesh or knitted fabrics are the following as well as others known in the art: curtain coating, foam spray, gap coating (knife over roll, floating knife, etc.), gravure coating, hot melt coating, immersion dip coating, slot die coating, spraying, etc.

The exemplary mesh fabric identified above having a thickness of about 0.013 inches, weighing about 2.2 ounces per square yard and having roughly 5-10 apertures per inch is suitable for coating according to these methods. Preferably the coating is less than about 0.3 mm thick to increase the COF and enhance the user's grip when the coated material is used to form the palm region of a glove or other hand covering.

According to one embodiment, aperture opening sizes (i.e., prior to application of the high-COF coating) of a low COF material that does not provide sufficient COF in the glove grip area for the intended use of the glove can be in the range of about 1.5 to about 1.8 millimeter. After coating according to the teachings of the present invention the mesh opening size is reduced, but it has been determined that remaining opening dimensions can provide acceptable breathability and adequate grip when the coated mesh material is employed in the palm region of the glove.

According to the present invention the mesh material can be treated on one side or both sides, depending on the intended use for the glove. For example, a high COF material can be applied to both surfaces of the mesh fabric and thus when used to form a glove palm region, the COF between the hand and the glove (an internal surface of the glove) and the COF between the glove and the grasped object (an external surface of the glove) are both increased. In an embodiment having only one surface coated with a COF material, the coated surface is preferably located on the outside or external surface of the glove to increase the friction to the grasped object.

In another preferred embodiment of a thinly coated mesh material for use in the palm or grip region of a glove, the uncoated nylon mesh material referenced above is treated with a silicon elastomer, e.g., LSR 3631 available from Dow Corning or Midland, Mich. The silicon coating is applied thinly to the nylon mesh using a gravure coating process known in the art. Using this method the coating may be carefully controlled to apply the coating to one or both sides and to form the thin coating layer that raises the COF of the mesh material without substantially closing the apertures that provide breathability for a glove constructed from this material. For example, in one case the applied coating is about 11 microns thick. In another embodiment this coating is applied to only one side of the mesh material.

Either a coated or uncoated mesh fabrics can be used to for the grip portion of a sports or work glove as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 using common techniques known in the art. In the case of sports gloves, a coated nylon mesh glove can provide sufficient breathability to the user's hands allowing extended wear without degradation of the user's grip due to sweat accumulation. A thin mesh (e.g. less than about 0.8 millimeters) provides the user with a skin feel for grasped objects such as a baseball bat, golf club, football or racquet, etc. while also protecting against the formation of calluses and blisters. In an embodiment where the mesh apertures are sufficiently large (e.g. an opening size of more than about one millimeter), the mesh material provides direct skin contact with the grasped object, enhancing the user's feel and control of the object. This feature provides the user with a touch feel sensitivity that is important in sports such as golf.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a user's skin surface 60 protruding through apertures 64 of a mesh material 65 as the user grips a golf club shaft 66. Note that in this case the user's grip is enhanced by having a combination of skin and mesh friction surfaces linking the hand to the shaft 66.

Coating one surface of the mesh fabric with a material having a high COF and using the coated surface as the outside-facing surface for the material of a glove grip area, retains the intrinsic absorption and texture properties of the mesh on the inside-facing surface of the glove. FIG. 6 is a close-up illustration of a palm side of a thinly-coated mesh glove showing three processes that reduce sweat buildup on the user's hand, i.e. air ventilation, evaporation of sweat, and absorption or wicking away of sweat onto an internal layer of the mesh. Using a mesh material with a high COF coating on only one surface promotes the wicking action and thus offers better sweat dissipation than a mesh material having a COF coating on both surfaces. The degree of air ventilation and sweat evaporation is responsive to the mesh aperture size. Further, convective heat flow from the hand through the apertures reduces the hand temperature.

Glove variations within the scope of the present invention are achieved using different mesh types, that is, matching glove use with the mesh type. Generally, a mesh type is distinguished by thread size and diameter, dimensions and pattern of the mesh openings, the mesh manufacturing process, the mesh materials and compositions and coatings applied to the mesh material. For example, in sports glove where a skin feel is desired (e.g. football, racquet ball, golf etc.) a relatively large mesh opening size is preferred to provide the user with direct skin contact through the mesh apertures.

In a work environment where hand protection against blisters caused by repetitious actions (e.g. swinging a hammer) is important, a mesh fabric with a relatively thick coating is desired. An exemplary glove comprises a thickly coated mesh material, such as a knitted polyester mesh coated via a spraying or foaming process with PVC or a silicon elastomer, where the coating may be several millimeters thick. A glove using such a PVC mesh provides a comfortable padding in the palm and finger area of a glove. With a suitable choice of aperture sizes and coating type and thickness the glove can provide a breathable alternative to prior art PVC work gloves. A thick formed PVC mesh glove or a thick foamed silicon mesh glove provides padding and protects the user from abrasion and the elements while providing breathability and improved grip to the palm area.

Another embodiment of the present invention incorporates a breathable internal liner with an outer surface comprising a mesh fabric according to the teachings of the present invention. In lieu of an internal liner, in another embodiment a spacer fabric may be used. Spacer fabrics are extremely breathable and lightweight. As shown in FIG. 7, a spacer fabric consists of three layers: a top face layer 70, a connecting layer 72 and a bottom face layer 74, with air flow indicated by arrowheads 80.

The top face and bottom face layers are typically constructed of highly breathable fabrics such as mesh fabrics as taught by the present invention. The connecting layer is knitted or woven in two or three dimensions using monofilaments or other types of yarns or threads. The connecting layer generally provides 1 to 10 millimeters of compression resistant cushioning and is extremely breathable due to its relatively hollow knitting architecture. When the top face layer 70 and/or the bottom face layer 74 comprise a breathable material as taught by the present invention, an entirely breathable spacer fabric is formed.

A mesh glove according to the present invention can be constructed with a spacer fabric where the top face layer is external on the palm side of the glove and comprises a mesh fabric with a high COF yarn, fiber or thread, or a mesh that is treated with a high COF coating. The intermediate layer or connecting layer is constructed using methods known in the art as described above, and the bottom face layer may be made of a solid face breathable material or preferably a mesh fabric. The bottom face mesh fabric (i.e., in contact with the user's skin) may be made of high COF yarn, fiber or thread and it may be treated or untreated with a high COF coating depending on the user's need for internal grip to the glove. In an embodiment where the top and bottom faces comprise mesh fabrics it is not necessary that both surfaces comprise the same mesh fabric material. The mesh fabrics can differ in knitting styles, materials etc.

In yet another embodiment, a glove can be formed entirely of mesh material and only the grasping region coated with a high COF material. Such an embodiment provides maximum breathability for the entire hand and appropriate gripping forces for the palm area or the palm area and the finger/thumb areas.

The various embodiments of a glove of the present invention provide improved breathability and grip via a high COF mesh fabric. The mesh fabric may be knitted of high COF yarn, fiber or thread or the mesh may be treated with a high COF coating. The coating may be applied before or after the knitting process, although it is preferably applied after the mesh has been knitted. The high COF coating may be applied to one or both mesh surfaces depending on the glove user's needs. For instance, the internal side of the mesh may be left uncoated due to the mesh fabric's relatively soft and comfortable texture against the user's skin. In addition to comfort, the internal side of the mesh fabric may be able to better absorb or wick away sweat into the mesh fiber matrix if the internal side of the mesh is left uncoated. Alternatively, an internally coated mesh can provide an enhanced internal grip to the user. This is often needed in high hand movement applications, such as sports, where the looseness of a glove to the hand can degrade performance. Finally, the external high COF coated mesh allows the glove user to grip surfaces while maintaining breathability and moisture control in the palm of the hands.

A mesh treated with a high COF coating that is applied non-uniformly on the mesh fabric (e.g. beading, varying thicknesses, etc.) increases the contact surface area between the hand and the grasped object and thus increases the COF between the two contact surfaces. A non-uniform coating on the internal surface increases the COF between the hand and the glove.

While the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalent elements may be substituted for the elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. The scope of the present invention further includes any combination of elements from the various embodiments set forth herein. In addition, modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation to the teachings of the present invention without departing from its essential scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.