Title:
MOISTURE MANAGEMENT SOCK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A moisture management sock is disclosed. One example embodiment includes one or more channels underneath the sock to transfer moisture from one or both of the heel or toes on the bottom of the sock. Some embodiments transfer moisture from the bottom of the sock around the arch to the top of the foot. Some embodiments include elements for drying the heel and/or toe and transferring it through the arch around the top of the foot.



Inventors:
Dahlgren, Ray (West Linn, OR, US)
Application Number:
13/956322
Publication Date:
06/12/2014
Filing Date:
07/31/2013
Assignee:
DAHLGREN RAY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B17/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Forrest Law Office, P.C. (2388 NE 12th Way Hillsboro OR 97124)
Claims:
1. A moisture management sock comprising: a first knit portion having hydrophobic yarn in relation to a second knit portion, the first knit portion substantially wrapping the instep portion of the sock, the first knit portion including a plurality of elongated finger portions spaced-apart from one another, said elongated finger portions defined by a respective edge; and a second knit portion having hydrophilic yarn in relation to the first knit portion, the second knit portion disposed within the first knit portion and substantially on the bottom of the instep portion of the sock, the second knit portion including a plurality of elongated finger portions defined by a respective edge, and sized and dimensioned to intermesh with the respective elongated finger portions of the first knit portion such that an improved moisture transfer interface is formed by the hydrophilic yarn absorbing moisture from a foot and the hydrophobic yarn transferring the moisture from the second knit portion.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/678,031, filed Jul. 31, 2012.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This disclosure relates generally to all types of socks, and more particularly to a sock that aids in moisture distribution, wicking, and evaporation using hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns which work to respectively absorb and transfer moisture.

2. Prior Art

The moisture that occurs or develops in the foot area may be uncomfortable and can increase odds for blisters or other foot ailments. Socks made from significant amounts of hydrophobic (i.e. non-absorbent) yarn, such as synthetic resinous material (petroleum based), can become uncomfortably wet underfoot due to impeded air flow and heat retentive characteristics of the yarn. However, socks made predominantly from hydrophilic yarn may soak moisture from a foot but then hold the moisture in the sock. There is need for an improved sock in which moisture collection and disposition are better managed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side view of one embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the embodiment of a moisture management sock in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of the embodiment of a moisture management sock in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows a side view of an embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 5 shows a top view of the embodiment of a moisture management sock in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 shows a bottom view of one embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 7 shows a bottom view of one embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 8 shows a bottom view of one embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 9 shows a bottom view of one embodiment of a moisture management sock.

FIG. 10 shows an enlarged view of the stitch loop construction in a boundary area between hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns in a moisture management sock.

FIG. 11A is a schematic diagram illustrating a square-wave pattern of the moisture transfer interface of the interlocking finger portions.

FIG. 11B is a schematic diagram of the interlocking finger portions of FIG. 11A, in an assembled view.

FIG. 12A is a schematic diagram of the first and second knit portions of the sock assembly, in a disassembled view, illustrating an alternative embodiment sawtooth pattern of the moisture transfer interface of the interlocking finger portions.

FIG. 12B is a schematic diagram of the sawtooth pattern interlocking finger portions of FIG. 12A, in an assembled view.

FIG. 13A is a schematic diagram illustrating a square-wave pattern of the interlocking finger portions having sawtooth pattern edges.

FIG. 13B is a schematic diagram of the sawtooth edge interlocking finger portions of FIG. 13A, in an assembled view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure relates to multiple embodiments of a moisture management sock with various combinations of yarn to absorb moisture from wet parts of a foot and transfer the moisture to drier parts of the sock. One example embodiment includes one or more channels underneath the sock to transfer moisture from one or both of the heel or toes on the bottom of the sock. Some embodiments transfer moisture from the bottom of the sock around the arch to the top of the foot. Some embodiments include elements for drying the heel and/or toe and transferring it through the arch around the top of the foot. These and other embodiments are described in more detail in the following description.

FIGS. 1-3 show one embodiment of a moisture management sock 100 with zones of hydrophobic yarn 10, 12 and 18 and zones of hydrophilic yarn 13, 15, 17 and 19. Sock 100 includes interposing channels or fingers of hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns in regions 21, 22 and 23 as illustrated in the figure between the boundary of heel and instep and toe and instep. In this embodiment, band 17 of hydrophilic yarn wraps around the front portion of the foot while fingers or channels 19 extend from the arch of the foot around the instep and into the zone of hydrophobic yarn on the top of the instep 12. Other embodiments may have a different arrangement of bands or channels of hydrophobic and hydrophilic yarn. Some embodiments include features from one or more socks disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,898,007, 5,511,323, 6,082,146, 6,341,505 and 7,552,603, the contents of which are incorporated herein for all purposes.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the sole of sock 100 includes a heel portion 15, one or more channels 19, a band 17, and toe portion 13 comprising hydrophilic yarn and band 18 and zone 14 comprising hydrophobic yarn. In other embodiments the zones of hydrophilic yarn may primarily comprise hydrophilic yarn but have blends of yarn and the zones of hydrophobic yarn may primarily comprise hydrophobic yarn but have blends of yarn. In some embodiments the hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarn may not be the primary composition of their respective zones but may have enough differential hydrophobic and hydrophilic yarn composition to still operate to wick moisture from wet areas of the sock to evaporative areas of the sock, as shown in the example in FIG. 10.

In further discussion of sock 100 as illustrated in FIG. 3, interposing channels or fingers of hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns in regions 21 and 23 operate as a conduit for moisture in toe and heel regions 13 and 15 to the wicking hydrophobic sections 14 and 18 (and ultimately 12 and/or 10) of sock 100. Further aiding in the transfer of moisture from hydrophilic sections 13 and 15 are channel(s) 19 and band 17. These hydrophilic sections operate to draw moisture through hydrophobic sections 14 and 18 from heel 15 and toe 13 regions by capillary action. Some embodiments may utilize sections 21 and/or 23 without use of channel(s) 19 or bands 17. Further, some embodiments may utilize a different combination of bands or channels, including only channels or bands or even a singular channel or band. In yet another embodiment, any combination of one or more channels or bands may be used exclusive to the interposed regions 21 and 23, however, a combination of interposed regions 21 and 23 and one or more channels or bands may wick more moisture from a wet sole of sock 100.

In one embodiment, the first knit portion 13 includes a plurality of elongated channels or finger portions in zone 23 that are spaced-apart from one another and defined by a respective edge. The channel or finger portions in zone 23 (and zones 21 and 22) increase the boundary length between the hydrophilic yarns and hydrophobic yarns as well as operate as channels to wick or pump moisture from the wetter hydrophilic yarn zones to the drier hydrophobic yarn zones. By increasing the surface contact at the transfer interface, moisture flow is promoted across the interface.

The moisture management sock 100 of the present embodiment may include three primary yarn zones: the cup-shaped, and channeled first knit portion 13 at the toe of the sock; a smaller cup-shaped third knit portion 15 at the heel of the sock; and a generally tubular and channeled second knit portion 12 at instep and over the instep. However, other embodiments may have different shaped sections for these same primary zones or may have a different number or arrangement of primary yarn zones.

In the present embodiment, the channeled first knit portion 13 is predominately comprised of hydrophilic yarn (i.e. characterized as tending to absorb moisture from the toe area of the wearer's foot), particularly at the underside of the wearer's toes which the sock supports and cushions. In this way, at the top and bottom regions of the first knit portion 13 the plurality of alternating channel or finger portions are disposed which extend generally rearward in a direction toward instep portion 12.

Further, the heel portion 15 of sock 100, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, may predominately comprise hydrophilic yarn (i.e. characterized as tending to absorb moisture from the heel area of the wearer's foot). This is particularly true at the underside portion of the wearer's heel which the sock supports and cushions. Heel portion 15 also distributes moisture to the instep 12 using channels or fingers of interspersed hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarn as shown in zone 21 in FIGS. 1 and 3.

The channeled portions 21, 22 and 23 at the instep of the sock are located between the toe portion 13, the heel portion 15 and the instep 12 (top, bottom and/or sides). Moisture absorbed from heel and toe regions is transferred to the instep 12, and on to the exterior thereof as by wicking and evaporation. This interlocking channeled design significantly accelerates and improves the amount of moisture drawn from the toe and heel portions, through the arch of the foot, and to the top of the foot and the vertical tube 10 of the sock.

In some embodiments, interposed channel regions 21, 22 and 23 work in combination to wick moisture from heel and toe regions of socks 100 and 200 to hydrophobic yarns in either instep 12 or leg 10 and therefore by capillary action dry the socks 100 and 200. In yet another embodiment, interposed channel regions 21, 22 and 23 may be used with one or more channels 19, 19b and/or bands 17. In some embodiments, the horizontal and vertical yarn placement in the arch of the sock improves the movement of moisture to the top of the foot and up the leg.

Further, some embodiments may be tailored to specific uses by adjusting the design or number of horizontal zones placed in the instep of the sock 100. In this way, the capillary action can be increased or decreased according to the wearers need. More strenuous activity may utilize more hydrophobic bands (for example: Hiking, Skiing and running), while dress socks and casual wear may utilize fewer hydrophobic bands or different geometries.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show side and top views of an embodiment of a moisture management sock 200. Sock 200 comprises a similar design to moisture management sock 100 but includes additional channels 19b as shown on the lateral top of the instep 12 as illustrated. Isolated channels of hydrophilic material as depicted in 19b can create a conduit to draw moisture by capillary action from the sole of the foot, from channel 19 or from the heel 15 and toe 13 regions and to then become a reservoir of moisture to be wicked by capillary action through the top of instep 12 or up the leg 10 of sock 200.

FIG. 6-9 show bottom views of additional embodiments of a moisture management sock. The embodiment in FIG. 6 includes multi-zone channels that include both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions of interposed channels (such as in interposed regions 21, 22 and 23). These multi-zone channels can more quickly absorb moisture from the heel and toe regions of a sock and therefore increase the amount transferred to the hydrophobic center portion of the sock to wick away from wet sock areas.

The embodiment in FIG. 7 includes channels and a band on the foot arch as well as semi-circular homophobic regions placed within heel and toe regions yet still connected to homophobic material through the arch of the foot. The embodiment in FIG. 7 increases boundary surface area between hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns while having a large wicking channel connecting heel and toe portions with the hydrophobic yarns in the arch. FIG. 8 depicts a similar design as the semi-circular embodiment in FIG. 7 but utilizes tear drop shapes interposed into the heel and toe as opposed to semi-circular regions. FIG. 9 illustrates an embodiment with arrow shaped channels into the heel and toe regions. In some embodiments, the channels can be rounded at the edges for better design aesthetics and ease of manufacturing. The channels can also change to better incorporate with the end use of the product. For example, if the sock is to be used in primarily dress applications and the aesthetic of visible channels above the shoe is deemed undesirable, the channeling and zones may be modified accordingly yet still retain their function.

FIG. 10 shows an enlarged view of the stitch loop construction in a boundary area between hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns in a moisture management sock. As shown in the portion of knit fabric of FIG. 10, needle wales W-3, W-4 and W-5 are located in the upper half of the foot and needle wales W-1 and W-2 are located in the lower half or sole of the foot. The portion of the knit fabric in courses C-1, C-2 and C-3 is located in the instep portion of second knit portion 30 and to the left of the edge 16 while the courses C-4 and C-5 are located in the ball portion of the toe first knit portion 31. In the pictured embodiment, the entire foot is knit throughout of a hydrophobic binder or body yarn B while additional hydrophilic yarn C (striped in FIG. 10) is knit in plated relationship with the body yarn B in the first and third knit portions 13, 15 (toe and heel portions of FIG. 1), and additional hydrophobic yarn N (plain in FIG. 10) is knit in plated relationship with the body yarn B in the second knit portion 12 (instep and sole portion). As shown, terry loops T are formed of the yarns C and N in the sinker wales between the needle wales W-1, W-2 and W-2, W-3.

In some embodiments, the hydrophobic body yarn B forms a base or ground fabric and is much smaller than the additional hydrophobic yarn N and the additional hydrophilic yarn C. For example, in an athletic type sock, it may be preferred that the body yarn B be a textured stretch nylon of two-ply, 100 denier (total of 200 denier), the additional hydrophobic yarn N be an acrylic, such as Creslan, of two ends, 24 single count (equivalent to 443 denier), and the additional hydrophilic yarn C be a 12 single count cotton yarn (equivalent to 443 denier). In this particular example, the amount of the hydrophobic body yarn B is substantially one-half the amount of the hydrophilic yarns C in the first and third knit portions 13, 15 and the hydrophobic yarn N in the second knit portion 12.

Thus, the first and third knit portions 13, 15 (heel and toe portions) are knit predominately of hydrophilic yarn while the second knit portion 12 (instep and sole portion) is knit entirely of hydrophobic yarn. Opposite ends of the second knit portion 12 are joined edgewise or coursewise to the adjacent ends of the corresponding first and third knit portions 13, 15 so that moisture absorbed from the wearer's foot by the predominately hydrophilic yarn C in the first and third knit portions 13, 15 (toe and heel portions) is transferred by wicking action into the predominately hydrophobic yarn N in the second knit portion 12 (instep portion) to be evaporated therefrom, as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 10, showing the path of travel of the moisture from the first knit portion (toe) 13 to the second knit portion (instep) 12. As shown in FIG. 1, the toe portion 13 also includes an adjacent portion of the foot of the sock which is adapted to engage and underlie the ball of the wearer's foot. This ball portion is also knit predominately of the hydrophilic yarn C.

While the hydrophobic body yarn B is knit throughout the sock, for the purpose of providing sufficient stretch to the sock to fit a range of foot sizes, it is to be understood that the sock can be knit without a body yarn. In this instance, the first knit portion (toe) 13 and the third knit portion (heel) 15 will be knit entirely of hydrophilic yarn C and the second knit portion (instep) 12 will be knit entirely of the hydrophobic yarn N. Thus, when the first knit portion (toe) 13 and the third knit portion (heel) 15 are described as being knit predominately of the hydrophilic yarn, this is intended to also mean that these zones can be knit entirely of the hydrophilic yarn.

Example hydrophobic yarns include alpaca wool, merino wool, cotton, and other natural yarns or suitable variants. These natural fibers are hydrophilic and therefore absorb moisture. However, moisture evaporates relatively slowly from this type of fiber due to its tendency to absorb the moisture. When the natural fibers are enclosed in a warm environment, such as a shoe or boot, and active or at rest, the foot continuously produces moisture. In this way the natural fibers absorb the moisture and create wet socks which may cause a variety of unwanted ailments. However, socks made with hydrophobic yarns do not easily absorb and retain the moisture and because of that, can leave the foot wet and uncomfortable. Additionally, synthetic fibers often operate as thermal insulators, compounding the problem with increased foot moisture. Embodiments disclosed herein use hydrophilic yarns in areas where moisture is produced and hydrophobic yarns to draw moisture out of the hydrophilic areas. In this way, capillary action pulls the moisture toward the drier hydrophobic fibers where it can more readily evaporate.

FIGS. 11A-B illustrate a first knit portion 11 and second knit portion 13 featuring square-wave style channels. FIG. 11A depicts an enlarged top plan view of the first knit portion 11 and second knit portion 13, in a disassembled state, that more clearly illustrate respective interface edges 11d and 13d. FIG. 11B depicts first knit portion 11 and second knit portion 13 in an assembled state so as to more clearly illustrate resulting contact interface 16.

It will be appreciated, however, that other finger or channel portion sizes and shapes may be incorporated as long as the surface area of the moisture transfer interface significantly increased, thus promoting enhanced moisture transfer thereacross. By way of example, the finger portions or channels can be of unequal length, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Alternatively, the interfacing edges between the interlocking channel portions may be sawtoothed, which would function to increase the interface surface area contact even more. FIG. 12A and FIG. 12B, for instance, illustrate one implementation of such a sawtooth pattern. FIG. 12A depicts first knit portion 11 and second knit portion 13 in a disassembled state, while FIG. 12B depicts the interlocking first knit portion 11 and second knit portion 13 in an assembled state.

Alternatively, FIGS. 13A and 13B illustrate yet another moisture transfer interface having a square wave pattern with sawtooth pattern edges. FIG. 13A depicts the first knit portion 11 and the second knit portion 13 in the disassembled state, while FIG. 13B represents the interlocking knit portions in an assembled state.

It will further be understood that the configurations and/or approaches described herein are exemplary in nature, and that these specific embodiments or examples are not to be considered in a limiting sense, because numerous variations are possible. The specific routines or methods described herein may represent one or more of any number of processing strategies. As such, various acts illustrated may be performed in the sequence illustrated, in other sequences, in parallel, or in some cases omitted. Likewise, the order of any of the above-described processes is not necessarily required to achieve the features and/or results of the embodiments described herein, but is provided for ease of illustration and description.

The subject matter of the present disclosure includes all novel and nonobvious combinations and subcombinations of the various processes, systems and configurations, and other features, functions, acts, and/or properties disclosed herein, as well as any and all equivalents thereof.