Title:
Socks having match indicators
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Each garment in a set of garment includes a garment match indicator. The garment match indicators comprise a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to the garments in the set and have a color different than the color of the set of garments. Each of the garments in the set is thereby matchable to the other garments by the garment match indicators. Embodiments of the present invention are particularly useful for matching socks in a pair of socks with respect to color, size, ownership, original pairing, and other characteristics.



Inventors:
Daniel, Marcy Lynn (Lewisville, NC, US)
Decosta-smith, Melissa (Winston-Salem, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/717231
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
11/19/2003
Assignee:
DANIEL MARCY L.
DECOSTA-SMITH MELISSA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41B11/00; (IPC1-7): A41B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
J. Michael Boggs (Winston-Salem, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A set of garments, each of the garments in the set comprising: a garment match indicator comprising a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to the garments in the set, the garment match indicator having a color different than the color of the garment, wherein each of the garments is matchable to the other garments by the garment match indicator.

2. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises the name of the color of the garments.

3. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises the name of the size of the garments.

4. The set of garments of claim 3, further comprising a plurality of sets of garments, each set of garments having a different size, wherein the name of the size of the garments for each set of garments comprises a unique color.

5. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises a numeric indicator.

6. The set of garments of claim 5, further comprising a plurality of sets of garments, wherein each set of garments comprises a numeric indicator unique to that set.

7. The set of garments of claim 4, wherein each set of garments comprises a numeric indicator unique to that set.

8. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises an indication of left or right.

9. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises a day of the week.

10. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises an indication of when the garment is intended to be worn.

11. The set of garments of claim 1, further comprising a brand identifier.

12. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator is integrally formed in the garment.

13. The set of garments of claim 12, wherein the garment match indicator is knit in the garment.

14. The set of garments of claim 1, wherein the garment match indicator comprises a separate material attached to the garment.

15. The set of garments of claim 14, wherein the garment match indicator is attached to the garment by a heat transfer mechanism.

16. A pair of socks, each sock comprising: a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side, the foot portion further comprising a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion; and a sock match indicator disposed on the bottom of the foot portion comprising a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair, the color of the sock match indicator being different than the color of the sock, wherein each of the socks of the pair is matchable to the other by the sock match indicator.

17. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the color of the socks.

18. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the size of the socks.

19. The pair of socks of claim 18, further comprising a plurality of pairs of socks, each pair of socks having a different size, wherein the name of the size of the socks for each pair of socks comprises a unique color.

20. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises a numeric indicator.

21. The pair of socks of claim 20, further comprising a plurality of pairs of socks, wherein each pair of socks comprises a numeric indicator unique to that pair.

22. The pair of socks of claim 19, wherein each pair of socks comprises a numeric indicator unique to that pair.

23. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises an indication of left or right.

24. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises a day of the week.

25. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises an indication of when the sock is intended to be worn.

26. The pair of socks of claim 16, further comprising a brand identifier.

27. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator is integrally formed in the sock.

28. The pair of socks of claim 27, wherein the sock match indicator is knit in the sock.

29. The pair of socks of claim 16, wherein the sock match indicator comprises a separate material attached to the sock.

30. The pair of socks of claim 29, wherein the sock match indicator is attached to the sock by a heat transfer mechanism.

31. A method of making a pair of matchable socks, each sock having a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side, the foot portion further comprising a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion, the method comprising: programming a circular knitting machine to knit a sock match indicator on the bottom of the foot portion of each sock, the sock match indicator comprising a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair, the color of the sock match indicator being different than the color of the socks; beginning to knit a first of the socks in the pair on the knitting machine; knitting the sock match indicator on the bottom of the foot portion of the first sock as programmed; completing the knitting of the remainder of the first sock; and repeating the beginning, knitting, and completing steps for a second of the socks in the pair.

32. The method of making a pair of socks in claim 31, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the color of the socks.

33. The method of making a pair of socks in claim 31, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the size of the socks.

34. A method of making a pair of matchable socks, each sock having a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side, the foot portion further comprising a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion, the method comprising: providing a transfer label comprising a sock match indicator comprising a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair, the color of the sock match indicator being different than the color of the sock; aligning the transfer label with the bottom of the foot portion of a first sock of the pair of socks; subjecting the transfer label to conditions sufficient to transfer the label to the bottom of the foot portion of the first sock; and repeating the preceding steps for a second sock of the pair of socks.

35. The method of making a pair of socks in claim 34, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the color of the socks.

36. The method of making a pair of socks in claim 34, wherein the sock match indicator comprises the name of the size of the socks.

Description:

COPYRIGHT NOTIFICATION

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document and its attachments contain material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to garments, and in particular, to socks having match indicators useful for identifying the color and/or other characteristics of the socks and for matching the socks.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The problem of sorting and matching garments such as socks is well known. For example, in a family having several people including children, a relatively large number of socks may be washed in a single load of laundry. Often, several loads of laundry are washed and dried before sorting the clothing for storing away. Sock sorting difficulty increases because of the need to establish ownership of the socks, especially when socks are purchased as “one size fits all.” In addition, it is common practice for people, especially children, to have a relatively large number of pairs of socks kept in a single drawer, in unsorted fashion. As noted above, it is often difficult to sort out a matching pair of socks without spending an excessive amount of time searching. This problem is compounded where more than one person's socks are kept in a single drawer.

It is particularly difficult to distinguish socks when they are made from similar fabric and are of closely resembling colors. Some socks, for example, dress socks, are often made in dark, solid colors. As a result, when a week's laundry is done there are many single dark socks which are difficult and tedious to pair back together. A further disadvantage, particularly with dark-colored socks, is that in poor lighting conditions, as during early morning hours, it is difficult to select a color-matched pair of socks for donning. A mismatched set of garments, such as differently colored socks, is often discovered when the wearer is in situations that can cause embarrassment. A still further disadvantage in sock-sorting is that when a person has more than one pair of identical socks, bought at different times, it is difficult to pair those socks based on the age of the pairs.

Therefore, it is desirable, particularly when sorting laundry for multiple persons, to be able to match and sort socks into specific pairs. Unless means exists to identify socks constituting like pairs, the socks can be mismatched as to ownership, color, or original pairing. Accordingly, it is desirable to provide socks having some type of marking indicia to facilitate the sorting process, or otherwise aid the matching of mated pairs of socks.

Various devices and means have been used to address sock sorting and matching. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,785,413 to Kook avoids the identification problem by fastening a plurality of pairs of socks along a single strip so that they stay together as pairs during laundering. Socks thusly fastened can invariably break loose or, in the alternative, get wrapped about other laundry pieces, causing damage to delicate garments and inconvenience to the operator in separating the laundry items after a washing and/or drying cycle. Means to fasten pairs of socks to each other during laundering are generally not preferred because of the potential for entanglements and damage to the attached fabric. Furthermore, because of the constricted access, it becomes difficult for the socks to be cleaned in the regions where the fastening means are attached.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,096,655 discloses a tag device for attaching to a fabric with which the fabric or a garment can be identified. By placing a tag on each of a pair of articles of clothing, such as socks, the device can be used to match the paired articles. U.S. Pat. No. 5,367,809 to Ross discloses attaching single piece devices to socks by folding the devices over the edges of the socks. Portions of the sock walls are captured as the devices snap shut with the male ends penetrating the sock walls and fastening to their respective female ends. These devices are provided in pairs with similar indicia comprising color of the device, letters, or numbers for matching like pairs of socks. Such device colors may be used to establish ownership. However, the device is limited in that it can only be applied at or near the edge of the sock fabric, thereby allowing only a minimum of material to be captured and thus susceptible to tearing and/or other damage from any pull on the device. The disclosed indicia provide limited identification ability, being unable to identify or differentiate between socks of different colors.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,067,659 to Reichle discloses tagging devices for attaching to the two socks comprising a mated pair, which can be used for sorting and mating the socks by ownership, color, or original match. The tagging devices are a color similar to the sock color and are stamped with permanent indicia, such as a spot of color that vividly contrasts with the primary color of the device and the socks. A disadvantage of using such devices to identify garments is that the devices must be separately manufactured and then attached to garments at some additional time and expense.

Socks have previously been marked in a variety of manners for numerous reasons. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,104,892 to Thorneburg discloses a cushioned-sole tube sock which is marked in order to show the proper wearing position of the sock on the foot. That is, the Thorneburg sock has a special cushioned sole formed of terry loops designed to be worn under the ball and heel of the foot. The markings on the sock consist of colored stripes which indicate the location of the terry loops. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 3,995,322 to Chesebro discloses a cushioned top sock having cushioning to protect the ankle during wear of a ski boot. Color bands are used to indicate the location of the specially cushioned areas of the sock and ultimately are used for proper positioning of the sock on the foot during wear.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,958,388 to Madden discloses socks having size indicating stripes at the calf end of the stock. One stripe, for example, may indicate a short length sock, two stripes may indicate a medium length stock, and three stripes may indicate a full length sock. Accordingly, such size indicating stripes located near the calf end of a sock result in indicia on the sock that are visible when worn, at least when such socks are worn without long pants. A disadvantage of such size indicators is that it is often desirable to not have indicia (such as colored stripes) that are visible.

Various approaches have been used to identify the color of socks in addition to the actual color of the fabric from which the socks are made. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,402 to Fincher discloses a sock having a colored identifying portion (a band of fabric) disposed between the toe and heel. The color identifying portion is different in color than the color of the remaining foot portion of the sock, and may be disposed on the bottom, top, or around the entire foot portion.

Alternatively, U.S. Pat. No. 5,708,984 to Shofner discloses that the dominant color of a sock is identified by a symbol, numeral, or the distinctive color of a thread stitched or embroidered into a portion of the sock, such as the toe seam, that is covered by a shoe. In yet another approach to sock identification, U.S. Pat. No. 4,734,938 to Anderson discloses a sock that combines a color identifying marking and a pair identifying marking near the toe of the sock. The color identifying marking may comprise a word, symbol, or other description to identify the color of the sock. For example, the word, such as blue or green, describes the color of the sock, and a geometric symbol, such as a square or triangle, identifies the socks comprising the original pair. The color identifying mark is knitted into the sock at a location not visible during wear. Such a sock identification system involves use of both a word and a symbol to match socks. In addition, these patents do not teach that such markings are visible from the bottom of a sock, as desired, for example, for ease of locating a match indicator when sorting large volumes of laundry or as an appearance enhancement to socks when worn without shoes, such as when children are playing.

Thus, there is a need to provide garments, and in particular socks, having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that the color of the socks can be readily determined. This feature would be particularly advantageous for matching like pairs of socks during sorting after laundering.

There is also a need for socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that the color of the socks can be determined under most lighting conditions without having to rely on carefully viewing the sock color.

There is also a need for socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that color of the socks can be determined by persons who are unable to distinguish colors and shades, for example, a color blind person.

There is also a need for socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks to readily determine whether two socks of the same color were originally of the same pair.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a set of garments in which each of the garments in the set includes a garment match indicator. The garment match indicators comprise a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to the garments in the set and have a color different than the color of the set of garments. Each of the garments in the set is thereby matchable to the other garments by the garment match indicators.

In an embodiment of the present invention, the garment match indicators comprise the name of the color of the garments, such as navy, black, or green. In another embodiment, the garment match indicators comprise the name of the size of the garments, for example, small, medium, or large. In a plurality of sets of garments, in which each set of garments has a different size, the name of the size of the garments for each set of garments can be a unique color. For example, small-sized, paired garments, such as socks or gloves, may have the word “small” displayed in green, medium-sized socks or gloves may have the word “medium” displayed in blue, and large-sized socks or gloves may have the word “large” displayed in red, so as to readily differentiate the garment sizes. Embodiments of the present invention include set(s) of garments having garment match indicators that comprise both the name of the color of the garments and the name of the size of the garments in the set, in which the names of the color and the size have a color different than the color of the set of garments.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the garment match indicators comprise a numeric indicator. In a plurality of sets of garments, each set of garments can have a numeric indicator unique to that set, such that one garment of the set can be matched with another garment of the set by matching the unique numeric indicator.

Embodiments of the present invention include sets of garments having garment match indicators that serve a function in addition to providing a means for matching garments in a set. For example, in one embodiment, the garment match indicators comprise an indication of left or right, to identify, for example, which of a set of socks is to be worn on the left foot and which of the set of socks is to be worn on the right foot. In another embodiment, the garment match indicators comprise a day of the week, such that a group of seven pairs of socks might include one pair of socks identified for each day of the week. Each sock in the pair of socks for a particular day of the week may include the name of the color of the socks and/or the name of the size of the socks in the set, and each name would be a color different than the color of the socks in that particular pair. In yet another embodiment, the garment match indicators comprise an indication of when the garments are intended to be worn, for example, an observance such as “Christmas,” “Birthday,” and the like. In other embodiments, the garment match indicators are displayed in combination with a brand identifier, such as a trademarked name or logo.

In the present invention, a set of garments having garment match indicators can be formed in a variety of ways. In some embodiments, the garment match indicators are integrally formed in the garments. In a preferred embodiment, the garment match indicator is knit in the garment during the garment knitting process. Alternatively, the garment match indicators comprise a separate material attached to the garment. In a preferred manner of attaching a separate garment match indicator, the garment match indicator is attached to the garment by a heat transfer mechanism.

In the present invention, a set of garments can be a pair of socks, and the garment match indicators comprise sock match indicators. In an embodiment of such a pair of socks, each of the socks has a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side. The foot portion of each sock includes a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion. Each sock of the pair includes a sock match indicator disposed on the bottom of the foot portion that comprises a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair. The color of the sock match indicators are different than the color of the pair of socks. Accordingly, each of the socks of the pair is matchable to the other by the sock match indicator.

The present invention includes methods of making a pair of matchable socks. In one embodiment, each sock has a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side. The foot portion includes a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion. In such a method, knitting of the sock is begun on a circular knitting machine. The knitting machine is programmed to knit a sock match indicator on the bottom of the foot portion of the sock. The sock match indicator comprises a word that describes an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair and has a color different than the primary color of the socks. The sock match indicator is knit on the bottom of the foot portion of the sock in the courses where programmed during the process of knitting the sock.

In embodiments of such a method of knitting a pair of matchable socks, the sock match indicators comprise the name of the color of the socks. In other embodiments, the sock match indicators comprise the name of the size of the socks.

In another method of making a pair of matchable socks, each sock has a toe, a heel, a foot portion between and including the toe and the heel, a medial side, and a lateral side. The foot portion includes a bottom below the midline on each of the medial and lateral sides of the foot portion. The method includes providing a transfer label comprising a sock match indicator to be transferred to each pair of socks. The sock match indicator comprises a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks of the pair, and the color of the sock match indicator is a color different than the color of the socks. The transfer label is aligned with the bottom of the foot portion of a first sock of the pair of socks. The transfer label is then subjected to conditions sufficient to transfer the label to the bottom of the foot portion of the first sock. This process is then repeated for a second sock of the pair of socks.

In embodiments of such a transfer label method of making a pair of matchable socks, the sock match indicators comprise the name of the color of the socks. In other embodiments, the sock match indicators comprise the name of the size of the socks.

Features of garments having match indicators of the present invention may be accomplished singularly, or in combination, in one or more of the embodiments of the present invention. As will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art, the present invention has wide utility in a number of applications as illustrated by the variety of features and advantages discussed below.

Garments having match indicators of the present invention provide numerous advantages over prior sock identification and/or sorting systems. For example, the present invention advantageously provides garments, and in particular socks, having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that the color of the socks can be readily determined. This feature is particularly advantageous for matching like pairs of socks during sorting after laundering.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that the color of the socks can be determined under most lighting conditions without having to rely on carefully viewing the color of the sock fabric.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that color of the socks can be determined by persons who are unable to distinguish colors and shades, for example, a color-blind person.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks that allow a laundry sorter to readily determine whether two socks of the same color were originally of the same pair. Multiple original pairs of identical or similar socks can be kept separate by sorting pairs of socks by different match indicators, such as a unique number for each pair. This allows a sorter to keep pairs together based on the use, or wear, of each pair of socks.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that a sorter can readily determine ownership of a matched pair of socks.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides socks having garment match indicators that are visible from the bottom of the socks such that the size of the socks can be readily determined. This feature provides ease for sorting and matching socks having the same size.

Another advantage is that the present invention allows a laundry sorter to identify and sort laundered sock pairs without requiring the socks to be fastened to each other during laundering, thereby avoiding any entanglements or tear of the laundry items and facilitating proper cleaning of the socks.

Another advantage is that the present invention provides a garment match indication means that is provided in normal garment manufacturing processes and that does not depend on the consumer for implementation.

As will be realized by those of skill in the art, many different embodiments of socks having match indicators according to the present invention are possible. Additional uses, objects, advantages, and novel features of the invention are set forth in the detailed description that follows and will become more apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following or by practice of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of one sock of a pair of socks having a sock match indicator in an embodiment of the present invention. The other sock of the pair of socks is identical to the sock shown.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the sock in the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of one sock of a pair of socks having a sock match indicator in another embodiment of the present invention. The other sock of the pair of socks is identical to the sock shown.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the sock in the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of one sock of a pair of socks having a sock match indicator applied as a transfer label in another embodiment of the present invention. The other sock of the pair of socks is identical to the sock shown.

FIG. 6 is a view of a transfer label of sock match indicators useful for applying the sock match indicators to socks.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention provides a set of garments in which each of the garments in the set includes a garment match indicator. The garment match indicators comprise a word describing an identifiable characteristic common to the garments in the set and have a color different than the color of the set of garments. Each of the garments in the set is thereby matchable to the other garments by the garment match indicators.

Embodiments of the present invention include a set of garments comprising a pair of socks, and the garment match indicators comprise sock match indicators. FIGS. 1-6 show such embodiments. Although only one sock is shown for illustration purposes, embodiments of the present invention include a matched pair of socks wherein each sock is identical. In an embodiment of such a pair of socks, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, each of the socks 10 has a toe 11, a heel 12, a foot portion 13 between and including the toe 11 and the heel 12, a medial side 14, and a lateral side 15. The foot portion 13 of each sock 10 includes a bottom 16 below the midline 17 on the medial side 14 and the midline 18 on the lateral side 15 of the foot portion 13. Each sock 10 of the pair includes a sock match indicator 20 disposed on the bottom 16 of the foot portion 13 that comprises a word 21 describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks 10 of the pair. The color 23 of the sock match indicators 20 are different than the color 24 of the pair of socks 10. Accordingly, each of the socks 10 of the pair is matchable to the other by the sock match indicator 20.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-2, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 30 of the color 24 of the socks 10, such as navy, black, or green. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3-4, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 40 of the size of the socks 10, for example, small, medium, or large. In a plurality of pairs of socks 10, in which each pair of socks 10 has a different size, the name 40 of the size of the socks 10 for each pair of socks 10 comprises a unique color 23. For example, a small-sized pair of socks 10 may have the word “small” displayed in green, medium-sized socks 10, as shown in FIGS. 3-4, have the word 21 “medium” displayed in blue, and large-sized socks may have the word “large” displayed in red, so as to readily differentiate the sock sizes. Embodiments of the present invention include pair(s) of socks 10 having sock match indicators 20 that comprise both the name 30 of the color 24 of the socks 10 and the name 40 of the size of the pair of socks 10, in which the names of the color and the size, 30, 40, respectively, have a color different than the color 24 of the pair of socks 10.

In another embodiment (not shown), the size of a pair of socks is displayed inside a geometric figure, for example, a circle, on the bottom of the socks. In such an embodiment, the size of the sock is represented by the first letter in the word spelling the size, and the letter for each size is a different color. For example, a small-sized pair of socks may have the letter “S” displayed in green, medium-sized socks may have the letter “M” displayed in blue, and large-sized socks may have the letter “L” displayed in red, so as to readily differentiate the sock sizes. The color of the letters is different than the color of the socks so that the size of the socks in the pair can be easily determined.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the sock match indicator comprises a numeric indicator (not shown). In a plurality of pairs of socks, each pair of socks can include a numeric indicator (not shown) unique to that pair, such that one sock of the pair can be matched with the other sock of the pair by matching the unique numeric indicator. For example, in a package having multiple pairs of socks, each pair of socks has a unique number on each of the socks in the pair so that the same two socks could be matched to the original mate in the pair, rather than mixing a sock from one pair with a sock from another pair. As an illustration, in a package of athletic socks containing six pairs of socks, the socks in a first pair of socks has the number “one” (“1”) on each sock in the pair, the socks in a second pair of socks has the number “two” (“2”) on each sock in that pair, the socks in a third pair of socks has the number “three” (“3”) on each sock in the third pair, and so on. In this manner, the socks in each original pairing can be matched to each other, even though each pair of socks in the package is otherwise identical. Sock match indicators 20 that are visible from the bottom 16 of the socks 10 allow ready determination of whether two socks 10 of the same color 24 were originally of the same pair. This advantageously allows a sorter to keep pairs together based on the use, or wear, of each pair of socks.

Embodiments of the present invention include a pair, or multiple pairs, of socks 10 having sock match indicators 20 that serve a function in addition to providing a means for matching socks 10 in a pair. For example, in one embodiment, the sock match indicators 20 comprise an indication of left or right (not shown), to identify, for example, which of a pair of socks 10 is to be worn on the left foot and which of the pair of socks 10 is to be worn on the right foot.

In another embodiment, the sock match indicators 20 comprise a day of the week (not shown), such that a set of seven pairs of socks 10 might include one pair of socks 10 identified for each day of the week. Each sock 10 in the pair of socks for a particular day of the week may include the name 30 of the color 24 of the socks 10 and/or the name 40 of the size of the socks 10 in the pair, and each name would be a color different than the color 24 of the socks 10 in that particular pair.

In yet another embodiment, the sock match indicators 20 comprise an indication of when the socks 10 are intended to be worn (not shown), for example, an observance such as “Christmas,” “Birthday,” and the like. In other embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 1-5, the sock match indicators 20 are displayed in combination with a brand identifier 50, such as a trademarked name or logo.

In the present invention, a pair of socks 10 having sock match indicators 20 can be formed in a variety of ways. In some embodiments, the sock match indicators 20 are integrally formed in the socks 10. In a preferred embodiment, the sock match indicator 20 is knit in the sock 10 during the sock knitting process. In other embodiments, the sock match indicator 20 can be stitched into the sock 10 in a process separate from sock manufacture. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 5-6, the sock match indicators 20 comprise a separate material 70 attached to the sock 10. In a preferred manner of attaching a separate sock match indicator 20, the sock match indicator 20 is attached to the sock 10 by a heat transfer mechanism. Socks 10 formed in either of these manners results in socks 10 that are comfortable to a wearer during use. Knit-in sock match indicators 20 may provide advantages in that the integrally knit yarns of the sock match indicators 20 are not separable from the sock 10. In addition, the yarns of the match indicators 20 wear, or fade, at the same rate as the yarns of the surrounding sock 10, and thus maintain readability for the life of the sock 10.

Embodiments of the present invention can include socks 10 of all styles, including fashion hosiery and athletic socks, as well as socks made for women, men, and children. Materials utilized to make socks 10 of the present invention are the same or similar to those typically used in sock manufacture, for example, cotton, acrylic, and nylon. Embodiments of the present invention can include socks 10 of all sizes, for example, knee length, mid-calf length, above-ankle length, and below-ankle length.

The present invention includes methods of making a pair of matchable socks 10. In one embodiment, each sock 10 has a toe 11, a heel 12, a foot portion 13 between and including the toe 11 and the heel 12, a medial side 14, and a lateral side 15. The foot portion 13 includes a bottom 16 below the midline 17 on the medial side 14 and the midline 18 on the lateral side 15 of the foot portion 13. In such a method, a circular knitting machine is programmed to knit a sock match indicator 20 on the bottom 16 of the foot portion 13 of each sock 10. The sock match indicator 20 comprises a word 21 describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks 10 of the pair and has a color 23 different than the primary, or basic, color 24 of the socks 10. Knitting of a first of the socks 10 in the pair is begun on the knitting machine. The sock match indicator 20 is knit on the bottom 16 of the foot portion 13 of the first sock as programmed. Then, knitting of the remainder of the first sock is completed. Next, these steps are completed for a second of the socks 10 in the pair.

In embodiments of such a method of knitting a pair of matchable socks, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 30 of the color of the socks. In other embodiments, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 40 of the size of the socks.

Embodiments of garments of the present invention can be made without significant changes to conventional manufacturing machinery. For example, a sock 10 according to the present invention can be knit on a circular hosiery knitting machine with minor modifications to the programming to knit the name 30 of the color 24 of the sock 10 in a contrasting color 23 on the bottom 16 of the sock 10.

In another method of making a pair of matchable socks, each sock 10 has a toe 11, a heel 12, a foot portion 13 between and including the toe 11 and the heel 12, a medial side 14, and a lateral side 15. The foot portion 13 includes a bottom 16 below the midline 17 on the medial side 14 and the midline 18 on the lateral side 15 of the foot portion 13. The method includes providing a transfer label 71, as shown in FIG. 6, comprising a sock match indicator 20 to be transferred to each pair of socks 10. The sock match indicator 20 comprises a word 21 describing an identifiable characteristic common to each of the socks 10 of the pair, and the color 23 of the sock match indicator 20 is a color different than the color 24 of the socks 10. The transfer label 71 is aligned with the bottom 16 of the foot portion 13 of a first sock 10 of the pair of socks 10. The transfer label 71 is then subjected to conditions sufficient to transfer the label 71 to the bottom 16 of the foot portion 13 of the first sock. This process is then repeated for a second sock of the pair of socks 10.

In embodiments of such a transfer label method of making a pair of matchable socks, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 30 of the color 24 of the socks 10. In other embodiments, the sock match indicators 20 comprise the name 40 of the size of the socks 10.

As shown in FIG. 6, in a label transfer process of the present invention, a transfer label 71 comprises a continuous roll of paper 72 having sock match indicators 20 printed at points spaced along the roll in reverse image on one side of the paper. The printed surface of the sock match indicators 20 has a heat-activatable adhesive film secured to the surface. In transferring the match indicators 20 from the transfer paper 72 to the sock 10, the match indicators 20 are fed from the continuous roll of paper 72 with the printed surface of each transfer label 71 being placed against the outside surface of the sock 10. A hot iron, or other heating means, is then pressed against the unprinted surface of the paper, resulting in the match indicator 20 being imprinted or transferred to the outside surface of the sock 10. The heat and pressure causes the sock match indicators 20 to become permanently adhesively bonded to the sock 10. Thus, embodiments of the present invention include socks 10 having sock match indicators 20 adhesively bonded through a heat transfer means to the socks 10. Alternatively, sock match indicators 20 can be applied to a sock 10 by utilizing a solvent-activated adhesive, such that the solvent, rather heat and/or pressure, cause the match indicators 20 to adhere to the sock 10.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it should be recognized that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles of the present invention. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that garments having match indicators of the present invention may be constructed and implemented in other ways and embodiments. Accordingly, the description herein should not be read as limiting the present invention, as other embodiments also fall within the scope of the present invention.