Nitrile coated sock
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A sock suitable for wearing with shoes and protecting feet from contact with dirt and debris. The sock is coated on the heel and sole with a protective coating of nitrile. The interior of the sock has a band of nitrile in the area of the sock that covers the heel. The exterior coating protects the feet from the drying effects of prolonged contact with dirt. The interior band, when used in conjunction with an emollient applied to the heel, holds the emollient in contact with the skin, allowing the skin to be softened and protected. The sock can be laundered by virtue of its properties, and reused.

Butz, Bernadette Etchart (Redding, CA, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
1. A sock, comprising: a substrate patterned to cover a human foot; at least a portion of said substrate having a protective nitrile coating.

2. A sock, comprising: a substrate patterned to cover a human foot; said substrate having a heal portion and a sole portion; said heal portion and said sole portion having a protective nitrile coating.

3. A sock, comprising: a substrate pattered to cover a human foot; said substrate having a heal portion and a sole portion; said heal portion having an interior and exterior protective nitrile coating; said sole portion having a protective nitrile coating.



The present invention relates to socks and related items and specifically, socks that are breathable but guard against penetration of dirt from the outside inward. The sock also allows for the use of an emollient and prevents its absorption into the sock, thereby keeping it close to the skin in the area where the emollient has been applied.


Various types of socks that provide protection are known in the prior art. One group of socks includes socks made to be worn with a shoe. These socks are typically made of cotton, wool or synthetic fibers, and/or blends thereof. Another group of known socks includes socks made to worn without a shoe. These socks typically have a coating that resists moisture penetration, and protects the foot from injury by sharp objects, permitting the sock to be worn outside of the house.

Socks made to be worn with shoes are typically manufactured such that they provide comfort and protection to the foot of the wearer by providing a barrier between the skin of the foot and the shoe. These socks may also provide additional functions such as absorbing foot moisture, as with cotton socks, or conversely wicking moisture away from the foot, as with polypropylene socks etc.

These comfort socks are disadvantageous and useless, however, for people who work or recreate in situations where dirt and debris may migrate into their shoes. In this situation, conventional socks tend to permit the movement of dirt and debris into and through the sock. When this penetration occurs, dirt can adhere to the surface of the foot and increase the possibility of cracking and scaling of the skin. Further, if the heel or sole of the foot is already dry and cracked, the dirt can penetrate into the skin, and becomes impossible to remove with normal cleansing practices. This problem is routinely faced by professionals such as landscapers and forestry workers and by non-professionals such as hikers and home-gardeners.

There are numerous socks and sock-like items that can protect the foot from dirt, but are described in the prior art as having a hard and durable exterior coating and are presented as a substitute for a shoe. Examples include U.S. Pat. No. 5,617,585, issued to Fons et al, for a rubber-soled slipper sock, U.S. Pat. No. 4,276,671 issued to Florence Melton, U.S. Pat. No. 3,383,782 issued to James McGinnity and U.S. Pat. No. 266,614, issued to Catherine Douglass. The expressed intent of all these items it to protect the foot. The most common means being the coating of the sock with a thick substance, typically resin, rubber or a rubber-like derivative such as latex. In all these presentations, the expressed intent is that the sock or slipper sock, be worn without shoes. The materials used to provide protection tend to create an item that is too bulky or stiff to be worn inside a shoe or to comfortably stretch to accommodate different size feet, as would a sock. Furthermore, by virtue of the chemical properties of the substances used as the coating agents, they are not air permeable and can interrupt the normal respiration/transpiration of the epidermal cells of the foot. None of the products address the feasibility of washing the item.

There are sock-like items listed in the prior art that have to do with addressing the problem of drying and cracking of the skin of the foot. These items allow for the use of an emollient while a sock-like item is being worn. There is no recommendation that they be worn with shoes or worn with shoes out of doors. None address as their goal, the preventing of penetration of dirt.

A need thus exists for a sock that provides comfort, protection, tensile strength, and the durability to withstand washing, yet resists dirt and other debris from penetrating into and/or through the sock material. A need also exists that addresses the problem of the cracking of skin that can be associated with the drying effect of contact with dirt. None of the above inventions or patents is seen to suggest or claim the properties as the invention claimed herein.


Accordingly, it is the object of the present invention to provide a sock that resists movement of dirt or other debris from the outside inward.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a sock that is sufficiently thin, pliable and comfortable to be used within a shoe.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a sock that is a least in part coated with nitrile or a like substance.

It is also the object of the present invention to provide a sock that has an interior area coated with nitrile or a like substance.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a sock that has the properties that allow it to be laundered.

These and related objects of the present invention are achieved by use of a nitrile coated sock as described herein.

The attainment of the foregoing and related advantages and features of the invention should be more readily apparent to those skilled in the art, after review of the following more detailed description of the invention taken together with the drawings.


FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the invention

FIG. 2 is a back elevational view of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an interior view of the heel area of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a bottom exterior view of the invention.


Referring to FIG. 1, a sectional view of a sock 1 in accordance with the present invention is shown. Sock 1 includes a sock substrate that may be formed in whole or part of any suitable sock material, many of which are known in the art including cotton, nylon, silk, polypropylene, and others. In one preferred embodiment, substrate 1 is a blend of approximately 50% cotton-50% nylon, (though other ranges do not depart from the present invention).

The exterior bottom surface, and extending slightly up the back and sides, of substrate 1 as detailed in 2, is preferably coated with acrylonitrile butadiene, commonly known as nitrile or another substance with similar properties. The nitrile layer may have a thickness of approximately 0.2 mm, particularly on the sole. In FIG. 2, the nitrile or other appropriate coating 2, extends up and around the exterior of the heel of the substrate by approximately 2 inches forming an a cup around the heel. The thickness may be less or more and may vary at different locations on the substrate. In FIG. 3 the nitrile, or other appropriate coating 2, extends approximately 1½ inches up and around the interior 3 of the heel of the substrate and extending downward by 1 inch to form a cup surrounding the heel. In FIG. 4, the nitrile coating 2, covers the entirety of the sole of the substrate.

Nitrile has very different chemical properties as compared to the other substances utilized in the prior art. It is a synthetic polymer that exhibits rubber-like properties when vulcanized. The polymer is made in the form of a latex emulsion, and in the latex form can be processed much like natural rubber latex. Compared to natural rubber latex, however, which is a polysoprene, nitrile is typically composed of three monomers. acrylonitrile, butadiene and carboxylic acid. After vulcanization, the butadiene component contributes to softness and flexibility, while the carboxylic acid provides high tensile strength and tear resistance. In addition, in the prior art demonstrated in garden glove manufacturing, nitrile coating is shown to withstand cleaning i.e., laundry by conventional means while retaining its desired properties. In the prior art nitrile has also proven to be air permeable.

Sock substrate sizes may vary widely, from ankle height to knee height, or other. The present invention includes socks of any size, though in one embodiment, a sock substrate is provided that extends approximately 5 inches above the ankle. The substrate may include a portion provided above the ankle that is ribbed and elasticized. There is a portion directly above and encircling the ankle that contains an additional amount of elastic. In one embodiment, the nitrile coating is applied to the sole and heel and extends at least ¾ of an inch up the sides of the substrate. It should be recognized that the nitrile may extend above or below this level or be otherwise configured. The application of nitrile to a substrate is described extensively in the prior art in its application to the manufacture of nitrile coated gloves.

Sock 1 may also include a nitrile or like substance in certain interior portions of the substrate, FIG. 6, such as the heel. The nitrile coating is preferably odorless, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. The nitrile region is substantially not liquid permeable. An emollient or other medication of beneficial substance may be applied by a wearer to this region of the heel without absorption into the material taking place. By virtue of the emollient or medication being held close to the surface of the skin, beneficial action may occur in preventing or healing dry, cracked skin. Moreover, because it is durable and flexible, it may be worn comfortably with a shoe, and laundered.

While the invention has been described in connection with specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that it is capable of further modification, and this application is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention and including departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which the invention pertains and as may be applied to the essential features herein set forth, and as fall within the scope of the invention and the limits of the appended claim.