Title:
Pant Leg Retaining Device, A Method of Using Same, and A Pant Incorporating The Pant Leg Retaining Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pant leg retaining device for or in a pair of pants is provided to support the weight and bulk of pants in such a way as to allow a blousing effect at the knee such that the pant fabrics do not compress on the thigh/knee area and restrict leg motion. The use of a strap or retaining/restricting assembly mounted at mid-calf in or on the pant which when tightened gathers the pant leg mass just below the knee creating a blousing or pocket at and above the knee, and holds it in place. By constricting the pant at this point, the pant leg will not fall back down, rendering the pant leg bloused until the restricting/retaining means or strap is released, which is easily accomplished by means of a quick release buckle on the strap or elastic band type restraining device.



Inventors:
Coombs, Christopher E. (Deerfield, NH, US)
Application Number:
12/209469
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/338
International Classes:
A41F17/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090209807Therapeutic Device For Erectile DysfunctionAugust, 2009Kozak et al.
20070124844CHILD'S GARMENT WITH DETACHABLE CONNECTOR STRAPJune, 2007Podolsky
20070118964Glove having an attached item of jewelryMay, 2007Sacco et al.
20060143785Insulated and moisture resistant glove for holding beverage containersJuly, 2006Cook et al.
20080201821Head Covering With Unobstructed VisionAugust, 2008Bryant
20090083900OPEN VIEW FACEMASK VISOR SHIELDApril, 2009Wallace
20040199973Hair capeOctober, 2004Moyal et al.
20090113591Limb ProtectorMay, 2009Deutsch et al.
20040009731Garment with discrete integrally-formed, electrically-conductive region and associated blank and methodJanuary, 2004Rabinowicz
20090144875Neonatal SwaddlerJune, 2009Pearson et al.
20080201826Laser Safety Goggles for AnimalsAugust, 2008Pryor et al.



Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOURQUE & ASSOCIATES (MANCHESTER, NH, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A method of providing reduced pant friction on the leg of a pant wearer, said method comprising the acts of: placing a pair of pants on a wearer, each said pair of pants including at least one pant leg, each pant leg having an end region configured for being disposed proximate a wearer's foot; providing a pant leg retaining device, said pants leg retaining device configured for operation between a secured position and an unsecured position; causing each pant leg of said pair of pants on a wearer to be lifted from an area proximate a wearer's mid-calf to an area just below a wearer's knee, causing said end region to rise up a wearer's leg and further causing an excess amount of pant fabric to accumulate proximate in area of the wearer's leg around and above the wearer's knee; and responsive to causing each pant leg of said pair of pants on a wearer to be lifted, securing said pant leg retaining device in said secured position against each pant leg of said pair of pants and an area of a wearer below said wearer's knees, said pant leg securing device generally securely retaining each said pant leg in said lifted position, and said user subsequently unsecuring said pant leg retaining device allowing said first and second pant legs to be released from said leg of said wearer.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said pant leg retaining device includes a strap having a buckle proximate one end of said strap and a buckle receiver proximate a second end of said strap.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein said pant leg retaining device includes a continuous elastic band.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein said pair of pants includes a pant leg retaining device captured in proper position on an exterior surface of each pant leg.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein said pant leg retaining device is disposed in a pocket disposed on an exterior surface of each pant leg.

6. A method of providing reduced pant friction on the leg of a pant wearer, said method comprising the acts of: providing a pair of pants configured to be worn by a wearer, each said pair of pants including at least one pant leg, each said at least one pant leg including a region having one or more openings into which is inserted a pant leg retaining device, said pant leg retaining device configured for operation between a secured position and an unsecured position, each pant leg having an end region configured for being disposed proximate a wearer's foot; causing each pant leg of said pair of pants on a wearer to be lifted from an area proximate a wearer's mid-calf to an area just below a wearer's knee, causing said end region to rise up a wearer's leg and further causing an excess amount of pants fabric to accumulate proximate in area of the wearer's leg at and above the wearer's knee; and responsive to causing each pant leg of said pair of pants on a wearer to be lifted, securing said pant leg retaining device in said secured position against each pant leg of said pair of pants and an area of a wearer below said wearer's knees, said pant leg securing device generally securely retaining each said pant leg in said lifted position, and said user subsequently unsecuring said pant leg retaining device allowing said first and second pant legs to be released from said leg of said wearer.

7. A pair of pants providing reduced pant friction on the leg of a pant wearer, said pair of pants comprising: a pair of pants configured to be worn by a wearer, each said pair of pants including at least first and second pant legs, each said at least first and second pant legs including a region having one or more openings into which is inserted a pant leg retaining device, said pant leg retaining device configured for operation between a secured position and an unsecured position, and wherein when said first and second pant legs of said pair of pants disposed on a wearer are lifted from an area proximate a wearer's mid-calf to an area just below a wearer's knee causing an excess amount of pant fabric to accumulate proximate in area of the wearer's leg at and above the knee, said pant leg retaining device is positioned in said secured position against each pant leg of said pair of pants and an area of a wearer below said wearer's knees, said pant leg securing device generally securely retaining each said pant leg in said lifted position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/972,064 filed on Sep. 13, 2007, entitled “Pants With Leg Lifting Straps”, which is incorporated fully herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to work, industrial and specialty pants and more particularly, relates to a device and method of using the device for supporting the lower leg of the pants below the knee.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

For years, workers, sports participants, soldiers and first responders such as police and fire fighting personnel have struggled with the restriction long pants inflict on natural range of motion of the naked human leg. In all cases, because the pant is suspended from the waist, the fabric in each leg of the pants drapes over the thigh, crosses over the knee and hangs more or less loosely covering the calf. When physical protection is mandated by the potential danger of hostile exposure, there is a requirement that the pant be configured to cover the entire leg, and when that danger of hostile conditions becomes aggressive, multiple layers and more bulky, less compliant and “heavier” or thicker fabrics are used to protect, which effects a compounding of the restriction of leg motion.

It has been estimated that this weight and restriction on the leg of the wearer effectively reduces the wearer's physical endurance by as much as 15%. That translates into physical exhaustion and lower levels of safe operations for any human who requires the pant leg to extend to the lower calf.

The problem is one of “bio-geometrics”, where the cloth in the pant, because of its inherent characteristics, cannot move with anywhere near the elasticity of human skin, thereby setting up a conflict in range of flexibility and motion between the human wearer and the worn pant. The fact that the fabric(s) in the pant cause constriction of motion in the leg is well established. Particularly when the leg is lifted, but also in almost every other ranging motion where the leg is taken out of straight line shape (walking, running, crawling, kneeling, squatting), the fabric in the pant leg will catch on the knee and thigh, causing binding, wrinkling, bunching and constrictions.

When the leg is lifted, for example, the pant leg catches at the top of the thigh at the knee, basically impairing or severely limiting the human wearer's range of motion. To compensate for this, the wearer will “fight” the pant, using muscular strength to overcome the restriction(s). When this occurs, the wearer becomes exhausted much more rapidly, and can become emotionally stressed and compound the physical constraint with a bad decision about condition, thereby increasing the danger of injury.

To compensate for this restrictive element, pants have been built with lower waists, with special knee and crotch patterns, and with cloth that does a better job flexing. But nevertheless, the restriction persists, primarily because none of these design features have addressed the root cause of the restriction, the convergence of the upper leg, knee and lower leg at the knee, where the pant fabric(s) are forced to pivot around the knee. Patterns for cutting the pieces in a pant have changed. Stitching has changed. Even cloth has changed, but still the problem persists, because none of the solutions to date have eliminated the primary point of constriction, the bending knee and raised thigh.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a device and method of using the device which secures the leg of a pant or trouser below the knee to the human leg, allowing the pant or trouser fabric to be raised or collected above the knee, forming a pocket of loose pant legs, allowing the leg to move and flex freely without restriction or constriction of the pant leg binding up at the knee and lower thigh.

SUMMARY

The present invention features a device and method of using same wherein the placement of a restricting/retaining device, such as an adjustable strap, in or on the pant in such a way that it is retained at a specific circumference in the mid-calf area of the pant leg. A take-up mechanism, such as but not limited to a buckle, allows for quick, sure, one or two handed tightening of this restricting device, or strap. The restricting device or strap will hold the upper pant in a lifted or bloused position around and above the knee and lower thigh when tightened around the smaller circumference immediately below the knee and immediately above the calf muscles. This accomplishes two complementary things: a) the upper pant legs form a pocket that removes the pant leg from contact with the thigh and knee, and b) by constricting just below the knee, the smaller circumference prevents the pocket formed from relaxing and disappearing as the wearer walks, runs or otherwise exercises the protected leg. This will eliminate the majority of pant leg contact with the knee and lower thigh, rendering the user more mobile and free to move.

To activate the mechanism and use the present method, the leg (with the pant already on), is raised to a position such that the thigh is slightly higher than parallel with the ground. The pant leg is raised, with manual lifting or hiking-up as required, to a relaxed position on the still-raised leg. Once the wearer has lifted his leg and adjusted the pants to fit loosely and with relaxation over the raised and bent leg, the strap is tightened, retaining the pant leg it captures by tightening the strap closed around the narrowest circumference of the human calf just below the knee. When the wearer lowers his leg, the pant will remain in the raised position, forming a pocket in the pant around the knee, relieving that point of constriction. The wearer will immediately notice the freedom from restrictions usually caused by the pant leg cloth binding up around the knee flexing normal to the user's trade. With this point of resistance eliminated, the pant no longer conflicts with the bending knee, and the wearer regains full freedom, almost as though the pant were not there.

There are a number of different ways in which this invention might take form. Straps, adjustable clamps, elastic members, and other means may be utilized to accomplish the same effect, which is to capture the pant leg in a raised or bloused and relaxed position at the point of smallest circumference of the upper calf of the wearer's leg just below the knee. The simplicity, economy of weight and cost, and retrofit-ability to pants already in service may be factors used to select the configuration.

It is important to note that the present invention is not intended to be limited to a device or method which must satisfy one or more of any stated or implied objects or features of the invention. It is also important to note that the present invention is not limited to the preferred, exemplary, or primary embodiment(s) described herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, taken together with the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is perspective, schematic view of the pant leg retaining device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the pant leg retaining device in place on a pant leg;

FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view of a pant leg retaining device partially incorporated into a pant knee pant;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a pant leg retaining device shown positioned below the wearer's knee;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a wearer adjusting a pant leg prior to installing the pant leg retaining device; and

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the gather or pocket of pant material at or above the wearer's knee caused by the pant leg retaining device of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention features a pant leg retaining device 10, FIG. 1. The pant leg retaining device 10 has a fastener such as a buckle receiver 10 proximate to one end, and corresponding fastener mating device such as a buckle bayonet device 11 threaded to the other end, where a take up tab 8 makes it easy to grasp and operate the pant leg retaining device 10 with a bulky glove covering the hand. The location of the strap is set according to the fit rule cited herein. The loose strap end is fastened or retained by means appropriate to the application, for example, but not limited to hook-and pile, snaps or belt-loops. The receiving portion of the fastener is located on or near the rear side of the take up tab.

When the wearer becomes aware of the possibility that significant leg work is imminent, he/she may raise each leg, to a position where the thigh is parallel with or higher angled than the ground on which the wearer is standing. The pant leg is lifted manually to allow for its most relaxed position on the raised leg.

Once the pant has been lifted in this manner, the strap is tightened, thoroughly, at a point just above the large calf muscle group immediately below the knee. The wearer may then lower the effected leg. This process is then repeated on the other leg. Once this is done on both legs, the worker is free of upper pant leg restriction and the resultant exhaustion.

The pant leg retaining device 10 has a width suitable for the application and length to match the relaxed circumference of the pant leg immediately adjacent to the location of the strap with enough length to allow for a take-up tab 8 configured with a take-up buckle 11, such as a quick release parachute buckle or other similar means.

Proper location of the pant leg-retaining device on existing pants dictates that pants of the type to be outfitted with the invention are donned by the wearer, and the leg is lifted to a level where the thigh is slightly above parallel to the level floor. The pants are marked to identify, when the pant has been lifted to remove as much restriction as possible, where the narrowest circumference of the wearer's calf, immediately below the knee and immediately above the wearer's calf's large muscle group.

A typical attachment will be under knee pad 13 or a patch of pant outer shell material or other protective material to protect the strap and prevent it from catching on foreign objects and distracting the wearer. A patch of pant shell material 14 is configured to provide a sliding space wider than the width of the strap, and length to cover the circumference of the strap not covered by the knee pad, with a 2-3 inch allowance for the take up buckle assembly.

One variant of this method is to take advantage of the presence of a knee pad on the garment which is intended to protect and provide comfort to the wearer's knee when crawling or kneeling. The location of this pad is already graded and the invention may be located at the base seam of this pad.

The pant leg retaining device 10 is located according to the fit rules under the knee pad 13 with the take up buckle receiver facing to the wearer's back knee region, on the outside of the pant leg. The patch of shell material 14 is sewn to the pant leg adjacent to the knee pad's lower seam such that the strap will slide through it easily when threaded. The strap is threaded through the patch and the take up bayonet 11 is installed such that the strap will lock when tightened against the leg as described above.

The pant leg retaining device assembly 10 may be of any suitable width and thickness to suit the application, and of a length that, when fully loosened, roughly matches the circumference of the pant leg onto which it is assembled. In one embodiment, one end of the strap may be attached to a receiving buckle while the other end is threaded through an adjustable bayonet mating buckle, with a terminus of a doubling or tripling of the strap to provide the wearer with a stout, easily grasped take-up end which can easily be found and operated even with a gloved hand.

In the preferred embodiment the pant leg-retaining device is configured from a 1″ wide strap that may be looped through a receiver buckle and stitched with a closing loop of approximately ½ inch to prevent fraying. The strap's other end is closed into a take up tab with a double fold which provides a gripping loop that is approximately 2½″ long, and a double back that is approximately ½ inch long to prevent the strap end from sliding out of the bayonet mating buckle. The strap end is looped through the bayonet buckle so as to allow for tension adjustment by pulling on the take up tab. The entire assembly, with the mating buckles closed, conforms generally in length to the outer circumference of the pant onto which they are mounted.

The pant leg retaining device assembly 10, FIG. 3, may be installed on a pant leg 6 at a point where, when the wearer's leg is lifted so that the thigh is at or higher than parallel with the ground, the strap will, when tightened, constrict around the narrowest circumference at the top of the wearer's calf immediately below the knee.

The strap may be added to or hidden by a knee pad 5 which has already been located to match this alignment. The take up buckle and strap end are on the outside of the wearer's pant legs 6 for easy and consistent access. The buckle assembly 11, 12 is displaced to the side so that whether in use or relaxed, the buckle will never interfere with knee contact with the deck when the wearer is kneeling or crawling.

Pant leg retaining device assembly 10, FIG. 4 is shown tightened onto the smallest circumference of the calf portion 16 of the leg. The pant leg is outlined 17 with a pant liner 18 showing compression under the pant leg retaining device when tightened.

To install the pant leg retaining device, the wearer raises each pant leg FIG. 5 to a point where the thigh is level or higher than level with the ground, and settles the pants across the thigh and knee, pulling the pant leg up away from the foot region as needed until the pant leg is relaxed and at ease across the thigh and knee. This will usually raise the pant leg several inches.

With the pant leg in this position and the knee and leg still raised, the wearer grasps the take-up end of the adjustment strap and tugs the strap tight around the smallest circumference at the top of the calf, just below the knee. Then the take-up adjustment strap is stowed on the opposite side.

With the strap tightened, the pant remains in its raised position, FIG. 6, allowing a blousing effect 22 when the leg is lowered. The upper pant does not conflict with the thigh or knee. In this position, the wearer may raise his leg parallel to the ground and feel no pant leg restriction. In the raised position the pant leg tightens across the thigh and knee at the same point it was set when the strap was tightened.

In contrast, the leg that does not have the invention, begins to restrict the leg when it is raised barely off the ground, and the restriction increases as the leg is lifted higher, aggravating the condition.

In another embodiment, the pant leg retaining device according to the present invention may have a double pull and be installed directly in the pant leg. Two straps of suitable width for this application may be cut to a length to fit as follows: Step 1: a static strap to be embedded in the knee pad may be cut to accept a take-up buckle on each end, and accommodate the width of the knee pad under which it will be installed. Step 2: The take-up strap is cut to a length to provide the construction of pull tabs on each end, and of sufficient length to rest relaxed across the remaining circumference of the pant leg not taken up by the knee pad and static strap. Step 3: The pant is usually configured with a knee pad, but where there is none, a knee pad of appropriate dimensions may be added to. Step 4: A patch of the material of the outer layer of the pant (the shell material) may be pre-cut to a width that is approximately 3 times the width of the strap, and to a length that will allow 2 to 3 inches of space not covered by it and the knee pad when installed on the pant leg. The patch may match the color and physical characteristics of the pant outer shell. The components then are the straps and the buckles, the knee pad where needed and the shell material patch.

The static strap may be installed just above the lower line of stitching of the knee pad, perpendicular to the leg (parallel with the ground when the wearer is standing), by stitching or other means. It may be fastened so that the buckles will not slide out from under the knee pad. The take up strap may be prepared by stitching tabs on each end of uniform length and which incorporate fly-ends to prevent accidental release from the buckles.

The patch of shell material may be stitched on the back side of the pant leg adjacent to the knee pad and such that the take up strap will slide freely when installed on the take-up buckles, under the patch. The take up strap is threaded through the patch such that each end is available to the take up buckles. The take up strap is threaded though the buckles such that the take up straps may be tightened and locked and release when the take up buckles are released.

Another embodiment envisions a loose, independent strap assembly that dons on the pant leg quickly and easily, and accomplishes the same result. While this strap assembly may be less convenient to locate and activate than a built-in system such as those described above, it is possible that some wearers may prefer its economy and absence from the pants when not in use.

In this configuration, the strap may have either one take-up or quick release buckle attachment feature or a double take up feature with a quick release introduced so that the wearer does not have to thread his leg through the strap to install it.

In a one-buckle system, the take-up may be accomplished at the quick release buckle on the one-piece strap. The buckle may have a take-up ladder feature to adjust the tightness of the strap, and a quick-release feature to open the strap's loop to make donning and doffing quick and easy. A static strap may have two take-up buckles, one on either side of the knee, and a low-profile quick release buckle, hook, or hook and pile closure on the back side of the knee, rendering the take-up strap a two-part strap. In either case, attachment of the strap to the pant leg may be accomplished by releasing the quick release means, wrapping the strap around the raised calf as described above, and then using the adjustment means to tighten the strap around the small circumference of the knee as described above.

Other configurations that are obvious to one schooled in the art may be self-fabric straps or tabs attached by stitching to the pant outer shell, shock cord, or elastic members used to retain the strap and the pant leg in the raised, bloused position, snaps or take-up means attached or made a part of the pant leg, such that the pant leg is closed around the calf at the point of constriction just below the knee and self-fastened by means of snaps, hook and pile or other means. Latches, buckles and other means of closing this critical circumference and holding the pant leg in a raised, bloused position freeing the wearer's knee and thigh by holding the pant in the raised position at the narrow point immediately below the knee and immediately above the large muscle group at the top of the calf are considered within the scope of the present invention.

The present invention also contemplates the use of a boot-mounted means of closing the pant leg at the point immediately below the knee and immediately above the wearer's calf muscles. In this configuration, the boot is sized to allow the pant leg to fir “inside” the boot and may have a top-mounted chap that is cut to allow variability in wearer's leg length, so that the point of constriction mentioned above is accessible to the wearer. The means of tightening the pant around the point of constriction described above may be a strap, a self-closing shell that would extend around and trap the pant under itself, or other means.

Yet another configuration contemplates the installation of the strap or other means of closure disposed inside the shell or even the liner of the pant, if multiple layers are present. In this configuration, the strap would be retained on the inverse side of the pant leg, (or pant leg liner or barrier layer). Once installed, the strap and take-up system may be relatively low-profile, and may be used or released depending on circumstances.

In applications where the pant is of multiple layers, the invention includes the use of fasteners to attach the layers together so that the layers do not slide out independently from the point of restriction under the retention strap or other means.

It is important to note that as stated above, the present invention is not intended to be limited to a device or method which must satisfy one or more of any stated or implied objects or features of the invention. It is also important to note that the present invention is not limited to the preferred, exemplary, or primary embodiment(s) described herein. Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the allowed claims and any legal equivalents thereof.





 
Previous Patent: SPORTS CAP

Next Patent: Protective Goggle Assembly