Title:
SPORTS GLOVE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sports glove is provided having an elongated protective guard formed of elastomeric material projecting upwardly from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand.



Inventors:
Smeltzer, Bryan (Coto de Caza, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/239172
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
09/26/2008
Assignee:
Gathering Storm LLC d/b/a TMAX Gear (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/163, 2/161.1
International Classes:
A41D13/08; A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOON, JANE SUJIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tsircou Law, P. C. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports glove, comprising: a palmar side; a dorsal side coupled to the palmar side forming a cavity for receiving a user's hand; and an elongated protective guard formed of elastomeric material projecting upwardly from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand, the elongated protective guard having a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm.

2. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the protective guard is formed of TPR material.

3. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the protective guard defines a plurality of notched recesses oriented generally across the width thereof.

4. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the protective guard has a length greater than 50 mm.

5. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the protective guard is generally u-shaped having a mediate portion disposed proximate to the user's wrist, when worn.

6. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the protective guard is angled across the metacarpal portion from a radial side to an ulnar side.

7. A sports glove as defined in claim 6, wherein the protective guard has a maximum height proximate to the ulnar side of the glove.

8. A sports glove as defined in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of finger guards formed of elastomeric material extending from an outer surface of the dorsal side of finger portions of the glove.

9. A sports glove, comprising: a palmar side; a dorsal side coupled to the palmar side forming a cavity for receiving a user's hand; and a plurality of elongated protective guards formed of elastomeric material extending from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand, the elongated protective guards having a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm.

10. A sports glove as defined in claim 9, wherein the plurality of protective guards are formed of TPR material.

11. A sports glove as defined in claim 9, wherein the plurality of protective guards each defines a plurality of notched recesses oriented generally across the width thereof.

12. A sports glove as defined in claim 9, wherein the plurality of protective guards are angled across the metacarpal portion from a radial side to an ulnar side.

13. A sports glove as defined in claim 12, wherein the protective guard has a maximum height proximate to the ulnar side of the glove.

14. A sports glove as defines in claim 9, further comprising a knuckle guard formed of elastomeric material having a height of at least 3 mm.

15. A sports glove as defined in claim 9, wherein the palmar side includes an outer surface formed of a silicone material covering substantially the entirety thereof, the outer surface defining a raised pattern.

16. A sports glove, comprising: a palmar side having an outer surface having a silicone material that defines a raised pattern disposed across substantially all the outer surface; a dorsal side coupled to the palmar side forming a cavity for receiving a user's hand; and a knuckle guard formed of thermoplastic material having a maximum height of at least 3 mm; a plurality of finger guards formed of thermoplastic material having a maximum height of at least 3 mm; a plurality of elongated protective guards formed of thermoplastic material extending from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand, the elongated protective guards having a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm.

17. A sports glove as defined in claim 16, wherein the plurality of protective guards are formed of TPR material.

18. A sports glove as defined in claim 16, wherein the plurality of protective guards each defines a plurality of notched recesses oriented generally across the width thereof.

19. A sports glove as defined in claim 17, wherein the plurality of protective guards are angled across the metacarpal portion from a radial side to an ulnar side.

20. A sports glove as defined in claim 19, wherein the protective guards have a maximum height proximate to the ulnar side of the glove.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to sports gloves and, more particularly, sports gloves having protective features disposed on a dorsal side thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In many sports, athletes employ various types of sports gloves. Such sports gloves are often geared to enhance the athlete's performance. In addition, such sports gloves can provide a measure of protection. The balance between performance and protection can vary from sport to sport as well as from position to position within a single sport.

For example, in football, protective measures for interior linemen are primary concerns, since such players rarely handle the football. However, skilled positions such as receivers, defensive backs, and running backs handle the football frequently. Thus, current football gloves for skilled positions tend to focus on enhance performance features such as enhanced grip. The enhanced grip allows receivers, defensive backs, and running backs to handle and control the football with more ease than bare hands would allow.

Football players are also at risk of injuring their hands and fingers because of the great deal of pressure and strain that is put on them while competing. Many of the current gloves are created to allow athletes to have a greater grip on the ball and a freer range of motion. Although this freer range of motion and increased grip is important, it is also vital that the gloves provide support for the player. Football players are prone to injury and they need equipment that is able to both provide support and functionality. Current gloves seem to sacrifice one characteristic over the other.

Current protection-type gloves are bulky and do not allow for a free range of motion. These gloves are meant to protect the user's hands from falls, strains, or the like, but they lack the flexibility and grip that other gloves may provide. Gloves created to protect the user tend to have a bulkier style of design that allows for more padding, but significantly impedes on other qualities such as flexibility and fit. This is typically the case when it comes to football athletes, especially the skilled position players who are looking for a combination of protection, grip, and flexibility in their gloves.

Skilled position football players, such as receivers, defensive backs, and running backs, need a glove that will give them the free range of motion and grip they are looking for, but one that also provides them with the support and protection. This type of glove is difficult to find because current bulky padded gloves are too large and cumbersome for these athletes to use and move as freely as they would like. Although protection is essential for athletes, they also need a glove that will provide them with the fundamental elements that they need, such as flexibility and grip.

It should be appreciated that there remains a need for a sports glove that addresses these concerns. The present invention fulfills this need and others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In general terms, the present invention provides a sports glove having an elongated protective guard formed of elastomeric material projecting upwardly from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand. The elongated protective guard has a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm.

More specifically, and by way of example in an embodiment of the invention, the glove includes a plurality of elongated protective guards formed of elastomeric material extending from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand. The elongated protective guards have a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm. The protective guards can further define a plurality of notched recesses oriented generally across the width thereof.

In a detailed aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the protective guards are formed of TPR material. The protective guards are angled across the metacarpal portion from a radial side to an ulnar side.

In another detailed aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the palmar side of the glove includes an outer surface formed of a silicone material covering substantially the entirety thereof, the outer surface defining a raised pattern.

In yet another detailed aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the glove includes a knuckle guard formed of elastomeric material having a height of at least 3 mm. The glove can further include a plurality of finger guards formed of elastomeric material having a maximum height of at least 3 mm.

In yet another detailed aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the protective guard is generally u-shaped having a mediate portion disposed proximate to the user's wrist, when worn.

For purposes of summarizing the invention and the advantages achieved over the prior art, certain advantages of the invention have been described herein. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

All of these embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the invention herein disclosed. These and other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments having reference to the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiment disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a dorsal perspective view of a sports glove in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an end perspective view of the sports glove of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a palmar perspective view of the sports glove of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is dorsal perspective view of a second embodiment of a sports glove in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a palmar perspective view of the sports glove of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a sports glove 10. The glove includes a plurality of protective guards 12(a-e) over the metacarpal region of the user's hand. In the exemplary embodiment, five protective guards are downwardly angled from a radial side 14 of the glove to an ulnar side 16. The protective guards are configured to protect the user's hand from impact. In addition, protective finger guards 18 are provided on the fingers 20(a-d) of the gloves. The protective guards are configured to protect the dorsal side of the hand without unduly hampering flexibility, fit, and performance.

The protective guards 12(a-e) are configured to protect the metacarpal region of the user's hand. In the exemplary embodiment, the protective guards are made of durable, resilient material such as a thermoplastic rubber (TPR). In other embodiments, various other materials can be used, such as, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), silicon rubber (e.g., polysiloxanes), flexible PVC or the like. The material used enables the protective guards to absorb an impact directed to the metacarpal region of the hand.

The protective guards 12(a-e) have a unique structure configured for protection and performance. Each protective guard has a width between about 1 mm and about 8 mm, and preferably between about 2 mm and 4 mm. In the exemplary embodiment, a width of about 3 mm is used. As best seen in FIG. 2, the height of the guards slopes from a minimum height proximate to the radial side 14 of the glove to a maximum height proximate to the ulnar side 16 of the glove. In another embodiment, a maximum height between about 3 mm and about 10 mm can be used. The protective guards are relatively narrow as compared to its height. In use, the protective guards tend to deflect upon impact to absorb impact forces to protect the hand.

Each protective guard 12(a-e) includes notched recesses 22 oriented generally across the width thereof. In the exemplary embodiment, the notches terminate at a height of about 2 mm measured from the base of the protective guard.

The protective guards 12(a-e) are angled across the dorsal side such that each protective guard is disposed over more than one metacarpal bone of the hand. Thus, upon impact, the guard can disperse impact forces across the hand, rather than allow such force to be localized. In the exemplary embodiment, the protective guards 12(a-e) radiate out from a knuckle guard 24. Each protective guard has a first end 26(a-e) adjacent to the knuckle guard and second end 28(a-e) generally disposed adjacent to the ulnar side 16 of the glove. In the exemplary embodiment, the first ends 26(a-b) and 26(b-c) are spaced apart about 11 mm. The first ends 26(c-d) are spaced apart about 8 mm, and the first ends 26(d-e) are spaced apart about 3 mm. The second ends 28(a-b) are spaced apart about 16 mm. The second ends 28(b-c) are spaced apart about 21 mm. The second ends 28(c-d) are spaced apart about 34 mm, and the second ends 28(d-e) are spaced apart about 32 mm.

The glove 10 includes a dorsal section 30 formed of padded material. In the exemplary embodiment, the dorsal section is formed of a multi-layered, compress-molded material, having a foam backing and an outer layer of elastic material such as Lycra® or Spandex® material available from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. In other embodiments, other materials can be used, such as nylon, leather, synthetic leather, and so on. Moreover, the glove can include perforations defined by portions of the glove body, such as those disclosed in Applicant's co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/144,451, filed Jun. 23, 2008, which is incorporated by reference.

The glove further includes a dorsal finger section 32 and a dorsal thumb section 34 formed of fabric having elastic material, e.g., nylon mesh. The dorsal finger section 32 and a dorsal thumb section 34 are attached to the dorsal section by stitch lines 36 and 38, respectively.

The protective guards 12(a-e), the finger guards 18, and the knuckle guard 24 are attached to the dorsal section 30 via sonic welding, however, various other attachment means can be used, e.g., heat-activated adhesion strips, stitching, glue, and so on.

With reference now to FIG. 3, a palmar side 40 of the glove 10 is shown, having a palmar section 42 defining a palm region 44 and palmar sides 46(a-d) of the finger portions 20. The finger portions of the palmer side further include openings 48 having elastic material 50 disposed proximate to the finger joints. In the exemplary embodiment, the elastic material is formed of elastic fabric, such as Lycra® material or Spandex® material available from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; however other material having elastic properties can be used.

The palmar side 40 of the glove 10 includes a pattern of silicone material disposed on the palmar section for enhanced grip. The palmer section 42 is formed of unitary construction of leather, or artificial leather, material. The silicone material is raised relative to the palmar section.

The palmar side 40 of the glove 10 also defines a slit 52. The slit extends from the wrist edge towards the knuckle region of the glove to aid the user in applying the glove. The dorsal side further includes a strap 54 that fastens across the slit to secure the glove in place when worn. In the exemplary embodiment, hook-and-loop material is used; however, other fastening approaches can be used, as is known in the art.

The palmar section 42 includes a thumb extension 56 disposed along a thumb web region. The thumb extension is coupled to a palmar thumb section 58, which is primarily formed of a single piece of inelastic material, e.g., leather or simulated leather. A stitch line 60 extends across the distal end of the thumb and proximally down a side of the thumb. The palmar thumb section is attached to the palmar section 42 via a stitch line 62.

With reference now to FIG. 4, a glove 70 is shown. The glove includes an elongated u-shaped protective guard 72 disposed over the metacarpal region of the user's hand. The protective guard includes a first end 74 positioned between the first and middle fingers and a second end 76 positioned between the ring and little fingers. The mediate portion 78 of the protective guard 72 is disposed proximate to the user's wrist. The protective guard further includes a planar base 80 and an upstanding portion 82. The planar base aids in minimizing hand injury by distributing impact forces. The base has a width of about 10 mm. The upstanding portion has a height of about 4 mm proximate to the first and second ends 74, 76 and a height of about 7 mm proximate at the mediate portion.

The dorsal side 84 of the glove 70 includes a central portion 86 of mesh material and peripheral portion 88 of elastic fabric. The central portion and the peripheral portion are sewn to the protective guard 72. More particularly, a stitch line 90 attaches the central portion to a bottom surface of the base and the peripheral portion to an upper surface of the base.

The protective guard defines notched recesses 92 oriented generally across the width thereof, along the spaced-apart arms of the protective guard. In the exemplary embodiment, the notches terminate at a height of about 2 mm measured from the base of the protective guard. The protective guard can be formed of the materials as discussed above with reference to the guards 12 of the first embodiment.

With reference now to FIG. 5, a palmar side 94 of the glove 70 is shown. The palmar side includes a palmar section 96 defining a palm region 98 and palmar sides 100(a-d) of the finger portions 20. The palmar section is formed of a unitary construction of leather, or artificial leather, material. The outer layer of the palmar section is formed of a silicone material covering the entirety thereof. The outer layer includes a raised hexagonal pattern for enhanced grip. The finger portions of the palmer side further include openings 102 having elastic material disposed proximate to the finger joints. In the exemplary embodiment, the elastic material is formed of elastic fabric, such as Lycra® material or Spandex® material available from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, however, other material having elastic properties can be used. In yet other embodiments, the opening can be left without any material disposed therein.

It should be appreciated from the foregoing that the present invention provides a sports glove having an elongated protective guard formed of elastomeric material projecting upwardly from an outer surface of the dorsal side over the metacarpal portion of the user's hand. The elongated protective guard has a maximum height of at least 3 mm and a length of at least 30 mm.

Although the invention has been disclosed in detail with reference only to the exemplary embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various other embodiments can be provided without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is defined only by the claims set forth below.