Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050223478 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/148,881
Publication dateOct 13, 2005
Filing dateJun 9, 2005
Priority dateAug 29, 2003
Publication number11148881, 148881, US 2005/0223478 A1, US 2005/223478 A1, US 20050223478 A1, US 20050223478A1, US 2005223478 A1, US 2005223478A1, US-A1-20050223478, US-A1-2005223478, US2005/0223478A1, US2005/223478A1, US20050223478 A1, US20050223478A1, US2005223478 A1, US2005223478A1
InventorsThomas Hogan
Original AssigneeHogan Thomas B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Body support for cyclists' shorts or trousers
US 20050223478 A1
Abstract
A body support for placement within cyclists' shorts or trousers includes an elastic top layer having a back portion arranged to extend beneath a cyclist's buttocks, and a front portion arranged to extend in the region of the cyclist's crotch. An elastic bottom layer has a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration, a back portion of the bottom layer has first and second edges joined to corresponding edges on the back portion of the top layer, and a front portion of the bottom layer has one or more edges joined to corresponding edges on the front portion of the top layer. An intermediate cushion layer is joined to the bottom layer so that a top surface of the cushion layer faces toward but is free from attachment to a bottom surface of the top layer.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(18)
1. A body support for placement within cyclists' shorts or trousers, comprising:
an elastic top layer having a back portion dimensioned and arranged to extend beneath a cyclist's buttocks, and a front portion dimensioned and arranged to extend in the region of the cyclist's crotch;
an elastic bottom layer having a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration, and edges of the bottom layer are joined to corresponding edges of the top layer; and
an intermediate layer of cushion or padding material joined to the bottom layer so that a top surface of the intermediate layer faces toward but is free from attachment to a bottom surface of the top layer.
2. A body support according to claim 1, wherein the intermediate layer has a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration.
3. A body support according to claim 1, wherein the intermediate layer has one or more elongated slots configured to reduce bunching of the cushion or padding material.
4. A body support according to claim 1, wherein the intermediate layer has an elasticity that is less than the elasticity of either the top or the bottom layer.
5. A body support according to claim 1, wherein a front portion of the bottom layer is configured to support a male cyclist's lower anatomy.
6. A body support according to claim 1, wherein a front portion of the bottom layer is configured to reduce pressure exerted by the support against a female cyclist's lower anatomy.
7. A body support according to claim 1, wherein the top layer comprises an elastic fabric blend suitable for imprinting of ink sublimated text or graphics.
8. A body support according to claim 7, wherein imprinted text on the top layer provides size and care information.
9. Cyclist's shorts or trousers, comprising:
a pair of shorts or trousers constructed and arranged for use by a cyclist;
a body support fastened inside the shorts or trousers so as to extend over the seat and the crotch region of a cyclist, wherein the body support comprises:
an elastic top layer having a back portion dimensioned and arranged to extend beneath the cyclist's buttocks, and a front portion dimensioned and arranged to extend in the region of the cyclist's crotch;
an elastic bottom layer having a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration, and edges of the bottom layer are joined to corresponding edges of the top layer; and
an intermediate layer of cushion or padding material joined to the bottom layer so that a top surface of the intermediate layer faces toward but is free from attachment to a bottom surface of the top layer.
10. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein the intermediate layer of the body support has a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration.
11. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein the intermediate layer of the body support has one or more elongated slots configured to reduce bunching of the cushion or padding material.
12. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein the intermediate layer of the body support has an elasticity that is less than the elasticity of either the top or the bottom layer.
13. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein a front portion of the bottom layer of the body support is configured to support a male cyclist's lower anatomy.
14. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein a front portion of the bottom layer of the body support is configured to reduce pressure exerted by the support against a female cyclist's lower anatomy.
15. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein the top layer of the body support comprises an elastic fabric blend suitable for imprinting of ink sublimated text or graphics.
16. Cyclist's shorts or trousers according to claim 15, wherein imprinted text on the top layer of the body support provides size and care information for the shorts.
17. A body support according to claim 1, wherein a back portion of the bottom layer has first and second edges that are joined to corresponding edges on the back portion of the top layer, and a front portion of the bottom layer has one or more edges that are joined to corresponding edges on the front portion of the top layer.
18. Cyclists' shorts or trousers according to claim 9, wherein a back portion of the bottom layer of the support has first and second edges that are joined to corresponding edges on the back portion of the top layer of the support, and a front portion of the bottom layer has one or more edges that are joined to corresponding edges on the front portion of the top layer.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/651,429 filed Aug. 29, 2003, and entitled “Trousers for Athlete Particularly for Cyclist and Method of Making Same”.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to body support pads or cushions of the kind used in cycling shorts or trousers.

2. Discussion of the Known Art

As a competitive sport, recreational activity or means for daily exercise, cycling remains very popular. Cycling shorts or trousers (hereafter referred to collectively as “shorts”) are available with padding to absorb shocks and vibrations transmitted through the seat or saddle of a bicycle. The shorts may also be manufactured so as to wick moisture away from the body and reduce chafing.

Cycling shorts with padding disposed in the crotch region to prevent or reduce soreness, chafing or blistering, are known. Conventional shorts generally have a four, six, or eight panel construction, elastic ribbing around the bottom of the leg openings and the waist, and padding disposed in the buttocks and crotch regions of the shorts. This padding is sometimes referred to as a “chamois.” The chamois is typically formed from layers of various materials that are stitched or laminated to one another. For example, some cycling shorts have a chamois liner with layers of Ultrasuede™ polyurethane foam, and a polyurethane outer layer. Ultrasuede™ is a synthetic suede material made by Dupont of Wilmington, Del.

Some cycling shorts include a two-ply chamois and have layers of polyurethane foam, terry cloth, or fleece; while others feature an eight panel construction and a three-ply chamois with a zigzag baseball stitching design. The chamois is typically cut to fit between the cyclist's legs. The multi-ply chamois construction is relatively stiff and thus not conducive to obtaining a comfortable, anatomically conforming fit, however.

Cycling shorts available from ASSOS of Switzerland feature an elastic, padded insert at the crotch region. The insert consists of a dynamic memory foam that is positioned inside the crotch area and stitched directly to the shorts. An anti-friction skin contact textile extends over and beyond the perimeter of the foam, and the textile is separately stitched at its periphery to the shorts. According to ASSOS, the foam and the contact textile have similar elastic properties.

Other known cycling shorts have a heat formed chamois made from a laminate of Ultrasuede™ and a knitted polyester fleece, which are bonded together by an adhesive. The laminate is first heated and then molded between shaped dies which correspond to a desired anatomical shape. When cooled, the molded chamois is cut from the fabric piece and sewn into the cycling shorts. Thus, an anatomically conforming chamois is obtained for the one position at which the chamois was molded. When the cyclist moves to other positions, however, the excess material still presents a problem and a less than conforming fit is obtained. The heat molding process used to obtain the shaped chamois also requires additional expense, labor and time for manufacturing. Therefore, there is a need for a cushion support that can be made economically and which provides an anatomically conforming fit for various positions of the cyclist, whether male or female.

Cycling shorts should be cut with a high waist to prevent bunching of the waistband fabric. Current practice in cycling is to use shorts made of a material that may be partially elasticized, so that the shorts will cling snugly to the body and may even be worn without underwear. The problem for the cyclist is that during races or training, the crotch region is subjected to continuous stresses including shocks produced by ground unevenness and vibrations transmitted to the bicycle seat.

As a partial solution to the mentioned drawbacks, cycling shorts have been produced in which a textile padding of suitable thickness is sewn at the crotch. Although the thickness of the padding may offer initial relief, it has been found that the padding tends to overheat the crotch region and continuous slippage between the cyclist's body and the padding occurs due to sweating. Thus, any initial benefits are lost. It is also known to provide cycling shorts having a bottom with multiple chambers sewn at the crotch region, the chambers being arranged laterally to the longitudinal axis of the bicycle seat to form distinct regions of support for the crotch.

While some cycling shorts are cut specifically to conform with the male anatomy, the same pattern is sometimes used for female sized shorts as well. Cycling shorts preferably should be cut and sized to accommodate the different anatomical features of the two sexes, however. That is, cycling shorts intended for sale to women should conform comfortably with the female anatomy whether the wearer is cycling for pleasure or competition. See generally, U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,917 (Feb. 10, 2004); U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,618 (May 28, 2002); U.S. Pat. No. 5,978,970 (Nov. 9, 1999); U.S. Pat. No. 5,271,101 (Dec. 21, 1993); and U.S. Pat. No. 4,961,233 (Oct. 9, 1990).

Accordingly, there remains a need for cycling shorts that will allow either male or female cyclists to peddle actively over long periods of time and with a reasonable degree of comfort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the invention, a body support suited for placement in the seat of cyclists' shorts or trousers includes an elastic top layer having a back portion for extending beneath a cyclist's buttocks, and a front portion for extending in the region of the cyclist's crotch. The support also includes an elastic bottom layer having a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration. A back portion of the bottom layer has first and second edges that are joined to corresponding edges of the back portion of the top layer, and a front portion of the bottom layer has one or more edges that are joined to corresponding edges of the front portion of the top layer. An intermediate layer of cushion or padding material is joined to the bottom layer so that a top surface of the intermediate layer faces toward but is free from attachment to a bottom surface of the top layer.

For a better understanding of the invention, reference is made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

In the drawing:

FIG. 1. is a plan view of a top layer of a cyclist's body support according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a bottom layer of the inventive support, wherein the layer is cut to conform with a male anatomy;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of an intermediate cushion or padding layer of the inventive support;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the inventive support showing relative positions of the layers of FIGS. 1-3, as seen from a bottom side of the support;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, exploded view of the support of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a detail view of a front portion of the inventive support, wherein the bottom layer is cut to accommodate a female anatomy;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of the support of FIG. 6, showing relative positions of the support layers as seen from a bottom side of the support; and

FIG. 8 is a transparent view of a pair of cyclist's shorts, showing the inventive support fixed inside the shorts to support and cushion the cyclist's body.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a top or cover layer 10 of a cyclist's body support according to the invention. The layer 10 is formed preferably from a smooth, elasticized (stretchable) fabric blend that is breathable and will not irritate the cyclist's skin, such as, for example, a LycraŽ blend. The particular material or fabric blend chosen for the layer 10 may, if desired, be one that can be imprinted (see FIG. 8) without degradation, damage or melting of the fabric as may occur with a typical nylon/Lycra blend fabric used for conventional bicycle shorts.

As seen in FIG. 1, top layer 10 has a back portion 12 that is dimensioned and sized to extend beneath the cyclist's buttocks, and a front portion 14 dimensioned and sized to extend over the crotch region, when the inventive support is sewn or otherwise fixed in place inside a pair of shorts as depicted in FIG. 8.

As mentioned, the layer 10 may optionally be imprinted with text and/or graphics, e.g., a trademark or trade dress using, for example, ink sublimation graphics. In such a process, a transfer design is comprised of a carrier paper and inks (typically printed on the paper with an inkjet printer). Imprinted text on the top layer 10 of the inventive body support may also provide size and care information for a pair of shorts in which the support was fastened at the time of manufacture.

When heated and pressed over a certain amount of time, the inks transfer onto the layer material. Some inks may adhere to the surface of the material, while others (namely, sublimation) penetrate a coating on the material. The temperatures, pressures and time used in the transfer process could be determined by a skilled worker considering, for example, the type of fabric, the saturation of the design, and the sublimation penetrable aspects of the fabric. Ink sublimation is a preferred printing technique because the ink is impregnated into the fabric substrate, and the fabric remains breathable. Techniques such as screen printing only coat the fabric and do not allow breathability. Because the top layer 10 extends over the crotch region when worn inside shorts, breathability over most all of the layer area is important for wearer's comfort.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of an elastic bottom layer 20 of the inventive support. Like the top layer 10, the bottom layer is formed preferably from a smooth, elasticized fabric blend that is stretchable, breathable, and which will not irritate the cyclist's skin, for example, a LycraŽ blend. Bottom layer 20 has a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration, wherein a back portion 22 of the layer 20 has first and second edges 22 a, 22 b dimensioned and arranged to be sewn or otherwise joined to corresponding edges 12 a, 12 b (FIG. 1) of the back portion 12 of the top layer 10.

In FIG. 2, the configuration of a front portion 24 of the layer 20 is such as to overlie the front portion 14 of the top layer 10 (see FIG. 4), thus providing support for a male cyclist's lower anatomy when the inventive pad is properly secured in a pair of shorts worn by the cyclist. A continuous edge 24 a of the front portion of layer 20 is dimensioned and arranged to be sewn or otherwise joined to a corresponding edge 14 a (FIG. 1) of the front portion 14 of the top layer, as shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of an intermediate layer 30 of the inventive support. The layer 30 has a generally inverted Y-shaped configuration, and is made from a foam or cushion material that provides adequate padding for the cyclist's anatomy, specifically, the cyclist's public bone region and the buttocks. The density and thickness of the layer 30 can be determined by one of ordinary skill in the art considering factors such as, e.g., the degree of protection that a given thickness can provide, and the amount of bunching that such a thickness may cause. The layer 30 may have some elasticity, but it is not required that the layer 30 be as elastic or stretchable as the top and the bottom layers 10, 20. In the disclosed embodiment, the layer 30 has an elongated depression or slot 32 through a central portion of the layer, wherein the slot 32 coincides with the long axis of the layer. The slot helps to avoid bunching of the material of the layer 30 and associated discomfort of the cyclist when the layer is subjected to various stresses during use. See the earlier mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 5,271,101 which is incorporated by reference.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the inventive support, showing the relative positions of the layers 10, 20 and 30 when the three layers are sewn or otherwise joined to form the inventive support. FIG. 5 is an enlarged, exploded view of the support.

The support is assembled by joining the intermediate cushion or padding layer 30 to the bottom layer 20, preferably with stitching that runs at or near the outer periphery of the layer 30 and the edge of the slot 32. The bottom layer 20 is then stitched near the edges 22 a, 22 b and 24 a of its front and back portions, to corresponding edges 12 a, 12 b and 14 a of the top layer 10, with a top surface of the intermediate layer 30 facing toward a bottom surface of the top layer 10 as shown in FIG. 5. Note that the intermediate cushion layer 30 is not directly sewn or otherwise fixed to the elastic top layer 10.

Accordingly, the top layer 10 is free to encounter stretching and/or shifts in position in response to peddling motion of the cyclist's legs, without any restraint by the intermediate cushion layer 30 which is kept substantially stationary under the weight of the cyclist's body. Instead, such stretching or other movement of the top layer 10 is complied with by those elastic sections of the bottom layer 20 that extend between the intermediate layer 30 and the edges of the top layer 10 at which the bottom layer 20 is joined. That is, unlike the known body supports or chamois, any inherent stiffness of the cushion layer 30 in the inventive support will not act to limit the cyclist's freedom of movement.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, detail view of a front portion of the inventive support, wherein a bottom layer 40 is cut to accommodate a lower female anatomy. FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the support of FIG. 6, showing the relative positions of the layers 10, 20 and 40 when the three layers are assembled to form the inventive support.

In contrast to the bottom layer 20 of FIG. 2, a front portion 40 a of the bottom layer 40 is cut away or contoured as seen in FIG. 7 so as to relieve or reduce pressure, chaffing, bunching and/or discomfort that the layer 40 might otherwise cause in the vicinity of a female cyclist's lower anatomy. Similar to the male support of FIG. 4, the female support of FIG. 7 is assembled by joining the intermediate cushion layer 30 to the bottom layer 40, preferably with stitching that runs at or near the outer periphery of the cushion layer 30 and the edge of slot 32 in the layer 30. The bottom layer 40 is then stitched at or near two outer edges 44 a, 44 b on its front portion, and at or near the two outer edges 42 a, 42 b on its back portion, to corresponding edges of the top layer 10 so that the top surface of the intermediate cushion layer 30 faces toward the bottom surface of the top layer 10. As in the male support of FIG. 4, the intermediate layer 30 is not directly sewn or otherwise fixed to the top layer 10.

Similar to the male version of FIG. 4, the female support of FIGS. 6 and 7 cushions the public bone region and buttocks of the cyclist. The bottom layer 40 is cut away (at 40 a) at the front portion of the support, however, to avoid bunching or other discomfort in a sensitive region of a female cyclist's anatomy when the cyclist is actively peddling for long periods of time.

The inventive cyclist body support, whether male or female version, can be sewn or otherwise fixed in place inside a pair of cycling shorts in a manner that would be apparent to a skilled worker in view of the present disclosure. For example, as depicted in FIG. 8, the support is stitched at 50 along the outer periphery of the top layer 10 into the seat and crotch region of cycling shorts 60. Other suitable methods of adhering the support to the shorts 60 may be used such as, e.g., thermal bonding.

In the disclosed embodiment, the inventive support is prefabricated separately from the shorts 60, and the top layer 10 of the support may have imprinted desired text and graphics. It will be understood, however, that the support may be integrated with the shorts 60 at the time the shorts are manufactured.

Because the intermediate cushion layer 30 is not fastened directly to the shorts 60, bunching of the support and cyclist discomfort are reduced or eliminated. It should be noted that while the top layer 10 is shown in the drawing as one continuous piece of material, the layer 10 may alternatively be formed from several pieces of material that are joined to one another. An advantage of this alternate embodiment is that different fabrics may be used, some of which may feature desired imprinting while others provide desired breathability and/or stretchability.

FIG. 6 also illustrates the stretchability or compliance of the inventive support. Because only the elastic top and bottom layers 10, 20 of the support are fastened directly to the material of the shorts 60 (which as mentioned may also be elastic), the intermediate cushion layer 30 can remain at a substantially optimum position beneath the cyclist's body while the top layer and those sections of the bottom layer extending beyond the cushion layer may stretch easily in the same or opposite directions (arrows A and B) to comply with changing positions of the cyclist and the shorts while the cyclist peddles. The cyclist thus enjoys both comfort as well as enhanced performance because no layer of the inventive support will act to restrain his or her leg movement.

While the present invention has been disclosed and described with reference to various embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is pointed out by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7707659 *Sep 30, 2004May 4, 2010Dashamerica, Inc.Chamois for athletic shorts having relatively elastic portion and relatively inelastic portion
US7739754 *Mar 29, 2004Jun 22, 2010Louis Garneau Sports Inc.Seat pad for cyclist garment and method of manufacture
US7757311Sep 26, 2006Jul 20, 2010Louis Garneau Sports Inc.Seat pad for cyclist garment and method of manufacture
US8042197 *Oct 29, 2008Oct 25, 2011Assos Of Switzerland S.A.Cyclist trousers with protection pad
US8230520 *Jul 28, 2008Jul 31, 2012SELLE SMP s.a.s di M. SchiavonBib for playing sport, in particular for cycling
US20120222191 *Feb 22, 2012Sep 6, 2012Assos Of Switzerland S.A.Sports garment with a seat pad, in particular for cycling
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/466
International ClassificationA41D1/08
Cooperative ClassificationA41D1/084
European ClassificationA41D1/08C