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United States Patent Application 20110023215
Kind Code A1
Obradovic; Obrenija February 3, 2011

SOCK

Abstract

This disclosure relates to a sock for substantially covering a foot or footwear. The sock has a wall defining an opening and a recess, the opening leading to the recess. The wall has an inside surface and an outside surface and is flexible, elastic and waterproof.


Inventors: Obradovic; Obrenija; (New South Wales, AU)
Correspondence Address:
    MAIER & MAIER, PLLC
    1000 DUKE STREET
    ALEXANDRIA
    VA
    22314
    US
Assignee: DAVIDDA PTY LTD
Allawah
AU

Serial No.: 866587
Series Code: 12
Filed: February 7, 2008
PCT Filed: February 7, 2008
PCT NO: PCT/AU2008/000166
371 Date: August 6, 2010

Current U.S. Class: 2/239; 36/25R
Class at Publication: 2/239; 36/25.R
International Class: A43B 17/00 20060101 A43B017/00


Claims



1. A sock for substantially covering a foot or footwear comprising a wall defining an opening and a recess, the opening leading to the recess, the wall having an inside surface and an outside surface, wherein the wall is flexible, elastic and waterproof and wherein a bottom region of the outside surface of the wall comprises a sole portion, the sole portion comprising a ball portion and a heel portion, such that in use the ball of a user's foot is located substantially over the ball portion, and the heel of a user's foot is located substantially over the heel portion and wherein the wall includes a plurality of ridges and at least one of the plurality of ridges is located on the sole portion and at least two of the ridges intersect.

2. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall is made from one or more materials.

3. A sock as claimed in claim 2, wherein the one or more materials include substantially natural rubber latex.

4. A sock as claimed in claim 2, wherein the one or more materials include substantially synthetic rubber latex.

5. A sock as claimed in claim 2, wherein the one or more materials include substantially a solution of rubber.

6. A sock as claimed in claim 2, wherein the one or more materials include substantially virgin polyvinyl chloride.

7. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall can be sterilized substantially without damaging the one or more materials.

8. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall insulates.

9. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein wall is chemical resistant.

10. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall is UV resistant.

11. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall is electrically non-conductive.

12. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall provides improved grip.

13. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall is biodegradable.

14. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the thickness of the wall is between 0.05 mm and 5 mm.

15. A sock as claimed in claim 14, wherein the thickness of the wall is between 0.17 mm to 2.09 mm.

16. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the opening is adapted to form a watertight seal against the user's foot, ankle or leg in use.

17. A sock as claimed in claim 16, wherein the opening comprises a cuff adapted to form a watertight seal against the user's foot, ankle or leg in use.

18. A sock as claimed in claim 17, wherein the cuff comprises a gathered collar.

19-20. (canceled)

21. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the recess comprises an upright portion and a substantially horizontal portion, the opening being located at a top end of the upright portion, a bottom end of the upright portion being connected to a first end of the substantially horizontal portion and a second end of the substantially horizontal portion being closed.

22. A sock as claimed in claim 21, wherein the second end of the substantially horizontal portion includes a toe portion adapted to receive the user's toes.

23-29. (canceled)

30. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall includes one or more durable portions adapted to be relatively more durable than the surrounding wall regions.

31. A sock as claimed in claim 30, wherein the one or more durable portions have a greater thickness than the surrounding wall region.

32. A sock as claimed in claim 30, wherein at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the sole portion.

33. A sock as claimed in claim 30, wherein at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the toe portion.

34. A sock as claimed in claim 30, wherein at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the heel portion.

35. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall includes one or more flexible portions adapted to be more flexible than the surrounding wall region.

36. A sock as claimed in claim 35, wherein at least one of the one or more flexible portions surrounds the opening.

37. A sock as claimed in claim 35, wherein at least one of the one or more flexible portions is located at the toe portion.

38. A sock as claimed in claim 35, wherein at least one of the one or more flexible portions is located at the heel portion.

39. A sock as claimed in claim 1, comprising a facilitation portion that is adapted to facilitate donning

40. A sock as claimed in claim 39, wherein the facilitation portion comprises a different material to the outside surface of the wall.

41. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sock is adapted to be worn over either the left or right foot.

42. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sole portion further comprises an instep portion located substantially in the mid-region of the sole portion, such that in use, the instep of a user's foot is located substantially over the instep portion of the sole.

43. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the opening is large enough for a user to don the sock without resistance and the sock includes a fastener adapted to reduce the size of the opening once the sock is donned to secure the sock over the user's foot.

44. A sock as claimed in claim 43, wherein the opening and fastener are adapted such that when the size of the opening is reduced, a watertight seal is formed between the sock and the user's foot, ankle or leg.

45. A sock as claimed in claim 43, wherein the fastener is a zipper.

46. A sock as claimed in claim 43, wherein the fastener is an adhesive.

47-48. (canceled)

49. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the width of the ridges is between 0.5 mm and 10 mm.

50. A sock as claimed in claim 49, wherein the width of the ridges is between 2.1 mm and 4.3 mm

51. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein the height of the ridges is between 0.5 mm and 10 mm.

52. A sock as claimed in claim 51, wherein the height of the ridges is between 2 mm and 3.6 mm.

53. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least two of the ridges are lateral ridges which are located at the ball portion of the sole portion and are orientated laterally with respect to the sole portion.

54. A sock as claimed in claim 53, wherein at least one of the ridges is a centre longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion.

55. A sock as claimed in claim 54, wherein at least one of the ridges is a further longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion and is in spaced relation to the centre longitudinal ridge.

56. A sock as claimed in claim 54, wherein at least one of the lateral ridges is a left lateral ridge and is located on a left portion of the ball portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 90 degrees and 180 degrees.

57. A sock as claimed in claim 56, wherein the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 110 degrees and 140 degrees.

58. A sock as claimed in claim 57, wherein the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about 120 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

59. A sock as claimed in claim 53, wherein at least one of the lateral ridges is a right lateral ridge and is located on a right portion of the ball portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 90 degrees and minus 180 degrees.

60. A sock as claimed in claim 59, wherein the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 110 degrees and minus 140 degrees.

61. A sock as claimed in claim 60, wherein the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about minus 120 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

62. A sock as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least two of the ridges are lateral ridges which are located at the heel portion of the sole portion and are orientated laterally with respect to the sole portion.

63. A sock as claimed in claim 62, wherein at least one of the ridges is a centre longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion.

64. A sock as claimed in claim 63, wherein at least one of the ridges is a further longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion and is in spaced relation to the centre longitudinal ridge.

65. A sock as claimed in claim 63, wherein at least one of the lateral ridges is a left lateral ridge and is located on a left portion of the heel portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 0 degrees and 90 degrees.

66. A sock as claimed in claim 65, wherein the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 65 degrees and 85 degrees.

67. A sock as claimed in claim 66, wherein the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about 75 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

68. A sock as claimed in claim 63, wherein at least one of the lateral ridges is a right lateral ridge and is located on a right portion of the heel portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 0 degrees and minus 90 degrees.

69. A sock as claimed in claim 68, wherein the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 65 degrees and minus 85 degrees.

70. A sock as claimed in claim 69, wherein the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about minus 75 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

71. (canceled)
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001]The present invention relates to footwear, and more specifically to socks to be worn on a person's feet or over a person's shoes or boots.

[0002]The invention has been developed primarily for use in hospitals and home care. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to these particular fields of use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003]A variety of socks to be worn on a person's feet are known. The most commonly available type of sock is made primarily of natural or synthetic fabric, and is normally used to cover the foot before insertion into external footwear, for example, a shoe or boot, to provide cushioning, comfort, warmth and/or fluid absorption. This type of sock is often elasticised to facilitate a snug fit and may be slippery on smooth or wet surfaces. Socks are not usually intended to be worn without or on the outside of external footwear.

[0004]Some socks comprise slip-reducing pads or slip-reducing material located on the sole of the sock, for example socks designed to be worn indoors and without external footwear (e.g. bed socks).

[0005]Waterproof socks are available, such as those intended for users that engage in wet or outdoor activities, for example skiing or hiking. This type of sock is designed to be worn on the inside of external footwear, for example ski boots or hiking boots, to provide padding, comfort and/or shock absorption. Some waterproof socks include three layers: a waterproof outer layer, a cushioning middle layer and a waterproof inner layer.

[0006]Shoe or boot covers are available that are waterproof or water-resistant and slip-reducing and are commonly made of PVC, latex, or polypropylene. They are used for the protection of footwear and the lower legs from water, dirt, mud or other contaminants that may be located on the ground or floor, or to protect floors from water, dirt, mud or other contaminants that may be located on the person's shoes. Shoe or boot covers are used in a number of environments, including surgical, medical and clean rooms, laboratories, chemically hazardous environments and construction sites. Different materials and designs of shoe or boot covers cater for the type of contaminant to be avoided and its method of delivery (e.g. by direct contact or gas). Disposable shoe or boot covers often have an elasticised opening to keep the shoe or boot cover on the user's foot. Reusable shoe or boot covers are often made of relatively thicker and more durable material which reduces elasticity of the overall cover making it difficult to don, hence requiring a larger opening to compensate. These designs usually result in the shoe or boot covers being unable to provide a watertight or contaminant-tight seal when in use. While these shoe or boot covers protect from water, dirt, mud and other contaminants underfoot, they do not protect from water, dirt, mud and other contaminants that may enter through the opening.

[0007]Elderly or physically impaired people may fall in wet and slippery areas such as in a bathroom or shower, and the impact from the fall is likely to cause injury, sometimes severe. Slip-reducing mats and stickers are commonly available for affixing to the floor of a wet area to prevent people from slipping over. For areas that are regularly wet or moist, however, these semi-permanent mats or stickers may not be hygienic. This is a particular issue in showers and bathrooms in public use, such as in aged care facilities, hospitals, gymnasiums and hostels. Furthermore, being adhered to a constantly wet surface may cause the mat or sticker to be dislodged or slip over time. The mat or sticker can also wear out.

[0008]The present invention seeks to provide a sock which will overcome or substantially ameliorate at least some of the deficiencies of the prior art, or to at least provide an alternative.

[0009]It is to be understood that, if any prior art information is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the information forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010]According to a first aspect of the invention a sock is provided comprising a wall defining an opening and a recess, the opening leading to the recess, the wall having an inside surface and an outside surface, wherein the wall is flexible, elastic and waterproof.

[0011]Advantageously, the flexibility of the sock allows the sock to be worn over a person's foot or footwear in relative comfort. The elasticity of the sock allows for the sock to be relatively easily donned yet still well fitted over a person's foot or footwear. A well fitted sock prevents the user from potentially tripping over loose folds of the wall and also allows the foot to maintain its tactile sense through the wall (provided the wall is sufficiently thin). The waterproof wall of the sock prevents water, dirt or other contaminants from permeating through the sock, thus protecting the user's foot or footwear from these contaminants in use.

[0012]Advantageously, when worn over shoes, boots or other footwear, the sock may help prolong the life of the footwear.

[0013]Preferably, the wall is made from one or more materials.

[0014]Advantageously, the selection of one or a combination of materials allows the characteristics or properties of the wall of the sock to be tailored for a specific purpose.

[0015]Preferably, the one or more materials include substantially natural rubber latex.

[0016]Preferably, the one or more materials include substantially synthetic rubber latex.

[0017]Preferably, the one or more materials include substantially a solution of rubber.

[0018]Preferably, the one or more materials include silicone.

[0019]Advantageously, the above mentioned materials have suitable material properties for footwear including flexibility, elasticity, imperviousness to water and strength in tension.

[0020]Preferably, the one or more materials include substantially virgin polyvinyl chloride.

[0021]Advantageously, virgin polyvinyl chloride has suitable material properties for footwear and is a substitute for users who are sensitive to or have become sensitised to rubber or latex products.

[0022]Preferably, the wall can be sterilised substantially without damaging the one or more materials.

[0023]Advantageously, this allows the sock to be used in applications requiring sterility, for example in clean rooms, surgical rooms or laboratories. This feature allows use by multiple users where a sterilisation process takes place between uses.

[0024]Preferably, the wall insulates.

[0025]Advantageously, this allows the sock to be used more comfortably in cold environments or on cold surfaces.

[0026]Preferably, the wall is UV resistant.

[0027]Advantageously, the sock will not be significantly damaged or degraded by exposure to UV radiation, for example, when used or stored outdoors.

[0028]Preferably, the wall is electrically non-conductive.

[0029]Advantageously, in situations where the user may be in danger of coming into contact with an electrically conductive surface, for example a wet surface, the user might be protected from being electrocuted.

[0030]Preferably, the wall provides improved grip.

[0031]Advantageously, this provides the sock with extra grip for applications where the user may be in danger of slipping and/or falling. This is especially advantageous if the environment is hazardous to the user or if user is likely to be injured as a result of falling, for example, if there are sharp objects on the ground.

[0032]Preferably, the wall is biodegradable.

[0033]Advantageously, this mitigates the sock's polluting impact on the environment, when it is disposed. This feature is particularly suitable for disposable socks.

[0034]Preferably, the thickness of the wall is between 0.05 mm and 5 mm.

[0035]Preferably, the thickness of the wall is between 0.17 mm to 2.09 mm.

[0036]Advantageously, the wall thickness allows the sock to be sufficiently strong, durable and protective, while maintaining sufficient flexibility and elasticity.

[0037]Preferably, the opening is adapted to form a watertight seal against the user's foot, ankle or leg in use.

[0038]Preferably, the opening comprises a cuff adapted to form a watertight seal against the user's foot, ankle or leg in use.

[0039]Preferably, the cuff comprises a gathered collar.

[0040]Advantageously, this allows the sock to be used in applications where the user's foot may come into contact with water, vapour or other contaminants which may otherwise enter the sock through the opening, and protects the user's foot or other footwear from the contaminants. Furthermore, this protects the inside surface of the sock from becoming slippery or uncomfortable, which may occur if water, vapour, or other contaminants enter the sock through the opening.

[0041]Preferably, a bottom region of the outside surface of the wall comprises a sole portion.

[0042]The sole portion of the sock can be tailored with at least one characteristic or feature that is different from the surrounding wall region to enhance the functionality and/or comfort of the sock. Furthermore, mimicking the natural shape of the foot allows the sock to be better and more securely fitted to the user's foot, thus improving comfort and stability.

[0043]Preferably, the sole portion comprises a ball portion and a heel portion, such that in use the ball of a user's foot is located substantially over the ball portion, and the heel of a user's foot is located substantially over the heel portion.

[0044]The ball portion and the heel portion sustain the most wear in terms of contact with the ground or floor and can be tailored with at least one characteristic or feature that is different from the surrounding region to enhance the functionality and/or comfort of the sock. Provision of a ball portion and a heel portion further mimics the natural shape of the foot.

[0045]Preferably, the recess comprises an upright portion and a substantially horizontal portion, the opening being located at a top end of the upright portion, a bottom end of the upright portion being connected to a first end of the substantially horizontal portion and a second end of the substantially horizontal portion being closed.

[0046]The position of the opening will vary depending on the height of the upright portion to protect greater or lesser amounts of the foot, ankle and/or lower leg. For example, if the sock were intended to be used to cover a boot, providing a tall upright portion ensures that the entire boot is contained within the sock and hence protected. A tall upright portion may also allow a fracture cast or wound dressing to be covered and thus sealed, for example, when the person has a shower.

[0047]However, if the sock were intended to be used to cover a person's foot for the purposes of providing added grip to possibly reduce the risk of slippage, providing a short upright portion allows the lower leg to be exposed for greater comfort.

[0048]Preferably, the second end of the substantially horizontal portion includes a toe portion adapted to receive the user's toes.

[0049]Preferably, the wall includes one or more slip-reducing portions.

[0050]Advantageously, the slip-reducing portions may provide extra grip against the surface on which the user treads. This may reduce the risk of slipping and/or falling. This may be advantageous if the environment is hazardous to the user or if the user is likely to be injured as a result of falling, for example, if there is hard furniture near or if there are sharp objects on the ground.

[0051]Preferably, the wall includes one or more textured portions.

[0052]Advantageously, the textured portion(s) are an easily manufactured method of producing a slip-reducing portion(s).

[0053]Preferably, at least one of the one or more textured portions is located on the sole portion.

[0054]Advantageously, the textured portion(s) is provided on the portion of the sock that comes in contact with the surface on which the user treads.

[0055]Preferably, at least one of the one or more textured portions is located at the ball portion.

[0056]Preferably, at least one of the one or more textured portions is located at the heel portion.

[0057]Preferably, the one or more textured portions comprises two or more textured portions and wherein at least one of the two or more textured portions is located on the ball portion and another of the two or more textured portions is located on the heel portion.

[0058]Advantageously, the textured portions are provided on the portions of the sock covering the portions of the user's foot on which the user places the most weight and utilizes to maintain balance, stability and mobility, and which thus require the most friction with the surface on which the user treads.

[0059]Preferably, at least one of the one or more textured portions is scored with lines.

[0060]Advantageously, scoring with lines is an easily manufactured method of providing texture.

[0061]Preferably, at least one of the one or more textured portions comprises a plurality of ridges.

[0062]Advantageously, providing ridges is an easily manufactured method of providing texture.

[0063]Furthermore, the location of the ridges on the portions of the sock that come into contact with the surface on which the user is treading provides added traction if the surface has small crevices, cracks or unevenness, as the ridges mechanically engage with the crevices, cracks or unevenness. An example of such a surface is a tiled surface such as can be found in bathrooms and showers. In this case, the ridges may slot into the crevices between the tiles.

[0064]Preferably, at least one of the ridges is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion.

[0065]Advantageously, the longitudinal ridges provide a large amount of traction in the lateral directions.

[0066]Preferably, at least two of the ridges intersect.

[0067]Advantageously, the orientation of ridges in more than one direction allows the sock to provide increased traction in multiple directions, and also increases the likelihood that the ridges will mechanically engage with crevices or depressions in the surface on which the user is treading.

[0068]Preferably, the width of the ridges is between 0.5 mm and 10 mm.

[0069]Preferably, the width of the ridges is between 2.1 mm and 4.3 mm.

[0070]Advantageously, the ridges are provided having widths that are able to mechanically engage with common crevices, such as between tiles, cracks or unevenness that are likely to be encountered on the surfaces on which the user treads. Furthermore, the widths of the ridges are not so narrow as to lack rigidity and/or strength, which could reduce the amount of traction provided.

[0071]Preferably, the height of the ridges is between 0.5 mm and 10 mm.

[0072]Preferably, the height of the ridges is between 2 mm and 3.6 mm.

[0073]Advantageously, the ridges have heights that are sufficient for mechanical engagement with crevices, such as between tiles, cracks or unevenness that is likely to be encountered on the surfaces on which the user treads. Furthermore, the heights of the ridges are not so high so as to cause the ridges to get stuck in crevices or cracks and become difficult to dislodge, or to hamper movement or cause discomfort to the user.

[0074]Preferably, the wall includes one or more durable portions adapted to be relatively more durable than the surrounding wall regions.

[0075]Advantageously, this reduces the likelihood of the wall rupturing with wear, allowing the sock to be used in applications wherein the sock is likely to encounter a high rate of wear, for example on rough surfaces or surfaces with sharp objects, such as a construction site, or to cover shoes or boots that are rough or sharp.

[0076]Preferably, the one or more durable portions have a greater thickness than the surrounding wall region.

[0077]Advantageously, this is an easily manufactured method of producing durable portions.

[0078]Preferably, at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the sole portion.

[0079]Preferably, at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the toe portion.

[0080]Preferably, at least one of the one or more durable portions is located on the heel portion.

[0081]Advantageously, the durable portions are provided on portions of the sock that encounter the most wear.

[0082]Preferably, the wall includes one or more flexible portions adapted to be more flexible than the surrounding wall region.

[0083]Advantageously, the flexible portions allow for the sock to be easily donned and to be comfortable when worn.

[0084]Preferably, at least one of the one or more flexible portions surrounds the opening.

[0085]Advantageously, the opening can be sufficiently stretched to receive the foot or footwear and allow the sock to be easily donned.

[0086]Preferably, at least one of the one or more flexible portions is located at the toe portion.

[0087]Preferably, at least one of the one or more flexible portions is located at the heel portion.

[0088]Advantageously, the portions of the sock that are stretched the most due to the shape of the respective portions of the foot or footwear are flexible to cater for the user's comfort when wearing the sock.

[0089]Preferably, the sock comprises a facilitation portion that is adapted to facilitate donning.

[0090]Advantageously, the sock can be donned with little or no difficulty despite being well fitted against the foot or footwear when donned. Furthermore, the sock can also be removed with little or no difficulty following use.

[0091]Preferably, the facilitation portion comprises a different material to the outside surface of the wall.

[0092]Advantageously, as well as being easy to don and remove, the facilitation portion, if located on the inner surface of the wall, may be a different material to provide other functions. For example, it may be a soft and absorbent material to provide comfort and absorb perspiration when wearing the sock.

[0093]Advantageously, the sock is shaped such that it fits very well over the respective foot that it is intended for, thus improving comfort, functionality and tactile sense.

[0094]Advantageously, a single sock can be manufactured to fit either foot, thereby not requiring separate dispensers or dispensing of pairs from the one dispenser. Furthermore, if one of a pair of socks was lost or damaged, only one requires replacement. Furthermore, manufacturing costs are reduced because only one mould is required.

[0095]Preferably, the sole portion further comprises an instep portion located substantially in the mid-region of the sole portion, such that in use, the instep of a user's foot is located substantially over the instep portion of the sole.

[0096]Advantageously, the instep portion provides improved ergonomics and comfort.

[0097]Preferably, the opening is large enough for a user to don the sock without resistance and the sock includes a fastener adapted to reduce the size of the opening once the sock is donned to secure the sock over the user's foot.

[0098]Preferably, the opening and fastener are adapted such that when the size of the opening is reduced, a watertight seal is formed between the sock and the user's foot, ankle or leg.

[0099]Advantageously, this makes the sock easier to don over the foot or especially over footwear. This is especially useful if the sock were to be donned in conditions that would otherwise be difficult, for example, if the foot or shoe were wet or large.

[0100]Preferably, the fastener is a zipper.

[0101]Advantageously, this method of fastening is easy for the user to fasten and is repeatable.

[0102]Preferably, the fastener is an adhesive.

[0103]Advantageously, this method of fastening securely closes the sock.

[0104]Preferably, at least two of the ridges are lateral ridges which are located at the ball portion of the sole portion and are orientated laterally with respect to the sole portion.

[0105]Preferably, at least one of the ridges is a centre longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion.

[0106]Preferably, at least one of the ridges is a further longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion and is in spaced relation to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0107]Preferably, at least one of the lateral ridges is a left lateral ridge and is located on a left portion of the ball portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 90 degrees and 180 degrees.

[0108]Preferably, the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 110 degrees and 140 degrees.

[0109]Preferably, the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about 120 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0110]Preferably, at least one of the lateral ridges is a right lateral ridge and is located on a right portion of the ball portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 90 degrees and minus 180 degrees.

[0111]Preferably, the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 110 degrees and minus 140 degrees.

[0112]Preferably, the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about minus 120 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0113]Preferably, at least two of the ridges are lateral ridges which are located at the heel portion of the sole portion and are orientated laterally with respect to the sole portion.

[0114]Preferably, at least one of the ridges is a centre longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion.

[0115]Preferably, at least one of the ridges is a further longitudinal ridge and is orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion and is in spaced relation to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0116]Preferably, at least one of the lateral ridges is a left lateral ridge and is located on a left portion of the heel portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 0 degrees and 90 degrees.

[0117]Preferably, the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between 65 degrees and 85 degrees.

[0118]Preferably, the left lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about 75 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0119]Preferably, at least one of the lateral ridges is a right lateral ridge and is located on a right portion of the heel portion and is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 0 degrees and minus 90 degrees.

[0120]Preferably, the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle to the centre longitudinal ridge of between minus 65 degrees and minus 85 degrees.

[0121]Preferably, the right lateral ridge is orientated at an angle of about minus 75 degrees to the centre longitudinal ridge.

[0122]The various arrangements of ridges may provide benefits in relation to grip, engagement with a rough or recessed surface, cushioning and/or comfort.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0123]Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, a preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0124]FIG. 1 shows a front perspective view of a sock in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0125]FIG. 2 shows a rear perspective view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0126]FIG. 3 shows a right side view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0127]FIG. 4 shows a left side view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0128]FIG. 5 shows a top view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0129]FIG. 6 shows a bottom view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0130]FIG. 7 shows a front view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0131]FIG. 8 shows a rear view of the sock of FIG. 1;

[0132]FIG. 9 shows front perspective view of a sock in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0133]FIG. 10 shows a rear perspective view of the sock of FIG. 9;

[0134]FIG. 11 shows a right side view of the sock of FIG. 9;

[0135]FIG. 12 shows a left side view of the sock of FIG. 9;

[0136]FIG. 13 shows a top view of the sock of FIG. 9;

[0137]FIG. 14 shows a bottom view of the sock of FIG. 9;

[0138]FIG. 15 shows a front view of the sock of FIG. 9; and

[0139]FIG. 16 shows a rear view of the sock of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

[0140]It should be appreciated that like reference numbers in different embodiments refer to the same or similar features.

[0141]Referring to FIGS. 1 to 16, various types of socks are provided in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. The socks are to be worn over a person's feet or footwear for a variety of applications and purposes. For example, the socks may be worn to protect the feet or footwear from water, dirt or other contaminants (e.g. at spill sites or in wet weather), potentially improve slip resistance on slippery surfaces (e.g. in showers or other wet areas), improve hygiene (e.g. for use in public facilities) and prevent cross-contamination (e.g. in clean rooms or surgery rooms). The socks may also serve to protect the surface on which the person is treading and its environment from water, dirt or other contaminants that may be located on the person's feet or footwear.

[0142]It should be noted that throughout the following description, like or the same reference numerals in different embodiments denote the same or similar parts.

[0143]Please note that in the following description, front, rear, left and right correspond to anatomical points of reference.

[0144]Referring to FIGS. 1 to 8, a first preferred embodiment of the sock 10 is shown and comprises a continuous wall 15 that is flexible, elastic and waterproof. The wall 15 defines an opening 20 and a recess 25, such that the opening 20 leads to the recess 25. The wall 15 to has an inside surface 30 and an outside surface 35.

[0145]The recess 25 comprises an upright portion 40 and a substantially horizontal portion 45. The opening 20 is located at a top end 50 of the upright portion 40. A bottom end 55 of the upright portion 40 is connected to a first end 60 of the substantially horizontal portion 45. A second end 65 of the substantially horizontal portion 45 is closed, forming the toe portion 70.

[0146]A bottom region of the outside surface 35 forms the sole portion 75. The sole portion 75 comprises a ball portion 80 and a heel portion 85. The ball portion 80 is located at a front region 86 of the sole portion 75, such that when worn, the ball of a user's foot is located substantially over the ball portion 80. The heel portion 85 is located at a rear region 87 of the sole portion 75, such that when worn, the heel of a user's foot is located substantially over the heel portion 85. The sole portion 75 is generally flat and generally forms the shape of a rounded-off sole of a foot, with the front region 86 of the sole portion 75 being slightly wider than the rear region 87. A mid-region 88 is contoured to be relatively narrower than both the front region 86 and the rear region 87 to accommodate the instep of either foot. The sole portion 75 is located at the base of the substantially horizontal portion 45. The front region 86 of the sole portion 75 curves upwards slightly to join the toe portion 70 and the heel portion 85 curves upwards at the rear to join a rear region 89 of the upright portion 40.

[0147]The top end 50 of the upright portion 40 is relatively narrower than the bottom end 55 and includes a cuff in the form of a collar 90. The collar 90 comprises a series of spaced apart substantially vertical protruding ridges 95 aligned circumferentially around the top end 50 near the opening 20.

[0148]A front region 101 of the upright portion 40 commences from the top end 50 of the upright portion 40 and slopes downwards to join a top portion 105 of the substantially horizontal portion 45, which then joins the toe portion 70. The top portion 105 is generally flat and is similar in shape to the front region 86 of the sole portion 75 such that the top portion 105 and the front region 86 are generally superposed.

[0149]A right side region of the outside surface forms a right side portion 110 and a left side region of the outside surface forms a left side portion 115. Both the right side portion 110 and the left side portion 115 commence from the top end 50 of the upright portion 40, extend down the side regions of the upright portion 40, continue along the side regions of the substantially horizontal portion 45 and join the toe portion 70. The right side portion 110 and the left side portion 115 are generally in the shape of a rounded-off profile of the foot, ankle and lower leg.

[0150]The front region 86 and the rear region 87 of the sole portion 75 include intersecting ridges 120. The intersecting ridges 120 of the front region 86 comprise front longitudinal ridges 125, four front left lateral ridges 130, and four front right lateral ridges 135. The front longitudinal ridges 125 are spaced apart and orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion 75. The four front left lateral ridges 130 are spaced apart and located on a left region of the front region 86. The four front right lateral ridges 135 are spaced apart and located on a right region of the front region 86.

[0151]The front longitudinal ridges 125 comprise seven ridges in total: a straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 and six curved longitudinal ridges 145. Three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145 are located to the left of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 and three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145 are located to the right of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140. The straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 is slightly higher than the six curved longitudinal ridges 145. The six curved longitudinal ridges 145 are slightly arcuate around the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140, increasing in curvature from the centremost to the outermost of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145.

[0152]Please note that the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140 pointing towards the toe portion 70 shall be considered hereafter as being orientated at 0 degrees and rotation in the anti-clockwise direction shall be considered a positive angular displacement per convention.

[0153]The four front left lateral ridges 130 are orientated at an angle of approximately minus 120 degrees relative to the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140. The four front left lateral ridges 130 intersect the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 at their foremost ends and also intersect the three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145 located to the left of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140. The four front left lateral ridges 130 are substantially parallel.

[0154]The four front right lateral ridges 135 are orientated at an angle of approximately 120 degrees relative to the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140. The four front right lateral ridges 135 intersect the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 at their foremost ends and also intersect the three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145 located to the right of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140. The four front right lateral ridges 130 are substantially parallel.

[0155]The four front left lateral ridges 130 mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135 where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 is the axis of symmetry. Respective ones of the four front left lateral ridges 130 connect with respective ones of the four front right lateral ridges 135 at the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140.

[0156]In another embodiment, the four front left lateral ridges 130 are orientated at an angle of between minus 90 and minus 180 degrees, and the four front right lateral ridges 135 are orientated at an angle of between 90 and 180 degrees, such that the four front left lateral ridges 130 mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135 where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 is the axis of symmetry.

[0157]In another embodiment, the four front left lateral ridges 130 are orientated at an angle of between minus 110 and minus 130 degrees, and the four front right lateral ridges 135 are orientated at an angle of between 110 and 130 degrees, such that the four front left lateral ridges 130 mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135 where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140 is the axis of symmetry.

[0158]Referring to FIGS. 1 to 8, the intersecting ridges 120 of the rear region 87 comprise rear longitudinal ridges 150, two rear left lateral ridges 155 and two rear right lateral ridges 160. The rear longitudinal ridges 150 are spaced apart and orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion 75. The rear longitudinal ridges 150 comprise five ridges in total: a rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 and four curved longitudinal ridges 175. Two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175 are located to the left of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 and two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175 are located to the right of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170. The four curved longitudinal ridges 175 are slightly arcuate around the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170.

[0159]Please note that the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 pointing towards the toe portion 70 shall be considered hereafter as being orientated at 0 degrees and rotation in the anti-clockwise direction shall be considered a positive angular displacement per convention.

[0160]The two rear left lateral ridges 155 are orientated at approximately minus 75 degrees relative to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170. The two rear left lateral ridges 155 intersect the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 at their rearmost ends. The two rear left lateral ridges 155 also intersect the two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175 located to the left of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170.

[0161]The two rear right lateral ridges 160 are orientated approximately 75 degrees relative to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170. The two rear right lateral ridges 160 intersect the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 at their rearmost ends. The two rear right lateral ridges 160 also intersect the two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175 located to the right of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170.

[0162]The two rear left lateral ridges 155 mirror the two rear right lateral ridges 160 where the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170 is the axis of symmetry. Respective ones of the rear left lateral ridges 155 connect with respective ones of the rear right lateral ridges 160 at the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140.

[0163]The mid-region 88 of the sole portion 75 includes a recessed portion 180 located within the boundaries of the contours of the mid-region 88, approximately following the shape of the contours.

[0164]In another embodiment, the three rear left lateral ridges 155 are orientated at an angle between 0 and minus 90 degrees, and the three rear right lateral ridges 160 are orientated at an angle between 0 and 90 degrees, such that the three rear left lateral ridges 155 mirror the three rear right lateral ridges 160 where the centre longitudinal ridge 170 is the axis of symmetry.

[0165]In another embodiment, the three rear left lateral ridges 155 are orientated at an angle between minus 65 and minus 85 degrees, and the three rear right lateral ridges 160 are orientated at an angle between 65 and 85 degrees, such that the three rear left lateral ridges 155 mirror the three rear right lateral ridges 160 where the centre longitudinal ridge 170 is the axis of symmetry. The wall 15 forms a layer between the user's foot or footwear and the outside environment. The elasticity of the wall 15 allows the user to don the sock 10, and after donned, for the sock 10 to be well fitted against the user's foot or footwear. It also functions to keep the sock 10 on the foot or footwear, and to allow the opening 20 to form a watertight seal around the lower leg, ankle or foot in use. The elasticity and flexibility of the wall 15 makes the sock 10 more comfortable and less restrictive in motion. The waterproof property of the wall 15 allows it to be used to protect the foot against water, dirt and other contaminants or to protect clean surfaces from water, dirt and other contaminants that may be located on the foot or footwear.

[0166]The substantially horizontal portion 45 of the sock is intended to contain the foot or the footwear of the user in use, and the upright portion 40 extends up past the ankle to the lower leg of the user in use. The toe portion 70 is intended to contain the toes of the user in use. The sole portion 75 is the portion of the sock that contacts the surface on which the user treads. The sole portion 75 is generally shaped like a rounded-off sole of the foot and is slightly curved to properly accommodate the shape of the user's foot and confer comfort and stability to the user in use.

[0167]The narrowing of the upright portion 40 towards the top end 50 allows the opening 20 to form a watertight seal with the lower leg, ankle or foot in use and to keep the sock in position during use. The cuff takes the form of a collar 90 and the ridges 95 thereon function to further restrict and provide a ring of less elasticity at the opening of the sock for the same purposes.

[0168]The generally flat top portion 105 of the substantially horizontal portion 45 mimics the generally flat area of the top of a person's foot and the right side portion 110 and the left side portion 115 both mimic the shape of the side of a person's foot.

[0169]The ridges 120 may provide additional grip with the surfaces on which the user treads. If the surface has small crevices, cracks or unevenness, the ridges 120 mechanically engage with the crevices, cracks or unevenness. For example, on a tiled surface such as can be found in bathrooms and showers, the ridges 120 may slot into the crevices between the tiles, and hence provide traction. The longitudinal ridges provide a large amount of traction in the lateral directions. Furthermore, the orientation of ridges 120 in more than one direction allows the sock to provide traction in multiple directions, and also increases the likelihood that the ridges 120 mechanically engage with crevices in the surface on which the user treads.

[0170]The recessed portion 180 located in the mid-region 88 of the sole 75 provides greater flexibility and mobility to the arch of the foot, which is substantially located over that region in use.

[0171]Advantageously, the upright portion 40 of the sock 10 may be provided at different heights to cover greater or lesser amounts of the lower limb of the user. For example, if the sock were intended to be used to cover a boot, providing a tall upright portion ensures that the entire boot is contained within the sock and hence protected. The opening 20 can also contact the user's skin to form a watertight seal in use. If the sock were intended to be used to potentially improve grip or reduce the risk of slippage, then the sock could have a short upright portion allowing more of the leg to be exposed, for greater comfort.

[0172]The watertight seal created at the opening prevents the user's foot from coming into contact with water, vapour or other contaminants which may otherwise enter the sock 10 through the opening 20. Furthermore, this protects the inside surface of the sock from becoming slippery or uncomfortable, which may occur if contaminants enter the sock through the opening.

[0173]Advantageously, mimicking the natural shape of the foot, ankle and lower leg allows the sock to be better and more securely fitted to the user's foot, thus providing greater comfort and functionality.

[0174]Advantageously, the slip-reducing portions may provide extra grip against the surface on which the user treads and may reduce the danger of slipping and/or falling. This is especially advantageous if the environment is hazardous to the user or if the user is likely to be injured as a result of falling, for example, if there is furniture nearby or there are sharp objects on the ground. The ridges 120 are an easily manufactured way of providing slip-resistance.

[0175]Furthermore, the location of the ridges on the portions of the sock that come into contact with the surface on which the user is treading provides added traction if the surface has small crevices, cracks or unevenness, as the ridges mechanically engage with the crevices, cracks or unevenness. An example of such a surface is a tiled surface such as can be found in bathrooms and showers. In this case, the ridges may slot into the crevices between the tiles.

[0176]Advantageously, the ridges 120 are provided on the sole portion 75 as this is the portion of the sock 10 that comes into contact with the surface on which the user treads. More specifically, the ridges 120 are provided on the ball portion 80 and the heel portion 85. These are portions of the sock covering the portions of the user's foot on which the user places the most weight and utilizes to maintain balance, stability and mobility, and thus require the most friction with the surface on which the user treads.

[0177]Referring to the second preferred embodiment of the sock 10' of FIGS. 9 to 16, the front region 86' and the rear region 87' of the sole portion 75' include intersecting ridges 120'. The intersecting ridges 120' of the front region 86' comprise front longitudinal ridges 125', four front left lateral ridges 130', and four front right lateral ridges 135'. The front longitudinal ridges 125' are spaced apart and orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion 75'. The four front left lateral ridges 130' are spaced apart and located on the left region of the front region 86'. The four front right lateral ridges 135' are spaced apart and located on the right region of the front region 86'.

[0178]The front longitudinal ridges 125' comprise seven ridges in total: a straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' and six curved longitudinal ridges 145'. Three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145' are located to the left of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' and three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145' are located to the right of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140'. The straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' is slightly higher than the six curved longitudinal ridges 145'. The six curved longitudinal ridges 145' are slightly arcuate around the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140', increasing in curvature from the centremost to the outermost of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145'.

[0179]Please note that the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140' pointing towards the toe portion 70' shall be considered hereafter as being orientated at 0 degrees and rotation in the anti-clockwise direction shall be considered a positive angular displacement per convention.

[0180]The four front left lateral ridges 130' are orientated at an angle of approximately minus 120 degrees relative to the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140'. The four front left lateral ridges 130' intersect the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' at their foremost ends and also intersect the three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145' located to the left of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140'. The four front left lateral ridges 130' are substantially parallel.

[0181]The four front right lateral ridges 135' are orientated at an angle of approximately 120 degrees relative to the longitudinal straight centre ridge 140'. The four front right lateral ridges 135' intersect the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' at their foremost ends and also intersect the three of the six curved longitudinal ridges 145' located to the right of the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140'. The four front right lateral ridges 135' are substantially parallel.

[0182]The four front left lateral ridges 130' mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135' where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' is the axis of symmetry. Respective ones of the four front left lateral ridges 130' connect with respective ones of the four front right lateral ridges 135' at the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140'.

[0183]In another embodiment, the four front left lateral ridges 130' are orientated at an angle of between minus 90 and minus 180 degrees, and the four front right lateral ridges 135' are orientated at an angle of between 90 and 180 degrees, such that the four front left lateral ridges 130' mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135' where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' is the axis of symmetry.

[0184]In another embodiment, the four front left lateral ridges 130' are orientated at an angle of between minus 110 and minus 130 degrees, and the four front right lateral ridges 135' are orientated at an angle of between 110 and 130 degrees, such that the four front left lateral ridges 130' mirror the four front right lateral ridges 135' where the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140' is the axis of symmetry.

[0185]Referring to the embodiment of FIGS. 9 to 16, the intersecting ridges 120' of the rear region 87' comprise rear longitudinal ridges 150', three rear left lateral ridges 155', three rear right lateral ridges 160', a left peripheral curved ridge 165' and a right peripheral curved ridge 166'. The rear longitudinal ridges 150' are spaced apart and orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion 75'. The rear longitudinal ridges 150' comprise five ridges in total: a rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' and four curved longitudinal ridges 175'. Two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175' are located to the left of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' and two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175' are located to the right of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170'. The four curved longitudinal ridges 175' are slightly angled relative to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' such that the foremost point of each of the four lateral longitudinal ridges 175' is located relatively closer to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' than the rearmost point.

[0186]Please note that the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' pointing towards the toe portion 70' shall be considered hereafter as being orientated at 0 degrees and rotation in the anti-clockwise direction shall be considered a positive angular displacement per convention.

[0187]The three rear left lateral ridges 155' are orientated at approximately minus 75' degrees relative to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170'. The three rear left lateral ridges 155' intersect the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' at their rearmost ends, and the two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175' located to the left of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170'.

[0188]The three rear right lateral ridges 160' are orientated approximately 75 degrees relative to the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170'. The three rear right lateral ridges 160' intersect the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' at their rearmost ends, and the two of the four curved longitudinal ridges 175' located to the right of the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170'.

[0189]The three rear left lateral ridges 155' mirror the three right lateral ridges where the rear straight centre longitudinal ridge 170' is the axis of symmetry. Respective ones of the rear left lateral ridges 155' connect with respective ones of the rear right lateral ridges 160' at the straight centre longitudinal ridge 140'.

[0190]The peripheral curved ridges 165' and 166' are orientated substantially longitudinally with respect to the sole portion 75'. The left peripheral curved ridge 165' mirrors the right peripheral curved ridge 166' about the centre longitudinal ridge 170'. Only the foremost of the rear left lateral ridges 155' and the foremost of the rear right lateral ridges 160' intersect the two peripheral curved ridges 165'.

[0191]In another embodiment, the three rear left lateral ridges 155' are orientated at an angle between 0 and minus 90 degrees, and the three rear right lateral ridges 160' are orientated at an angle between 0 and 90 degrees, such that the three rear left lateral ridges 155' mirror the three rear right lateral ridges 160' where the centre longitudinal ridge 170' is the axis of symmetry.

[0192]In another embodiment, the three rear left lateral ridges 155' are orientated at an angle between minus 65 and minus 85 degrees, and the three rear right lateral ridges 160' are orientated at an angle between 65 and 85 degrees, such that the three rear left lateral ridges 155' mirror the three rear right lateral ridges 160' where the centre longitudinal ridge 170' is the axis of symmetry.

[0193]For embodiments where different socks are provided for each foot: for a right foot sock, the left side of the toe portion 70' is relatively more elongated than the right side for a better fit and for a left foot sock, the right side of the toe portion 70' is relatively more elongated that the left side for a better fit.

[0194]The outside surface 35' is embossed in and continuously through the following regions 185': [0195]The toe portion 70', extending substantially into the top portion 105' of the substantially horizontal portion 45' and up a front region 101' of the upright portion 40' in the shape of two prongs; [0196]The sole region 75' (except for the recessed portion 180' located in the mid-region 88'); and [0197]The heel portion 85' and extending up a rear region 89' of the upright portion 40' in the shape of two prongs.

[0198]In an alternative embodiment, the regions 185' are comprised of relatively thicker material and thus are relatively more durable and provide a cushioning effect for the user, increasing comfort.

[0199]Advantageously, manufacturing regions of the wall 15' to be relatively more durable (on regions of the sock that encounters the most wear) reduces the likelihood of the wall rupturing with wear, allowing the sock to be used in applications wherein the sock is likely to encounter a high rate of wear, for example on rough surfaces, such as a construction site, or to cover shoes or boots that are rough or sharp.

[0200]In one embodiment, the sock 10 or 10' may be made in the shape of the left or right foot to improve comfort, functionality and tactile sense.

[0201]While the invention has been described with reference to a number of preferred embodiments it should be appreciated that the invention can be embodied in many other forms. For example, any of the following wall properties could be included as variations: [0202]high tensile strength [0203]electrically non-conductive [0204]chemical resistant (mild acids, alkalines, common cleaners, biohazards, animal proteins and human proteins) [0205]cold resistant [0206]thermal resistant [0207]UV resistant [0208]abrasion resistant (protecting from rough terrain, sharps, dry particulates) [0209]oil and grease resistant [0210]biodegradability

[0211]The sock can be adapted for use in a variety of situations including: [0212]health care (e.g. operating theatres, pathology laboratories, aged care, public facilities, food preparation areas, laundry areas, cleaning) [0213]commercial use (e.g. police work, forensic laboratories, engineering or construction site visits, food inspections, farming, veterinary work) [0214]domestic use (e.g. gardening, cleaning, indoors, outdoors) [0215]recreational activities (e.g. sports, swimming pools, fishing) [0216]tourism (e.g. to protect historically important flooring while allowing a person to stand on the flooring and so to view it closely)

[0217]In one embodiment, the wall comprises latex, latex hardening agent, colour and ammonia.

[0218]In another embodiment, the sock is manufactured by brushing a latex mixture over a mould. In another embodiment, the sock is manufactured by a variable dipping process.

[0219]In one embodiment, the sock is manufactured from a material that does not attract lint.

[0220]In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" are used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

[0221]A sock is any type of footwear that surrounds or protects at least part of a user's foot and may take the form of shoes, boots or stockings.

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