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United States Patent Application 20170290383
Kind Code A1
ARNOLD; JACOB R. ;   et al. October 12, 2017

VENTILLATION INSERT FOR AN APPAREL ITEM

Abstract

An apparel item having an insert configured to provide ventilation to the wearer is provided herein. The apparel item is formed by at least a front panel having a posterior edge, a back panel having an anterior edge, and an insert made for coupling the front panel and the back panel. An anterior edge of the insert is coupled to the posterior edge of the front panel while a posterior edge of the insert is attached to the back panel at a position posterior to the back panel's anterior edge.


Inventors: ARNOLD; JACOB R.; (PORTLAND, OR) ; MARTIN; LINDSEY V.J.; (PORTLAND, OR)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

NIKE, Inc.

Beaverton

OR

US
Family ID: 1000002565923
Appl. No.: 15/469929
Filed: March 27, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62319342Apr 7, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A41D 27/285 20130101; A41D 13/0015 20130101; A41D 3/00 20130101; A41B 1/08 20130101; A41D 1/08 20130101; A41D 2500/52 20130101; A41D 2400/22 20130101; A41D 2200/20 20130101; A41D 2300/322 20130101; A41D 2300/324 20130101; A41D 2300/32 20130101; A41D 27/20 20130101
International Class: A41D 27/28 20060101 A41D027/28; A41D 27/20 20060101 A41D027/20; A41B 1/08 20060101 A41B001/08; A41D 1/08 20060101 A41D001/08; A41D 13/00 20060101 A41D013/00; A41D 3/00 20060101 A41D003/00

Claims



1. An insert for coupling a front panel of an apparel item and a back panel of the apparel item, the insert comprising: a panel of material having at least an anterior edge, a posterior edge, a superior edge, and an inferior edge, wherein at least a portion of the anterior edge of the panel of material is coupled to at least a portion of a posterior edge of the front panel and at least a portion of the posterior edge of the panel of material is coupled to the back panel at a position posterior to an anterior edge of the back panel such that at least a portion of an inner-facing surface of the back panel is positioned adjacent to at least a portion of an outer-facing surface of the panel of material.

2. The insert of claim 1, wherein the superior edge of the panel of material is coupled to the back panel.

3. The insert of claim 1, wherein the inferior edge of the panel of material is coupled to an inferior portion of the back panel.

4. The insert of claim 3, wherein at least a bottom margin of the front panel is affixed to a bottom margin of the back panel.

5. The insert of claim 4, wherein the superior edge of the panel of material is coupled to the back panel at location inferior to an armhole of the apparel item.

6. The insert of claim 1, wherein the panel of material comprises a mesh material.

7. The insert of claim 6, wherein the mesh material is elastically resilient.

8. The insert of claim 1, wherein the at least a portion of the posterior edge of the panel of material is coupled to the back panel between 4 centimeters and 10 centimeters posterior to the anterior edge of the back panel.

9. The insert of claim 1, wherein the at least a portion of the posterior edge of the panel of material is coupled to the back panel between 10 centimeters and 20 centimeters posterior to the anterior edge of the back panel.

10. The insert of claim 1, wherein a releasable coupling mechanism releasably couples the posterior edge of the front panel and the anterior edge of the back panel.

11. An apparel item comprising: a front panel having at least a posterior edge; a back panel having at least an anterior edge; and an insert for coupling the front panel and the back panel, wherein: the insert comprises a panel of material having an anterior edge, a posterior edge, a superior edge, and an inferior edge, at least a portion of the anterior edge of the insert is coupled to at least a portion of a posterior edge of the front panel, and at least a portion of the posterior edge of the insert is coupled to the back panel at a position posterior to an anterior edge of the back panel such that at least a portion of an inner-facing surface of the back panel is positioned adjacent to at least a portion of an outer-facing surface of the insert.

12. The apparel item of claim 11, wherein the panel of material comprise a mesh material.

13. The apparel item of claim 11, wherein at least a bottom margin of the front panel is affixed to a bottom margin of the back panel.

14. The apparel item of claim 11, wherein the at least a portion of the posterior edge of the insert is coupled to the back panel at least 4 centimeters posterior to the anterior edge of the back panel.

15. The apparel item of claim 11, wherein a portion of the posterior edge of the front panel and a portion of the anterior edge of the back panel are configured to be releasably coupled via a bi-directional zipper having a top zipper pull and a bottom zipper pull.

16. The apparel item of claim 15, wherein the bi-directional zipper runs from a location inferior to an armhole of the apparel item to a bottom margin of the apparel item.

17. A method of manufacturing an apparel item, the method comprising: providing a front panel of material having at least a first edge and a second edge; providing a back panel of material having at least a third edge and a fourth edge; coupling the back panel to the front panel via at least a first insert, wherein coupling the front panel to the back panel via the first insert comprises: attaching at least a portion of an anterior edge of the first insert to at least a portion of the first edge of the front panel, and attaching at least a portion of a posterior edge of the first insert to at least a portion of the back panel at a position offset from the third edge of the back panel.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the first insert comprises a panel of mesh material.

19. The method of claim 17 further comprising affixing a zipper mechanism along at least a portion of the first edge of the front panel and along at least a portion of the third edge of the back panel, wherein the zipper mechanism is configured to releasably couple the first edge of the front panel to the third edge of the back panel.

20. The method of claim 17 further comprising coupling the back panel to the front panel via a second insert, wherein coupling the back panel to the front panel via the second insert comprises: attaching at least a portion of an anterior edge of the second insert to at least a portion of the second edge of the front panel, and attaching at least a portion of a posterior edge of the second insert to at least a portion of the back panel at a position offset from the fourth edge of the back panel.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application having attorney docket number NIKE.272198/160011US02 and entitled "VENTILLATION INSERT FOR AN APPAREL ITEM" claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/319,342, entitled "VENTILLATION INSERT FOR AN APPAREL ITEM," and filed on Apr. 7, 2016, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to an insert for an apparel item that provides ventilation to the interior of the apparel item.

BACKGROUND

[0003] It is often desirable to include ventilation features in apparel items designed to be worn during physical activities. However, it is often challenging to position the ventilation features on the apparel item such that they are accessible to the wearer and provide effective ventilation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] Examples of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein:

[0005] FIG. 1 depicts a front, left side perspective view of an exemplary apparel item having a ventilation insert in accordance with aspects herein;

[0006] FIG. 2 depicts a front, right side perspective view of the exemplary apparel item having a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 in accordance with aspects herein;

[0007] FIG. 3 depicts a left side view of the exemplary apparel item having a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 in accordance with aspects herein;

[0008] FIG. 4 depicts a front view of an inner-facing surface of the exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 in accordance with aspects herein;

[0009] FIG. 5 depicts a front view of an inner-facing surface of an exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert having an alternative configuration in accordance with aspects herein;

[0010] FIG. 6 depicts an exploded view of the exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 with portions of the exemplary apparel item cut away in accordance with aspects herein;

[0011] FIG. 7 depicts a left side view of the exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 with a bi-directional closure mechanism being opened from the bottom in accordance with aspects herein;

[0012] FIG. 8 depicts a left side view of the exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 with the bi-directional closure mechanism being opened from the top in accordance with aspects herein;

[0013] FIG. 9 depicts a left side view of the exemplary apparel item with a ventilation insert of FIG. 1 with the bi-directional closure mechanism being opened from the bottom and the top in accordance with aspects herein;

[0014] FIG. 10 depicts a left side view of an exemplary apparel item having an alternative configuration for the ventilation insert in accordance with aspects herein;

[0015] FIG. 11 depicts a front view of an inner-facing surface of the exemplary apparel item having the alternative configuration of FIG. 10 in accordance with aspects herein; and

[0016] FIG. 12 depicts a flow diagram of an exemplary method of manufacturing an apparel item having a ventilation insert in accordance with aspects herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] The subject matter of the present technology is described with specificity herein to meet statutory requirements. However, the description itself is not intended to limit the scope of this disclosure. Rather, the inventors have contemplated that the claimed or disclosed subject matter might also be embodied in other ways, to comprise different steps or combinations of steps similar to the ones described in this document, in conjunction with other present or future technologies. Moreover, although the terms "step" and/or "block" might be used herein to connote different elements of methods employed, the terms should not be interpreted as implying any particular order among or between various steps herein disclosed unless and except when the order of individual steps is explicitly stated.

[0018] During exercise, athletes often generate a large amount of heat. Too much heat may cause discomfort and can negatively impact the athlete's performance. Fabrics having high air permeability may be used for all or a majority of an apparel item to keep the athlete ventilated. However, this solution may not be appropriate for outerwear. For example, outerwear may be wholly or partially formed from materials having low air permeability, such as materials with wind resistant and/or water resistant properties. With this type of outerwear, an air permeable membrane may be used to increase breathability and air permeability. But these solutions may not always provide sufficient ventilation to the wearer during exercise. Accordingly, additional ventilation features may be used, such as ventilation openings. Aspects herein contemplate locating ventilation openings on the apparel item such that they are easily accessible by the wearer but yet are effective in helping to ventilate high heat producing areas of the wearer's body.

[0019] The insert for an apparel item described herein is optimized to provide ventilation to high heat-producing areas of a wearer, including a wearer's back, while being easily accessible. For example, a ventilation opening may be provided between a front panel and a back panel of the apparel item. The ventilation opening may be opened or closed by partially uncoupling or coupling the front panel and the back panel via a releasable coupling mechanism, such as a zipper. An insert, such as a panel of mesh material, may further be used to couple the front panel and the back panel. The insert may help the apparel item retain its structure (e.g., prevent the front and back panels from being completely disengaged when the ventilation opening is in an open state) while allowing ambient air to enter into the interior of the apparel item through the ventilation opening to cool off the wearer.

[0020] In exemplary aspects, the insert may be coupled to the front panel at or adjacent to an edge of the front panel defining the ventilation opening and may be coupled to the back panel at a position posterior to or offset from the edge of the back panel defining the ventilation opening. By attaching to the back panel at a position posterior to or offset from the edge of the back panel defining the ventilation opening, the insert may extend posteriorly around the back side of the apparel item in order to provide ventilation to a wearer's underarm, side, and back regions when the apparel item is worn. As the back region of a wearer tends to produce a large amount of heat during exercise, ventilation over this area may dissipate heat generated by the wearer more efficiently. Additionally, by including the ventilation opening between the front panel and the back panel and attaching the insert such that it spans the opening, this ventilation feature remains easily accessible so that a wearer can easily open and close the ventilation opening at the wearer's side. Having easy access to this ventilation opening for adjustment when the apparel item is being worn allows the wearer to control the amount of ventilation. For example, when a wearer begins to exercise, the wearer may not need ventilation and, accordingly, may have the ventilation opening closed. As the wearer continues to exercise and generates more heat, the wearer may easily access and open the ventilation opening. Moreover, the ventilation opening may be configured to be partially opened to provide a lesser amount of ventilation, and as more heat is generated, the ventilation opening may be fully opened to provide more ventilation.

[0021] In exemplary aspects, the front panel and the back panel may remain completely detached at the bottom margin of the garment. In other words, a bottom portion of the front panel and a bottom portion of the back panel may be coupled only indirectly via the insert or through the releasable coupling mechanism. By leaving the bottom portions of the front and back panels unattached, the fit of the apparel item may be adjusted by opening and closing the ventilation opening. Accordingly, the girth of the apparel item may be adjusted to accommodate wearers having different body builds or to accommodate additional layers being worn by the wearer. In other aspects, the bottom portions of the front and back panels may releasably affixed together with, for example, a button, hook and loop fastener, or a snap type fastener, such that the ventilation opening does not extend to the bottom margin of the apparel item. In another aspect, the bottom portions of the front and back panels may be permanently affixed through, for instance, stitching or bonding. Having the bottom portions of the front and back panels affixed, either releasably or permanently, may allow for ventilation while providing a more aerodynamic silhouette because the front and back panels will not move independently of each other during exercise, thereby reducing distraction to the wearer and reducing drag.

[0022] Accordingly, aspects of the disclosure include an insert for coupling a front panel of an apparel item and a back panel of the apparel item. The insert may comprise panel of material having at least an anterior edge, a posterior edge, a superior edge, and an inferior edge. At least a portion of the anterior edge of the panel of material may be coupled to at least a portion of a posterior edge of the front panel, and at least a portion of the posterior edge of the panel of material may be coupled to the back panel. The posterior edge of the panel of material may be coupled to the back panel at a position posterior to an anterior edge of the back panel such that at least a portion of an inner-facing surface of the back panel is positioned adjacent to at least a portion of an outer-facing surface of the panel of material.

[0023] In another aspect, an apparel item comprises at least a front panel having at least a posterior edge, a back panel having at least an anterior edge, and an insert for coupling the front panel and the back panel. The insert may comprise a panel of material having an anterior edge, a posterior edge, a superior edge, and an inferior edge. At least at least a portion of the anterior edge of the insert may be coupled to at least a portion of a posterior edge of the front panel. At least a portion of the posterior edge of the insert may be coupled to the back panel at a position posterior to an anterior edge of the back panel such that at least a portion of an inner-facing surface of the back panel is positioned adjacent to at least a portion of an outer-facing surface of the insert.

[0024] A further aspect of the present disclosure includes a method of manufacturing an apparel item. The method may comprise providing a front panel of material having at least a first edge and a second edge, providing a back panel of material having at least a third edge and a fourth edge, and coupling the back panel to the front panel via at least a first insert. Coupling the front panel to the back panel via the first insert may comprise attaching at least a portion of an anterior edge of the first insert to at least a portion of the first edge of the front panel and attaching at least a portion of a posterior edge of the first insert to at least a portion of the back panel at a position offset from the third edge of the back panel.

[0025] As used throughout this disclosure, terms such as anterior, posterior, lateral, medial, and the like are to be given their common anatomical meaning with respect to the apparel item being worn by a hypothetical wearer standing in anatomical position.

[0026] Turning now to FIGS. 1-2, these figures provide a front, left perspective view and a front, right perspective view, respectively, of an exemplary apparel item 100 in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure. Although shown as a zip-up jacket, it is contemplated herein that the apparel item 100 may take the form of a pullover, a hoodie, a shirt, pants, shorts, capris, and the like. Further, although shown with long sleeves, it is contemplated herein that the apparel item 100 may comprise no sleeve, half sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, and the like. Any and all aspects, and any variation thereof, are contemplated as being within the scope herein.

[0027] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the apparel item 100 comprises at least a right front panel 110 adapted to cover a right front torso of a wearer and a left front panel 120 adapted to cover a left front torso area of the wearer when the apparel item 100 is worn. The right front panel 110 and the left front panel 120 may be releasably secured to one another via a zipper-type mechanism 118 or another coupling mechanism such as buttons, snap fasteners and the like.

[0028] Continuing, the apparel item 100 further comprises one or more back panels 130 adapted to cover a wearer's back torso area when the apparel item 100 is worn. The back panel 130 and the right front panel 110 may together help to define a right armhole (not shown) and a left armhole (shown in FIG. 4 as indicated by reference numeral 410). The apparel item 100 may further comprise an optional right sleeve panel 114 coupled to the right armhole and adapted to cover a right arm of the wearer, and an optional left sleeve panel 124 coupled to the left armhole 410 and adapted to cover a left arm of the wearer when the apparel item 100 is worn. Additional front panels, back panels, and/or sleeve panels besides those shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 are contemplated. The apparel item 100 may further comprise additional features, such as one or more side pockets 116 and 126, or another jacket pocket, a collar 112, and/or a hood (not shown) configured to be donned and doffed by a wearer.

[0029] The right front panel 110, the left front panel 120, the right sleeve panel 114, the left sleeve panel 124, and the back panel 130 may be constructed from variety of textile materials. Various textile materials may comprise, in one aspect, water-resistant and/or wind-resistant materials suitable for outdoor wear. Exemplary materials may comprise, for example, woven and/or knitted nylon or polyester fabrics, polyurethane laminates, vinyl, fabrics treated with water repellants such as laminated cotton, water-resistant/breathable fabrics (e.g., expanded polytetrafluroethylene), composite fabrics, and the like.

[0030] The apparel item 100 may include one or more inserts for coupling two or more panels of the apparel item 100 in a configuration that provides ventilation to a wearer of the apparel item 100. In exemplary aspects shown in FIGS. 1-2, the apparel item 100 includes a left side insert 140 and a right side insert 150. Alternative aspects may include only one side insert, multiple inserts on the left side and/or the right side, one or more back side inserts, one or more front side inserts, and/or one or more sleeve inserts.

[0031] Turning to the left side insert 140 shown in FIG. 1, there may be a ventilation opening 142 between the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 through which the left side insert 140 is exposed to the external environment. The left side insert 140 comprises at least one panel of material coupling the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130. The left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may comprise discrete panels of material that form a part of the apparel item 100. In this case, the ventilation opening may be formed in whole or in part between edges of discrete panels. It is contemplated, however, that the apparel item 100 may be formed from a unitary panel (e.g., formed through, for instance, a circular knitting process, a flat knitting process, or a weaving process), rather than from a plurality of discrete panels. Accordingly, the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may represent relative regions of the apparel item 100. Accordingly, the ventilation opening 142 may be formed by incising one or more portions of the unitary panel. In this aspect, the ventilation opening 142 may effectively divide a unitary panel into a left front panel portion and a back panel portion that are, for purposes of this disclosure, functionally equivalent to a discrete left front panel and a discrete back panel. As such, for purposes of this disclosure, the left front panel 120 may refer to a discrete front panel or a front panel portion of an apparel item 100, and back panel 130 may refer to a discrete back panel or a back panel portion of an apparel item 100.

[0032] In addition, though this description focuses on the left side insert 140, the right side insert 150 comprises a similar configuration as the left side insert 140. For instance, the right side insert 150 comprises at least one panel of material that couples the right front panel 110 and the back panel 130 and is visible through a ventilation opening 152 between the right front panel 110 and the back panel 130.

[0033] Turning to the left side, the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may each include a releasable coupling mechanism to releasably couple the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 at a location generally inferior to the left armhole. A coupling mechanism 146, such as a zipper, is shown in FIG. 1, but it is contemplated that other releasable coupling mechanisms may be used such as buttons, snap closures, hook-and-loop fasteners, and the like. In exemplary aspects, the coupling mechanism 146 may be disposed on a posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120 and on an anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130. When the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 are coupled via the coupling mechanism 146, the ventilation opening 142 may be in a closed configuration, and when the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 are not releasably coupled, the ventilation opening 142 may be in an open configuration, as shown in FIGS. 1-2.

[0034] When the ventilation opening 142 is in the open configuration shown in FIGS. 1-2, at least part of the left side insert 140 is exposed to the external environment. The left side insert 140 may comprise a panel of material constructed from a fabric having permeability properties so that ambient air from the exterior environment may flow through the left side insert 140 into the interior of the apparel item 100. In exemplary aspects, the left side insert 140 may comprise a loosely knitted or loosely woven mesh-like material. Further, the left side insert 140 may comprise a material having greater air permeability than, for instance, the material used for other portions of the apparel item 100, such as the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130. As a non-limiting example, air permeability may be measured by ASTM D737-96. For instance, the air permeability, as measured by ASTM D737-96, for the left side insert 140 may be approximately greater than 270 cubic centimeters per second per square centimeters (cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2), 280 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, 290 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, or 300 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, while the air permeability for the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may be approximately less than 300 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, 290 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, 280 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2, or 270 cm.sup.3/second per cm.sup.2. Additionally, the left side insert 140 may comprise a singular material or may be constructed from a combination of materials. The left side insert 140 may also be at least partially constructed from yarns having elastic properties, such as spandex, so that the left side insert 140 may be elastically resilient.

[0035] FIG. 3 provides a left side view of the apparel item 100 with the left sleeve panel 124 raised to better show the left side insert 140 in accordance with aspects herein. Those portions of the left side insert 140 that are visible are shown by cross-hatching, and those portions of the left side insert 140 that are hidden from view are shown by a dashed line. The left side insert 140 may help to couple the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 such that the left side insert 140 traverses or spans the ventilation opening 142 between the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130.

[0036] The ventilation opening 142 between the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120 and the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 may be generally positioned beneath or inferior to the left armhole and extend towards a bottom margin 310 of the apparel item 100. In the aspect illustrated in FIG. 3, for example, the ventilation opening 142 may begin slightly anterior to the left armhole and terminate at a position inferior to the left armhole at the bottom margin 310 of the apparel item 100. By initiating the ventilation opening 142 at a position slightly anterior to the left armhole and terminating at a more posterior position, the wearer has easy access to the coupling mechanism 146 while air flow is promoted towards posterior regions of the apparel item 100. Additionally, initiating the ventilation opening 142 at a position anterior to the left armhole may avoid any discomfort potentially caused by including the coupling mechanism 146 directly underneath a wearer's arm when the apparel item 100 is being worn. It is also contemplated, however, that the ventilation opening 142 may run vertically, rather than at a diagonal, from a position adjacent to or inferior to the left armhole towards the bottom margin 310. It is also contemplated that the ventilation opening 142 may begin slightly posterior to the left armhole and terminate at a position inferior to the left armhole at the bottom margin 310 of the apparel item 100. Any and all aspects, and any variation thereof, are contemplated as being within the scope herein.

[0037] As shown in FIG. 3, in some exemplary aspects, a superior or upper portion of the left front panel 120 may be directly affixed to a superior or upper portion of the back panel 130 to form a superior margin of the ventilation opening 142. In other words, when the ventilation opening 142 is in an open configuration, the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may be secured together to form the superior margin of the ventilation opening 142 but may be uncoupled at a bottom margin 310 of the apparel item 100. In this way, the bottom portion of the ventilation opening 142 may be wider than the top portion when in an open configuration. As such, in addition to providing ventilation, the insert 140 may be used to adjust the fit of the apparel item 100. For instance, when the ventilation opening 142 is in an open configuration, the girth of the apparel item 100 may expand, allowing the apparel item 100 to accommodate different wearers having different body builds or to accommodate a wearer having multiple layers underneath the apparel item 100. In this respect, the left side insert 140 may prevent the ventilation opening 142 from opening to such an extent that the apparel item 100 becomes unsightly and/or from becoming a distraction to the wearer.

[0038] Continuing, the left side insert 140 may be coupled at least to the left front panel 120 and to the back panel 130. Specifically, at least an anterior edge 312 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the left front panel 120 at or adjacent to the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120. A posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the back panel 130, however, at a position offset from the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 as illustrated in FIG. 3 by the dashed line. Specifically, the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the back panel 130 at a position that is posterior to the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130. For example, in aspects in which the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 runs diagonally from a position adjacent and anterior to the left armhole to a position inferior to the left armhole at the bottom margin 310, the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to a portion of the back panel 130 at a position inferior to the left armhole and extending to the bottom margin 310 at a location posteriorly offset from the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130.

[0039] With this configuration, a portion of the back panel 130 may be positioned adjacent to a posterior portion of the left side insert 140 as the left side insert 140 is configured to extend over a portion of a wearer's back when the apparel item 100 is being worn. To put it another way, an outer-facing surface of the left side insert 140 may be positioned adjacent to an inner-facing surface of the back panel 130. Coupling the left side insert 140 to the back panel 130 at a position posterior to or offset from the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 increases the amount of area over which ambient air may funneled to help cool down the wearer. Moreover, the positioning of the left side insert 140 into posterior regions of the apparel item 100 provides ventilation to the wearer's back. As the back region may be a high heat-producing area, ventilation over portions of the back provides an effective method to dissipate heat generated by the wearer. At the same time, because the ventilation opening 142 between the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 remains generally positioned along a wearer's side, the ventilation opening 142 may be easily opened and closed by a wearer when the apparel item 100 is being worn. Additionally, including a ventilation opening 142 along the side of the apparel item 100 while attaching the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 to a more posterior portion of the back panel 130 takes advantage of air flow created when the wearer moves in a forward direction, such as when running. As the wearer moves in a forward direction, air may naturally flow through the ventilation opening 142 on the wearer's side and towards a posterior region in the interior of the apparel item 100. The positioning of the ventilation opening 142 may also increase air flow into the apparel item 100 by acting as a scoop to capture air that is traveling over the front of the apparel item 100.

[0040] Additionally, although the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 are not directly secured together at the bottom margin 310 of the apparel item 100 in some aspects, coupling the left side insert 140 to the back panel 130 at a location offset from the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 keeps the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 from completely disengaging when the ventilation opening 142 is in an open configuration. Without the left side insert 140 to couple the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130, the independent movements of the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 when the wearer is moving may distract the wearer and decrease the aerodynamic profile of the apparel item 100.

[0041] Turning to FIG. 4, a view of a portion of the interior of the apparel item 100 is provided to show the left side insert 140 in accordance with aspects herein. In this view, the left side insert 140 is visible in its entirety. The left side insert 140 may comprise the anterior edge 312 and the posterior edge 314 discussed above. The left side insert 140 may further comprise a superior edge 416, and an inferior edge 418. As described, the anterior edge 312 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120, and the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the back panel 130 at a position offset from the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130. As shown in FIG. 4, the superior edge 416 of the left side insert 140 may include a curvature that generally corresponds to an inferior margin of the left armhole 410 and may be coupled to the left armhole 410 at the inferior margin of the left armhole 410. In other aspects, the superior edge 416 may be coupled to the back panel 130 at a location inferior to the left armhole 410. Additionally, the inferior edge 418 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to an inferior portion of the back panel 130. In the aspect shown, the left side insert 140 comprises an asymmetrical shape such that only a small portion of the inferior edge 418 extends over the back panel 130. In other aspects, such as the one described shown in FIG. 5, a larger portion of the inferior edge 418 may extend over the back panel 130. In alternative aspects, the superior edge 416 and/or the inferior edge 418 of the left side insert 140 may be unattached to the back panel 130.

[0042] The coupling of any of the edges of the left side insert 140 to the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may be done by permanently affixing or securing these pieces together by, for example, stitching, adhesives, bonding, and the like. In other aspects, the pieces may be removeably affixed to one another by, for instance, buttons, zippers, snap closures, hook-and-loop fasteners, and the like such that the left side insert 140 may be removed. Although the specific type of technology used to secure the different pieces of the apparel item 100 is not shown in FIG. 4, it is understood that FIG. 4 is meant to encompass any of the aforementioned types of affixing technologies.

[0043] FIG. 4 also shows an offset distance 420 of the left side insert 140 between the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 and the position at which the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 attaches to the back panel 130. In some aspects, the offset distance 420 may be in a range between two centimeters and ten centimeters. In other words, the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may couple to the back panel 130 at a position approximately between two centimeters and ten centimeters posterior to the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130.

[0044] In alternative aspects, the left side insert 140 may be larger so that it may be coupled to the back panel 130 at a position more posterior to the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 such as the aspect depicted in FIG. 5. In this aspect, the offset distance 420 between the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 and the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 may be approximately between ten centimeters to twenty centimeters. By coupling the left side insert 140 to the back panel 130 at a more posterior position on the back panel 130, the left side insert 140 may provide air flow over a larger portion of the wearer's back. In the alternative aspect shown in FIG. 5, the posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 extends to the top or superior margin of the back panel 130. In some aspects, however, the left side insert 140 may not extend superior to the left armhole 410 of the apparel item 100. Any and all aspects, and any variation thereof, are contemplated as being within the scope herein.

[0045] Turning to FIG. 6, an exploded and inner-facing view of the apparel item 100 with the left side insert 140 with portions of the apparel item 100 cut away is provided in accordance with aspects herein. The left side insert 140 may comprise an outer-facing surface 610 and an inner-facing surface 612. Similarly, the left front panel 120 may have an outer-facing surface (not shown) and an inner-facing surface 614 while the back panel 130 may have an outer-facing surface (not shown) and an inner-facing surface 616. The left side insert 140 may be positioned within the interior of the apparel item 100. As such, the outer-facing surface 610 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the inner-facing surface 616 of the back panel 130 and to the inner-facing surface 614 of the left front panel 120.

[0046] Additionally, as the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 may be releasably coupled via the coupling mechanism 146, portions of the coupling mechanism 146 (e.g., zipper tapes) may be coupled to the inner-facing surface 614 of the left front panel 120 at the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120 and coupled to the inner-facing surface 616 of the back panel 130 at the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130. The anterior edge 312 of the left side insert 140 may be coupled to the left front panel 120 adjacent to the coupling mechanism 146 disposed along the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120. The posterior edge 314 of the left side insert 140 may be aligned with a portion of the back panel 130 posterior to the coupling mechanism 146 that is disposed along the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130. With this offset alignment of the left side insert 140, a portion of the inner-facing surface 616 of the back panel 130 may be positioned adjacent to a portion of the outer-facing surface 610 of the left side insert 140.

[0047] As shown in FIG. 6, the coupling mechanism 146 may be a one directional coupling mechanism in that it includes only one pull. In alternative aspects, the coupling mechanism 146 releasably coupling the left front panel 120 to the back panel 130 is a bi-directional coupling mechanism, or a coupling mechanism that opens in two directions as shown in FIGS. 7-9. FIGS. 7-9 illustrate the apparel item 100 having a coupling mechanism 146 that is bi-directional in various configurations. For example, FIG. 7 shows the ventilation opening 142 being partially opened by a bottom pull 710, which partially exposes a bottom portion of the left side insert 140 and keeps the top and middle portions of the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 releasably coupled. In FIG. 8, a top pull 712 partially opens the ventilation opening 142 at a top portion while the middle and bottom portions of the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 remain coupled. Finally, FIG. 9 shows both the top pull 712 used to open a top portion of a ventilation opening 142 and the bottom pull 710 used to open a bottom portion of the ventilation opening 142. The middle portions of the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 remain coupled. As illustrated in FIGS. 7-9, a coupling mechanism 146 that is bi-directional allows the wearer to adjust the amount of ventilation and the areas receiving direct ventilation.

[0048] As illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, the bottom portions of the left front panel 120 and the back panel 130 are not directly and permanently coupled together. FIGS. 10-11 depict an alternative aspect of an apparel item 1000, however, in which a bottom margin 1010 of a left front panel 1020 is affixed to a bottom margin 1012 of a back panel 1030 such that the ventilation opening 1042 does not extend to the bottom margin of the apparel. In some aspects, the bottom margin 1010 of the left front panel 1020 and the bottom margin 1012 of the back panel 1030 may be releasably affixed together with, for example, one or more buttons, hook and loop fasteners, or snap-type fasteners. In another aspect, the bottom margins 1010 and 1012 of the left front panel 1020 and the back panel 1030, respectively, may be permanently affixed through stitching or bonding. Further, in other aspects, the left front panel 1020 and the back panel 1030 may be constructed from a single piece of material, and the ventilation opening 1042 may engineered as a slit in the material, leaving a bottom margin of the apparel item 1000 intact inferior to the ventilation opening 1042.

[0049] When affixed, the bottom margin 1010 of the left front panel 1020 remains directly coupled to the bottom margin 1012 of the back panel 1030 when the ventilation opening 1042 is in an open configuration. Affixing the bottom margins 1010 and 1012 of the left front panel 1020 and the back panel 1030, respectively, creates an aerodynamic silhouette but still provides ventilation to portions of a wearer's back through the ventilation opening 1042 along the wearer's side. Further, because the bottom margin 1010 of the left front panel 1020 and the bottom margin 1012 of the back panel 1030 cannot move independently of one another when affixed together, this configuration may be less distracting to the wearer. In this alternative aspect, portions of the left front panel 1020 and the back panel 1030 superior to the bottom margins 1010 and 1012, respectively, may also be configured to be releasably coupled via a releasable coupling mechanism, such as the coupling mechanism 1046.

[0050] FIG. 11 provides a view of the interior of the apparel item 1000 having this alternative configuration. In the aspect shown, the bottom margin 1010 of the left front panel 1020 is secured to the bottom margin 1012 of the back panel 1030. In addition to the posterior edge 1114 of the left side insert 1040, the superior edge 1116 and the inferior edge 1118 of the left side insert 1040 may also be coupled to the back panel 1030. In some alternative configurations and as shown in FIG. 11, the superior edge 1116 of the left side insert 1040 may couple to a portion of the back panel 1030 that is positioned inferior to the left armhole 1110. By coupling each edge of the left side insert 1040 to either the back panel 1030 or the left front panel 1020, there are no openings between the left side insert 1040 and the other panels of the apparel item 1000 through which ambient air could escape. In this respect, ambient air entering through the ventilation opening 1042 may be more concentrated on the area of the wearer over which the left side insert 1040 extends as the air does not diffuse through other openings between left side insert 1040 and the panels.

[0051] Turning to FIG. 12, a flow diagram illustrating a method of manufacturing 1200 an apparel item, such as apparel item 100, with an insert is provided. The method 1200 comprises, at step 1210, providing a front panel of material having at least a first edge and a second edge. The front panel of material may be the left front panel 120, the right front panel 110, or both the left front panel 120 and right front panel 110. The method 1200 may also comprise, at step 1220, providing a back panel of material, such as the back panel 130 described with respect to FIGS. 1-9, having at least a third edge and a fourth edge.

[0052] At step 1230, the back panel may be coupled to the front panel via at least a first insert, such as the left side insert 140. The first insert may comprise a panel of mesh material having an anterior edge and a posterior edge. Coupling the front panel to the back panel via the first insert may comprise, at step 1230A, attaching at least a portion of the anterior edge of the first insert to at least a portion of the first edge of the front panel. In this way, the first edge of the front panel may be equivalent to the posterior edge 122 of the left front panel 120. Next, at step 1230B, at least a portion of the posterior edge of the first insert may be attached to at least a portion of the back panel at a position offset from the third edge of the back panel. The third edge of the back panel may be equivalent to the anterior edge 132 of the back panel 130 described above. In some aspects, the method also includes attaching a superior edge of the first insert to the back panel and/or attaching an inferior edge of the first insert to the back panel.

[0053] The method 1200 may further comprise affixing a releasable closure mechanism such as a zipper mechanism along at least a portion of the first edge of the front panel and along at least a portion of the third edge of the back panel. The releasable closure mechanism, such as the coupling mechanism 146 described with respect to FIGS. 1-9, may be configured to couple the first edge of the front panel to the third edge of the back panel. In some aspects, the releasable closure mechanism is a bi-directional zipper having a top zipper pull and a bottom zipper pull.

[0054] The method 1200 may also comprise coupling the back panel to the front panel via a second insert, such as the right side insert 150. Coupling the back panel to the front panel via the second insert may include attaching at least a portion of an anterior edge of the second insert to at least a portion of the second edge of the front panel and attaching at least a portion of a posterior edge of the second insert to at least a portion of the back panel at a position offset from the fourth edge of the back panel. Like with the first insert, a superior edge of the second insert may attach to the back panel, and an inferior edge of the second insert may also attach to the back panel. Lastly, a releasable closure mechanism may also be affixed along at least a portion of the second edge of the front panel and along at least a portion of the fourth edge of the back panel to releasably couple the second edge of the front panel to the fourth edge of the back panel.

[0055] Aspects of the present disclosure have been described with the intent to be illustrative rather than restrictive. Alternative aspects will become apparent to those skilled in the art that do not depart from the scope of this disclosure. Similarly, a skilled artisan may develop alternative means of implementing these aspects without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

[0056] It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims. Since many possible aspects may be made without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

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