by: KP, Warrior Hockey Marketing
It’s a right of passage for any new glove. Try it on for size in the store and put on your imagination hat and think of what that glove will feel like after it has broken in. Also, ask yourself, how long will it take to break in.
It was the first thing our design team wanted to do away with, as you probably read in our first Alpha QX Glove blog “Goals”. Butter Soft Feel was the funny descriptor they used to achieve this off-the-shelf broken-in feel. But how did they achieve this incredible feel in a glove…let me break down the simple changes here.
The Hand is not Simple
The human hand is a complicated instrument. A glove needs to protect it while allowing it to move in various different ways. The last thing you want is your glove getting in the way of your game. Another very important thing to keep in mind is that, during the course of play, the hand opens and closes, varies grip pressure and the fingers and thumb move independently throughout. All these quick grip adjustments lead to the hand to stretch and increase in size. Make a fist and watch how your knuckles pop out, and your hand takes up more volume. Now imagine trying to put a protective shell of foams and plastic around that – it needs to move with your hand right? Sounds simple, but it’s a pretty complicated problem to solve.
Make the glove move with the hand.
The best way to allow those foams to form around and move with your hand is to build stretch into the glove. Our designers, and here’s where I was blown away by their design, built all the protective panels on a stretchy panel that runs the full length of the backhand and fingers. This very simple solution allows the glove to move WITH your hand and not fight against it. All the padding forms around your hand and moves with it, providing an amazing feel and protection. If you’re closing your hand tight or opening your hand and stretching your fingers, the gloves will move with it with no hot-spots where the hand runs out of room inside the glove (knuckle rub).
Fingers need to feel.
Now, moving away from the hand and into the fingers, our designers wanted to maximize mobility for the part of your hand that really feels the stick. Allowing a full range of motion for your fingers and thumb help with stick handling and receiving passes. It’s a very important part of feeling the puck on your stick. The design team added full stretch lycra to the finger stalls. This allows the four fingers to stretch open at an incredible rate and close your hand very tight while moving the important protection with it. Lycra is also thin enough not to bunch up between your fingers when making a fist – an important part at keeping the glove from getting in the way. To allow free motion of the thumb, the Alpha glove gets our Axis Flex Thumb which allows the thumb to move freely but lock back to prevent injury
Remove negative space.
In many glove designs of the past, the glove was treated like a large protective box around the hand. The hand would move freely inside, within the extra space, which allowed the hand to open/close inside. This made for a sloppy, boxy feel. In Alpha, by making the padding move WITH the hand, the designers were able to tailor fit the padding to follow the natural shape of the hand. You’ll find the Alpha gloves follow your hand movement and the padding stays put – giving you better form-fitted protective shell.
All in all, these very simple design changes to solve a big glove problem led to the most comfortable gloves I’ve ever put MY hands in. I’m very confident you’ll feel the same and be amazed at Butter Soft Feel when they hit stores April 14.