Standing before Tower Gap, nearing the top of Tower Ridge, absolutely freezing cold, and all I could think was “why oh why don’t we make gloves at Alpkit?”.
Of course, I was wearing gloves… but they weren’t the kind of gloves that you’d want to be wearing when belaying on a Scottish winter route – they were far more ‘affordable’ gloves than that. For me, this highlighted a big hand-shaped gap in our range. Our ‘thing’ is designing and making kit that we want to use for prices that we can afford… we’re people who go outdoors and get cold hands, so why not make gloves?
Time to apply the Alpkit philosophy and design principles to create a range that really encompasses what it means to Go Nice Places and Do Good Things, and helps you do it without getting cold hands.
But first, here are a few photos from Tower Ridge...
A blank slate
‘Intimidating, but well exciting too’ (like all the best adventures?), that’s how I’d describe going from no gloves to a comprehensive range. With a blank slate to work from, we’ve had the opportunity to define exactly what our glove range is. This opened a whole world of possibility, but as the saying goes, a whole world of possibility could end up being too much glove. Okay, let’s focus, refine, and start thinking about the purpose of our glove range…
Start with ‘who’…
We focus on the end use of our products every step of the way, so our first port of call was to ask ‘who will be wearing these gloves?’. Well us, obviously…but also anyone who climbs, mountain bikes, cycles, bikepacks, runs, hikes, mountaineers, swims, paddles… We’re a mixed bunch, but whatever the discipline, we wanted to make a focused and purposeful range to meet the hand comfort needs of outdoorsy people.
The ‘who’ question still left us with a lot of choice, so in the name of moderation we began our range with 4 activities in mind: climbing, running, cycling, and hiking. That said, we’re firm believers that both specialist and multi-activity garments have their own important roles to play within the wardrobe, this range would reflect this by including some multi-activity, ‘take-them-everywhere-with-you’ styles too.
Then obsess over the details
The details are important! They’re the bit that we take for granted when we buy a pair of gloves in the shop, but great efforts and expertise have often been invested in getting the details just right.
Think about dexterity… We’ve all worn gloves with big bulky seams that stop you from moving your fingers freely, but when our gloves are dexterous we don’t tend to notice. When we think about how you’ll be using the gloves we make, we’re sure that dexterity is just another one of those essential features that we can’t compromise on. To make sure nothing can interfere with the connection between you and your handlebars, ice-axes, or trekking poles, we worked hard with our manufacturers to reduce the seams down to a tiny 3 mm.
Fast forward to the result
They say it’s all about the journey, but secretly we all want to get to the end and find out what gloves will be available in our initial launch! We’ll be bringing out 8 new products to begin with, including cycling, MTB, running, liner, and fleeces gloves, as well as a waterproof softshell for mixed climbing/ski-touring. As the autumn arrives, there’ll be more to follow ready for Scottish winter routes to be back in season (this time, we’ll be prepared!)">