Thursday, September 23, 2010

Be Smart Or Be Expensive

I normally try not to comment on the brands I work with too much. I'm inspired though, so stay with me.

I've been kinda enamored with innovation lately. In all honesty I'm kind of fascinated with a few things going on right now. One of those being the new Arc'Teryx gloves that are coming out this fall. Go Here.

They're beautiful gloves, no? Pinnacle of innovation, really. If only it weren't for the fact that Mountain Hardwear already offers a better product for less money and a simpler construction.

So here's the deal. Gloves have been manufactured the same way for years and years. You have a shell and a waterproof "bootie". The bootie is HUGE. Think Mickey Mouse gloves. That gets stuffed into the shell and sewn down. In the process you create a bulky glove that wets out and freezes since the waterproof layer isn't right up against the shell. It's a terrible way to make gloves but that's how it's been done for 25 years. Waterproof boots and shoes are made in an identical fashion.

So what Mountain Hardwear did was contact an Italian company named OutDry. OutDry makes custom sized waterproof liners that have full 4 way stretch and then welds them to the outer layer of gloves and boots. By doing this they can't wet out/freeze AND you have better dexterity. It's amazing really. On top of that Mountain Hardwear kept their prices the same.

These debuted last year and are rather amazing.

Now. OutDry did something else very well. They registered incredibly smart patents. So smart that everyone else couldn't really get around them.

So then at last years OR show we started hearing rumors of Arc'teryx having these amazing new gloves that were going to revolutionize the market.

What they had to do in order to get around the patents was cut each individual piece of the glove and weld a 3l piece of gore to it. When I say each piece I mean each finger/palm/backhand/wrist. Wherever you see a seam they had to painstakingly cut a new piece and individually weld it.

In short they made a Glove that is constructed like a Jacket. They're very good gloves. They're also $275. Our most expensive glove is $130 and thats spendy for most folks.

What blows me away with this is that they're touting this as THE innovation of the century. They're promoting it as the greatest thing to happen to gloves...ever. Never mind that another company used a simpler, easier, less costly and less wasteful process to do the exact same thing.......a full year earlier.

Moral of the story here is that you can either be smart and think of your own innovation or you can just copy someone else and make it really fucking expensive.


  1. Holy shit $275 for a pair of gloves? Wow. I bought my first car for a lot less than that had it for a number of years. ce

  2. Yeah, it's pretty insane huh? And people bitch about crashpads.

  3. if this story had a happy ending, it would be me receiving an ultra light nitrous hooded down jacked for a rockbottom price, whether new or slightly used.