- Complete teardown and rebuild using knowledge gained after working on several generations of gloves.
- Main driver was designing a glove that feels as mobile as if it stopped at the wrist, but with absolute protection.
- Every pattern scrutinized, redrawn, tested, and sewn into functioning prototypes tested 3-4x per month over 2 years by R&D team and high-performance testers.
- Gloves were released to very positive reaction in the market and made debut with several high profile players joining the Warrior brand including Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks captain (NHL) and Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (NHL).
- Displayed as part of 2018 Stanley Cup Champion exhibit in Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Concept and Innovation
- Complete Teardown
- Paper Patterns and Prototyping
- Fabric and Foam Development
- Techpacks and Sample Modifications
- Lab and Field Testing
- FOB Analysis and Grading
- Sales Presentation
REVIEWS & REACTION
By freeing up the cuff and allowing it to float with your wrist, the cuff provides the protection of the 11k, the wrist protection the hockey world is clamoring for, but with the mobility of an ultra short cuff. It plays like a zero cuff, but protects like the biggest, most robust and obstructive cuffs.
The simple fact is, Warrior has drummed up a truly exemplary and sublime glove. They’ve caught lightning in a bottle, and the glove really doesn’t have a weak point or negative feature. As much as I try to hesitate to rave and therefore compromise my objectivity, as an independent reviewer ought to do, there is really nothing I would change or suggest on this glove.
– Doug Sears Jr., Warrior Long Term Review
From our testing, Warrior looks to have taken the time to methodically plan out each piece of the glove to implement new features without sacrificing weight, protection, function, or price. The flexible cuff as well as the flexible thumb provide players with extra mobility without creating gaps in coverage, in fact, Warrior looks to have reduced gaps which is a plus in anyone’s book.
Back to the Beginning: Teardown, Drawing New Patterns, and Sewing Prototypes
I was first hired at Warrior to work in the factory, prepping pro orders and learning how to make gloves from beginning to end. When I was promoted to the R&D department, the experience of working with factory constraints, yield, and assembly in mind was invaluable, and for this glove it was critical to work hands-on – making patterns, prototypes, and sewing the gloves myself. I tore the glove down to its simplest parts, and made new patterns including the backhand base, which forms the foundation of the glove fit, and the new Axyflex cuff.
The Axyflex cuff was a feature where it was necessary to get our hands dirty, make prototypes, test them, and make them again. The patterns, foams, and even elastic positions were moved by millimetres to tune the balance and movement of the cuff. If the cuff was too loose, it would have great mobility but slide away on impact, but if the cuff was too tight, it would provide sturdy protection, but no movement.
The key innovation was being able to manipulate mobility and protection separately; Because the protection package does not affect the mobility, we were able to augment it with high density foams and plastic inserts. This also allows the length to be increased for higher coverage up the forearm.
The Axyflex system works in 3 parts: The ring attachment, cuffroll, and the sliding flex plate. The breathable mesh ring attachment floats the cuff completely independently from the body of the glove, while the triangular geometry of the cuffroll bottom allows it to move with the wrist and slide up over the flexplate, which reduces friction over the glove body.
Designing with Graphics in Mind
The graphic was developed along at the same time as the backhand shapes, to showcase the structure of the glove, while also staying relevant to the X-shaped pattern of previous Covert graphics. The importance of considering the graphic early in the process is that it allows the final product to avoid unnecessary breaks in patterns, and on this project contributed to a 36% reduction in parts when compared to the previous model.
To address the foam weight, we developed Phantom Foam, a protection package that was superior after testing many different variations with the drop tester for the best balance of weight and impact absorption.
The weight of the glove was reduced to 300g/glove, the lightest in the market, while averaging 30% better impact absorption averaged across light, medium, and hard impacts vs the competition.