We asked Rich from Lush Longboards a few nosy questions about Velcro and the process of prototyping.
Why does it take so long to test a glove?
Testing takes a long time because we skate them to destruction! We are working with a lot of teamriders in many countries as well as skating prototypes ourselves, so collating all the feedback from everyone and accounting for everyone's different situations and needs takes some time. Then we have to communicate all this to the factory, get another round of samples made, and repeat. Within this process we are looking at glove cut, fit, materials, stiching - everything, basically. These gloves are a long way from a rebranded mountain bike glove and we're putting them through their paces... it's an ongoing process and it takes a long time to really get it right.
Who helps you test out your gear?
Most of the Lush team helps out, with the gloves we also work with several other skaters who choose our gloves over all the other brands out there. Some names who have had input on this version over the years would be Seb Hertler, Rebekka Gemperle, Dominik Kowalski, Stephan Risch, Pete Connolly, Rob Borek, Darren Rathbone and.... us!!
How many different types of materials have you tried?
A lot. really.... a lot. Over the 12 years we have been making slide gloves I'd say we have been through at least six different kinds of leather, plus Kevlar, plastic, composite armour, polycarbonate.... we've tried a lot of things out.
What do you think are the worst glove faux pas other manufacturers make?
It's not cool of me to to bin other brands so I will just say that it's very obvious when a competitor's product is on the cutting table, who has really put their gloves through the mill and who hasn't. There's a lot of good reasons why our gloves are all over the European race scene, but the most important is that we have always listening to skaters and improved things as we go.
Have you had any real disaster moments when creating a new product?
Right back in the early days we had a few glove designs that just blew straight through, but nothing like that has ever made it to market. We see prototype failure as a good thing, because it shows you what needs improving for the final product.
Losing a puck and sliding your velcro is a glove game over, what makes your velcro awesome and why do some velcros suck so much?
We use genuine Velcro, as opposed to el cheapo alternatives. We've found that it does make a difference, and pucks do tend to hold on a bit better with the real stuff. I think it's all about the hook shape on a very small level but to be honest what we really know is that it seems to hold pucks better! We just trust Velcro to know what they are doing.
What are your biggest considerations and priorities when designing, testing and deciding on the final article?
With the gloves it's all about Comfort, Fit and Durability. It's easy to make a super-strong glove, but much harder to make a super-strong glove that is comfy and fits really well. Likewise a lot of "driver style" gloves out there are nice and slimline, but they last five minutes! Which just makes them expensive in the long run. A good, tight fit is really important, it definitely makes a glove last a lot better if it fits well. We try to balance all these criteria with our glove development. It's also important that these gloves just work in the skating environment, you know... they need to look cool, be solid and do their job. We're not too worried about gimmicks like being able to answer your touchphone whilst wearing them or whatever... If we and our team don't need it, it's not part of the final product.
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