You won’t find it in stores just yet, but if you look closely at the jackets and other gear worn by US, Canadian and Russian athletes at the upcoming 2014 Olympics, you might catch a glimpse of Columbia Sportswear’s new waterproof zipper technology. Or you might not since it’s been engineered to be almost invisible when zipped shut.
Columbia was contracted to design and produce the outfits for those three nations, and according to the folks at GearJunkie, the company took the opportunity to introduce its new waterproof LightRail Zipper technology which it’s been developing and perfecting for the past few years. The new zippers are lighter, slimmer, more flexible and easier to zip than traditional waterproof zippers. And when sealed shut the seams almost completely disappear into garment.
The Lightrail Zippers are bonded to jackets and other garments using laser-cut fabric that works in a similar fashion to adhesive seam tape. But even without the bulk of stitches, there’s no chance the seams will ever come undone. Even the zipper itself has been improved, with the addition of a subtle dock that completes the water and windproof seal.
There’s no word on when the new zipper tech will be introduced on consumer-ready Columbia jackets and garments, but assuming the uniforms perform admirably at the Olympics, it’s safe to assume that we’ll probably see it officially rolled out closer to the end of the year. [GearJunkie]