THE INNOVATION OF THE CHEST ZIP
THE INNOVATIVE WORLD
OF CHEST ZIPS
As you've probably gauged, chest zips are all the rage and have been growing in popularity over the past few years. What we've started to notice is how the chest zip is evolving. It's no longer just a standard chest zip either, they now come in many variations with special features and are getting better and better every year.
Here at mesurf we froth on this stuff, and love sharing what we find with YOU. Here's a quick snapshot of the Chest Zip, pro's and con's, the different styles and latest innovations. If you haven't had a chest zip before then next time you're up for a new wettie get one, or borrow a mates. It's an innovation that you should be trying out, and as we finding they're getting better and better every year...
• Allows the back of the suit to be one piece, minimising stretch resistance
• No gaps for water leakage
• Offers a more snug fit around the neck as it's one piece
• Stops the need for extra material of the bat-wing
• No more velcro!
• No more bugging your mate to fix your jammed back zip
• Less contact area than a back zip means less zipper issues
• Offers a more snug and comfortable fit around the neck
• Not as simple to get in and out of as with a back zip
• Usually more expensive on most suits when you have the option
OLD vs NEW
This year there was a mix between the newer, more integrated 1 piece chest zip set-up and the older 2 piece chest zip. Here's a look at the two different variations, both with their own pro's and con's. Overall however it's the 1 piece set-up that offers the best fit, water restriction and overall comfort.
THE OLDER 2 PIECE CHEST ZIP
This was the original chest zip, and is now a little old in design, look and feel. It's made up of two pieces, hence the 2-piece name we've attached to it:
THE COVER - A separate piece of material that would be connected to the back of the suit and be pulled up and over the head
THE CONNECTOR - A small piece of material that connects to the front of the suit and has the second half of the zip
The zip's tend to be horizontal, don't have an adjustable feature and generally don't feel as comfortable, due to the sewn in piece that runs across the back of the suit.
THE NEW 1 PIECE CHEST ZIP
The one piece is fairly common this year among suits and is looking to be the way forward. The one piece almost eliminates any water passing through the suit from in and around the shoulders. With only one entry point exposed, that has an adjustable set-up it works a treat. The one piece has an angled zipper system to minimise pulling and resistance while at the same time maximising comfort around the neck. There is a catch! Being all one piece it can make getting in and out of the suit even harder than the 2 piece. With the super flexible materials being used these days this isn't a major issue, and at the end of the day, you'd rather be warmer in the water than having ease of entry and exit right?
CHEST ZIP INNOVATIONS
(i) ANGLED ZIP
The angled zip came of age last year and is designed to reduce the chance of the zip busting open. A great innovation that we found on several suits.
(ii) SHOULDER ADJUSTMENT
Not all suits have this yet? This is a flexi-chord that allows the wearer to tighten the shoulder of the side of the panel and reduce the gap between the panel and suit. Reducing the amount of water that can flow into the suit when duckdiving or getting nailed.
(iv) WATER RESISTANT INTERLOCK
From our research we only found the Xcel suits to be using this technology, offering a water seal on the zips. While the amount of water leakage through this area is minimal, when you're in super cold conditions, it counts to have all the areas well blocked from the elements.
(v) REVERSE ZIP
This was the first time we've come across this and the guys at Rip Curl have hit it. They've put the zip on in reverse so the head of the zipper sits snug up in the cress of the zip. Stops the need for the zip clip!
As you can see, the chest zip while still relatively new to the surf market, there has been a lot of evolutionary designs happening. We believe this will be a key focus for brands for years to come, working on ways to minimise water flow and weight while maximising comfort and ease of entry/exit. The current top end chest zip designs are amazing and we guarantee you won't look back once you try one on.
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