For Youth Ice Hockey Players
A ten-day sponsored project with Adidas's Futures Team was a study of different material compositions. Looking specifically at the properties of thermoplastic polyurethane in the athletic industry, we created a youth protective hockey suit for the future of ice hockey.
In collaboration with Ian Simon
ICE HOCKEY IS CHANGING
Ice hockey is getting faster. In this new age of safety in impact sports, ice hockey players will need a fuller coverage of padding to reduce chances of high impact injuries. The sport is starting to value quickness over intimidation, so ice hockey is seeing an influx of smaller and more agile players. When it comes to padding, loyalty and preference starts from a very young age. Partly due to superstition and comfort, a player might remain in the same padding from early high school through college and even into the NHL.
Youth Ice Hockey players
Ages 5 and up
Adidas can change the game of ice hockey by introducing a new padding system to youth players to build up this new generation of players.
HOW DO WE DESIGN MORE WITH LESS?
Polyester / TPU backing
Polyester & TPU blend
Adidas gave us access to four different materials and encourage us to explore their properties. We destroyed, vacuum-formed, folded, sonic welded, 3D weaved and heat pressed each material until we found an interesting solution.
We discovered that when TPU is heated, it melts into hard plastic. We found that the durability of the TPU increased when more layers were added. When foam is placed in the middle of the TPU, it creates a great solution for padding.
BUILDING THE GARMENT
After experimenting with the TPU and shoe foam, we started building our padding system in the shop. We placed different levels of padding in the places that had higher impact versus lower impact. Other features we included were a wrapping sleeve to reduce the amount of waste we created as well as sonic welded seams that eliminated the need for a sewing machine.
Shoe Foam Padding
TPU with Ridging
TPU Base Layer
TPU Polyester Blend
We boiled down the manufacturing of the padding system to five simple processes. By laser cutting the material, more pieces can be cut. Sonic welding will eliminate the need for sewing and using extra material. The heat press and vacuum form will create different levels of padding. The glue will complete the garment by adhering to the padding to the suit.
Fuller Padding Coverage
Different Levels of Padding
Range of Mobility
Process ideation, napkin sketches.
Material properties ideation, napkin sketches.
Opportunities taken from napkin sketches. My partner and I decided to look at high impact sports as an opportunity.