As lovers of the outdoors we’ve all encountered those bike rides, hikes, hunts, and other adventures that leave us cold, wet and uncomfortable. Mother Nature doesn’t always provide the finest weather when exploring hostile environments, but Shawn and SealSkinz are determined to make it possible for everyday athletes to stay outside longer and to feel better while doing it. SealSkinz is manufacturing socks, hats and gloves that provide waterproof and breathable protection against the elements. We spoke with Shawn to learn more about SealSkinz and the innovation behind the success of their mission.
Where did the inspiration for SealSkinz originally come from?
Shawn: While we’ve been involved with leading innovative technologies for many years, it was when one of our co-workers discovered some fascinating information that gave us our initial thoughts on performance waterproof socks. While carrying out a research project on original breathable waterproof technologies, our leading technologist came across details from one of the world’s most innovative pioneers, John Logie Baird, the inventor of television.
John Logie Baird suffered from very poor circulation, resulting in his extremities getting incredibly cold in the winter months. This limited his time spent in the outdoors to the warmer months. Being a Scotsman, John Logie Baird’s time in the beautiful Scottish highlands was severely restricted. Baird was soon at work developing a two-layered sock.
Like any outdoor enthusiast our colleague wanted to be first on the hill and last back. Soon our lab was a hive of activity. Because of our leading technologies and manufacturing processes, we were able to take JLB’s basic concept and develop it into what it is today, utilizing our Patented 3 layer construction producing waterproof, windproof & breathable cutting edge products providing the user with the very best comfort and performance with a very long life expectancy.
What problem is SealSkinz trying to solve with their products?
Shawn: We pride ourselves on producing functional products which perform in the most hostile environments. With feedback from our extensive network of elite adventurers and military personnel we continue to develop and innovate, ensuring we stay at the forefront of the endurance accessories market. Our technical expertise gave birth to our 3 Layer Patented StretchDry technology which ensures seamless, full waterproof protection from the elements. Our products are designed and manufactured to the highest standards but even everyday athletes can benefit – and stay out longer and defy the elements!
How have you seen people take advantage of the benefits that SealSkinz’s products offer?
Shawn: The use cases and potential benefits of SealSkinz waterproof and breathable protection are nearly endless. From the most extreme conditions for military and expedition use, to the mission of keeping athletes, enthusiasts, and weekend warriors warm, dry, and comfortable for their outdoor pursuits. In 2014 Sealskinz products conquered the Mongel Derby, Raced in Pro cycling events such as the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Britain, conquered The Trans Savoie, Trans Provence and numerous rounds of the Enduro World Series, peaked Kilimanjaro, raced the Rovenami 150, made it the north pole and completed numerous sailing events from the Clipper to the Vende Globe.
What kind of a future do you see for SealSkinz and how do you hope to see the company grow?
Shawn: SealSkinz continues to grow in our home market of the UK, as well as our newer international markets. We see a bright future ahead, as we continue to expand our range, improve technology, and spread the work of endurance accessories and the benefits of waterproof, breathable protection. We continue to be driven by developing a range of products which enable people the world over to get out and stay out whatever the weather.
SealSkinz currently produces socks, gloves and hats. Do you see the line of products growing in the future?
Shawn: We pride ourselves on our category leadership position in the UK, and it is with this experience and knowledge that we are now expanding our horizons to the USA and beyond. With this each market will have their own special requirements and it is with this insight that we can continue to deliver the best possible waterproof, breathable hats, socks and gloves. Our speciality is in Endurance Accessories ensuring we stay ahead of the game when it comes to technologies, fit and overall performance. We are not making trousers or jackets, our sole focus is producing category defining socks, hats and gloves. The future will be forged by our ability to deliver a product the best it can be, and we will only enter into new products and technologies once we know we are offering the best we can.
How does innovation play a key role in the success of SealSkinz’s mission?
Shawn: Our mission is to provide our customers with products that provide them
with the ultimate protection from the elements. At SealSkinz we believe that to provide the very best in product performance we’ve got to be ahead of the curve in our technologies, manufacturing processes, and connections with our users, ambassadors and retailer partners. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our product offerings and make our socks, gloves and hats THE benchmark product. Our R&D guys are constantly looking at ways to improve the feel and performance of products from new outer fabrics, different thicknesses of merino, new closures and improved finger profiling. Our patented technology is just one example of how product technology is important, and our recent introduction of the Halo Overshoe, the World’s first Overshoe with built in LED is a sign of how we continue to strive to find the ultimate in endurance accessories.