Zhik gets serious about women’s sizing

Lone sailor stares into distance while standing in front of boats

Zhik has released its most comprehensive range of women’s products in the brand’s 20 year history, with 19 female products across the Performance Superwarm, Performance Microfleece, ‘X’ Superwarm and ‘X’ Microfleece wetsuit ranges, plus more across the full Zhik product range. The latest additions include improved fit and features, all dedicated to enhancing women’s comfort and performance. And, this means, there is no more unisex sizing. Enhanced 3D female body-mapped design ensures second-skin fit with a comprehensive range of sizing options, says the company.

The new range has been designed by what Zhik terms its female strong design team (the team’s five in total, two are women), all working collaboratively with the 45 female athletes Zhik sponsors across its Olympic, Sail GP and foiling teams as well as individuals.

Laura Lemus, Zhik designer says that 3D mapping was an integral part of the process. “Our patterns were originally developed through 3D body scanning. This scans the body in a variety of positions and identifies the stress points and stretch/contraction points of the material. It is then translated to 3D modelling software, where we can model movement of the patterns, which is the 3D body mapping.

Lone sailor stares into distance while standing in front of boats

“For the consumer, it means we can develop the pattern for comfort in a variety of positions, not just in a static position, which is so important for products required to move and perform at the highest level. In addition, the 3D software means less sampling and waste, which is always better for the environment,” says Lemus.

“Each athlete we worked with generally tested one or two styles, and their feedback was compiled and used to further assess and develop the products,” explains Drue Kerr, head of design and production. “Most athletes received two iterations of these styles to try before the final product, but this varied per development and project, sometimes this extended to four or five samples.”

“It’s absolutely time women benefitted from the same attention to detail in design and production of high performance gear as men,” says Johnny Rodgers.

He’s Zhik’s marketing partnerships and global sponsorships manager. “We’re proud to be leading the field in this area and champion the growth and achievements of women in sailing and the professional world.”

Zhik says that its stand-out features include ‘superwarm’ fabric and ‘microfleece’ – both terms it’s trademarked – which offer warmth and comfort all year, but more importantly, it offers two piece layering which means sailors can get in and out of kit with ease (huzzah).

“It was great to be a part of the design process, Zhik have really thought about female sizing, comfort and performance,” says Liv Mackay, NZ Sail GP team.

Hattie Rodgers, Waszp World Champion and long-time Zhik advocate, says her favourite garment from the range is the Yulex Microfleece X top. “I tested it in the middle of the UK winter whilst Waszp sailing and for someone like me who tends to get cold quickly, I stayed nice and warm throughout the session on the water and when packing up the boat afterwards. I’ve always found it easy to move in my Zhik kit but this top in particular allows me to sail without feeling restricted in any way.”

Earlier this year, the Australian brand extended its wetsuit recycling programme across Australia and New Zealand to help improve the circular life cycle of its products after disposal, using ‘reZhikle’ boxes located in over 30 partner stores. 

Three sailors in boat shed wearing wetsuits

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