SAN VENDEMIANO, Italy (BRAIN)—Several dozen U.S. apparel suppliers are currently evaluating a new chamois design for women based on research done by CyTech with the Department of Anatomy and Physiology of the University of Padua.
Stefano Coccia, who owns CyTech, an Italian manufacturer of high-end chamoises, said yesterday that researchers in a year-long study had focused primarily on upper body movement as women rode their bikes.
Those movements, tracked by sensors, helped him design the new chamois. “What’s really interesting is the approach we are using. Athletes are continuously moving, so what we tested was what goes on with the body and not with the saddle,” he said.
The chamois’ anatomic design adheres to a woman's curves with a special pearl-drop shaped insert for greater comfort in the gluteal, perineal and genital-urinary area.
Coccia said retailers will find the new chamois in a variety of women’s cycling shorts by late spring or early summer.
The seven-year-old company’s chamoises use what Coccia calls Elastic Interface Technology, which CyTech developed in cooperation with the Swiss apparel manufacturer Assos. The chamois is spec’d by at least two-dozen brands ranging from Assos to Specialized, to Scott, Adidas, Pearl Izumi, Gore Bikewear, Cannondale, De Marchi, ExteOndo, SheBeest, Terry and others.
What makes CyTech unusual in today’s market, where so much apparel is made in Asia, is that CyTech makes its chamoises in Italy using a proprietary molding process to hold and form the micro-fiber material.
“When we first started, we went to China to see if we could have them made there,” he explained. But after reviewing the costs and the technology involved, which is not “labor intensive,” Coccia said it made no sense to try and save a few pennies on a high quality chamois that could cost as much as a cheap pair of cycling shorts.
“Making high-end chamoises and trying to save 20 cents on costs wouldn’t change anything. This way we have their full process under our control. Last year we shipped 1.2 million and had fewer than 50 returns.
Last year business at CyTech almost doubled, he said, pointing out he has focused on just-in-time delivery of its chamoises. “On average, we are delivering them just one day ahead of scheduled production and that’s worldwide,” he said.
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