If swimming’s your thing and you’ve always felt a bit sluggish in the water, Dallas-based sportswear maker Roka thinks it’s come up with a solution.
Created with speed in mind, its new Maverick X wetsuit turns traditional garment design on its head in order to facilitate movement, and as a result offers maximum freedom in the upper body and arms as the swimmer surges through the water. At least, that’s the idea.
So, what’s so special about the design? Well, the chances are that all your sweaters, unless knitted by a confused gran, have their arms pointing down. Considering this is the most likely position for your arms as you go about your day, such a design makes perfect sense. Swimming, however, clearly involves a whole lot more movement and rotation, with your arms constantly passing above your head as you power yourself forward.
Using a design process it calls “Revolution X,” Roka says it decided to create the wetsuit with the arms pointing up, describing the position as “the most crucial phase of the freestyle stroke.”
The company says on its website: “Early prototypes and testing revealed that there was a golden ratio, a sweet spot for the arm position and patterning, that allowed for zero restriction and total mobility throughout the stroke … the result is faster, unrestricted swimming with better mechanics, less effort and no shoulder strain.”
Besides zero restriction in the arms, the Maverick X wetsuit also incorporates a “smart buoyancy” design that claims to put the swimmer “in the fastest body position for freestyle swimming.” The wetsuit, which comprises nano-coated limestone-based neoprene, also offers independent neck suspension for maximum comfort and strategically designed panels to enhance performance.
Roka goes into a great deal of detail about how the outfit can improve speed and performance, though it’s fair to say its words are aimed at swimmers already at the top of their game rather than occasional paddlers. And anyway, we expect few people beyond the most serious water-based athletes will be prepared to meet the asking price of $900.
The look of the Maverick X is certainly eye-catching and may well offer genuine benefits in terms of speed and performance, but we still can’t get out of our heads this fabulous Quiksilver design aimed at surf-loving office workers for whom changing into a wetsuit is just too much effort.