The butterfly-inspired Blue Morpho jacket helps skiers stay visible at all times

One issue that most outdoor athletes face at some point is finding a way to stay visible in low-light conditions. This is an issue for runners, cyclists, and even skiers who sometimes get caught outside after dark. So, when the team at Vollebak began designing the company’s latest ski jacket, it looked to nature for ways to overcome this issue. It found inspiration in a stunningly beautiful butterfly and the Blue Morpho jacket was born.

Found mostly in Central and South America, the Blue Morpho is famous for its brilliantly colored blue wings. The insect has microscopic scales along its wings that shine with an iridescent hue when hit by sunlight. That reflection is so bright and colorful that it can often be seen by pilots flying thousands of feet above the rainforest.

To mimic this effect with its ski jacket, the designers at Vollebak embedded more than 2 billion blue glass spheres into the resin found on the surface of its fabrics. The company says that there are actually 40,000 of these reflective beads for every square inch of the garment’s surface. When light hits those spheres, it bounces back in such a way that almost appears as if the jacket is emitting the light itself.

When worn during the day, the Blue Morpho jacket shifts its look depending on the lighting conditions. In a more subdued light, it appears matte blue in color, while in bright sunshine it drifts toward a more metallic shade. As the natural light changes throughout the day, the jacket will change dynamically too.

At night, the jacket truly stands out. When it is hit by a flashlight, headlamp, camera flash, or another light source, it gives off a bright glow that makes it highly visible. This not only catches the eyes of other skiers, but it could aid search and rescue operations in an emergency as well.

The Blue Morpho has some other nice features that skiers are sure to appreciate as well. For instance, it is wind and waterproof, comes equipped with a helmet-compatible hood, and has an internal pocket complete with a headphone loop. Velcro cuffs and elastic hem make it easy to dial in just the right fit and it has been designed to fit comfortably over other layers — like a warm hoody — without impeding motion.

With ski season just around the corner, Vollebak is shipping the Blue Morpho now. But this unique jacket doesn’t come cheap, retailing for $645. Find out more at vollebak.com.