Technology has become central to modern life. Algorithms and AI help us to carry out the most complex activities. Vocal recognition enables information to be just one click away. Still, only a few years ago, it was not possible to buy a pair of gloves and be sure of their thermal seal and the conditions in which they could be used. Mauro Compagnoni, R&D Director at Level, had the idea to create a thermal index to classify the suitability of products to different weather conditions. The concept was easy: altitude can be translated into grades of resistance to cold temperatures. It took years of research and development to get to the final result, but Level has managed since then to categorize all its gloves with the new Thermoplus index.
The path to the creation of this technology has not been easy. Tests, scientific research and outdoor try-outs have been central to achieving the final result. “My idea was to give customers a reference without being vague” Mauro Compagnoni explained, “this has been done before with many other sports equipment, but, when it came to gloves, I could only find descriptions talking about the warmth of the product without going into details”. So, Level’s R&D Director had the idea to use different altitudes to define the thermal properties of garments. “If a customer tells me that he’s going to sky in Livigno”, added Mauro Compagnoni, “I know for sure that the perfect gloves will have a 3000 Thermoplus value”. The index has been divided into five categories. The baseline is at 1000 for gloves suitable for spring conditions. The warmest reaches 5000 for garments that could be used up to -30° in freezing snowstorms.
Thermoplus has been developed thanks to research and laboratory studies. Final results were supposed to be applied to the all Level line and used to create a universal index. The firm has worked in partnership with the University of Bologna and the Politecnico in Turin, leading to the publication of these results in various academic papers. “We conducted several tests in a climatic chamber with controlled conditions, and standard procedures”, explained Martino Colonna, Associate Lecturer at the University of Bologna “so we had the chance to obtain reliable datasets and not only feedback from users”.
If laboratory tests have been central to creating an index, real-life experiences have been fundamental for Level to produce gloves for all conditions. “I am lucky enough to live my life in the mountains and enjoy all the activities, from soggy sky slopes to mind-blowing 8000 metres peaks”, underlined Marco Confortola, experienced mountaineer and 360° athlete, “and this range of activities helped Level to develop gloves fitting the right conditions”. The Italian climber started his collaboration with Level in 2004 when he asked to be sponsored during the ascension of the K2 in Pakistan. Since then, Confortola has only worn Level gloves. “I test products on a daily basis”, the alpinist added, “I usually wear a model on my right hand and a different one on the left hand and I note down how these react to different climate conditions”. The mix of scientific research and real-life experience has been the key point to creating both a universal and practical index. “We have to show people what I wore at the top of the K2”, concluded Confortola, “these gloves are extremely worm and this is the clearest example”.
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