WORK & CASE STUDIES


Schutt Sports – Scorpion Catchers Gear

For years, softball catchers had used equipment designed to protect their male counterparts. The market had never addressed the fact that women and men have different body architecture and required more protection in different areas. Realizing the opportunity to create a new and needed product category, Schutt Sports asked us to design the first female-specific catchers gear on the market.

Due to softball’s quicker pace, our design needed to be more quickly put on and taken off than traditional baseball catching gear. Female players we interviewed made it clear that in addition to a pad structure specifically for their bodies, they also needed gear that made left/right leg guards more easily identified and a chest protector that was easier to remove. Unsurprisingly, it also had to look good. In the words of one player, “Hey, when you look good, you play good.”

We produced a series of concepts to put in front of the Schutt development team and more importantly, the players. For easy on/off abilities, we threw traditional clips and buckles out the window and redesigned the attachment site. By introducing hook and loop Velcro into this area, the point of attachment could now blend seamlessly with the rest of the pad. To further enable natural movement of the pads with the body, our team developed the H-Back Yoke system. This fully independent shoulder yoke system allowed the back portion of the protector to hug the player and provide a more custom fit during game play.

Schutt quickly sold through their initial forecasts and found themselves in a back order position. Our design was used by half of the teams in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

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FRED SPARKS DESIGN, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI USA 2016