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400 weeks of tough testing

by Luke Daffey |

It had been almost ten years since we last launched a new generation of work trousers. The reason was simple: our existing 3-series trousers were – and still are – a huge success story. 

But Snickers Workwear has always been about innovation, and we couldn’t hold back any longer – it was time to develop something new. We intended to present the next generation of work trousers and agreed that the preliminary work would be our most thorough ever. 

The Process began in 2013

“We sat down together over two years ago. We wanted to know not only what craftsmen needed, but also what they wanted. There are functions that look cool, but we soon realised that nobody really uses them,” says Henry Lundberg, development manager at Snickers Workwear. 

The process began with interviews and workshops. End-users had the opportunity to specify what is really important to them. Then everyone went home with the data and started thinking about design. The development process could have ended there. 

“But that’s when we entered the test phase, which has lasted until now,” relates Henry. “We’ve had 50 different test pilots – electricians, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers. They tested more than 200 pairs of trousers over two years, totalling over 400 test weeks.”

It’s all about small modifications 

Christian Isaksen is one of the test pilots. He points to the construction of a new hotel in Rosersberg outside Stockholm. He works with ground installation and not only paved the area outside the hotel but also elevated the ground level. 

“The work involves a lot of time spent on your knees and the surface is often stony and hard – which causes unbelievable levels of wear and tear,” he says. “Trousers have to be tough and comfortable – that’s the main concern in my line of work. Of course there are also various details that make my life easier.” 

Christian shows his trousers – he’s been testing the RuffWork model. He lifts the holster pocket and points. “I don’t like these straps,” he says. “I told them right from the start – the eyelets are too large, designed for hanging power drivers and the like, but nobody does that. Just look at those construction workers there – they hang their power drivers in the webbing at the back.” Test pilot Isaksen laughs and relates that the first thing that happened was that the trousers split, just before we arrived for the first interview.

Thoroughly tested material

“When it comes to the fabric, we work through four or five versions before we’re ready,” explains Henry. “That’s what is so good about these tests: the trousers get put through real-life usage so we can focus on the necessary modifications. These webbing straps that Christian mentioned are something we deleted from the final product; it turned out hardly anyone used them.” 

Christian talks about that first interview after a couple of months of using the prototype trousers. About having to answer never-ending questions. About how the trousers were photographed and documented down to every last detail. 

“Here’s something I praised a lot,” he points to the zipper on one of the pockets. “It wasn’t there before. But this pocket is perfect for credit cards and other such things without any risk of dirt and dust getting in. Previously my credit card was always shredded to bits by stuff that got into my pockets – I just couldn’t carry anything of value there. And I really like the fit of the trousers. Work clothes used to be like tents. Now they fit comfortably and you don’t have to keep hoisting up your trousers when getting down on your knees. The kneepads are always in precisely the right position every time.”

Amazing fit - for real

“Everyone is pleased with the fit – anything else would be really odd since we’ve spent so much time on fit,” comments Henry. “The changes we made along the way were minor modifications, but every single one of them was extremely important. For instance, we altered the position of the pockets – this is precisely the feedback we get when we’re this attentive to our endusers.

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