'Sweating' the Details - The SwitchLok Armband

"Necessity is the mother of Invention"


The motivation to create a new product almost always comes either from not being able to find what you want or frustrations with a current offering. 

SwitchLok was born out of a number of frustrations with the available armbands for running with a phone right at the top of the list. The elastic ones were scratchy and rough--terrible materials to have up against your skin. The current market leader's offering is made out of neoprene which feels fine but is neither stretchy nor breathable. These are just a couple of highlights--those of you that have used these products will know what I am talking about.

It doesn't matter how amazing your interface for attaching the phone is. If it's attached to an awful armband, it's ruined. I wanted a band that just disappears: it is so comfortable you forget it's on.

So when I started building SwitchLok, I knew that I would have to find the best material possible for the armband. I had no idea how far I would have to go to get them.

First I went to fabric store and bought elastics that felt great. Unfortunately, none of them worked with hook and loop (Velcro). Then I contacted every US based elastic manufacturer I could find to get samples. Out of five, two responded and one actually sent samples. The material was awful. I moved on to Amazon and started ordering armbands and elastics, even a heart rate monitor strap.I got a few that were ok, but nothing that was acceptable. Alibaba was up next. Lots of responses and plenty of samples but no one seemed to understand that I wanted something of a higher quality. Finally, on Etsy of all places, I was able to find an incredibly soft, smooth elastic. Material? Check.

Magnetic car mount, Running armband, phone armband, phone bike mount, iphone bike mount, car phone holder, cell phone holder for car, phone mount for car, iphone car holder, iphone holder, motorcycle phone mount

Some of the elastic samples. A number of samples were disposed of immediately.

Just having the right material wasn't enough though. Too often, with other armbands I would have to tighten the band to an uncomfortable point just to get it to stay in place. I needed something grippy to help it stay in place. That's when I noticed that my triathlon shorts (like bike shorts but without a big butt pad) had a pattern of silicone dots around the inside of the legs to keep them in place. Bingo! 

I'm going to 'yada yada' the part where I learn how to design and procure custom armbands (and how not to), found the average arm sizes of the US population and a whole bunch of other stuff and show you the result. This armband feels incredible! It's stretchy, soft and smooth and it stays in place with just a little tension. I was running with it yesterday and I realized after about 30 minutes, I couldn't even feel it anymore. It had disappeared.

The SwitchLok Armband