by Emma Smith 3 min read

This is a new brand we are super pumped (see what I did there?) about. The folks at Vice-Grip are making high performance gym wear for those who love to lift. 

This is some seriously high tech apparel - comfortable t-shirts with gripping surfaces in all the right places so that barbell is going to stay exactly where you want it during squats.  

We caught up with Rob and Chris from Vice-Grip to find out all about the brand. 

So how did VICE GRIP get started?

FF Vice Ltd was conceived by two passionate gym goers with the ambition to design innovative and functional products that give strength athletes a competitive edge. Having both worked for a world leading design & technology company we felt it was time to apply our engineering knowledge to the primitive gym world that we both love so much! We worked on several ideas, ranging from a smart phone app to an energy harvester but ultimately focused our efforts on the Vice Grip Apparel Range, having both identified the gap in the market and real need for it, particularly on squats and bench press!

 Rob and Chris of ViceGrip

How did you turn your idea into reality?

Initially, concepts and methods of implementing the gripping interface to the fabric were thought out. Once we decided on pursuing the two options (rubber pads stitched and a silicone type printing) we sought out suppliers to manufacture our prototypes. Due to the confidential nature of the product before we had filed the IP we first got the rubber pads manufactured then attempted to stitch them to t-shirts ourselves!

Why is VICE GRIP unique, and what are the benefits?

The obvious one is in the product name! We were vigorous in designing the gripping interface to provide the desirable friction in key locations to prevent barbell slippage during squats and to aid in maintaining an arch on bench press primarily. 

vicegrip camo 

How did you get your first customers?

Initially we contacted a number of top lifters in the country to get their thoughts on the product and any suggestions for improvements before mass manufacturing them. All of the feedback was highly positive and lots of their clients/friends asked where can we get these, at which point we got our first order placed to fulfil these sales! 

Who really needs VICE GRIP?

Primarily anyone who trains squats or bench press and requires that extra support/grip during these exercises, particularly in commercial gyms where barbells are typically un-knurled and chalk is not permitted! Beyond that the t-shirts are very high quality and comfortable so they can be used for general training sessions too. Though watch this space as new designs are imminent!

What has been the hardest part so far?

The hardest part has been juggling Vice Grip activities with a full-time job, particularly in the initial days when we were dealing with suppliers in various time zones!

Can you talk to us about the innovation process?

The innovation process focused on the material selection & location/geometry of the gripping interface. A combination of simulations and experimental testing performed on prototypes to optimise the performance and ensure that the interface would perform its function optimally.

 Any testing?

The majority of the testing was performed in the gym by ourselves/athletes to ensure the gripping interface was working as designed and up to taking large loads (300kg+!). Further tests have been performed to ensure the reliability and durability of the gripping interface (the first prototype has been used extensively over the past 3 years and not degraded!).  

vicegrip expo

What's next for VICE GRIP?

In 2019 we plan to expand upon the current Vice Grip Apparel Range and further its functionality to cater for a wider range of gym users. We are also expanding our team to allow us to grow the business.  

Thanks so much Rob and Chris for taking the time to talk to Kit Radar. We can't wait to see what you come up with next. 

Emma Smith
Emma Smith


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