Zippers are a clean and simple way close the outer shell of technical footwear and clothing products. We use YKK zippers on the Fasterkatt and Wölvhammer because they do an excellent job sealing the outer boot while also allowing the user to get their feet in and out. Like anything, zippers are complicated mechanisms that require proper use and care to keep them working well. Today we are going to share information that will help you keep your zipper in excellent working condition. First we will start with the basic structure of most zippers, courtesy of YKK®.
The terms “body” and “slider” are used somewhat interchangeably. For clarity, we will use “slider” to describe everything required to move the zipper to a closed position. The “body” is a component of the slider that does the actual work of bringing the elements together, and the pull tab is attached to the crown to complete the entire slider mechanism.
We use a standard slider mechanism with a teardrop shaped loop on the end of the pull-tab. The elements on the Fasterkatt (pictured above) are coated with polyurethane for water resistance. If the body of the slider mechanism is damaged it will not effectively bring the elements together. Sometimes this results in the zipper “blowing out”, with the slider in the closed position against the top stop and the elements below fully opened. In order to avoid damaging the body of the slider mechanism we recommend that you DO NOT pull outwards or away from the elements. See picture below for an example of the INCORRECT way to pull the slider closed.
INCORRECT USE - DO NOT PULL ON TEAR DROP SHAPED LOOP
In the image above you can see how the body of the slider is angled upwards and feeding the elements through at an extreme angle. It is important to NOT grip the tear drop shaped loop to close the zipper as pictured above. This makes it more difficult to close and puts significant stress on all of the slider components (body, crown and pull tab). An example of how to grip the pull tab and guide the slider is shown below.
CORRECT USE - GRIP THE PULL TAB WITH YOUR FINGERS
Grip the metal pull-tab and apply a small amount of downward pressure on the zipper elements as you close the zipper. This allows the slider body to stay level with the elements and close them smoothly. It also significantly reduces the amount of stress put on all of the slider components. Not following this procedure can cause damage to your zipper.
NEVER FORCE A ZIPPER!
If the zipper elements catch a piece of fabric back the slider body gently back towards the open position until the fabric is released. Forcing a zipper will damage the elements, and when those are damaged the zipper will no longer work properly.
Thank you for reading!