I have a few different jackets and vests with zippered pockets. Some of them zip closed from bottom to top while others zip closed from top to bottom. Minutia? quite possibly, but I started wondering which design was better and I haven’t come to a decision yet.
The case for zipping up
- A half-open zipper is still closed on the bottom half, this reduces the likelyhood that something will fall out of your pocket if you’re unaware that your pocketis half open.
- On jacket pockets, the handle or toggle on the zipper is less likely to rub against your hands if it is closed further up your jacket (say at elbow height).
- Familiarity – most zippers zip closed from bottom to top (the main zipper closing your jacket, the zipper in your jeans, etc.) so people are accustomed to zipping up to close a zipper. This is somewhat offset by the fact that the examples I gave have an open end at the top of the zipper (apples to oranges).
The case for zipping down
- The biggest reason zipping down is a good idea is because it has the potential to do the least harm. Zippers get caught and zipped down by accident much more commonly than they get zipped up. If the down position is closed, the danger of having something accidentally fall out of your pocket is greatly reduced.
- Zipping down is easier than zipping up because the jacket is braced at the top (over your shoulder so the material is pulled taught. Since zipping something closed is probably more important (to not lose something for example), it makes since to have this be the easier motion.
So there you have it, which would you choose if you were designing a jacket? And while we’re here, what random things has your mind pondered?
I personally think that bottom-to-top is better, purely because it’s how we’re used to zipping jackets at all times. No jacket I’ve worn starts zipping at the neck; why should the pockets be different?
Well, the main zipper on a jacket has an open top while a pocket does not. Perhaps different types of zippers have different ideal implementations?
It really comes down to market segmentation. In modern society, people are clearly dilineated into two camps: top-down-zipperers and bottom-up-zipperers. People with marketing degrees who work for jacket manufacturers realize this and keep the market efficient. I appreciate you bringing to light this apt example of capitalism at work, Alex.
An engaging subject to ponder Alex. What I consider to be my “best” outdoor jacket zips from the bottom up but then it has a second fastener which you can use to un-zip from the bottom up. You can’t completely undo the jacket with this but it can come in handy at different times for example; if I have to use the car, being able to undo the bottom 3 or 4 inches makes things more comfortable now I’m no longer standing upright or indeed any time I have to sit down whilst I still have my jacket on; also it is useful for odd things like if you have to go to the bathroom whilst you’re out and about. Just thought I’d throw that in.
I think it’s better for jacket pockets to zip from the top to bottom. Besides the reasons Alex mentions, I have the following:
You can clip something to your zipper, gloves for example and not have to worry about your pocket opening.
I prefer zipping up & unzipping down. I’d rather not do the fumble-with-one-hand-to-pull-up-a-zipper dance trying to get out my keys while I have an arm full of books or groceries.
I have a pair of shorts with a top-zips-down pocket. Say I’m skiing. Gravity shouldn’t determine which way the zipper goes, as any good zipper will have enough friction to keep itself closed. Personally I don’t think hanging a pair of gloves off of the zipper is a very good idea in the first place. It creates a bulky sensation and limits mobility, not to mention it’s annoying to turn around quickly and have two gloves fly around your body and whack yourself. Gloves should be stored within the jacket. I think it is a toss up, though, which way the zipper goes. I just wanted to put in a little comment
I like flys that open by zipping down.