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Developing gloves and boots that fit

Article - February 27, 2023

Handling with care the intricacies of Japanese monozukuri since 1942, Atom today is a specialist in the manufacturing of rubber gloves and boots.

Founded in 1942, ATOM Corporation is a specialist provider of rubber gloves and boots across multiple industries. And while much of the attention thus far has been on the domestic market in Japan, overseas opportunities continue to be explored.

“We began manufacturing work clothes for the naval arsenal, but at the end of the war in 1945, our facilities were destroyed and we had to start from scratch,” explains company president, Yuichiro Taira.

 “The company started to sell its products overseas from around 1960.

“We have all the processes of sewing, spinning and rubber processing in-house, which is the soil for creating unique items,” Mr. Taira adds. “That is our strength. In addition, focusing on the 'way of looking at things' to develop markets and expand applications is the cornerstone of our development.

“We actively participate in overseas trade fairs to obtain information from distributors and users on their requirements. In Japan, we have been operating with ‘antenna’ shops for 40 years, selling our products and those of other companies in the same place, and listening directly to the needs of the customers who visit. This helps us keep an eye on the market reputation of our products and identify areas for improvement.”

Vital to ATOM’s success is innovation and this can be no better demonstrated than through two recent advancements, as Mr. Taira explains.

“We developed the Pocketboot using a new manufacturing method based on the concept of 'compact', 'foldable' and 'lightweight' boots, which were established as a technology for agricultural use. The reason for this was that the market for our agricultural boots was expected to shrink as the work became more mechanized. We believe that the point of differentiation is a switch in the way we look at things, a switch in where the shoes are used and who uses them - from people who work outdoors to people who enjoy the outdoors, and from aging farmers to young people in the city.

“Regarding the AirTector X, we heard many users complain of discomfort and fatigue while working with the conventional non-slip finish on their palms. We have added the functions of lightweight, breathability and cushioning to this non-slip rubber.”

With knowledge of both textiles and rubber, and a goal to have a low environmental impact, the president’s vision for the future is clear.

“I want to pass down the challenging spirit that I had to my staff and urge them to take risks and make mistakes. My goal when I leave this company is to pass on a legacy of always challenging, pushing forward, and making ATOM products that shine with Japanese quality. I want our products to be recognized worldwide and to enrich the lives of global citizens.”