The Athletic Brand For Non-Athletes

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Does a daily jogger really need the same gear as a marathon runner? Does a biker in the city really need to dress like he’s in the Tour de France? Are gym clothes supposed to look like they were developed by Nasa?

From Andrew Parietti’s perspective the answer to all of these questions is a resounding no. Parietti, along with his business partner and founder Tyler Haney, created Outdoor Voices, an American made athletic-wear brand for non-athletes. The duo, like most of us, enjoy exercise but were tired of the overwrought work out gear which most activewear companies push out today.

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It seems absurd for a businessman to suddenly dress-up as a marathon runner (or worse a teenage lacrosse player) every time he heads out for a run. And yet, this is how much of us exercise right now. Outdoor Voices don’t pride themselves on innovative fabrics, or cutting silhouettes, rather they chose to focus on a far less tantalizing characteristic: wearability. They use patterns that are muted, they added an inner phone pocket to their shorts, and their shirts, while made from techy fabrics, do not look it whatsoever. Even their new Austin, Texas flagship looks more Monocle than Sports Illustrated.

Outdoor Voices is a brand for those that us run, but do so at our own pace. And if you happen to run into a friend to grab a beer along the way, then at least you aren’t dressed like Usain Bolt at the bar.

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Comments on “The Athletic Brand For Non-Athletes

    Corey on November 10, 2014 9:17 AM:

    I wish they were more pictures for this post. The brand seems interesting, but the write up felt a bit rushed.

    Chuck B on November 10, 2014 11:55 AM:

    That is because the other athletic brands choose aspirational over casual; “I want to be a true athlete, so I will dress like one” which is all well and good if it gets you off the couch.

    I can understand taking a conceptually opposite approach to athletic wear, but this stuff doesn’t strike me as anything I wouldn’t find at your average gym. Most guys go in slouchy shorts and a t-shirt, because they’re not going to the gym to make a fashion statement.

    Chuck C on November 10, 2014 1:54 PM:

    $120 sweatpants? Even the J.Crew casual sweatpants are not that much.

    Fred H on November 10, 2014 4:14 PM:

    We already have a cheesy brand of cheap sports wear for non-athletes: Champion. Or Russell. The shoes look like PayLess. No thanks.

    GERALD on November 10, 2014 4:18 PM:

    These clothes look like what you’d find in the bottom of your drawer to wear to the gym anyway. I don’t get it.

    JR on November 10, 2014 8:55 PM:

    I disagree with the premise to some extent, especially with regard to running. Running is one sport where aspirational clothing never really took off. If you go to your average specialty running store, you aren’t likely to find much clothing comparable to what serious athletes wear. Most mens running clothing is long and loose. With the exception of Outdoor Voices’ hybrid sweat/tight (the running man pant, which has an absurdly low crotch) everything else they sell can be found elsewhere.

    As for cycling, yeah, lots of recreational cyclists dress like pros, but urban cycling clothing has been around for a while, from a lot of different brands. And even the weekend warrior roadies have largely shifted from pro replica wear to the much more tasteful (albeit pricey) Rapha gear.

    Now, I certainly agree that sports apparel has gone way too far in terms of trying to look technical and advanced, but every brand still sells simple, solid colored basics that don’t look or feel overly technical or poseur-ish. Granted, no other brand really has a storefront dedicated to such a subdued aesthetic, but you’re buying items of clothing, not a storefront.

    Chuck C on November 10, 2014 11:47 PM:

    Yeah… I mean, $120 for sweats? Hard to get excited about that. Call me old fashioned but it seems absurd.

    J.Learte on November 11, 2014 6:42 AM:

    Not sure about why to look casual when it’s clearly a completeley planned look. the images don’t help a lot, mainly because the man wearing running pants wears no running shoes. If he goes running with those shoes and runs more than one kilometer, he will have problems. Perhaps someone wears on Sunday as ready to make a proffesional Ironman, but most people runs “technical wear” not to look like Usain Bolt, but to take sweat out and remain dry in any condition. At least, that’s my choice, being much cheaper than this.

    Ipkus on November 11, 2014 8:27 AM:

    This seems like a flop to me. Trying to hype us up on gear that looks minimal, but costs 5-10x the amount of your average workout gear… Really? I was waiting to see the “ACL Sponsored Post” graphic because that at least means, “Hey, we’re gonna get a little cut from these guys.”

    Jim on November 11, 2014 9:01 AM:

    I know we’ve all been spoiled by cheap commodities from China, but yeah, I just can’t get enthused over a pair of $70 elastic band jogging shorts for some reason. Of course it’s all relative to how much one earns, sometimes.

    rosa michaels on November 11, 2014 9:50 AM:

    insane prices

    Tom on November 11, 2014 11:32 AM:

    “Outdoor Voices is a brand for those that us run, but do so at our own pace. And if you happen to run into a friend to grab a beer along the way, then at least you aren’t dressed like Usain Bolt at the bar.”

    Either I run or I go to the bar. Seriously, who would even think about that happening.

    And I do think there is something between paying ridiculous amounts for really basic work out clothes and walking around like a pro athlete, as others before me have pointed out.

    Kevin on November 11, 2014 5:15 PM:

    Are the bags in these photos a different brand? Not finding on their website. Thanks!

    Peter on November 12, 2014 6:47 AM:

    Well…on the other hand, Nike has lots of $100 plus “sweatpants” that are made overseas in what are just over the line from “sweatshops.” So you pick your poison, I guess. Plus with NikeAdidasPuma etc. you’re paying for their sponsored athletes, their marketing, advertising etc.

    Figure this brand’s stuff is 30-50% higher than comparable NikePumaAdidas basics. Sounds fair to me.

    Chris on November 12, 2014 1:17 PM:

    @Kevin, The bags are TOPO designs from Made in USA…Colorado. And some of the best dudes running that company, with gear that is superbly thought-out.

    Kevin on November 13, 2014 10:53 AM:

    @Chris, thanks!

    Andrew on November 16, 2014 4:35 AM:

    Echoing a couple of posts above:

    Athletic clothing for non-athletes? That’s like having space suits for non-astronatuts that are kind of like space suits but not really enough like space suits to go into space with. But I guess they’d look okay at the bar — although they wouldn’t look as good as tailored clothing. Which is what one should normally be wearing when not doing athletics.

    Wearing this gear would be a compromise that makes everything worse.

    Plus, what is running at your own pace? Has anyone even thought about this fluffy marketing statement? Your pace is whatever time it takes you to run divided by the distance. It works in statements like “keep your pace” or “increase your pace”. I suppose that if you were running with someone slower you could theoretically be running “their” pace (because alone you’d be running faster). But as soon as you run with someone faster, provided that you can keep up, then that pace is your pace too. All of this makes me think that the intended appeal here is for people who want to have mediocre workout gear because they are mediocre at athletics — which is a sad and a disempowering story. No thanks. JUST DO IT is a lot better.

    The Rat on November 16, 2014 9:10 PM:

    Andrew, I think this gear reflects a desire (in someone, the designers, I guess) to not dress like professional athletes while still benefiting from the functionality of clothing made for professional athletics. Perhaps that’s a silly desire. However, considering no one in this conversation is a professional athlete, I don’t think claims of athletic mediocrity have any teeth.

    Normative on November 17, 2014 2:41 PM:

    If they printed ‘Free City’ on it it would just fly off the shelves

    Fred H on November 18, 2014 8:14 AM:

    Life’s too short for bad beer or cheap gear.

    Liz on November 18, 2014 8:48 PM:

    I looked up some of their line for females and actually, I really like it! I’m tired of mainly finding Lulu… tight fitting… ALWAYS! I’d like to try this gear out for its breath-ability, comfort and wear since it is about the same prices as Lulu. Glad to see other companies out there trying new lines!

    Berry on November 21, 2014 9:49 AM:

    Are you kidding me? Have you not seen the mass number of group runs starting from running stores and ending up at a bar for a beer? “Pub Runs” have been happening regularly now as a way for running stores to drum up foot traffic by making running more of a social event within their community. Outside of that, people have been doing yoga or other recreational activities and gathering after at cafes and restaurants for a log time now. Why not look normal rather than a space cadet doing it?
    This is extremely marketable and perfect for the masses.

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