Athletes will have a new way to keep cool this summer.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Mission Athletecare has teamed up with Coolcore, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based company that counts J. Christopher Burch as a key investor, to launch a line of cooling accessories that will hit retail stores this month. Last year, Mission introduced the Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel which, when soaked with water, wrung out and snapped in the air, becomes cool to the touch. Now the technology is being employed in a number of other products, including arm sleeves, helmet liners, skull caps and hoodies.
The proprietary performance fabric, which Coolcore received the patent on last month from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, features the first chemical-free cooling material for the textile market and delivers wicking, moisture circulation and regulated evaporation to reduce the fabric’s surface temperature up to 30 degrees. The products also offer Ultra Violet Protection Factor 50 for sun protection.
Mission was founded in 2009 and boasts a group of world-class athletes as equity partners, including tennis star Serena Williams, New York Mets third baseman David Wright, Olympic gold medal-winning soccer champion Mia Hamm, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade and Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush.
Wendy Kula, vice president of marketing for Mission, said the product will be sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Modell’s and Hibbett Sporting Goods, among others. Athletes including Williams, Wade, pro golfer Sergio Garcia and triathlete Hunter Kemper are featured on the packaging and marketing materials for the products. A television campaign as well as social media initiatives are planned for later in the season, she noted.
Justin Cupps, president of Coolcore, said plans also call for launching a line of Coolcore-branded apparel in mid to late spring of 2014. He said the fabric is “sweat-activated” and will become cool when moisture hits it and air circulates through it. He said the first apparel products will be knit base layers. “When it’s closer to the skin, it performs better,” he said. But it’s not designed to be a compression garment à la Under Armour, he stressed. “We feel we can create unique products that everyone from a high-performance athlete to a businessperson can use.”
Ryan Drew, chief marketing officer for Coolcore, said the products will be “fitted but not compressive.” The initial launch will include five pieces for men: a T-shirt, sleeveless T, long-sleeve T, polo and quarter-zip pullover; and for women: a V-neck T-shirt, a long-sleeve T, a camisole, transitional jacket and a “cold shoulder” jacket that can be worn over the camisole. All of the products will be designed and produced by Coolcore.
Cooling product is beginning to make its mark on the activewear industry, with Columbia offering a line of apparel under the Omni-Freeze name and TYR selling arm coolers.