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Why It's Critical an Athletic Brand Is Designed by Athletes

When we first created the DNA for the RYU brand, we used the mantra "Product First". What that means is the most important piece of the RYU brand and story is the gear we make for our athletes.

Good design comes from identifying problems and finding solutions to those problems. As we are a training brand, we look at the problems facing athletes when they train. As cyclists, swimmers, climbers, runners, lifters and training fanatics ourselves, we know intimately what those issues are. So in essence, we're designing gear for ourselves, and the activities we enjoy. It's this subtle distinction that makes all the difference. We know what it's like to own clothes that restrict your movements and how that in turn affects your performance. We also understand that the way your clothes fit and perform will have a direct impact on your overall experience.

            We have the empathy and insight that lets us separate fact from fiction when looking at the specific issues facing athletes.

A great example of this is in the design of our new insulated pull over, the JK005. In most cases, people would look at an insulated garment simply as a way to keep you warm as you travel to and from your workout. While that's one way to approach it, we chose to look a little deeper.

We identified the "problem" of being hot and sweaty after a training session. But if you're busy and have to leave the gym right away, you risk getting chilled, being smelly and uncomfortable. So to solve that single "problem", three distinct issues need to be addressed: warmth, odor control, and comfort.

Our solution was twofold

First: We designed the RYU top you wear during your workout with a special TecLayr fabric engineered to be quick drying and odor resistant. This is done through an innovative process that combines coffee grounds (yes, I said coffee grounds!) with the surface of the yarn. In addition to being natural, sustainable, and a safer alternative than harsh chemicals, coffee grounds change the characteristics of the filaments to dry the garment up to 200% faster when compared to plain cotton. Plus the micro-pores on coffee grounds effectively absorb odors and reflect UV rays.

RYU Apparel Inc. Design

Second: Our insulated pullover acts as a conduit for moisture and heat. So why is that important to athletes? When used together, the insulated garment will actually dry the RYU training shirt underneath and simultaneously regulate your temperature. The pullover creates a layer of "dead air space" around your body while the cooler air on the outer edge of the garment pulls warm air and moisture away from your body to the surface of the pullover where it quickly evaporates. This ensures you stay warm and dry after working out so you can carry on with the rest of your day in comfort and most importantly, odor-free.

RYU Apparel Inc. Design

Being an athlete that designs athletic gear is a critical requirement for an athletic apparel brand because we seek solutions based on personal experience, not third party research. At RYU, this has resulted in an apparel system unlike anything people have ever seen before. I think that's exciting!

Damien Kelly is Product & Design Director at RYU. Stay tuned for more from Damien as he writes about innovative design and performance features. If you like what you see, subscribe to our newsletter for great training articles, exclusive offers, and new product releases.

Check out this pullover and the revolutionary RYU apparel system dropping Fall 2015.

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