RaceReady has been around since 1993 when Gerry Hans and Mary Button—two accomplished marathon runners each with nearly two dozen races under their belts—founded the line of lightweight running gear. Two years ago, the company was acquired by Tim Vadney, a former high school track athlete that wanted to modernize the brand. One of their latest innovations is the StreamLine Shirt, a moisture-wicking garment with a clever trick: it keeps headphone cords organized in front of the body during exercise. The company recently took to Kickstarter hoping to expand the StreamLine collection. We asked Vadney for a head start on what he hopes to accomplish with the campaign.
We could write a book about this one. They get in the way of your arm swing and throw off your stride, they get caught on bushes and trees, and they can cause chafing, among other things. So fumbling with headphone wires while exercising causes the earbuds to pop out, phones to be dropped or runners stumbling in a crowded race.
There's a hidden channel sewn into the front of the shirt. The channel starts a couple of inches below the collar and ends a couple of inches above the hem. The wearer can drop an iPhone or iPod with the cord attached down the front of the shirt, pull it out of the hem and then tuck the device in their pocket. The wearer can also thread the headphone wire by itself through the shirt. The beauty of the design is its simplicity.
We just launched short sleeve versions of the shirt for summer in a fabric called RaceMesh. It is a permanent wicking (meaning, no wash away chemical treatments) fabric that is milled here in LA from US spun yarn. It's an ultra-lightweight fabric (less than 3oz. per square yard), breathable with a soft comfortable feel. Depending on the outcome of the Kickstarter campaign, we are planning on rolling out some high-tech wicking cotton and military-spec technical fabrics in the late summer and early fall.
I've run a couple of trail marathons in the shirt. The fit is comfortable, the StreamLine channel keeps my headphone wires out of the way and the RaceMesh fabric keeps me cool and dry.
Our goal is to raise enough funds to expand the product line into casual high performance cotton shirts and expand the technical fabric choices as we head into the summer and fall. Backers can help us develop the StreamLine concept and receive some great rewards if we're successful. We are a small, specialized company dedicated to US-manufacturing and we can use all of the support we can get to continue to expand and grow. Succeed or fail, Kickstarter is a great way to spread the word about a great little company like ours.