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For most triathletes a large portion of their cash goes toward upgrading bikes, replacing old running shoes, or testing out all the newest nutrition cure-alls. When we spend that money and purchase the endless amount of gear that makes our sport so fun, we’re also making decisions about who and which companies to give our business to. So before we hand over our hard-earned money, we should also pause and reflect on who we are supporting—and who we are excluding—in the process.
When you’re on the trainer or sitting on your yoga mat (but definitely not doing the exercises you’re supposed to be doing), you can start by educating yourself on how to be an ally with resources like this course.
Then, take a look at where your dollars are going. Actively supporting a business doesn’t just mean purchasing products from them. It also looks like sharing content on social media, recommending those brands and organizations to friends and local tri clubs, and leaving a good review where possible. Here are 10 ways to support Black-owned businesses, and as part of Black History Month we’re highlighting a few of the Black-owned triathlon businesses that make great gear you could use. You can also check out SNEWS, which covers the outdoor industry, and their features on Black-owned outdoors companies.
VARLO Apparel launched in 2020 and is owned by former Central Michigan track star-turned-triathlete Soj Jibowu. The super-soft material, accompanied by clean lines highlighted with bright colors, positions VARLO to quickly become a fan-favorite for cycling and racing kits.
Swimma Caps is a South African-based company making swim caps for swimmers with hair that has a hard time fitting under the usual, very small neoprene caps commonly found in stores and at races—specifically, they make caps for Black swimmers with braids, afros, or as they say “big and natural” hair. With a variety of colors and sizes (did we mention they sell goggles, too?), you’ll never have to flatten, twist, or smush your hair again just to go for a swim.
This brand is for all you part-time triathletes, part-time trail runners out there. Allmansright is a Bronx-based outdoor gear company that crafts ultralight items like backpacks, crossbody bags, travel essentials, and waterproof sacks (perfect for your soggy suit post-swim too).
Vero Mastodon, whose “vero” part of the name means “truth” or “true,” welcomes all fitness enthusiasts, regardless of background, to join their community of those in pursuit of passion through movement. Vero Mastodon sells a wide variety of workout apparel including sports bras, men’s shorts, and hats, and has a fleshed-out coaching program for purchase, too.
It’s happened to all of us. We head out on a brisk morning thinking we’re dressed warmly enough, only to have our hands freeze halfway through a run. WhitePaws RunMitts has patented a design that gives you a two-in-one fingerless glove and mitten. The top of the glove folds over your knuckles to become a mitten when needed, and folds back up when you need your fingers to, say, press play on your awesome running playlist.
Started by two Harvard graduates, CrimsonBikes’ mission is to make cycling accessible to everyone through affordability, convenience, and inclusivity. CrimsonBikes, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers customers a few different ways to rent a bike or get their bike serviced: spreading out costs over monthly payment plans, eliminating middlemen through technology use, and providing mobile bike shop services all over Cambridge and neighboring towns. If you aren’t based in Massachusetts, you can still support CrimsonBikes buy checking out their online gear shop.
Outside of swim, bike, run, triathletes are known to dabble in yoga, stretching (eh, kinda), and strength work. CultureFit has womxn covered with West African-inspired prints that make for some beautiful sports bras, leggings, and exercise mats. CultureFit ensures that their clothing is made of high-quality material that won’t pull, pill, tug, or become see-through.
Rocky Parrish, CEO of RockDeep, grew up unable to afford expensive, flashy footwear. Now, as a dad of seven kids, he’s hoping to change the footwear space. RockDeep has shoes for running, slides for post-swim showering, or chilling out on rest days. The colors are vibrant (but classic black is an option, too) and RockDeep also offers a blossoming apparel line for active and rest days.
GreenRegimen started when Tyshawn Bryant helped his mother lose weight after an emergency surgery. He blended green protein smoothies her, but felt the protein powder he was using could be improved. Enter GreenRegimen. It’s is non-GMO, no sugar-added, organic fiber-filled, protein powder that offers 25 grams of protein per serving. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, this is for you. The GreenRegimen protein powder is entirely plant-based.
D DUB Custom Sportswear
Whether for a local tri club, a group of friends, or just trying to look cooler than the competition, custom kits are a statement-maker on the race course. Based in Silicon Valley, D Dub Custom Sportswear is passionate about charting their own course when it comes to custom designs.