I’ve been with Zoot since 2008, originally on their Ultra Team and then progressing to an individual sponsorship in 2010. The cool thing about being with a company for 5 years is that you can really see the changes in the products. I’ve been able to grow with Zoot as a company, and likewise they have seen me progress as an athlete. It has been one of those very ‘easy’ relationships vastly because I have always believed in their products, love their clothing and shoes, and most of all respect and enjoy the people that make up the company.
Zoot has got a bit of everything: Apparel, Wetsuits & Speedsuits, and Footwear. Their apparel has been the longest running in the company, dating back to 1983. And they’re only second to Happy Feet in recognizing Birkenstock sandals as the vogue. Their motto is “Born in Kona” and for a good reason … Christal Nylin lived in Kona and upon watching Ironman Hawaii noticed the athletes needed more functional clothing; that which would stand up for swim, bike and run. She began experimenting and in 1996, Zoot moved to the mainland and started expanding the company. Zoot does something great; they combine function & fashion. The apparel is practically speaking functional and durable. Sports bras, running shorts, tanks and tee’s, cycling shorts, cycling tanks, jerseys…it’s well-made, fits true to size and keeps me comfortable for a workout of 30 min or 6 hours. I live in Austin, TX and with the extreme conditions here (sun, heat, wind) I still find that after one or two seasons, the Zoot apparel I have is still going. Impressive given that I spend 20-30 hours a week in this stuff. Any woman who is an athlete would be lying if she didn’t tell you that she likes to ‘look good’ when she works out! There’s no shame in that, and I’m just like anyone else. It is fun and motivating to slide into your running shorts or tank and get excited to head out for a run. Without a doubt, they have the nailed the ‘fashion’ part. Eacy year I have seen their clothing get better and better, and I’ve also gotten more compliments on the apparel; much of which I will wear casually as well as for training.
They have done wetsuits as well for quite some time, and having grown up a swimmer, I can be pretty picky about what I wear in the water. The sleeveless wetsuit as well as the full are both extremely comfortable for a swim of 20 minutes or an hour; good shoulder mobility in the full suit and overall comfort in the legs. They have started with the SpeedZoot just in 2011 and in my opinion have already nailed it. It is a thinner material, which is great for hot weather swims, and the quick release zipper eliminates the need for having to fumble around to find a string to get out of it.
The most recent (significant) addition to Zoot is their footwear line, which has grown by leaps and bounds the past few years. I’ve used the Ultra Kapilani for a few Ironmans, but will lighten it up this year to the Ultra TT 5.0 for Kona (which is also my typical Half Ironman shoe). I use the Ultra Kane and the Ultra Kalani for trainers, with the Kalani also being the shoe I wore for the 3M Half Marathon, which helped propel me to a 1:14.42 (January 2012). I find this shoe extremely cushioned yet supportive enough for a longer distances without being heavy. The Ultra Race 3.0 is what I’ve used for Olympic distance triathlons as well as 5k’s. Recently they came out with the Ultra Kiawe, which fits more like a true ‘racing flat’ and has a different feel than most of the other Zoot shoes. I love how they branched out with this one.
Bottom line: Zoot seeks feedback from athletes, addresses what people want, and they make it happen. They are a passionate bunch who care about the sport of triathlon, and seek to make quality products. They were born in 1983 in Kona and almost 30 years later, they’re still going strong.