October 4, 2017 – Carlsbad, Calif. – Triathlon’s original apparel brand is now officially under new ownership. In a deal that purchased the brand back from corporate owner Newell Brands, Zoot is now back home in Carlsbad, Calif., wholly owned by industry veterans and former Zoot Sports employees Shawn O’Shea and Dan Weatherford, under the umbrella of Zoot Squad Inc.
Zoot was born on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1983. Kona resident Christal Nylin had a goal of making quality performance apparel that catered to elite athletes competing in the emerging sport of triathlon. Now, after 35 years and multiple ownership changes and diversification into other sports, Zoot finds its home again in the sport of its roots and under leadership dedicated to triathlon.
Under the direct management of Zoot Squad Co-Owner, Shawn O’Shea, Zoot’s new and unwavering focus is the athlete. “Next year we will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of Zoot and none of that would be possible without the support of triathletes all over the world. We want to honor that in everything we do,” says O’Shea. “We own and control every aspect of the business now. Being able to manage the process from conceptualization to production to shipping allows us to best serve the athletes. We are able to really listen to what our customers are saying and can respond to needs; turning around products faster than ever.”
O’Shea has held positions at sports industry giants such as Under Armour and Pearl Izumi, leading each brand in the design and go-to-market of some of their marquee apparel lines. Having a master’s degree in design and an athletic resume that boasts three IRONMAN finishes (including the IRONMAN World Championship) and 13 marathons, O’Shea understands better than anyone the importance of creating apparel based on answering the needs of the athlete and building a brand that lives by customer-focused values.
While previous ownership and management had focused on product-line expansion and rapid growth, Zoot’s new focus is solely on triathlon. The team will concentrate on designing and producing best in class seasonal and custom apparel for training and race day. “Too many brands see triathlon only as a springboard or stepping stone. We see triathlon as our family,” says O’Shea. “Instead of looking for the next great thing, we are committed to our singular goal of being the best triathlon brand in the world. That is why we are so proud to be the Official Performance Apparel Sponsor of The IRONMAN World Championship, IRONMAN North America Series, and IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Series.”
While focusing its attention on product perfection, Zoot will also work to grow Team Zoot over the next 12 months. Team Zoot currently has a roster of more than 300 athletes worldwide. “The brand was born in Kona and the idea of family, or Ohana, is woven into our DNA,” says O’Shea. “While we have a lot of top age groupers on Team Zoot, you don’t have to podium to be on the team. You just have to be passionate, love the sport and support your fellow athletes.”