Over the last few years, a new breed of independent clothing makers has started making inroads into the running scene. Featuring high quality materials and non-traditional styles (think less neon), they’re filling a niche previously unavailable to style-conscious or minimally-minded runners. Path Projects, based out of Southern California, is one of those companies. Its founder, Scott Bailey, founded Path Projects after struggling with his own apparel woes. After reviewing some of their gear last year (that watch hole in the Pyrenees hoodie is fire), we recently interviewed him to learn more about the company, what sets them apart, and how their apparel provides a premium experience you won’t get from big-name brands.
How did Path Projects get started?
SB: In 2015 I was really into solo adventure runs and run commuting. My shorts were always a point of frustration for me. Chafing, lousy fabrics and worthless storage were my main issues. It became my mission to find a good pair of shorts. To my dismay I couldn’t find anything even adequate. Then in 2016 I sold my company One Distribution and decided that there was a real need for quality running apparel. The month after I sold my company, I started working on the business plan.
What influences the design of Path Projects apparel?
SB: I have always loved clean and simple Scandinavian and Mid-Century design. I am also a minimalist and owning less and really loving what I own is the way I live. Everything we design needs to be timeless, the highest quality and versatile. No big logos or gimmicks. The finest materials available and truly functional features.
You pride yourself in sourcing quality materials. Tell us what’s awesome about them.
SB: Our direct to consumer single markup model allows us to spend more on materials. We use Toray of Japan for our short materials. Toray produces fantastic mechanical stretch fabrics with no Lycra or Spandex. The fabrics are stronger, weigh less and don’t absorb water. Our knits are mostly Tencel blends that are soft, quick dry and naturally antimicrobial. These materials are just too expensive for most athletic brands to use.
Your shorts and detached base liner system is pretty unique. How does it work and what is the benefit for runners?
SB: It’s a lot like independent adjustable suspension on a car. Your base liner stays snug on your body. It wicks away moisture and stays in place which eliminates friction and chaffing. The short rides on the base liner and will move with your motion. The shorts have a smooth Tripure waistband that never touches your skin directly. The adjustment is the ability to choose a base liner that is best suited for your run. So, on a hot dry day you could use the Tahoe 5” base liner and on a wet cool run you could use the Shasta 8” base liner. Another added benefit is the base liners can be worn as an everyday underwear. The shorts can be worn multiple times without washing them. Having a liner sewn into you shorts is about as low tech as it gets.
What differentiates Path Projects from other boutique running apparel brands that have popped up over the last few years?
SB: We are 100% consumer direct with a single markup. We truly believe that we offer a truly premium product at a great value to our customers. That once they try our products, they will become a loyal customer. All we do is running and that is all we ever intend to do. It’s our craft and our passion there is no smoke and mirrors.
How has your location in Southern California helped or hurt you in starting a boutique running apparel company?
SB: We can run and test year-round and there is a strong and passionate trail and road running community. We typically run weekly with several local trail and road running crews. The downside is our ability to test in rain and harsh weather. This must be done by our friends in other parts of the world.
What’s your favorite race/running route in California?
SB: I have been fortunate to trail run all around the world. Southern California is my training ground, but I love exploring new places every chance I get. Personally, I like remote trails where I feel like I am the only person and I am alone with nature.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in the running apparel industry?
SB: In the past I always thought that most product had to have been designed and developed by people that did not run. Because there is no way someone that truly ran would design it like that. I think it has gotten better, but sometimes I still shake my head at what I see.
Any new innovations in the pipeline?
SB: YES! We have some great new products and categories releasing throughout 2019.
Where can our readers find Path Projects apparel?
SB: Only at our website pathprojects.com.Shop Path Projects