In 2002, a friend challenged me to run the San Francisco half marathon. I’d never tackled more than three miles but needed a challenge so I started training. I quickly realized being in good shape didn’t equal a quick jump to 13 miles.
It took me a year to build up my shins and learn how to run without destroying myself. But in the trial by fire, I found that special place where your body takes over and the mind shuts off. Where you feel like you can run forever and when you’re done, you’re cleansed.
That became my happy addiction.
I threw myself into challenging half marathons, trying to run them faster. I squeezed in runs whenever I traveled for work. At this point in my life, I was a father, husband and entrepreneur — running became my stress relief, my escape route.
Then, in 2007, I burned out on races and pavement and discovered the trail. I researched crazy routes that were exciting and remote, where conditions could be harsh and the challenges extreme. When you’re out eight hours, you better have the right shoes, clothing, backpack and fuel or you’re in serious trouble.
On a run along the Graves trail in the Olympic Forest, that’s where the idea of PATH projects first took hold.
I’d always found running gear I liked but the one thing I couldn’t find was a great pair of shorts. A truly functional pair of shorts simply didn’t exist.
I’d spent 20 years in the apparel and footwear world. I had a pretty clear understanding of fabrics and what was possible so I started designing in my head. Then there was the ugliness factor. For some reason running was stuck in an 80’s time warp with crazy colors and dated styling. Shoes companies were doing apparel just to fill out the product line.
I figured I could turn out a far superior product but I’d get crushed by those multi-billion dollar giants who dominated the market. Then around 2013 the retail world flipped upside down. Cool and authentic new brands decided to skip the traditional brick and mortar and went big time on the web.
That was the last piece of the puzzle: Now I could design and build technically advanced garments with modern minimalist styling. Seek out the finest materials and never cut a single corner. By going straight to other passionate runners, I’d eliminate the mark up and bring them superior running gear at a fantastic price.
In 2015 PATH projects burst out the door, running hard. It took almost two years of searching for the most innovative fabrics, manufacturing partners and testing scenarios but the results were better then I’d ever imagined.
We also stumbled on a moment of genius.
Despite thousands of miles of R&D, we had a difficult time finding the perfect short liner material. In Summer, we thought we had it nailed, then Winter changed our minds. We decided to isolate the performance variables by making the shorts as shells with the liners separate so we could test a wider range.
Then it hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. There is no perfect liner material for all weather conditions and distances. Shorts and liners should always be separate to match them to specific needs. It made so much sense — how did everyone miss this concept?
PATH projects went live in summer 2017 with what we firmly believe is the finest running apparel you will ever experience. Designs and technical fabrics that outperform, out style and out-run anyone. Running shorts, tops, base layers and headwear – everything we build is high-end, timeless in style and unmatched in price.
Things have come along way since I started training for that first half marathon in San Francisco. We’re excited to be a part of your own path down the road.