It may have started with some jokes over beers, but in just over a year and a half, Jeremy Dunn and Julie Krasniak have developed The Athletic to encompass a portfolio of high-fashion cycling socks and casual and athletic apparel available for purchase online or in The Athletic’s Northwest Portland store. The product is colorful, sophisticated, and engaging, and regularly seen on industry taste-makers and pros on and off the course.
BIKERUMOR: Why are you called “The Athletic?”
JEREMY: The reason why we called ourselves The Athletic was my wife was a professional cyclist for many years in France, I worked for Rapha and in the bike industry since about 2000, got my start at Ben’s (in Milwaukee)- but the idea behind The Athletic was to start to branch out and be able to incorporate other sports, basketball, we do a lot of trail running in the winter… just be able to encompass sport in general…
BIKERUMOR: Where did The Athletic come from?
JEREMY: We made first sock in October of 2013. It came from, as all good ideas should, a conversation at a bar. We were joking about the number of people that take pictures of the Portland airport carpet when they leave town or return. So we joked about making a full cycling kit out of the pattern and then that kind of distilled itself down to just a sock. So we made that. It went totally crazy. From there, that afforded us the opportunity to make all sorts of crazy socks.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the craziest sock in your lineup right now?
JEREMY: I think the one is the biggest hurdle for people is we make two sets that are in tribute to this mural in the LAX airport and they come as a pack of three individual colored socks. So I think sometimes people have a tough time getting over that hurdle of three individual socks, not three pairs. But now we have this whole host of customers who are like “my socks don’t fucking match anyway so this is fucking awesome!”
BIKERUMOR: Why individual socks and not pairs?
JEREMY: Just because that way we could do more colors. The mural runs the length of, I think, Terminal 4 in LAX so we broke that up into a design and we were able to do more of a spectrum and we thought it looked neat.
BIKERUMOR: Anything particularly technical about the socks that you have aside from the visual design?
JEREMY: So we do three different levels of merino wool. You’re probably familiar with DeFeet’s stuff. So we’ve got Woolie Boolies and Wooleators and all of that as well as a lot of CoolMax stuff- the synthetic stuff we do is all CoolMax.
BIKERUMOR: And you’re clearly branching out from straight up socks. You’ve got apparel in your store.
JEREMY: We’ve got t-shirts that we do. We’ve done some pretty fun hemp shirts, we screenprint on them from an LA brand called Young Maven. Reversible basketball jerseys.
BIKERUMOR: Are those also out of natural materials?
JEREMY: No. Those are synthetic.
BIKERUMOR: Do you sponsor a street team? A couple awesome street teams?
JEREMY: No… that would be good. I play basketball twice a week so I was wearing other stuff and I was like, it might as well be mine. At least if I go play a pickup game and they go “hey, what is that?” I can go: we have a shop.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the newest thing you’ve got?
JEREMY: A couple weeks ago, we came out with a three merino socks that we did with House Industries. We had done a Richard Sachs cyclocross team sock with them earlier this year during cyclocross season. We did this one directly with House for their Velofont collection. They did a bunch of pretty awesome bags and a bike and caps and water bottles and musettes and we were stoked to partner with them to do wool socks. They are a checkered pattern and they look really cool.
To join the world of cycling high-fashion, visit their website.