Without judgment, and often for good reasons, many elite athletes only want to compete. And that’s understandable. The window of opportunity can be small. But we’ve always believed that women in sports have incredible power to do and be more. To transcend competition and improve conditions for girls, women, and younger athletes coming up. Because there is still too much oppression and stigma for girls. And too much systemic abuse and exploitation in the upper ranks of the sport to call it good.
Sports activism has been a driving force for me personally, from the day Oiselle was conceived - to be a different kind of company. Lauren Fleshman was the first pro athlete we were able to sponsor who shared those beliefs. And for that reason, she (and later Kara), is a partner in the Oiselle business at a deeper level than almost any runner-sponsor brand relationship today. I’m not privy to all the other deals, but it would be my guess that very few if any athletes own shares of the companies who sponsor them. Who knows, maybe that will change in the future.
Another way Oiselle has sought to support athletes is through special collections or styles that contribute royalties directly to athlete activists such as Kara and Lauren. Both are leaders that transcend running; who are improving the sports world by both taking it apart - and building it up.