Outdoor Voices is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand that makes technical apparel for recreational purposes aimed at both female and male customers. The majority of its styles are used for hiking and running.
The company, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, was founded in 2013 by Tyler Haney and Matt McIntyre.
Founder Haney, just like the many entrepreneurs that came before her, was frustrated over the lack of affordable activewear options. She started the company after graduating from the Parsons School of Design in New York.
The first product that Outdoor Voices released was a five-piece set of simple workout clothes aimed at both men and women. Venture capitalists, in particular General Catalyst, would soon pour millions upon millions into the business.
Unfortunately, the young Haney would soon need to learn a very costly lesson. Haney, after a series of delayed store openings as well as diminishing profit numbers, was forced to resign as CEO. She was eventually replaced by Gabrielle Conforti who had spent the last six years as both chief merchandising officer and president at Urban Outfitters.
Outdoor Voices, despite those turbulent times, remains one of the leading brands in the athleisure space. It has raised over $64 million in funding, employs over 200 people, and operates 11 stores across the United States.
Today, Outdoor Voices generates around $100 million in annual revenue. Over 500,000 people follow the brand on Instagram alone.
The methodology with which competitors of Outdoor Voices are ranked is based on a variety of data points. Information such as the revenue generated, the number of employees, valuation, Instagram followers (one of the main sales channels for DTC brands), and anything else that’s relevant is being considered.
To ensure comparability, this analysis takes brands into account that offer both female and male athleisure clothing. Some of those companies, especially the larger ones, may furthermore offer other types of clothing and equipment.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 12 competitors of Outdoor Voices.
Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon, United States Founder(s): Philip Hampson Knight Year Founded: 1964
Nike is the world’s undisputed leader in sportswear. Apart from its own brand, it also owns a variety of other companies such as Jordan, Converse, Starter, and Umbro.
A whopping 210 million people follow the Nike brand on Instagram. The company operates more than 1,000 retail stores across the globe and employs more than 75,000 people.
In 2021, Nike, which doesn’t disclose athleisure sales, generated $44.5 billion (up 17 percent) in annual revenue. Its brand power is, furthermore, exemplified by the close to 45 percent margin it generates on every sale.
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Bayern, Germany Founder(s): Adolf “Adi” Dassler Year Founded: 1948
Adidas is the next company on this list that certainly doesn’t need any introduction. Throughout the decades, it has not only been synonymous with sportswear but fashion as well.
This is probably best exemplified by its Adidas Originals brand. More recent examples include its collaboration with rapper Kanye West to create the Yeezy brand. Adidas Originals itself has more than 34 million followers on Instagram, signaling the reach that brand alone has.
For the fiscal year 2021, Adidas, which employs over 55,000 people worldwide, managed to cross € 21.2 billion in revenue – an increase of 15 percent compared to the year prior.
Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Founder(s): Chip Wilson Year Founded: 1998
Lululemon is probably the biggest rival to Outdoor Voices when it comes to pure-play athleisure brands. Chip Wilson started the business as a design studio by day and yoga studio by night but eventually pivoted it towards clothing in late 2000.
The continuous growth culminated in the firm’s IPO in 2007, allowing it to raise $327 million in the process. Today, Lululemon is valued at an eye-popping $48 billion and generated $6.3 billion for 2021.
Lululemon was even able to expand into new categories. In June 2020, it purchased MIRROR for $500 million to offer workout programs to its customers.
Its clothes are sold across 500 global stores. Furthermore, around 25,000 people are employed by Lululemon while four million people follow its brand on Instagram.
Interesting side note: founder Chip Wilson chose the Lululemon name to make it more appealing to Japanese customers who generally had a tough time pronouncing Western names.
Headquarters: Hyogo, Hokkaido, Japan Founder(s): Kihachiro Onitsuka Year Founded: 1977
ASICS, which stands for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (“You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body”), was established as ONITSUKA Shokai in Kobe in 1949. It made a name for itself by selling shoes in a variety of sports.
In 1966, it released a collection of sprint shoes for the Mexico Olympics that boasted its now-famous ASICS stripes. After the success of its ASICS line, ONITSUKA decided to rebrand the company into the ASICS Corporation in 1977.
While most of ASICS’ revenue is still being generated in its footwear section, athleisure wear is starting to gain momentum. For the fiscal year 2021, it generated ¥404,082 million (~ $3 billion) in revenue. The company employs close to 9,000 people and operates more than 400 stores across the globe.
5. Under Armour
Headquarters: Baltimore, Maryland, United States Founder(s): Kevin Plank Year Founded: 1996
Another global sports powerhouse that has entered the athleisure space is Under Armour. Kevin Plan, its founder, was a fullback at the University of Maryland and thus began selling football-related clothing.
Growth accelerated when Under Armour outfitted the actors of Any Given Sunday and The Replacement, which were released in the late 1990s. Some of its sponsorships, such as with basketball star Stephen Curry, helped to establish it as a global brand.
Athleisure sales are becoming increasingly important for Under Armour, which traditionally derived most of its revenue from basketball, football, and golf clothing.
For the fiscal year 2021, Under Armour generated $5.7 billion in revenue. $1.1 billion of that can be attributed to apparel, which includes athleisure and other types of clothing. Under Armour, furthermore, employs more than 16,000 people, runs over 350 stores, and has 8.4 million people following its brand on Instagram.
Headquarters: El Segundo, California, United States Founder(s): Adam Goldenberg, Don Ressler, Kate Hudson Year Founded: 2013
Fabletics is the brainchild of actress Kate Hudson who was able to utilize her celebrity status to establish an athleisure brand that acts as an alternative to pricier workout clothing options like Lululemon.
While Hudson stepped back from an active role in the company in late 2021, it continues to be led by its other co-founder Adam Goldenberg. Fabletics frequently partners with other celebrities such as actors Demi Lovato, Liza Koshy, or Vanessa Hudgens.
The company, which operates more than 50 retail stores and employs over 800 people, generates around $500 million in annual revenue per year. A whopping 1.9 million people follow the brand on Instagram.
Headquarters: Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States Founder(s): Matt Taylor, Luke Scheybeler Year Founded: 2013
Tracksmith is another DTC brand that sells clothing primarily aimed at runners. Founder Matt Taylor not only is an avid runner but worked over a decade in the industry before becoming frustrated with how established brands would market to runners.
In the early 2010s, Taylor worked at Puma as the Head of Running Marketing where he was able to build a relationship with sprinter Usain Bolt. He pitched him the idea for an iPhone game for the 2012 Olympic Games, which they ultimately released together. The success of the game provided him with the necessary seed capital to start Tracksmith.
Over the coming years, he managed to raise $6.7 million in venture funding. Tracksmith, which employs over 50 people, has amassed around 115,000 followers on Instagram. It currently does not disclose revenue numbers.
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Bayern, Germany Founder(s): Rudolf Dassler Year Founded: 1948
Puma was started by the brother of Adidas founder Adi Dassler after the two had a personal falling out (both were Nazi party members, with Rudolf widely being believed to be the more ‘passionate’ one).
Puma made a name for itself after sponsoring various football teams and becoming one of the leading brands in the sport for decades. Today, it sponsors world-class athletes such as Neymar or Lewis Hamilton and works together with stars like Selina Gomez or Dua Lipa.
In recent years, it has shifted its strategy towards athleisure clothing, releasing hundreds of different designs with a focus on fashion.
Puma, which has over 12 million Instagram followers, operates around 830 stores across the globe while employing over 15,000 people. Its current brand momentum led to a record-setting year. In 2021, Puma generated $7.7 billion in revenue (up from the $5.9 billion it made the prior year).
Headquarters: Carlsbad, California, United States Founder(s): Beaver Theodosakis Year Founded: 1992
prAna started out designing clothing for outdoor enthusiasts but soon pivoted into other sports such as yoga. These days, it offers almost any type of fashion product imaginable.
Its outdoor focus, as well as continuous growth, led the company to be acquired by Columbia Sportswear for $190 million in 2014.
For the fiscal year 2021, prAna, which employs over 300 people, generated $142 million in revenue (slightly up from the $132 million it made in 2020).
Headquarters: Encinitas, California, United States Founder(s): Joseph Kudla Year Founded: 2013
Vuori is another DTC highflyer that sells athleisure as well as other types of clothing inspired by the active Coastal California lifestyle.
The company lives and breathes sports. This is best exemplified by the free online classes that it offers on its Instagram every morning.
Investors also love what they’re seeing. They’ve poured a combined $445 million into Vuori, which is now set to expand into a handful of new markets and open over 100 new retail stores in the next few years.
Headquarters: Petaluma, California, United States Founder(s): Scott Kerslake Year Founded: 1998
Athleta, despite only catering to for female customers, has managed to become one of the most successful company in the activewear space.
It was launched at a time when most athleisure clothing was tailored for men. Brands would take men’s apparel, shrink it, and sometimes change the color – a practice commonly referred to as “shrink it and pink it.”
Its founder Scott Kerslake, who was an avid cyclist, surfer, and worked in investment banking, saw this first hand when the women he cycled with had to put up with substandard gear. After raising $700,000 in seed funding, he aggressively grew the business, which he departed from in 2004, to millions in annual sales.
Athleta was ultimately sold to retail giant Gap Inc. for $150 million in 2008. It now employs close to 3,000 people and operates 200 stores across Canada and the United States. Gap Inc. projects that Athleta will sell over $2 billion worth of clothing by the end of the fiscal year 2023.
Headquarters: Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan Founder(s): Tadashi Yanai Year Founded: 1949
Uniqlo, which many know for its focus on essential clothing, started out as a textile manufacturer in WWII-riddled Japan. In May 1984, it opened its first unisex casual wear store dubbed the Uniqlo Clothing Warehouse.
Over the coming years, Uniqlo rose to become one of the world’s leading apparel manufacturers, operating more than 1,000 stores across the globe while employing around 30,000 workers.
Uniqlo generated ¥2.1329 trillion (~ $17 billion) in annual revenue for the fiscal year 2021. While Fast Retailing, its parent company, does not break down Uniqlo’s revenue by clothing segment, it can be assumed that a significant portion of it is still derived from its athleisure clothing line.
Source: Fast Retailing
Who Actually Owns Outdoor Voices?
Outdoor Voices remains in private ownership and as such is not obligated to disclose its shareholding structure.
It can, however, be assumed that founder Tyler Haney only owns a fraction of the company she helped starting.
This is best exemplified by the fact that the board, which is predominantly comprised of the firm’s investors, was essentially able to oust her in early 2020. If a founder holds a significant ownership stake, he or she is normally able to negate such board votes.
General Catalyst, which has led three different funding rounds between 2015 to 2016 (and participated in a few subsequent ones), is likely Outdoor Voices’ biggest shareholder.