Gucci Gear: Designer-Label Sports Equipment
If there’s one place function always trumps fashion, it’s the great outdoors. Who really cares how trendy you look if you’re wet and freezing or at the back of the pack in a road race? But for those who want to make a stylish impression at all times—on the beach, slopes, trails and streets (and no, we don’t mean Fifth Avenue)—these days, there are plenty of high-end designers ready to cater to your needs. Italian fashion giant Gucci was one of the first to enter the athletic fray when it debuted a line of surfboards in 2001, and in true 21st-century style, many more high-end brands have been adding their own swish gear to the mix ever since. (Kate Spade does biking! Burberry puts out a skateboard!)
And really, why not? We’ve grown accustomed to seeing major sports centers embrace big-name sponsors (goodbye, Hoosier Dome—hello, RCA Dome!), so why should outdoor athletes be surprised to see high-end labels heading there way? In an era of labeling, it seems inevitable. That doesn’t mean we’ll be trading in all our North Face for Prada just yet, but maybe it’s time we stop rolling our eyes at the sight of Chanel ski boots. (And we might as well: No company seems more intent on wooing the active set than Chanel right now—except maybe Lacoste.) With that in mind, we take a look at the high-end label gear making waves right now and tell you how—if you’ve got the big bucks and a thick skin—you might go about buying them. Buyers beware, though: Like all things truly high-end and exclusive, most of these goods are produced in extremely limited quantities—we're talking from as few as 50 up to a couple hundred—so you might just have to be lucky to score one for yourself.