Swedish-based has expanded its relationship with endurance sports leader Spartan by adding its designation of official “performance apparel and footwear” partner of the brand’s Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) entity to and Tough Mudder. The multi-year deals also name CRAFT as a sponsor of the Golden Gate Trail Classic and see CRAFT collaborating with Spartan Trail and Tough Mudder to develop co-branded merchandise for competition and training, along with on-site branding and activations. Spartan and CRAFT first established a partnership in 2018.
“CRAFT has been an outstanding partner for the last four years and paramount to our growth as the world’s leading endurance sports brand,” said Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “We’re excited to double down on that growth with CRAFT, expanding our partnership to other portfolio brands of Spartan, including Spartan Trail and Tough Mudder – as we collaborate and bring innovative performance footwear and apparel to the market.”
As part of the partnership, Spartan and CRAFT recently released the carbon-infused “Spartan x Craft Nordic Speed Shoe” for the trail running community and plan to follow up with a line of trail-running specific apparel. CRAFT will also have on-site branding at Spartan Trail events and the Golden Gate Trail Classic, which Spartan Trail is hosting in partnership with Pacific Coast Trail Runs and ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes November 19-21. Launched in 2019, Spartan Trail produces traditional trail running races across the globe from 5k to 50k+ distances.
CRAFT has grown its presence among the running and trail running communities in recent years, highlighted by the launch of its Elite Run Team, a global roster of elite trail and ultra-runners. The brand also continues to raise money through its Team Rivs collection, supporting accomplished ultra-runner/Elite Run Team member Tommy Rivs, who received a cancer diagnosis in early 2020.
As the first brand to create Olympic-caliber OCR-specific apparel and footwear – first with the popular “Spartan x Craft RD Pro,” the partnership with Tough Mudder will see CRAFT dive deeper into the sport, creating a new OCR shoe designed to meet the grit and elements of the brand’s signature muddy event courses – along with a line of performance apparel to be launched later this year. CRAFT will also receive on-site signage at events. Acquired by Spartan in 2020, Tough Mudder creates teamwork-based challenge events and digital fitness experiences.
“CRAFT is dedicated to designing high quality performance sportswear for endurance athletes of all levels – which encompasses the Spartan ecosystem,” said Eric Schenker, CEO of CRAFT Sportswear North America. “We’ve had such an incredible response from Spartan’s OCR community over the course of our partnership that it’s only natural our collective growth would lead to more opportunity. We’re excited to add Spartan Trail and Tough Mudder to our curated list of partners – and look forward to expanding our innovative sportswear for the brands’ passionate endurance communities.”
All Spartan x CRAFT footwear and apparel is developed at the company’s sports science laboratory in Sweden – rigorously tested and designed to face elements that require full functional movement and varying temperatures (extreme at times). CRAFT’s team of designers and technicians pay strict attention to detail, with every stitch and seam meticulously placed to address the ergonomic and thermal needs of athletes.
The two new Spartan portfolio partnerships add to CRAFT’s growing relationships across the endurance sports landscape, which include a recent agreement to outfit the Norwegian Ski Federation – seeing the world’s most successful national cross-country ski team race and train in CRAFT apparel. CRAFT apparel was worn by Team USA Olympians Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall when they took home the gold in cross country skiing during the 2018 Winter Games and the brand sponsors several other elite athletes and professional teams across the globe in Obstacle Course Racing, Cross Country Skiing, Cycling, Triathlon, Soccer and Running.