If you caught the after show of the live announcement of 16.5 during the Open this year, you witnessed CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro tackle the workout outside in the sun of Northern California. Adorning his head and shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun’s rays was a pair of Gatorz sunglasses—patented aluminum eyewear worn by extreme athletes and members of the US armed forces.
Gatorz was founded in 1991 with the goal of creating a product that was different from the competition in a large marketplace. While most sunglass companies use plastic and few parts to cut costs, Gatorz decided to create their frames from 7075 billet aluminum—which is the same stuff that’s used to build planes. Over the years and with much trial and error, the crew at Gatorz developed a 22-step method to bend, cut and mold the sheet aluminum to create a pair of these sunglasses—which takes three weeks to make and is produced entirely in the USA. The result is a high quality product that you can literally adjust to fit your face so it won’t fall when you’re engaged in high-intensity outdoor activities, like sky-diving for example.
“One of our niche markets that’s important to us is skydiving,” says Andrew Fontes, Global Sales and Marketing Manager for Gatorz. “You can wear our glasses when you skydive, and they’re not going to break under all the resistance that comes with jumping out of an airplane.” Gatorz’ popularity among skydivers found its way to the airborne divisions of US Special Forces, including members of the Navy SEALS who skydive as part of their training and for recreational purposes. Once one SEAL fell in love with Gatorz sunglasses, word quickly spread and now the company enjoys a close partnership with the elite US force. In fact, Gatorz makes a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation for every pair of sunglasses sold on gatorz.com. Seeing as Castro himself was a SEAL prior to his journey into CrossFit, it’s no wonder that he started wearing Gatorz sunglasses long before the brand decided to sponsor the 2016 CrossFit Games.
Many Games athletes (including Neal Maddox) already use Gatorz glasses when training outside, taking advantage of the dual-riveted hinge design that keeps the shades on their face when running, moving a barbell or climbing up a rope. For their part, the Gatorz team recognized the opportunity to align with a growing community of high-intensity, fitness oriented people in CrossFit. “Our sunglasses do well under pressure. When it comes to performance, we dominate,” says Fontes. “One of our tag lines is, ‘There is no substitute,’ and that really comes into play with the functional fitness industry. These are elite athletes, and the fact that many former and current military members train in CrossFit provided a nice blend for us. So we saw that is a great market to cater towards.”
Gatorz is committing further to their involvement with CrossFit by sponsoring the 2016 CrossFit Games. “We saw CrossFit as an emerging market that’s doing very well, and everything that encompasses the functional fitness industry falls right into our wheelhouse,” says Fontes. We’re proud to support the CrossFit community and these amazing athletes through our sponsorship. The dedication and spirit found within this community aligns perfectly with what Gatorz stands for as a brand and our goal is to provide products and support not just for the elite CrossFit Games athletes but for all members of the CrossFit community living this positive health and fitness based lifestyle inside and outside the gym.”
“We’re excited to have Gatorz on board as a sponsor of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games,” said Steve Weiss, Corporate Development for CrossFit, Inc. “Gatorz glasses are well known for their emphasis on ruggedness and performance under extreme conditions, making them a natural fit with the CrossFit Games and CrossFit community.”
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