Women’s fashion in triathlon has come along way in recent years thanks to companies both new and established taking a more holistic approach to their creation of female multisport apparel. Brainstorming directly with female athletes and using widespread ambassador programs, there are several brands out there now who have recognized what’s been lacking in the past for female athletes and have created lines that are performance-oriented, tailored to female needs and also look great.
One problem that still exists for Canadian triathletes, is that many of these companies are U.S.- or Australian-based with mostly just online shops and thus shipping costs almost the same as the price of the products themselves.
While age-group triathletes Stephanie Jamain and Jacinthe Lachapelle were training for their first Ironman in 2015, they used their many hours swimming, biking and running together to dream up a company that would solve this problem. The Montreal-based age-groupers wanted to create triathlon apparel that was fashion-forward, accessible and valued quality above all else.
Brava Triathlon is the first female-specific triathlon brand in Canada and has exploded in popularity since the brand’s launch this spring, with the four kits that make up their first collection seen sported by many triathletes at races across Quebec and Ontario this summer. While covering Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant last spring, I spotted dozens of triathletes wearing their kits and it didn’t surprise me to learn that they had sold out and planned for a restock of many sizes and items.
Jamin and Lachappelle sent me a sample of their kit when they launched in April, and I’ve been training and racing with it for a few months now. I’ve been testing the the sleeved Tuscon top and matching shorts. I love the print because it’s truly unlike any other I’ve found. Inspired by the nature of Arizona, the founders’ winter triathlon training base, it combines strong patterns with a blend of bold and soft pastel colours. The colour choices for the entire first collection are refreshing in that they steer clear of the flashy neons used by many brands and go for shades that work well for everyday wear, too. The Botanical kit captures this perfectly. Feminine and subtle, the design is timeless and doesn’t scream “sports apparel”. The Geo and Colour Block prints offer something a little more structured, but still with the same earthy colours.
Colour Block print
Beyond its fresh aesthetic, Brava’s apparel stands out because of the quality and functionality. The brand uses top-of-the-line, Italian fabrics and it’s clear to me from training in the apparel all season that it’s extremely high quality and comfortable. The kit feels super light and breathable in all weather conditions — I wore my sleeved jersey for a long ride on one of summer’s hottest days and not once felt overheated. Brava has considered every small detail with their pattern, creating the flattest-lying seams hems possible on the arms and legs of the kits and adding mesh panelling in key ares like the sides and centre back of the tops.
The large zippered pocket on the back of the sleeved jersey and the small open pockets on the racerback tank and shorts are useful for storing your phone and nutrition essentials during training:
All four prints are available in sleeved jerseys and racerback tanks, which both work well for racing and training, and in shorts, bras, and bathing suits. There are additional pieces like socks and hats so you can create ensembles that match from head to toe.
All pieces are sold separately and jerseys run for $145, tanks for $105 and shorts for $135. Add in free shipping for orders over $175, and there’s no question prices are definitely more affordable for Canadians than ordering from international brands.
Right now, everything is sold online but Brava Triathlon has recently started being carried in some triathlon shops and this summer, the founders have been going on a mini tour of Canadian races to sell products at expos. Next up, you can find them at the Toronto Triathlon Festival on the weekend of July 23rd.