Trust us, Vancouver-based brand Stoko‘s new K1 Tempo is a hot commodity that’s breaking all the “rules” around what a knee brace should be, and allowing more people with injuries (or those wanting to prevent them) the opportunity to get out and hike, train and run this summer. We chatted with founder Zack Eberwein to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Please tell us a bit about yourself to start. When and why did you launch Stoko? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
My name is Zack! I’m an engineer turned entrepreneur who strives to create positive change in the world and inspire others to do the same. I like to say that I’m relentlessly ambitious and unapologetically spirited! I founded Stoko in 2017 with two of my closest friends after I got tired of giving up the sports I loved because of my nagging knee injuries. I realized that there was an opportunity to create a new type of clothing that could actually enhance the human body, injured or not, and help athletes of all abilities protect their body, push their limits, and perform their best. Four years later, we launched the worlds first Supportive Apparel, which did exactly that.
What is “supportive apparel”? What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique (in particular, what makes them different to typical, rigid knee braces)? How do they reimagine what apparel can do for athletes, of all types?
Supportive Apparel is an entirely new category of functional apparel that structurally enhances the human body with an integrated adjustable support system. Our first line of products, the K1, offers an entire low-body support system that helps to improve gait, protect against injury, and reduce knee, hip, and lower-back pain. What makes the K1 so special is that it can help you push your limits and perform your best whether you’re injured or not. Either way, we understand that sometimes your body just can’t keep up with you. Supportive Apparel will help keep you going and give you a little extra spring in your step! Whether you’re competing at the Olympics, running a few extra miles, or trying to keep up with your kids on the ski hill, the K1 helps athletes of all abilities crush their goals with a smile on their face! Traditional braces are incredibly uncomfortable, they don’t stay in place, and they restrict your range of motion. The K1 offers 80 per cent of the support of a traditional brace, but it’s entirely invisible, it’s fully adjustable, and it’s designed to move with you so you don’t even know it’s there. You’d never wear a rigid knee brace to run a marathon, but the K1 can help anyone run the last 10 miles—maybe even a little faster!
Could you “walk” us through how Stoko’s K1 Tempo works? Who is it for, and what are the benefits of us? Is it necessary to have an injury in order to benefit from this product?
The K1 Tempo is our 3/4 length supportive tight designed for running, hiking, personal training, and everyday use. It offers the same support as all of our other products, using our patented Embrace System, and also features our state-of-the-art knit ventilation for warmer environments, pockets and new colour options. As a wannabe long-distance runner, it’s my go-to product in our lineup.
Tell us more about your unique and patented Embrace System, and who did you work with to develop this product?
In general, all of our products, including the K1 Tempo, function the same way. They all leverage our proprietary Embrace System, which uses 90 feet of high-strength lightweight Dyneema cables to upgrade your body’s musculature and ligament structure to help keep your lower body in proper alignment during all forms of activity. Woven directly into the 3D knit fabric, these cables provide support, stability, and targeted compression that is fully adjustable through two dials that are hidden in the waistband. It took almost four years of engineering and design to develop the Embrace System and the K1. We worked some incredibly talented people all over the world to invent a never-before-seen technology: physicians, physiotherapists, engineers, designers and a diverse range of passionate athletes.
Any notable clients who use and love your products? What do they have to say?
There are K1s all over the world and many of them are on some very accomplished athletes! You can find Stoko in NFL, NBA, and NHL lockerrooms as well as on Team USA and Team Canada, like Meryeta O’Dine, two-time Olympic Medalist in Snowboard Cross, who said, “On those days when your best performance is absolutely crucial, my K1s helped keep my legs feeling snappy and agile for the entire day. The days when my legs take numerous impacts on the course, the K1s keep them feeling strong and ready for what’s next.” We also work with many medical professionals who help us spread the word to their clients.
Final, personal question: what physical activities are you looking forward to taking on with your K1 Tempo this summer?
So many things! Am I mentioned, I’m a wannabe long-distance runner and I usually run about 6 miles a day in my K1s. Running is relatively new to me… last year I decided to get back into shape and when I started running about half-way through the year, I set a goal to run a marathon with less than a month of training. I did exactly that and now my goal for this year is to run the same marathon in under three hours! Other than that, I love to hike, mountain bike, and open-water swim. Hope to see you out there!
Win! A Stoko K1 Tempo Knee Brace!
Congrats Tristan I. of Vancouver, BC, who will receive a Stoko K1 Tempo Knee Brace in their size! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.