Designed so the wearer gains stability and confidence, the construction helps protect against injury and promote recovery while combatting fatigue.
Made from breathable recycled nylon and spandex, the silky fabric has a four-way stretch and Imbrace’s technical base layer leggings come in a broad range of sizes for women and men as well as being guaranteed for two years.
Its first lines are the Snow (£149), launched in October, specifically for peak performance and enjoyment on the slopes while the Dynamic+ (£109), due for release in December, marks a refinement of the basic design.
This targets high intensity users in sports ranging from athletics and football to golf and tennis. Future applications include the cycling, equestrian, medical and Armed Forces markets.
After spotting the potential, four times winter Olympian skier Chemmy Alcott collaborated on the Snow’s design.
Among its and the Dynamic+’s standout features are neoprene and compression mesh panels with built-in robust braces that support and align knees, but without bulk and enabling maximum bend.
Boost straps engage abdominal core muscles, while pockets for heat pads serve to warm the lower back, spine and within the high waistband, increasing the capability to soothe period pains.
“There are hundreds of compression leggings, but no one targets the areas Imbrace does with our level of support. These are health and wellbeing products, knees are vital shock absorbers,” explains Geoff Hanson, 64, of the family business he founded in 2021 which is forecasting a £1million turnover in 2026.
The opportunity for Hanson, who trained as a 3D designer, arose after failing to find support that helped his own knee problems and time during lockdown to develop solutions.
Realising there could be plenty of takers for something that worked, sketches became prototypes after several iterations, then progressed to manufacture through a Korean company with factories in China.
Assisted by technical apparel designer Julie Greengrass, the first batch of leggings arrived last year with Imbrace.com selling directly to customers.
“My background was not in technical clothing but many people have been generous with their advice,” adds Hanson, who sees the 50+ age group as a core demographic.
Using family savings and a small business loan to get going, he now has a network of seven contractors and strong sales from the outset have banished initial thoughts that Imbrace was a niche product.
The Snow was a huge hit with the crowds at recent national Snow Week shows. “It gave us a valuable chance to explain the features of a complex product and we received fantastic feedback,” says Hanson.
“The product more or less sold itself. Buyers are sophisticated people with an understanding of their condition and how best to manage it. They know what they need to do to keep skiing. I’m always surprised – and horrified – by how many of us suffer knee problems.”
In the past three months Imbrace has realised the potential to scale what is essentially a product that’s a passport to freedom.
To this end it is currently seeking some £250,000 of external funding which qualifies for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief.
In 2024 the drive will be to release more specific variations, spur wholesale expansion through retail chains and distributor partnerships and move deeper into the US, where demand is growing, as well as Australia.
Now supporting the charity Snow Camp which opens up sports opportunities for vulnerable young people, the company is donating £2 for each pair of ski leggings sold.
And for those preparing their 2024 snow trips, “the support the leggings give will give you the confidence from the first turn of the day to the last,” assures Alcott. “If you want to deliver your best on the slopes this is the piece of kit you need.”
As Hanson declares: “We keep you in the game.”