Team Insight

May / June 2019

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T he McDavid Stealth Cleat Ankle Brace is the next step in braces for athletes seeking advanced stability and support in tight- fitting cleats and athletic shoes. Available in July (MSRP: $34.99), its ultra- streamlined design makes it 40 percent lighter than a traditional brace and the step-through rear entry and thin-wrap compression top strap instantly make it a leader in comfort, convenience and fit along with tremendous support. True to its name, the Stealth is the lowest profile ankle brace in the McDavid portfolio and is designed for football, soccer and baseball athletes. "Innovation is the driving force of this category. After all, although injuries don't evolve, the solutions we develop to treat them must," says Candi Whitsel, VP-marketing at United Sports Brands, the parent company of McDavid. "Our products are founded in years of testing and research with athletes, trainers and medical professionals from lead- ing professional and collegiate sports teams — something we proudly continue today." As the marketplace becomes more frag- mented with direct online and field sales, dealers and retailers must overcome the advantages these channels bring to consum- ers by working to best understand how to reach and effectively engage with team and end-user targets, Whitsel adds. "The ability to have live, in-person relation- ships with consumers is an advantage online retailers don't have and these dealers can always capitalize on those higher-touch inter- actions with the right lines of communication." Materials and structures continue advanc- ing to where the amount of support can be amplified without having to add bulk to a product, allowing McDavid to create products such as the new Phantom and Stealth ankle braces, which offer support in designs that are more than 30 percent lighter than tradi- tional braces and are much better suited to today's lower profile court shoes and cleats. "The general direction is lighter, stronger and, of course, better," Whitsel says of the brace market, adding that "education, educa- tion, education" is the key to dealers being able to sell the category. n 48 Team Insight ~ May/June 2019 BRACE YOURSELF Two different types of braces for team sport athletes combine technology and style for 2019. McDavid Goes Stealth. Materials and structures continue advancing to where the amount of support can be amplified without having to add bulk to a product. SPORTS MEDICINE BRACES

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