“Having been a cyclist riding indoors and outdoors, I started to pay attention to the shoes,” said McLeod. “I couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t been innovated with all the wonderful materials happening in the athletic market and running.”
This realization led the founder and CEO to seek out a cycling factory to produce a specialized performance sneaker, dubbed the Slipstream, which she describes as “fashion meets function.” It launched last November and retails for $125.
“The shoe has a nylon plate on the bottom, so there’s a specific function to cycling integrated into this product, which has engineered meshes and unique details,” explained McLeod.
Both retailers and customers — whom McLeod refers to as fashion-conscious “gyministas” — have quickly adopted the Slipstream. The sneaker is now stocked in over 50 locations across more than 20 states and four countries, including Malaysia.
Austin-based studio Love Cycling has been a supporter of the brand since its inception. “I liked what Tracey had to say. I liked the look and feel of the product, and what I was most excited about was bringing something drastically new to Austin,” said Stephanie Kincheloe, co-owner of Love Cycling. She also appreciated that Tiem educated the studio on the shoe’s proper fit.
Fashion and lifestyle blogger Elissa Garza of Style Wire also is a fan. “Tiem is truly a superior shoe,” said Garza. “I was recently gifted a similar pair of street-to-studio shoes from an established brand and quickly gave up on them because of difficulty clipping in [to the bike] and a less-than-attractive design overall.”
In the coming seasons, McLeod plans to expand the product line with a bar sock, retailing for around $40, and new shoe styles in the $150 range. And she feels she has an advantage to achieve success.
“The [female] has the buying power, makes a lot of the purchases, is willing to spend the money and wants to always look good,” she said. “As a woman, I’m able to see what they are looking for: fashion meets function.”
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