Exclusive: Aly Raisman Leads York Athletics’ ‘Worth the Fight’ Campaign Ahead of First-Ever Signature Shoe Launch

Burgeoning athletic label York Athletics Mfg. will reveal its debut marketing initiative tomorrow, and with it, a new brand ambassador: Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman.

The decorated athlete is the latest person to rep the Boston-based brand, a family owned-and-operated company that delivered its first training sneaker styles in 2016.

“What attracted me to work with the brand was the fact that they’re so family-oriented and it’s all about the community and supporting each other, which is something that’s really important to me,” Raisman told FN.

Footwear industry veteran and York co-founder Mark McGarry identified the gymnast as the ideal ambassador for the brand, which since its inception has had close ties with the combat sports community.

“Aly’s name came up a bunch when we asked, ‘Who’s the most ideal ambassador for the brand?’ Who has that cultural resonance and what Aly stands for — tapping into your inner strength and courage and speaking on behalf of others who don’t have a voice?” McGarry explained to FN. “We picked up the phone and very quickly met with her and discovered how aligned our values were.”

McGarry continued, “We’re making sure from a training perspective that we’re very well-rounded in what we’re putting out there. Aly we feel like is going to be more of a cultural hero than even a gymnast.”

With Raisman signed on, York is delivering its first marketing campaign tomorrow, “Worth the Fight.” The initiative, according to York, is “a movement to inspire the spirit to fight for your best life” and aims to start a conversation around the question: What do you fight for?

Aly Raisman York Athletics Worth the Fight
Aly Raisman in the York Athletics “Worth the Fight” campaign.
CREDIT: York Athletics Mfg.

And although the brand is rooted in sport, the “Worth the Fight” story isn’t told through just athletes. It also features teachers, creatives and entrepreneurs.

“For us, this cross section represents the everyday fighter community that we’ve been trying to home in on and speak to,” McGarry said. “We finally found our way to articulate that in a more concise manner. The campaign isn’t just fighting fitness and trainers, it’s all inclusive.”

York captured the stories on photo and video of 16 brand ambassadors for “Worth the Fight.” For its launch, the brand will deliver storytelling for seven of the ones selected, and roll out the rest through December.

Although Raisman’s non-athletic story is well known, fighting against child sexual abuse helping those who have been abused, others in the York campaign are not. And despite being featured alongside a world-renowned athlete, the brand worked to ensure their narratives — which includes surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and a dad in recovery from substance abuse — were not overshadowed.

To coincide with the campaign launch, York will release a special edition of its Henry Mid silhouette, a performance sneaker executed with minimalist design language that also gives it lifestyle appeal. The shoe boasts a bone upper and midsole that is paired with a classic gum outsole. The sneakers will be available via Yorkathleticsmfg.com for $125.

York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid
York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid
CREDIT: York Athletics Mfg.

In addition to her appearance in the “Worth the Fight” campaign,” Raisman will also have her own sneakers with York.

In September, McGarry confirmed that the brand will deliver two signature colorways of its popular Frank silhouette, dubbed The Frank by Aly Raisman.

“Aly wanted contrast — one colorway that was super neutral, really easy and light, and then a more bold version of that.” McGarry said. “[And] she was super specific about what she wanted. With samples in front of her she was like, ‘No, let’s stay on this path,’ and pushed us to go even cleaner than where we had it, to go more tonal.”

Although the month of the release has been decided, McGarry said the release specifics have not yet been finalized.

York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid
The heel of the York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid.
CREDIT: York Athletics Mfg.
York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid
The outsole of the York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid.
CREDIT: York Athletics Mfg.
York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid
A look from above the York Athletics Mfg. Henry Mid.
CREDIT: York Athletics Mfg.

Watch the video below on how to treat and clean your sneakers for the summer. 

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