Wade, who has an equity stake in Mission, talked to SGB about his partnership and the brand’s push to drive the thermoregulation category.

Writer: Thomas J. Ryan

When Dwyane Wade, the legendary Chicago Bulls guard, first met Josh Shaw, founder and CEO of Mission, in 2010 he immediately liked what he saw.

“For me, I’m all about relationships,” said Wade in an interview with SGB. “You’ve got to see something in the person you’re working with and right away I saw something in Josh. Just his excitement about the brand. And what I really loved is Mission’s focus on athletes. In other words, what athletes wanted and what athletes need and having a say in there. That was really big.”

Wade became a co-founder to help launch the Mission EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towel, featuring a proprietary technology that cools to 30 degrees below average body temperature when wet.

Earlier this month, Mission vastly broadened its thermoregulation ambitions by introducing its first full apparel collection. In addition to Dwyane Wade, Mission worked closely with a handful of Mission co-founders and professional athletes including David Villa, Jaelene Hinkle and John Tavares to design and develop the line.

Powered by 37.5 technology, the  Mission VaporActive apparel line offers permanent technology that won’t wash out and maximum dry rates that are up to five times faster than leading competitors. Featuring over 30 unique designs from training shirts to sports bras and leggings, the collection launched on Amazon and Mission.com, and will be available at DicksSportingGoods.com and Eastbay.com in late March.

Wade, who has an equity stake in Mission, talked to SGB about his partnership and the brand’s push to drive the thermoregulation category.

SGB: How important is thermoregulation to you?

DW: When I’m playing or working out, I heat up fast. I want to get my heart rate up and get me going but also to get the best performance out of me. So we have to kind of regulate my temperature.

 SGB: Are there any less obvious benefits to Mission’s technology besides keeping you cooler?

DW: I think one of the coolest things for me is that I can go through a full workout and still wear a shirt out because it dries quicker. You feel nasty when your shirt’s all wet. Mission sweats a little bit but then the sweat just fades. And I still smell good too. It’s the little things for me as an athlete that are big.

SGB: How involved have you been in Mission’s development?

DW: Mainly just giving my feedback as an athlete on what we need. But I think that’s one thing that’s great about what Josh has done is having all the athletes that are involved in the brand providing that feedback to help them dream up something as big as this. It’s science beyond my imagination.

SGB: Was there anything you particularly asked for?

DW: I used to play in Miami and we used to go to these cold cities and gyms. So I asked Mission if they could get me some heat. So they created some leggings that would take the heat and the moisture away but still keep me warm. It’s huge for me to have a brand that can manage through cool or heat. I think I have an advantage over certain athletes that don’t have it.

SGB: What about the fashion side?

DW: The technology and everything is great but the normal person just wants to look good. That’s one of the reasons we focused on adding a little more color for my own Mission collection that comes out September. I love white because it’s clean. But men typically just see black and gray so we’re trying to add more style. I’ve also included a flash component on the arm sleeve with my collection. When the light hits it, it pops. So it’s all the same technology but just adding a little flavor to it.

SGB: What does it mean to take an equity sponsorship in a brand you’re supporting?

DW: The biggest thing is we’re in this together. We’re not just a face of the brand, we really feel like partners.

Photo courtesy Mission