De Soto Sport
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Company History

Founded in 1990, De Soto Sport (De Soto Clothing Company, Inc.) has established itself as one of the most visible brands of apparel at any triathlon around the world. Founded by former pro triathlete, Emilio De Soto II, the San Diego-based company leverages over 30 years of experience in international triathlon competition into every product it creates.

De Soto makes technical garments for men and women designed with comfort and style, most of which can be used for swimming, biking, and running, eliminating the need to change. De Soto also offers a complete line of workout apparel, accessories and gear all of which transcend well into many other sports and exercise.

Throughout the 1990s the majority of products designed by De Soto have become the original concept and basis for the products developed by competitors today. From the transition pack, to the trisuit and tri shorts with thin cycling pads, to tri jerseys with zippers, and run shorts with pockets...even the mesh running cap, were developed first by De Soto. De Soto is responsible for the innovation of more product categories in triathlon soft goods than any other brand.

In 2001, De Soto introduced the T1 Wetsuit, a revolutionary two-piece wetsuit designed not only to keep you warm in cold water, but also to correct your body position making swimming more efficient and faster. The two-piece concept allows a customer to buy a separate top and bottom to optimize proper fit. It also offers a modular method of purchasing pieces to either accommodate for varying water temperatures or simply to replace or upgrade to a newer model without having to buy a completely new wetsuit. Retailers who sell the T1 Wetsuit enjoy the convenience of fitting a wider range of body types without needing to commit to as much inventory as is necessary with one-piece wetsuits. The popularity of the T1 has grown progressively and is commonly referred to as the MAC of wetsuits in a PC world of one-piece wetsuits. De Soto remains the only company making a production two-piece wetsuit. The innovations continue to flow as new products are added to the T1 Wetsuit line each season.

In 2004, the company moved to its current location, a 30-year-old building the company bought and has remodeled on the inside with vibrant colors, soft lighting, fresh ocean breezes from sliding glass doors (instead of air conditioning), and a south facing balcony to enjoy the mild year-round San Diego climate.

In 2006 the De Soto Custom Team Apparel Program was announced. De Soto now offers a collection of their most popular garments customized with designs and graphics for teams as well as events. Every year there are hundreds of races, clubs, private, corporate, and university teams purchasing apparel with their unique graphics.

In 2007, Inside Triathlon Magazine (August) recognized Emilio as one of the top three most influential innovators in the sport. Included among this short prestigious list were Dan Empfield (formerly of QR, and now of and Steve Hed (Hed Cycling Wheels).

In 2008 De Soto Europe GmbH was founded to distribute exclusively the De Soto Brand throughout the entire European Continent. De Soto Europe GmbH is located near Frankfurt,Germany, a well-centralized location for all of Europe.

In 2011, Apparel Magazine (May) chose De Soto as one of the most innovative apparel companies for De Soto's groundbreaking on-demand rollout of apparel products. Rather than introducing products by the season, De Soto has the capacity to innovate, design, manufacture, and bring a product to market as soon as it is ready. This helps to lower the strain on retailers who are concerned with steep cycles of inventory and cash turnover. De Soto was also recognized for the development of slimming garments that allow even the most novice triathletes to look lean and be aerodynamic.

In 2015, De Soto Sport is celebrating, as it has been in business for twenty five consecutive years, all under the same ownership. To celebrate and remain true to the sport, Emilio and Tracy are taking to the road for a "Back to Our Roots" Tour. The first stop was Tri-Palooza at Mission Bay, the birthplace of triathlon. In May, the dynamic duo attended Wildflower to converse with triathletes - both in terms of information and casually. Many triathletes stopped by to say hello. The road trip continued to Kona in October where there was more great camaraderie.

Already in 2016, De Soto Sport has hired three new employees as it continues to expand the in house workforce to both control the quality where De Soto constantly strives to tower above others and also to provide jobs to real American families. Also this year, De Soto will continue to expand its vivid prints and colors as it has expanded its manufacturing equipment to include state of the art sublimation and digital cutting/plotting machinery.

De Soto takes great pride in the fact that more than 95% of all De Soto products are made here in the USA. De Soto remains a small company with energetic, enthusiastic and friendly employees. Some are triathletes, some are not. The work environment, though casual in attire and filled with music, is extremely creative, constructive, and active.

De Soto is more than just a triathlon product manufacturer. The company is very involved with growing the sport through partnerships with athletes, coaches, clubs, universities, as well as with select non-profit organizations. In 2011, De Soto raised and donated over $30,000 to the victims of the disaster in Japan. In December of 2015, De Soto donated over $25,000 to Challenged Athlete Foundation.

De Soto has a product line of approximately 75 different products designed with original and unique features including innovative fit, functionality, fabric, colors, and manufacturing technology. De Soto is never at a loss of ideas, only a lack of time to execute all of them. This makes for exciting times at this company.

De Soto customers are comprised of a small, sophisticated group of people who are athletic, professionally driven and put a big emphasis on value and quality. They do their research before buying any product, and form emotional relationships with the products they use, thus brand loyalty is strong toward a company like De Soto. They play as hard as they work, and they enjoy all the gifts this wonderful earth has to offer.

The success of this Company is evident in the satisfaction and brand loyalty by its retailers and its customers with great care and consideration. De Soto is known around the world for its ability to respond to the needs of their customers quickly and with great care and precision. De Soto's mission is to offer the best product with the best possible customer service in any market.

The Owners

De Soto Owners

Emilio De Soto
The Cuban-born (now American citizen) is the front man of the company. He is closely involved in every aspect of the business. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering (University of California, Santa Barbara) and an MBA in Marketing (San Diego State University). He is a self-taught designer of apparel and technical fabrics.

He raced in a record-breaking 30 consecutive season of triathlon competition and competed at a world championship level until just a few years ago. He stopped competing (at least for now) after his wife, Tracy, gave birth to their first son. They now have three boys, little Emilio, Massimo and Santino. A few years ago, they finished designing and building an environmentally friendly home on the coast of San Diego close enough to walk their sons to school. Over the past year, Emilio in following his passion, developed an organic, low-glycemic index cinnamon tequila called Dos Almas and a 55 proof organic blanco tequila. When in town, they spend their weekends without driving cars, and run and bike to the farmer's market for their fresh produce and fish. They try to live an organic, farm-to-table lifestyle.

Emilio is also a certified coach and fitness trainer. He still enjoys riding his bike, trail and beach runs, ocean swims, surfing, SUP surfing, SUP distance paddling, camping and snowboarding. He spends a significant amount of time doing each winter in Canada.

Tracy M. De Soto
Tracy joined the company as corporate counsel in 2006 and in 2011 became the CFO. A triathlete since 2005 and an avid runner for decades, she embodies fitness as a lifestyle and brought a fresh new female perspective to De Soto and took over as lead designer of the Femme Collection. Tracy's education includes a bachelor degree in Software Engineering from the University of Wisconsin (cum laude) and a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law (magna cum laude.) She is also a published author and teaches Children & the Law at California Western School of Law (in 2015, she was honored as "Professor of the Year") in addition to representing minors as trial and appellate counsel each year. Tracy enjoys volunteering in her sons' classrooms, photography and nutritional cooking and shares Emilio's passion for family, music, nature, and healthy living.

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