Home Workout Gear Nikki Hiltz and Lululemon announce sponsorship

Nikki Hiltz and Lululemon announce sponsorship


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As a non-binary runner, clothes can have a big impact on Nikki Hiltz, especially when it comes to feeling comfortable.

In previous brand partnerships, Hiltz, who uses the pronouns they/them, used to receive a box of clothes that would be clearly labeled as the “girl” clothes. In a new partnership with Lululemon, announced today and active since early June, Hiltz’s experience has been made much more open, and they can choose which clothes they’ll receive. “It seems so gender-affirming,” they say.

Admittedly, they hesitated at first. At the time, it felt like Lululemon, which also sponsors Colleen Quigley, was more feminine. “I was so pleasantly surprised by their gender fluidity and the number of options they have,” says Hiltz.

Ultimately, they feel that Lululemon’s clothes will suit them better on the track. This includes short bike shorts and shirts that aren’t too tight. (While Lululemon has started making running shoes, it doesn’t yet have a track shoe option, leaving Hiltz open on shoe choices.) And Hiltz is optimistic they’ll be able to have a genuine relationship with the clothing as a brand ambassador. In the past, they’ve been asked to post sports bra recommendations, which they’re not comfortable doing. Now they’ve specifically signed with a brand that won’t put them in the “girl box.”

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“To be in a product that you really feel comfortable in, you’re going to do your best,” they say.

While they were between sponsors, from the end of their Adidas contract in December until Lululemon picked them up in June, Hiltz sold unisex t-shirts with a vintage-style Track Club logo, to keep themselves financially afloat. . They ended up taking advantage of this split time more than expected.

“I think it was really, really good for my perspective,” they say. Knowing they didn’t have to train and race because they didn’t have a brand expecting them to perform, Hiltz realized they liked to compete for their own good. “I’m not committed to racing here, but I want to be. I wanted to have this whole season indoors.

(Photo: Courtesy of Lululemon)

Hiltz also took advantage of this time away from clothing sponsorship to use their clothing as a form of self-expression and advocacy. For much of the indoor season, Hiltz could be seen running around in a shirt that read “Protect Trans Kids.”

With a sponsor, Hiltz is confident he can continue to advocate for safe spaces for LGBTQ people. “I think that’s it [Lululemon and I] connected right away and we were really in sync. How can we make LGBTQ people feel safe? And how can we do that while running?

The strength of partnerships

Hiltz will compete tonight at the U.S. Outdoor Championships in the first run of the 1,500 meters. They’re hoping to test their strength, something they’ve been really focused on since moving from California to Flagstaff, Arizona in March of this year.

As Hiltz notes, the 1500 meter distance is a test of speed and strength. “If the race was slow, I was always going to do well, because I could have that kick. But how bad the [1500] ran lately, I’m not even here to use my speed. So I’m like, ‘OK, I need this strike,’” they say.

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Their new trainer, Mike Smith, emphasizes strength. Hiltz has already seen improvement through the double threshold workouts they run with their teammates.

Hiltz remembers how difficult it was to do this workout for the first time and wanting to stop after four miles. “Each time since then, it’s gotten easier and easier. And now it’s like I get excited when we have double thresholds on the schedule because I just know I’m getting so strong. And it’s also two workouts a day, so double the fun.

Although they’ve worked hard, when it comes to the United States or even potentially the world championships, Hiltz says they’re just looking to have fun. “USA is the most fun race of the year,” they say.

Racing, after all, is where they get their confidence. That’s what they love most about this sport. For tonight: “I’m definitely ready to go have fun,” they say.

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