How Capelli Sport Built a Fitness Line for Everyone

Man running in the winter
Courtesy Image

This article was produced in partnership with Capelli Sport

If you’re a footie fan, odds are you’ve seen the name Capelli Sport emblazoned on soccer jerseys. The brand opened its doors in 2011 as a soccer equipment and apparel provider, serving teams and players around the world.

The company’s growth story was seismic. After a few years supplying predominantly youth and amateur teams stateside, it landed an exclusive deal with Greek club champion AEK Athens in 2018, stealing the iconic club away from its former provider, Nike. It’s struck up a handful of other professional and national team deals while continuing to sell its wares to an American consumer base, too.

Sometime in those early years, the company started talking about what they saw as a natural expansion of their business. If they could make a soccer business work on multiple continents, they could branch into fitness and lifestyle gear as well. So they did, periodically rolling out new products to its fitness line over the back half of the 2010s and into the new decade.

It wasn’t like the company was new to the fashion industry in the first place. Capelli Sport’s parent company, GMA Accessories, brought a 34-year track record to the table. GMA’s expertise guided Capelli Sport as it expanded beyond soccer.

The New York-based Capelli Sport prided itself from the beginning on fostering a collaborative relationship with its customers—another aspect of the company’s approach to business that started with GMA’s fashion products, as far back as the 1990s .

Capelli Sport leaders wanted a two-way exchange of ideas that would improve offerings, rather than a standard supplier-customer relationship. And for the last several years, the company has tried to capture that same spirit for athletes in sports and exercise activities well beyond the pitch. Capelli Sport’s scope has changed, but to hear leadership explain the firm’s growth, two things have not: its pricing and goals.

“It’s one thing we discuss every day,” says George Altirs, GMA’s CEO and President. “Any time we’re developing a new product, we talk about the product, obviously. But I’d say 50 percent of that conversation, if not more, is spent on the customer. ‘Will the customer enjoy this product? Will the customer come back? If they come back with feedback, do we have the proper answers for them?’ It’s always about the customer.”

To that end, Altirs describes an exhaustive feedback process between Capelli Sport’s product designers and early customers and testers to refine the company’s new fitness line. It’s the same approach GMA has brought to fashion for three decades, now aimed squarely at fitness. The result is something for just about every type of athlete, in just about every setting.

The focus on ease of use and versatility doesn’t just apply to what the products can do. It applies to who they’re for.

“Our fitness line is for everyone and anyone at an affordable price,” Altirs says. “It complements the entry-level person getting into fitness, as well as that advanced athlete. Any time we develop a product, we think of anyone and everyone.”

A common shortcoming with sports and fitness apparel is that companies brand them for elite athletes exclusively. The lines don’t always offer athletes anything special, but they’re inaccessible enough to chase away the rest of us. That’s the primary thing Capelli Sport wanted to avoid with its line, and it seems to have worked. There’s something for athletes of every caliber, in a way that recalls the accessibility GMA has tried to convey with its products for over 30 years.

“A lot of brands don’t stand for much, and they don’t tell a great story, and I think Capelli Sport has been doing that over the last 10 years,” Altirs says. “We’re telling a great story. We’re building a community. And I think there are a lot of people who respect that.”

Men’s Journal readers get a 20 percent discount at Capelli Sport with the code MJ20.

Spotlights From Capelli Sport’s New Fitness Line

Man wearing white shoes standing on resistance bands
Courtesy Image

CS Fly I Shoe

This running and training shoe boasts lightweight support. It has a soft fabric shell, something that often comes with significant strings attached, like a lack of durability and heel support. But the CS Fly side-steps those traps with a beefed-up sole that softens ground impact and limits wear and tear. It has a form-fitting, elastic-like fit to really lock your foot down. (If you’re sensitive to a tighter-fitting shoe, consider sizing up.)

[$95; capellisport.com]

Get it

Men’s Performance Tights
Courtesy Image

Men’s Performance Tights

These tights are effortlessly comfortable and suitable to the gym, track, or field—and a variety of different climates. We trained in them under Capelli Sport’s Men’s Uptown Training Short, wore them as long underwear on a snowy day, and took them for a brisk jog outdoors.

[$35; capellisport.com]

Get it

Adult Classic Packable Windbreaker
Courtesy Image

Adult Classic Packable Windbreaker

The Classic Packable Windbreaker can be folded up into the jacket’s front pocket, or transformed into a bag to be hooked or folded anywhere for easy travel. Elastic cuffs and drawstrings at the hood and bottom openings help to lock in the warmth while protecting you from the wind—perfect for a blustery morning run.

[$65; capellisport.com]

Get it

CS Crew Socks with Grippers
Courtesy Image

CS Crew Socks with Grippers

Versatile also characterizes the line’s crew socks, which are astonishingly warm for day-to-day wear but particularly good at keeping your feet from sliding around whether you’re sprinting across a field or doing a home HIIT workout.

[$16; capellisport.com]

Get it
Pushup bars
Courtesy Image

Fitness Push Up Bars with Foam Handles

Capelli Sports’s gym products also get a nice personal touch to make workouts more effective. The pushup bars are made of steel, rather than the unnervingly common plastic or wood, providing added stability. It has its own rubber grips on the bottom to prevent slippage (and to prevent the user, in turn, from faceplanting). While it comes at an added cost for Capelli Sport, it’s still affordable for the customer.

[$19.99; capellisport.com]

Get it

Foam roller
Courtesy Image

12” Body Roller

It’s hard to reinvent the wheel—or, in this case, roller—but Capelli Sport found ways to differentiate itself. Its body roller has a unique grooving pattern that makes for a delightful pre- or post-workout massage.

[$29.99; capellisport.com]

Get it

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!