Surrounded by lush trails, craggy rock faces, snow-covered mountains and accessible rivers, Portland is an active lifestyle paradise. Yoga studios and CrossFit gyms pepper every neighborhood, while runners and cyclists take to the streets rain or shine. Not surprisingly, this environment has fostered a community of athletic shoe and sportswear designers unrivaled in the nation. Outfit yourself for sweaty fun with these tried-and-true, locally headquartered favorites.
Nike, founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, is headquartered just west of Portland in the understated suburb of Beaverton. There, elite athletes, designers and a bevy of scientists collaborate on cutting-edge technologies and must-have styles.
Stop by the upscale showroom of Nike Portland, where the brand’s latest shoes, apparel and gear are boldly displayed for your ogling and shopping pleasure. Try on a pair of Nike Free Flyknit running shoes, which feel like a barefoot shoe (minus those ugly toe nubs). Dress to impress on and off the court with some sweet Air Jordans, or snag a pair of tights so you can downward dog with confidence. If your bank account isn’t screaming “Just do it,” score a deal at the Nike Factory store, where markdowns let you live the swoosh life for less.
Endorsed by Yeezy himself, Adidas and its famous three-stripe insignia picked Portland for its North American headquarters in 1993. Pick up a pair of classic Superstar shell-toe tennis shoes and matching track pants before your first hip-hop dance class, or strap on a pair of soccer cleats and take the field. Adidas sponsors the Portland Timbers Football Club, so you can trust that your feet are in good hands.
Adidas subsidiary Reebok was the first company to release an official CrossFit shoe, perfect for occasional gym rats and Spartan Race juggernauts alike. And in the brand’s official UFC fan gear, you can strut through the weight room feeling as tough as Connor McGregor or Ronda Rousey.
For over 70 years, Oregon-born Columbia Sportswear has been designing rugged outdoor gear guaranteed to keep you warm, dry and protected in even the coldest and wettest weather. Want to snowshoe on Mount Hood in the middle of January? Try one of their TurboDown jackets lined with Omni-Heat technology. It internally reflects your body’s own heat to increase insulation. Or how about a rainy run in Forest Park? Slip on one of their many waterproof jackets and hit the trail with confidence. Find the widest selection at the downtown flagship store, or hunt for off-season specials at the Sellwood outlet.
If you’re a fan of hardcore mountaineering, snow sports or camping, check out Mountain Hardwear, which was acquired by Columbia Sportswear in 2003. Top alpine athletes test the brand’s down jackets, weatherproof pants, tents and sleeping bags to help keep you warm in the wilderness.
While not technically Portland-based, UnderArmour is making a power play for the throne of the athletic wear kingdom. They’ve already unseated Adidas to become the second most valuable fitness brand in the country, and are building a partial headquarters in Southwest Portland with the hopes of attracting local design talent.
Try out one of their base layers, built to absorb sweat and keep you warm (or cool) without adding restrictive bulk. They’re perfect for frosty bike rides, early-morning paddles or foggy jogs along the waterfront. Find them at REI and Nordstrom, or at the Under Armour factory store in Woodburn, 30 miles (48 km) south of Portland.
Put on some comfortable shoes and start walking — you’ll be surprised how easy Portland makes it.
In addition to Portland’s many pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, your feet can take you to some fantastic places around town.
With bike lanes and paths throughout the city, Portland has great places to ride for cyclists of all abilities.
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