From a single hot-desk at Loughborough University, Zone3 has grown organically to become Europe’s leading triathlon and swimwear brand. This has been achieved by a deep-rooted passion for endurance sports and ensuring that every product offers market leading performance, innovation and functionality.
Since day one we’ve held an athlete-centric approach to garment creation, working alongside a full spectrum of athletes and highly skilled designers to ensure each product is made with laser precision and the highest performance materials available.
This simple ethos has firmly cemented our sterling reputation among the global tri-community and has resulted in more industrial design awards than any other brand, including the first-ever and only 10/10 review from 220 Triathlon Magazine and many others including Best in Class, Top Value and Game Changer of the year. Our product-first philosophy and commitment to excellence has resulted in athletes of all abilities being able to achieve higher levels of athletic performance and enjoyment within the sport.
We are incredibly proud to have been recommended by the Prime Minister to receive a Queens Award for Enterprise. This is one of the highest achievements we could receive and is a result of twelve years of dedication and passion.
We strive for perfection in everything we do, on and off the start line and being athlete owned, we truly understand what it takes to race. This mindset filters down into everything we do from the content we release to the innovations found throughout our product range. Everybody who works at Zone3 is constantly thinking about you. We are constantly coming up with new ideas and features to make you faster, more comfortable and always ready to take on your goals.
Our mission is to help you reach your goals, whether this is completing a first triathlon, winning the world championships or crossing the finish line of an Ironman. We know exactly how much hard work goes into completing a triathlon, both balancing everyday life around training and on the race day itself.
Founder and former elite triathlete, James Lock, together with his team of staff work tirelessly to create market leading products and give nothing but dedication and passion. We hope that our hard work and ambition can dovetail into our customer’s journey and together we can achieve great things and continue to reach new limits.
The concept of Zone3 was started by James Lock in 2004, aged 19, when he would design and produce swimming accessories such as drag shorts and ankle bands and sell them to members of his swimming and triathlon clubs. With the pedigree of being a national level swimmer and runner from aged 13 to 18, James joined Loughborough University with a sports scholarship and was fast tracked on to the Elite Triathlon Program.
There was a clear opportunity at this point to create product which offered the level of performance needed for such a demanding sport and ideas of Zone3 began to strengthen.
Academic studies were the priority so it wasn’t until James had earned a 1st class engineering degree that he started to turn his attention to racing at the top of the sport and developing his innovative performance enhancing ideas. Loughborough University proved to be the perfect hot-bed for this as it was a centre of excellence for athletes, sportswear design and technology.
James became World Champion in Biathlete and Aquathlon in 2006 before turning his attention to triathlon and racing the GB Elite Series, European Championships and for a top tier French team.
The very first Zone3 wetsuit can be seen in the video below where James show’s his swim strength by beating the likes of Olympic Champion, Alistair Brownlee, out of the water. This was very early days for Zone3 but the core principles and basic designs were there, despite the cuffs being pink, not the intended red!
James’s athletic career took him around the world and he underwent a grueling 25 hours-per-week training regime for seven years. Unfortunately during his pursuit of an Olympic qualification, he sustained a long term injury which meant getting much below his 31 minute 10km time was proving almost impossible.
At the same time Zone3 was gaining significant demand following a string of market leading triathlon media reviews so in 2011 James decided to focus much more of his time trying to build Zone3.
With no investment or marketing budget this wasn’t easy so the best way to get the brand out there was to continue travelling the country and visiting as many Tri clubs and open water venues as possible to let triathletes demo the products for themselves. Luckily, word of mouth recommendations became commonplace and soon retailers started to show interest in stocking the brand after hearing about the excellent performance offered.
“Being a competitive swimmer from a young age brought me many qualities which have enabled me to grow and sustain a business. A hard work ethic, competitive streak and dedication to performance run through all of the world’s top athletes and entrepreneurs”
Some might say the rest is history, but to ensure this continuous growth we’ve needed to ensure that everything we do continues to drive athletic performance. Nothing is overlooked, and we strive to innovate in all areas across our product range. We’ve come a long way since our first prototypes in 2007 and we continue to pack our products with technology to drive our athletes forward. Zone3 started life with zero investment and has organically grown over the last decade without any investment. This stems from James’ hard working mentality built through his dedication to sporting success, his precision focus and profound passion for swimming and triathlon.
We approach our design process from a holistic point of view; more than simply a mass production methodology. We understand its human nature to perform best when you feel comfortable and confident so we use a precise product development process to ensure that each product performs to the very best it can.
We know how much work goes into racing triathlon and we are here to help you reach new limits. Whilst you focus on training and balancing everyday life we are dedicating every moment to creating the very best products for you. And we’ve been doing this for over ten years now; we are experts in our field and will never stop driving forward.
We understand the importance of fit and feel for the endurance athlete who spends hours using our products. We understand the intimate nature of the athletes experience, so we raise the bar when it comes to comfort and aim on creating astonishing, exacting product, fit for purpose.
When it comes to innovation our team of highly skilled designers from various backgrounds in technical sportswear, fashion and product design work hard to shape a range packed with the latest advancements in technology to accelerate performance. We employ the world’s most technically advanced materials throughout our range starting at our entry level wetsuits all the way unto our ultra long distance suits.
The Vanquish wetsuit features a unique one-piece upper body bio-wrap utilising Yamamoto #40 SCS neoprene which provides unparalleled flexibility through the shoulders, arms, chest and back for a truly natural and ergonomic fit.
Some of the features found throughout the Zone3 range include:
When we design we start by considering what the athlete requires, and draw up concepts around these core requirements. We then add our trademark aesthetic and style to the products and finally we ensure a supreme level of comfort, cementing our products as some of the finest, backed up by industry reviews. If we see an opportunity to raise performance we go all in. This is strengthened by the great relationships we maintain with our global network of suppliers, helping us stay afoot of trends in technology and design.
“We listen to our athletes during fittings and controlled testing to understand their needs. We follow a ritualised process in attempting to quantify exactly what makes a particular aspect good or bad – it’s the science of connecting technology with human nature in order to create something amazing and innovative, enhancing athletic performance” – James Lock
Customer feedback is highly valued at Zone3 and in the early days James travelled around the country visiting triathlon clubs and open water swimming venues, allowing athletes of all levels to try the products and provide feedback to improve the product further; an approach which proved to be hugely beneficial and helped cement the brands reputation early on as one of the most innovative in the sport of triathlon. We continue to visit clubs and meet with athletes as part of our commitment to the sport and lifestyle.
We invest heavily in our team and support every member in reaching their full potential, whether it’s through the fine-tuning of our operations or recognising excellence from team members, we believe that a supported team is an effective team.
We are driven by our competitive natures and are united by our love of all things swim, bike, run.
We continually strive to inspire athletes and be at the forefront of the industry. This intense focus is shared among our team stemming from Founder, James Lock’s unbreakable passion for swimming and triathlon.