From Hats to Shirts: Headsweats Launches Performance Tees

Headsweats has long dominated in the made-for-sports hat category. After a recent acquisition, the brand moves aggressively into tech shirts.

A new kind of sleek collar, and a design with unique wicking features, make Headsweats shirts significant
A new kind of sleek collar and a design with unique wicking features make Headsweats shirts significant

Headsweats is known for its breathable, sweat-wicking hats. They have an absorbing fabric built in, making the low-profile hats a favorite in endurance sports from trail running to triathlons.

This week, the company announced its acquisition by textile giant Intradeco. The Miami-based company has 7,000 employees worldwide and produces high-tech shirts with unique manufacturing processes.

Following the acquisition, the new company name is NG Labs dba Headsweats. Alan Romick, founder of Headsweats, will stay on to “drive new business opportunities in the performance shirt and apparel arena.” Mike McQueeney will remain president of Headsweats.

Headsweats Introduces Apparel

Example of Headsweats sublimated shirt
Example of Headsweats sublimated shirt

Two things make the shirts immediately stand out: Fully-sublimated dyed fabric allows designers to create seamless, colorful, edge-to-edge graphics on lightweight polyester.

This process embeds permanent color into the fabric, eliminating fading or the crinkling of printed-on graphics.

In addition, Headsweats adds its own touch with a subtle collar feature. Like its eponymous hats, the tech tees have a strip of fabric made to help mitigate sweat. And the neck tape resists chafing and adds comfort while on the move.

Close-up: 'Neck tape' provides a sleek collar on Headsweats premium shirt models
Close-up: ‘Neck tape’ provides a sleek collar on Headsweats premium shirt models

Headsweats Performance T-Shirts

The shirts are tag-less and made of lightweight polyester with minimal seams. There is mesh on the back of some models for more breathability.

Headsweats will introduce the performance shirt line this summer. They come in men’s, women’s, and youth sizing.

Intradeco, a vertical-manufacturing company, offers unique advantages for an upstart shirt division. It owns factories and facilities around the Western Hemisphere, with staff for merchandising, design, sourcing, knitting, dyeing, cutting, sewing, and distribution.

Wholesale pricing will range from about $4 to $12. Consumers will pay more, but Romick said MSRPs will be far below industry averages “for the same or better quality shirt.”

Intradeco Acquires Headsweats

The speed of manufacture is another callout, Romick noted. “We started deliveries at the end of June,” he said. “We are taking orders for four- to five-week turnaround, and as few as 24 custom T-shirts [in an order].”

Mock-ups of sublimation t-shirts
Mock-ups of sublimation T-shirts

Romick also noted he’s proud to be working with an eco-conscious company. Intradeco has a large solar-powered distribution center and a corporate commitment to reducing manufacturing water use.

Because of its commitment to sustainable practices, the company will receive recognition at next week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show. Unifi will present Intradeco with a Champion of Sustainability award.

Monitor for updates on the new T-shirt line. 

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.