X-Bionic have been supporting our trail running team for a very long time now. I own multiple sets of the Trick System (short + t-shirt) , what I have been using for almost 3 years now, with like 30 pairs of  X-Socks, the Runner 3/4s, the Effektor tights and long sleeve shirts, the Spiker for the calves, hats and arm-sleeves. I could get half of them as a test sample, but bought the other half myself. This is something you should know to see that I am not biased, more likely 100% convinced !

 

I have been wearing the bionic line for almost 5years and my personal anecdotes are multiple. Running in the same t-shirt in races like the Art O'Neil Challange in Ireland where we faced brutal blizzards in -15°C and a small race in France, the Trail de Cipieres under the blazing sun of +40°C ! Same T-shirt ! 
This year we did 4 over 24h efforts including one 38h one non-stop, 3 multi-day adventures of over 10hours of movement day after day. Always in the X ! I dedicate well over 1000 hours from my time each year to movement and I need clothing what works and what holds up !

Marketing strategy

If nothing has changed since last time I heard an X-Bionic rep talking about their brand passionately, they work with Italian textile and use their production facilities in Switzerland. All comes from Europe !
The Trick is a great example of X-Bionic wear; It has a very sophisticated back side with a three dimensional pattern. Only this takes more than 20 minutes to fabricate and all together, one single t-shirt needs just under 40minutes to create !
Already with these two facts of place and length of fabrication, you can easily understand where the price tag is coming from. They do not roll out 15000 t-shirt a day from a China based factory ! (Should they ? )
We did not yet talk about the tech of X-Bionic garments, what is just fabulous and it is also elevating to the value! It cools, heats or insulates your muscles, focusing strategically on high blood-flow areas. Together with it’s targeted light/medium/high compression weaving, this is a complete thermoregulating system. It works !

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Trail Ubaye Salomon 2016

X-Bionic textiles are expensive for this very good reason, but prices are coming down in 2018. The profit a reseller can make is not that high either, as the RRP doesn’t really allow too much margin to play with. Money wise, it is not that exciting to actually resell X-Bionic. Actual resellers are very often users themselves or passionate about quality and innovative functional wear for outdoor sports !
I would like to see more shops in general, carrying the stretchy clothing and would be happy to observe more activity for instance in the US. Probably more convincing, knowledgable, passionate and loyal sales reps needed and the marketing team should be way more active on the social media. No real buzz is going on.
Why nobody wore X-Bionic during the heat of the Crossfit Games finals ? It would work like a charm ! Western States, Hardrock, Lakeland 100, Skyrunning ? I watch so many race report videos; events should be more saturated.

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Trail de Gorbio 2015

For this reason the products are not that popular overseas, yet ! For instance, I have been following trail running sites and blogs for well over a decade. Searching for the term X-Bionic brings up one single article on Irunfar and it is not even a positive one.

Locally in France, we always see some runners & multisport athletes using it, but not tons. They have a quiet okay branding procedure and send out a lot of promotional products to athletes freely to use, but also big boxes of clothes to running/outdoor/cycling shops for mass testing. There is some visibility coming in from the cycling world, like Giro d’Italia, car racing, multisport and winter events. It is not boiling however. Social media is for free but even very small, like 500 euro a month of investment can target like tens of thousands of people on FB and Instagram. I mean they probably do it, but somehow it doesn’t come down as it should. There are like 1500 subscribers on youtube, what should be at least 20x more !

Contradicting the current flow

A hydro-electric plant on a river can generate electricity while not moving at all. Not against and not with the current ! Not moving, but still advancing !

It is not obligatory to follow or to take a part from the market. You can create your own niche market and fulfil it’s needs. Satisfaction is not measured by increasing profit but by profit itself ! Once everything is rolling smoothly just sit back and enjoy life itself !

If the brand was not acting like all other outdoor brands, so growth and increasing profit is not the main objective, well they are just doing fine. I think they can pay their employees well, they got amazing stuff going on in case of development, innovation and research, after sales product care is low because of high product standards, the customer satisfaction is 100% positive and the customer service and communication is perfect ! 2years of warranty on all products !

Maybe instead of investing in cheap manufacturing plants in Asia, they turn back their profit towards making current production units cheaper to function. They could even go 100% solar, what would drastically cut down costs, but also environmental impact.


I am wandering that my observations are true only in France and in the English speaking countries or I am not practicing and following the good sport at all. Looking at the reseller map, the US is nearly empty, in the UK there is not much going on either.  Personally as I have been participating in trail and ultra trail running races for 6 years now in France, I can count very often on one hand or on one finger, the number of participants wearing X-bionic.
However, checking the BLOG, there is some stuff going on, maybe I am just not captive enough, but looking at the number of subscribers on youtube and the followers on FB, I would like to see way more than that.

What is going in at the X-Bionic HQ ? It could be great to see, how the company functions, how their daily operations go and what are priorities. This contradictory marketing strategy might be interesting to look at, cause maybe they are missing out on some key assets. Or not !

Maybe they don’t even care, as I mentioned previously. Employees are payed well, customers are satisfied, the skiing, cycling and car racing champions are served perfectly and no further growth in company size is necessary. Profits are returned into s&d and new and better clothing and equipment will hit the market each and every year.

Why do I care and why did I put my line of thoughts into words ? I am an outdoor person and I feel that in this industry, for comfort, safety, security and performance reasons only highly functional and fail-proof equipment should be present. This clothing saved the day of many athletes keeping them cool or warm and in the last decade I heard only positive anecdotes about. I keep my eyes and ears open on everything outdoor and this brand provides definitely one of my most recommended gears !

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Trail de l’Escoussier 2014