Today, Teva announced the addition of BMX rider Chad Kagy to its athlete roster. Kagy, who has won 13 X Games medals in four disciplines, is the first BMXer sponsored by the outdoor shoe brand known for its water sandals and freeride biking shoes.
"Chad is a very upfront, honest guy," says Seth Pulford, Teva's sports marketing manager. "He's a genuinely cool person to work with, he's super positive, and he wants to make a difference and help our growth as a brand." Kagy will ride in Teva shoes, contribute to team videos, and participate in product research and development.
Kagy and Teva first connected last February. Freestyle mountain biker Cam McCaul -- a Teva athlete and Kagy's friend -- invited the BMXer to compete at the first Winter Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Kagy emerged with a victory in his first ever mountain bike competition, the on-snow Bike Best Trick, plus a favorable take on Teva.
"I finished that event with a really good view of Teva and how they conduct business," Kagy told ESPN from his home in State College, Pa. "It's not every day you come across a company where every single person you interact with is excited to do their job. It's refreshing."
I'll utilize what I have access to that none of the other [Teva] guys do, and that's BMX.
Kagy attended a product release party in Vail, leaving with a pair of the Teva Links Mid bike shoe. "The way they grip the pedal and the actual support they gave to my foot was more comfortable than anything I'd ridden," Kagy said. He wore them for two months straight, then sent handwritten thank-you notes to Joel Heath, the president of Teva and the founder of Teva Mountain Games, and others in the company. "That opened up the lines of communication toward working together in the future," Kagy says.
Although Pulford said Teva currently has no plans to develop BMX-specific products, the company hopes to tap into Kagy's background and credibility in the sport. "He gives us an organic presence in BMX," Puflord said. "We're not actively trying to be in BMX. It's more about who lives the lifestyle that is reflective of our roots as a company."
Kagy said he received positive feedback on his Teva shoes at the X Games and Dew Tour events this summer. For his part, more mountain biking is in store. "Opening the door into the mountain bike world while still riding BMX allows for me to help with Teva's tagline, 'Live Better Stories,'" he said. "I'll utilize what I have access to that none of the other [Teva] guys do, and that's BMX."