While David Jacobs’ young sons were in the ski race circuit, he noted there was only one brand of race sweaters available. He knew he could make a better product and sell it to the close-knit race community. David L Jacobs, Incorporated, began as a small mail order business ‘for racing, by racers’.
One of Jacob’s early creations was a blue racing pant with yellow striped protective pads. Skiers began calling them ‘spider’ pants, due to their spider leg-like appearance. Jacobs renamed the company to Spyder in 1978. A passionate sports car fan, he borrowed the spelling with a ‘y’ from the Ferrari Spyder. Famous racers on the pro tour wore Spyder. Founded by former U.S. coach Bob Beattie, the pro tour’s big money purse attracted top competitors like Jean-Claude Killy, Jimmy Heuga, Hank Kashiwa, and Billy Kidd. “It put a stamp on our credibility,” founder David Jacobs said.
During the early 80’s, breakaway gates changed racing technique. As a result, Spyder’s functional World Cup Pant was sought after by national teams. “Every team had to have it,” said David Jacobs. Teams sporting the pant included the Yugoslavs, Australians, Norwegians, Swedes, Canadians, and Americans.
After Sports Illustrated called Steven Lee “Spider Man” after his World Cup win, Marvel Comics sent David Jacobs a legal warning of trademark infringement. Before Marvel dropped action, Jacobs believed his business was doomed; “I thought everything collapsed.” AJ Kitt ironically signed this Sports Illustrated cover six years later.
David Jacob’s son Jake drew the first web on a solid suit in 1984 as a mock-up, launching the web-graphic designs built to this day. Suits replaced padded slalom wear around 1988 when slalom racers began cross-blocking gates, not hitting the gates on their upper body, only on their lower legs.
Spyder became an official supplier to the U.S. Ski Team in 1989.
David Jacobs patented SpeedWyre, a revolutionary “trip wire” that reduced wind drag by up to 40%. U.S. Ski Team members wearing SpeedWyre suits captured gold, bronze, and fifth place in world championships over the next two years. FIS banned SpeedWyre in 1997, claiming that it gave skiers an unfair advantage.
Nothing less than a ski revolution, freeskiing took root. Spyder recognized the new ski genre and in 1998 introduced the Kreitler line, eponymous for pro skier Kent Kreitler, a member of the freeski vanguard. Shane McConkey and Kreitler moved from the pro mogul tour and became sponsored Spyder pros.
Apax Partners Funds acquires Spyder Active Sports. The strategic deal allowed David Jacobs to remain in charge and be part of a long-term plan for growth.
Spyder renews its relationship with the USSA (U.S. Ski Team Athletes) for another six years.
Spyder makes history as part of the Metropolitan Museum costume institute’s new exhibit. The display explored the likeness of Spyder’s Competition GS and DH Race Suits to the aerodynamic costume of Spiderman.
Through partnerships with 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation, Audi, and the U.S. and Canadian National Alpine Ski Teams, Spyder gains greater visibility on the slopes and in the premium product marketplace.
Spyder acquired by Authentic Brands Group (ABG). As part of the acquisition, ABG entered into a strategic licensing partnership with LF USA that establishes LF USA as the exclusive licensee partner in North, South, and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa for all current in-market and footwear products bearing the Spyder brand. The new ownership structure positions the Spyder brand to reach its robust growth and market expansion goals.
Spyder becomes a key player in Global Brands Group – a new division formed out of LF USA. As part of this group of hugely successful brands, Spyder starts to leverage all the incredible sources available to it.
Spyder launched its new brand look and feel – giving the bug a new lease on life. Previewed at SIA in Denver in January it gained huge traction. Launched officially at the beginning of May, the #limitless campaign went global with simultaneous promotion across digital media by the Spyder Athletes, including Julia Mancuso and Steven Nyman.