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Inside Pearl Izumi – behind the clothing company

Inside Pearl Izumi – behind the clothing company

As we’re ushered through the neat and tidy office located on an industrial estate in  Boulder, Coloroda, it isn’t difficult to get a sense of the pride and passion the Pearl Izumi employees have for the brand. It runs through everything they do. With an enviable reputation for innovation in the sports clothing market, Pearl Izumi is an iconic clothing brand.

The clothing brand has its roots in Japan. Started over 50 years ago in Toyko, the clothing brand romantically came to being when a father handmade cycle clothing for his bicycle racing son. In 1989 Pearl Izumi USAwas initiated to develop clothing outside of Japan and this office and facility in Boulder is the  result, and now the company has several offices designing and developing clothing for the different markets around the world.

More recently, in 2008 Shimano bought Pearl Izumi. This has given the company the stability and financial security to press ahead, and strengthen their its portfolio of leading edge clothing and footwear. As we found when we visited Pearl Izumi,  they’re being allowed to push forward. There’s little interference from Shimano – the component manufacturer is clearly happy to run Pearl Izumi as a separate entity, with offices around the world.

Each of this cute miniature jerseys signifies 10 years of employment


And, if you’re wondering about the name, ‘pearl’ is derived from the gem pearl and ‘izumi’ is named after an area of Japan known for its clear water. Literally translated, the name means, “fountain of pearls.”

It was fascinating touring the Pearl Izumi offices and learning about the brand. It’s clear from spending time with them that they really want to offer the best clothing possible. Everyone that works for the company is into their outdoor sports, whether it’s running or cycling, and that feeds into the lively culture that exists in the offices.

Here’s a photo gallery from our visit:

There's a strong interest in sports and outdoor activities in Boulder, and Pearl Izumi is typical of that outdoors loving culture. Plenty of people ride to work


They live and breathe the brand


Testing, testing, testing. A bunch of short inserts here being tested. Pearl Izumi produce everything themselves, from fabrics to short inserts


No factory tour is complete without a shot of boxes. Lots of them, stacked high


While most of the manufacture is done overseas at larger facilities, they're able to produce small runs for prototyping and developing in-house Handy with a sewing machine?


Are they kidding? We didn't ask


Pearl Izumi sponsor the Tour of California, and produce all the stage winner and leaders jerseys using a sublimation process in-house


They've got a good sense of humour. These we like, we've been trying to get some for the Bikemagic office


Well, why not



  1. PaulHaysom

    Love the factory visit – more of these please!

  2. Julien Deckard

    I used to work in a bike shop and was in charge of the clothing department. Pearl Izumi was some of the best stuff we sold. I bought loads of older colour stock ,mainly jackets and Vagabond zip off arm jackets. We couldn’t get enough of them! The Zepher material is excellent, highly wind resistant and quick drying. I still have a few jackets and wear them every time I go riding. I had about six at one point and the wife made me sell some on ebay! Well worth the expense…..


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