In 1914, Alexander MacRae--a Scotsman who had recently immigrated to Sydney, Australia--founded MacRae and Company Hosiery to manufacture underwear and socks. After great success making clothes for the Australian army during World War I, the company was able to expand, and it introduced its first swimwear line in 1927. The slogan "Speed on in Your Speedos" was chosen from an advertising contest, and the company was officially renamed Speedo Knitting Mills. The new racerback swimsuit spurred some controversy at first, and it was frequently banned for showing too much shoulder skin, but its streamlined design also proved to give swimmers a competitive advantage.
By the mid-20th century, Speedo had become one of the most trusted names in competitive swimwear, and the company began to expand beyond Australian borders. A European outpost was established in Nottingham, UK (now the location of the company's international headquarters), and the Warnaco Group purchased licensing and distribution rights for the United States. The brand began expanding its offerings to include general sportswear for both men and women. After going through bankruptcy proceedings in the early 2000s, Warnaco has shown steady growth--thanks, in large part, to Speedo's success. The brand has endorsement deals with major Olympic athletes that have helped it keep its reputation as one of the top swimwear brands in the world.
Speedo's swimwear line for kids features products to help little ones get into the pool as early as possible in addition to supporting them as they grow. Options for babies and toddlers include swim diapers and sun suits. Swimwear for kids is divided into performance swimsuits and casual swimsuits. One-piece suits and sports bikinis help decrease drag and make girls as fast as possible in the pool. Boys can choose between Speedo's iconic brief swimsuits and its Jammer suits that provide a little more coverage. For those who aren't swimming competitively, the brand offers swim trunks for boys as well as bikinis and tankinis for girls.
Women's swimwear is divided into several different categories. Competition and racing swimsuits are trusted by amateur and professional swimmers to increase speed. The brand also offers full-coverage swimsuits for colder water. Fitness swimwear is designed to be easy to move in so that you can do laps or take water aerobics at the gym. Finally, recreational swimwear puts fashion first to help you feel your best at the beach or in the pool. Swim accessories for both kids and adults include swim caps, goggles, snorkeling gear, paddles, fins, flotation aids, backpacks, and more. You can also find footwear like flip-flops, water shoes, and sandals.
While some people approach trips to the pool or the beach as purely recreational activities, others make swimming a sport. For kids and adults who want to improve their swimming abilities and even swim competitively, Speedo is one of the top brands to consider. Between its advanced technology and its wide range of options, few brands will serve athletes better. More casual swimmers may find that the brand puts too much of a focus on functionality without addressing fashion, but Speedo does have small recreational swimwear collections for each age group and gender. All in all, we give Speedo 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1914
- Competitive swimwear and accessories
- Sold at:
- Major retailers, specialty stores, online
- Types of items:
- One-piece swimsuits, racing swimsuits, brief swimsuits, full-coverage swimsuits, rash guards, swim trunks, bikinis, tankinis, tanks, tees, jackets, cover-ups, yoga pants, flip-flops, sandals, water shoes, goggles, swim caps, flotation aids, snorkeling gear, bags, backpacks
- Related brands:
- Chaps, Calvin Klein, Olga, Warner's, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, Van Heusen, Arrow