The Answer Vault: A Q&A with Fourlaps Founder Daniel Shapiro
A native of St. Louis and veteran of merchandising giants like the Gap and American Eagle, Daniel Shapiro founded Fourlaps athletic wear to merge style and function in the world of men’s athletic apparel and to make workout clothing more reflective of what people were wearing on the street. Four years later, Fourlaps is carried by major retailers such as JCrew and Nordstrom, and the brand has been featured everywhere from GQ and Esquire to Runner’s World and Gear Patrol. We talked with Daniel about everything from whether the right clothing can really improve your workout to the best advice he’s taken in setting goals.
What motivated you to start Fourlaps?
I started Fourlaps because I noticed that there was a real lack of well-designed athletic apparel for men. Most of the gear that I saw on the market that was over-seamed, over-logoed, and featured a lot of neon. I wanted to create a brand that was bold and functional, but that also had stylish, diverse pieces that guys could wear in and out of the gym. Originally, we started as a direct-to-consumer brand, but now we also sell through companies like Peloton.
We all have a sense that what you wear can affect performance. What should men know about this? Are there particular features to look for in workout clothing?
Yes, for sure. Look for functional fabrics—like four-way stretch, which helps with mobility. Temperature regulating fabrics are also important, especially in hot weather, when clothing can act as a barrier for the warm air the body releases as it cools itself off. (We use a technology called 37.5, which helps for both warm and cold temperatures). Lastly, though this is less about performance and more about convenience, make sure your gear has functional details like zipper pockets to keep keys and cards from falling out and built-in media sleeves for your phone.
Are there certain types of clothing that pair well with particular activities?
Shorter running shorts are great for running. We make a 5” Extend short that gives you a lot of room for movement, which our customers seem to really value. For training, shorts with compression liners (we have this in our Command short) give you a lot of support. And thermo-regulation can of course help extend any workout. I wore our thermo-regulating Level tee in an un airconditioned gym and barely broke a sweat!
Given your involvement in the fitness space, what exercise trends are you most excited about?
I’m a huge Peloton guy. When the pandemic hit, I immediately got a bike, and I’m loving the rides. They have a way of making you feel like you’re right in the studio with the instructor. I definitely miss the social aspects of going to the gym, but Peloton is really the next best thing.
What are you most excited about for the future of Fourlaps?
We’re constantly looking at how we can be more sustainable. This fall we’re launching biodegradable packaging and we’re even launching a biodegradable Sherpa fabric!
What do you do to feel healthy?
I try to eat healthy and work out six days a week. I’ve put on some weight since the pandemic, but I try and keep up with my workout routines. For me, it’s not just about the physical training. So much of my workout is mental, and keeping up with my routine helps balance both of those aspects.
What are your “musts” when it comes to exercise and staying fit?
I like to switch it up every now and then. I’ve been doing Sara Carr’s distanced bootcamp classes in the park for the last several months. I’m also a big fan of Pilates, which helps you stay strong, lean while still maintaining flexibility. And of course, I like to mix in a few Peloton classes!
Be it in fitness or business, what’s the best advice you’ve followed?
There’s no easy or quick way to be successful. But the belief that there might be if you’re just a little more prepared can be a tempting reason to put your goals off. The Fourlaps motto, Start Before You’re Ready ®, was born from the belief that when you start before you’re ready, you take the challenge full on. Taking that leap, I believe things always work out for the best.
How would you define manhood in 2020?
That’s a great question. I would define this as being confident and aware. Knowing who you are, standing up for what you know is right, not giving up, believing in yourself, and bringing that light to others. Now, more than ever, we have the ability to make an impact, and being aware of what's going on around us is so important.