Vancouver-based Stoko creates products for ‘athletes of all abilities’

Formerly known as Embrace Orthopaedics, the Vancouver-based brand Stoko merges “functional support and activewear” for athletes.

For the company, that means creating a Health Canada-registered knee support in innovative athletic tights. We caught up with founder and CEO Zack Eberwein to learn more.

Q. For those who aren’t familiar, what is Stoko?
A.Stoko is a Vancouver-based supportive apparel company. We empower athletes of all abilities by helping them overcome injuries, push harder, and stay active longer. We have created the world’s first supportive apparel that integrates adjustable support into everyday athletic clothing. Living at the intersection of functional support and design thinking, Stoko prioritizes simplicity, authenticity, and all aspects of our athlete’s experience.
Q. Is there a story behind the name?
A. In earlier days, while the company had strictly a technology focus we were known as Embrace Orthopaedics; We however we quickly realized we were creating a new category altogether and we needed to think bigger — and bolder. We wanted a name that was confident, punchy and memorable. Something that would stand out in a medical office, but also hold its own in the athletic retail space. We kept coming back to the word “stoke” for both its literal and (positive) associated meaning.

In the naming process and work on the brand, we have been drawn to the idea of supporting, or stoking, something powerful. In our minds, “this something” is akin to the passion or excitement that comes from feeling great while doing something great … the feeling our athletes have when they are out there doing what they love.

Q. What makes it different from other activewear companies? 
A. We are a direct-to-consumer brand that is rooted in efficacy, comfort and aesthetic. The truth is, we stand in a category on our own, hovering at the intersection of functional support and activewear companies. Because of this unique position, we don’t have any true competitors yet, as we are establishing something new. If you look at the knee brace category specifically, there has been a lack of substantial evolution, and the product offerings are limited with little differentiation.
Q. Who is the target customer? 
A. Our athletes are self-motivated, determined and focused. They live busy lives and are always looking to maximize their time. They love the camaraderie of physical outdoor activities and live for the amazing stories that come from their adventures. Our athletes are highly motivated people who are recovering from injury, managing aches and pains, or just looking to protect their knees, as they push their limits. We believe that athletic potential resides in everyone — that’s why we call all of our customers athletes.

Stoko is amazing for anyone with a knee injury, but our primary athletes are men and women from 25 to 45 years old. They are often super active at least four days a week or even every day. They’re career driven high income earners who want to associate themselves with well-designed premium products. Our athletes generally identify with these brands for their innovation, quality, design, communities and overall brand experiences.

Q. Where is the line designed/made? 
A. The Stoko K1 is designed and manufactured right here in Vancouver. Our East Van offices are home to our amazing team of engineers, designers, and production specialists.
Q. Is there a ‘hero’ in the lineup? If so, which one and what makes it so popular? 
A. On October 1 we launched our first product, the K1. The K1 is a game changing compression tight that mimics the natural support structures within your body to give your knee all the support of a traditional knee brace; this support, combined with unparalleled comfort makes this extremely popular.
Q. What is the price range for Stoko pieces?
A. The price for our K1 model is $500. Our products are FDA approved and registered as a Class 1 Medical Device by Health Canada, which can make them eligible to be covered by insurance.
Q. Lastly, where can people check them out? 
A. Check them out at