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About Us

We believe that life should be lived without limits and that your choice of technical apparel should reflect this. All 686 products are created with the goal of pushing current boundaries of design, construction and interaction. Each piece is uniquely crafted to provide more than you expect and push your experience beyond what you thought possible.

 “When I started 686 in 1992, the plan was simple: Create the best products that allow you to enjoy the best experiences in winter on and off the mountain. The first ideals I wrote down where “provide more than they expect” and “average is not acceptable.” - Michael Akira West, Founder/CEO/Creative Director  

Fast forward 29 years and while so much has changed, so much has remained the same. As an independently operated brand, we continue to strive beyond expectations by constantly creating innovative products, encouraging a diverse and inclusive atmosphere, constantly improving our sustainability stance and giving back to our communities both locally and globally. 

Our commitment to creating more sustainable manufacturing practices, utilizing more eco-friendly materials, reducing waste and continuing our fair labor practices are ongoing. Each year we take new steps towards constant and substantial improvement. In our commitment to becoming Climate Neutral Certified, we have measured and pledged to offset our entire 2020 carbon emissions and created plans to reduce emissions moving forward


Our Story

Since 686 founder, Michael Akira West, first stepped on a skateboard as a youth in the early eighties, he immediately had a new addiction and inspiration. The freedom that skateboarding provided birthed a lifelong quest for freedom of expression through all forms of mediums. Throughout the following years, Mike transitioned from skateboarding to snowboarding, working and riding in Big Bear, CA and continually gathering and exploring new ideas including unique apparel based around the southern California snowboard scene.

On November 13, 1992 Mike officially launched Jib 686 Enterprises, a small collection of denim, technical outerwear and accessories. What began as a class project during his time at the University of Southern California was now a reality. In 1995 Jib 686 Enterprises became 686 Enterprises as Mike began to travel to larger mountains and encountered a scene and riding conditions vastly different from and far larger than the jib scene of his local resort, Big Bear. 1995 also saw the birth of the 686 SMARTY® 3-in-1 Cargo Pant. The SMARTY® 3-in-1 purposeful proposition later spawned other intelligent products such as the Original Toolbelt and Thermagraph® Body Mapping System that are still in the collection today.

The name “686” has its roots in numerics. There have been a lot of rumors about the meaning of 686, but 686 stems from personal dates and numbers in Mike's life that all merged together at the perfect time. However personal as it started, the number has now become synonymous with providing innovative, forward thinking outerwear and technical apparel inspired by the outdoors and mountain culture.

686 Technical Apparel continues to be independently owned and operated since 1992.

Benefits of our Affiliate Program:

  • Earn 6% for every sale you refer to 686

  • Cookie return days: 30 days

  • Dedicated Affiliate Management

  • Regularly updated creative

  • 30-day cookie duration

PPC: 686 does not allow trademark, trademark plus bidding, or any misspellings of the brand name. Direct linking is allowed. Publishers that violate these terms and conditions risk deactivation from the program. Affiliates are not permitted to promote any coupons not provided by us via AvantLink.

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