Sometimes you hear of a company that just does it right.  A company that provides a great product or service, and on top of that gives back to a community in need.  It would be great if you could count on all companies to do just that, but unfortunately they are few and far between.

Well the running world recently added just such a company.  Janji is a running apparel company that is both putting out quality products and donating a portion of each sell toward helping the millions of malnourished people around the world.

The idea is simple.  A percentage of the profits of every item sold goes back fighting the global food and water shortage.  As their website says, “Runners require proper hydration and healthy food to help us train, run our 5ks, and finish our marathons, while hundreds of millions around the world lack the simple nourishment just to survive. ”

Me sporting a Janji shirt on top of Sugarloaf Mt.

In the back of a bus on the way to the 2010 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Mike Burnstein and David Spandorfer were trying to think of a way that runners could give back in ways other than charity races.  By the time they were on their way home, the idea of Janji, which means “promise” in Malaysian, was born.

They currently work with two organizations: KickStart, who subsidizes sustainable water pumps for agriculture in Kenya, and Med and Foods for Kids, which provides medicine and food for children in Haiti.  $4 of each $30 shirt goes directly to each of these hand selected organizations.  Mike Burnstein, one of the two founders, told the Wicked Local that, “We looked at all of the organizations for [certain] things: They had to provide an innovative solution to their country’s needs. Instead of just handing out food or bottles of water, they had to have a systemic approach that attacks the problem at the root. They need proven results, to prove that their methods work, and can provide us with a tangible amount of social good per dollar that we donate.”

What about the Clothes?

Currently Janji has two tops and two shorts in both men’s and women’s designs.  One of each is designed to represent the colors and symbols of either Haiti or Kenya.

The good people over at Janji were willing to send me over a pair of shorts and shirt to give a try (Full disclosure, they asked that I donate the $4 for each item which goes towards the aid organizations).  A few weeks ago I received the Kenya shorts and shirt, and have been giving them a go.

Shirt – Immediately after pulling them out of the tubular shipping container, I loved the look and the feel of the shirt.  It is a 100% Polyester moisture wick shirt.  I was pleasantly surprised at how soft it was to the touch, and I appreciated the fact that the ink from the design was also soft.  I’m the kind of person who’s skin is irritated easily from certain shirts, and I am happy to report that this shirt was perfect.

The shirt also fit really well.  It was a true medium, and the design fits well while running.

Shorts – As for the shorts, I had asked for a medium, which has been my size in running short since I really took up running.  Unfortunately they fit a little small.  For that reason, I don’t think I can give them an true assessment on performance while running.  I can, however, say that Janji has another great design with these shorts.  Also 100% Polyester (both interior and exterior), they are lightweight, breathable, and cool.  They also have the interior pocket, which is the first thing I check for before buying a running short.  When I get my next pair, I will go for a size up.

Would I buy them again and recommend them to others?

Absolutely.  They stack up against any specialty shirt from any major running company.  So why wouldn’t you help

To support and learn more about Janji, visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter.  You can pick up their products online or in DC at Potomac River Running company.

The Giveaway!

Janji has generously agreed to give one of YOU a free shirt too!

I’m trying something new today that I first saw over at Macheesmo.  It is simple giveaway program called Punchtab.  It will allow you to enter the contest several times by doing different things.  Each time you complete one of those things (liking me on facebook, for example), it will automatically give you another entry.  You can sign in through facebook (it doesn’t post anything to your feed unless you ask it to) or through your e-mail address (no spam, promise).

Good luck!  The contest will be closed and the winner announced next Tuesday, August 13, 2012!  But even if you don’t win.  I’d strongly recommend supporting Janji though their online store.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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