Our quick drying, fluid-resistant fabric helps reduce the chance of contaminants infecting a wearer, while resisting stains from everyday use. Essential Threads is moisture-wicking, fluid repellent, and odor-resistant.
Essential Threads are treated with a proprietary technology that provides long-term effective control of microorganisms. Using innovative antimicrobial technology, our products have been tested to reduce microorganisms by 99.99% through 100 industrial washes, or about 2 years of regular use.
Essential Threads is a Chattanooga- and now Western Pennsylvania-based company formerly known as Aegle Gear. With garments designed by
professional seamstresses guided by physical therapists and athletic company executives, Aegle Gear created a premium garment made to
perform and protect athletic cuts and antimicrobial, water-repellent, four-way stretch, ripstop fabrics. With the COVID-19 pandemic,
staffing and supply chain dwindled both the distribution and the staff.
Enter Drs. Helton, Bruce, and Smith. Fans of the line, they, along with Rose Mikel and Lisa D'Antonio with a combined 70-plus years in
sporting goods and athletic apparel retail and wholesale, are striving to resurrect the company as Essential Threads. With new colors and styles,
Essential Threads garments offer performance and protection in addition to a professional, clean look and feel.
Read below to understand why Essential Threads is part of these professionals' lives now.
Keith Helton, MD: Premium Quality
Do Good. Help Others.
That's the mission statement of Dr. Helton's One-to-One Health. The founder of five innovative
healthcare companies, Keith has been a practicing specialist in internal medicine and pediatrics as
well as a managing partner with one of East Tennessee's largest and most respected medical groups,
Galen Medical Group. He served as Executive Vice President of Physician Services at a leading academic
medical center, Erlanger Health System, and currently serves on the board of directors of the UT Research
Foundation. One to One Health is an entire system of patient-focused, physician-managed healthcare system,
and in addition to being president of the company, Dr. Helton is an active practicing physician. A devoted
husband and father and now grandfather, Dr. Helton is a pillar of the Chattanooga community where he grew up.
How does Essential Threads fit into Dr. Helton's bio? He was one of an original group of investors in Aegle Gear.
When the opportunity developed to restart the company, Dr. Helton joined the effort because of the product quality.
"Unlike any other scrubs, this product is the premium scrub on the market and every essential worker should have the
opportunity to have the right uniform to interact with the public," he tells us.
We think that by being part of our company, Dr. Helton IS doing good and helping others in yet another way!
Lisa Smith, MD: Professional Style
You never know where you'll see her next! With a variety of interests ranging from Auburn University and Pittsburgh Steeler
football to Disney World and other family travel, Dr. Smith is never without something to do or some place to go!
Putting family first, she has pursued a career as a fellowship-trained pediatric surgeon at University Surgical Associates,
a vested partner for over 20 years. She holds dual appointments as an assistant professor in the departments of Surgery and
Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine--Chattanooga Unit. In addition, to her practice of pediatric
general surgery, she is the medical director of the chest wall reconstruction program, and coordinates the efforts of her
award-winning program, "Pectacular!", a multidisciplinary program for children and adults with chest wall deformities and
is the surgeon in the Chattanooga region performing these complex reconstructive procedures.
The COVID-19 pandemic offered opportunities to help the community. Along with her husband, Dr. Bruce,
she designed gowns that could be cut from a single operating room drape that went on to be, with a few adjustments in
manufacturing, the gowns that filled the national stockpile of PPE and provided jobs for four factories at the beginning
of the pandemic. She and David advised others who created mask covers and face shields and helped essential businesses
during the shutdown navigate the complex advice of the CDC.
And she did it all wearing antimicrobial Aegle Gear scrubs.
She joined Dr. Helton along with her husband as medical directors of One-to-One Health's COVID Services where she is a
consultant for multiple schools and businesses, hands-on creating the "playbooks" for dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic,
interpreting the ever-evolving science into safer everyday behaviors. She writes a weekly newsletter, has published multiple
scientific papers, and even made regular appearances as a health expert on local news throughout the pandemic.
Along with helping to care for her aging parents, Dr. Smith is a wife to Dr. Bruce, mother to two teen girls, and
stepmother to Dr. Bruce's two sons. Family time is spent at their home in Chattanooga, at the beach, and at football games,
and travel is a family event.
How does Essential Threads fit into Dr. Smith's bio? She has been a fan since wearing them to triage the medical tent for 10
Ironman events when David was the medical director! She outfitted her entire staff in Aegle Gear and organized a group order
of vests for the nursing staff at Chattanooga's children's hospital at the beginning of the pandemic, choosing their
antimicrobial and fluid-resistant qualities for her colleagues.
The second woman to finish a surgery residency in the program when she trained, professional appearance is important to
Dr. Smith. She chooses Essential Threads when seeing patients in both the office and the hospital, frequently choosing a
vest in place of a white coat like many physicians who prefer to wear nothing below the elbow. Antimicrobial and
water-resistant qualities along with a professional style create the perfect work wardrobe, pairing both athletic
shoes and operating room clogs. Encouraging the additions of the jogger for both men and women and the men's vest
for the new line, being part of the company now allows her to participate in the mission of making a quality garment
available for every essential worker, from daycares and nursing homes to hospitals and veterinary offices.
W. David Bruce, MD: Protection and Comfort
Experience matters and Dr. Bruce has a variety of experiences to offer a well-rounded, practical approach to his patients.
Born and raised in Opelika, Alabama, Dr. Bruce is a 4th-generation Auburn graduate who then matriculated to the University of
Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. Training for 6 years at the University of Tennessee College of
Medicine—Chattanooga Unit based at Erlanger Medical Center, he then completed two fellowships. First, Dr. Bruce trained in sports
medicine and shoulder surgery under Drs. Champ Baker and Jack Hughston (the "father of sports medicine") at the Hughston Clinic in
Columbus, GA, where he covered sports teams including the Atlanta Braves baseball team, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, Valdosta
State University, and Brookstone High School in Columbus, GA. He then spent one year in pediatric orthopedic surgery at Children's
Primary Hospital and Shriners Hospital Intermountain in Salt Lake City, UT where his training included regular clinics in Juarez (Mexico),
Denver (CO), Boise (ID), and Phoenix (AZ). He is the author of several textbook chapters and journal articles. Dr. Bruce returned to
practice in Chattanooga and is the team doctor for both Baylor and McCallie schools.
Dr. Bruce is committed to the Chattanooga community. He was the Medical Director for Ironman Chattanooga's inaugural race and
nine more Ironman events including the 2017 70.3 World Championships for both men and women. For his service to the city in this capacity,
Dr. Bruce was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award from the Chattanooga Visitor's Bureau and the Distinguished Service Award from the
Tennessee Medical Association, both in 2017. Most recently, Dr. Bruce's service to the region focuses on the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic,
and includes advising and development of personal protective equipment for our region and helping local businesses and schools develop
mitigation techniques. He is one of two medical directors of One-to-One Health's COVID Services along with his wife, pediatric surgeon
Dr. Lisa Smith. Together they have two sons and two daughters and reside in North Chattanooga.
How does Essential Threads fit into Dr. Bruce's bio? Aegle Gear was founded in Chattanooga, and Dr. Bruce began wearing them after trying
them during his time with Ironman. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Bruce not only purchased multiple sets of Aegle Gear scrubs
for himself, but also his brother, Homer "Buddy" Bruce, a practicing veterinarian in Auburn/Opelika. The founder of Aegle Gear called
Dr. Bruce to ask why he purchased so many, and he replied, "These are the best scrubs on the market!" Having worn them at Ironman and
in the office seeing patients, Dr. Bruce knew the durability and quality of the garment, and the antimicrobial activity gave him peace of
mind as he continued to take care of patients. Taking care of athletes and weekend warriors, Dr. Bruce is busy with physical exams and he
wears Essential Threads in the office for their four-way stretch and athletic cut, moving efficiently throughout his work day while looking
professional due to their wrinkle resistance. Dr. Bruce's orthopedic staff at RiverRun as well as his brother's veterinary staff in Alabama
all wear Essential Threads, attesting to their comfort, durability, water-resistance, and professional look.