Last updated: 17/10/2022

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In addition to being comfortable and functional, sportswear is beautiful and versatile, since there is a huge variety of models adapted to different uses, physical activities and styles… Do you like these types of casual wear? Then stay with us and get to know all their variations!

From the 1920s to the present day, sportswear has evolved in terms of comfort, ergonomics and diversity; in fact, nowadays many people use these outfits for their everyday life (and not for sports), combining them with more formal or elegant outfits. Discover their multiple uses!




The Best Sportswear: Our Picks

Buying guide

The main objective of this buying guide is to provide you with useful and necessary information about the product you are interested in buying. Therefore, we will tell you about the most important features of sportswear, including its advantages and those aspects that are not so beneficial.

Sportswear provides comfort, elasticity and ergonomics when doing physical activities. (Photo: lightfieldstudios / 123rf.com)

What characteristics should sportswear have?

Sportswear should have certain features that are essential to ensure comfort and ergonomics. It is important that you do not lose sight of the aspects that we will mention below in order to perform at your best in the physical activity you do.

if your sportswear is not comfortable, you will not be able to perform

Comfort. This is perhaps the most important point, because if your sportswear is not comfortable, you will not be able to perform at your best in your physical training. Look for comfortable and functional clothes that suit your needs and style (otherwise you will feel uncomfortable or strange).

It is essential that the garment allows you to move easily

Mobility. It is essential that the garment allows you to move easily, especially if you are going to do activities that require more flexibility. For example, if you are going to do yoga, dance, pilates or cycling you should give higher priority to this aspect than if you are going to jog.

It is important for sportswear to be ventilated, because of perspiration

Moisture management. There are physical activities that make us sweat more than others (such as aerobic exercises, for example). That’s why it’s important for sportswear to be ventilated so that your body can breathe, as is the case with clothing made with antiperspirant fibres.

Sportswear for outdoor activities, endurance training or yoga – what should you look out for?

There is a wide range of sports clothing on the market for various uses and sports. In the following, we will point out the characteristics of clothing for outdoor activities, endurance training and yoga, so that you can get to know their particularities and choose the one that best suits the physical activity you do.

Outdoor activities. Beyond their level of demand, outdoor activities require that the sportswear used meets certain fundamental qualities: it must be breathable, windproof and waterproof. You should therefore prioritise these characteristics and adapt them to the physical activity you are doing.

Endurance training. As in outdoor sports, endurance training requires sportswear made of breathable materials that wick sweat away from the body. Also, look for clothing that is lightweight and ergonomic.

For yoga. Because yoga is a calmer practice than more demanding sports, sportswear for yoga should focus not so much on strength and breathability, but on being flexible to perform the various stretching exercises.

Outdoor activities Endurance training Yoga
Fabric characteristics Breathable, waterproof, durable Breathable, lightweight Flexible, stretchy
Most common materials Nylon, polyester, cotton Fibres such as nylon and polyester Lycra and polyester, mainly
Related sports or activities Running, cycling, skating, etc.Running, athletics, gymnastics, etc. Pilates, Tai Chi, dance, etc. Yoga
Main characteristics Must adapt to climatic variables (rain, wind, etc.) Must absorb excessive perspiration from the body Must be flexible, ergonomic and elastic

Where to buy sportswear?

Sportswear is used for more or less demanding physical activities, as well as to complement different styles of clothing. Therefore, due to their popularity and demand, you can easily get these garments in specialised shops such as Decathlon, Dportenis, Innovasport, Martí, etc.

You can also find a great variety and assortment of sportswear on the internet, through online shops such as Amazon, E Bay, Mercado Libre, Champ Sports and Linio, among many others. Online shopping gives you the additional advantage of shopping from home, where you can also receive your order.

Did you know that Ralph Lauren launched sportswear with biometric measurement technology that records all physical movements and synchronises with the user’s smartphone?

What is smart sportswear like?

Smart sportswear is made of innovative materials (such as spandex) that provide additional benefits to optimise different types of training. You can also find variants with micro-sensors that detect body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and calories burned.

There are models made with the addition of ceramics in the textile fibres that improve our performance by oxygenating fabrics. Moreover, these garments regulate the body’s thermostat, improve circulation and reduce fatigue.

There are still many sceptics who are skeptical of these technological garments, as they consider them to be more associated with commercial marketing than with concrete results. The reality is that these products are still very new in the industry, so they will have to be given time to prove their effectiveness.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different sportswear models

In this last section of the article we will mention the buying criteria that you should not fail to consider when buying sportswear, as there is a wide variety of models, styles and designs adapted to different types of activities and physical exercises.

  • Gender
  • Materials
  • Styles
  • Depending on the activity

Gender

The main differences between men’s and women’s sportswear lie in their designs; however, lately the styles of both types of clothing have been unified, creating an avant-garde unisex variant. Here are the most common varieties of apparel by gender.

Men’s. Men’s sportswear tends to be more loose-fitting, except for garments designed for water sports or cycling, which have a tighter fit. On the other hand, men tend to sweat more than women, so you should pay special attention to the breathability of the fibres.

Women’s. Women’s sportswear designs are usually more fitted to the body, not only for aesthetics, but also for comfort and functionality, since women tend to perform physical activities of lower resistance than men, but of greater flexibility. You will find a huge variety of leggings, tops and shorts.

Unisex. The fusion of feminine and masculine designs is currently very fashionable, which is why many women wear baggy sports trousers and a large number of men go for leggings. You can find several variants of this style of garments adapted to the anatomy of the user and to the different physical activities.

In recent years, the demand for sportswear has grown exponentially, mainly due to its innovative designs. (Photo: Wavebreak Media Ltd / 123rf.com)

Materials

The raw materials of sportswear determine the quality, strength, durability, comfort and effectiveness of the garments, as well as their style. Here are the materials most commonly used in the manufacture of casual wear.

Synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres such as nylon, lycra and polyester are the most widely used for the manufacture of sportswear, due to their elasticity, resistance, ergonomics and breathability (and quick drying!). You can also find these garments made with spandex, a hyper lax fibre widely used for swimwear.

Cotton. Cotton is used in sportswear usually combined with synthetic fibres such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph. Keep in mind that although this material is strong, durable, comfortable and hypoallergenic, it does not offer the elasticity that nylon, lycra, polyester or spandex do.

Neoprene. Neoprene is a material specially made for nautical sportswear, because it is thermal, resistant and ergonomic. If you do water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, sailing, rowing, rafting, etc., you will find various models of garments made with this raw material.

Styles

Over the years, sportswear has become not only comfortable and functional, but also highly aesthetic, so there is an increasing variety of models with designs adapted to different tastes and styles. Here we will mention the particularities of these garments according to their style.

Classic. Classic sportswear is that which has designs, prints and sober colours that never go out of fashion and always remain in force. These garments, whether for men or women, can be found in plain colours (usually black or grey) or with subtle details.

Bold. Sportswear tends to cling to the body due to its stretchy materials; however, there are those who double the bet and choose even more low-cut and minuscule models (like super short shorts or tops). If you dare to show off you’ll find numerous daring variations, whether plain or printed.

Modern. Modern sportswear tends to have designs similar to everyday wear (like imitation jeans, for example), so you’ll find variations of trousers, shorts, flannels and tops with bright prints, animal print, etc., which allow you to combine them with different styles of outfits and accessories.

Depending on the activity

Beyond the common characteristics of all sportswear, each garment varies depending on the type of activity you do with it. Below we will detail some variants (in addition to those previously mentioned in the comparative chart) related to specific sports or activities.

Skateboarding. In addition to being a sport, skateboarding is a philosophy of life related to freedom and adrenaline, so skateboarders wear clothes that are comfortable and represent them. If you’re looking for this style of clothing, you’ll find baggy trousers, baggy flannels, hoodies and more.

Basketball. In basketball, shorts and sleeveless flannels are normally used to facilitate the mobility of the arms; both with loose-fitting designs for greater comfort. You should look for clothes with breathable synthetic fibres that wick away sweat, as it is a high performance sport.

Tennis. For tennis, clothes made of flexible raw materials are ideal, but not too tight to facilitate mobility. You should choose the characteristic trousers or skirts (with a pocket to keep the ball in when serving), preferably made of highly breathable fabrics that absorb sweat.

(Featured image photo: ammentorp / 123rf.com)

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