From function to fashion: the biggest sportswear trends

The sport world has long had an influence on fashion trends; items of clothing that started as functional accessories for sporting activities, quickly became staple features in everyday wardrobes. [...]

The sport world has long had an influence on fashion trends; items of clothing that started as functional accessories for sporting activities, quickly became staple features in everyday wardrobes. The glamorisation and aspirational quality of certain sports means it’s now more than acceptable to don sports clothes at social events. Heading out for dinner straight after the gym? No worries. Jersey jumper for Friday night drinks? Fine. Brunch in yoga pants? Absolutely.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, it’s unlikely this will change. Happily, strong is still the new sexy; whether you call it Sports Luxe, Athleisure, or just a super comfy outfit, here are the most popular activewear looks.

Yoga: making leggings an all-year-round option

First, we had the 80-inspired leggings look — you know, the one where the leggings were mostly black, but all slightly too transparent — and, despite the trend becoming omnipresent for a while, it wasn’t really working. However, thanks to the rise in popularity of Western-style yoga, and brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty producing yoga pants in a host of cute colours and patterns, leggings came back in a different guise. Crucially, because these yoga pants are first and foremost a functional item — to be worn during a yoga practice — the fabric is opaque enough to wear outside the yoga studio and stretchy enough to be worn all day without losing its shape.

If you seek confirmation that the yoga activewear look has firmly taken hold, just look in any breakfast or brunch establishment from Mile End to Hammersmith – there you’ll see it, groups of girls in yoga leggings, sipping Matcha lattes over superfoods. Whether or not they’ve been to a yoga class is somewhat irrelevant; the success of this clothing trends supersedes the sport itself, and instead largely symbolises the ‘Clean eating, Clean living’ macro trend that’s continuing to reign supreme.

Basketball: celebrity endorsements bring mass appeal

Looking back, it all started with Michael Jordan – arguably the most famous basketball player of our time and the first ever billion-dollar athlete. While his skills got him to where he is now, good shoes sure helped. https://shoeadviser.com can help you get to where you need to be. Having a variety of shoes that can endure long-games and letting you be at the level you want while staying comfortable.–When Nike started selling sneakers for basketball sports in MJ’s name, he was blasted into the stratospheric level of fame. As such, people — basketball players or no — lusted after functional basketball sneakers, because they were associated with his name.

It is true, though, that certain product design features and assets will make one pair of basketball trainers functionally superior to another — whereas opting for one brand of yoga leggings over another won’t make you more able to Chaturanga or hold Trikonasana for any longer. Indeed, the Sport Consumer best basketball shoes reviews suggests players could jump over 3 inches higher with the right footwear!

The iconic Nike Jordan and Air Jordan have been mimicked by brands all over the world, and the shoe’s widespread appeal doesn’t show signs of slowing.

Running: wearable tech becomes an everyday accessory

Have you ever looked around on your commute, and clocked the amount of people who have switched analogue wristwatches for a fitness tracker? Spoiler alert: it’s a lot! Another nod to the mega trend that is Clean Living, the question “How many steps have you done?” is no longer without meaning to the vast majority: if asked, someone is clearly enquiring about your Fitbit, Garmin or other fitness tracker stats for the day. If smartwatches almost immediately acquired a “children’s” standard, with a telephone module and GPS, then fitness trackers lagged behind the trend for a long time. The first decent model of Fitbit for kids was introduced in 2018.

As such, the world of running has been hugely influential in fashion. So much so, that Fitbit offer a vast selection of different aesthetics and styles for trackers, including the Flex 2 which looks more like a gold bracelet than a functional sports accessory.

Cycling: here’s hoping the shorts don’t stick, but give us a bright cycling jersey any day!

Despite Kylie Jenner making her first post-baby public appearance in a pair of cycling shorts, there’s a lot more to this trend than spandex. Indeed, brands like Rapha have brought about a total rebirth of the colourful cycling jersey, and you’ll now find bike enthusiasts turning up to the office keenly wearing their cycling jackets.

As with other trends, the popularity of cycling clothing is closely tied to other lifestyle movements: namely, the desirability of vintage and aspiration to be more environmentally friendly. Indeed, many commuters have traded the tube to whizz through bicycle lanes and are proud to be part of a resurgence of cycling culture. Wisely, Rapha uses hints of retro 60s and 70s styling in its products.

CrossFit: the community workout creates a new tribe of sportspeople

Comparatively a new sport trend, CrossFit has made pretty big waves. Backed by a number of early adopters when it first launched, the sport has a strong, dedicated community. Furthermore, the competitive element — where CrossFit affiliated gyms compete against each other — encourages tight alliances between individuals and a powerful team spirit. As such, CrossFit fanatics associate themselves with the brand of their chosen gym: something we may see become more significant in CrossFit activewear design.

For the time being, Reebok seems to have monopolised on the CrossFit trend, opening specialist training centres and sportswear stores in its name.

Tennis: a timeless trend

We can’t discuss sportswear trends without speaking of tennis. Whether it’s the Wimbledon effect, big ticket sponsorship deals, or stardom of the sport’s key players, there’s something undeniably glamorous about what players turn up to Centre Court wearing.

Even off the court, Tennis shoes are ubiquitous during the summer months, with brands like Adidas, Keds, Diadora and Lacoste all offering their unique spin on the style. Tennis trainers have firmly made the transition from functional footwear to fashion statement.

Why sportswear will continue to be fashionable

With sports intrinsically linked to other values and aspirations — be it lifestyle choices or other — it’s safe to say that athleisure will continue to be an important fashion trend. What’s unclear right now though, is which trends will continue to flourish in coming years. Will we look back at yoga leggings with dismay? Will fitness trackers be put away in cupboards, to beep and beep as they lose battery, overlooked for the next wearables trend? Only time will tell.

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Laura Bartlett

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