What is Athletic Wear?
Athletic wear is clothing tailored for people who are involved in the fitness and sports industry. Notable brands include Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour and many others. These brands claim to improve athletic prowess and provide comfort while performing exercise or physical activity.
Athletic wear is not to be confused with sports wear, as the latter implies that the outfit is made for a specific sport (e.g. thermal wear for winter sports is not the ideal outfit for swimming laps).
Gyms may or may not have a dress code when it comes to working out but the acceptable type of clothing is one that doesn’t restrict movement and is tight enough to provide a level of privacy.
Materials Used In Athletic Wear
Athletic clothing manufacturers make use of a variety of materials. These include any of the following:
This is the most common material used in making athletic wear. Cotton has good absorption and is highly breathable. Cotton also doesn’t retain body odor and bacterial byproducts that contribute to “funk.”
Cotton is also cheaper than other materials, especially polyester. That’s what makes it popular among athletic clothing manufacturers.
If you’re looking for a fabric softer than cotton, bamboo is a good choice. Bamboo textile outperforms cotton in terms of breathability, weight, and resistance to static. Bamboo fabric’s high breathability evaporates sweat faster keeping you cool all the time.
Clothing made from bamboo fabric will regulate body temperature, effectively making it a “textile-for-all-occasions”. The downside is the price as bamboo requires intensive machining and undergoes several processes to achieve the desired product.
This material is the very first synthetic textile ever to be made by man. Nylon is a component of women’s undergarments, especially stockings. This material is popular because of its elasticity and breathability.
Athletic wear made from nylon is ideal for yoga or other activities that require a wide range of motions.
The fibers that make up polyester are synthetic. Just like nylon, polyester is lightweight and breathable. It doesn’t wrinkle and is hydrophobic which makes it a good athletic wear in rainy or wet environments.
The disadvantage of polyester is that once moisture gets in the fibers, it forms a film that makes it less breathable. This makes it the least ideal fabric to wear in very hot weather.
Just like cotton, wool is an organic textile fiber that comes from sheep. Depending on what part of the sheep it’s sheared from, the quality of wool can vary. If the wool is sheared from the sides and shoulder of the sheep, it produces fine and strong wool.
A variant of wool called Merino wool reduces odors from bacteria. The downside of apparel made from Merino wool is that they’re expensive, but the extra cost is worth paying for since it’s durable, breathable, and resists mildew.
Neoprene is another type of fabric that is made with synthetic materials. Neoprene is usually used in sportswear that involves exposure to water for extended periods of time. Neoprene is the number one choice for diver’s suits.
Neoprene has a high heat resistance and is fairly-resistant to corrosion. Because of its heat resistance, clothing made out of neoprene has a longer lifespan even if it’s constantly exposed to the sun.
Also known as Lycra, or the more uncommon name, elastane. Spandex is used in a lot of sports, namely gymnastics. The fabric is elastic, breathable, and lightweight. It features moisture-wicking so your sweat is pulled away from your skin, keeping you dry all the time.
Spandex also dries faster than other fabrics, making this a very good material for athletic wear. A lot of professional athletes who compete in the Olympics use Spandex outfits.
Athlete Wear And Its Effect on ROM
ROM (or range of mobility) is the extent of motion the human body’s joints allow. Wearing the correct outfit in a sport is critical. The best example of these would be gymnasts – they should be able to perform body movements with the least amount of obstacles from their clothing. That’s why most sports outfits are close fitting since they effectively reduce the risks for joint injuries.
In other sports (e.g. swimming), the form fitting factor of athletic wear reduces drag, enabling swimmers to move in water faster than if they were wearing loose clothing.
In a fitness center, wearing form fitting clothing allows movement to be less restricted. If someone would be performing squats wearing elastic fabric, they will be able to bend their knees farther than someone who would be wearing clothing material which is less flexible (think jeans).
Sweating and Friction
Good athletic wear will make sure sweat dries up easily or is absorbed. Not only will absorbent fabric be more hygienic, it reduces the chances of injury when lifting weights or using equipment. Sweat reduces the coefficient of friction in surfaces, and naturally nobody wants to slip under an 80lb set of barbells while doing squats.
Athletic Wear Acting As Compression Stockings
Most athletic wear provides a level of compression to the user. In the medical community, compression stockings are used for individuals who are suffering from DVT or are at risk for developing the disease. Good athletic wear provides enough compressive ability to prevent hernias, and other minor injuries.
Athletic wear that also doesn’t ride up or down gives a level of privacy as opposed to loose clothing that can reveal too much skin.