Fitness, health, and lifestyle have only increased as a dominating influence on fashion in the past decade. This puts athletic brands in the unique position of leading the charge in what will be trending across the spectrum of apparel categories as these innovations trickle down to products beyond those intended for professional athletes. With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo a mere eighteen months away, all eyes are on new tech advances in performance wear.
images via Polychrome, Callaway,Puma, Reebok, Nike,
In the athletic world, performance is everything. Whether you are running, walking, doing some sort of activity to improve your athletic potential, data is essential to determining and mapping out progress. Although smartwatches and data-tracking clothing have skyrocketed over the past few years, connected footwear is on the rise.
images via Nike, Ian Allen
One company making headlines with their connected footwear is Nike. Their innovative new shoe, Nike Adapt BB (“BB” stands for “basketball”), not only self tightens but also digitally collects data to adapt to the wearer in order to achieve a better fit. This high-tech basketball sneaker not only measures activity performance but more importantly, can alter its shape to fit foot movement during wear, something previous tech Nike shoes like the Nike Flyknit or Nike React foam shoes can't do. Moving from a fixed state to a fluid adaptive state where the shoe alters to fit a performance need - such as tightening for a drive up to the hoop or loosen up for a performance break - this shoe is changing the game for performative tech advances. Paired with an app that is downloadable on any smartphone device, Nike Adapt BB is the first shoe of its kind and has athletes eagerly awaiting its release on February 17th.
images via Puma
Although Nike is making great strides in creating technological advances in performance improving activewear, Puma is looking to rival the Nike Adapt BB shoe. Puma will be introducing self-lacing sneakers called Puma Fi; this shoe similarly comes with a smart sensing capability that adapts to the foot of the athlete and can monitor performance and adjust fit through Puma’s smartphone app. Unlike the Nike Adapt BB shoe, Puma Fi is designed for a variety of workouts like light running and is not limited to the sport of basketball. While Nike Adapt BB shoes automatically adapt with tightening technology, the Puma Fi shoes require a swipe up or down on a motor cable system located on the tongue of the shoe to tighten and lace. Set to launch in 2020, the Puma Fi shoe hopes its adaptive capabilities can help athletes perform to their very best.
Although engineers and designers have been investigating how high tech can be fused with activewear, innovation for the sake of helping performance is not only limited to what devices can measure regarding athletes’ biofeedback. One company that is looking beyond using sensor technology to improve athletes’ performance with better comfort and support is Callaway Apparel.
image via Callaway
Recently, Callaway Apparel has launched SWING TECH - Technology that fuses game changing innovation with athletic performance. With the goal of reducing limited restriction on a player’s golf swing, Callaways tech apparel utilizes seam construction and product material. With a line of polos, shorts, and outerwear, these sweat wicking garments are re-engineered in seams and sleeves so that golfers are able to maximize range of motion giving them better performance results. Utilizing new ergo seams and redesigning the traditional raglan sleeve, flexibility in performance wear is now at its greatest. Set to release February 15th, Callaway SWING TECH is placing their bet on reexamining how garments are constructed as a means to a better game.
image via Aingeru Zorita
In an industry where sports apparel has historically catered to men, not too long ago athletic products for women have been merely adaptations of menswear in slightly smaller sizes and a more feminine color palette. But in recent years the unique needs of women in athleticwear have finally been getting more attention. As women's interest in sports and fitness regimens have expanded beyond the professional athlete to the everyday customer, apparel brands are finally taking note and scrambling to serve these customers better. Women want the freedom to embrace a healthier lifestyle without the restrictions of improper function, size, and form. Even with recent advances nearly 70 percent of women are still wearing the wrong sports bra and one in five women don't work out because of the discomfort and embarrassment that their sports bra makes them feel. One company that is actively listening and striving to meet the needs of the female consumer is Reebok.
image via Reebok
Formed by the collective minds of senior innovation apparel designer Danielle Witek, senior product developer Emma Stableford, and senior manager of materials innovation Lauren O’Brien, the PureMove sports bra launched and earned rave reviews. Four years in the making, this sports bra features unique motion sense technology that provides the support and comfort that women have been desperately wanting. Using shear-thickening fluid (STF), this reactive technology stays fluid in the rest state and naturally stiffens when active. Offering a broad range of sizes XS to XL/2XL, women of many different body types are now able to reclaim comfort with a bra that responds to the body’s movement. As the market for women's athletic wear is rapidly expanding, the female consumer can rest assured that Reebok has their performance goals and needs in mind. Be sure to watch the video behind the story of the PureMove Bra development!
Smart Biometric Garments:
In recent years designers in the industry have proven that wearable tech no flash in the pan, but is the next frontier of apparel. While wearable devices like the Fitbit may have revolutionized health tracking by giving the power of self-monitoring to the individual user, designers are now looking for new and improved ways in which the consumer can analyze performance. Looking beyond accessories to monitor wearers’ data, companies are now developing biometric garments that give its users less to wear and more accuracy when it comes to tracking results. One company continually pushing for new innovative ways to improve athletic performance is Strive Tech.
image via Strive Tech
One of their most recent creations is a pair of compression shorts, which tracks heart, muscle, and motion metrics giving the user in depth analysis as to how they are moving and what can be done to better their performance. These compression shorts come equipped using GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, to analyze muscle movement. Differing from recent biometric garments that have typically kept tracking modules on the upper body, Strive Tech uses a module on the waist of the user in addition to electrodes in the shorts that record heart rate through the femoral artery and monitor muscle function with ECG and EMG technology. As with all biometric recording data, the information captured by the compression shorts is then available for viewing easily by use of the bluetooth technology that comes with the shorts.
image via Strive Tech
The crossroads of technology and fashion will continue to be the focal point of performance-enhancing apparel and accessories. As we have historically seen, athleticwear will lead the way in the research and development and these innovations will eventually trickle down to mainstream fashion. It's no wonder, then, that as the 2020 Summer Olympics quickly approach, designers and companies alike are eagerly anticipating the event and using it as a means to showcase everything from high impact graphics, high volume color, and of course high performing garments.
Here at Polychrome, in addition to all the strides in hi tech garments and textiles, we are naturally excited to see how the Olympics will influence Summer 2020 trends and prints! We have a great selection of prints that are perfect for activewear; to see the whole collection check out our print shop!
Below is a small selection of our hi-volume prints for Summer!
prints from top left: Dashed Lines | Bauhaus | Abstract Texture \ Wrapped Dots | Glowing Target \ Overlap Circles | Graphic Lines | Bamboo | Tricolor Stripes
Sources: FashionUnited | Refinery29 | ISPO | Wired | FastCompany | FN | Mashable | GolfMagic | SportTechie |
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