The sportswear market is booming. Not only has it crept onto the catwalks and taken over street style, it is also being forced to become ever more technologically advanced, as our obsession with everything fitness heats up.
We sat down with three designers to discuss the importance of what we wear when we work out and how to use this knowledge to pick the appropriate clothing.
Move, move move
"My main tip for choosing the right kit is to move in it," the designer told us. "Don't just put it on in the changing-room and stare at your reflection. Move. Walk. Lunge. Jump. Squat. See how the kit feels and how it functions, it will make it easier to make an informed decision."
It should support you and let your body breathe
One of the fundamental aspects of selecting sportswear is that it is specifically designed enough to prevent you from sweating through it and thereby feeling irritated; achieving this helps you to exercise and not feel restricted.
"Wearing the right kit allows you to focus on training without distractions," the designer explains. "The technical detailing within the apparel, such as sweat-wicking fabrics, will help with your performance."
In addition to this, the right kit will support you in the right places. "Sportswear should be compressive in the right areas so you are supporting your muscles," designer says. So think about what you are going to be doing and where you will need support. "The right design will help you to feel comfortable and supported – I like to wear leggings with a high waistband for this reason," explains designer.
It should feel invisible
"Choosing what you wear in the gym is different from classic fashion because you don't want to feel what you are wearing," designer says. "We are always working towards a 'feel-naked' effect. When you put your sportswear on, you shouldn't have any restrictions in movement and it shouldn't get in your way. It should really hug your body perfectly and you shouldn't feel like you ever have to adjust it or fidget."
Wear the correct kit for what you're doing
Everyone knows you shouldn't wear your yoga bra to a HIIT class and that certain types of trainers are better for different work-outs, however the type of kit you're wearing goes far beyond this. It is something that we take for granted as amateurs, and yet it is a tool that is at the core of how athletes choose what they wear. If you want results, wear kit that is not going to set you back.
"Make sure that your kit and footwear is correct for the type of training you are doing," says designer. "Most brands will signpost this for you with kit and footwear categorised for specific work-outs." So check the labels.
It should make you feel unstoppable
Your sportswear should make you feel exactly how the exercise does – strong, powerful and unstoppable. Nowadays, looking good in sportswear is a given, but you should also ensure it ticks all the functional boxes. Good sportswear will achieve both.
"Fashion and fitness go hand-in-hand these days, so you can look and feel great when you're working out," the designer says.