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Get Active: Choosing the Right Sports Clothing for Your Favourite Activities

Photo young woman running during sunny morning on stadium track

Sports Clothing

Get Active: Choosing the Right Sports Clothing for Your Favourite Activities

Whether you’re an athlete, a gym enthusiast, or you work in an environment that demands physical activity, the right clothing goes a long way in ensuring a more comfortable experience. By examining the materials, support, shape, function, and style, you can select the athletic gear that best suits your needs.

Photo woman feet in bright blue running shoes are in high green grass

Athletic Shoes: Your Best Support System

There are many factors to consider when selecting an athletic shoe. The type of support, traction, and flexibility required varies from one activity to another. If you enjoy hiking, or other outdoor sports, aim for a durable option with a thicker sole to maximise shock absorption.

  • For basketball or other indoor sports, a lightweight shoe with a flat tread and a wide base offers premium traction for quick turns and movement.
  • If you’re a minimalist, you may enjoy the latest trend in running shoes. These offer very thin soles and a more natural feel. When trail running is your passion, opt for shoes with a thicker sole for shock absorption, as well as sturdy side support for uneven terrain.
  • Cleats are ideal if outdoor field sports like cricket or soccer are your thing. With moderate flexibility and shock absorption, cleats offer maximum traction for outdoor terrains like grass and gravel. They have studded soles that help prevent slipping and sliding. The studs can be permanent or removable, and come in a variety of materials, such as plastic, rubber, or metal.
Photo cropped shot male dark skinned athlete running up a flight of stairs with speed sporty young man

Sports Tops & Shirts

When leading an active lifestyle, the right workout shirt improves efficiency and performance.

  • While a cotton shirt is an affordable option, the fabric tends to trap sweat and weigh you down because it’s not breathable.
  • Polyester is an appropriate alternative for an intense workout because it's lightweight, breathable, and dries quickly. It’s also durable and resistant to shrinking or stretching.
  • Nylon is like polyester in that it’s fast drying, lightweight, and durable.
  • There is also spandex, commonly seen in the form of Lycra, which has similar qualities to polyester and nylon, but has the added benefits of being resistant to bacteria and stretching to fit snuggly.

Activity type is key in selecting a style of shirt. - For sports like basketball, you may want a loose-fitting jersey that is thin and porous, allowing heat to escape.

  • However, if you prefer weightlifting, a muscle shirt is ideal, as it’s fitted to prevent the weights from catching on the material. -
    Compression shirts worn as a base layer keep muscles warm and prevent cramping or chafing, especially in cooler weather. Their tapered, V-shaped design emphasises the upper body muscles and minimises the waistline, making it a professional choice for weightlifters and bodybuilders.

The environment is another factor in determining the appropriate sleeve length and style for optimal performance.

  • If you play in cool or outdoor environments, look for a microfleece shirt. Its soft, synthetic, wool lining is hydrophobic, repelling sweat, allowing the shirt to dry quickly while keeping you warm.
Photo woman s legs in red sports pants and yellow shoes

Special Pants for Exercise

When choosing exercise pants, consider their primary use. As with the athletic shirts described above, you’ll want to look for fabrics that are breathable, regardless of the activity.

  • If you enjoy running, or intense cardio workouts, a pair of compression pants support your muscles and help prevent chafing.
  • For a looser fit, track pants or a versatile pair of shorts do double duty in the gym for muscle-building routines.
  • If you prefer to do pilates or yoga, a fitted pair of leggings or tights gives you flexible coverage, while enhancing your shape.

There are several lengths and styles to choose from when selecting workout bottoms.

  • Consider your comfort level, activity type, climate, and required support when selecting them.
  • If you’re active indoors or in a warmer climate, a pair of shorts may suit you best. However, if you like more coverage without the added weight of a full-length pant, capris are a nice compromise. -
  • Outdoor activities and cooler climates may require full-length pants, as well as actives such as yoga, where coverage is essential.

Athletic pants are often made from cotton, polyester, spandex, nylon, and polypropylene.

  • While cotton is natural and inexpensive, you may want to reserve this option for lower impact exercise, as it absorbs sweat and can weigh you down. -
    Polyester and polyester blends provide moisture-wicking properties and are known for being durable, lightweight, and breathable.
  • Nylon and spandex dry quickly and the flexibility and fit make them an excellent choice if you require compression gear. Polypropylene is often used as a base layer, keeping you dry by expelling sweat.

Consider functionality in addition to style, comfort, and material. You may want a waistband that ties or one with a flat band that doesn’t roll down. Either way, you want to ensure that your bottoms are not going to ride up or have uncomfortable seams that will cause irritation during and after your workout.

Photo happy family is riding bikes outdoors and smiling parents are teaching their children

Safety Gear

Even with the proper sports attire, it’s imperative to invest in appropriate safety gear to help prevent injury. Common forms include protective eyewear, helmets, mouth guards, and safety padding.

  • Protective eyewear is often made up of a polycarbonate material that is shatterproof. Not only does it protect your eyes from accidental poking and debris, but the durable material also keeps them from breaking, preventing further damage to the eyes and face.
  • Helmets are used in a variety of sports and activities, such as hockey, and biking. Helmets protect your head from a number of impact injuries. To be most effective, your helmet should fit snuggly and be selected specifically for the primary activity of use. Each helmet is made differently, depending on the activity, so they are not interchangeable.
  • To protect your teeth and gums, invest in a mouth guard. Some are moulded and fitted, while others come in standard shapes and sizes. There are many sports that require the use of a mouth guard with the most common being hockey, boxing, and wrestling. 
  • Many activities also require the use of body pads or an athletic cup to protect the core and outer extremities from harm. Since impact can vary per sport, it’s important to purchase the appropriate pads for your athletic needs.

The type of fitness activity you engage in is critical in determining the attire and safety gear essential to prevent injury and optimise performance. Whether you are searching for a particular shoe, a shirt to minimise sweating, or a suitable pair of exercise pants, the proper athletic gear gives you the freedom to be active while staying dry, comfortable, and safe.