As I sit down to write this, I am thinking about the spirit of fitness apparel. I mean, why is it so important to dress for the sport you participate in? Think about it for a moment. Hockey players would look ridiculous in basketball clothing. American football players would get hurt far more often wearing soccer wear. Why is that? I think the answer is quite simple. Wearing the equipment designed for the particular sport in question makes the sport safer and more enjoyable to play. Fitness apparel design evolves for a reason.
Why Different Apparel Developed for Each Sport
Clothing designed for a particular sport evolves over time. What worked yesterday is replaced by advancements in safety and comfort. Let me share a personal example. I used to be a hockey player. Once I could no longer do more than two shifts in a row I left the bench and began refereeing. When I started as an American Youth Hockey Association referee, no ref wore a helmet. A few wore elbow and shin pads but that was the extent of their padding. One day, while working a high school game, I dropped the puck in the face-off circle and took an accidental stick to my head. “Ouch.” I thought. The next day, I took my old player’s helmet (good thing it was black) out of storage, removed the face protector and put the helmet on for a game. My peers called me all sorts of names most of which are to sorted to print. Suffice it to say I was the brunt of some truly ugly comments. I believe I was the first ref to don a helmet in Illinois. By the next season, however, nearly half the refs were wearing helmets. It made sense.
When thinking about the design of team uniforms, the idea that there are some reasons for the design and the evolution of that design should make us all stand up and embrace the benefits. In some sports, this is more important than in others. Baseball uniforms evolved from a more or less casual look when the game began. Knickers and loose fitting shirts made sense for the game. Tennis gear allows for movement on the court. Football uniforms offer protection from injury as do hockey uniforms. Cycling required an aerodynamic look and feel. Alongside that, the idea of breathability and padded seats for comfort made sense and so it was incorporated into riding wear. I could go on and on here, but I think you get the point. The apparel appropriate for a sport is designed for that sport. Wearing anything different makes the sport far more dangerous and less enjoyable.
What Does This Have to do With YOU?
As a disclaimer, and in the spirit of full disclosure, you know that I sell fitness apparel along with fitness related equipment. So what I have to say could be taken as self-interest speech. Perhaps, I should preface the following with this basic idea so you’ll know where I stand. I think there are reasons one should invest in the proper fitness apparel for the sport they mostly engage in. I believe no matter what you are engaged in, whether that be fitness activity or in sedentary activity such as playing cards, what you wear makes a difference. In the construction trades, different trades wear different style clothing. The clothing matches the activity. In the world of business, people wear ‘uniforms’ to work. Suits and ties for male executives, casual clothing for those on the assembly line. No matter what you engage in there are standards of clothing that suit the particular activity.
When you first decide to engage in a sport, the idea that one’s uniform matters is, without a doubt, a consideration. When one decides to go to the gym to get fit, clothing is a consideration. The more you get into any activity, the more valuable it is to dress the part. For those of us who are not elite athletes, we soon learn that dressing like one makes the work easier and more fun.
What Kind of Investment Must I Make in Proper Apparel?
I suggest that for a beginner, one should select apparel from the low to middle price range. Where you fit depends a bit on your available funds. Stick to the low end if you aren’t sure that you will continue with the activity. You should not have to rob a bank to get the proper equipment. Of course, as you go up the price ladder, the quality will get better. For those who can afford it, the mid-range prices should be all you need to invest in. For those of us engaged in fitness activities for personal or health reasons, the bonus you get is that much of the apparel serves a dual purpose. Wear it to the gym or as daytime or even nighttime causal clothing. That dual purpose still screams for a mid-range price point for most people.
Wrapping It Up
Fitness wear is important because it is created with a specific sport in mind. Designs evolve. What was appropriate last year may not be appropriate this year. New innovations in comfort and safety are constantly on design engineers minds. Making any sport safer and more comfortable is a gigantic goal that all designers strive for. If they can make it fashionable as well, that is the great bonus. I personally have lived a through a transition point in sports. Recall my example of being a hockey referee and deciding to be the first to put on a helmet for games. Today, every referee at every level of the game wears a helmet. Pretty amazing.
Of course, I would love for you to visit our store and look at the apparel and equipment we have visually highlighted here. Why not go to And Above All Health and browse. You may find something you love, along with fitness equipment that is good for you.