The luxury wellness economy is booming, and over the past decade, we’ve seen the trend towards living a healthier lifestyle – physically, mentally and emotionally – continue to surge. The Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, has spurred on a new wave of people looking to improve their nutrition and fitness regimes, shining a spotlight on just how important our health really is in the grand scheme of things. And during lockdown, when our only sense of solace from the ongoing restrictions was the chance to get out for a daily dose of exercise, the number of people taking up running rose to an all-time high.
Once upon a time, running was a sport favoured mainly by males, with shorts and t-shirts continuing to be the standard attire to wear. Since then, we’ve seen running gear go on quite the journey, first undergoing a high-performance makeover based on science before eventually being incorporated into the growing luxury trend for athleisure. Today, stylish running and workout gear isn’t just worn when engaging in sports and fitness, but as a sophisticated off-duty look, too, and some of the world’s leading and most esteemed fashion houses are paving the way when it comes to expensive designer gear that looks just as great off the track as it does on.
From high-performance to high-fashion
Once upon a time, any old shorts and t-shirt would have done when it came to running, but as time went on, outfits began to get skimpier and more colourful. Over the years, sporting attire has become more high-tech, and today, is designed to support optimal aero-dynamism, only now, runners want to look good while sweating it out on track as well as feeling the benefits from a physical standpoint.
Opening up the arm holes and shortening the legs of running gear has reduced wind resistance and the discomfort of bunching up, which allowed runners to free up their stride and build speed – and while cotton weaves are low on stretch, the latest materials being used have allowed greater airflow and better wicking to keep runners cool.
Still, for 2022’s runners, it isn’t enough, and making a fashion statement whilst in situ is something that has become particularly popular amongst the growing number of female runners. Granted, elite athletes tend to stick to the science, but for your casual, everyday sport runner, style and sophistication are important, and the biggest sports and fashion brands are having to take note and adapt quickly in order to feed the obsession.
New fibres, greater comfort
Of course, performance is still just as important as it always was to serious runners, and new fibres for joggers have meant that it’s easier to layer up on cold days. You can also get great quality capris and shorter leggings to expose your calves and keep cool if you’re running in warmer temperatures during the summer months, although if you’re prone to perspiring, it’s a good idea to look for quick-drying fabrics to cool your skin as the miles fly by.
In the not too distant past, petroleum jelly was the easiest way to fight chafe, which is a common affliction for seasoned runners and sports lovers alike. Now, new running tights offer runners the chance to enjoy far greater comfort when taking on longer trails. Depending on your build, you may still need a chafing product, but compression underwear and new fibres can still reduce the need for reapplication.
Women’s running gear, including bodysuits and custom running tights to allow elite runners to shave off a few more fractions of a second, are growing in popularity and availability. These products can serve both as an inner layer under warmer togs or under a rain suit if you’re out in the wet.
As running attire grows more high-tech, the ability to move more easily through the wind and protect your skin and joints will make this wonderful exercise more enjoyable. You can check out places like Champion for great running attire.
An appetite for athleisure
As high-fashion brands continue to blur the lines between sporting and leisure attire through the ever-growing trend for athleisure, huge ranges of designer trainers and clothing designed for running and other pursuits continue to come to market with each passing season. But how exactly did they get the high-end makeover?
As more women have joined the racing field, and the appetite for stylish attire surged, some might say it was inevitable. In 1990, there were five million registered races in which only 25 per cent of entrants were female, but as of 2016, that has dramatically increased. Now, an estimated 57 per cent of racers in a whopping 17 million registered races are female. This, of course, isn’t even taking into consideration those who engage in the activity simply in order to keep fit or as a social activity with friends, but it does make it clear that female uptake of the sport is higher than ever before.
It’s a trend that hasn’t escaped the world’s finest fashion houses, and every fashion week, we’re treated to thrilling catwalk displays showcasing bold, studded running shoes and trainers, colourful printed leggings and shorts, and stylish hoodies and cover-ups.
Few trends have the longevity that athleisure has thus far enjoyed, which is proof that the way we live our lives has changed permanently. Gone are the days when we were happy to let taking care of ourselves slide, blaming our lack of movement on busy lives and hectic lifestyles, and as we continue to prioritise exercise – without the willingness to compromise on style – it’s a movement we can expect to see sticking around for the long haul.