With every global game event such as Olympics, Commonwealth, FIFA etc. passing by, we realize that athletes are getting stronger and are breaking previous records to make new ones. Well, we can never deny their hard work and regular practice sessions for these achievements but technological advancements in the sportswear are also one factor for their success.

Today, the global sports industry is flooded with fabric options that can increase the athlete’s performance. It can be either through transferring heat from the body to the environment, providing higher cushioning to the feet, or giving the sportsperson’s muscles more support. Sports clothing is engineered with high-tech equipment and is outfitted with performance improving fibres.

Here are three such game-changing innovations in sports clothing:

Thermal/Moisture wicking fabric: These are the common types of fabrics that are used in sportswear. Thermal fabric keeps the body of the athlete warm while performing in the colder conditions and climates. Moisture-wicking fabric reacts to the sweat of the body and moves it to the surface of the fabric, helping in evaporation. This technology keeps the athlete dry and chafe-free. There are some other kinds of fabrics that have been recently developed. One is compression fabric that tightens around the muscles that are used during a workout. This ensures maximum muscular output.

Besides these fabrics, some reactive materials have also been developed that work as a protective material. These materials remain flexible in normal conditions and get hard on impact. This saves the athlete from sudden accidental injury and allows him/her to have a wide, comfortable movement.

Innovation in sports clothing has also led to the use of natural materials. Bamboo, grass that pandas eat, can be turned into a rayon or viscose fibre, which is durable, soft and antimicrobial. Similarly, Merino wool, which has less starch than other wools, can be used to make sports clothing suitable for cold or warm weather training and exercising.

Wearable devices: In sports clothing technology, there are wearable devices that are worn as an accessory like a watch, pedometer, or a thing that can track the workout of the wearer. These devices can be worn over wrist or in the neck.

Smart clothing: Wearable devices have been in use for quite some time now. However, there is another technology that accesses similar functions but in a different manner. This is smart clothing, a category in athlete apparel that monitors heart rate, respiratory activity, and even posture. This is possible due to seamless integration of sensors and microprocessors into clothing. Besides body clothes in smart clothing, there are socks that can communicate information such as speed and weight distribution of the body. These socks work as pedometer, and let the athlete know how far they have travelled. Besides being highly functional, smart clothing also adds to athlete fashion.

Companies like AiQ and Fraunhofer, which emerged in 2012, are working on to develop innovations in sports textile manufacturing technology. Though smart clothing is a reality now, quite a lot of research is going on it to develop materials that can integrate technology yet can be safely washed.

Sports clothing technology has come a long way where it is facilitating and boosting the performance of the player and is aiding in prevention of injuries, at the same time. Research in this area are still going on and we can expect something unexpected in the future soon. Leading sports fashion brands such as Nike, Adidas, etc. are introducing freshness in the sports clothing market inculcating technology in their products.

Author's Bio: 

Mayank Mohindra is an author on apparel, fashion, and textile industry. His articles are based on latest apparel industry news, textile news and/or analysis of the dynamics of global apparel trade, and fashion industry.