Athleisure’s popularity rises

The infamous Adidas track pants with three stripes on the side were first designed to be worn for activities such as running, hence the name “track pants.” However, in the past decade, more and more people have begun to wear these track pants throughout the day, regardless of whether they were planning to exercise or not.

Many believe that these Adidas track pants sparked the new trend that has become prominent in fashion and style — athleisure.

“This is why I wear sports clothing to school sometimes. I don’t have to bother changing. Athleisure is convenient, but also stylish.”

Zander Darby

Athleisure is a fashion trend in which clothes that are designed for athletic wear are worn in casual settings such as school, daily life, the workplace and other social occasions. Today, not only are track pants worn casually throughout the day, but running shoes, basketball shoes, yoga pants, sports jerseys, tennis shirts and other athletic wear are worn on a daily basis.

“Athleisure is the new casual,” said Deirdre Clemente, a history professor who studies fashion and clothing at the University of Nevada, in an interview with Business Insider.

According to Clemente, the rise of athleisure can be attributed to technological improvements in fabrics and a modern focus on comfort and wellbeing. Technological improvements in materials used in athletic clothes have made them more comfortable, durable and stylish. Nike’s Dri-Fit material and Adidas’s primeknit material are just two materials that consumers love, as spandex, polyester and knit technology incorporated in sports clothes make them more flexible, durable and lightweight. This can make athletic wear more comfortable than traditional jeans and cotton sweatpants. Clemente believes Athleisure is a part of a larger trend of wellness and self-improvement. Wearing sports clothes can symbolize a healthy lifestyle. 

According to Fortune, in 2015, the sales of athletic wear increased by 12 percent. In addition, since Lululemon Athletica Inc. IPO’d, the athleisure wear company’s stock price has climbed 224.56 percent in the past five years (From Robinhood).

In the past, people only wore athleisure clothing, such as yoga pants, in the gym, or for certain sports practices. Wearing athletic wear to class or out to eat was hardly thought of as fashionable or acceptable, as sweatpants could be associated with pajama wear and regarded as sloppy. Today, however, thousands of students go to classes wearing yoga pants and sportswear.

Palo Alto High School sophomore Zander Darby, a tri-sport athlete, believes wearing sportswear is extremely convenient.

“Being a sports lover, I often wear athletic clothing for my practices and training,” Darby said. “During school, going to the locker room and changing can be a hassle at times. This is why I wear sports clothing to school sometimes. I don’t have to bother changing. Athleisure is convenient, but also stylish.”

Convenience plays a huge factor for athletes. Combining comfortability with convenience has made athleisure a huge component in fashion.

“Because of its convenience, athleisure is definitely here to stay,” Darby said.

Not too long ago, the Adidas Ultra Boost shoes became a huge trend in fashion. Originally, the sneaker had been designed and created for running purposes. However, the Ultra Boost instantly sold out in stores and became an extremely popular shoe among teenagers and adults. Some colorways of the Ultra Boost can cost up to $3,000 on resell websites. As a type of athleisure shoe, Ultra Boosts are comfortable, stylish and popular. At Paly, several students wear Ultra Boosts daily and match them with jeans, shorts or track pants.

“I love wearing Nike’s sports hoodies, sweatpants, and running shoes. It gives off a sporty vibe but (it’s) fashionable at the same time.”

Ras Kebebow

Today, athleisure is no longer only the product of sports brands such as Nike and Adidas. High-fashion designers, such as Gucci, Fendi, Versace and Chanel have entered the athleisure market, advertising their models posing in designer yoga pants and sports jackets on the runway and in magazine ads.

The versatility of athleisure wear has attracted many consumers to the category. It also tends to be to be much more durable, comfortable and convenient than alternative styles of clothing.

Athleisure is more than just a trend; it will continue to thrive in our culture and fashion, according to sophomore Ras Kebebow

“It’s comfortable and easy to move in, and I believe that it is very stylish as well,” Kebebow said. “I wear athleisure attire every single day. I love wearing Nike’s sports hoodies, sweatpants and running shoes. It gives off a sporty vibe, but (it’s) fashionable at the same time.”

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