8 tips on how to choose the best stretchy sportswear

May 25, 2018

8 tips on how to choose the best stretchy sportswear

LPRD works with fabric all day and we thoroughly test all our products in the real world. We have put together a list of tips that you can use to help you choose a good fashionable active outfit.

1. Stretch properties of the fabric

When wearing tight fitting sports clothing, being that in the gym, on the bike or running through the park, you are showing off your body to the world.

The quality of the fabric in your leggings can definitely help in how stylish you look and more importantly how comfortable you feel in your clothing.

Test the fabric before purchasing, make sure that:

  1. The fabric stretches in both directions. The fabric should pull your muscles and body tightly and so you do not get saggy bits and pieces.
  2. Make sure the fabric bounces back quickly and has a good elastic like feel when stretching. If it takes a long time to return to its original shape, it means that the fabric will quickly lose its good shape and you will feel exposed.
 
On the right side you see the stretched midnight leopard print and on the left the normal print. You can see that there is minimal colour change.

2. Type of fabric

It is very important to get the correct type of fabric that is breathable and maintains its shape over time.

Cheap polyester is often used for cycling tops because it is easy to print on. But it has no stretch and often does not feel good against the skin.

Good fabrics are often a mixture of Polyamide and Elastine (like Lycra), which provide excellent stretch characteristics, dries quickly and feels good against the skin.

3. Method of printing

There are generally two kinds of printing on active wear fabrics:

Sublimation

This can mostly only print on polyester. Sublimation is common when lots of graphics and logos are printed onto shirts. One negative point when using sublimation is that it often does not saturate through the fabric which means that when the fabric stretches the colours can change, often becoming whiter because of the white based fabric.

Sublimation also uses heat to print, which can subtly change the characteristics of the fabric. This can impact its resistance to wear.

InkJet

InkJet can be used on Polyamide based fabrics, which are generally better for active wear, and is printed directly onto the fabric. InkJet printing often saturates through the fabric giving better long lasting colours. It's also more expensive!

5. UV protection

Depending on the intended use of your garment, it is good to check that the fabric offers UV protection. If you are running a marathon and your shirt does not block out the sun, you can easily get sunburned all over. If you are only running in the evening/early morning or in a gym, then slightly opaque clothing might be fine and might fit your look better.

You can hold the fabric up to the light to see if light comes through. Remember to stretch the fabric a little when doing this test as well!

6. The outfit should fit your shape

You should buy the correct size clothing that fits your unique shape, the fabric should stretch, but not too much. When the fabric stretches too much it will slowly lose shape. The gaps between threads will be larger which will cause the prints to look less uniform and reduce the UV Protection of the clothing.

7. Colour

When using active-wear you are often active! This means that you will probably sweat. Check that the colour of the fabric does not change when sweating otherwise you will most likely get bulging dark patches underneath your arms which can be unattractive.

Dark colours are generally better, but not always. You can simply test by dabbing some clean water on the fabric and no one will know!

8. Quality of the seams

Another consequence of being active is that you move around a lot. Thus you should make sure that the seams are not found in critical contact places and are not rough to the touch.

Generally flat-locked seams are better for stretch and also feel better against the skin.

 Flat locked seams are comfortable for long distance cycling.
Flat locked seams stretch well and are comfortable against the skin.




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