What are your gym leggings doing for you? If the answer is bagging, chafing or giving too much away, it’s fair to say that your sportswear’s not serving you. Colossal advances in fabric technology, clothing engineering and the way we think about sportswear is fueling a sea change in what we desire and expect from our fit kit, with fitness giants such as Nike paving the way for performance led pieces that pass muster from a sartorial point of view too.
One such area that in which Nike is blazing a trail is cutting edge textile development to not only enhance your sporting ability and general comfort, but regulate your temperature too. With temperamental British summer weather in mind (baking one minute, blowing a gale the next), we feel that this is an especially considerate design move. A top with the potential to both keep us warm and let some air in when clouds roll over is on a par with an invisibility cloak in terms of magical apparel inventions.
So what’s the deal with this fresh new fitness wear, and what can it do for you? Short of filing your tax return and taking the bins out, quite a lot as it turns out. Here’s how Nike’s Modern Craft summer edit can revolutionise your workouts this summer…
It’s got style and substance in the bag
Coveting this season’s bomber jacket? Go for a bomber with bells on to fulfil both form and function credentials. Tech HyperMesh Bomber , £79.99, reinvents a classic, injecting it with breathability and ventilation around your body’s ‘hot spots’ by way of an innovative mesh fabric. Put another way, back, armpits and chest stay cool, but chill around the arms and tummy is held at bay thanks to smart fabric layering. You’ll be not too hot, not too cold, but ‘just right’, which is pretty much miraculous in Blighty’s current climes.
It knows where you sweat
Sounds gross and intrusive, but mapping the body’s ‘high heat zones’ is incredibly shrewd. Hypermesh does just that, fusing sports science, painstaking design and flattering cuts to offer the perfect balance of breathability and warmth. If you’re a leggings fan, Bonded Mesh Leggings , £50, combine light jersey and wraparound mesh to help you to stay cool during workouts or when running around town, while Bonded Shorts , £35, will not only give your legs an airing but actually channel airflow around the hem, making runs refreshing rather than cumbersome. Basically, mesh is fresh.
It gives you room for manoeuvre
I always find it somewhat ironic that even expensive fitness wear can end up being more restrictive than conducive to PBs and such doing workouts. None of us relish the idea of pushing our limits in a skin tight bodysuit, and thankfully the likes of artfully dropped, vented hems, roomy armholes, loose draping, soft textures and smooth jersey waistbands put paid to awkward gym feels, physically and mentally. For the ultimate in easy breezy workout wear, throw on the Bonded T-Shirt , £31.99. Ergonomic seams move as you do (no rubbing to speak of), blocked jersey and mesh sleeves allow air to circulate, silky fabric provides a luxe level of comfort and an adjustable cord at the front lets you hang loose or define your waist, depending on your activity and mood. It also wouldn’t look out of place somewhere chic post-training.
It’s knit, but not as you know it
Knitwear for summer workouts? In our unpredictable climate, it’s often a necessity, but all the better if it’s lightweight to allow for fluctuating internal and external temperatures. Enter Tech Knit, a fabric that’s 3D engineered for warmth where you want it, and not where you don’t. Tech Knit Crew , £110, remixes the long sleeved crew for warmer weather, with soft, heat conserving arms and a ventilated upper chest and back. Sleeves are raglan style, so move with you rather than constricting you, and a longer back hem provides coverage, so that your top doesn’t ride up. So simple, but also gamechanging.
It gives rain the runaround
The Notebook style downpours have a remarkable knack of starting just as you lace your trainers up. An anorak won’t help you (it will become a sweat tent in a matter of minutes), but a light, versatile layer will help to shield you from the worst of the elements without dragging you down. Hypermesh Gilet , £66.49, is not only directional from a fashion perspective, but strategically placed mesh panels provide ventilation in key areas, while a two way zip allows you to tailor coverage to your needs. Crucially, there’s also a hood.
It makes fleece cool
I promise you, and in every sense of the word. Tech Fleece Mesh Shorts , £27.99, are cloudlike in their softness and fit, warm without being oppressive and can be styled out from sprint to street, as they’re sleek rather than revealing. Sleek fleece is something I never thought I’d say.
It will keep your feet healthy
Summertime is peak pedicure outing season, but hot, red and sweaty feet aren’t what we had in mind. Air Max 90 Ultra Breathe shoes , £76.99, come complete with an antibacterial sock liner, because athlete’s foot ain’t fun, along with a mesh upper to cool feet down during wear. Crafty cushioning and grooving is designed to make them feel nigh on weightless during workouts, and a pair in simple back or crisp white will likely go down well in the office too. Given that 52% of Brits wear activewear day to day according to Mintel, you’re unlikely to be the only one wearing kicks in the boardroom.
This feature was written in partnership with Nike
Explore Nike’s Modern Craft collection here