Athleisure Is Not Going Away, It Is Going Up


Sports brands are not just for athletes anymore. Athleisure has been interrupting the sport and fashion industries for a while. But today this trend is gaining gigantic momentum beyond the limits of both of these sectors. In 2016, for the […]

Sports brands are not just for athletes anymore.

Athleisure has been interrupting the sport and fashion industries for a while. But today this trend is gaining gigantic momentum beyond the limits of both of these sectors.

In 2016, for the first time ever, leggings outpaced jeans in online sales, marking a massive shift towards athleisure casualwear. Consider that for a moment — it’s quite a shocking statistic.

This is a massive chance for the sporting goods and athletic apparel market: a wider audience means more potential for earnings. To correctly capitalize, sports retailers will need to adhere to the athleisure example of inclusivity.

Broadening the lifestyle reach


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LeBron James. Serena Williams. Tiger Woods. These elite athletes are all tied together by generous Nike sponsorships, marketing the excellence of their brand through their excellence on the court (or class ).

But a whole lot of athleisure brands are interrupting this mentality.

Within an interview with Vogue, Outside Voices founder Tyler Haney stated,”With Nike and so many different brands, it is about being a professional, being the very best. With us [Outdoor Voices], it is about the way you stay healthy — and happy.”

Walk down the streets of Manhattan on a work day and you will see guys on their way into the office wearing shoes and girls in leggings with sweaters. It has become ubiquitous: individuals are now donning athleisure clothes at work, parties and much more.

Lululemon’s men’s pants are comfy, stretchy and sweat-resistant. With belt hooks lining the top, they would pass the country club dress code. Tucked within a ton of leggings and sports bras, Gap-owned merchant Athleta provides easy dresses, many of which are trendy and fashionable enough for your office — or even a night out.

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Lifestyle is not just limited to apparel in this area. A whole lot of these manufacturers are ramping up their experiential offerings, hosting fitness courses both in-store and outside. Outdoor Voices has kayaking, running and meditation, while Lululemon has been hosting yoga classes for decades. It is all part of establishing athleisure for a lifestyle — not just something you wear.

Amplifying personalization of screens

Athleisure brands such as Fabletics and Outdoor Voices have solidified themselves as available to all — athlete or not. Their inclusive nature plays out nicely in their branding and shop set-ups. My family is a perfect example of athleisure brands’ inclusiveness. I recently purchased a set of Athleta linen pull-on pants only to have my mom anddaughter both say they wanted the identical pair for their wardrobes.

But larger sporting goods retailers have a lot to learn from the democratization of viewers.

As it stands, non-athletes who walk into a sporting goods store searching for athleisure garments can feel alienated rather than aspirational. Everywhere they look, you will find hardcore athletes on screen, pro players as brand partners and an intimidating, overwhelming organization of goods.

Non-athletes searching for running shoes or leggings for casual wear will tend to shop online or reach for a more comprehensive athleisure firm that speaks to everybody.

To fight this, sports retailers will need to appeal to a larger audience through displays.

Have a page from the fashion retail publication : create fictionalized shopper personas (the committed athlete, the cozy dresser, the sometimes active customer ) and create customized screens that match the different needs of each . Not one of your in-store displays should alienate some of your shoppers!

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Show men fitting shoes with casual wear, or a woman in yoga pants sitting at the park; reveal the business traveler who wants clothes that serve double duty, looking sharp on a plane and in the hotel gym. The athleisure product is already in the shop. Retailers just need to display it correctly to lure this wider audience.

Pushing sports equipment into daily life

The chance for inclusivity does not stop at apparel. We are living in a health-conscious era. Pharmacies are now health hubs— and sporting goods stores should be, too. Sports and action are gateways to health.

Water bottles are lifestyle must-haves (with an expected market valuation of $10.19 billion by 2024). Fitness trackers are health diaries. Fitness supplements are regular daily additives. And all these are offered at sporting goods stores.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has sections devoted to electronics — not TVs or telephones, but accessories such as headphones, speakers and watches, that all promote an active lifestyle.

In almost any sporting goods store, these products will need to be a part of their”Regular Joe” screens — targeting anybody who wishes to live a life of leisure and action.

At the end of the day, the sporting goods industry should take a second look at the audiences they are missing, and reassess their in-store screens and organization to adhere to the change to inclusive, wholesome lifestyle over aspirational performance.