Athleisure Is Changing The Way We Now Dress For Occasions
Athleisure is a fabricated style of clothing typically worn during athletic activities and in other settings, such as at the workplace, at school, or at other casual or social occasions. Athleisure outfits can include yoga pants, tights, sneakers, leggings and shorts, that “look like athletic wear”, characterized as “fashionable, dressed up sweats and exercise clothing”. The idea is that gym clothes are supposedly making their way out of the gym and becoming a larger part of people’s everyday wardrobes.Athleisure considered as a fashion industry movement, enabled by improved textile materials, which allow sportswear to be more versatile and comfortable.
Most people believe that athleisure wear fad or boom depends how you look at it ,originated out of women began wearing yoga pants in casual settings .Others illustrate that the trend came to being because people could wear them for various occasions without having to deviate very much, in turn allowed greater convenience since people did not have to carry an extra gym outfit on the way to the office, for example. Around 10 years ago, denim work wear uniforms were more popular, but today, athleisure is increasingly popular in places such as public streets and fashion stores and fashion shows.So it is sports wear meets leisure wear hence the name. Traditionally clothes that had been worn exclusively in gyms is now being worn elsewhere by young adults and fitness conscious consumers and has been accompanied by a relaxation in dressing acceptance levels. Its popularity may have stemmed from its ability to fill a gap in the market, when sportswear was once merely functional rather than stylish. Due to innovations in textiles and technology, improvements have been made in functionality, such that garments and footwear have become more breathable, lightweight, and waterproof. The new garments are performance enhancing, in the sense that they allow wearers to carry out everyday activities easily
Get Ready For Casual Sneakers Being The Top Selling Footwear
When the sneaker industry got going around the middle of the 19th century, the shoes were a niche product footwear for the rich sport of lawn tennis (hence the enduring term “tennis shoes”).
By now they’ve so far transcended just athletic use that market-research firm NPD Group forecasts “sport leisure” sneakers—the casual sort, as opposed to performance shoes meant specifically for athletic use—will become the largest footwear category in the US in 2020. The incumbent front runner they’ll overtake is what NPD calls “fashion” footwear, a category including most of everything else: shoes, boots, sandals, and slippers.
It will mark a major milestone for sneakers, not least of all because the US is one of the world’s two biggest fashion markets. Sneakers have become integral to the way people dress (Quartz member exclusive). They’re so ubiquitous that it may surprise some to learn casual sneakers weren’t already the top category recorded by NPD. But the shoes had a lot of ground to make up. Sneaker makers also haven’t historically paid as much attention as they could have to women, a large and valuable customer group, and as indicated, their numbers also don’t include performance sneakers, for good reason.
Many of the shoes may have begun as athletic footwear, but sports are no longer their main purpose, as in the case of shoes like the Nike Air Force 1, retro Jordans, or Converse All Stars. Others were never intended for sports to begin with, such as Allbirds or Yeezys. NPD’s prediction is that styles with their original roots in running and basketball will lead sport leisure’s growth, most of it coming from the men’s and kids’ markets.
The impending dominance of these lifestyle sneakers is due to the ascent of athleisure, which you could describe as the recent pronounced uptick in a century-long process that’s brought sports clothing into our everyday wardrobes as clothes get more casual and comfort becomes an ever-greater priority. Americans are embracing healthy lifestyles, but are also less committed to specific sports, explained Matt Powell, NPD’s senior industry adviser for sports. They want shoes that are versatile, comfortable, and functional across their everyday lives, allowing them to go to work or the gym without having to change. As a consequence they’re less interested in sport-specific technical performance, which is why last year casual sneakers became the top-selling sneaker category in the US.
This shift is happening at the expense of performance and fashion footwear. According to NPD’s data, which tracks sales across most of US retail—though not direct-to-consumer sales by brands—sport leisure grew through the 12 months ended in August. Sales of both fashion and performance footwear declined. (If you do take into account direct sales by sneaker brands, casual sneakers could overtake fashion footwear even sooner as those sales are quickly on the rise.) It even forecasts that the shift to more sport-inspired shoes is going to have a chilling effect on sales of “the thong, flip-flop, and ballerina segments.”
Sport-inspired casual shoes seem likely to widen their lead over non-sport styles through 2021. Next year, NPD predicts sport leisure sales will exceed those of fashion footwear by about 3%. The following year, it will widen to about 8%.
Couture Sneakers Comfort Are Now Cool
Women on the go are ditching their towering stilettos for flat alternatives away withe the moccasins and loafers to more laid back leisurely shoe wear . Comfort has assumed an unshakable importance in today’s female footwear market, and, arguably, no flat shoe permutation has been a bigger benefactor of this trend than the humble sneaker.
As a bevy of glossy luxury labels and high street brands churn out their own versions to capitalize on the craze, how are the legitimate performance sports footwear brands, for which sneakers have long been their bread and butter, retaliating?
The Current State of Affairs
Looking at sports footwear category splits, performance footwear (where sportswear players mainly operate) accounts for a much greater share of the market in North America than Western Europe. In the latter, sports-inspired footwear (which is an area for general fashion brands and sportswear players, eg Nike’s Converse and Adidas Originals) is more popular. In terms of growth prospects over 2013-2019, the growth of performance and sports-inspired footwear will be almost neck-and-neck in North America, but sports-inspired footwear will continue to dominate in Western Europe.
Sports Footwear Breakdown 2019
Fashion Lends its Style Credentials to Sports Shoes
The world of sports-inspired footwear is an “anything goes” category – technical sophistication is often irrelevant, comfort is key and style credentials are a plus, giving fashion brands an easy way in.
Ever since Isabel Marant first designed her legendary hidden wedge sneakers (which now share shelf space with a spate of copycat designs) with comfort in mind, fashion designers everywhere have been keen to offer their take on the style, including Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Céline. Perhaps the ultimate statement that sneakers have penetrated even the highest ranks of luxury is that the twin doyens of Parisian haute couture, Chanel and Christian Dior, both sent sneakers down the runway for their spring/summer 2019 fashion shows.
Collaborating rather than competing with such fashion designers enables sportswear brands to capture a slice of the sports-inspired footwear market, piggybacking on the street credentials of the collaborator in question. Givenchy’s Creative Director Riccardo Tisci designed a quartet of trainers for Nike, reinterpreting the brand’s most popular style, the Air Force 1, following a similar partnership between Adidas and Raf Simons in 2013. Such collaborations ensure Nike is part of the growth in both sports-inspired and performance footwear, with minimum to zero cannibalization.
The Glitterati Crave The Classic Styles
Simultaneously, sportswear players have seen their own brands benefit on account of fashion trends. From the fashion week circuit to dance floors and music festivals, performance styles like Nike’s Flyknit, which was designed with Olympic level functionality in mind, have taken off. H&M-owned & Other Stories, centered on selling the building blocks of style, sells chunky Nike styles including its renowned Air Max alongside its other fashion-forward offerings.
Adidas launched its classic Stan Smiths, which have peaked in popularity among fashion week regulars, most notably Phoebe Philo, Creative Director at Céline. Their pared down aesthetic has been favored over bolder styles like Nike’s Air Max.
Nike and Adidas have also ventured into more fashion-forward designs on their own merit, rather than through collaborations with designers. Adidas , for example, under its Originals brand, sells statement pieces like lace wedge heeled sneakers. Partnerships with pop icons like Pharrell, who designed a pair of Swarovski crystal encrusted luxury Stan Smiths, have further put the Adidas brand in the style spotlight.
Women’s Active Wear Revolution
Amidst the fashion flurry, sportswear brands have certainly not lost sight of their original raison d’être – performance sports footwear.
In fact, when it comes to functional footwear, sportswear brands have a clear advantage over fashion brands. Consumers look for a higher level of technical sophistication in footwear compared to clothing, especially for sports such as running. So, while consumers might favour purse-friendly leggings from GapFit, they are also more likely to fork out on a pair of Asics. The fashion element comes through the marketing of the product. For example, Reebok’s latest Skyscape Runaround campaign is fronted by high-profile lingerie model Miranda Kerr.
Launching gender-specific performance footwear is an evident opportunity for sportswear specialists. Lululemon’s latest CEO, Laurent Potdevin, was previously at the helm of Toms, spurring speculation that the brand may expand into footwear. The category is a natural extension of the brand, and the brand is well-positioned to provide innovative footwear solutions for yoga and pilates. Already ahead of the curve, sportswear heavyweight Nike launched its Studio Wrap shoes in 2013, supporting its push into the women’s activewear market.
Performance Is Always A Key Factor
Women’s sports footwear in general remains a relatively under penetrated market compared to men’s. Even in highly developed sportswear markets like the US and the UK, women’s sports footwear accounted for around just 35% of category sales in 2013.
While it makes sense for sportswear brands to have a presence in the sports-inspired category, given its strengthening presence in daily fashion wardrobes, it also makes sense for them to lead the fray in terms of performance sports footwear. After all, fashions come and go, but the sure and steady progression of active lifestyles and the associated uptick for active wear is a more enduring trend.
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