Across the globe, countries are emerging from what is hoped will be the last wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and loosening restrictions on social gatherings as well as cultural and sport activities. The pandemic has heightened awareness around the importance of keeping fit and healthy while the lack of opportunities to practice sports over the past year has served to a surge in interest in exercise and the uptake of new forms of physical activity as facilities reopen their doors. Practicing sports within the ‘new normal’ means that sports brands need to think differently about their product offerings including anti-viral masks that are adapted to physical activity as well as apparel that offers the wearer comfort and protection as the Covid-19 virus becomes part of our everyday reality.
Sportwear Apparel, With A Difference
The pandemic has shifted consumer behaviour when it comes to purchasing all types of apparel, including sportswear with a consensus of the need for less, but better. There is a renewed focus on the durability and quality of products with greater thought and consideration about the environmental impact of products in terms of how they are produced and their lifespan. Furthermore, textile hygiene has also been placed under the microscope with concerns about the capacity of the virus to survive on textile surfaces in retail settings, changing rooms and in the e-commerce sphere, thus setting new standards to which sportswear and apparel needs to adhere in order to quell retailer and consumer concerns.
When sourcing fabrics for sportswear, the importance of feel and function beyond their primary purpose must now be accounted for as consumers are taking more careful consideration over what they choose to purchase. That means utilising fabrics that offer a broader variety of properties such as being water repellent, anti-UV, moisture wicking in addition to providing anti-bacterial and anti-viral protection. Offering specialised fabric properties enables the final product to stand out against competitors and offer a more multifaceted product scope that better suits consumers who are looking to make more mindful, singular purchases that can have multiple uses in their wardrobe.
HeiQ is a global leader in textile innovation boasting clinically proven fabric treatments including anti-viral and anti-bacterial protection in addition to HeiQ Smart Temp which offers professional, performance standard sportswear fabrics that provide unrivalled breathability and thermoregulation. These customised finishes can be layered to provide a complete suite of solutions including anti-fungal and anti-odour properties that significantly enhance the potential applications of the final product.
Facemasks for Sports
While differing from country to country, various indoor and outdoor sports are required to be practiced while wearing a face mask. Even as vaccination programs progress globally, the current vaccines available are to date, not yet capable of stopping the virus from circulating which means that mandatory face masks are going to present for the foreseeable future. This makes the provision of a facemask that is suitable for high intensity physical activity a vital component of any sports brand’s product range.
Sports adapted facemasks must offer breathability, moisture-wicking and thermoregulation properties to keep the wearer feeling comfortable and cool even during intense exercise. The feel of the fabric must also be soft, lightweight and offer plenty of stretch to obtain the optimal fit and to allow for movement while working out.
Active protection against viruses and bacteria are what really sets one face mask apart from the other as team sports activities return and require heightened levels of protection for the wearer. Viroguard by Dymatic and Viroblock by HeiQ are two clinically proven fabric treatments that use cutting edge technology to actively disable and destroy viruses and bacteria. They can be applied to any type of sportwear fabric as well as combined with other aforementioned properties including anti-fungal, anti-odour and thermoregulation for the ultimate sports facemask.
The Covid-19 vaccine program is well underway, however concerns around hygiene, health and safety will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Sportswear and athleisurewear functionality will therefore remain at the forefront of consumer and retailer’s minds. Sportwear products of the future must therefore offer comfort and protection in order to compete in the retail landscape of the ‘new normal’.
Shinta Indah Jaya offers a range of custom fabric treatments and works with selected partners to provide customers with access to the latest textile technologies that have been clinically proven including Viroguard and Viroblock. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your business in developing customised sportswear fabrics that provide comfort, style and unmatched performance.