The Birth, The Rise & The Future of Athleisure

The Active Way
5 min readNov 2, 2018

Athleisure is simply the summation of athletics and leisure. Athleisure refers to casual clothing which is designed to be worn for exercise and general use. As a fashion trend, it is a trend in which activewear; clothes designed for athletic activities are worn for other purposes such as work clothes, casuals, to school or social occasions. The most common athleisure outfits are leggings, yoga pants, sweatpants, gym tanks, sports bras, hoodies, tights, shorts, sneakers and many more. The growth of the trend has been rapid and athleisure can now be regarded as a fashion industry movement.

The Rise of Athleisure

Athleisure came in vogue as recently as the last decade. However, the trend was birthed as early as the 1970’s when fitness regimes became popular. With this popularity, lots of people used casual clothing for exercises. This prompted sports brands to begin to improvise clothes suitable for athletic activities. Subsequently, there was an improvement in production of these clothes, with innovations made with materials like Lycra, spandex, nylon and other synthetic fibre materials.

Why Athleisure Became a Trend

As a result of the comfortability of activewear, they came to be the popular choice for casual clothing. Athletic brands made further improvements in the production of athleisure outfits making them more lightweight, waterproof and breathable. This saw athleisure combine sports, urban and fashion trends becoming a complete solution to leading a fashionable lifestyle.

The new materials and technology used in producing these activewear ensure odour reduction, stretchability, sweat-wicking and protection from dirt. This has made athleisure the best for a healthy lifestyle, and not just for sports and leisure. With activewear becoming suitable for a wide range of occasions. It has become easy to go for a run in the park and move on to work from there.

Why Athleisure is More Than Just a Trend

Most fashion trends all come and go. Athleisure is, however, proving to be an exception to this, as it is fast becoming a way of life. This is due to a number of reasons


Athletic brands have been consistently improving the quality of these wears. New fibres are being combined with fashion styles which makes the comfort and feel of activewear increasingly top notch. Being a versatile clothing, which can be used for a number of purposes, it is hard to see athleisure go out of vogue.

Comfort And Laidback Lifestyle

Athleisure wear can be worn anywhere and anytime. As a result of this, many individuals, fitness enthusiasts or not have embraced athleisure wear. It is now well accepted at parties and social events. The fact that it is also durable, wrinkle-free and odour free makes them really easy to wear. It is therefore now very easy to go out stylishly dressed in athleisure while being sure of your comfort.

The growth of the Athleisure Market:

Even though the athleisure market has been described as saturated, it continues to grow. There have been two major indicators of this growth.

  1. Athleisure is a blend of aesthetics from the sports and fashion industry. However, with the recent trend, fashion brands are going into producing more leisure clothing. Strictly athletic clothing brands have also been adding lot more fashion elements in their products. This shows that athleisure is the future of the clothing industry.
  2. Athleisure is gaining preference over denim. This would have been unthinkable some years ago, considering the ever presence of denim in every fashion trend. However, with the comfort and laidback style that comes with activewear, it is now preferred over denim. This indicates that athleisure is here for the long term.

Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrities are major fashion influencers all over the world. Beyoncé, Rihanna and Rita Ora are major celebrities who have brought athleisure into the mainstream. On the social media, these celebrities have displayed activewear as being key in their “behind the scenes” lifestyle. This has prompted lots of followers to adopt this laidback lifestyle.

Weather Adaptive

Unlike, many fashion trends which are suitable for selective weathers, athleisure wear is conducive to every weather. Sportswear fabric is ideal for summers as it is sweat absorbing and keeps moisture away from the skin and keeps the body dry and cool. Overcoats and hoodies are also good for winter and cold weathers, as they help keep the body temperature regulated.

The rise of Fitness Lifestyles

The fitness industry is being highly promoted, with more and more people concerned about wellness mindsets and healthy lifestyles. Lots of fitness influencers are getting lots of following on social media. They promote activewear regularly, and many of their followers go with this trend. This has brought an athleisure cult, with activewear being worn on runways, streets as well as gyms.

Athleisure Shoes

A big part of the athleisure trend, sports leisure shoes are the in the thing. Sport leisure shoes have been discovered to be better than performance footwear. Sales of running-inspired sneakers and casual athletic footwear (both athleisure) have been on the rise. While there has been a drop-in demand for training sneakers and performance geared shoes.

Athleisure at Work

Away from the gym, streets, runway and parties, athleisure is gradually becoming accepted as work wear. A lot of people are switching from the conventional formal look in suits and ties. It is now common to see workers dressed in comfortable tees and athletic shoes. A lot of employers are allowing for this trend particularly in the media and marketing industry. The late Steve Jobs is a high-profile example of those who wore casual wear at work.

Also going by statistics, the growth in the athleisure industry is very well on the rise. The global athleisure sector has increased 42% in the last seven years to be valued at $270 billion, with a further 30% growth expected in 2020.

I guess it’s safe to say,

Athleisure is here to stay, regardless of what haters say.