May 21, 2024

What is the Difference Between Sportswear and Athleisure?

Sportswear and athleisure clothing are two types designed to provide comfort and performance. When it comes to choosing the right kind of sportswear for your needs, there are several factors to consider. These include appearance, fabric, and comfort.

Difference Between Sportswear and Athleisure

History of Sportswear

Sportswear has been around for a long time. It has undergone massive change and innovation. Originally meant to be casual and easy to care for, today, sportswear can be used for various functions.

One of the first sportswear designers was John Redfern. He produced tailored garments for active women. These pieces were quickly adopted as everyday wear.

Another example of an early sportswear design was a quilted puffer jacket. The jacket was inspired by military wear.

In the mid-1920s, athletic apparel became essential to American high fashion. Designers took inspiration from French styles. They also experimented with creating more extended versions of the standard t-shirt.

Other innovations in sportswear included the introduction of nylon in running shorts and wind suits. During World War Two, military equipment improved dramatically.

Another example of an early sportswear invention was the embroidered crocodile logo on polos. This was about the nickname “the crocodile.”

While many different designs have made their mark on sportswear history, it has always been controversial whether the most minor and most essential piece is the most important. However, this debate may seem more cut-and-dried.

As a result, the history of sportswear has many twists. For instance, there were several uncredited contributions from Indigenous and African peoples.

Fabrics Used in Athleisure Clothing

Athleisure clothing, also called activewear, is characterized by high-quality, technical fabrics. It is designed to be comfortable and breathable. These garments include compression leggings, moisture-wicking hoodies, and other athletic wear.

Athleisure is a rapidly growing market. According to Allied Market Research, the global activewear market was valued at $351,164 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $546,802 million by 2024. To compete, athleisure apparel manufacturers must focus on four key elements: function, comfort, durability, and design.

Fabrics for athleisure are manufactured using various fibers. Some of the popular threads are nylon, cotton, and polyester. The latter is known for its evaporation rate and anti-microbial finish.

Nylon is also known for its ability to wick sweat safely and control body temperature. It is mildew-resistant and breathable and allows cool air to enter the skin.

Cotton hurts the environment. Some companies, such as Stella McCartney, use recycled polyester for their athleisure lines to combat this. However, it could be a better choice for sweat-related activities.

Alternatively, organic fabrics can be used. Organic Basics offers athleisure apparel which uses low-impact materials and recycled animal fibers.

Boody, a family-owned Australian brand, makes athleisure basics from organic materials. It also incorporates small quantities of Spandex into its activewear. 

Difference Between Sportswear and Athleisure


Wicking is one of the essential features you should look for in athleisure wear. Wicking will help keep you dry and comfortable and will prevent odors.

Another feature to look for in athleisure wear is durability. Unlike traditional sportswear, athleisure wear is designed to last. This means that you have to replace your favourite items less often.
Athleisure is a style of clothing that combines comfort with function and style. It is usually used for active lifestyles but can also be worn in other settings. Sports wear comes in a variety of styles, from caps with your favourite football team on to jerseys that you can customise to your taste, you can purchase sports clothes from numerous retailers such as SGS so you can pursue comfort whilst looking cool, whether that be watching or playing sport.

The ability to combine comfort and style is what makes athleisure a popular choice. While the name athleisure has been around for a long time, the market has been growing in recent years.

Some popular athleisure pieces include athletic sneakers, leggings, hoodies, and sweatpants. These athletic wear and sportswear fabric items are made with breathable materials that provide a comfortable fit. They are also durable enough to withstand rigorous workouts.

Athleisure wear is also becoming more accepted in social settings. You can even find athleisure designer items on the high end of the market. And while athleisure is traditionally thought of as being for women, men are also beginning to get in on the action.

When you combine comfort, functionality, and style into one garment, it’s no wonder it’s become so popular. Adding extra layers and a jacket can make athleisure a versatile option.


Athleisure is a fashion term that originated in the United States. It combines athletic performance with a stylish, comfortable design. This combination of comfort and style has become a staple in the fashion world.

Although athleisure wear is aimed initially at fitness enthusiasts, its popularity has soared into the mainstream. It’s gaining a lot of attention from celebrities. People are also experimenting with mixing and matching athleisure with non-sportswear, making it an even more flexible and versatile piece of clothing.

Athleisure apparel is made of performance fabrics in modern styles. Typically, it features a dark palette, bold splashes of color, and a tight or tailored fit.

Sportswear was developed in the 20th century to meet the needs of athletes. Today, it’s used as an inspiration for many work-appropriate clothes. With comfort as a priority, sales of functional fibers have soared. The main aim is to provide functionality.

Athleisure can be worn in a wide variety of settings. For example, you can wear it while running, attending an office meeting, or spending a few hours at a yoga studio. You can also pair it with your favorite sports shoes for a comfortable and stylish look.

Unlike traditional sportswear, athleisure is comfortable to wear anywhere. Its soft, smooth fabric has a similar look and feels to jeans. Also, athleisure clothing is breathable and can offer odor-wicking properties.

Amila Gamage Wickramarachchi

Amila Gamage Wickramarachchi is the founder of this blog. She shares her parenting and lifestyle experiences of raising a child in Singapore.

View all posts by Amila Gamage Wickramarachchi →

4 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Sportswear and Athleisure?

    1. Thanks Carol for this comment, although cotton is from a plant,the cotton plant has an environmental impact. Some reasons include, higher Carbon emissions, higher water consumption,Soil degradation and erosion, pollution due to Cotton farming (cotton farming heavily uses pesticides and synthetic fertilizers).

  1. Activewear is casual, comfortable clothing suitable for sport or exercise and Athleisure clothes are casual, comfortable clothing designed to be suitable both for exercise and everyday wear. Athleisure clothes are perfect for travelling and walking.Thanks for sharing

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