SPORTS DRIPS: The evolution of sports technology
By Sundesh Mahes
Welcome to SPORTS DRIPS for this week. We will be looking at how sports technology has evolved with the use of base layers which is so common in multiple sporting codes from Athletics to football.
What is a base layer? – A base layer is the layer closest to your skin and should act as a constant 'second skin' throughout your sports event/match/race. Base layers provide a layer of warmth, keeping your body temperature constant while absorbing and evaporating your sweat to keep you feeling warm and comfortable.
This industry has been booming over the past few years with brands like Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Second Skin, First Accent and many more using their sports technology to enhance the performance of their athletes.
If you noticed how the running world attire has evolved of the past 20 years… from running in polyshorts and baggy vests like how Josia Thugwane won gold in Atlanta Olympics to now running in tight fit base layers type outfits like Eulid Kipchoge.
The reason behind this is simple runners and other sportsman and women often suffer from chaffing and bleeding nipples caused by the garment rubbing against the skin so the base layer technology helps with this irritation and also is much more aerodynamic taking off a few seconds especially in the under windy conditions.
We will be looking at how these base-layers have taken off in other main stream sport with many footballers and golfers using them under their uniforms from Lionel Messi to Tiger Woods.
Base Layers are used in football and hockey to keep the player’s body’s temperature consistent especially in cold winter days and cool during hot summer days, it also serves as a compression outfit to keep their muscles in tact and helps speed up the recovery process.
If you watched the recent El Classico the camera was on the little magician Lionel Messi for a few minutes as he changed his shirt and base-layer in the wet cold conditions in Madrid – the rain seemed to just bounce off the base layer. That was the Nike Dri-fit technology which Barcelona and in SA our beloved Kaizer Chiefs use for their kit partners.
Under Armour built an entire sports business starting with base layer and are now making some of the most technological gear in the game from Bluetooth shoes to recovery wear.
Their core business was gym gear under garments which serves as compression and recovery wear for athletes after an intense workout. If you like me after a hectic leg session in the gym I can’t walk for a day but since using a recovery compression it alleviates some of that muscle pain.
Nike has also been seen promoting their under garments in Golf as it helps with keeping the golfer’s upper body compressed and more steady on their swing. It also helps with protection from the sun as the raise from the sun is extremely harsh on Golfers skin.
Now lets see how these base layers are priced in the market and I will try to help find some cheaper alternates which has a similar outcome. Nike Drifit baselayers are available for Runners, Football/hockey, Gym etc and range from R 599 – R1999 and can be found in-store and online. Under Armour is the elite range and ranges from R 699 – R 2599 they have a cooling, thermal and recovery range for gym and other sports, you can find them online. Adidas have a full range for runners, cycling, and football which starts from R299 – R 1999 and can be found in-store and online. I have found a few cheaper alternatives – Decatholon the French sports store based in JHB have an affordable range and Total Sports also have a house brand with reasonable price. The big saver is at Jam Clothing which have a full range of base-layers and yoga gear for ladies at unbelievable prices starting from R79. The cheaper alternatives work especially for gym.
If you need any more information and would like me to discuss your product or brand please feel free to contact me: [email protected].
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