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Depending on the nature and intensity of the physical activity, it may sometimes be better to choose sportswear even if you think it doesn't look as good. Photo: Reuters fashion

Choosing between activewear and sportswear

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With the immense possibilities that technological advances provide and ever-changing fashion sensibilities, the types of clothes and attire that we can wear to exercise are constantly being redefined.

Sports clothing is no longer the sole domain of traditional sport brands such as Nike or Adidas. Fast-fashion retailers such as H&M, Uniqlo and Forever 21 are getting themselves a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie.

But with so many brands coming up with their own versions of sports clothing, how does one choose among the myriad of choices? One key point to note when making the decision is the difference between activewear and sportswear.

Traditional sportswear serves a functional purpose and is specifically designed for sports, and as a result, may appear a little dull for the fashion conscious.

However, the advantage of sportswear lies with its use of new fabrics and technologies to help enhance one’s sporting performance and keep oneself injury free.

Inventions of reactive materials and fabrics such as Dri-FIT clothing can help keep one dry and comfortable throughout the day. For people living in cooler parts of the world, thermal technology can also help keep your body warm while you pursue your physical goals.

Activewear, on the contrary, is more versatile. It provides you with enough comfort to work out and yet not look out of place in Orchard Road. For people who love to spend time in the gym and want to head out to town after, but hate to having to carry extra baggage, activewear kills both birds with one stone.

However, that does not mean that sportswear is losing its hold in the market. While it is true that activewear can be stylish and fashionable, function is still a vital element in certain sports and proper sportswear is still necessary especially in contact sports.

It is certainly possible for the casual athlete to play sports or go for the casual workout at the gym in activewear, but for the competitive, sportswear remains the more astute choice.

Just as nobody could imagine playing American football without helmets and body armour, one shouldn’t play basketball in shoes without proper ankle support lest they injure themselves.

When it comes to choosing between activewear and sportswear, it is necessary to consider the nature and intensity of the activity before making the decision. It may sometimes pay off to just bring an extra change of clothes if you are conscious about looking good on the street after working out.