Men’s Active Wear - Now growing & trending

June 2020



A growing number of new and not-yet launched activewear brands are emerging to serve the menswear sector as the sporting giants focus on their women’s business. Prior to 2012, the female active wear market was largely neglected by the sportswear industry which focused predominately on the male consumer, many adopting a ‘shrink it and pink it’ strategy for their women’s offer. More recently these brands, historically male-oriented have turned their attention to the female consumer with dedicated product offers, retail experiences and marketing messages. Nike even declared 2019 its year for women.

Whilst the sporting giants have turned their focus on female-centric strategies, next generation startups are seizing this opportunity to take market share in the men’s sector. Alex Ingildsen, CCO at LTP Group confirms a noticeable increase in mens active wear startups stating.

“We’ve seen an uptick in new and emerging brands designing specifically for the male athlete. The shift towards menswear is already proving significant. As the womens athleisure category becomes increasingly crowded, upstarts look to mens performance to carve out a niche and gain a foothold in the market”

Alex Ingildsen and trend forecaster CHANTELL FENTON discuss the opportunities and growth areas in the men’s category.

Urban Performance: where sport, fashion and science collide

As consumers continue to streamline their purchases, apparel that ticks more than one box increasingly captivates savvy shoppers. Urban performance serves this category. Think hybridised mens apparel that fuses elements of streetwear and performance. Trailblazer A-COLD-WALL* by Samuel Ross popularises this look offering a hypermodern take on 'smart' formalwear in a techwear setting with sportif trims and functional pockets.

Digital natives have dominated this space, growing rapidly over the last 5 years. This category is fast becoming an innovation lab as pioneering brands like Vollebak and Byborre take a tech-driven approach with cutting-edge fabrication and solution-based design. Founder of Dyne, Christopher Bevans epitomises the category stating

“Our goal is to push the limits of fashion as it meets technology.”

Experimental Amsterdam brand BYBORRE specialises in forward-thinking, image source
Experimental Amsterdam brand BYBORRE specialises in forward-thinking, image source WWW.BYBORRE.COM

Running Apparel: self-isolation has forced many to pound the pavement

With gyms shuttered due to the coronavirus, people both young and old have taken up running on-mass as their daily exercise. Many predict the upsurge in running enthusiasts will continue post-virus, citing exercise habits after the financial crash to support this theory. Highsnobiety states

“We’re in the midst of what we’re playfully calling a runnaissance”

LTP has also been contacted by several new and not-yet-launch mens running brands designed to take the category by storm.

Many of these new consumers don’t want to look like traditional runners, creating an opportunity for new upstarts to serve this market. Rejecting conventional athletic colour pairings, neon brights and bold prints in favour of a more off-beat approach which sees performance and streetwear aesthetics combine. Directional brand Satisfy Running epitomises this look and has already gained a cult following. The brand also invests in cutting-edge reactive fabrics that can read and respond to the wearer to combat over-heating. To gain traction in the category brands must fuse innovation with aesthetics for performance 2.0.

Premium running clothing from French cult favourites Satisfy Running, image source
Premium running clothing from French cult favourites Satisfy Running, image source WWW.SATISFYRUNNING.COM

Cycling - the original breakaway category

In 2004 Rapha forge the path that many brands would follow. The brand’s iconic designs fuse sleek styling with technical sport-specific innovations like the dual density pad and signature merino wool fabrics for on-and-off the bike appeal. Demand for contemporary, technical cycling apparel has continued to grow over the last decade as cities increasingly invest in cycling lanes. UK statistic suggest cycling traffic has been UPTRENDING since 1993.

Copenhagen based Pas Normal Studios continues to define modern cycling in a new and exciting context. Newcomers to this space should continue to push the boundaries of innovation. Exploring ergonomic compression and zoned venting for maximum comfort and minimal rub.

Copenhagen based Pas Normal Studios fuses contemporary and technical cycling apparel, image source
Copenhagen based Pas Normal Studios fuses contemporary and technical cycling apparel, image source WWW.PASNORMALSTUDIOS.COM