Finding common threads - Stripes, Sportswear, Dope MCs.
Sports, like them or not, one thing it’s certain – they bring people together. Whether as a team or as a group of fans, sports merchandise moves mountains when it comes to volumes sold.
A common misconception about custom sportswear, however, is that it’s only worn by athletes, sports fans, or in general people with *that* active lifestyle. Today, this could not be further from the truth as with the immense shift that took – and still is taking – place in the clothing industry, sportswear along with custom activewear, are becoming the norm in most outings.
Especially when it comes to the Millennial and Gen-Z generations, customized sportswear is dominating their clothing choices from the local cafe to the skate park to a raving night out – and fashion companies are taking notice.
In this article, we’ll try to give you some new perspective on why you should design your own activewear and why being into sports is not a prerequisite to selling or buying this type of clothing.
Plus, we got a whole lotta banging customizable sportswear that you can sell in your store right now!
That being said, we’ll take a look at:
- The sports apparel industry stats in the US & around the globe
- The best Printify custom sportswear & sports products for your store
- Why custom design sportswear is not only for athletes
- How to stay inspired & keep your finger on the trend pulse
Custom Sportswear, a market with an explosive growth
Back in 2018, the projections for the Custom Sportswear Market were foreseeing a rise to the tune of 241 Billion USD by the year 2026. However, those numbers have already been surpassed, with the global sports market value reaching a staggering 471 Billion USD in 2021. This discrepancy shows the explosive growth that has exponentially exceeded expectations these past three years.
And it kind of makes sense. During the pandemic, if you think about it, we saw a rise in the importance of maintaining a self-care routine to negate our working-from-home side effects. Whether it was picking up jogging, going for long walks, working out at home, it’s become evident that exercise is taking a foothold in our daily lives, more so than ever before.
Beyond the increase in people trying out a healthier lifestyle at home, custom sportswear is also rising up the popularity ranks as a staple dressing choice for a younger audience.
Why sell custom sportswear?
Upon first thought, it may seem like runners, basketball players, gym-goers, and sports fans are the only people buying custom sportswear. While they all are the obvious audience that comes to mind, the reality is that your audience does not necessarily have to be active or even interested in the sports realm to buy sportswear and athleisure items.
That last statement rings true for both millennials in their 30s and especially for Gen-Zers. These two generations have widely different views than their biological predecessors as to what “sports” really means to them.
For Generation Z, Sports has become more of a self-improvement tool rather than a competitive outlet. It’s all about bettering yourself, becoming mindful, and focusing on style centered around wellbeing, and most of those processes happen indoors. Plus, they tend to follow a social-media-driven decision-making process that relies on following music stars, influencers, and the like. Of course, that’s not to say it’s all zen – we did teach them some sick kickflips after all.
Speaking of kickflips, Millennials, on the other hand, grew up on radically anti-establishment movements like skateboarding, Californian punk rock, grunge, surf culture and favored a DIY, almost devil-may-care lifestyle. Now that they’re rising to become the new buying force, all that underground street and sportswear legacy is, of course, crossing over into the mainstream – see Supreme.
The above observations touch only the surface of the reasons why that is so. However, the fact is that sports have moved on to become so much more involved in our daily lives outside the competitive arena – whichever that might be – and so has custom sportswear.
How did Sportswear outgrow its humble roots?
Hip Hop and its custom sportswear legacy
The upcoming generation of youngsters heavily favors oversized comfort over tighter, skinny fit choices. While the 90s were the golden era of all-things-baggy, millennials and Gen-Z are bringing athleisure back in Vogue, literally & figuratively, for 2021 and beyond.
But how did the humble, rugged gym sweatpants and sweatshirts find themselves in the house of high-fashion brands and magazines?
To better understand how this came to be, we can look at it from a music perspective, with hip hop being the main driving force; for hip hop goes hand in hand with fashion. While most underground music waves were founded on iconoclastic premises that went against the mainstream grain, hip-hop was one of the first genres to fully incorporate fashion into its identity and in 2021, it’s more evident than ever.
From Dapper Dan’s Harlem legacy of repurposing top-tier fashion pieces as streetwear and dressing the likes of Rakim in the 80s. From B-boys and B-girls rocking Adidas tracksuits in the 90s to Run-D.M.C.being signed on as an artist by Adidas in 1986 under a 1 Million USD endorsement, hip hop made a point to always be on point with its style.
Today, hip hop, rap, and all their Soundcloud subgenres are dominating the charts, claiming a third of all on-demand video and audio streams. With artists becoming progressively more influential on young kids, more outspoken, and more intentional with their fashion choices, they play a huge part in setting trends and, in many cases, creating their own lines of clothing, sneakers, and products.
Think NBA legend Michael Jordan turning sneakers into iconic collector’s items; Kanye fully breaking into the house of high-society fashion by creating artist-designer collaborations; these all were huge strides in street fashion and played an even bigger role in shaping custom sportswear and athleisure wear as we know it today.
Not to get sidetracked, but what we mean with all the above is that quite a lot of items – sweatpants, sweatshirts, hoodies etc – that typically fall under the sportswear category, can be marketed to pretty much anyone who is into hip hop or mainstream pop – and that is a vast, *vast* demographic to tap into. A demographic that keeps constantly replenishing itself with young blood and new consumers.
By now, it should be evident that you don’t have to be even into sports to sell custom sportswear online. All you need is the driving factor of sportswear design, which is to keep you comfortable under the most demanding circumstances – and our products pass the comfort test with flying colors.
Your custom sportswear selling starts here
Custom sportswear may seem like a saturated market with huge players involved. The rise of Print on Demand, however, can breathe fresh air into the otherwise populated field of custom fitness apparel.
Below, we’ve gathered some of our best custom sportswear clothing items that you can use to launch your own product line.
Whether it’s custom yoga pants, custom leggings, custom jogger pants, custom workout clothes, or custom jerseys, you too can tap into a much broader audience & increase your store’s or brand’s appeal.
Fleece Joggers are a versatile bliss that anyone can rock from the gym to their couch. Adding a personal touch to an already crowd-favorite product is a winning custom sportswear recipe for any store. These cozy custom fleece joggers can become anything from trusted workout pants to feel-good pajamas or loungewear for kicking it around the house.
Tank tops – the bread and butter of gym bros, gym ladies, and basketball players all around the world. Whether you’re knee-deep in gains or throw mad hoops, you’re bound to own one of these custom gym shirts. This summer staple now needs your personal touch, and it can outfit any sports fan with style and any team with a unified look.
The holiest of gym garments and casual dress choices due to its versatile coziness, the hoodie is the perfect choice to get your sweat going or to discreetly take your leave, in badass fashion. From boxing to basketball, to football, to the gym, to pretty much anywhere – everyone loves a versatile hoodie. Take it to the next step by adding a personalized design for that extra fashion oomph.
Admittedly the most silhouette-flattering choice that can keep you comfy whether you’re lounging at home or sweating it out at the gym. For weights, yoga, pilates, running, playing, and chilling, yoga leggings are clothing royalty. Adding playful patterns, fiercely motivational one-liners, or any creative design that taps into the achiever mindset is bound to create a head-turning custom sportswear product that women and girls love rocking.
Whether at the beach or the swimming pool, custom swimsuits are a wonder-product to include in your catalog. When customized with a unique design that gets those summer vibes just right, it can be a crowd-favorite.
A staple that is offered by a whopping 7 Print Providers – racerback tanks are sizzling hot during summer. This custom tank‘s feminine yet cozy attributes strike a perfect balance that can be enjoyed both when running a marathon and while grocery shopping.
The icon of the 50s, first pioneered by Peter Dehn, now available to the masses – it’s the Varsity Jacket. This custom sportswear staple that started as a symbol of recognition for excellence in collegiate sports, can now be customized with your own embroidery design and become an instant hit. Try your hand on an item that, like the Ray Bans, will never go out of style.
Speaking of timeless designs, this 3/4 sleeve baseball tee is right up there with the best of them. Simple, straight to the point, unisex, and now customizable with your designs – Adding this custom sportswear legend to your store, is a surefire win.
Champion has long been a sports ambassador, and nothing can build rapport or help your customers trust your store like offering a household-name brand with such a sports legacy. Sweatshirts are the new hot thing – maybe a bit too hot for the summer, but if you start now, you’ll be able to set up winning custom sportswear products for this winter.
From its baseball history to its debut in the mainstream fashion Big Leagues, the flat bill hat, aka ivy cap, aka fitted cap, is one of those items that broke out of sports and into our daily lives in a spectacular manner. This unique hat with the low profile is a favorite among athletes, artists, influencers, and anyone in between. Add your own embroidery design on it, and create an instant bestseller for your store’s custom sportswear collection.
Baseball keeps on giving when it comes to iconic designs that break out of the sports realm and into our day-to-day routine. This custom baseball jersey is here to take on All-Over-Print patterns and keep you hella fresh – both with its style and its moisture-wicking fabric.
Turning heads is the name of the game when it comes to the Bella+Canvas 8803, the fiery custom tank top for women. The flowy scoop muscle tank can now be customized with your sportswear designs and bring on that vibe that combines in perfect harmony those chill vibes with that overachiever spirit.
Custom sneakers are already a collector’s market. With Nike tapping into what it does best – aka basketball sneakers in bold colors – it’s an item that could not be missing from our list. Our custom sneakers draw from the iconic Chucks, a legacy basketball shoe, and bring it into 2021 with flying customizable colors.
Custom Sports Products for the Gym & Beyond
Easy, practical, and ever useful, the drawstring bag is a custom sportswear essential. Without adding bulk, it carries your essentials, and now, it can do so in custom style. Add a unique motto, an inspiring one-liner, or any vibrant pattern that speaks to people with that active lifestyle.
Staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do when sweating it out – so why not do it in a unique fashion, with a custom water bottle? The Camelbak Eddy water bottle comes in 20 and 22oz variations and can accommodate your personal designs. Adding this item to your store is a surefire way to draw attention and boost your sales – nothing sells like an item that is used almost daily and has a unique character.
Staying in the hydration front, we have the stainless steel water bottle – an item loved equally by athletes and explorers alike. Whether it’s a good workout session at the gym, a long bike tour, an adventurous hike, or a day in the great outdoors, your water and favorite beverages are kept at perfect temps, with style.
The twill hat protects, the twill hat is loved. When out and about on a hot summer day, twill hats are a must. Not only do they protect you from harmful UV rays, but they also save the day when it’s a bad hair day; simply put the custom hat on, off you go, and no one will know. Add a custom embroidery design to your hat, and create an essential sports item that keeps everyone safe in style.
You saw this one coming. No custom duffel or drawstring bag would be complete without a custom sports towel. These towels are made with 50% Polyester for extreme softness and 50% cotton for high absorbency, making it the perfect choice from the gym all the way to the
Yoga, mindfulness, meditation – this triptych of well-being is becoming common practice for all ages. With our custom yoga mat, you can now add an exclusive style that breathes confidence into anyone’s yoga session.
In tune with the times - colors for custom made sportswear?
Designing athletic wear can be a challenge. But fear not, ye of little imagination, for we have some cool tricks up our sleeve for when you’re about to design your own workout clothes and the juices ain’t flowing.
First, Printify is now integrated with Shutterstock – one of the world’s biggest stock photography libraries that can get your creative juices flowing and pick designs that inspire or speak to you.
Want to get surgical with your custom sports wear color choices? Then our top 15 summer product guide will give you all the right info on what colors are the 2021 choice for high-end fashion houses.
Go where your audience hangs out
The criteria for whether your printed sportswear is worthy of including in your store is actually quite simple – things should be oversized & comfy.
Visiting Instagram is always a good source of inspiration. Checking what hashtags are trending can give you an excellent clue about what your audience is looking for. For example, these hashtags are popping right now:
#sport, #sports, #apparel, #gymshark, #hoodies, #activewear, #leggings, #gymwear, #ambassador, #biceps, #sportlife, #tracksuit, #sweatshirt, #fitnesswear, #sportwear, #joggers, #athletics, #athleisure, #sportsbra, #tracksuits, #yogawear, #tanktop, #sportstyle
Furthermore, following mainstream sports influencers, hip hop artists, and magazines is always another good idea for your brainstorming session.
Are you ready to start your first custom sportswear design? Did we miss anything with our list? Maybe you’d like to see some more custom sports products being launched?
Let us know in the comments below!
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