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A Complete Guide to Custom Sports Apparel

A Complete Guide to Custom Activewear


Just as fluffy pajamas send you into a comfy slumber, the right activewear can quickly turn off the lazy and turn on the active mindset – getting you in the mood and adding excitement for your next exercise or sports activity!


The right Activewear not only boosts your confidence and range of motion but can also help prevent workout injuries. Plus, when designed with moisture wicking fabrics, it’ll keep sweat moving away from your body versus sweaty sticky clothing restricting your performance.


So, if you want to get your team, staff or club headed for success with custom athletic apparel, here’s everything to know before ordering.




the history of custom sports apparel The History

What is the history of Custom Activewear?


The primary evolution of logo sports apparel began in the 19th-century when activewear became shorter and focused on enabling mobility.  Female swimming and cycling activewear were the first areas to see this evolution and became quite popular.


Although French fashion accepted sportswear as a casual dressing in the 1920s, the American garment industry were the groundbreakers of modern activewear. The Americans zeroed in on making affordable, versatile, and easy-care garments that catered to a broad audience of customers and their lifestyle, instead of focusing on high-end as French did.


Moreover, pioneer Claire McCardell created new and practical garments between formal and informal that became popular during the 1930s and 1940s. As such, she is considered America's greatest sportswear designer.


Today, Athleisure or Athlete wear and Leisure wear is a major trend.  Thereby fortifying the concept of stylish gym clothes as part of people’s everyday wardrobes. Today, Athleisure outfits including yoga pants, crop tops, and hoodies are commonly worn for athletic activities and even in workplaces and schools.


Their popularity and comfort have many people opting for printed sports apparel not just for the gym but for any occasion without limitation.


printing custom activewear The Printing

Which is the best type of printing for Personalized T-shirts?


There are lots of printing methods to consider if we’re thinking about logo t-shirts. Here are the top four most common:

Direct to garment printing

This is sometimes called digital printing because it’s printing full-color images onto garments. It’s quick, and ideal for short runs of full-color prints onto a wide range of clothing, and often works out as a cheaper way of manufacturing printed t-shirts.

Screen Printing

How this works is a negative of the design is printed onto the screen and then placed against the shirt. Ink is then rolled over the screen and slips through onto the designed areas. Best for larger orders, this method can create highly colorful prints even on darker personalized t-shirts.


Heat transfer printing

This is more suitable for polyester t-shirts. You can either use a heat press to transfer a custom vinyl logo onto the shirt orr use specialized ink to print the design onto transfer paper to then heat press it onto the fabric. It’s a less messy, affordable method.


Dye sublimation printing

For this method, heat converts the solid dye particles into a gas (a technique known as sublimation) and then bonds them to the polymer coatings on each custom t-shirt. There is zero dry time – so no worries about smearing the ink!  It is similarto a Heat Tranfers but differen in that the design beecome integrated into the fabric.  Dye sublimation custom T-shirts are common with polyester fabric and often feature all over artwork designs.


Logo Polo Shirts with the Lacoste or Ralph Lauren emblem are two of the most iconic Embroidered Polo Shirts out there. To create your embroidered design, state of art computerized machines run a precise pattern of needle and threads over the shirt fabric. This type of embroidery will help your design to really pop with its resulting 3D look and feel while still being elegant and sophisticated. A high-quality embroidered polo shirt is likely to last longer than a printed logo polo shirt while keeping its fabric integrity intact. Embroidery is the number one decoration method on custom polo shirts.



custom sportwear fabrics The Fabrics

What fabrics are typical in Custom Sportswear?



Harvested from Cotton plants, Cotton fabric is the go-to material for many T-shirt types. It is known to be highly breathable, soft, naturally biodegradable and, in turn, an ideal fabric for making logo sports apparel.


French Terry

French Terry has a plush and soft texture. This knit fabric comprises a looped side and another side full of piles of yarn. French Terry sweatshirts are some of the comfiest, coziest, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and cool pieces of clothing you'll ever stumble upon.



Polyester is a widely used synthetic fiber that is also low cost. Its durable, quick-drying and wrinkle resistant qualities have made Polyester the number one choice for custom athletic apparel.


Poly-Cotton Blend

As a result of having both natural Cotton fibers and synthetic Polyester fibers, Poly-Cotton blend fabric harbors wrinkle-free, breathable and soft characteristics.


Spandex Blend

Spandex fabric’s exceptional elasticity has made it popular in the printed sports apparel industry. It has pre-eminent pressure comfort and allows easy body movements for the wearer. This material is lightweight, snug, soft, durable, and fast drying.



Tri-Blend fabric is comprised of 3 fibers: cotton, polyester, and rayon. As a result, Tri-Blend inherits Rayon’s silkiness, Cotton’s coolness and breathability, and Polyester’s excellent durability. What’s more, due to its stronger fibers, Tri-Blend fabric is less likely to rip or fade.




types of custom sportswear The Types

What types of Custom Sportswear are most common?


Athletic - Athletic wear is specially created to support all forms of exercise such as cycling, running, etc. These pieces aren’t sluggish or cumbersome but rather are always practical, comfortable and safe.


Sweatshirts - Long-sleeved sweatshirts are made of thick cotton material that is the epitome of comfort while exercising in cooler environments or when used as leisurewear. Sweatshirts come with (hoodie) or without (crewneck) a hood.


T-shirts & Tank Tops - The name T-shirt derives from the T shape of its body and sleeves.  They are usually made of stretchy, light, and easy to clean fabrics. Tees traditionally have short sleeves and a round neckline. Tank tops on the other hand are casual sleeveless shirts.








custom sportswear features The Features

What are the typical features found in Custom Sportswear?


Moisture Wicking - Perfectly suited for making logo sports apparel comfortable, Moisture Wicking fabrics are hi-tech, soft, lightweight, and stretchy. They infuse moisture control for athletes’ skin by moving perspiration from the body to the outer layer of the fabric’s surface where it will evaporate.


Odor Resistant - These fabrics are made with an antimicrobial component that eliminates bacteria growth before its mixed with sweat to create an odor.


Snag Resistant – Made from tough fibers, this material won’t catch and pull easily if caught by a rough surface or object.


Stain Resistant - Stain-resistant fabrics are ideal for manufacturing printed sports apparel as they can withstand discoloration. Hence, your printed activewear won’t be damaged with liquids or solid dirt.


Water Resistant & Waterproof - These fabrics are laminated or coated with a waterproofing material like rubber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), wax, etc. to withstand water penetration.


Wind Resistant - Wind-resistant fabrics are ideal for outdoor sports since they resist wind penetration and the resulting chill regardless of how hard it blows.


Quarter-Zip - Activewear with a quarter length zipper.


Bonded - Bonded fabrics refer two fabrics bonded together so there is no inner lining.  These fabrics repel water but allow perspiration (water vapor) to pass through.  These garments, also call softshell jackets and softshell vests, can both resist water and be stretchy and comfortable making them a perfect activewear or winter gift.


Hooded - Activewear with a hood attached.


Packable - Lightweight custom athletic apparel that can fold into itself so allow it to be easily carried in your backpack or travel bag.


Softshell - These are lightweight, comfy, and often stretchy as opposed to bulky materials and best suited for climbing, cycling, hiking, etc. There are two types – stretch woven and membrane.  Stretch woven is very breathable, very lightweight, high moisture-wicking.  Membrane is more waterproof, still breathable, and offers great protection from the elements.


Insulated - Insulated activewear retains body heat inside the garment making sure you’re warm enough for your outdoor workout.




styles of custom activewear The Styles

Which Custom Activewear styles are most popular?


Athletic - Clothes worn for workouts and sports.


Baseball – special printed sports apparel featuring loose fitting or stretchy material made for optimal baseball performance.


Color block - Incorporating 2 or more bold and bright colors in your logo sports apparel to stand out and compliment or even match your logo.


Fashion - Activewear designed with eye-catching prints, colors, cuts, lengths, and shapes, etc. to match the contemporary trends and boldly display the wearer’s personality.


Sleeves - Sleeves on activewear come as short, 3/4 length, long, or even sleeveless.


V-neck – This custom sportswear features a V-shaped neckline.




custom sportswear brands The Brands

What are the most popular Custom Activwear brands?

nike logo           underarmour logo        adidas logo         

the north face logo            cutter and buck logo             champion logo

columbia logo




The Bottom Line on Custom Activewear The Bottom Line

Why does Custom Activewear make a great recognition gift?


It’s clear that custom athletic apparel has come a long way from appearing only during sporting events to now being a part of our daily attire. This is precisely why it makes a perfect gift for everyone from exercise enthusiasts to sport teams to fashion freaks.


Additionally, the abundant choices of styles, materials and price points make it easy find the right activewear piece for your next recognition event or fundraising effort.


Plus, with the Athleisure trend of comfy and practical clothing still very popular, customizing activewear with your business logo or design is sure to catch the public’s eye and extend your brand reach.


There is no better time to consider versatile custom activewear as part of your logo merch collection.






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  23. https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/expert-advice/how-to-choose-a-softshell-jacket


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