Updated: September 30, 2022
One of the great things about sports is that they provide opportunities for both individuals and teams. We have the chance to do something that is attributed to our name alone, and we can also be part of something that requires teamwork and cooperation.
No matter the sport, when it’s a team event we’re talking about, uniforms and equipment are a key part of the conversation. For starters, we want to look good; that’s true even when it’s an individual sport.
We also have to think about protection, though. Whether we’re amateurs, school team members, semi-pro, professional, whatever, we want to take care of ourselves physically so that we can really enjoy our time in the sport and not let it interfere with our day jobs–or with the next time we play.
So we all have to think about what it takes to protect our bodies from whatever hazards are unique to our sports–all while looking good. Sometimes that’s easy, but some sports don’t have a lot of margin for both form and function. Think of a swimmer ora surfer, who has to do think aesthetics and protection with a minimum of bulk and weight. It’s not easy.
Something else to think about is marketing. Sure, it may just be a rec league tournament to benefit a charity, but you have to think about your image. When you take the diamond to raise money for breast cancer research, you have to make a splash. There has to be some bright pink in the equation, whether it’s on the jersey, visors,custom socks, or all of the above.
Of course, functionality is on the list of requirements as well. Some athletes don’t have to worry too much about how their wardrobe impacts their performance. Backyard sports like cornhole and Frisbee generally aren’t so demanding of clothing.
Other sports, though, are so physically specific that you must think about every aspect of your uniform to be sure you’ll be comfortable. Think of the agility required to play a sport like volleyball–the leaping, the diving, the quick movements across the floor. It’s no wonder players want to wear snug shorts that don’t move around and irritate their legs. And while basketball has at times featured notoriously baggy shorts and jerseys, today’s players almost invariably go with compression garments underneath their team gear in order to maximize comfort and cooling.
Functionality goes from head to toe. Softball players need good sunglasses that provide the right contrast so that they don’t lose pop-ups in the glare of the sun. Runners, like volleyball players, want garments that stay in place as their legs and arms cycle thousands of times through a long event. Properathletic footwearis a whole universe of its own, providing comfort, injury prevention, and performance in countless ways.
Just because you won’t get a paycheck for your sports participation doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek out and use quality uniforms. You have to look good in order to build team identity and maybe even to help advance an important cause, and you have to be dressed for comfort and performance to make the sport a positive activity that provides the enjoyment and exercise–and maybe a touch of intense competition–that was on your mind when you signed up. When you dress well, you play well.