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Athletic wear is clothing specifically designed for comfort and increased performance while engaged in high impact exercise, or sports. It usually consists of shoes, socks, shorts, shirts, and sweat pants for men as well as women. At one time, athletic wear appealed to a small corner of the clothing market that consisted of basically high school, college and professional athletes. Things have changed. Athletic wear has become universal and is bought by hundreds of millions of consumers who not only play organized sports, but also hang out casually with friends. From the franchise player in the NBA, NFL, and MLB, to the over thirty dads working full time in the office, to the soccer mom next door, everyone buys athletic wear.
One of the reasons why athletic wear has become so popular is because they have actually become stylish. NBA players for example not only where their athletic brand while playing on the court, but they model it in magazines, and TV commercials. Female athletes model they athletic wear in Sports Illustrated, as well as Seventeen. Commercialism and popular athletes, actors, singers, and rappers, have made athletic wear as part of their style of dress, beyond sports. They, perhaps even more than the seasonal athlete have grown the popularity of wearing athletic clothing. When RUN DMC made the rap song "MY Adidas" in 1986, the shoe brand's popularity exploded. When Boys II Men performed in a Tux and Nikes, everybody started doing it. Athletic wear has become a form of artistic expression, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the most popular athletes who sport them have also won championships in their respective sports. Athletic wear is no longer about comfort while playing sports. It's become a way of life, and part of what we all now wear everyday. Some of the biggest companies in the world make huge profit from athletic wear. Let's look at two examples.
Nike was originally founded in 1968 and produced shoes for track meets. Not it's athletic brand has expanded to shoes for every professional sport, as well as shorts, socks, shirts, sports bras, and even underwear. UnderArmor is another example of how athletic wear has reached world wide popularity. Founded in 1996, UnderArmor produced the form fitting clothing that absorbs moisture. Today, the company produces a plethora of athletic wear that includes socks, hats, shoes, shirts, and sports bras.
Worldwide, athletic wear is a 25 billion dollar industry. As the popularity sports athlete grows, so will the popularity of the athletic brand they wear.