Sports apparel and uniforms are more than just a way for you to recognize your favorite team. A sports uniform of a certain team is deeply tied to its spirit and values, it’s there to instill unity, and enhance motivation and confidence.
But sports uniforms are also used for practical reasons. In fast-moving sports, it’s easier to spot players and know who is who when they are in their custom uniforms and their team colors.
The question here is how has custom sports apparel changed over the years. Has it always been important and what materials and colors were popular a hundred years ago?
We’ll try to answer these and many more questions, in this short look back at the history of custom sports apparel. But first, let’s start by answering the following question.
What is custom sports apparel?
As mentioned above, custom sports apparel is deeply rooted in the history and heritage of each sports club. But more than a symbol that represents that history and heritage, it’s a way to unify a team, motivate it, and boost its confidence. Sports uniforms are also used to instill fear in competitors.
Today, when you think of any sports team such as Manchester United or LA Lakers, you think of their colors and crests. This is yet another reason why custom sportswear exists. Custom sports apparel is great for creating a fan base and fostering fan pride.
But has that always been the case? Have sports teams always used custom sports apparel? Let’s find out.
The evolution of sports apparel
You know, from the history books, that the oldest-ever known sports competition was the Olympic games back in ancient Greece. Although this fact is very much disputed, let’s take it as our baseline.
Back in ancient Greece, players and competitors didn’t much care about custom sportswear, since they preferred to compete naked. Fast forward to modern times and you can see how much that has changed.
The first semblance of what we today call sports uniforms can be seen back in 19th-century Germany, where the origins of modern gymnastics are rooted. At first, the gymnast wore grey linen clothing, but by the end of the 19th century, they switched to cotton shirts.
Cotton shirts were more customizable and the growing number of gymnastics clubs and teams were dying their shirts in different colors and were sewing numbers to them to set themselves apart.
The real evolution of sportswear and teamwear took place in 1896 during the reintroduction of the Olympic games. And even though, that year there were no regulations as to what sort of uniforms the players had to wear, many came to Athens wearing custom sportswear.
But the regulations ensued soon after. For the London Summer Olympics in 1908, all the participants had to wear uniforms with a distinctive number on them.
During those times, up until the Second World War, custom sportswear was made of cotton or wool jersey fabric, and thus the name of sports uniforms – jerseys.
The introduction of synthetic sports apparel
From 1930 to 1960, the textile industry was working on developing synthetic fibers (nylon, polyester, spandex, and so on) which will later completely change sports apparel. By the 1970s, all sports teams and individual sports athletes were wearing synthetic sports jerseys.
Although very uncomfortable to wear at first, synthetic sportswear was ideal for sports activities because of its elasticity and resistance. Pretty soon after, synthetic clothing became very popular as everyday clothing as well.
Custom sports apparel today
Since the 60s and the 70s, synthetic sports apparel has come a long way. With the advancements in technology, sportswear has also advanced quite a bit. Today, you can design your own sports apparel with only a couple of clicks on your laptop.
Modern tech has also significantly improved the quality of fabrics used for sports apparel. Now, we have much more breathable, elastic, durable, and comfortable high-quality sports apparel.
What are the benefits of custom sportswear?
You wouldn’t believe how powerful custom sports apparel can be both for players and their fans. To help you understand better here are some of the greatest benefits of custom sportswear.
1. It boosts the performance
Wearing sports uniforms has a great effect on players’ mindsets. What we wear can seriously affect our behavior and our performance. That’s why wearing your team’s colors can help you perform better.
In addition to that, today we have athletic uniforms made of fabrics that can actually boost the athletes’ performance. Uniforms are made of moisture-wicking, cooling, aerodynamic fabrics. All this can contribute to the overall performance of athletes.
2. It empowers the team
Wearing the same custom sportswear can empower the whole team. The same type of clothing, with the same colors and crests, creates a sense of belonging among the team members.
For each player, what they wear makes them feel connected to the whole team, and being a part of the whole is what empowers them the most.
3. It creates a sense of unity
A good team is a unified team where everyone works toward the same goal. There’s no place for individuals to stand out. This is once again where custom sportswear can help a lot.
It gives teams a sense of unity, trust, and pride as well. All the important elements for success.
4. It enables recognition
All the world-famous sports teams are instantly recognizable by their teams’ colors. This is yet another purpose of custom team wear – to make teams recognizable.
If it weren’t for your favorite team’s colors and custom clothing, you’d have a very hard time recognizing them.
Although sports have a very long history, the custom sportswear history is not as old as you’ve imagined. However, it’s pretty obvious why custom sports uniforms are so important in the world of sports.