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How Adidas and Ventile Innovate in Activewear

Adidas unveiled what it is calling its “most extensive and size inclusive sports bra collection to date” Wednesday.

The expansive line includes 43 new styles across 18 product franchises. The new selection, available in 72 sizes, is slated to drop Monday across Adidas’ stores, website and app.

To create the new line, Adidas teamed with Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, a University of Portsmouth professor who in 2005 set up what has become one of the world’s leading research groups in breast health. At the time of the group’s founding, there were only six scientific studies on the biomechanics and support requirements of the breast, compared to thousands on sports shoes, Adidas said. Seventeen years later, “breast movement in sport continues to be an area that is overlooked,” Wakefield-Scurr noted.

“Unknown to many, athletes may require the same amount of breast support during power walking as they do during sprinting, and a lack of support has the potential to cause irreversible damage,” the professor said in a statement.

Conversely, a well-fitting sports bra reduces movement-related breast pain and reduces the risk of damaging the skin and the Cooper’s ligaments, the only two natural supports the breast has. Additionally, the right sports bra also improves function and impacts stride length, Adidas said.

“There is a sizeable data gap when it comes to sports bra development, so we worked with experts in breast health and biomechanics [at the] University of Portsmouth to challenge ourselves and drive forward our innovation to better meet the needs of our female athletic community,” Amy Charlton, senior director of product at Adidas, said in a statement.

Adidas’ new sports bra lineup is split into four segments. Adiflex training bras, designed for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), team sports and gym sessions, provide “sleek coverage and support with a cool touch.” Each piece features breathable custom stretch fabrics with heat zones and quick drying, Adidas said.

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Adisoft bras, “where comfort meets performance,” feature minimal detailing and contoured seams. Designed to move with the body, the “super-soft” garments are intended for use in the studio, soft sports and light- to medium-impact training.

The “light-as-air” and “silky smooth” Adibare bras, meanwhile, offer “stylish comfort 24/7,” Adidas said. Each piece in the range is crafted with a stretchy, breathable fabric designed to fit “like a second skin for that ‘barely there’ feeling all-day long,” it added.

Finally, the Adiform running sports bras rely on strong and smooth fabrics that wick moisture and stay cool during hard runs. The garments are designed with secure wrapping, custom stretch and flat seaming.

In his 2022 forecast, Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for sports at The NPD Group, dubbed women’s athletic footwear and activewear “the industry’s greatest failure and its greatest opportunity.” With major sportswear brands continuing to cede share to private labels, Powell predicted that Lululemon will surpass Nike this year to become the top women’s activewear brand in the U.S.

Adidas Terrex HS hoodie made with Spinnova fibers
Adidas Terrex HS hoodie made with Spinnova fibers Courtesy

Adidas on Thursday showed off the first product spawned from its investment in Finnish textile innovator Spinnova. The Adidas Terrex HS hoodie balances 25 percent of the Finnish material innovator’s circular and biodegradable wood-based fibers with 75 percent organic cotton for a naturally colored mid-layer hiking garment made with less water than dyed or bleached counterparts.

Carla Murphy, general manager of Adidas Terrex, said that “partnering to innovate in new areas” advances the company’s efforts to create 90 percent of products using more eco-friendly tech, materials, design or manufacturing by 2025.

“At Terrex we are on a journey to drive greater sustainability of our technical apparel and we’re constantly looking to find new ways to help end plastic waste,” she added. “Working with Spinnova is another step on this journey.”

Spinnova CEO Janne Poranen described the hoodie as a “major milestone on our joint commercial journey.”

The Adidas Terrex HS will be available in limited quantities in July at adidas.com and at select retail partners.

Ventile supports Mover’s plastic-free push

Elsewhere in activewear, the textile manufacturer Ventile has partnered with Mover Sportswear to support the decades-old fitness brand’s plastic-free rebranding.

Founded in Sweden in 1982, Mover first developed a name for itself in high-tech skiwear. More than two decades later, in 2004, Nicholas Rochat—a Swiss entrepreneur, an avid skier and the company’s current CEO—bought the brand. In 2006, he relocated production from China to Europe and moved the company’s headquarters to Switzerland. Though Mover continued to use plastics during the following years, it began to replace its synthetic underlayers with merino wool. In 2010, it and the German fleece manufacturer Baur Vliesstoffe developed Swisswool, an insulation material made entirely from wool that was designed to substitute for all polyester and down waddings. This past October, the brand relaunched as Mover Plastic Free Sportswear.

“In my early days in business, I worked with brands where the focus was on synthetic fibres and plastic-based clothing solutions,” Rochat told Sourcing Journal. “As I found out more about the extent of plastic pollution around the globe, with plants and animals affected by indestructible toxic pollutants and plastics found as high up as Mount Everest, I began to question the usefulness of it in our everyday objects. From there I explored the possibility of creating sportswear and outdoor clothing that did not use this product, and so the idea for Mover Plastic Free Sportswear was born.”

Ventile, a Mover collaborator since 2017, revealed Thursday that its fabrics will be featured in at least two pieces from the new lineup.

An upcoming Mover shell jacket uses Ventile fabric
Mover x Ventile Shell Jacket Ventile

The first, a blouson made from Ventile’s recycled ECO 400 RCO fabric, is already available. Another piece, the Ventile Shell Jacket, is currently in production. The lightweight outerwear garment is designed for layering and includes an adjustable hood, hidden pockets and double lap felled seams.

“Our partnership with Mover shows that the momentum for sustainable, plastic-free items is gaining pace,” Ventile marketing manager Daniel Odermatt said in a statement. “Throughout the globe we are seeing a trend toward the end of single-use plastics and it is great to see the same sentiment gaining traction in the textile world too. It has been an interesting journey so far for both Ventile and Mover and we look forward to continuing our work together and [supplying] a fantastic brand that has such an important message to share.”

New active brands are also launching with plastic-free promises. Late last year, Untuckit CEO Aaron Sanandres created Definite Articles on the premise that performance wear shouldn’t pollute the planet, extending the anti-plastic mission through its supply chain by working with sustainable fulfillment startup Manifest Commerce.

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.