brandsFriday, April 21, 2023

The high-performance activewear brands to know

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Words By Chloe Laight

In the past few years, we’ve seen a move towards a more conscious, holistic approach to how we look after ourselves (both body and mind), with various lockdowns and restrictions on physical exercise shining a light on the importance of keeping our bodies moving. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then — but the rise in popularity of physical activities has gone from strength to strength and, in turn, so have the high-performance activewear brands shaping a fresh take on technical apparel.

 

A celebrated street style photographer and avid cyclist, Adam Katz Sinding is something of an expert in the high-performance men's activewear space. Shirking trends, instead driven by timelessness and comfortability, Sinding looks for longevity. ‘Consider the elements and then consider your choices,’ he explains. ‘Find enduring staples that suit the myriad of weather conditions and employ these pieces along with strong basics for a truly functional look.’ Here, we spotlight the mavericks perfecting the balance between substance and style, as Sinding shares his take on the names doing it best, from Pas Normal Studios to Rapha and more.

For technical cycling apparel: Pas Normal Studios

 

Modern technical wear is Pas Normal Studios’ forte. Championing innovations, cult collaborations and pioneering new production methods, the brand’s philosophy is centered around redefining cycling staples. With its uncompromising attention to detail and modernist aesthetic, Sinding considers himself a convert: ‘I live in Copenhagen, and ride my bike around 10,000 to 15,000 kilometers a year — all while wearing Pas Normal Studios. The brand has exploded in the past few years, and its minimalist style and unique colorways were (and continue to be) a pull for me. I was also in the most recent collaboration between Pas Normal Studios and Salomon! The fit of its pieces I consider to be some of the best in the industry.’

 

‘In terms of details, I’m super happy to see the contrast stitch return to the Mechanism line. Prior to this season, this was only available in a pretty rare pair of bibs.’ Sinding's perfect Pas Normal Studios kit includes the Mechanism cycling jersey and the Mechanism cycling bib shorts.

For running essentials: Satisfy

 

Satisfy is another brand I wear on the daily,’ says Sinding. ‘Although I would consider myself to be primarily a cyclist, it rains buckets in Denmark and I hate riding on wet roads — I know, I chose a weird place to live if that’s an issue for me — so, I don my sneakers and run in the off season. I run between 1,000 and 1,200 kilometers a year, usually wearing Satisfy. The gear is great, it looks great, and the best part is that the people at the brand are just downright good people. Satisfy does group runs during Fashion Week in most of the cities and I always make a point of being there — even if it means waking at 6am to do so.’

 

For the best colder-weather pieces, Sinding recommends the PeaceShell Sherpa hat, mid-rise thermal tights and GhostFleece half‑zip sweatshirt. ‘I own these pieces and they’re just top quality with the best details, from the thumbholes in the fleece top and the taped seams of the tights to the reflective detail in the cord on the cap. Also, these pants are incredible and I’ve worn them nearly non-stop since I got them.’

For high-performance pieces: Rapha

 

Pioneers of performance cycle wear, Rapha’s ethos is that of freedom — the joy of riding and the belief that this can change lives. Sinding notes, ‘Rapha changed what we wear on the bike. I remember finding the brand when I was still living in Seattle and thinking, ‘Thank God, someone’s made a kit that doesn’t suck.’ Back then, Rapha just made its pieces in wool and they were the best. Since then, it’s signed with a pro team and has stepped up to the highest level of technical apparel. Rapha also collaborates with some of the best names in the world, bridging the gap between cycling and fashion in pretty unique ways.’

 

‘I recently got my hands on some of the pieces from the brand’s collaboration with Brain Dead which was very cool. Rapha is responsible for making cycling cool again’. For Sinding, another key highlight includes the Pro Team performance bib shorts. ‘I remember [them] as being top-notch, with an excellent chamois,’ he explains. ‘Comfort is key, and being able to forget about your kit after you’ve put it on is a very valuable trait.’

For the great outdoors: Soar

 

Founded in London’s Hackney by designer and runner Tim Soar in 2015, Soar encompasses innovation, technology, sports science and real-world experiences to create kits that runners want — and love — to wear. ‘I see people at every group run I’ve been on wearing Soar,’ says Sinding. ‘I own a few pieces and find them to be incredibly well made, following a similar minimal design aesthetic to Pas Normal Studios but tuned for running.’

 

‘Looking through the FARFETCH selection, I see myself sporting the Sierra half-zip T-shirt, for sure. I sweat a lot when I run and the gradient in the fabric helps to hide perspiration. These logo-print short tights also look incredible. I love to run in short tights in the summer — they minimize chafing and also protect your legs a bit more from UV than the usual short styles that runners often wear. As I’m a cyclist, my upper thighs don't get much sun at all, so it’s nice to be able to go for a summer jog and not come home looking like a lobster from the knee up.’

For peak-performance wear: On Running

 

‘Ok wait, On Running makes apparel? I had no idea and am only learning of this now on FARFETCH. I’ve only ever heard excellent things about the label. It’s high on my list of shoes to try given my current pair are toast. The Cloudmonster low-top sneakers look exceptionally fresh.’

 

For Sinding, innovation is imperative when it comes to high-performance activewear. ‘I like a brand that innovates, and On Running is clearly doing that. With its proprietary sole (which again, everyone raves about), it seems to be pushing boundaries of what can be done with a running shoe. Back to apparel, I need these Explorer drawstring pants. Who’s going to buy me these pants? I love the subtle tonal color paneling, hidden cargo pockets, and now I’m learning that they’re 50% recycled/upcycled which is a major plus.’

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