The Streetwear gym connection actually goes back a lot further than what you might think. In this feature we take a look at a selection of streetwear gym brands that should be on your radar.
From the full tracksuits of the original gym goers of the 1980s when steroid fuelled action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger became the pin up boys for fitness centres all over the world, gym gear has always had some sort of streetwear connection. The original B-Boys of the Bronx wore gym gear like full adidas tracksuits & PUMA Suede trainers because it allowed them to bust out their moves without the restriction of non-performance clothes. This then gets into the subject of sportswear, which in essence is just really what ‘streetwear gym brands’ are in their purist form. Think Tony Soprano on his treadmill with his luxury Fila tracksuits, Slim Shady doing sit ups with a Jordan vest on or Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his muscle fibres in a pair of Nike Cortez trainers.
Looking the part for those who take their training serious is, and always has been, a serious thing. Although streetwear is never really associated with finishing that final set on the squat rack, it’s affiliation is a lot stronger than what you think. With the rise of “athleisure” over the last few years gym gear has become big business and for those with a penchant for streetwear, mixing the two, whether you’re training or not, is never a bad thing. It’s sometimes easy to forget that the majority of sportswear driven streetwear is performance driven, so why wouldn’t you also wear it in the gym? In this feature we take a look at a selection of streetwear gym brands that should be on your radar.
A feature about streetwear & gym brands would not be complete without a mention of ‘die marke mit den 3 streifen’. Founded by Adi Dassler after parting ways with his brother Rudolph in the 1940s, the original 3 stripes brand is arguably the king, and probably one of the oldest, when it comes to streetwear gym brands. From classic full tracksuits for that whole 80s sportswear aesthetic, to the latest in performance fabrics, adidas don’t mess about when it comes to the very finest streetwear gym gear. If you’re looking for state of the art BOOST technology for the treadmill or an “on trend” matching set, adidas have your all gym apparel needs covered. Then there’s classic OG styles like the original Franz Beckenbauer tracksuit with its all its 3 stripes nostalgia which will always look part whether you’re hitting the gym or the streets. Did we mention they just also did a collab with the luxury streetwear brand Gucci?
What better name for a sportswear brand than Champion? Champion’s highly respected Reverse Weave has become like a badge of honour for those in the know. Founded by the Feinbloom brothers back in 1919 as the ‘Knickerbocker Knitting Company’, Champion has kitted out everyone from the US Military Academy to highly profiled NBA stars to Chance The Rapper. Their ongoing collaborations with brands like Supreme has cemented the Champion brand as a staple streetwear gym brand with full ranges of classic sweatshirts, hoodies, joggers & tees all utilising their world renowned ‘Reverse Weave’ cotton fabrics. More recently the All American athletic apparel brand collaborated with the Italian based American designer Rick Owens on a collection of Pentagram inspired pieces.
If we’re talking about streetwear gym brands you simply cannot miss out the swoosh brand. The iconic swoosh logo has become a staple of gyms across the world and a highly respected sportswear brand boasting the latest garment technology & athletic driven apparel. Founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman, Nike’s street appeal came off the back of highly successful trainer releases like the Cortez in the 1970s and of course Air Max in the late 1980s. Nike’s street appeal continues to blur the lines between traditional performance gear & lifestyle with subcultural connections going back to the original B-Boys of the Bronx in the USA to the original Grime scene of Hackney in the UK. Some of the highlights of the Swoosh brands’ latest offering include oversized retro logos, the latest ZOOM technology, Polar Fleece vests & classic sweat pants. All great gear if you’re hitting your local park or gym.
The North Face
It’s easy to pigeon hole The North Face as an outdoors brand but the San Francisco born explorer label offers a lot more than Nuptse’s and Mountain jackets. TNF’s streetwear connection owes a lot to the cold weather of New York in the winter, the East Coast rap scene & their ongoing Supreme collaboration. The revival of the outdoors brand over the last 5 years has seen The North Face become a popular lifestyle brand that also offers athletic gear that can be worn without the need for extreme temperatures or hanging off a cliff face somewhere in the Rocky’s. Boasting everything from FlashDry™ technology running shorts that wick away sweat as you train to weightless running tees that are “designed by athletes for athletes”, TNF’s performance gym gear is second to none.
Fear of God Essentials
Whilst Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God brand might not be something you would automatically associate with the gym, his ESEENTIALS line most certainly is. Founded as a Los Angeles streetwear brand back in 2013, Fear of God introduced their luxury sportswear label, ESSENTIALS, as a more affordable athletic line. The ESSENTIALS line probably owes a lot to the lockdowns of the global pandemic when people ditched the smart shirts and tailored work gear for comfort & athleisure. Pioneering the “matching sets” trend of the last few years, the ESSENTIALS line offer us basic gym gear from fleece back jersey crew neck sweatshirts to cotton rich blend sweatpants. Great for working up a sweat on the stepper.