It’s just the beginning of April, but mercury levels have already shot up over 30 degree Celsius. But don’t trade your fitness goals for the comfort of an air-conditioned room just yet. A bunch of home-grown companies have identified the need for comfortable and breathable sportswear and are offering innovations that go beyond moisture wicking fabric.
Started in 2015, Mumbai-based Athlos makes activewear from bamboo fabric that is embedded with silver eons (silver particles). This makes the fabric odour-free. “Sweat by itself doesn’t have any odour. The bacteria that breeds on the clothes make them stink. Silver helps control the growth of bacteria and the bamboo fabric makes them breathable,” explains founder Pravin Dhake. Currently sold online, Athlos claims to be ideal for extreme outdoor workouts and can be worn in the gym too.
“The two most important factors that consumers look for in their apparel in summer are breathability and light weight,” says Keerthana Ramakrishnan, Nike India’s communications head. For the Indian cricket team’s jersey, a combination of Dri-FIT fabric and an engineered mesh helps keep the sportsmen cool during a game in the hot sun.
For Dhake, the moment of awakening occurred during an eight-month-long sabbatical. “I spent a lot of time hiking, cycling and mountaineering across India. That’s when I realised that most of the athletic wear available was not right for the Indian climate,” adds the former auto engineer.
Today, a handful of companies like Proyog (specialises in yoga clothes for women), Omved, Stretchery (both make use of organic cotton), Zebo and Tego have been focusing on providing fitness wear that’s perfect for Indian summers. “India has an all-year-round tropical climate. We use organic cotton that helps soak up the sweat easily and since the levels of toxins are minimal, the clothes are allergy-free,” says Nirali Mehta, co-founder of Delhi-based Stretchery. It currently sells T-shirts for men and women and plans to launch yoga pants in May.
Sweat for a cause
For Krishna Chandak, it was a skin allergy caused by sharing gym space that led to the launch of his brand Tego. “I am a germophobe and the father of a four-year-old,” says Chandak. The incident got him thinking about anti-microbial technology in fabric. Soon, he teamed up with his friend Ashish Nayak, who is a textile engineer, to test various fabrics. “Our first product was an anti-microbial gym towel. It reduces the risk of cross contamination from using shared surfaces in gyms and other fitness facilities,” he adds. Set up less than two years ago, the company has found presence in 40 retail outlets like SportXS and Planet Sports across the country.
Tego’s latest range of T-shirts turns your beads of sweat into a cause for motivation. As you sweat, messages like ‘stronger’ and ‘faster’ appear on the T-shirt. “We wanted to make fitness wear that’s a little different. So, we made use of printing technology and have trademarked it as our Sweat Charged products,” adds Chandak.
Athlos: Uses bamboo fabric with silver eons to reduce odour releasing bacteria.
Prices: Rs 1,297
Buy here: goathlos.com
Stretchery: Uses 100 per cent organic cotton that helps soak up sweat and reduce skin allergies.
Buy here: stretchery.com
Price: Starts from Rs 1,050
Tego: Makes use of anti-microbial fabric that cuts down on sweat-related skin infections.
Buy here: Across Sports XS and Planet Sports outlets
Price: Rs 1,499
Proyog: Makes use of HYPERBREATH™ fabric that is non-restrictive and designed in a way that the practitioner is barely aware of its presence.
Buy here: proyog.com
Price: Starts from Rs 1,899