“Over the past year we have seen an increase in customers’ interest and awareness of sports, well-being and lifestyle,” explains Hannah Rickets, assistant buyer for John Lewis’s sportswear. “We feel the 2012 Olympics legacy is still resonating with our customers – sporting events really motivate them.” The recent Boat Race saw an increase in sales of rowing machines, reports Rickets, who is sure that the upcoming London Marathon will provide the same boost for running gear. Adrian Leek, general manager of running for Adidas, agrees. “Thanks to social media, seeing other people running has become much more accessible and inspiring. Just as in other sports, when great things happen it sparks energy within you to get out and participate.”
That idea of motivation is one of the cornerstones of the recent This Girl Can campaign from Sport England, which encourages women to get active without worrying what they look like while doing so. And of course, that’s a worthy sentiment – but the power of looking good to feel good shouldn’t be discounted. “I think we all wear kit for different reasons,” says Miette Johnson, art director for Elle UK, who first took up running in January 2012 when the magazine staff decided to start a club. Since then, she’s graduated through longer distances to complete marathons, most recently the Paris race earlier this month.
In pictures: Running wear