How to choose the best sportswear

Caroline Cassidy

It is a fact that these days' people have more leisure time. They also have more disposable income and this extra time and money has seen a boost in the profits of the leisure industry. From mountain biking to snowboarding there is no end to our appetite for sporting activity. It's no longer just a case of taking part either, high-performance sportswear is big business and major advances are being made all the time in fabric engineering. If you are taking matters seriously you'll need the right equipment. Here is our advice on what you will need to buy.

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Whichever sport you are involved in, looking the part has become very important. It's all about combining appearance and performance. Your main concern should be to purchase the right sportswear for your specific fitness routine. For example, if you bike outdoors you want thin layers that offer mobility and keep you warm on cooler days.

Many of us include outdoor and indoor activities as part of our workouts so you will need clothes that function in the gym and on the sports track.

Choosing the right footwear will help to improve your performance. For running you would look for a lightweight shoe that supports your arches and is cushioned to support your weight.

Ask a sales associate for help when choosing footwear, it's easy to but something that looks good but doesn't do the job. You don't want to run the risk of injury while working out.

There is an array of accessories to think about too. You will need a watch that can track you speed, distance, time and heart rate. Don't forget a holder for your MP3 or iPod. If you are lifting weights then you can find support belts to protect your back while in the weight room.

Top equipment

Mountain bike. The Genesis Altitude Ti is an example of what you can acquire if you are not overly concerned with economy. Constructed from titanium this is a top of the range, hard trail bike. The special material ensures a smoother ride on the bumpiest of trails. The Shimano gear set offers seamless changes and represents the latest in high street technology.
Price £2749.99

Trainers. The Asics Gel Kayano 16 features the best Cushioning System to date. A TPU plate placed directly over the silicone gel unit maintains heel stability. The forefoot tooling of the Asics Kayano 16 features a new injected Solyte cap placed directly over the forefoot GEL Cushioning System. The Flex Groove design encourages the foot to keep a constant line of progression with each stride by following the foot's centre of pressure.
Price £119.99

Squash racket. The WILSON [K] Sonix FX Squash Racket provides a blend of stability with both feel and power. The enlarged head size allows you to play an all encompassing game. It utilises an innovative Quad Shaft Frame Geometry that provides increased stability. Has a larger sweet spot with more power and Yoke enhances stiffness at key stress points on the racket for improved torsional stability.[K]ontour frame features a new industrial design innovation that improves handling and manoeuvrability.
Price £85.00

Ski/Outdoor wear. An example of the best ski/outdoor activity clothing available on the market is the Peak Performance Blacklight 3L Jacket. Assembled from lightweight 3-layer Gore-Tex ProShell laminate for maximum waterproof protection and high levels of breathability. Articulated sleeves and 3D hood. All the features have been designed to meet the exacting needs of true mountaineers.

Cycle helmets. The S-Works D4W 2D model, made by Specialized , is thought to be the lightest helmet in the world. Provides the perfect conditions for competitive cycling. Cradles the head without exerting too much pressure on any point and it has deep internal vent channels and rear exhaust ports for optimum ventilation.
Price 109.00