As shown in Figure 3, the U.S. sportswear market extends beyond sports. Approximately 85 percent of sports footwear and 75 percent of sports apparel are not used exclusively for sports. Sportswear is frequently worn in a variety of everyday work and leisure contexts, from attending sporting events to working on the job as nurses, bar tenders, restaurant staff, delivery personnel, and many other professions.
The largest segment of U.S. sportswear is athleisure. This is a style of clothing typically worn during athletic activities and in other settings, such as at the workplace, at school, or at other casual or social occasions.3, 4 Athleisure sports apparel can include yoga pants, tights, sneakers, leggings and shorts that is also characterized as “fashionable, dressed-up sweats and exercise clothing.”5
Sportswear is an important part of street fashion from hip hop artists to fashionable looks for those seeking a combination of comfort and style. At luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus, sneakers now account for 50 percent of the men’s shoe business. Executives in Silicon Valley almost exclusively wear high-priced sneakers—including Lanvin, Common Projects, and Louis Vuitton high-top sneakers.6
Sportswear Heat Map
We will examine the COVID-19 impact on U.S. sportswear using a heat map. A heat map is simply a graphic representation of change in intensity.7 The heat map provides a visualization technique that shows the magnitude of change as a color in two dimensions. The heat map shown in Figure 4 represents the impact on 2020 sportswear segment sales. The portion to the left of center represents the extent to which sales have declined up to 30 percent (dark red). Moving to right in greener tones is a percent increase up to 30 percent.