By Gabby Shacknai

Once upon a time, not so long ago, activewear occupied only a small fraction of our wardrobes, and our time spent wearing it was limited to post-work gym sessions and weekend yoga classes. More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, however, most of us can’t seem to take our leggings and sports bras off (whether there’s a workout in our future or not), and as our activewear collections have expanded, so too have the options to choose from. But with the athletic wear market more saturated than ever, certain significant shortcomings have remained, especially when it comes to women’s comfort. That is, until now. 

With the launch of Formotion, adidas has crafted a new class of activewear, one backed by insights from women around the world and created by an all-women design team. Made from the brand’s new graded compression and knit technology, the collection is all about celebrating, supporting, and catering to the female form, which it feels has long been neglected by the sportswear industry. “It’s really linked back to our community of women across the globe and our efforts to understand what they’re looking for and how we can support them,” explains Josephine Aberg, adidas’s vice president of design. “We’ve always created a lot for women, but we also saw an opportunity to dig even deeper to further understand how we could provide opportunities for a more diverse group of women—not only professional athletes but also the everyday athletes and women who want to achieve their personal best.”

To get a better sense of what exactly these different cohorts of women were looking for in their activewear, adidas spoke to its global female community and developed Formotion based on the feedback it received. “Comfort was the one thing that came up everywhere, in every conversation, so we started to think about what comfort means for a woman,” Aberg recalls. “When we started to unpack it more, we realized that when a woman feels comfortable, she also feels confident, and feeling confident is such an integral part of motivation and exercise and being able to push yourself one step further.” 

Inspired by the comfort and support offered by shapewear, the design team conducted extensive body mapping, taking note of where different compression grading was needed to accommodate movement and allow muscles to expand and contract. “We’ve been able to map out different compression levels for different parts of the body, and we’ve not been able to do that on any pieces ever before,” Aberg says. “We’ve had more all-over compression or compression placed in certain areas but never this different grading zoned out to the female body.”

Consisting of leggings, tops, bras, and more, the Formotion collection is available in sizes XS to 4X, offering superior comfort and support to women of all shapes and sizes. “We believe sport belongs to everyone, and that taps into shape and size,” the vice president of design notes. “When we talk about shape and form, it taps into really diverse propositions, so we feel our sizing should reflect that.” The garments are also made with adidas’s Aeroready fabric to absorb sweat and is labeled PRIMEGREEN, using a minimum of 40% recycled materials, following the brand’s continued efforts toward ending plastic waste.

The collection marks a series of firsts for adidas and indeed the entire activewear space, but Aberg believes it’s only the beginning of what’s becoming a monumental shift within the industry. “We can no longer just look at an innovation in itself; we also need to look at how it makes a woman feel,” she says. “When you feel good, you feel confident, and when you feel confident, you feel powerful. So, when you start to connect those things together, it makes the perfect recipe, and you need to have all of those ingredients when designing for women if it’s going to be successful.”


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