adidas Launches High-Performance Reactivewear


Seeking a competitive edge, athletes are sporting performance-enhancing threads.

What’s happening: Global sportswear company adidas partnered with RHEON Labs to launch new performance apparel called Techfit Control.

Spun out of a NASA project, RHEON developed an energy-absorbing, highly strain-sensitive polymer. Incorporated into clothing, it stays soft and flexible in its natural state and stiffens when subjected to force.

Woven to reinforce major muscle groups, adidas’ men’s and women’s leggings provide reactive support for high-intensity movement.

Functional Fits

From boosting performance to enhancing recovery, technical apparel is trending up.

  • OMORPHO’s microloaded training apparel claims 3% improvements in sprinting times, 9% on vertical leap, and 8% on power and calories burned.
  • Last year, lululemon revealed runner-focused SenseKnit, with zoned ventilation, body-contoured support, anti-chafe seams, and smell-reducing technology.
  • In January, Oya Femtech raised $1.3M for its feminine health-focused performancewear that fights yeast infections, UTIs, rashes, and more.
  • Touting recovery, posture-adjusting athleticwear Forme is pursuing medical classification, while OOFOS just secured funding for its impact-absorbing sandals.

Elsewhere, Therabody’s new vibrating compression sleeves add to a growing list of connected clothing, including WHOOP, Nextiles, STRIVE, Cipher Skin, and others.

Stitching it together. Stefan Olander, former Nike exec and OMORPHO CEO, thinks there’s a lot more that can be done. Despite the global sportswear industry’s size, there hasn’t been much functional innovation in a “very long time.”

But, as he told us, apparel with proven benefits is a no-brainer for performance-minded consumers:

“Whether you’re an elite athlete trying to shave off a tenth of a second or an everyday athlete trying to get the most out of your workout, this works.”

One-up. Functional apparel could make regular compression gear and footwear obsolete, especially for elite athletes.

Case-in-point, Nike’s Vaporfly shoes provided such an advantage, its wearers claimed 31 out of 36 podium spots in the world’s major marathon circuit in 2019. And its Alphafly shoes were labeled “technological doping” and outright banned from elite competition.

Punchline: Technical is the new black, putting nonfunctional apparel out of fashion for high-performers.

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