The Bradism Guide to 2018 Tracksuit Pant Technology
I feel like - at this point in my life - I have gotten the hang of winter, and this year I haven’t overreacted about how fucking cold and miserable it is. By age 33 I’ve learnt about base layers and insulation, and from the end of May I pack away all my dri-fit shorts and hang out my four pairs of Merino socks to rotate through each day with infrequent washes until ducklings.
I keep the blinds open during the day to let the sunlight in, then close them when I get home in the evenings to check on the slow cooker. There’s linen sheets on the bed, oats in my belly. I’ve taken charge of winter. The above-average temperatures, and half the usual rainfall has nothing to do with my dominance.
While I have been killing it, and never complained once about how it’s dark from 5pm and the sunlit time only increases in length by like twenty seconds each day for weeks, one area I haven’t quite hit five-stars in the metrics is tracksuit pants. While outside the house I am generally toasty and not being whipped by Antarctic winds which are specifically targeting the face that often, inside the house I’m still wearing a pair of tracksuit pants I bought in 2008. And they were specifically the same model as the much-loved pair I’d lost and needed to replace. What amazing advances in tracksuit pant technology over the past decade had I been missing out on?
With some overtime pay in my pocket, I set out to ask the sportswear sales assistants of Adelaide, “What is the best, most technologically advanced pair of tracksuit pants you’ve got?” And this is what I found out.
If you haven’t really thought about trackpants technology recently, I will provide a brief summary of this complicated science. The goal of a good pair of tracksuit pants is to be soft and flexible, while also being restrictive enough to trap the warm air from your body within the pant legs.
The first component of this leg warming is achieved through the material of the pants.
The first pair I tried were the Adidas Tech Sweatpant, which were soft to the touch, and had the word tech in their name. I had high hopes. Their tag claimed they were a 59% polyester / 41% cotton knit. That was awfully specific, I thought. It must be the peak level of tracksuit pant material technology. Forget rounding to a whole number and calling it a day, Adidas tracksuit scientists had clearly tried every possible permutation of polyester and cotton and this is what they came up with. I carried a large pair into the changeroom, and this is what I found.
The second component of leg warming, the fit of the garment.
In the promo shot, some model with literally no calves gives the impression these pants will hang comfortably from knee to ankle. After squeezing my hoofers through the leg-holes it became apparent what I’d missed out on in tracksuit pants’ evolution since 2008. We were now doing slim fit.
This shook me a little. Surely they couldn’t all be like this. For those unaware, the closer the pant clings to the leg, the tighter the seal at the ankle, the more heat the pants will trap. But this was unreasonable. What if you wanted warm legs, but also wanted to walk up stairs? I passed the pants back to the salesperson and left.
I still hadn’t spent that overtime pay. I visited the Nike store, went up several flights of stairs. That had to be a good sign, I thought. What cruel fate would put the tracksuit pants at the top of three flights of stairs if you couldn’t walk up the stairs wearing them.
That’s a little snug.
Despite what the salesperson tried to tell me, the Nike pants were almost identical to the Adidas pants, except with a swoosh instead of stripes.
Although, I did like how the Nike tracksuit pant scientists had engineered a shell of non-absorbent polyester into the lap of the pants.
Those tracksuit scientists clearly knew that users would be eating big bowls of stir fry on the couch in these units.
A few weeks passed before I had the resolve to again try to find the pair of track pants I deserved. The first thing I noticed upon walking into the sportswear store is that, by this point in July, the tracksuit pant choices were running low. And, the styles which remained were stocked only in the odd sizes of XXL and XXXS. (Yes, I do appreciate the irony of calling out odd sizes while carrying around calves the size of footballs).
I had no idea that tracksuit pants had seasons, and that the sportswear store was probably clearing shelf space preparing for their dri-fit shorts sale to sell to every sucker who gets excited about ducklings.
Among the dregs on the clearance rack I found a pair in a colour I probably wouldn’t have chosen, and was immediately excited by the “Relaxed Fit” wording on the tag. With material as soft as down, I slipped them on and stood.
My first thought was, for a relaxed fit, they looked almost too formal.
While they did cling to my lower legs a little, I could stand and sit and bend. Outside the wind howled, and I just knew that my house would smell like wet dog that night, so I figured seeing I was handling winter with such little complaint that I would buy these pants and call my quest complete.
They were also the only pair left in a Large.
The sportswear sales assistants of Adelaide were relieved.