The Real Reason Your Running Top Has Thumbholes

FYI it’s like the universe wants us to have trust issues

The Real Reason Your Running Top Has Thumbholes

by Lucy Morris |

They call us snowflakes, wet millennials, but when you to uncover the truth about premium sportswear you’ll also feel triggered. We’re not over-sensitive or hyper-emotional, we’ve just been lied to for umpteen years.

In this day and age of wellness and avocado toasts, athletic outfitters are living through a modern-day gold-rush. The industry in the US, which at the moment is considered the world’s biggest market, made $97 billion (£69.3 billion) sales in 2015, according to Morgan Stanley. And, this number is only expected to soar with a further $83 billion (£59.3 billion) more sales added by 2020.

The Real Reason Your Running Top Has Thumbholes
©Adidas/Instagram
The Real Reason Your Running Top Has Thumbholes
©Adidas/Instagram

As it stands the market is saturated with competition at both premium and affordable levels. Labels like ASOS, Topshop and Primark are muscling in on territory once owned by Nike, adidas and luxe labels like Lululemon and Under Armour. For brands, the struggle to differentiate yourself is real and palatable but also nothing new.

Sweaty Betty's garment technician Saphia King told* The Debrief*, 'all garments we design are with their end use at the forefront of the designers mind. Functionality is considered equally to the aesthetic – the garments need to work with the wearer at all times.'

However, nearly two and a half years ago an executive at Nike cynically explained this wasn't always the case at their Seattle HQ when he disclosed why their running tops have thumbholes. ‘[W]e suddenly discovered in tops that if a top has a thumbhole in it, the consumer perceives it is a premium top. So we're getting a little bit more scientific about what those features and benefits are that the consumer will perceive as worth more money,’ said Jeanne Jackson, President of Distribution and Merchandising, Sole Collector reported. Sweaty Betty's garment technician Saphia King said, 'ensure the cuff stays in place and can offer additional warmth.' And, here we were thinking they were built-in gloves!

The Real Reason Your Running Top Has Thumbholes
©Nike/Instagram

Though our side-eye isn’t going anywhere, we do know that Nike is technically-minded and always reaching to add extra functionality to their products. For instance, their new shoes, Nike React, have a ‘responsive yet cushioned sole, which is more comfortable for longer distances whilst feeling springy and fast for running’, their spokesperson explains. Well, at least this time the extra feature is more than just an aesthetic addition.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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