How Infrared Can Level Up Sports & Outdoor Brand Innovation

Welcome back to our industry spotlight series, where we look at various industries where CELLIANT® infrared technology can make a big difference. Previous articles in our industry series focus on infrared applications for upholstery, hospitality, airlines, automotive, bedding, footwear and more. In this installment, we head into the world of sports and outdoor 

Outdoor State of Play and Innovation

Outdoor brands have long been innovators in the textile industry, constantly looking to deliver differentiating performance benefits to their performance-oriented customers. These is a large market for outdoor products, with $27.5 billion in total outdoor retail sales reported for 2023. 

Innovation, however, has felt stagnant the past several years. We see fractional improvements to existing technologies, like moisture-wicking or warmer fabrics, that have come to be expected by consumers rather than being seen as groundbreaking product development. In fact, some of the most notable textile breakthroughs, like Coolmax and Gore-Tex, date back to the 20th century.  This gap is what we refer to as the “innovation disconnect.”

So, how can we close this gap, and where can brands turn to find the next disrupting textile technology that will change the game for sports and outdoor products? First, brands need to understand what sports and outdoor-focused customers want. 

WHERE PERFORMANCE MEETS WELLNESS

The outdoor consumer is performance-focused — we can say that with great confidence. But performance is no longer just about the expected function of fabrics (such as, marginally faster drying, or slightly lighter and warmer fabrics). Those foundational functions are important, certainly, but the modern consumer, across industry, is increasingly willing to pay more for innovative materials that do more. Taking the desire for increased functionality plus the projections for the wellness industry to reach  $8.5 trillion by 2027, we can start to see a major opportunity for outdoor products to harness wellness functionality in order to stand apart from the competition. 

 That’s where wellness fabrics come into play: fabrics that interact with human physiology to promote wellbeing, like those infused with infrared technology. 

Infrared Technology: An Outdoor Brand Differentiator 

Infrared textiles are bio-responsive — they interact with, and influence, human physiology. CELLIANT®, the first wellness ingredient brand, is a proprietary blend of naturally occurring minerals that are infused into the core of fibers or applied as a print to fabrics. CELLIANT works by: 

The infrared that is emitted back into the body increases local circulation and cellular oxygenation, resulting in a number of wellness and performance benefits that synergize perfectly with sports and outdoor products. 

THERMOREGULATION SUPPORT

Body temperature is an important biomarker for athletes of any level. Thermoregulation can impact physical performance, comfort, recovery and endurance, which is why sports and outdoor products that can support thermoregulation provide such value. 

CELLIANT infrared-infused fabrics help the body stay cooler when it’s warm and warmer when it’s cool. This improved thermoregulation is due to a change in the person’s physiology — namely, increased local circulation derived from exposure to infrared energy. So this improved thermoregulation is not a result from a more breathable fabric, for example, but is actually happening within the person’s own body. 

FASTER RECOVERY

Recovery after sports or outdoor activities is essential to allow muscles to repair and strengthen. By prioritizing recovery, individuals can sustain their performance and enjoy a more balanced, active lifestyle. Incorporating infrared fabrics, such as athleticwear or loungewear, during and after your workout or outdoor adventure can help you recover from physical exertion and fatigue faster.

ENHANCED PERFORMANCE

Athletes and hiking enthusiasts alike know just how important strength, endurance and stamina are in achieving your goals – whether that is a new PR during training or conquering a tough mountain climb. CELLIANT infrared has been shown to improve strength in the areas it is worn (IR gloves have been shown to improve grip strength, for example) as well as endurance and stamina to help you perform your best. 

VERSATILITY

Beyond the wellness and performance benefits, innovations for the Outdoor industry must be versatile in order to be applicable to a wide range of products and use-cases. CELLIANT is versatile, both in application and in its wellness benefits.  

CELLIANT can be infused directly into a number of fibers or printed on virtually any fabric to deliver its wellness benefits. This makes it perfect for a vast range of Sports & Outdoor products. From athletic tape, to ski boots, to wetsuits, to blankets, CELLIANT is a fit, and delivers value, for almost any textile product.

Sports & Outdoor Brands Using CELLIANT

At CELLIANT, we currently work with several global sports and outdoor brands. Working with us is more than a way to infuse infrared technology, however, we are true partners with our host brands.

UNDER ARMOUR

We’re proud of our long-standing relationship with Under Armour. CELLIANT powers all pieces of the UA Vanish Energy collection (formerly known as UA RUSH™). Our partnership helps Under Armour deliver on their mission to make athletes better. 

DECATHLON

Following the successful launch of our inaugural collaboration with the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, the Wedze Ski Sock, Decathlon launched a CELLIANT-powered training set to support performance and recovery.

TECNICA

CELLIANT infrared technology is infused into the lining of Tecnica’s Mach 1, Mach Sport and Cochise ski boots. Our partnership delivers on Tecnica’s brand mantra of ‘always innovation.’

XCEL

CELLIANT infrared’s ability to help the body thermoregulate, plus its durability, makes it the perfect fit for XCEL’s premium infrared wetsuits, helping them to fulfill their promise of creating products for any diving conditions.

KT TAPE

Utilizing our CELLIANT Print application, KT Tape created the Pro Oxygen kinesiology tape, which has been a resounding success with the brand and their consumers. 

OXEEGO

Oxeego designs technologically advanced infrared socks powered by CELLIANT for hiking, running, cycling and casual wear.

Take Your Sports Or Outdoor Brand To The Next Level

Sports and outdoor brands looking for a competitive edge need to find technology innovation partners that can deliver new benefits to their consumers. CELLIANT infrared technology is an ideal ingredient for sports and outdoor textile products, offering science-backed performance, recovery and wellness benefits unlike anything else on the market.  

To start brainstorming how CELLIANT can enhance your brand’s outdoor products with the infrared advantage, please fill out the form below. 

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