Technical Apparel

Why buy technical apparel?

  • Provide freedom of movement, and moisture management (wicking performance) in order to regulate the body’s temperature
  • Thermal regulation – if you can keep the skin dry in cold temps, less body heat is lost, and thus you stay warmer.  In hot temps, regulating moisture allows the skin to breath, which prevents overheating.
  • Lightweight fabrics, that move more freely and breathe extremely well.  
  • Bells and whistles that make experience more enjoyable or safer (i.e., media pockets and ports, reflectivity)
  • Why not Cotton?
    • Cotton holds several times its weight in water
    • Moves moisture very inefficiently
    • Traps bacteria

Selling technical apparel

  • Questions to ask
    • What activities will you be doing?
    • Where will you be doing them? A gym? Outside? Geo location?
    • Are you a “hot” or “cold” person?
    • Do you like compression or fitted?
  • Know your customer
    • New, first time runner- will need guidance from top to bottom; lots of questions and be careful not to overwhelm them.
    • Experienced runner- Probably has a lot of technical already; looking for the newest and coolest apparel (bells and whistles)
    • Gift buyer- needs to be guided; give them two options of what they are looking for or be ready to point them towards a particular gift if they don’t come to you with a guideline.

Have your “Go-To’s”

Have a favorite item in each category and a backup. Don’t get caught trying to sell something that isn’t well stocked.

Finish the sale

  • Help them through the dressing room experience- offer to pull other sizes, etc.
  • Offer ideas for other items they might need based on what they are purchasing.

Seasons (pertains to our geographical climate in Maryland)

Fall > Winter

  • Layering (Fall = base layer, ¼ zip. Winter = base layer, thermal layer, outer layer)
    • Upper Body Base Layer
      • Closest to skin, should be wicking (thinnest)
      • Keeps skin dry by moving moisture away from the body and evaporating.  Moisture is picked up and moved along a fiber/yarn to the outer surface of the fabric for evaporation
      • Ideal if base layer in also compression to hold warmth in, but all personal preference
    • Upper Body Thermal layer
      • Provides insulation. (usually a ¼ zip or hoody)
      • Moves moisture and helps to maintain a constant body temperature by trapping warm air.
      • Should fit less snug to the body in order to fit over the base layer.  Should be easy to remove so you can adjust for weather conditions.
      • Dead air space:  Like home insulation, still air is trapped into this area to be warmed.  The more dead air space, the more warmth created.
      • Often has a longer sleeve that is articulated meaning it is shorter underneath your wrist, but longer op top to cover the top of the hand
      • Often has thumbholes along with the articulated sleeve
      • Some pieces have what are called “hobo mitts” which allow you to pull the material over your fist if you don’t have gloves.
    • Upper Body Shell /Outer Layer
      • Thin barrier provides protection from the elements of wind, water (rain or snow), cold
      • Completion of moisture transfer by allowing perspiration to escape more readily while it holds in more heat.
      • Should fit loosely over the other layers
      • Usually made from nylon or polyester
      • Windproof:  The ability of a fabric to shut out wind and air.  Achieved by filling up the space between the individual fibers. If a piece is windproof usually Gore fabric used and called out with a sticker or hang tag
      • Water repellent:  the ability of a fabric surface to cause water to bead.  Achieved through the use of special chemical or physical finish (i.e., DWR coating)
      • Water resistant:  The ability of a fabric to totally impede the penetration of water under high pressure. If a piece is waterproof, zippers will be completely seam sealed and called out with a sticker or hang tag.

Spring > Summer

  • Spring (March through early to mid May)
    • Baselayer= short sleeve or tank, possibly lightweight longsleeve; If necessary, a lightweight ¼ zip.
    • Women- shorts, skorts, lightweight capri. Men-shorts
  • Summer (mid-May through end of June)
    • Bottom- Both genders- shorts
    • Top- Both genders short sleeve and/or sleeveless tank
    • Some women will never wear a tank regardless of how hot it is because they don’t like their arms.
  • The really hot part of Summer (July – mid September)
    • Both genders wearing shorts and tanks/sleeveless shirts. Maybe a few capris.

All-season pieces

  • Women’s capris
  • Black shorts
  • Men’s compression shorts – all seasons regardless of indoor/outdoor
  • Short sleeve shirts for both men and women – all seasons regardless of indoor/outdoor

Sports Bras

  • General Information
    • After running shoes, sports bras are the most purchased sports item by women
    • 80% of women wear the wrong bra size
    • The lifespan of a sports bra is 6-12 months
    • A women’s bra size will fluctuate
    • Not all sports bras are designed to be used with each activity
      • Generally the higher the impact with an activity, the more snug the bra needs to be.  Examples - high impact activity: running.  Medium impact: walking.  Low impact yoga and weight training.
  • Why a sports bra is important
    • Comfort and adequate support
    • Reduces chafing and manages moisture
  • How to help a customer
    • Start the conversation at the shoe wall as part of fit.
    • Whenever possible, refer a bra customer to a female staff member.
    • When you see a woman going to the bra area, don’t hesitate to offer your assistance.  Chances are, she may feel a little funny about approaching you, but will jump at the chance for any help you offer.    
    • Women, try on as many bra’s as possible
    • Ask customers specific questions when selling bras.  “what activities will you be using this for”, “what size do you typically wear”, “what are you currently wearing and is it working for you”
    • Men, don’t hesitate to ask and learn about sports bras, there will be a time when you have to help a customer.  Know your stuff
    • You must know how to measure a woman for a bra whether you are male or female.

Part 7 Completion Form

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