Custom sports clothign

How to create your custom sports clothing in 7 easy steps

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

You’ve probably noticed the fashion shift where it’s common for people to wear sports leggings, crop tops, sweatpants and baseball caps to the gym and the office. With this change comes an increase in demand for custom sports clothing. If you’re looking to create your own custom sports clothing, this article is for you.  

This sporty trend reflects a broader movement towards convenience and versatility in everyday attire, positioning athleisure brands as clear frontrunners in the fashion industry. According to Allied Market Research, the sports apparel industry will grow from $230.60 billion to $410.80 billion USD by 2032. 

Now is a great time to create custom sports clothing for your business or your favorite team. Here’s everything you need to know to get started. 

Create custom sports apparel in 7 easy steps

  1. Do your research and identify your audience
  2. Define your brand essence
  3. Create a brand mood board
  4. Craft a brand logo
  5. Create designs for your sports apparel
  6. Partner with reliable suppliers
  7. Create a website and start selling

1. Do your research and identify your audience 

The first step is finding and learning about your target audience.  By familiarizing yourself with your audience, you can identify what makes them tick and their challenges, demands and behaviors. Run a survey and leverage analytical tools to learn about their lifestyle, motivations, interests and digital habits, among other things.

Brain Diseases Research Concept: Doctor with magnifying glass looking inside a brain.

A deep understanding of your target audience and competitors can benefit your brand. Source: via DepositPhotos

Tracking trends also helps to keep a pulse on the market. For instance, find out what colors and designs are in style this season. What’s the profit potential like in different regions?  

Finally, conduct a competitor analysis. Check out other brands’ websites, social media pages and stores to see what they’re up to. Test their products and assess the brand experience they provide. 

Arming yourself with this data can improve your sports apparel, from product development to branding and marketing. 

2. Define your brand essence

A brand essence sums up your brand values, mission and principles. It’s more than a fancy slogan, though. Instead, it distills your brand’s core in an easy-to-understand statement that guides building brand identity. 

For instance, Nike aims to empower its customers with “Authentic athletic performance” through their products. While Coca-Cola has become an integral part of global communities to “Share happiness.” 

In defining your brand essence, it is vital to establish your brand pillars

  • Purpose
  • Perception
  • Personality
  • Position
  • Promotion

3. Create a brand mood board

A brand mood board is a great starting point in your brainstorming process. It’s a collection of ideas and visual elements that inspire and motivate you. It also organizes an otherwise chaotic mind and allows the creative juices to flow as you design your products.  

A collage of colors and pictures of flowers and a woman for a custom sports clothing brand moodboard

A mood board is a great source of inspiration as you create your visual identity. Source: svart ink via 99design by Vista

Note, however, that a mood board is not a mishmash of anything and everything. It should include an on-brand color palette, photos and illustrations, animation, and typography—all of which should give a glimpse of your overall branding. 

Scroll through 99designs Inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram pages for design inspiration.

Your brand logo encapsulates who you are, what you stand for and your brand’s promise. In sports clothes, your brand fosters a bond with people as they proudly wear your logo. In other words, you should take logo creation seriously. 

A logo has three main elements: a brand name, an icon and a tagline. You can create different logo versions for various uses on sports merchandise, social media, websites, print ads, etc.  

Sportswear logo in white with a red background

Source: Athletic wear logo designed by Sava Stoic via 99designs by Vista

Custom sports clothing logo illustration of a cobra’s head

Source: Brand logo designed by Sava Stoic via 99designs by Vista

For those who choose to DIY, check out online logo makers, like Logomaker by Vista Print, Adobe Express Logo Creator and Canva. They are beginner-friendly websites with design templates that you can easily customize so you don’t have to start from scratch. You can also browse logo designs for inspiration and collaborate with design experts for a more professional look!

5. Create designs for your sports apparel

So you’ve analyzed your potential customers and have your brand basics down. Now it’s time to design your sports apparel!

The sports apparel market is huge, catering to people with varying needs. While it can be tempting to be everything for everyone, finding your niche increases your competitive advantage.

Maybe you’d like to design baseball, basketball or tennis apparel. You can also join the many brands in the yoga, swimwear, and tracksuit spaces. 

A woman in black and white custom activewear design

Source: legging designs for fitness apparel brand by “Bali Bird” via 99designs by Vista

Next is to make your sketches come to life by creating design prototypes. These prototypes allow you and your team to scrutinize the quality of your products before producing them en masse.

Another great tool is a clothing tech pack. Think of it as a design manual you can use with manufacturers, containing every detail they need to know to ensure a high-quality finish. 

It includes a sheet showing the stitch details, collar length, pocket sizes, etc. This way, you can save time and money and create a more collaborative experience with your partners. 

Work with a professional designer or a manufacturer to tailor a tech pack for you. Otherwise, check out Clothier Design Source, Etsy and Techpacks for downloadable and easy-to-edit tech pack templates. 

6. Partner with reliable suppliers

Your suppliers can make or break your sports apparel business. That said, take time to ensure every supplier and manufacturer on your team ticks the boxes. Consumers support sustainable brands, including suppliers and manufacturers that practice ethical business and offer eco-friendly options. When choosing fabric, consider these questions:

  • What clothes are best for sportswear? If you’re exercising or into sports, consider something comfortable that fits your activity and the season. You’ll need breathable clothes for the summer and insulating clothes in winter.
  • Which fabric is best for sportswear? The type of fabric you need depends on your activities and environment. You may want something lightweight that wicks away the sweat, like spandex, polyester and nylon. For sustainable options, go for sportswear made of bamboo textiles and organic cotton.   
Custom sports clothing for teams

Source: custom sports clothing for soccer team via VistaPrint

When deciding on your supplier, ask the following questions: 

  • Do they specialize in making sports clothes?
  • What services are they providing in the package?
  • What’s the lead time for the amount you want to produce?

Consider your budget and present a prototype for a more precise price quotation. However, it’s not such a straightforward answer if you are wondering how much it costs to start a sportswear brand.

The startup cost for a sportswear brand can be as little as $50 USD to thousands of dollars. It all depends on your production expense, the quantity you want to produce, and whether you work with local or international suppliers. Research and compare your options to optimize your budget.

When done well, activewear can be a profitable business. With the ever-expanding population of health-conscious people, the industry is poised to grow 6.84% worldwide in the next decade. Activewear caters to a diverse audience. But, the biggest market for activewear or sports clothing is North America, specifically millennials and Gen Z women in the United States.

Of course, other factors such as branding, marketing, product quality and having the right people to help you reach your goals directly impact your profitability.   

7. Create a website and start selling

Customers prefer to shop conveniently, where they can compare prices, design options and other product features in a few taps. Thus, digital accessibility is key to a successful business. Luckily, there are many website options (free and paid)  to choose from. 

For example, check marketplaces with a significant audience reach, like eBay and Amazon. There are also dedicated sites for buying and selling sporting goods, like SidelineSwap, Zalando and Colizey. Better yet, build a branded e-commerce website for your products.

Website for customs sports brand

Strengthen your digital presence with a website. Source: Someguys via 99designs by Vista

An e-commerce website lets you scale your digital presence worldwide and reach fans of your custom team sports apparel. You can personalize your website and ensure on-brand representation of your products. Plus, a dedicated website gives you access to data insights you can leverage for brand improvement.  

Some widely used website builders that small businesses rely on include Vista x Wix, Shopify and Squarespace. They offer a custom domain and access to beginner-friendly templates with no coding required. 

Whichever platform you choose, look for features like an easy-to-use product management system and pricing that fits your budget. It should have a responsive design for different devices, flexible delivery services and a reliable support system for when you encounter problems.  

It’s time to launch!

So you’ve made your brand, custom sports clothes to match, and a website to sell to your target audience, then you’re ready to launch! The sports clothing industry is an exciting space filled with promising business growth opportunities.