An overlooked market
For far too long, many major brands have ignored the plus size market. Frustrated women have found it hard to find anything to exercise in, let alone something that makes them feel great. Often, runners who are any bigger than a size small have to resort to unflattering leggings and an ancient oversized t-shirt. Lack of appropriate gear can be a major factor for would-be runners who don’t feel confident enough to get out there.
But now, in an important step, Nike has embraced the plus sized market with a new and stylish range of sportswear. Following on from their immensely popular sports bra campaign last July, featuring plus sized model Paloma Elsesser, the global sports brand has launched their Black and White Collection, a range of fashion-forward shorts, tops, bras, and funky print leggings that are especially designed to fit and flatter the curves of bigger women.
Beauty in all shapes and sizes
Helen Boucher, Nike’s vice president of women's training apparel explains: 'We know that body weights are distributed differently for everybody and as we look at plus size, there is more variance. A woman is often a different size at the top than on the bottom. When we design for plus size, we aren’t just proportionately making our products larger. That doesn’t work because as we know, everyone’s weight distribution is different. Ultimately, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and being strong is beautiful. Strong is the keyword for us; size doesn’t matter.'
On their website, Nike states 'Athletes have a desire to get the best fit and function in their apparel. They also want to feel good. This is why Nike is delivering the most robust range of sizes for women in more colors and styles than ever before. Designed to be the perfect fit for sizes 1X to 3X, Nike Women’s plus size clothing provides the style and performance.'
Insta fashion approval
The brand collaborated with influential fashion and lifestyle bloggers Danielle Vanier and Grace Victory, who showcased the clothing on Instagram. Danielle Vanier commented, 'It’s really important that women, no matter their size, feel confident and able to work out in garments that suit their personalities and needs.'
We can only hope that this move by Nike will encourage more brands to move towards embracing all shapes and sizes, not just limiting their ranges to the smaller end of the market. As Grace Victory said, 'it’s about time real bodies are celebrated.'
Where else to find plus size options
There are a handful of other shops and websites out there that offer great running gear in larger sizes. SimplyBe.co.uk offers a selection of plus sized brands in their gym wear and sportswear section. The cheap and cheerful Forever21 has cute activewear that goes up to a 3XL.
SportsDirect.com offers plus size sportswear from a range of brands including Nike and Adidas. And finally, the US-based brand Torrid sells a fab range of sportswear with an urban cool edge. How could you not feel powerful running with 'Badass' printed across your chest?