NYC is a healthy mecca. Poke bars compete with wine bars. Beetroot lattes and infused almond milks are flowing. So there was no better place to launch a bra that paves the way for next-gen performance gear: lululemon’s Enlite. Inspired by its innovation, I laced up my sneakers and got sweating to discover the next big thing in fitness and apparel.
In the past, ‘technology’ in our performance apparel was limited to a well-placed zip, coin pocket or compression fabric. The Enlite bra is part of a new wave of tech gear. The strap design eases tension on your shoulders and the stitch-free hook and eye doesn’t dig into your spine. Plus, the cups manage breast movement – not just up and down, but side to side and in and out. I’ve got a DD bust, so I’m used to being squashed for "support". When it comes to taking a sweaty sports bra off, I almost dislocate a shoulder, swear quietly and wonder if I’ll die alone in my apartment, trapped in my bra. The Enlite solves this. With a flick of the wrist, it just slides off. This is technology I like.
So how will our future tech be developed? I asked Alexandra Plante, the innovation operations manager of Whitespace, lululemon’s research and development team. “We believe that every person desires unique sensory experiences for different parts of their life,” she explains. “[We have] a team of advanced technology experts who are best in class at scouting, building and implementing new technologies towards engineering sensation into our products.” Future tech is more than a fashion-forward seam – it’s about enhancing the experience of your workout.
The Enlite bra is made of a new material called Ultralu. I wore the bra for a run around New York’s Central Park and tried it in an intense HIIT class with a chaser of hot yoga. This fabric doesn't give you that clammy, sweaty feeling. You barely notice it against the skin. I asked Plante about this quality. “We developed Ultralu fabric to be buttery-soft and have a barely-there feeling.” Mission accomplished. “It also provides optimal stretch and recovery, breathability, allows for free cut edges to minimise distractions and is able to mould perfectly over the encapsulated cups for a beautifully streamlined and seamless fit.”
So what can we expect from the fabrics we’ll wear in the future? Turns out, feel is front and centre. Lululemon has been across this since the launch of their ‘pant wall’ in 2015. Pants are arranged in store by sensation, rather than how they look. “[It was] a two-year journey combining neuroscience and behavioural psychology, physiology and design insight to create a carefully considered spectrum of sensations that allows guests to find the right product,” Plante explains. Want to feel hugged? There’s a pant for that.
Where will we be sweating in our engineered apparel? One of the #trending workouts in NYC is treadmill classes. Yep, like spin classes, but with a treadmill. The Mile High Run Club offers classes such as “Dash 28” – 28 mins of intervals on the treadmill, plus 10 mins of running-focused strength plus power training with kettlebells. Fusion workouts are also big news. Box + Flow classes are a combo of 35 minutes of boxing, followed by 15 minutes of a yoga-inspired flow sequence. This mix brings “mindfulness to the fight”. In fact, boxing classes are all the rage, with specialty studios dotted throughout the city.
Movement training is trending, too. Leading the charge is Tone House, which brands itself as the “first-ever extreme, athletic-based group fitness studio”. Their philosophy is that the human body is designed to move as a whole and on multiple planes – just like athletes do. The Tone House workout is a mix of explosive exercises, dynamic movements and then active recovery. Oh, and each session starts and ends with a team chant. Can we get a hell, yeah!
So get ready for the future of fit – where you can sweat through a group treadmill class without constantly adjusting your bra. Sold.