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Do You Really Get What You Pay For: How To Buy Quality Clothing.

When you buy something whether for exercising or not, are you getting your money's worth or a shabby copycat that won't last more than a week. In this article I will give information on how to do some quality control when shopping.

You just bought a pair of leggings for $110.00; does that mean they are worth $110.00? How do you know they are actually a good pair of leggings? Like the old saying goes, "Don't let the name fool you."

As a designer, I know the importance of brand image and brand loyalty. However, as a consumer I also insist on "Brand Quality". So here are a few tips to look for the next time you go shopping for that perfect yoga outfit.

Check For Loose Stitching

Look at the hem on the garment, if the thread isn't laying flat on the fabric then this is an indicator that the stitching is too loose. Now check the seams. Hold the garment in both hands with the seam between your thumbs.

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Pull gently apart to see if an abnormal amount of thread appears in the seam. How much is an abnormal amount of thread? If you see that the fabric is actually pulling away from each other then the stitching is too loose.

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Now turn the garment inside out and check the seams.

There Are Two Standards To Putting A Garment Together:

  1. Three thread
  2. And four thread construction.

The three-thread construction will have a zigzag pattern along the edge of the fabric with a single stitch line running along the bottom.

The four-stitch construction has an extra stitch line along the bottom. This is a safety stitch, which makes the seams stronger, therefore more durable during exercise or strenuous activity.

Check The Fabric Content

When you are buying a basic cotton/lycra blend, the ideal ratio of cotton to lycra is 90% cotton/10% lycra. This will insure that the garment has good memory retention and will not lose its shape.

With high performance stretch fabrics the content varies depending on the type of fabric you are buying so a good test is to hold the garment in both hands, pull on the fabric and then release to see how well it returns back to its original shape. Now that you've chosen a well-made garment, what's the best way to care for your garment?

A lot of good companies will use breathable fabrics or "Dry Fits" as more commonly known, such as Supplex, Tacktel or Micro Lycra.

What makes these and other fabrics breathable is a finish called an "Intera Finish." Using fabric softeners on these items will destroy the Intera finish and your garment will no longer be a dry fit or breathable. So keep this in mind when you are washing your Dry Fits and Breathables.

These stretch fabrics are also made up of tiny elastic fibers. With most elastic, they crack and break down with excessive heat, so to get the longest life from these fabrics refrain from using the dryer.

Hanging them to dry will insure the longest life of your garment. So now that you're an active wear expert lets take care of your foot wear.

Here Are 8 Simple Criteria When Looking For A Good Running Shoe.

  1. Proper Fit:
    Measurements for shoes should be taken while standing so that you are in the full weight-bearing position.

    Be sure that there is a 1/2" space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.

    Check shoe width by grasping the shoe width above the ball of the foot and squeezing the shoe material between your fingers. If wrinkles appear, the shoe is too wide.

    The heel should fit snugly but comfortable.

  2. Sole Construction:
    Look for a shoe that has a tough outer sole with a soft layer above it. This will provide both a long life for the shoe and at the same time give good shock absorbing qualities. Be sure the sole is adequately thick from heel to toe.

  3. Sole Flexibility:
    You should be able to bend the shoe at the ball of the foot to a 90-degree angle by finger pressure against the front of the shoe.

  4. Shank Support:
    The sole of the shoe should be flush with the ground in the arch area.

  5. Heel Lift:
    Subtract the thickness of the sole at the ball of the shoe from the heel thickness. This should equal 1/2" or more.

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  1. Upper Softness:
    Pick a material that will stay soft for the life of the shoe. Nylon is not a good choice.

  2. Heel Counter:
    The heel should be rigid and cover the entire heel. It should also be perpendicular to the supporting surface when viewed from the back of the shoe.

  3. Shoe Weight:
    Pick a shoe that is compatible for its purpose -- light for racing and heavier for training.

So now you are armed with the information needed to not only go shopping for the hottest outfits but to also get the best quality for your money.

Happy shopping!

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About The Author

Rodney Defreitas is the owner of Hard Wear Athletics and a contributing writer for the World Natural Sports Organization (WNSO - Hardwear athletics is a proud sponsor and will be exhibiting at the FAME Fitness And Model Expo taking place in Toronto, Canada - June 10th to 12th; a weekend of competition and trade. For more information on this or any of the FAME World Tour, visit or 866 817 7770.