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Three men wearing sweatpants

Sweatpants are an informal variety of trousers intended for comfort or athletic purposes. Many jails and juvenile institutions use sweatpants for their main uniform because of comfort and loose fitting. In the UK they are varyingly known as track suit bottoms or the more informal jogging bottoms, cottons (due to the common material used to make them being cotton), or simply trackies. In Australia and New Zealand they are known as track (or tracksuit) pants or, less formally, trakky daks. They can, in Ireland, be known as 'fatman' trousers.

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Design

Sweatpants are usually made from cotton, and the chief characteristic distinguishing them from other athletic pants is the elastic band located around the ankles. Sweatpants are traditionally ash gray in color but are now available in essentially any color. They are usually quite "baggy" and loose, which makes them easy to slip into (and out of) and allows a great deal of flexibility and comfort. In addition, this design traps less heat than most conventional trousers, which may be a disadvantage in some contexts (such as cold temperatures) and an advantage in others (such as body heat-increasing aerobic activities). The sweatpant variations listed below are made from different materials. Sweatpants are widely used in schools, sports, etc. because they are comfortable and keep the cold out while they also don't get too hot in warmer temperatures.

Variations

There are many variations on the sweatpant design that have evolved to define their own categories of athletic pants. These variations include windpants, tearaway pants, and muscle pants.

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Windpants

Very similar to, but not to be confused with sweatpants are windpants, also known as windbreakers, which are lighter and serve to shield the wearer from cold wind rather than insulate. Windpants are almost always made out of polyester or nylon. Some have polyester tricot. Some types of windpants have a separate inner liner made of cotton. Because of this Undergarments are not required while wearing windpants. Due to the substance's natural friction against both itself and human legs, nylon makes "swooshing" sounds during walking. Windpants often have zippers on each ankle, allowing athletes to unzip the end of each leg to pull the pants over their footwear. Some windpants have zippers that run the full length so the pants can be simply unzipped entirely; in this case, shorts are normally worn underneath.

Tearaway pants

Tearaway pants, also known as breakaway pants, rip-off pants, or (in the UK) poppers, are another variation of sweatpants, and are closely related to windpants. Tearaway pants are windpants with metal snaps running the length of both legs. Some tearaway pants have snaps on only part of the legs, but normally the snaps run the entire length. Some tearaway pants are reversible. Some do not have pockets but since shorts are usually worn underneath tearaway pants, many people open the top snaps to gain access to pockets in their shorts.

Sometimes, there are buttons above each set of snaps to add more closure. The buttons and snaps allow athletes to remove their tearaway pants in a timely manner to compete in some sports. Basketball and track and field are the two sports most commonly associated with tearaway pants and windpants.

In 2007, New York Knicks basketball player John Starks launched his own athletic apparel line called Zipway. Zipway's signature item is a pant that is similar to tearaway pants. These pants can be removed by the wearer in less time and with less effort than traditional tearaway pants.

Muscle pants

Muscle pants more closely resemble regular sweatpants than tearaway pants or windpants. Muscle pants are usually made out of thin cotton material. Muscle pants are often characterized by wild patterns and sometimes flamboyant designs. Muscle pants were designed for use in bodybuilding; bodybuilders needed a special kind of pants to accommodate their bulging muscles and bodies while working out.

Zubaz is the most famous brand name of muscle pants.

See also


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