June 8, 2022

The Rise of Athleisure

A new report by ARRIS Composites finds Americans are increasingly wearing athleisure wherever they go because performance is the new comfort.

Americans are busy, getting more done personally and professionally than ever before—this drive to accomplish more has led people to rethink how they move through everyday life, including what they wear. Today, Americans are redefining dress codes wherever they go because it’s not just looking good, it’s also feeling good. Performance is the new comfort. 

Here at ARRIS, we work with teams at top brands who are optimizing athletic performance. But as the market for these products expands beyond performance athletes, we wanted to better understand why. To find out, we surveyed more than 1,100 Americans to get their feedback on the rise of athleisure.

Paying for Comfort: Leveling Up with Performance

ARRIS Composites: Athleisure

Americans are craving a new expectation of comfort, and they’re willing to pay for it. On average, Americans have spent $277 in the last 12 months on athleisure. One out of ten admitted to having dropped $500 or more.

Nearly one out of ten have added more than 11 pieces of clothing to their wardrobe, and about two out of five added one pair of shoes to their collection this year. More than one-quarter (27%) bought two pairs of shoes or more.

The Adoption of Athleisure

ARRIS Composites: Athleisure

Gone are the days of only wearing athleisure to the gym. People are wearing it out to eat, to travel, and even to the office. More than 80% of Americans say athleisure is a major part of the American wardrobe. Additionally, nearly three out of five listed it as a major staple in their closet. Incredibly, 85% of Americans wear athleisure when they’re not planning to exercise.

Workers admit they’ve gotten much more casual thanks to remote jobs. Seven out of ten people said their staple work-from-home outfit is athleisure. But it’s not only employees who work remotely. Of those working at an office, nearly one-third (29%) are sporting athleisure to work.

When it comes to eating out at restaurants, three out of five said they would wear athleisure to a casual dinner. Even more so, one out of ten admitted they would wear it to a nice dinner.

When it comes to working out in athleisure, nearly 60% said they have specific clothes that they only use for exercise. However, four out of five people believe athleisure should not only be reserved for the gym. The top five activities people pull it out of the closet for are: exercise, travel, working from home, going to a casual restaurant, and going to a celebration or party.

Athletic Footwear: Performance Matters Beyond Exercise

ARRIS Composites: Athleisure

Athletic shoes are now being used for more than just exercise. Nearly 70% of Americans own at least two pairs of athletic shoes. Incredibly, one out of ten revealed they have six pairs or more in their closet. While 67% of people said they have one pair of shoes they only use for exercise, more than half (56%) have at least one pair of athletic shoes they do not use for exercise.

People are specific about what they put on their feet. More than 60% feel athletic shoes play a major role in performance. The top features they aim for: cushioning support, lightweight, and breathability.

While some people go into stores to get fitted for their shoes, more than one in four said they’ve actually bought athletic shoes based on a social media ad or review.

Athleisure + Sustainability

ARRIS Composites: Athleisure

A lot of Americans keep their shoes until they can barely function as a shoe. Nearly three out of ten people said they replace their athletic shoes whenever holes form. About two out of five replace their shoes every year or less.

While Americans love their athleisure, they don’t often connect it with sustainability. Nearly 70% did not know athletic shoes could be recycled. In fact, two out of five people admitted to throwing their shoes in the garbage when getting rid of them. Only three out of ten people donate them, and just 12% said they recycle their shoes.

While many hadn’t thought of athleisure and sustainability, 60% said footwear and clothing sustainability in general is important to them.


Methodology + Media: In 2022, we surveyed 1,116 Americans about their opinions on athleisure. Respondents were 48% male, 50% female, and 2% non-binary or transgender. The average age of all respondents was 37 years old. For media inquiries, contact media@digitalthirdcoast.net or media@arriscomposites.com.

Start a Conversation: Connect with the ARRIS team today—schedule a discovery call or request a facility visit by reaching out using our contact us page.


Fair Use: When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing ARRIS Composites (arriscomposites.com).

Recent Q&A: Check out our frequently asked questions about Additive Molding for footwear (view blog post).

Learn More: Additive Molding for Consumer Products & Sports (view page).