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Functional Fashion: Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear

Clothes are becoming more functional, promising to do more than merely cover the body by also providing tangible benefits. We’ve seen similar trends in beverages, and now the next wave of functionality is upon us with the recently announced Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear. The pajamas priced at roughly $100 promise to promote recovery from athletic strain as well as a host of other benefits while the wearer sleeps.

Armed with an endorsement from none less than Tom Brady and a pocket full of third-party and UA-commissioned studies, the sleepwear debuted early this month and purports to help regulate sleep, circulation, and ultimately corporal healing.

“Magic Pajamas?”

So what makes this UA sleepwear different from a standard flannel pajama set? According to Under Armour, it’s all in the science.

Lined with a pattern of bioceramic materials, the pieces absorb and then redirect the far infrared waves human bodies naturally release. And, in this claim at least,  the “magic pajamas” do have some scientific backing—the waves do, according to Photonics & Lasers in Medicine, promote circulation, which is indeed good for recovery.

Of course, those same benefits can be derived from saunas, specialty lamps, and even wrapping aluminum foil around one’s body, leading to some early detractors questioning the products cost and efficacy. But where the science ends and faith begins, Kevin Haley, Under Armour’s President of Innovation, happily fills in the gaps: “We’ve tested it…This isn’t some outlandish thought…We’ve had our best PhD scientists here breaking down all the science. It definitely works. When you say ‘how confident are we?’ I’m confident saying we’re very confident.”

Can’t Sleep? Count Product Integrations

The Recovery Sleepwear is one part of a UA’s much broader push into sleep and athlete support, which also includes a redesigned mobile app and sleep tracker akin to the FitBit that helps users “set smart guardrails and goals that put them on a path towards sleep optimization.” Tying sleep to athletic and mental performance, and their sleepwear to one of the best performers in sports today, Under Armour is looking to move out of Nike’s shadow, and this bold move into functional fashion is a step in that direction: “We are providing athletes with untapped insight and guidance into the importance of sleep and recovery in a way that’s truly unique to Under Armour.” 

By expanding athletic wear’s jurisdiction to sleep time, Under Armour has landed on a trendy topic in sports, to be sure. As franchises invest small fortunes into sleep regulation to gain a competitive edge, studies are proving an undeniable link between athletic performance and sleep quality/duration.

Indeed, organizations and athletes are becoming fussier and fussier about their sleep and none more famously so than Touchdown Tom. At thirty-nine-years-old, Brady continues to defy conventional wisdom, remaining one of the best at his position at a point in his career when most of his peers have hit steep declines.

Tom Bradt

What’s Your Function?

It’s not just enough to taste or look good anymore, items must also provide a little extra—say a boost to the immune system or, in this case, improved sleep circulation. It’s a product of today’s lifehacking culture where people strive for efficiency and benefit at all times, even when asleep. As consumers continue to demand more from their goods, more complex technologies will emerge to provide, or at least purport to provide, untold benefits.

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