Japan sports brands tap into ageing market!?!

Performance underwear improve posture and make walking more beneficial?

Here’s an article translated from the Nikkei that talks about Cross Walker men’s underclothes, launched by leading underwear maker Wacoal Corp. last year. The products, which put a strain on the thigh muscles, enable wearers to get some of the effects of exercising just by walking and performing other daily activities. The Cross Walker has proved a big hit, mostly among middle-aged men concerned about the effects of ageing.

Sports gear and underwear makers are scrambling to offer underclothes designed to straighten up a wearer’s posture, as people are growing increasingly concerned about such matters from both appearance and health perspectives. Mizuno Corp., a major sporting goods company, released on Feb. 25 the Bio Gear Shisei Navi underwear, touting its ability to help straighten the back, maintain good posture, and boost the amount of calories burned during exercise. Company officials explained that the garments employ an elastic material for the areas around the shoulder blades and pelvis, correcting a stooped back or pelvic distortion by pulling the blade bones or pelvis toward the center of the body sections. The officials said research by the company has confirmed that the Shisei Navi widens the wearer’s stride when walking, boosts calorie consumption and increases oxygen intake about 9%. There are 10 items in the series, ranging from V-necked, short-sleeved undershirts and tank tops to brassieres and tights. In addition, three products are available for athletic endeavors and water exercise.

Descente Ltd., another large sports gear maker that already sells the Shiseist stoop correction inner wear for women, is expanding its lineup of posture straightening underwear.Descente In February, the firm introduced fitness wear designed under the Shiseist concept as part of the Arena sportswear series. The Arena x Shiseist line, which also takes style into account, includes tank tops, French-sleeve shirts and a few other items. Using stretching fabric in the shape of an X on the back, the Shiseist shirt is intended to make women look more beautiful while standing. It is designed to have a feminine look and give consideration to comfort by reducing the feeling of tightness. The company plans to develop various types of posture correction underwear and offer them under other existing brands besides Arena. In fact, last November it marketed Shiseist Bottoms to set the lower body straight and prevent bowlegs.

Asics Corp. has improved its Inner Muscle body-shaping wear to release new products for the spring and summer season, including bras hooked at the front and nontransparent women’s shirts. The Inner Muscle line, with about 40 items, debuted in 2006. The company expects unit sales of the series to reach 250,000 pieces for fiscal 2008, up about 150% from a year earlier.