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An evaluation of base layer compression garments for sportswear

Allsop, Catherine Amy (2012) An evaluation of base layer compression garments for sportswear. Masters thesis (MSc), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Consumption of functional sportswear to enhance performance on and off the field of elite athletes has increased in the recent past in the UK. Compression sportswear in particular, based on evidence on compression therapy which was widely used for treating venous disorders, is now apparent in the ready to wear market. The completion of a literature review documented the history of compression garments, highlighted benefits of wearing compression sportswear and different pressure measurement systems currently used. To further analyse ready to wear compression sportswear, five brands of commercially available compression garments were examined with reference to size and seam types. Additionally, fabric analysis of the samples highlighted variations between brands. The lack of research currently available regarding variations of pressure distribution, of the same specified size, inhibits informed consumer choices within the market. Using the Tekscan system the pressures exerted by the five medium samples were also analysed. Differences were found between the pressure values recorded, thus highlighting the differences amongst ready to wear garments of the same size. Next, using a 3D avatar in V-Stitcher two of the garments were simulated. FAST testing was also completed and results put into the software to give a true to life representation of the fabrics tested. The simulation of the experimental work was then assessed via the pressure maps on the system to observe whether the values given in the CAD model matched the experimental work. The expanding compression market needs to take in to account contributing factors, such as fabric composition, garment dimensions and placements of seams, when developing garments. The development of a simulation model that can map experimental work with regards to pressure distribution may allow the product development of compression base layers to be better assessed and help enable informed consumer choices.

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