Sweatbands take a bit of explaining to millennials. The only reference they seem to have is "those two running guys off that advert".
But there was a time when, unless you had strips of towelling around your forehead and wrists, you were shunned by society. Yes, this was the 1980s. Athleisure was at an all-time high in the 80s. It started out innocently enough with sweatbands and leg warmers (please bring back leg warmers!) forming part of everyday wear. The athleisure trend died in the early 90s, when everyone came out of the house in shell suits, looked each other up and down, and realised we'd gone too far.
But where did we even get the idea for sweatbands from? And why do we want to bring them back?
The Grandaddy of Athleisure Creates The Original Custom Sweatband (sort of)
Where would we be without Fred Perry? The tennis grand-slam champion and creator of the modern polo shirt is also the genius behind the very first sweatband!
During his hugely successful tennis career, Perry created the very first custom sweatband by wrapping gauze around his wrist to soak up sweat running down his arms, stopping it from getting to his racquet hand and ruining his grip. He also used to wipe his brow with it, stopping even more sweat from running into his eyes.
Could Perry's sweaty gauze hack have given him the edge over his competitors, helping him to become the tennis legend he is today? We think so!
Years later, another inventing sportsman, footballer Tibby Wegner, approached Perry with his design for the towelling sweatband. After a couple of collaborative tweaks, the sweatband as we know it was born!
Perry was ahead of his time in terms of marketing smarts, and soon, sweatbands embroidered with the Fred Perry logo adorned every self-respecting athlete. It helped that it was around the time that men's hairstyles became longer, floppier, and generally got in the way more.
The Aerobics 80s Sweatband
It's hard to think of 80's fashion without picturing bright pink sweatbands. Aerobics fever took over the world, and aerobics sweatbands hit their peak! Over-energetic aerobics instructors starting popping up on breakfast telly, shouting at us about 'The Burn' and wearing the obligatory coloured sweatband. And then, of course, there was Olivia Newton John getting 'Physical'. Thanks goodness for the magical powers of that 80's sweatband she had on because in that music video, she got very sweaty after very little exercise. Just her face though - no other part of her seemed get to sweaty.
The NBA 90s Basketball Sweatband
Minimalism and low-key fashion was the antidote to the excess of the 80's style, and bright coloured sweatbands were swept away along with perms, mullets, and stonewash denim. It could have been the death of sports sweatbands, if it were not for professional basketball.
NBA basketball teams refused to let sweatbands die and basketball sweatbands were a popular sight. For the players, they were practical and some players even wore them as a part of their identity. Slick Watts wore his at an angle, but it was players like Wilt Chamberlain, decades earlier, who first brought the sweatband to basketball. Sweatbands are now engrained in basketball culture, with some players developing superstitions about not playing in their favourite sweatbands.
For big sports brands, like Nike, headbands were a huge deal. Here was an accessory that could be emblazoned with a logo and that was affordable for millions of fans to buy.
The Fluorescent Future of Custom Sweatbands
We believe that custom sweatbands have a bright future; a REALLY bright future. We think that sports teams, such as running clubs and tennis clubs, need to give sweatbands a second chance. In terms of practicality - they're unparalleled: they're small, affordable, portable, easy to care for and keep hair off your face and sweat out of your eyes.
We're fully on board with the novelty angle too. If you don't want to full-on fancy dress, a neon-coloured headband is the perfect nod to an 80s themed stag do or hen do theme. And you can take it off if the venues you're visiting don't allow fancy dress. Customising your sweatband to create a souvenir of your special event adds a unique touch that won't go unnoticed.
Our absolute favourite use for sweatbands though, is for raising awareness during a sporting event. Whether you want to draw attention to a charity that you're fundraising for, or raise the profile of your company - a customised sweatband wins the race!
A custom sweatband works so well at organised race meets, charity runs, and events like a Tough Mudder. As well as the brilliant practical benefits, a printed or embroidered sweatband displays you're message right where everyone's eyes are - on the runner's faces. Official race shots will crop out some of the runners clothing, and running vests and t-shirts are often obliterated in Tough Mudders or Colour Runs. But a sweatband lives on!
To get the most out of the small area of your customised sweatband, get creative. If your company name is the same as your web address, just use your website address on your custom headband design. And you don't to include the 'www' beforehand - it just uses up valuable space and looks dated.
If you're ordering sweatbands for a charity race, customise your sweatbands with a web address where people can donate to your cause. If that's too long, a Twitter handle is short and easy to set up. Plus, you can tweet updates as the race goes on and get donations rolling in, right up to the finish line!
Cheap, custom sweatbands are more affordable than other customised wearables, so they make the perfect giveaway accessory if you're a race organiser too.
We can print custom race sweatbands in thousands of colours, so if you want a very specific shade, get in touch with our free design service. As well as the classic customised towelling sweatband for your head and custom wrist bands, we also offer a modern take. Our custom lycra sweatbands are fab for keeping hair out of your face a run, and the smoother surface is perfect for printing more detailed logo designs.
We recommend going bold with custom sweatbands! We offer single colour sweatbands, or striped sweatbands for maximum attention grabbing powers. Bright colours and contrasting coloured text make the biggest impact, and that's what you're after. Big, bold, attention grabbing design!
Give designing your sweatband a go right now, over on our custom sweatbands page. Prices get lower with the more your order and with our express service, you could have your sweaty mitts on your new customised sweatbands in as little as two weeks...!