Who Invented Sweatpants? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Most likely, you are lounging around in your sweatpants. Unlike back then, you can now go outdoors wearing your favorite sweats and no one will really care about it. Since the pandemic, different types of work environments have become interested in athleisure. But, who’s the man behind this convenient apparel?

Who invented sweatpants?

Émile Camuset invented the first pair of sweatpants aiming to let athletes feel comfortable while running or stretching. Camuset is the founder of Le Coq Sportif, a French manufacturing company that mainly sells sports equipment.

Sweatpants key contributors

  • Émile Camuset
    The inventor of sweatpants

    Émile Camuset saw the need of athletes for sportswear that would allow them to move freely while feeling comfortable. For this reason, he made the first pair of sweatpants through his company Le Coq Sportif.

  • Olympic athletes
    They popularized wearing sweatpants as sportswear

    By wearing sweatpants during the Olympics in the 1930s, the Olympic athletes significantly contributed to the popularity of this sportswear. Decades afterward, sweatpants are still commonplace in many athletic activities.

  • College students
    They used sweatpants as everyday wear

    College students in the United States wear sweatpants as gym outfits. For this reason, this sportswear became a fashion staple on college campuses in the 1970s and 1980s.

  • American workout enthusiasts
    They popularized the use of sweatpants for working out

    Due to the rise of workout culture in the US, more people started wearing sweatpants. The birth of hip-hop has also driven more popularity to sweatpants as streetwear and leisurewear.Another thing that led to the popularization of sweatpants as a workout outfit is the iconic workout video of Jane Fronda in 1982. Jane wore colorful sweatpants that looked so comfortable to use.

  • Remote workers
    They used sweatpants as their new uniform

    Employees who started working remotely during the pandemic prefer wearing sweatpants over regular home clothes. As a result, the sales of sweatpants skyrocketed. Many haute couture and high-end fashion brands have advanced into manufacturing simpler outfits inspired by athleisure.

When were sweatpants invented?

In the 1920s, Émile Camuset, the founder of Le Coq Sportif, produced the first pair of sweatpants. These were basic gray knitted jersey pants that allow athletes to move and stretch freely.

A brief history of sweatpants

In the 1920s, Émile Camuset, the creator of Le Coq Sportif, unveiled the first pair of sweatpants. These basic gray knitted jersey pants enabled athletes to run and stretch freely. Camuset knew that the athletes during those times needed much more comfortable sportswear. So, he designed the sweatpants to be loose and soft plus they could absorb sweat.

After a decade, sweatpants became popular clothing in the Olympic Games, particularly during the late 1930s. Athletes during the decades that followed are still in love with these pairs of comfortable apparel.

By the 70s and 80s, sweatpants were favored among US college students. Sportswear has always been a staple on university and college campuses, so no wonder why sweatpants became a college campus style in the 1970s and 1980s. Designers during this period redesigned the traditional gym garb into a student’s daily wear.

The rise of hip hop and workout culture in the US in the 1980s has also increased the popularity of sweatpants. More so, it has caused the acceptance of this comfortable piece as streetwear and casual clothing. The iconic workout video of Jane Fronda in 1982 has also added to the popularity of sweatpants.

During the pandemic, the transition from office to remote work in 2019 also drove sales to the sweatpants market. Since remote workers need something comfortable to wear, fashion shifted to athleisure-inspired, more simple, and direct looks. Even high-end and haute couture fashion houses started to develop their version of sweatpants this year.

Sweatpants timeline

  1. 1920s
    The first pair of sweatpants were released

    It was the year when the first pair of sweatpants was produced. This pair is simple, stretchy gray jersey pants that allow the wearer to move and stretch freely and not be drenched by sweat. The first sweatpants are designed to make athletes feel more comfortable during their activities.

  2. 1930s
    Athletes used them at the Olympics

    During this period, sweatpants became popular among athletes. It showed when this clothing became common in the 1936 Olympics. The popularity of sweatpants continued among athletes even in the following decades.

  3. 70s to 80s
    Sweatpants for students everyday wear

    Given that sportswear has been common in universities and college campuses since the 1910s, it’s no wonder why sweatpants also became a famous outfit for college students in the 70s and 80s. Later on, the traditional gym garb became students’ everyday wear.

  4. 1980s
    America’s workout culture popularized sweatpants

    It was during this time that workout culture in America escalated. The beginning of hip-hop culture is another thing that contributed to the hype of sweatpants being both streetwear and leisurewear.Since people frequent the gym and new health and fitness programs arose in the 1980s, sweatpants moved from a context that was specifically related to sports to one that was more broadly related to leisurewear.

  5. 2019
    Sweatpants became more popular due to the rise of remote work

    It was the pandemic that led office workers to switch to work from a home working setup. Since it means employees will spend more time at home, the sales of sweatpants skyrocketed. During this year, fashion shifted to simpler clothing that is comfortable and fashionable at the same time.

Where were sweatpants invented?

It is believed that sweatpants were invented at Entzheim, a commune in North-eastern France, where Le Coq Sportif is located.

Why do people love sweatpants?

  • Comfortable to wear

    Most people today wear sweatpants while traveling, particularly during a long flight. Sweatpants are soft and loose so the wearer will feel more comfortable and relaxed while wearing them. Nowadays, looking good and feeling comfortable is an achievement which is why many love wearing sweatpants even while outdoors.

  • Relaxation and happiness

    Sweatpants also provide some sort of relaxation when you wear them. People strive for relaxation even by simply wearing something comfortable like sweatpants which made this apparel famous. Simply putting on sweatpants on a cold, rainy day feels relaxing and makes most people happy.

  • Better mobility

    A comfortable outfit that allows better movement is among the most important aspects of training. It is why sweatpants are favored by athletes and people who work out.Unlike other sportswear, sweatpants offer better mobility while providing comfort. Also, they’re the perfect option for people who don’t like wearing leggings as a workout outfit.

  • Trendy and fashionable

    Sweatpants have become fashionable in recent years. Sweatpants, sweatshirts, and hoodies became increasingly popular during the pandemic.Because everyone is at home, we are free to dress comfortably when not in the office. So, people begin to value comfort more and discard garments that are no longer comfortable for them.

Sweatpants by the numbers

  • 21International Sweatpants Day is celebrated every January 21 to honor one of the most comfortable clothing pieces ever invented. During this day, people wear their sweatpants all day long, unless it’s against their work or school dress code. This day is also the perfect time to buy a new pair of sweatpants if you’re in the mood to shop.
  • 1976It is considered a landmark year for sweatpants as Rocky Balboa wore a pair of grey sweatpants during his iconic scenes in Rocky II.
  • 3Generally, cotton sweatpants shrink around 3% of their full size after being washed on a regular laundering cycle. Sweatpants made of polyester don’t usually shrink much when washed in a regular washing cycle.
  • 1 – 2 Sweatpants last from 1 to 2 years of use.Few sweatshirts are produced equally. Some are made with better materials and are of higher quality than others. Still, these cuddly, soft essentials should last for at least one year, if not three. Average damage resulting from light exercise or lounging should not be a problem.
  • 3 – 4 Sweats or loungewear can be worn for about 3 to 4 days before needing to be washed. Any longer, bacteria, oils, sweat, and dander can build up, causing skin irritation and even an acne breakout. Even if you don’t leave the house, washing your favorite sweats about twice a week is essential.

Five facts about Sweatpants

  • Sweatpants are available in different colors, types, and materials they are made of.

    Since the rise of sweatpants, brands have released many options to suit wearers of all walks of life. They also come in various colors, types of materials, and sizes. Among the most common materials for sweatpants are nylon, cotton, polyester, spandex, and polypropylene. The most common types of sweatpants include baggy, basic length, drawstring, cropped, pocketed, elastic cuff, and more.

  • Sweatpants were not wholly accepted in the past

    Despite their popularity, the mainstream has not entirely accepted sweatpants for some time. In 1993, Jerry on Seinfeld chastised George for wearing sweatpants publicly, saying that it was a sign that he had given up. One of the characters of Mean Girls is also ostracized for putting on sweatpants on a Monday.

  • There’s a song titled “sweatpants” that has nothing to do with sweatpants

    Donald Glover, also popular as his stage name Childish Gambino, released his hit single “Sweatpants” in 2013. It is a song that wasn’t about nor featured the term “sweatpants.” Glover says rich people dress up whatever they want, so he titled the song this way.

  • Sweatpants are used for lounging and exercising in cold weather

    People typically wear loose-fitting, thick sweatpants in cold weather for relaxing and working out. As against, they are made to promote heat retention and sweating instead of leg cooling, and they often have a broader bootcut around the ankles.

  • Women can pair them with high heels

    For those who love heels, here’s some good news. Sweatpants are perfect with heels, particularly designer sweatpants.

Sweatpants invention FAQs

  • Are joggers the same as sweatpants?

    No. These two are entirely different. The primary thing that makes these two different is the material they are made of. Joggers are made of lighter and thinner materials, while sweatpants utilize thicker and warmer ones.

  • How tight should sweatpants be?

    Not too tight. Your sweatpants should feel comfortable on you therefore, invest in one with tapered legs that fit and are looser in the thighs and crotch. Choose a stretchy waistband as well as its leg openings. Sweatpants ought to be comfortable. Check that they are not too tight.

  • Is it okay to wear sweatpants in summer?

    Yes, wearing sweatpants during summer is perfectly fine. Aside from their breathable construction, wearing it during summer rain helps you relax.

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