2023 Sportswear Trends

A Runners Need study analyses five years of data to map UK sportswear trends.

Whether lockdown kick-started many Brits' running regimes – or whether we just got used to comfy sweats and stretchy leggings – between 2018 and 2022, our data reveals that we’re buying 73% more sportswear and gear than five years ago.


But which regions in the UK are most sportswear obsessed? Who has the biggest sneaker addiction and who are the most likely to splash on accessories to ‘pimp their run’? We’ve crunched five years' worth of data to map UK sportswear and gear habits and trends.



Considering all sales up and down and in all corners of the UK, sales for all sportswear and gear products increased in the last five years, but different categories have increased more than others. Sports and running accessories have gone up more than any other category, with sales almost doubling in five years (with a 98% rise). Next, sports trainers went up the second most with sales increasing by 69% and finally sportswear went up 54% in the same period.


All UK nations increased their sportswear purchases over the last five years, but some nations have caught the running bug more than others. Northern Ireland increased their running purchases by 157% over the last five years – that’s more than double the English increase of 64% (the smallest national uptake in the study!).

Northern Ireland may win ‘most improved’ but it's the Scots who have the most impressive sportswear collection, as this nation buys more sports clothing, sports shoes, and sports accessories per capita than any other nation. In fact, Scots are the biggest sneakerheads and were the only region in the UK where sports shoes were the most in-demand product.


The nation with the sparsest sportswear drawer? England buy per capita the least sportswear and gear and also saw the smallest five-year increase in the study.



Considering the trends in the largest towns and cities in England, the study can also reveal the running habits split per region.


The regions buying the most running gear per capita are the South East of England, the East of England, and the South West of England respectively. But the English region which increased sales between 2018-2022 the most (by 143%!) is the West Midlands – more than double the next biggest uptakers, the North East of England, where sales increased 67% in the same period.

Although the South East of England may buy the most shoes per capita, it’s the North East of England that has the fastest-growing shoe addiction, with sales increasing by 50% in this region since 2018. The North East was also the region that saw the largest percentage increase in athleisure-wear purchases – with sales increasing by 79% in the same period.


You can spot England’s flashiest runners in the North West of England – as this region is buying 82% more sports accessories than they were five years ago.


Curious to see the trends in your local area? Use the interactive tool to see how sportswear-obsessed your local region is and the most in-demand item from your region.

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