The Nike Tech Fleece has entered a new era

The Nike Tech Fleece has entered a new era

by Ollie Cox
6 min

Everybody knows the Nike Tech Fleece. It’s been a favourite of athletes, aesthetes, and all-around fans of versatile comfort for years. Whether you’re wearing it to keep warm during winter training sessions or cosying up on the couch, this is the tracksuit that has garnered an army of loyal fans from across all corners of fashion, music, sports and culture. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Nike Tech Fleece is entering a new era. 

The Nike Tech Fleece was introduced in 2013 in its initial form, first known as The Nike Tech pack. It brought a functional “no seam” construction that was integral to its DNA and sporting legacy, where its products kept wearers warm without any weight, thanks to a practical layering system. A technical design has seen the Tech Fleece garner a range of fans, including professional footballers Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho. 

A garment worn by top-level athletes and on the streets is reflective of a truly pioneering approach to design. In the Tech Fleece’s case, its broad appeal lies in its ability to benefit the wearer in a range of ways, whether it is helping provide warmth without the layers on the pitch or making day-to-day activities easier thanks a lightweight, breathable construction

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We spoke to Luke Hammer, Senior Apparel Designer at Nike, who gave us the lowdown on the tracksuit’s popularity: “The style seems to find the delicate balance between a sharp and refined future-facing aesthetic and extreme comfort. The Tech Fleece combines the best of modern craft with known and loved silhouettes that have proven to resonate with wearers for the past decade.”

This broad appeal is something Nike has done well since its inception, with the Swoosh infiltrating pop culture like no other brand. Its products have been worn by actors, athletes, musicians, and a host of cultural tastemakers. Much of the Swoosh’s acclaim has been through its footwear, with sneakers such as the Air Max 1, Air Jordan 1, Jordan 4, and Air Max 95 shaping sneaker history.

While demand for these footwear products is high, this relevance and staying power has been achieved in a relatively long period of time. Tech Fleece technology is young, achieving something very few garments have managed to achieve: scaling from sports to popular culture in its short history. 

Off the pitch, the Nike Tech fleece has a hefty fanbase, with West London rapper Central Cee becoming the unofficial poster boy of the trendy tracky in recent years, when he famously donned the sporty set on the red carpet of The Fashion Awards in 2022. Here in London, the technical garments have been indoctrinated into the Grime and UK Dril uniforms. While not using the garment for its original purpose, it does have a distinctly London feel. 

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The Nike Tech Fleece enables Londoners to go about their day-to-day life, which can involve navigating the trials and tribulations of the tube, for one. Thanks to its sports-rooted sensibility, days on your feet or long hours in the studio perfectly suit Nike’s technical garment’s versatile and practical appeal, whether you’re rapping or running. 

Recently, Nike released a campaign to celebrate 10 years of the Tech Fleece, titled “Don’t Sweat the Tech-nique.” It stars pro athletes Carlos Alcaraz, Naomi Osaka, and Phil Foden, amongst others, who wear the Tech Fleece in a host of settings, from the gym to getting a trim. The campaign was an obvious reference to Erik B. and Rakim’s hit song of the same name and nodded to the symbiotic relationship between the Nike Tech Fleece and music. 

Hammer acknowledged the relationship between music and its technology-rooted garments. “Music has such a unique power to make us feel – to encapsulate complex ideas of our identities, our world, and our community – we strongly believe that our clothing should hold that same power,” he explained. “Music and fashion intertwine beautifully – I think they always have and always will – the industries continue to learn from and inspire one another.”

Nike ©

This recent campaign represented a fusion of tradition and technology, two components integral to the Nike Tech product offering. This sentiment is echoed by Hammer, Senior Apparel Designer at Nike, who listens to the feedback of athletes when designing new products. “From runners and tennis players to footballers, basketballers, and dancers, the resounding feedback is how much athletes look to Tech Fleece when in search of comfort without compromising style.” 

In recent years, the cultural appeal of the Nike Tech Fleece has been recognised through a collaboration with Drake’s Nocta label, which saw the slim silhouette swapped out for a wider open-leg fit, nodding to retro ‘90s sporting style. Campaign shots showcased members of Drake’s team donning baby-blue garments as they boarded a Drake’s Virgil Abloh-designed “Air Drake” jet. The Nocta x Tech Fleece collaboration perfectly embodied the Tech Fleece’s movement from sports-focused apparel to a pioneer of the athleisure trend, showcasing the tracksuit in an elevated lifestyle setting and nodding to the new era of the design. 

From its athletic origins to the red carpet, the Nike Tech Fleece has cemented itself in the wardrobes of some of the most influential sports stars and musicians. This legacy is rooted in Nike Tech’s disruptive pursuit of technology-focused design, which has continued to evolve and develop, allowing the style to remain relevant and reliable in its 10-year history. Not only does it look good, but also performs well, prioritising comfort as part of its ergonomic construction. This, combined with cultural relevance and a high-profile list of wearers, has ensured Nike’s playful blend of tradition and technology has stood the test of time. 

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