Testing and inspection specialist Intertek has launched new activewear testing services to tap into the growing demand for sports apparel and footwear. 

The services, which include fabric function and performance testing for popular attributes like antibacterial/anti-mould properties, wind and water resistance, breathability, ultraviolet (UV) protection, thermal regulation, quick-dry capabilities, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) testing and stretch/recovery, will be offered in its apparel testing labs globally. 

Sports apparel and footwear sales have increased by some 42% over the last seven years, with expectations for continued growth through 2020, according to Intertek. 

"As consumer participation in athletic activity grows, as well as the popularity of athleisure fashion, the demand for comfortable, high-performing active wear is one that manufacturers strive to reach," said Calvin Yam, global head of softlines at Intertek. 

"With our new services, we can help clothing and footwear makers and retailers bring quality gear to the active wear market that delivers on consumer standards and offers an edge in the competitive market." 

In a survey conducted by Cotton Inc, consumers ranked comfort as the most important factor in selecting active wear, followed by fit, ease of cleaning, quality, durability and price. 

Intertek says the services under its Activewear Testing Solutions evaluate performance qualities like these against promotional claims and industry benchmarking, as well as to standards currently in place from various industry organisations. 

The services also include access to experts in high-performance fabrics who will offer support and consultation on subjects such as raw materials selection, product development, production and delivery to market.