The growth of parkour as a sport seems to be happening quicker than ever before. Parkour gyms are being established around the world, parkour events are becoming bigger and more accessible, and the technical and mental level of practitioners doesn’t appear to be heading towards a plateau anytime in the near future.
One of the most interesting facets of growth I’ve seen parkour go through in the last few years is the rise of the parkour clothing company. As parkour grows out of its infancy, the resources to start a parkour clothing brand are becoming more accessible to the parkour community. Clearly parkour clothing is becoming more entwined with the parkour community itself, making it important to document, evaluate and understand who is who in terms of the major parkour brands.
The first brand I would like to talk about is one of the more popular European brands, Etre-Fort. They were kind enough to send some of their product my way so I could test, compare and get a feel for what their apparel is like from a first hand perspective. First I will talk about where Etre-Fort sits in the parkour community, then I will briefly review the clothing they sent my way and how their product matches their niche as a parkour specific clothing brand.
To evaluate Etre-Fort in relation to the other parkour brands and the parkour community it is important to understand their target market. Based on the quality of their product (which I’ll go into below in the product reviews), their pricing and the style of clothing, it’s apparent that they are trying to fill a high-end clothing niche. By that I mean their products are extremely well appointed, having a variety of different features that other brands do not have, but their apparel comes with a slightly higher price tag. In my eyes the higher cost of their products is worth it, especially for what you get in terms of quality clothing.
Speaking of clothing, I’ll get into my reviews. The products that I had the pleasure of testing were the EF-S1 parkour shorts, the EF-T1 sweatpants and their black “unique” t-shirt. My favourite Etre-Fort product is the EF-S1 shorts because I often overheat if I train in sweatpants. It’s interesting to see companies like Etre-Fort releasing training shorts because it signifies a move away from the tradition of training in sweatpants, prioritizing the body’s needs over tradition. A few other companies are on the same track as Etre-Fort, and have released training shorts as well (i.e. American Parkour’s training shorts). The community is starting to realize that in order to operate at the highest level it’s important to ensure the body is regulating itself in terms of heat, energy, etc., some of which is dependent on clothing.
In terms of signature details both the EF-S1s and the EF-T1s have multiple features that only Etre-Fort offers. These include a key leash, a t-shirt holder and zippered pockets. I found these features to be extremely handy when I was out training since it allowed me to focus on the movement instead of whether my belongings were going to get stolen or fall out of my pockets.
Speaking of movement, the cotton and polyester blends provided great mobility, comfort and stretch in all three products. On the EF-T1 sweatpants in particular the material didn’t need to stretch because the pants are supposed to be worn as baggy sweats. Due to the style of the sweatpants there is enough material to have as much mobility as you want in any direction, regardless of the elasticity of the fiber itself.
The baggy style that Etre-Fort tailors to their sweatpants is one that is extremely deliberate. They seem to be trying to associate baggy sweats (the staple of a traceur’s clothing) directly with their brand, thereby creating deep ties between parkour and their clothes. Evidence of this was clear when I was going through the sizing process for my gear, I asked if they carried any mediums or larges, since I don’t often wear baggy sweatpants. They responded saying their 2XL and 3XL were made to fit men and their Small and Medium sizes were made to fit women and children because baggy sweatpants are the style they are going for. As a result, I ended up getting the 2XLs and although they are baggy they fit very well and never drag on the ground due to the adjustable leg bottoms.
Additionally, in terms of looks and style, it is worth noting that Etre-Fort’s products have the theme of combining shades (like black and grey) with bright neon colours. This results in a sleek and trendy look, which can be worn for casually hanging out with friends as well. The design of their “unique” shirt fits in with the rest of the line since it uses a low profile design with a black colour scheme, but then has neon accents with the bright green collar tag and text.
Overall, Etre-Fort as a clothing brand does exactly what their brand suggests. Etre-Fort translates to “Be Strong” and they have created strong designs that are useful and durable. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of luxury sweatpants and have some extra cash to invest into features that other brands simply don’t have, I highly advise you check out www.etre-fort.com.