It’s a long-held belief that athletes who compete in red are more successful than those who dress in other colors. This is based on the thinking that red helps the wearer feel more confident, while for the opposition, an athlete in red is perceived as being more aggressive and dominant. Over the years plenty of red-wearing sports teams have helped back this theory up… Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Kansas City Chiefs, San Fran 49ers, Chicago Bulls to name just a few.
But it seems any sporting successes related to red might just be a coincidence. A 2022 meta-analysis of 69 studies into color psychology and sport found that any credible evidence for color impacting physical performance is pretty thin on the ground.
What we do know for sure is that color and emotional regulation are linked and wearing different colors can affect your mood. When your mood is good, your workouts are usually better (and it’s a perpetual cycle of positivity, because better workouts then lead to an even better mood).
The reason colors affect our emotions so profoundly is because of the differing wavelengths and light frequencies of different hues. As they enter our eyes and travel the neurological pathways to the brain, the different light levels trigger different emotional and behavioral responses.
Certain hues make people feel excited and energized (these are typically bright, highly saturated colors). And some colors make people feel calmer and more relaxed (these are typically lighter colors). One study has even shown that 62% of people pin feeling lazy on specific colors.
Of course, color preferences are subjective, and choosing which you wear is a very personal decision. Most important is wearing a color that resonates and makes you feel good. When you feel good in your workout gear, you’re more likely to show up and give it your all.
Color psychology tips to keep front of mind:
Feel strong wearing red
Red has the longest wavelength on the color spectrum, making it a powerful and invigorating hue. It can offer heart rate-boosting powers and make you feel more alert and energized. However, too much red can spark feelings of aggression or agitation – and even increase blood pressure – so it’s best to balance red with more natural hues.
Feel happy and energized in yellow or orange
Yellow is widely regarded as the happiest color in the world. If you're lacking motivation and need a little positive energy, yellow can uplift you. But for optimal energy and feelings of excitement, orange is often your best bet. Falling between red and yellow on the color spectrum, it blends the passion and power of red, with the joy and optimism of yellow.
Feel focused in blue
Blue is often associated with a boost in concentration, productivity and focus. This makes it ideal for focusing on mastering movement patterns and weight-lifting techniques. It’s also synonymous with creating a feeling of calmness, and alleviating stress and anxiety, which makes it perfect for mindful practices like yoga. Purple also goes well with yoga, as it’s linked to spirituality, intuition and deeper thought.
Feel free and alive in green
There’s something a little bit magical about green. Wearing the color green can stimulate a refreshing connection to nature. Like being outdoors, it is both relaxing and invigorating, which makes it perfect for all types of exercise. Green is a particularly good option for competitive sportspeople as it can help calm anxiety while maintaining an element of energy.
Feel relaxed in neutrals
If you're blurring the lines between wellness and workouts then pinks, pastels and neutrals are ideal. These soothing hues can help relax muscles, ease tension and lessen aggression. But be aware, if you go all beige you may be missing out on the motivational magic that comes from brighter colors.
Sometimes nothing beats black
There are several reasons why black is the most popular workout gear color. It’s classic and timeless, it matches with almost every other color and it’s great for hiding sweat and dirt. It’s also associated with strength and power – which can help you feel your best while you train.
Explore the latest range from adidas and choose from calming hues, chakra-inspired details, and colors the evoke feelings of energy, optimism, strength and confidence. Check it out.