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As the world’s best athletes prepare for Athens next month, active lifestyle consumers are enjoying performance-enhancing products, from the latest technologies in equipment and fabrics to beauty products and activewear.

This story first appeared in the July 15, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Performing in Color

Activewear fabrics are getting a jolt of color. Bright hues such as blue, purple, orange and red are showing up on looks with a variety of properties, including resistance to water, wind and abrasion; UV protection; moisture management; heat retention, and four-way stretch. — Daniela Gilbert

Inspecting Gadgets

Sport isn’t simply about recreation. These days, it can be thought of as the mad dash to self-improvement. Whether one is running, swimming, biking or even playing badminton, there’s an understandable pleasure in measuring performance, from heart rate to velocity. According to Super Runners Store — a New York chain selling high-end running gear — high tech performance-measuring devices are on the rise. “People want to see how they’re improving,” store manager Rasheed Azim said. Here’s a look at some top sellers.

Timex has developed a Star Trek-like device that measures speed and distance for runners, bikers, rowers, skiers or walkers. A portable GPS transceiver, worn on the upper arm, receives signals from up to 12 satellites around the globe, then wirelessly transmits the data to the watch component. While it retails for $299, it’s one of the most accurate tools on the market.

Nike offers a heart rate monitor for runners that’s ergonomic as well as fashionable. The watch communicates wirelessly with a monitor that wraps around the chest and records the data. Retailing at $159, Nike’s Triax C10 is a favorite among top distance runners.

Finally, while technology might often be thought of as esoteric electronic equipment, the Fuel Belt is a more elegant device that needs no instruction booklet. The elastic belt wraps around the runner and features handy holsters with plastic bottles for water or electrolyte drinks. There’s also a pouch for keys and valuables. The belt comes in 2- and 4-bottle models that sell for $24.99 and $29.99, respectively.

Skin Deep

Beauty is no stranger to fitness, judging from the rush of recent products catering to athletes and weekend warriors alike. And the newest generation of active lifestyle products moves well past yesterday’s sporty sunscreens — with specialty products designed to cater to aching muscles, fried-out hair and more.

Take, for instance, Kiehl’s All-Sport Non-Freeze Face Protector SPF 15. The company consulted its former co-president, downhill skiing champion Klaus Heidegger, in developing the product. And the firm’s All-Sport line has since expanded to include Muscle Rub, Swimmers’ Cleansing Rinse for Hair and Body, and Foot Cream.

Ocean swimmers, surfers, sailors and other saltwater enthusiasts have countless swimmers’ shampoos and conditioners at their disposal, including those from high-end hair purveyors Phytologie and Mario Badescu. And for those interested in faking the just-stepped-out-of-the-surf look, there’s Bumble and bumble’s top-selling Surf Spray, a saltwater styling product.

Hair’s not the only thing getting attention. For women that need a little help achieving those six-pack — or even four-pack — abs, there’s Biotherm’s Abdo-Choc Tightening Concentrate for women.

And fragrances such as Adidas Adrenaline — from Cosmopolitan Cosmetics — also tout the benefits of sporty lifestyles, as do several makeup lines, including Stila’s Sport line, Bonne Bell’s Slip ’n Go Sport Balm, Clinique’s water-resistant Workout Makeup and Biotherm’s recently released makeup line. — Julie Naughton