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Tracksuit bottoms, or sweatpants are a casual variety of soft trousers intended for comfort or athletic purposes, although they are now worn in many different situations. Because of their comfort and fashionable varieties, they have become one of the most commonly worn items of clothing. In Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa they are known as tracksuit bottoms, jogging bottoms (or joggers), fat pants, track pants, trackies or tracky bottoms, whereas in the US, they are known as sweatsuits. In Australia, they are also commonly known as tracky daks.
Tracksuit bottoms are usually made from cotton or polyester, and the chief characteristic distinguishing them from other athletic pants is the elastic band located around the waist. Also, many tracksuit bottoms do not have pockets. Tracksuit bottoms are traditionally ash gray in color but are now available in most colors. They are usually quite "baggy" and loose, making them easy to put on and take off; moreover they have flexibility and comfort. In addition, this design traps less heat than most conventional, lightweight trousers, which may be a disadvantage in some conditions such as cold temperatures and an advantage in others such as body heat-increasing aerobic activities.
Once these practical pants were only worn for sporting events and at home. Now, they are available in many fashionable styles and are worn in a variety of public situations. Because of their comfort and fashion, they have become a popular choice of clothing. The sweatpant variations described below are made from many different materials and in many forms.
There are many variations on the sweatpant design that have evolved to define their own categories of athletic pants. These variations include fashion pants, windpants, tearaway pants, and muscle pants.
Fashion pants typically refers to "fashion conscious" sportswear. These pants are often made from a variety of materials, like velvet or satin, and in many color combinations or patterns. One distinguishing characteristic is that fashion pants generally lack the elastic band at the ankles.
Windpants, also known as windbreakers, are similar to tracksuit bottoms but are lighter and shield the wearer from cold wind rather than insulate. Windpants are almost always made out of polyester or nylon. Some have polyester tricot. Some types of windpants have a separate inner liner made of cotton. Because of this, undergarments are not normally worn while wearing windpants. The nylon material's natural friction against both itself and human legs, makes "swooshing" sounds during walking. Windpants often have zippers on each ankle, letting athletes unzip the end of each leg allowing the pants to be pulled over their footwear. Some windpants have zippers that run the full length so the pants can be unzipped entirely; in this case, shorts are normally worn underneath.
Tearaway pants, also known as breakaway pants, rip-off pants, or (in the UK) popper pants, are another variation of tracksuit bottoms closely related to windpants. Tearaway pants are windpants with metal snaps running the length of both legs. Reversible tearaway pants are common. Some tearaway pants have snaps on only part of the legs, but normally the snaps run the entire length. Some do not have pockets but since shorts are usually worn underneath tearaway pants, many people open the top snaps to gain access to pockets in their shorts.
Sometimes, there are buttons above each set of snaps to add more closure. The buttons and snaps allow athletes to remove their tearaway pants in a timely manner to compete in some sports. Basketball and track and field are the two sports most commonly associated with tearaway pants and windpants. Also, tearaway pants are a first choice for many male strippers and bachelor party entertainers. These pants were highly popularized by Chris Pontius' character "Party Boy" of Jackass the TV series and Jackass: The Movie fame.
- Lisa Pryor (25 October 2002). "In her tracky daks, a Hollywood star turns invisible". Sydney Morning Herald (in en_au). Retrieved 13 March 2013. "Naomi Watts: 'I look like a completely different person when I just wake up and get my tracky daks on'"