How do you choose which promotional sports clothing item is best for you? Here are the questions we will ask of you to help you decide what you are after. The range of potential products is vast and so we try to understand what you are using the product for and what you are trying to achieve.

Promotion or Performance of Fabric

For most promotional clothing this consideration holds true. Are you trying to make a ‘loud’ noise or are you wanting to take into account the usage of the item. For example choosing work wear demands that a harder wearing product is vital or the brand will look very tired sat on faded and shrunken clothing. For sport this is a more important question.

If the sole intention is to create a product as a giveaway which shows the brand then a simple and inexpensive cotton or poly-cotton shirt is ideal. Think of the promotional shirt in the goody-bag given at the end of the 10K or cycling event. The objective here is to show the brand and the message.

If however you want the product to be used as a sporting product then you will need a performance fabric. For most sports this means a polyester shirt. Why polyester? Well, it has moisture wicking properties unlike a natural fibre which hangs on to moisture polyester does not. Cotton will absorb 7% of its weight in water, polyester only 0.4%. Polyester is also quick drying, crease resistant and generally tougher. There are various types of polyester where the weave improves matters even more.


There are essentially three ways to decorate a shirt:

  • Printing - transfer or screen
  • Embroidery
  • Sublimation


The area to be decorated and the number of items to be printed clearly has a major impact on cost  but in general printing is the cheapest option – whether screen or transfer printing. Transfer printing works well for personalisation of names and numbers and screen would be the choice for larger volumes of printing. Biggest issue with printing is that if used on a ‘wicking’ fabric the print will prevent the wicking properties. This can be a problem if the print area is large and particularly bad for transfer prints.


Sometimes called sublimation print, strictly speaking is it not a print method. Sublimation involves using dies which colour the fabric. The dies being transferred using heat and a sublimation effect. The result is that, whilst more expensive, than printing, the ‘wicking’ properties of the fabric are not lost. Sublimation also allows for some very vibrant colours and the possibility of printing ‘edge to edge’. Very common for cycling shirts, rugby and football shirts.


This works really well in small areas to create a badge or name on a shirt. The logo will be much harder wearing than a print technique but be careful with the fineness of the logo. You are limited by the number of stitches per inch which is generally coarser than print.


The final consideration is budget and how much to spend on each item. One word of caution here from our experience, whilst the cheapest t shirt giveaway might seem like the most cost effective this may not always be true. The audience for a shirt is not just the wearer but also the people who see the shirt. A high performance shirt which is used in practise and at the gym every week will attract more views than the cotton tee given away and used for gardening and DIY around the home! If measured by the number of views the shirt gets the cheapest is not always what it seems.

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