Sportswear market 'to go through the roof'

Friday, August 23, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – Compression stockings might be familiar to HME providers, but compression sportswear is a whole other ballgame, says Jim Greatorex. 

“We need to market to the younger, more athletic person,” said Greatorex, present of Portland, Maine-based Black Bear Medical. “It’s a fun new challenge, and the market is about to go through the roof.”

Greatorex says serious athletes saw compression sportswear in heavy use during the summer 2012 Olympics, and now want to try it themselves. The form-fitting, spandex-like clothing is designed to keep muscles warm to prevent strain and fatigue, and wick sweat away from the body. 

Although it is currently sold mostly online, it needs to be fitted to work correctly, Greatorex said. 

“It’s not just small, medium and large,” he said. “True compression sportswear is 


In July, Greatorex brought in a line of compression sportswear like socks, sleeves and shorts, which his employees are trained to fit. Also included in the provider’s new offerings: pain relief, and hot and cold products. 

Integrating the sports lines into his HME business has been a challenge, Greatorex said. He’s hired a branding company, and is marketing the new products to local health and fitness centers. Anyone hoping to increase endurance is a potential customer, he said.

“It does have a wide demographic, from people in high school sports to people in their 70s,” he said. “In today’s world, people are more health-conscious than ever.”

After wearing the products on a mountain hike and avoiding sore muscles, Greatorex is a believer. 

“I’ve noticed a big difference in how my legs feel, and I don’t feel tired as quickly,” he said.