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Innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology have change sports forever but the sporting goods evolution is not over and plastic injection molders are leading the way.

Sporting goods have two unique market niches: professional athletes and amateurs who engage in leisure sports.

Sporting goods equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. The diverse industry includes bicycles, camping gear, fishing tackle, fitness equipment, hunting rifles and scopes, kayaks, scuba gear and diving equipment, and skis. Of course, there’s also shoes, clothing and protective wear, in addition to various types of balls, bats, boards, clubs, racquets and sticks.

Each sport has a segment that’s driven by low cost, using traditional materials but there is another portion that’s driven by performance and favors materials that have higher strength-to-weight ratios.

This portion of the sporting goods market requires engineers to make products stronger, lights, and smarter by using consistent, high performing yet cost effective materials. These sporting goods engineers covet lightweight materials that can enhance athletic performance and lower the risk for injury.

Besides new materials, the competitive sporting goods industry readily adapts technology from other fields, such as automotive, aerospace, medical devices and consumer electronics as well.  Product development efforts typically focus on making sporting goods products stronger or lighter weight to create better performance or less strain on the body and now they are including such technology as embedded sensors, tracking devices, and even wearable electronics.

Products embedded with sensors and microchips can measure everything from heart rates and speed to exertion and arm movement. Paired with analytical software, the devices allow athletes to monitor and improve their performance and then allow engineers to design even better equipment bases on the product performance.

Unless a new sporting goods item performs better than an old product, it has a tough time breaking into the market. But, if it does perform better, it can revolutionize a market overnight.

These revolutionizing, cutting-edge products developed for professionals often trickle down to weekend warriors.  For instance, a bike used in the Tour de France race was 20 pounds 15 years ago and now that same bike is less than 15 pounds at your local bike shop.

Even new technology and equipment being developed for military applications such as augmented reality displays and exoskeletons will eventually find their way into sporting goods.

Rigidity, wall thickness, product finishes, color matching, assembly techniques such as ultrasonic welding, and even in-mold labeling are all areas of expertise that plastic injection molders provide to sporting goods manufacturers.

Need help evolving your products? 4GKPlastics.com, . has helped many sporting goods manufacturers convert traditional metal parts to lighter weight plastics that perform equally if not better and reduce production costs. 4GKPlastics.com,

Our experts in material selection and tooling design will help.  Contact us here to start the conversation.*Excerpts from this blog were originally published in articles posted on the websites for Assembly and