The service announced Tuesday that it has signed off on designs for a new PT jacket, T-shirt, shorts and pants that will start to become available in 2022. The gear will become the requirement by 2026.
“Our main requirement [from Air Force leaders] was to develop a PT uniform that people really wanted to wear and is as good as, if not better than, commercially available athletic wear,” Tracy Roan, chief of the Air Force Uniform Office, said in an Air Force news release. “The new uniform now includes all of the great performance features that you find in athletic wear today.”’
The Air Force said that the new designs employ softer fabrics that dry quickly and include antimicrobial technology to aid with odor control.
Furthermore, the new designs cater to specific types of physical activities, said Col. Paul Burger, a test participant for the new uniforms and official with the Air Force Marathon.
“In the past, there was one uniform for all athletic pursuits, whether you were running, playing basketball or lifting weights,” Burger, 88th Air Base Wing Mission Support Group Commander, said in an Air Force news release. “The approach the Air Force has now taken, is to develop a uniform that is earmarked for runners or running, and one that is better designed for some of those other athletic activities.”
For example, there are two types of shorts that the service will roll out — a shorter one that is lined and designed for running, and a longer one with zipper pockets along the hips for other activities. Another key difference is that the track jacket has a slimmer fit.
“With the ‘notorious’ track jacket, we’ve made updates to the fabric to minimize the noise it makes during workouts,” 2nd Lt. Maverick Wilhite, the Office’s Program Manager for PT gear, said in an Air Force news release. “The jacket will be sleeker looking, so instead of having a bulky jacket, you’ll have a fit and tailored design. In addition, the jacket will have a zipper chest pocket for holding things like your CAC [common access card].”
Now that the uniform designs have been approved, the Air Force said it will move into the production phase. The change marks the first time in 16 years the Air Force has modified its PT uniform and a total of 150 airmen were involved in testing the new designs.