The Evolution of Netball Uniforms: From Skirts to Performance Gear

28th Jul 2023 • netballnetball apparelnetball dressnetball gearnetball historystruddys netball

The Evolution of Netball Uniforms: From Skirts to Performance Gear


Netball, a sport rooted in basketball and predominantly played by women, has undergone significant changes since its inception in the late 19th century. Notably, the evolution of netball uniforms has been a fascinating journey, transitioning from ankle-length skirts to modern performance gear. In this blog post, we explore the historical progression of netball apparel and its impact on the game.

The Early Days: Skirts and Tunics

uring the sport's early days in the 1890s, netball uniforms were markedly different from contemporary attire. Players donned ankle-length skirts, tunics, and blouses, adhering to the fashion norms of the era. Unfortunately, these heavy and restrictive garments limited players' agility and movement on the court.

The Introduction of Netball Dresses

As netball gained popularity and established its rules, the iconic netball dress made its appearance. The knee-length dress with box pleats offered players greater freedom of movement compared to the previous long skirts. Often featuring a polo-style collared shirt and a front bib indicating player positions, the netball dress became a symbol of the sport and remained a staple for several decades.

Technical Advancements: Breathable Fabrics and Design Innovations

In the 21st century, netball uniforms underwent a transformation to cater to modern athletes' demands. One significant improvement was the use of high-performance, breathable fabrics like our Struddys S-tech material. These moisture-wicking materials replaced traditional cotton, providing players with dry and comfortable experiences during intense matches.

For example, we push the envelope of netball garments with 100% sports mesh polyester and our very own S-tech material. Our high-end materials are designed to be lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable. Mesh panels were strategically incorporated into the uniforms for ventilation, reducing heat buildup and enhancing players' comfort and performance on the court.

Customization and Branding

As netball evolved into a more competitive and commercialized sport, customization and branding became integral to uniform design. Teams began personalizing their netball dresses with unique touches such as team logos, player names, and numbers. This not only fostered team unity but also deepened the connection between fans and their favorite players.

The Rise of Netball Tops and Skirts/Skorts

Recent years have witnessed a shift away from traditional netball dresses, with many teams opting for netball tops paired with skirts or skorts. This modern approach offers players greater flexibility and style choices, allowing them to mix and match colors and designs.

Netball tops now feature a more athletic fit, tailored to the female form, reducing fabric drag and improving movement on the court. Skirts and skorts have also undergone design modifications to provide players with better support and freedom of motion.

A More Inclusive Game

As netball's popularity grew, it attracted a more diverse audience, including boys and men. With the emergence of men's and mixed leagues, the introduction of playing singlets and shorts became prevalent. Society's inclusive attitude allowed girls and women players to choose whether they wanted to wear the same attire as their male counterparts. This step was instrumental in creating an inclusive atmosphere for all netball players.


The evolution of netball uniforms from skirts and tunics to cutting-edge performance gear mirrors the sport's growth and transformation. As netball continues to evolve, so too will its apparel. Advancements in technology, fabric innovation, and design aesthetics will undoubtedly play a crucial role in enhancing players' performance and overall experience on the court.

While cherishing the nostalgia of the classic netball dress, we must also embrace the practicality and functionality of modern netball apparel. The future of netball uniforms is undoubtedly exciting, and as fans of the sport, we eagerly await the next chapter in netball apparel evolution.

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Thank you for reading, and see you next time!