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A Tribute To Ireland's Obsession With Canterbury Tracksuit Bottoms

A Tribute To Ireland's Obsession With Canterbury Tracksuit Bottoms
By Mikey Traynor Updated

The Irish know a good pair of pants when they see them.

During our adolescence, anywhere you went in Ireland you were bound to come across a pair of Canterbury tracksuit bottoms. Don't get me wrong, you'll still see them every day if you live near any of Ireland's major cities, or even small towns, but in that time period they burst onto the scene a became must have day-to-day wear for every teenager, and essential training gear for anyone doing any sort of physical activity.

And there was good reason.

The phenomenon known as 'Cantos' in south Dublin private schools were ridiculously comfortable to wear. They kept you warm when it was cold with this inner lining that felt like it was woven from Ming dynasty silk:

And if it was too warm? The zips went up the pockets, so you could let your legs breathe and even tuck the legs into the waistband and create practical (if a tad ridiculous) make-shift shorts, or simply let your trackies flail in your wake.

But it wasn't just a South Dublin private school thing. No, all over the country everybody loved those things, and of course you could wear your provincial colours with pride:

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Or if you didn't want any provincial tension, you could never go wrong by rocking the green of Ireland, as modeled by Gordon D'Arcy who in this pic looks like every male under the age of 30 who ever set foot in the town of Blackrock in 2005:

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The most sought after pair of Canterbury tracksuit bottoms were ones that had a little bit of individuality about them. While the black or navy were the original and most popular, foreign teams, countries, or even just different coloured bottoms were actually regularly stolen from changing rooms they were so saught after.

Things like this:

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Or even better, this: (we all knew this person in the picture)

But the black pair was always there. This is what they looked like if you asked your Mam to buy them:

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"Sure you'll grow into them.."

And this is what they looked like if you bought them yourself:

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One of their main draws was how well they dealt with mud:

Foreign teams were like gold dust :

And then of course came the comfy pants:

Canterbury comfy pants changed the game. Things were more relaxing in a pair of these. Hangovers became less severe and television watching was enhanced by the warm hug of a pair of Canterbury comfy pants.

The game had been changed.

While other colours were available, the original grey was like a University uniform for guys who took five years to do a four year degree and never did their part for the group project.

If you've ever been to Dundrum Town Centre then you know all about them, as Canterbury comfy pants are still probably the most common tracksuit bottom in Ireland.

A phenomenon that still exists today. They were so common that everybody even had a pair of these that they didn't buy themselves, either from borrowing them and never giving them back, finding them in the middle of a big field and thinking "Grand.", or by more sinister means.

This isn't just a tribute to tracksuit pants. This is a tribute to comfort. A tribute to a way of life. A tribute to lounging.

Shop Canterbury at Elverys Intersport

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