Inflatable arches create excitement at the marathon starting point and are perfect for ushering tired runners toward the finish line. On top of that, they highlight your sponsors or cause, giving your marathon a much bigger impact.
They are also super easy to use. All you need to do is flip a switch, watch the arch inflate, and anchor it to the ground.
That said, the value you get depends on the quality of the arch you buy. A low quality arch will likely disappoint you when you’re faced with a deflated puddle of material at the starting line where your arch should stand.
So today, we’ll help you decide how to pick the right inflatable arch.
Inflatable Arch Considerations
Consideration 1: Material
There are three main materials for inflatable arches:
- Polyester fabric
- PVC coated material
Each comes with its pros and cons.
Vinyl looks exquisite when new but has the following disadvantages:
- If it gets damaged on the surface there’s no way of mending it, so you’ll have to throw it away.
- The print quickly fades.
Polyester fabric is easy to print on and works well with velcro, so it’s easy to attach and remove banners. In addition, you can mend and sew the arch whenever you need to.
However, it’s not water or fireproof so you’ll need a material with a higher denier count, otherwise, the arch won’t be sturdy.
Thus, there is PVC-covered fabric which looks impressive and is durable, fire-retardant, and water-resistant.
In addition, the strength of the PVC-covered material allows for tighter double-stitched seams.
Note: Seams are important because they determine how long your inflatable will stay in shape. If the seams stretch, the arch loses air pressure and will start to sag.
However, PVC-coated arches can be quite expensive.
The best options for material are a high count (400+) denier fabric or PVC-covered material which is thick and sturdy.
The table below gives a guideline for choosing denier count.
|210 to 300||Lighter weight|
|400 to 500||Thicker|
Consideration 2: Workmanship and Support Fixtures
Inflatable Arch Secured to the Ground With Ropes and Anchors
The quality of the workmanship determines how strong the inflatable arch is.
If the seams or attachments are loose, the arch is likely to come apart.
Additionally, without the right supports your arch won’t be able to withstand the wind or accommodate the huge crowds that marathons tend to attract.
Check for the following:
- All zippers must be covered by some kind of flap to protect them from accidentally getting undone and deflating the arch.
Note: The flap also adds to the aesthetic appeal of the arch, so it should be neat and long enough to cover the zipper entirely.
- The zippers should be made of excellent quality UV-resistant chains with a firm grip.
- All zippers should slide easily with no teeth defects or gaps. The reinforcement tape should also be strong with no out-of-place strands.
- The arch should come with webbed loops and D-rings for the anchor ropes. These accessories should be firmly sewn into the seams such that they don’t budge when you tug at them.
- The seams and all openings should be double-stitched and reinforced.
Consideration 3: Signage Options
Inflatable Arch With Velcro Removable Banners
The value of your arch will depend on how well it represents your brand or cause. It’s important, then, to pick an arch that will help promote your brand’s visibility.
You can opt for permanent or interchangeable signage, but it’s best to include both components.
Choose a manufacturer that will give you unlimited color and printing options.
Note: The best printing option is dye-sublimation because it embeds the print into the fabric. The resulting prints will be more vibrant and you’ll have a wider range of color options.
Once your arch has been customized with your brand color or logo details, opt for removable banners to showcase your different sponsors and messages so you won’t have to get a new arch for every event.
Take a look at this video to see how removable banners are an efficient way to change the details on your arch.
Consideration 4: Shape of the Arch
Inflatable Arch Available Shapes
You can get inflatable arches in three main shapes:
- Angled corners with shoulders: These are by far the most popular and conventional shape.
- Squared with 90-degree angled corners: These look like doorways and have a sharper, more modern look.
- Circular or curved: They look like rainbows and can accommodate a larger footprint. However, there are no straight surfaces where you can attach banners so it will be harder to change signage.
Angled inflatable arch: Most popular design style
Squared inflatable arch: the modern-looking option
Continuous inflatable arch suitable for large scale events
There’s no right or wrong shape. Consult with experts to determine which shape works best for your venue and anticipated attendance.
Get a Custom Inflatable Arch for Your Next Marathon
The right inflatable arch can make the difference between a successful marathon and an absolute disaster.
Luckily, MVP Visuals’ checklist ensures our fully customized, quality inflatable arches meet your requirements.
Inflatable arch checklist
|Type of Material||High count denier fabric or PVC Coated|
|Workmanship and Supports||With D-rings and double-stitched seams|
|Signage||Dye-sublimation printing and removable banners|
|Shape||Angled, circular or squared|
Our arches come complete with a blower, ropes, D-rings, stakes, and a carry bag for your convenience.
We have all kinds of shapes to choose from. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, we can custom-make your arch to include 3D cutouts. Check out this arch with a 3D logo on the top tube.
Blue Inflatable Arch With 3D Logo
Or this one with a bespoke tube design.
Black Inflatable Arch With Bottle-Shaped Tube Legs
We offer 420 deniers, 600 deniers, and PVC Tarpaulin in our range of inflatable arch options, and use dye-sublimation printing and provide options for interchangeable signage with velcro, wrap-around, or attachable banners.
Visit our website to request a quick quote and let us help make your next marathon a resounding success.
“Great product and incredibly fast delivery on a custom product. I highly recommend MVP Visuals.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use inflatable arches when it’s raining?
You can safely use sealed air arches without a problem when it's raining, especially if it’s made of waterproof PVC-based material.
However, setting up a constant air inflatable arch when it’s raining is not recommended because you will need to use electricity to keep the blower running.
In the event of a light shower, you can take precautions to make sure your electricals are covered. For example, place the blower and electrical cables on a waterproof pedestal and shield the top with a rain cover.
Even then, be on standby to deflate and pack away if the rain gets worse.
Remember to ensure that the arch is completely dry before storage to prevent mold.
How much will the inflatable arch cost?
Prices vary based on several factors such as:
- Type of material used
- How much of the tent area you are printing on
- Add-ons and special features
- Attachable banners
- Whether you’re using standard or expedited production and shipping
Ultimately, they range from about $900 to over $5,000 depending on your specifics. The more popular size — 20–30 ft. wide — costs approximately $1,300 to $1,500.
How long will it take to get a customized arch?
At MVP Visuals, we take 7-10 business days to produce, plus time for delivery and guarantee timely delivery— and if we’re late, it’s free.
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