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Everything You Need To Know About Inflatable Arches

Marathon Arch

Inflatable archways, are become commonplace at many outdoor events these days.  Inflatable arches began their lives as defining start and finish lines on outdoor races but they have evolved to become essential elements in creating captivating entrances, defining event spaces, and reinforcing brand identity. We will explore the versatility and applications of inflatable arches, ranging from advertising and branding arches to entrance arches and promotional arches. We will discuss the customization options available, the significance of inflatable finish lines and the benefits they offer in creating immersive experiences. We will also demystify the different materials used to make them and their relative advantages or disadvantages.


The Rise of Inflatable Arches

Inflatable archways have experienced a meteoric rise in popularity across a wide range of events. From marathons to trade shows and corporate events, these arch inflatables have become a fundamental choice for outdoor event organizers seeking to make a lasting impact. With their eye-catching designs and impressive scale, inflatable arches create a grand entrances. In fact they define the either the starting or ending point and they draw attendees into the event with curiosity.


One of the key advantages of inflatable arches is their versatility in customization. Brands can tailor the arches to align with their visual identity and marketing objectives. Custom inflatable arches offer a canvas for creativity, allowing businesses to incorporate logos, colours, and graphics that represent their brand identity.


Versatile Applications

1 Race Start/Finish Arches and Marathon Arches

Inflatable shapes of all sorts play a crucial role in races and marathons as race start/finish lines and marathon arches. These arches or inflatable rectangles provide a visually striking landmark that signifies the beginning and end of a challenging race. They serve as a symbol of achievement for participants and offer memorable photo opportunities. They are significant landmarks in race events. They have effectively replaced many truss gantries because of their ease of installation and packup – not to mention how easy blowup arches are to store.


  1. Sporting Event Arches (non finish line)

Sports event arches are often used to create an immersive atmosphere at sporting events. Whether it’s a football game, tennis match, or cycling race, inflatable arches serve as prominent features that enhance the spectator experience. These arches can be customized with team logos or event sponsors’ branding, boosting visibility and reinforcing partnerships. Arches and other inflatables are only limited by people’s imaginations – it is incredible what can be made into an inflatable.


3 Advertising and Branding Arches

Event arches are powerful advertising tools, allowing brands to make a bold statement that is highly visible. Whether placed outside retail stores, at trade shows, or during promotional events, advertising arches serve as attention-grabbing structures that draw in customers. So much of an arch is customisable these days. Gone are the days of a couple of patches showing sponsors’ logos. Printing on arches is vivid, grand and most of all, very affordable.


4 Entrance and Promotional Arches

Entrance arches are an impactful way to welcome guests and create a memorable first impression. Whether it’s a race, festival, trade show, or corporate event, inflatable structures set the tone and generate excitement from the moment guests arrive. Promotional arches within the event space guide participants and highlight key areas, such as product showcases or interactive experiences. Their size and grandeur help to define that a special experience is to be found nearby.



Understanding what arches are made from is important in choosing the best arch for your application. Each one has its own merits.


PVC Arches

PVC arches are made usually from heavy-grade vinyl which is either precoloured or digitally printed. Precoloured vinyl will fade less but the graphics are restricted to what velcro applied patches (banners). Custom printed pvc arches allows a lot more flexibility with the print but the life of print vs precoloured vinyl is much shorter.


Graphics are easily changed but the surface area for advertising is limited.


Vinyl arches are durable and they can be earily repaired if punctured. Vinyl is best thought of as a long term investment. You can expect more than 10 years out of a predyed arch if it is well looked after. These type of arches are generally constant air supply arches that need either an internal or external fan to keep the arch constantly inflated. This requires a power source. Note that only external fans can be replaced if faulty.


Thermoplastic Bladder Arches

TPU arches are airtight and do not require constant air supply. They only need to be filled once with a pump for an event that last several days. They have a self regulating valve that ensures they are not overfilled and also allows for expanding air on hot days. The bladder is durable although it is also heavy like vinyl. TPU can be repaired in the case of punctures. These type of arches do not require constant air supply so power is not needed other than at the point of inflation.


TPU arches do not come with graphics so a polyester skin is necessary to cover the bladder. The skins are easy to apply and graphic reproduction is amazing. Designers are not limited to small patches, virtually the entire arch can be custom printed.


On the downside they tend to be the most expensive option and TPUs lifespan is reduced if constantly deployed in very warm weather.


Polyester (Dacron) Arches

Polyester can produce full graphic arches that are lightweight and very easy to transport. Polyester is not as durable as the other two materials but it is a much more flexible material for making custom shapes. It also produces cheap inflatable arches.

This type of arch requires constant air supply from an internal or external fan. Fabric arches are not as durable as vinyl or tpu arches and punctures and rips are difficult to repair.


Dacron arches are best for infrequent use. The graphic is the outside so replacement skins mean replacement arches. Fabric is by far the best material for custom shapes.


Custom Options for Inflatable Archways



Inflatable aches are by definition arch shaped. In other words a circular or rectangular shape with an open bottom side. The most common shapes are rectangular arches, semi circular archways and angelled corner arches. Custom shaped arches and add-ons are possible these days because of new materials we use to make them. Using thermoplastic and polyester has opened up inflatables to be virtually any shape or size.



There are a huge range of sizes up to about 15 metres externally. Beyond this it is difficult for the weight of the inflatable to sustain itself. From an organisers perspective, the important measurements are the internal width measurement which governs how many people can fit through it at any given time. The height and width may also be considerations depending on the space available. The diameter of the arch changes depending on choice and/or the full size. Thermoplastic arches can be thinner than pvc arches as they hold their shape better.


Colour & Design

Design is dictated by the material used for the arch. Vinyl arches can be fully custom printed but most often they are solid coloured with replaceable advertising patches on the legs and gantry. Polyester arches and skins offer more design possibilities while still being restricted to the shape of the arch. Custom shapes obviously offer the fullest design potential.



LED inflatables can create light and movement and bring life to arches, particularly for night time events.


Advantages of Inflatable Arches

Inflatable arches offer numerous advantages over traditional structures. They are highly portable, easy to set up, and can be quickly deflated and packed away for transport and storage. This portability makes them an excellent choice for events that require frequent setup and takedown.

Inflatable arches are also cost-effective compared to constructing permanent archways. They eliminate the need for costly materials and lengthy bump ins/outs.


Graphics for arches can look amazing and they are relatively inexpensive. It is possible to have one arch and use it for many different events with different messages at each event.


Safety and Installation

Like all inflatable structures, arches can be blown around in strong winds. From a safety perspective, it is always best to use guide ropes, weights and ground pegs to firmly secure arches to the ground. Once inflated, arches do not have a lot of weight so they can be easily moved around. Consider adding stability by getting feet on your arch to disperse the weight and make the arch more balanced. You can find a detailed step-by-step guide on inflating an inflatable arch here.


Future Trends

Inflatable Arches will continue to develop from advances in material technology and lighting. Polyester arches are already recyclable in some countries like Australia. Further advancements in recycled materials will make arches more eco-freindly.  The use of polyester and computer imaging has already meant that customised shapes are easy and inexpensive to create


Other digital technologies can be paired with inflatable arches to create immersive experiences. Things like touchscreens or augmented reality can be integrated into displays like blow up arches.



Inflatable arches have moved well beyond start finish lines to become widely used structures for marketing all types of products and services. The type of arch you chose will be dependant on your budget and particular needs but design is no longer limited to small banners.  As designers become more creative with shapes, we expect the boundaries to be pushed and new shapes to become more commonplace, still it is pretty hard to go past the original race arch for simplicity and perfection.


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