There’s activewear, and then there’s the new wave of tech-enabled athleisure proven to make your workout even more effective. We’re talking about exercise gear that can tell you which muscles are working hardest, sports bras that will track your heart rate, compression leggings that actually look cool, and more clever innovations in activewear that will change the way you work out.
Keep clicking to shop, because, really, you’re basically wasting your time wearing anything else.
Moisture-Wicking Sports Bra
If you're keen to avoid that delightful dripping-in-sweat sensation at the gym, it's worth investing in moisture-wicking fabrics for all of the activewear sitting closest to your skin. This Lorna Jane crop top is made from exactly the stuff but is also designed with other details that will make your workout more comfortable: “Creative yet highly functional details, such as the four-point adjustable strap on the shoulders, have been developed to guarantee your ultimate fit and unrestricted movement. The wider-cut back provides maximum support, while the keyhole details adds ventilation," explained the brand's founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson.
Supernova Sports Bra, $72.99; at Lorna Jane
Now this is smart: Athos activewear pieces have built-in sensors that send feedback to an app on your phone, and allow you to analyze your muscle performance in real time. You can literally see what muscles are firing up and how hard with every exercise.
Jake Waxenberg, the company's director of brand strategy, explained to us that this technology allows you to "see if you are using the correct muscles, correct imbalances immediately, and ensure you’re working your muscles efficiently for your desired results. By knowing what your muscles are actually doing, you are able to work out correctly to get the most out of your workout and reach your goals faster.”
Lower Body Package, $348; at Athos
Anti-Odor Tank Top
There are few things less fun than running errands straight after a workout when you smell like a woman who just worked up a huge sweat. The fabric of this tank is designed with antimicrobial, anti-odor technology to help out with that issue, and is also sweat-wicking. Also, if blue's not your vibe, you can nab this in black, white, gray, pink, and a bunch of other shades.
Seamless Muscle Tank, $39.50; at Victoria's Secret
Compression leggings like Skins have been around forever, but some of the less-serious-looking (read: cuter) activewear labels use the technology too. The fabric (usually a nylon/spandex blend) adds pressure, supporting the underlying tissues and supposedly increasing oxygen delivery to your muscles when you exercise to both boost performance and also speed up recovery after you work out. While there isn't much conclusive evidence to show it will dramatically improve your workout, some research on runners showed wearing compression gear decreased muscle vibrations (a cause of muscle fatigue), and another small study found compression garments can improve circulation, meaning your body expends less energy to maintain the same speed.
Varley Pacific Full Length Tight, $110; at Carbon 38
Fitness Tracking Sports Bra
Measuring your heart rate is a commonly used method of tracking the intensity of a workout, which is why MyZone recently released a sports bra that does just that. The garment connects to a detachable activity monitor that sends all your workout information to an app. Bonus: The app operates on a game-like program that gives you points for any activity, which is a welcome motivation booster.
Low Support Sports Bra, $69.99; at MyZone
Physical Activity Belt, $149.99; at MyZone
You probably already wear regular Vimmia leggings when you work out, but have you tried out the brand's Vimmia X line? According to JJ Hendershot, a senior director at the brand and fitness instructor, the line uses a yarn containing "infrared technology that transforms human body heat into energy, which provides performance benefits."
Specifically, the chemical composition of the fabric uses your body heat to create the infrared control of thermoregulation, which can help with your blood circulation and to regulate your core temperature—making it easier to work out in hot or cold climates, as your cardiovascular system isn’t as heavily burdened with variations in external temperature.
"It helps keep your body temperature stable, so your body remains warm when it is cold out and cooler when it is hot out. Vimmia X is also great post-workout, as it aids in muscle recovery,” Hendershot added.
Vimmia X Core Capri, $134; at Vimmia