Finding the time and mustering up the energy to work out is challenging enough, so finding clothes to wear while doing it shouldn’t be chore. After all, activewear that’s both fashionable and flattering not only looks cute, but can help us feign confidence even if we haven’t got the slightest clue as to what the difference is between warrior one and warrior three. That said, workout gear also has to be comfortable and durable and, depending on what activity you’re partaking in, your garments need to have specific performance features.
Whether you’re into yoga, cycling, running, cross-training, or a combination of each, we’ve done the legwork for you and compiled useful tips every woman should know when it comes to buying workout clothes. We also highlighted some stylish and functional picks for your sweat sessions to ensure that shopping for activewear isn’t more grueling than your actual fitness routine.
Read on for key tips on how to buy workout clothes, and stylish pieces to shop!
A successful yoga regimen starts with the literal foundation: The right mat. For increased slip resistance, look for one made out of natural rubber. We like Jade’s Harmony Professional Yoga Mat because it also has ample cushioning.
When selecting a yoga top, pick one that’s fitted along the bodice and the hem so you can properly check your form in the mirror and so your shirt doesn’t lift up when you’re in downward facing dog.
As for bottoms, most women go for comfortable yoga pants with some stretch. Pants not only allow you to go to and from yoga without changing, but they also allow you to attempt every pose and position confidently, without the fear of giving your classmates a peep show.
If hot yoga is your thing, though, you’ll want to find pliable shorts. We like Shakti’s super-short side-string styles for optimal temperature control.
Obviously, you won’t run very far without the proper shoe, which varies depending on what surface you’re running on and the shape of your foot.
For those running outdoors, opt for a shoe that has enough cushioning to go the distance and withstand the hard ground below. Nike’s LunarGlide+ 5 Running Shoe comes in a variety of fun colors, and is ultra light while offering plenty of stability and springy cushioning.
Running on a treadmill is a little different, since there’s no forward movement and runners tend to wear more heavily on their heels. Runners World says that wearing the same shoes as outdoor running is okay, but treadmill runners might opt for a lighter pair that offers less cushioning, as the machine’s surface is softer than the ground.
When temperatures drop, you’ll need a jacket that will keep you warm and protect from the elements while still having enough stretch to let you move freely. Lululemon’s Track Attack Jacket is made with four-way stretch fabric in the arms to keep moisture away, as well as mesh in the underarm area so you remain cool. Plus, it has thumbholes in the cuffs so your sleeves don’t move. Clever!
Whether you’re doing in-gym aerobics, circuit training or body sculpting, you’re likely to sweat—a lot. That’s why it’s vital to select stretchy, breathable fabrics with moisture-wicking technology to keep your body dry and cool. The bright C9 by Champion tanks sold at Target come with a built-in shelf bra and offer wicking at killer prices.
Another tip is to avoid gym clothes that are too tight, as they’ll limit your range of motion and you’ll be seriously uncomfortable, which leads to less working out. Conversely, steer clear of anything too baggy or super-long—the last thing you want is for your clothes to get caught in equipment.
Shoe-wise, cross-trainers should have plenty of cushioning like running shoes, but with more stability along the sides. If you’re planning on doing copious weight lifting, it’s ideal to look for a style with a low profile midsole such as the Reebok CrossFit Nano Speed.
For cycling—more so than for any of the above activities—you’ll need to opt for bottoms with an extra-snug fit so they won’t get caught on pedals. The Louis Garneau Neo Power Fit 7 Shorts have elongating vertical stripes, and come with antibacterial technology to banish germs. They also feature four-way stretch, wicking and vents for optimal breathability.
If you’re planning on traveling long distances, good quality cycling gloves by brand’s like Giro, come equipped with padding to evenly distribute pressure, improve grip and increase ventilation.
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