Best Workout Clothing for Women Reviewed
Activewear can either make your workout or break it entirely. Whether you’re a gym aficionado, a fitness DVD connoisseur or someone brand new to working out, the importance of proper workout gear cannot be understated.
We all know how uncomfortable it is to put clothing on and get to work for the day only to find out what we’re wearing is less-than-ideal in someway (scratchy material, uncomfortable seams) and we have to sit in them the entire rest of the day.
You don’t want to have that distracting experience when you get to the gym for your workout. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of the ten best clothing items for women who workout. Below you’ll find the absolute best tank tops, sports bras, shorts and leggings to accompany you during your most strenuous workouts and your most laid-back ones, too.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
- Hanes Jersey Pocket
- Panache Underwire Sports Bra
- Wacoal Underwire Sport Bra
- Epic MMA Tank Top
- Under Armour Fly-By Shorts
- 90 Degrees by Reflex
- Under Armour HeatGear
- Adidas Tiro19
- Nike Pro Cool
- Reebok Dynamic
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Gym Clothes for Women
1. Hanes Jersey Pocket
Sizes run large
Taking the first place spot in our workout clothes for women buying guide is this fantastic option from Hanes. These shorts are as good for your gym routines as they are for lounging around in at home which makes them a great option for people looking for a little versatility with their workout gear.Read more
They’re made from soft and stretchy cotton jersey fabric which feels so soft against your skin. The drawstring on the waistband ensures you get the desired fit on any given day while the 7” inseam promises additional coverage in areas you may be self-conscious of.
These workout shorts for women are available in three different color choices – black, charcoal heather, light steel and navy. Because they’re so affordably priced, you can purchase one in every color so you’ll always have bottoms to match the rest of the workout gear in your closet.
2. Panache Underwire Sports Bra
Great for bigger breasts
Nice color/design options
Great for high impact
Flat seams are comfortable
Underwire may poke through fabric
Next up on our list is this sports bra from Panache. Available in a huge range of sizes and colors, the Panache workout bra is a great choice for the indecisive woman. It comes in sizes from 28D to 40H so chances are there is a size option there that will work for you.Read more
This workout bra is a perfect choice for women who have bigger busts. With its underwire support and cushioned straps, you’ll not only be extremely comfortable while you workout but held in place as well. This sports bra is different from many others on the market because it encapsulates your breasts instead of strapping them down. It’s been proven to reduce breast bounce by 83% without feeling restrictive like other bras.
The Panache bra is very comfortable. It is made from a lightweight material that will keep sweat away from your skin and its breathable mesh panels will help to keep you feeling cool no matter how hard you’re working. The cups are molded which will help to reduce friction for improved comfort levels. The bra can be converted into a racerback style if you so choose, providing even more versatility.
3. Wacoal Underwire Sport Bra
Fun color options
Sizes like a regular bra
No racerback option
In our third place spot is another sports bra perfect for women with bigger breasts. The Wacoal Underwire bra is available in sizes from 32C to 42DDD and comes in a huge variety of colors and styles.Read more
The workout bra is made from 100% spandex material and features a triple hook and eye closure for comfort and support. It’s a perfect companion for any of your high-impact activities due to its two-ply cup construction and the floating underwire frame. For women who find themselves in the G and H cup range, there is an inner sling included for additional support.
If you’ve ever participated in a workout where breast bounce has caused you pain, discomfort or distraction, you know how important it is to invest in a high-quality supportive sports bra. We think the Wacoal Underwire will be able to provide you with the support and comfort you need to able to perform your best in any of your favorite activities.
4. Epic MMA Tank Top
Tons of color options
Affordable price tag
May fit on the bigger side
May fit long on some bodies
Do you have a hard time deciding what color to purchase when it comes to your workout tank tops? You don’t need to worry about that anymore because the Epic MMA tanks come in three packs of assorted colors. Are you a fan of colors like orange/lime/pink? Or maybe pink/blue/purple? How about more subdued colors like black/white/army green? If so, you’ll love that these tanks all come together in a 3-pack from Epic MMA Gear.Read more
If you’re not a fan of tight fitting workout tank tops, this option is going to be right up your alley. They have more of a relaxed and flowy fit, perfect for women who prefer not to feel restricted by their clothing in the tummy region.
These tanks are made from a lightweight blend of cotton, rayon, and poly, the perfect trifecta for a comfortable and figure-flattering fit.
5. Under Armour Fly-By Shorts
Drawstring in waistband
Great for many applications
Color may not be accurate
Does just the mere thought of wearing capris or full-length pants while you workout make you sweat? You’re not alone. A lot of women can’t handle wearing pants or crops while they get their sweat on. That’s where items like the Under Armour Fly-By Shorts come in handy.Read more
These are made with a lightweight material that will provide you with the most comfortable fit in women's workout shorts you may ever find. Despite the lightweight construction of this product, they’re also very durable so you won’t be heading back to the store to purchase a new pair anytime soon.
If you’re a chronic overheater, you know how important it is to be able to keep your body cool during your workouts. Under Armour is one of the best companies out there for providing their consumers with gear that will prevent overheating during particularly sweaty and difficult workouts. These shorts are made with a material that will wick away any wetness and dry very quickly. Not to mention they’ve equipped the Fly-By Shorts with mesh side panels for the ultimate in breathability. So if you’re overheating, the excess heat will have a place to go.
The elastic waistband is wide for a comfortable fit that won’t leave you feeling exposed.
6. Degrees by Reflex
Not see through
Tall people may have problems finding size
May show sweat
Though 90 Degrees by Reflex may not be a household name just yet, they’re on their way to becoming one. These high waisted leggings are a true testament to what this company can do.Read more
Do you do a lot of heavy lifting and/or bending and squatting during your workouts? If so, you want to invest in bottoms that are going to be squat-proof. That is to say, you want your pants to not showcase the color of your underwear to all of the other gym-goers. That’s part of what makes these leggings so great. These are made with 24% Spandex Interlock weave meaning that you won’t need to worry about visible panties during your squat sets anymore.
Another great feature of these workout leggings is that they have a pocket specifically designed to case your smartphone. No more sweaty, heavy and uncomfortable armbands necessary!
As if you needed another reason to choose these leggings, but their high waisted construction makes them a great choice for anyone who worries about muffin tops or spilling out of their workout pants. These can provide an adequate amount of compression to your tummy, helping you to look even more trim than you already are.
7. Under Armour HeatGear
Helps keep you cool
Not skin tight
Nice color options
May fit differently than other UA tanks
Remember how earlier in our buying guide we said that Under Armour is one of the best brands on the market in providing clothing for people who overheat? Here is another great option that will further attest to that statement.Read more
HeatGear is one of Under Armour’s proprietary technologies that will help their consumers to be able to perform their absolute best regardless of what the climate is like. Clothing that is a HeatGear style is designed to keep those who are wearing it cool and dry during their workouts.
If you haven’t guessed already, this workout tank top is outfitted with the HeatGear technology so it’s going to feel lightweight, cool and comfortable when you wear it. This makes it a great choice for women who overheat easily during their workouts or do a lot of working out outside during the warmer months.
The tank is able to wick any sweat away and if it were to get wet during your gym routine, it’s going to dry really fast. If you’re prone to sweating, you’ll be happy to know that this workout tank top is outfitted with anti-odor technology that will stop the growth of microbes that cause odor.
8. Adidas Tiro19
Easy to care for
Length may be too long/short
What list of best workout clothes for women would be complete with something from Adidas, one of the best known athletic wear brand in the world? The Tiro19 is an incredibly affordable pant option that’s actually designed for use during soccer games and practices. It’s available in nearly 20 different colors from white to black to red and anything in between.Read more
These women's workout pants are equipped with Adidas’ Climacool technology whose sole purpose is to keep you cool, dry and comfortable during your workouts in warmer weather. Don’t be fooled by its full-length style, the Climacool tech will help keep you from overheating.
These workout pants are made with a slim fit design and boast a very stretchable fabric on the lower legs which will help during your soccer games so you can perform nice clean footwork without problems. If you’re always busy and on the move, you’ll love the ankle zip feature that makes it a cinch to pull these on or off over the top of your shoes.
9. Nike Pro Cool
Light and cool fabric
Sizing may be inconsistent
You didn’t think we’d finish off our workout clothes buying guide without the granddaddy of all athletic brands did you? The Pro Cool tank from Nike may take the 9th spot on our list, but it is still a fantastic option for your training needs.Read more
This workout tank top is made with Nike’s Dri-FIT technology. This tech is similar to Under Armour’s HeatGear and Adidas’ Climacool in that it is designed to keep you dry and comfortable during all of your workouts. In addition to the fabric choice, this tank also has mesh panels that will help to keep you cool as well.
The tank has more of a fitted silhouette than some of the other options in our buying guide. This makes it a great choice for activities where you don’t want to feel held back by your clothing. For example, running races or even on the treadmill, will be easier and more comfortable in a tank top like this that won’t float in the wind.
Available in 11 different colors like dark grey, crimson, lime green, and purple, there is sure to be an option that suits your personal tastes.
10. Reebok Dynamic
Lots of color choices
Sizes up to 3X
Sizing may be off
Taking the last spot in our top ten list is this fantastic racerback from Reebok. If you’re indecisive and on a budget, you might be happy to learn that this workout tank top is available in a whopping 36 different color and style options at a price tag you won’t feel guilty about. Whether you choose a solid color like hibiscus, a heathered fabric like goji berry or a printed Reebok option in purple wine, there is certainly going to be a color/style that suits your needs.Read more
This tank features a scoop neck with smooth and flat seams so you’re always comfortable. The racerback design makes sure that it’s easy for you to move about during your workout and to show your muscular shoulders off, too.
It’s made with quick-drying fabrics so you won’t be distracted by sweat building up on your tank. It’s made with 95% polyester and 5% spandex so you’re promised a shirt that is as soft and comfortable as it is easy to machine wash at home.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Durability is a huge concern these days. We all know that things aren’t made the way they used to be. Your grandparents probably still have appliances they used in the 1950s tucked away somewhere in their homes still in pristine condition, whereas the toaster you bought last year has already found a home in the landfill.
It is important to look at durability because if a garment is of poor quality, why would you want to waste your time and money purchasing it? In order to score durability, we scoured thousands of reviews, read clothing labels, studied particular material types and tested out the clothing ourselves.
The higher the score, the more durable the product is and the more use you’re going to be able to get out of it. We are happy to bring you only the best options on the market today.
When we consider “fit” of clothing, we are usually talking about the size. In this case, however, we want you to consider the way your clothes fit you. You may find that you prefer a different fit for different types of activities and that is totally normal, too. You might want to wear tighter and more form-fitting clothes during your strength training regimen so you can see your form in the mirror better and loose fitting clothes during yoga when you don’t want to feel restricted.
But know that choosing loose fitting clothes may have an effect on your overall athletic performance for some activities. For example, you’ll have a much better run or bike ride if you’re wearing tighter fitting clothing than you would if you chose to put on a wide-leg pant that may end up holding you back or getting tangled in your peddles.
The general idea is that you don’t want to purchase anything clothing that is going to get in the way of you performing whatever activity it is that you’ll be wearing them for. You may need to tailor your clothing choices to the specific activity you’ll be participating in so it’s always nice to have a wide array of options to choose from.
The materials your workout wear is made out of can quite literally make or break the garment. If you’re choosing clothing made with poor quality materials, you’re taking a bit of a risk. Sure, you might be able to save a couple of dollars in your initial investment, but you’re going to end up paying for it in the long run.
Workout clothes made from poor materials may cause a host of unsavory side effects:
- See through material. No one wants to be bending over for a heavy deadlift or squatting 150 pounds only to later find out that everyone in the gym knows what color their underwear is. Poor materials often are see-through during certain bending over motions and will become progressively more see-through as time wears on.
- Smelly fabric. Clothes made with low-quality materials are much more likely to retain unsavory scents post-workout and even after washing.
- Bacteria buildup. Dirty workout gear and clothing options that are not breathable can create (and hoard) germs that will breed bacteria over time. This bacteria buildup can lead to things like yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
So, what are some great material choices for workout wear then, you ask?
Cotton is a great fabric choice for any of your low-impact workouts. It tends to soak moisture up like a sponge so you’ll want to avoid cotton for any of your HIIT workouts or runs. You can feel free to wear cotton during things like light lifting or slower yoga flows.
Wicking fabrics are great if you’re going to be doing something a little higher intensity or if you sweat a lot. Materials like nylon and spandex are all really great at pulling moisture away from your skin, keeping your core temperature down.
If you do a lot of workouts in Mother Nature, you really need to take fabrics into account. Layer up in winter months using a polypropylene base to keep sweat off of your skin. Add fleece layers if necessary to keep warm. During the summer months, you’ll want to go back to the aforementioned moisture-wicking options. If you are working out in the sun a lot, polyester is a great choice as it will help protect you from the UV rays of the sun.
While you may not be planning on wearing your Under Armour shorts to the mall anytime soon, we wanted to include products in our buying guide that have multiple uses and can take you beyond the treadmill. You should be able to get more use out of your gear than for just one particular workout.
For example, the Adidas pants on our list are designed for use during soccer practice and games. But can you wear them off the field and still be comfortable and stylish? Of course! In fact, athleisure is a huge trend right now and a lot of celebrities are wearing 90’s-esque clothing (sneakers and sweatpants for example) to many fashion events.
We think that all 10 of the products in our buying guide can be worn for many different workouts, be it yoga, running, strength training, CrossFit or anything in between. Whether you take your new gear to the gym or the grocery store or wear it to school pick up, you’ll be comfortable and fashionable plus you will always ready in case of a zombie apocalypse (score!).
Nothing is worse than buying clothing that seems to fit well in the change room only to find that there is a scratchy seam or the material is uncomfortable once you put it on at home. Comfort is especially hard to gauge when you’re online shopping. There is a certain amount of risk involved when you shop online because you’re not able to physically feel the fabric in your hands or try the clothes on before committing to buying them.
We were able to determine comfort levels of the products in our buying guide in a few different ways. First, we scoured thousands of reviews from current users to determine how they felt the clothing fit and how soft the fabric was on their skin. We read product descriptions, clothing labels and even tried the clothes on ourselves to determine overall comfort level.
We are happy to say that we think you’ll love the way that all ten of the products on our list fit and feel on your body. They’re all made with the best materials and come from well-respected brands in the industry that are known for the high quality of their gear.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Most of us want to get out of our wet gym clothes as soon as possible. But if you’ve ever been stuck in a gym change room in a sweaty sports bra, you know how tempting it is to just wait until you get home to try and Houdini your way out of your clothing. We strongly recommend not doing this, however. Staying in your workout clothes for long periods of time after you’re finished at the gym can cause a lot of unsavory side effects that we’re pretty certain you want to avoid. We’re talking UTIs, yeast infections, acne and things of that nature.
Though we didn’t include any underwear in our buying guide, you’re probably going to benefit from investing in a few pairs of workout-friendly options to get you through your workouts. Because your entire body will sweat, you want something that is made from moisture-wicking fabrics. This will help to keep sweat away from your sensitive areas and also help with chafing.
We didn’t include any socks in our buying guide either, but they should also be an integral part of your workout gear. Try to avoid socks that are made entirely of cotton as they will soak up moisture and be incredibly uncomfortable, not to mention raise the risk of chafing and blisters. You’ll want socks made of nylon or wool, both materials known for their ability to wick away sweat and allow your feel to breathe.
Other Factors to Consider
As you’re reading this buying guide you may have noticed that you recognize most (or all) of the brand name whose products made our list. This was doing intentionally. In order to ensure we’re providing you with truly the best workout clothes to choose from, the brand was a big factor we considered.
Do you absolutely need to invest 100’s of dollars into a whole new workout wardrobe to see results? No. But will you be more comfortable in the higher-quality brand name clothes? The honest truth is yes, you will. These brand names have such great reputations for a reason – they manufacture fantastic garments that come with the guarantee that you’re investing in something that’s of the highest quality.
You can certainly buy off-brand workout clothes and see results. But without the brand recognition and guarantee of quality behind them that you will receive when purchasing brand name goods, you may find yourself disappointed in the fit, materials, durability or overall quality.
If you’re serious about working out, you need to invest in some essential gear to help make the process easier and help boost your performance. At the bare minimum, you’ll want a tank top you feel comfortable working out in, a sports bra that is supportive and not compressive and pants that will provide the right amount of stretch you need to see you through all of your workouts.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I wash my workout clothes?
You should take extra care when you’re washing your workout gear as they need to be treated differently than washing our regular clothing. The reason for this is that you’re probably sweating a lot more when you are wearing your active gear. They are also going to be absorbing all of your skin cells and oils that come off while you’re working out.
Here are some tips you can abide by to expand the lifespan of your workout clothes.
1) Refrain from adding extra detergent. You might be tempted to add more detergent when you’re washing your sweaty clothes thinking that it’ll make them smell better but your washing machine is not equipped to handle more than the standard amount of detergent. Any excess soap won’t wind up getting washed out of your clothes, leading to a build-up that can trap skin cells and create an environment perfect for the growth of fungus.
2) Stay away from fabric softeners. These can damage any materials that have a stretchy component to them as well as leave before a coating that will trap in bad odors.
3) Wash things inside out. This will help to protect the colors of your clothing.
4) Soak smelly gear in cold water and white vinegar beforehand. Use about half of a cup of vinegar and soak your clothes for up to 30 minutes. This will help to neutralize odors.
5) Use less detergent than recommended. Use just a bit less detergent than recommended for the load size.
6) Use cold water.
7) If your gear is really smelly, add some extra white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
8) Air dry or use the lowest setting on your dryer. High heat in the wash or while you dry your clothes can damage the fabrics and cause shrinking.
q: Do I need something with cooling technology?
It certainly doesn’t hurt. Cooling technology is a great feature to have in your workout wear because nothing kills a workout faster than overheating and pre-fatiguing. Cooling tech is especially great if you know that you sweat a lot during your gym routines or are prone to heat rash or overheating. Plus, if you’re not pouring sweat or overheating while working out, chances are you’ll be performing better.
q: How can I determine the size I need when I cannot try them on?
The truth of the matter is that online shopping is becoming more and more popular with each passing day. In some places of the world, you can order things off of Amazon and have them delivered the exact same day. The future is now! We wouldn’t be surprised if shopping malls started going the way of the dinosaurs in the near future. Why lug all the kids to the mall for clothes shopping when you can do it from your couch in your pajamas with a coffee in one hand?
Because of how prevalent online shopping is becoming in our society, it is important to prepare yourself with the right tools before you choose to buy clothing online. First, you’ll need a soft measuring tape. This you can use to take measurements of your body to find the exact fit you need. We recommend always checking the sizing chart on the brand’s website or Amazon store versus the generic sizing chart that is on Amazon. This way you can ensure you’re taking measurements in the right place and comparing them to the right size chart to ensure the perfect fit.
Oops, you ordered something online and it doesn’t fit. Oh well, no big deal. Most online retailers took this into account and have fantastic return policies so long as you return your garment within the proper time frame.
q: Do I have to workout with these clothes or can I wear them all day?
Definitely not! Athleisure is a subset of clothing styles these days and it is totally ‘in.’ Many people who purchase workout gear aren’t actually working out in them at all. Why should we be uncomfortable in tight jeans or dresses when we have athletic gear in our closet?
Of course, we should add that it is probably frowned upon to wear yoga pants in your office or if you’re a business professional, however. You don’t see CEOs coming into the office or medical doctors going to the hospital in a Nike tank top. You’ll still need to be professional at work. But we see no problem with wearing your new leggings to the grocery store. Comfort is king!
We should mention, though, that we do not recommend wearing your workout clothes all day AFTER your workout. You should change out of your gear as soon as possible after you’ve finished your sweat sesh. There are a number of reasons for this that we went over in our Expert Tips section.
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