Choosing the Best Workout Clothes for Women

Great workout clothes are about comfort wrapped in style

Squatting, lunging, skipping, and jumping your way through an intense workout can be a difficult, yet rewarding experience. However, things can become unnecessarily troublesome when you have to stop every five minutes to adjust saggy leggings or an ill-fitting sports bra. Your fitness wear can absolutely make or break an otherwise perfect workout routine or yoga session. So, how do you go about selecting the best women’s workout clothes when there are so many choices available?

Our pro tip for any fitness queen; don’t waste your money on poorly made, low-quality workout clothes. (Yes, we too are imaging soul-crushing, see-through leggings.) Whether you’re taking a spin class, running, pumping iron at the gym, or practicing your Tadasana pose, an athletic outfit exists for your routine. Let’s briefly consider some basic guidelines on how to choose the best fitness apparel, so you can work your bod to its full potential.

Fabric selection – the foundation of good activewear

There are a variety of fabrics available when it comes to workout apparel. Some materials are designed to pull sweat away from the skin during exercise while others aim to absorb it. Since it’s all about shredding pounds while not feeling like you’re choking on fabric, some choices are better suited than others.

Moisture Wicking

There are several comfortable synthetic fabrics that wick sweat away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly and keep your body dry. For example, fabrics that contain polypropylene are the best at wicking sweat away, but do so at the expense of having a low melting point and being prone to color-fading when worn in the sun and during wash/dry cycles. For this reason, fabrics like polyester are more commonly used. Polyester does not wick sweat away quite as well as polypropylene, but it still does an extremely good job without most of the other drawbacks. In addition to its sweat-wicking properties, polyester is UV resistant, fade resistant, shrink resistant, and generally easier to care for than polypropylene. If you are performing an activity where you are going to sweat, polyester is a great material choice with some added benefits for women’s athletic apparel.

Moisture Absorbing

Cotton fabric is known to absorb moisture; it does not pull sweat away from the skin or help it to quickly evaporate. This can lead cotton workout clothes to feel wet and heavy during periods of exertion and perspiration. However, cotton is extremely breathable. Therefore, depending on the activity being performed, it can still be a good material choice for a soft t-shirt, but is less commonly recommended for body-hugging leggings or other tight workout clothing.

Fabrics that don’t breathe are a big no-no

Always make sure to wear women’s fitness apparel that is made to breathe. If the material does not wick sweat away from your body and breathe, the sweat is kept from evaporating and can make you feel hot, wet, and generally uncomfortable during a workout.

Seasonal upgrade – weather is an important consideration

If you workout in the open air or play seasonal sports, you might be buying new activewear outfits every 3 to 6 months to be prepared for varying weather and temperature conditions. Keep the following tips in mind when getting ready for an outdoor workout:

  • Summers. During hotter months, look for fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and wick sweat away. Wear clothes that are cool and comfortable, and allow you to workout freely.
  • Winters. In colder months, you'll need to dress warmly. Keep in mind that you'll be exercising and boosting your heart rate and average body temperature. Dress in layers that you can remove as you generate body heat. Keep sweat-wicking clothing as your inner layer, and wear an insulating layer on the outside. Don’t forget to cover your head, ears, and hands to protect them from the cold.
  • Stormy days. Nothing can ruin an outdoor workout faster than harsh, stormy weather. Be it strong winds or wild rainfalls; be sure to wear a protective outer layer to safeguard your body from the elements.

Find the perfect form and fit

Always pay attention to how the workout clothes fit and feel when you’re wearing them. If they’re not comfortable – too tight, too baggy, too itchy, etc. – you’ll never be able to work out in them peacefully.

Loose or tight; it’s all about just right

A wardrobe malfunction is the last thing you want to have happen at the gym, or anywhere else. Help avoid this from happening by making sure to wear the correct clothing style and size to accomplish your purpose. Women’s activewear that is sized too small can impede your range of movement, constrict breathing, decrease flexibility, distort the look of your garment, and even increase the visibility of cellulite through clothing. On the other hand, items that are sized too large, or styles that drape off of the body, can become a nuisance as they have to be constantly adjusted to keep in place, impeding what would otherwise be an overall great workout. The correct fitment of your women’s athleisure wear can save you a lot of demotivation and embarrassment down the road.

Dress to match your workout

Your workout clothes largely depend on the types of workouts you do. The form of your exercise and level of intensity plays a significant role in determining what type of activewear suits you best.

Consider your body type

Shop for your workout clothes similarly to the way you do for your everyday clothes. Regardless of what materials you select, don’t compromise on your preferred fit or style. It’s the 21st century and all sizes are loved and celebrated.

Whether you buy women’s apparel online or at a brick and mortar store, finding the perfect outfit for your body and workout type is easier than ever thanks to an ever-growing number of fitness clothing brands.