Training hard is a challenge. You sweat, you strain and you cry, but you never regret a moment of that tough journey to peak fitness. When it comes to working out, a woman can do with all the help and support she can get. No, I’m not talking about a personal trainer – I’m talking about the most effective workout gear for women available.
Choosing high-end workout gear that suits your needs is often easier said than done. There’s a broad range of products available right now, which means that you might find yourself spoilt for choice. Add that to the fact that there are loads of confusing industry terms and you might find yourself feeling a little baffled. Thankfully, we’ve got all the tips and advice you could need. Here’s what you should know about sportswear for women.
Where shall we start...
What is the Best Workout Gear for Women?
Before we get started and look at some key tips, you need to ensure that you get the fundamentals right. Picking out pieces can be tough which is why you need to make sure that your workout gear ticks all the right boxes. Here are some features you need to look for when it comes to choosing women’s activewear that will stand the test of time.
If you’re choosing the right sports clothing for your needs, how comfortable each piece is should be high on your list. One study found that 97% of people who train say that they also wear workout gear when they are not being active. That means that you will likely use the sportswear outside of the gym or training track. Picking out activewear that makes you feel comfortable and supported is essential.
Whether you’re lifting weights or running a marathon, your workout gear needs to perform as well as you do. Investing in quality pieces that are made from durable, hard-wearing fabrics means that you are safe in the knowledge that each will last. Look for thick pieces and those that have a panel-effect, as these are features you can rely on when you need it most.
The treadmill and the catwalk are two very different places! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look fabulous when working out. If you’re dedicated to your training regime, the chances are that you will spend a great deal of time in the gym. Picking out sportswear for women that makes you feel like the best version of yourself is a form of self-care.
Research has found that there is a link between the clothes we wear, as well as our self-esteem and moods. You may find that choosing to put on workout gear helps you to feel ready to tackle a sports challenge. Equally, wearing stylish and sexy workout clothes may boost your confidence levels.
The best workout gear for women is often layerable. When you’re training, you will end up getting hot and sweaty. Being able to take off layers and put them back on when you start to cool down is a real advantage. That’s why you should get strappy tops, t-shirts, track jackets, among other activewear. You could also invest in matching women’s activewear sets that can be layered up or down.
Do you love cardio workouts? Ensuring that you have breathable workout gear is a must. Since you will sweat a lot during this style of training regime, it’s worth finding fabric that helps to solve that problem. If you’re looking for a fabric that is super breathable, it could be worth opting for bamboo, nylon, or spandex. These materials are able to pull moisture, i.e. take sweat away from your skin so that it can evaporate naturally.
However, when it comes to the post-workout smell, you could find that cotton workout gear comes out on top. Research from the American Society for Microbiology found that the fabric you choose matters. The results showed that cotton material clothing had less of a smell after working out than polyester alternatives.
Are you on a budget? Some of the most popular activewear brands can be rather costly. However, many department stores and even big brands often have sales or outlet sites where you can buy affordable workout clothes. Shopping around and using some of the tips we will look at shortly will help you get cheap activewear that still does the job.
Exploring the Top Activewear Brands
Do you know your Nike from your Umbro? You should familiarize yourself with some of the top activewear brands. The chances are that you’re aware of some of the brand names, but are unsure which ones are worth spending money on. The last thing you want is to waste your hard-earned cash on workout gear that doesn’t get the job done. Let’s take a look at some of the best activewear brands currently on the market.
Nike is one of the most popular brands for workout gear for women in the world. The lifestyle collection has a range of everyday clothes that are ideal for lounging about, and also offer a high level of comfort. However, if you’re looking for serious women’s activewear, the gym and training range is likely to be right for you. There, you will find leggings, sports bras, and more.
The luxury that you have when you choose this brand is that the range is massive. You can find everything from plus size to gender fluid collections when you search online. The price veers toward the high-to-mid end. Despite this, there are regular sales online, so you should find that you can get yourself a decent deal.
(Image credits: Fabletics)
Looking for some super stylish activewear? Fabletics could be the answer. The Kate Hudson activewear brand offers a range of products from tops and leggings to full outfits. The unique selling point of this particular workout gear company is that it offers a subscription service. Rather than buying one-off items, you pay a monthly amount to the company and spend the cash in your pot whenever you want.
When you enter into a Fabletics subscription, it costs $49.95 per month. If you do nothing at all, that amount will be charged to your card on the same day every month. However, you can cancel your membership at any time or choose to “skip” a month when you want to save some money. When you want to buy some workout gear, you simply have to log in and use the money you have saved to get what you need.
(Image credits: Ivy Park)
Co-founded by Beyonce, Ivy Park is the brand for cool and sexy workout clothes. Not only is the workout gear from this range strikingly urban and chic, but it is also of the highest quality. When you’re selecting the right pieces for your wardrobe, pay close attention to the description. Some of the pieces are merely for fashion purposes, while others are ideal workout gear for women.
From activewear leggings to full women’s activewear sets, you should find that there’s something for everyone within this range. You can buy Ivy Park directly from the brand’s online store. Alternatively, it’s also available from third-party high street retailers such as Topshop, Nordstrom, and Lady Foot Locker.
(Image credits: Adidas)
Adidas has an extensive line of products including footwear and sportswear for women. The mid-range brand has remained one of the market leaders when it comes to workout gear, and is renowned for offering high-quality sportswear for everybody.
When searching on the Adidas site, you can filter your results based on the sport that you will be doing. For example, there’s an entire workout gear section dedicated to running or the gym and training. That should mean that finding the best workout clothes for your needs is simple. The site also happens to have an outlet section, which means that you could find some extra affordable workout clothes quickly and easily.
(Image credits: Umbro)
If you’re looking for casual cheap activewear, Umbro could be your “go to” brand. From elastic waist joggers to track clothing, the brand tends to specialize in affordable activewear. That means that you can save yourself some money when it comes to getting your basic workout clothes.
The range of Umbro sportswear for women tends to be versatile, serving a range of purposes. For example, you may get a track jacket to wear when running, or simply to and from the gym itself. You can get this workout gear straight from the brand’s website or in larger stores, such as Target. Shopping around could help you get the best deal.
How to Choose the Right Sports Bra
Choosing workout gear for women can be tricky, but you mustn’t overlook the basics. Finding a sports bra that offers you a decent level of support is key. Research from the University of Portsmouth found that standard bras allow the breasts to move by up to 21 centimeters. With that in mind, it’s important that you get a bra that holds you in place.
Choose a bra with a thick band
Contrary to popular belief, the support you get from a sports bra does not come solely from the straps. While it’s logical to invest in a bra that has thick straps, you should also take the time to consider the band. Opting for a bra with a thick and sturdy lower band will help to increase your support and keep your breasts in the right position.
Select the right “impact” level
This type of sportswear for women is unique in the fact that it is divided into various “impact levels”. Many of the leading activewear brands will label their bras according to this measurement. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know.
- Low impact
These bras offer the baseline support, which means that they are ideal for walking, yoga, and pilates. Equally, if you’re used to doing weights and strength training, you should find that this bra style offers you enough support to feel comfortable.
- Medium impact
Taking things up a notch, the medium impact bras suit medium impact sports. These may include skiing, light jogging, cycling, and hiking. Basically, if you don’t break much of a sweat during the sport, this type of bra will be the right fit.
- High impact
Last on the list, there’s the high impact bra. This type of workout gear will offer you the maximum level of support. For that reason, it’s perfect for sports such as cardio workouts, runs, intense cycling, dancing, and mountain biking.
Ensure that you’re wearing the right size
Are you wearing the right bra size? You might assume that the answer is “yes.” However, the truth of the matter is that a whole load of women are incorrect in this assumption. In fact, a massive 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, according to one study from BioMed Central. Should your sports bra be ill-fitting, it could lead to discomfort.
As most women are not trained in bra fitting, you should always get an expert’s advice on the matter. Many stores offer a free fitting service that you can book online. Taking the time to get an accurate measurement of your bra size before you invest in a sports bra is the only way to go. It will stop you wasting money on the wrong workout gear.
Learn about the various bra styles
When you first start looking for women’s sportswear, you might find that the terminology is a little confusing. This is especially true when it comes to sports bras. There are many styles out there and each of them has a technical name. Here are some of the types that you might come across when you’re shopping.
- Compression bras
As the name of this bra type suggests, the main feature here is that the garment compresses your breasts. You will often find that there are no individual cups or even panels in a compression bra. Instead, the material will be one sheer piece, which is pulled tight to your chest. That means that your breasts are held in place firmly.
- Encapsulation bras
Much like your everyday t-shirt bra, an encapsulation bra will have two separate cups. However, when you opt for a sports encapsulation bra, you will find that it has a thicker band, thicker straps and more panels than a standard bra. It should, therefore, give you more support and comfort during activities.
- Combo bras
Not sure which one of the above is right for you? You might want to consider a combo bra. This type of workout gear combines elements of the other two. It will often have cups but the material should sit close to your chest, giving it an element of compression too. You will often find that this bra will also have panels for extra support.
8 Simple Shopping Tips for Sportswear for Women
Now that you’re clear on how to choose the best workout gear, you might be wondering how you can find cheap activewear that will last. Before you head to the stores or, indeed, your laptop, there are some insider tips that you need to know. Here are just eight things that you should try when you’re looking for affordable activewear.
1. Test your clothes before you buy them
Of course, when you’re shopping online, you won’t be able to use this tip. However, if you’re in a store, it’s worth testing out the women’s activewear you plan to buy before you get it. Sportswear for women can vary greatly so trying products on and moving around with them is a simple test you can try.
For example, if you’re buying activewear leggings, you can do the “squat test”. That means that you put the leggings on in the dressing room and then try a few squats in them. If you find that the material feels too tight or fragile, you might want to try a different pair.
2. Shop at outlet stores online
Finding cheap activewear is something of an art form. Luckily, some of the leading activewear brands have outlet stores where you can get yourself a deal. You should have no problem finding these outlets when you search online. There are both physical stores that offer major discounts and deals or online sites that you can check out.
3. Pay attention to seasonal sales
Whether it’s Black Friday or the January sales, there are certain dates that you should have pre-marked in your calendar. When you’re looking for affordable activewear, it pays to know when the seasonal sales are. Often enough, you should find that you can get yourself a bargain offer when you shop during these periods. Of course, you have to be fast when items get discounted if you want to snap them up.
4. Don’t buy branded basics
When it comes to your basic workout gear products such as socks and strappy tops, you might want to steer clear of the major activewear brands. Accepting mid-range prices for these items could mean that you end up paying over the odds.
The truth is that these products are very simple to produce. That means that the quality won’t vary all that much from brand to brand. Opting for an unbranded version of the product you need will save you some cash.
5. Buy basic workout gear in bulk
While we’re on the topic of basic workout gear, there’s another shopping tip that you should never overlook. You can buy these products in bulk. If you train on a daily basis, the chances are that get through a load of sneaker socks each year. Buying these items in large batches means that you will save money on each individual item.
6. Try looking for coupons and vouchers
Do you use vouchers? You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to appreciate the value of a discount. This tip is vital when you’re shopping online. Once you’ve chosen a product that suits your needs, stop for a moment.
Next, open another browser window and search for a coupon for that specific activewear brand or product. Often enough, people share valid voucher codes and coupons online. If you are lucky enough to find one, you can get a lower price on your sportswear.
7. Shop for clothes out of season
Believe it or not, there are peak seasons when it comes to workout gear. For example, during January, many activewear brands will boost their prices. The reason is that people tend to want to get fit after the holidays so sales naturally peak. Similarly, summer is a key season for working out and training. That means that there are fewer discounts and more expensive products launched during this period.
If you’re hoping to save money on your workout gear, shopping out of season could be one of the savviest moves. Buying these clothing items during the fall or winter months, for example, may mean that you get a cheap activewear. Try it for yourself.
8. Be open to a range of brands
Are you brand loyal? We all have favorite styles when it comes to clothes so it should come as no surprise that some people prefer to stick to the same activewear brands. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with this habit, it could end up costing you money. The only way to cut back and make savings is to shop around. Be open to a wide range of brands means that you get more choice and, importantly, more deals.
How to Look After Workout Gear
When you’ve found the right workout gear, another thing you need to remember about activewear is that it can be made from fragile or sensitive material. That’s why it’s important to look after your sports gear as well as possible. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some easy tips that will help you care for it properly.
Wash your sportswear regularly
When you’re training all the time, taking a break to wash your favorite leggings and top might seem like hassle. However, if you leave this chore for a few days (and workout!), you will find that the fabric suffers and the activewear starts to smell.
Invest in a few quality women’s activewear sets so that you can alternate each day. That way, when you’re washing one of your sports sets, you can wear the other one. In general, it’s advisable to wash your clothes after each workout, especially if you sweat.
Turn your activewear inside out
Before you put your workout gear in the washing machine, there’s one simple thing that you can do which will help to keep it safe. Turn the items inside out. This step is particularly important should you find that your items have a brand or logo on them. Although it doesn’t offer the highest level of protection, it’s worth doing all the same.
Use an “eco” wash
There’s no hard and fast rule that says you can’t put sportswear in the washing machine unless the label says otherwise. However, when you’re dealing with sensitive materials, putting your workout gear on a high-temperature wash could be dangerous. It’s safer to use an “eco” wash setting that will be gentle on your activewear. That way, you can be sure that the material won’t get damaged.
Hand-wash sensitive items
On the other hand, should some of your workout gear be extremely sensitive, it may be better to hand-wash the items. Doing so means that you can ensure that they are not thrown around or torn during the course of the wash. Many sports bras need to be hand-washed rather than being subjected to a washing machine cycle. Be sure to read the label on your sportswear so you know what to do.
Avoid using a clothes dryer
It may be quicker to use a clothes dryer than leaving them to dry naturally, but you shouldn’t do so. During a dry spin, the machine will get to high heats, which will likely be a problem for your workout gear. As a golden rule, you should hang your activewear up and wait for it to dry over the course of a day or two. Trust us, it’s worth the wait.
There you have it! Saving money and getting the ideal workout gear that will complement your training style doesn’t need to be a pain. With any luck, in this guide, we’ve armed you with all the tools you could need to find affordable sportswear for women that you can rely on for many a workout session.
Plus, getting this task right means that you will feel fully supported when you work out and you will always have top-quality gear. If it’s time to update your sportswear, you should have no problem ticking every single box. Good luck and happy shopping!
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Charlotte used to be the type of person who ‘hated’ the gym… That was until around three years ago when she realized that exercise can be a blast and makes you happier than ever.
She now has an undeniable passion for ﬁtness, health, and wellness! She is a seasoned content writer, focusing on these topics and loving every minute of it!