As much as we might hate to admit it, clothes matter — especially women's workout clothes. Because finding the perfect workout top, shorts or leggings can improve more than just your performance: It can also improve your confidence and motivation. When you look good, you feel good!
The trouble is, finding great workout clothes can be a challenge. With so many options out there for active women, it can be hard to find workout gear that checks all the boxes.
4 Things to Look for in Women’s Workout Clothes
To help narrow your search, we've rounded up the top brands for workout clothes for women, along with expert advice for what to look for on your next shopping trip.
1. Moisture-Wicking Women's Workout Tops
Your best bet for workout tops that stay put and don't irritate your skin is to look for seamless options. And avoid cotton at all costs:
Some performance-enhancing, comfy materials include polyester, nylon, wool, and spandex, but bamboo is another great option. If you're taking your exercise outdoors, tops with UPF protection (the fabric that guards against UV rays) are a great bonus. Meanwhile, reflective elements can help keep you visible and safe if you're exercising outside at dawn or dusk.
2. Snug-Fitting Sports Bras
Sports bras are very individual — what suits one woman won't necessarily suit another. In general, however, you can't go wrong with a bra that offers a snug fit and a simple design, with full coverage to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.
As if finding the right sports bra wasn't already hard enough, the search can get a bit more complicated when you're pregnant or you've just had a baby. If you're a new mom, look for sports bras with easily adjustable shoulder straps and enough compression to keep everything secure.
3. Full-Coverage Workout Shorts for Women
If you're a shorts kind of gal, look for a pair made with sweat-wicking material to nip chafing in the bud. Pick gym shorts that offer enough coverage and feature a stretchy waistband for comfort. An inner brief can provide added coverage, Nelson says. And if you prefer tighter shorts, try a pair with a bit of grip around the thighs to keep them from riding up too much.
4. Workout Leggings With Added Features
When shopping for workout leggings, think about the type of exercise you'll be doing in them. Running in the cold? Look for thicker material and styles with pockets to stash your keys, gels, and phone. Squatting, jumping, and lunging? Make sure the leggings aren't see-through.
Also, look for leggings with a waistband that doesn't dig into your midsection or slip with every move. Few things are more frustrating than hiking up your leggings every minute or two of your workout.