10 Best Workout Clothes For Women Reviewed and Tested

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As an active woman, style may not be your number one concern when hitting the gym or the trail. Many of us trying to squeeze in a workout will just reach for the closest t-shirt and shorts that smell clean before heading out. However, if your clothes are getting worn down or you’re exercising in clothes not intended to be sweat in, you may be missing out. Workout clothes are specialized for sweating and movement. If you are running in heavy cotton sweatpants or exercising in thin leggings intended for casual wear, you may be weighing yourself down or restricting your movement. Finding clothes that are comfortable, wick away moisture and move with you during exercise can improve your workout or run. Additionally, wearing clothes that are flattering and even a bit trendy can improve your confidence or help motivate you to show off at the gym. To help you out, we have compiled a list of great workout pieces that will add comfort and style to any woman’s workout wardrobe.

Last Updated: February 6, 2018
By Brian Price:

There are a few new updates to this guide, including new additions from Nike, CompressionZ, and even Columbia.

New Balance Accelerate Tight
  • New Balance Accelerate Tight
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable and flattering fit
  • Price: See Here
Under Armour Tech Tank
  • Under Armour Tech Tank
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight and quick dry
  • Price: See Here
Nike Pro Training Capris
  • Nike Pro Training Capris
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Versatile
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Workout Clothes for Women

 

 

1. New Balance Accelerate Workout Tight

A good pair of leggings is essential to any woman’s workout wardrobe. These highwaisted New Balance Tights are the perfect pair. They strike that tricky balance of fitting snugly and allowing movement. Additional features such as zippered ankles and reflective details make these leggings perfect for runners. However, the lightweight material and spandex stretch also make them a great option for the gym.
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Fit:
These high-waisted leggings have a snug fit that will stay up through long workouts and still allow you to move and bend. The fabric feels thin and lightweight but does not become see through with bending. The drawstring waistband and zippered ankles make these tights easy to put on and off even after sweating.

Breathability:
This very lightweight material breathes really well and is perfect for cool weather running or even running at the gym.

Flexibility:
The double knit fabric and 13% Spandex give these leggings a good bit of stretch.

Versatility:
These leggings work particularly well for running but are also thin enough to be used in the gym and during weight-lifting. You may opt for a stretchier pair for yoga or pilates.

Style:
These leggings come in a classic black style as well as 5 retro color-blocked styles to add some variety to your workout wardrobe.

Fabric:
87% Polyester/13% Spandex

Additional Features:
Obviously designed with runners in mind, these leggings feature a small waistband pocket for a credit card, reflective side details, drawstring waistband and zippered ankles.

Value:
Price ranges based on size and style but even the maximum price is about half of designer leggings. Despite the thin-feeling material these leggings are reported to have great quality and hold up well.
Pros
  • Small storage pocket
  • Zippered ankles
  • Fun color-blocked design
  • Reflective details for safety
  • No sagging or rolling
  • Comfortable and flattering fit
Cons
  • May not be stretchy enough for yoga

2. Under Armour Tech Twist Tank

This simple lightweight racerback tank is an effortless addition to any workout closet. The fit finds a perfect balance of staying close to the body without being tight or constricting. Many women find this options easy and functional. Perfect for a variety of workouts.
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Fit
Good quality lightweight fabric fits loose but not too loose. The simple racerback tank stays close to the body but leaves some room to the imagination.The slightly longer length of this top is an additional bonus; it can easily be worn with shorts or leggings with no worries about constantly pulling your shirt down.

Breathability
Fabric is very lightweight and breathable with quick-dry technology that won’t weigh you down.

Flexibility
Lightweight stretch fabric provides excellent flexibility while racerback design allows full range of motion for arms.

Versatility
This soft and lightweight top works great for running, yoga or hitting the gym. The slim fit is perfect for layering under a number of warm-ups or jackets.

Style
This racerback tank top is classic appearing and comes in 12 solid or heathered color options. The flattering design will give you confidence in the gym without getting in your way and is easy to wear with a variety of bottoms.

Fabric
100% other fibers which varies based on style.

Additional Features
Signature Moisture Transport System keeps you dry by wicking sweat while construction of the lightweight fabric stretch to allow for natural motion and full mobility.

Value:
Price is mid-range for an athletic top. However, customers note good quality fabric that holds up well to machine washing.
Pros
  • Flattering racerback design
  • Lightweight and quick dry fabric
  • Easy to wash
  • Longer length and classic style work with a variety of bottoms
Cons
  • Plain style options

3. Nike Pro Training Capris

These quality capri leggings come in a variety of bold patterns and colors to add some life to your workout duds. The great stretch from spandex and Dri-FIT fabric make these leggings ideal for any type of workout.
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Fit
The initial fit of these leggings may be a bit tight but after one or two wears they fit comfortably close to the body without being too constricting or sagging. The soft material is very comfortable and the elastic waistband will not dig into skin during workouts. Flat seams prevent chafing.

Breathability
Lightweight material with Nike’s Dri-FIT fabric wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry.

Flexibility
The 20% spandex adds some extra stretch to these leggings for a good range of motion and great flexibility.

Versatility
These stretchy capri leggings are great for gym workouts, running and yoga as well as casual wear.

Style
These capri leggings come in a wide variety of patterns and colors that will add some brightness to your workout. Some reviewers do note some of the lighter colors may be see-through with deep stretching.

Fabric
80% polyester and 20% Spandex

Additional Features
These leggings have Dri-FIT fabric to wick sweat away, an Elastic waistband for a snug, comfortable fit, ergonomic and flat seams for enhanced range of motion and minimized chafing.

Value
Price ranges based on size and style but these stylish leggings are much more affordable than many others. However, some styles seem to hold up to washing better than others.
Pros
  • Great for yoga, running and gym workouts
  • Bright patterns and colors
  • Dri-FIT fabric
  • No sagging with wear
Cons
  • Inconsistent quality between styles

5. Hanes Cool DRI Performance Long Sleeve

This simple long sleeve is an easy and affordable addition to any workout wardrobe. This shirt has a loose and comfortable fit that still provides a little bit of shape for a woman’s body. The fit is loose enough to wear over another top and is slim enough to fit under a heavier layer. The breathable, quick-dry material keeps you warm outside and cool in the gym.
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Fit
This shirt is designed to fit a bit loose and is shapely without being skin tight. Many women love the feminine fit that is flattering while still prioritizing comfort and function.

Breathability
This lightweight fabric does not stick to skin in the heat and the 100% polyester fabric keeps you cool and dry through your workout.

Flexibility
Flexible fabric and loose fit offers a nice stretch that moves with you. This shirt is also not so baggy that it will get in the way or move around.

Versatility
This lightweight layer is great for a variety of activities and is perfect for layering or wearing on its own. Some users note it is a bit loose for yoga.

Style
The feminine fit offers a bit more style than a men’s long sleeve. This shirt comes in 6 solid colors for a classic look.

Fabric
100% Polyester

Additional Features
This shirt features cool DRI technology that dries fabric faster for maximum comfort as well as FreshIQ advanced odor protection technology that helps this performance tee resist odor.

Value
This quality shirt is very affordable! Many runners love the versatility and ease of this shirt so much they have one in each color.
Pros
  • Flattering and comfortable fit
  • Perfect for layering
  • Dry-quick and lightweight
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Not ideal for yoga

6. Champion Powertrain Heather Tee Shirt

This quality shirt is a simple and functional. The moisture-wicking fabric and comfortable fit are perfectly suited for a wide variety of workouts. An affordable price tag and large selection of heather colors means you can pick up a few of these basic tops to squeeze in more workouts before laundry day.
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Fit
This crew neck short sleeve focuses on comfort without being too tight or too baggy. The super soft heather fabric and flat seams provide added comfort and the longer length is great to wear with leggings or shorts.

Breathability
Fabric is lightweight and very breathable with plenty of polyester fabric to keep you dry.

Flexibility
The looser fit provides unrestricted range of motion.

Versatility
This classic, short sleeved top is perfect for any number of athletic activities and is easy to layer under or over other items.

Style
This easy T-shirt is not the height of fashion but it does come in over 20 heather colors that are an easy to pair with any short or legging.

Fabric
100% polyester

Additional Features
Moisture wicking technology.

Value
Price does range but they are inexpensive to mid-range when compared to similar items on the market.
Pros
  • Functional, versatile and comfortable
  • Classic look
  • Moisture wicking
  • Inexpensive
  • Many color options
Cons
  • No additional design elements

7. Champion Sport Shorts 6

These classic shorts are a great option for a wide variety of body-types and workouts. The wide waistband holds shorts up while the polyester fabric of the rest of the short provides more coverage and room to move.
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Fit
These workout shorts fit true to size. The waistband is smooth and wide with a drawstring to customize comfort. The length is not too long or short and the leg width leaves enough room for a variety of shapes and sizes without ballooning out

Breathability
This lightweight polyester fabric offers ample airflow for breezy running.

Flexibility
Wide, adjustable waistband and light fabric is easy to move around in and does not restrict movements.

Versatility
These shorts are a great length and weight for workouts, lifting and running. They may be a bit short for yoga but the built in liner will provide some additional coverage.

Style
These classic shorts come in a variety of bright color options. The subtle style may not turn heads but the simple look can be worn with a wide variety of tops.

Fabric
100% Polyester

Additional Features
These shorts have a wide waistband and adjustable drawstring for comfort. They also feature a built in liner and small pocket for keys making them perfect for running.

Value
These shorts range in price based on color and size but are relatively inexpensive compared to many others. Most buyers do not note too many issues with machine washing but you may take care to hand wash or avoid drying to preserve the life of the elastic band.
Pros
  • Classic and lightweight
  • Built in liner and key pocket
  • Wide adjustable waistband
Cons
  • May not hold up to machine washing

CompressionZ Leggings

Compression leggings have been gaining popularity as they’re very comfortable, they help to reduce the soreness, they’re flexible and great for many different activities.
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Fit
These provide a lot of compression to your legs especially to the lower half of your body. The compression provides a snug, comfortable fit but it also boosts the blood circulation in your legs. This makes your muscles less prone to injuries.

Breathability
Compression z leggings are made of material very similar to spandex so despite being compression leggings, they provide a lot of breathability.

Efficiency
These leggings help you to boost your performance as they restrict excessive motion of the muscles. You don’t lose so much energy and you can perform better and longer. The leggings also minimize the pain after long, demanding workouts.


Versatility
The compression leggings will be perfect for many different sports activities. You can exercise yoga in them but you can also use them for running, fitness or they’re also great for daily wear.

Style
These leggings provide a very stylish look to the rest of your outfit. There are many colorful options to choose from and we’re in love with the pinks version. However, if you prefer something more classic, you can choose simply black ones.
Fabric
The material is anti-itching so there’s no skin irritation. It also wicks the moisture very well to keep you dry during the exercise. The material is four-way stretchable.

Additional Features
These also help to prevent deep vein thrombosis and it’s very easy to clean.

Value
You can purchase them for less than 30 dollars. It’s a good investment in your comfort.
Pros

Great quality

They help to reduce the muscle pain

Stylish look They’re not see through

Cons

Runners said that they’re very long

9. Under Armour Tech Half Zip

This body hugging half-zip is a comfortable and classic staple for any active lifestyle. It has a flattering fitted silhouette that is not too tight or constricting. The lightweight fabric will keep you warm without causing you to overheat making this the perfect warm up.
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Fit
The fit is a bit snug and form fitting but is not too tight or constricting.

Breathability
The lightweight material itself is very breathable and wicks away moisture for a cool skin feel while the half-zip design allows you to control airflow around your neck.

Flexibility
Lightweight stretch material provides great mobility and full range of motion.

Versatility
This flattering sweatshirt works great indoors and outdoors. With a half zip in the front and lightweight material it will offer enough breathability for any gym workout or cool weather running. Some buyers find the hood a bit bothersome for yoga or high-impact exercises.

Style
This half-zip sweatshirt comes in 6 classic colors.

Fabric
100% polyester

Additional Features
This simple sweatshirt has a half-zip feature but no additional features.

Value
Price is low to midrange for a workout jacket and is definitely a bargain when compared to big brand names.
Pros
  • Snug fit but not too tight
  • Quick Dry Fabric
  • Half-zip
Cons
  • No additional features

Nike Tempo Shorts

Have you ever dreamed about comfortable short for multiple usages? Well, the dreams come true- here we go with Nike Tempo shorts.
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Fit
These shorts are very comfortable in wearing as there’s elastic waistband. Whenever you feel that shorts are too tight or they feel loose, you can easily adjust the tightness.

Breathability and moisture wicking
The one thing that we totally adore about Nike is Dry- FIT technology. When you run and sweat a lot, the fabric technology manages with the moisture very efficiently. It’s very useful if you run in the summer or in hot areas. There are special mesh panels to boost the breathability.

Flexibility
The shorts provide the full range of motion, they don’t restrict your movement.

Versatility
These can be used while playing different sports. Running is very comfortable with these shorts but they can be also a part of your gym outfit and they’re great for cycling, yoga and etc.
Style
These shorts have classic look and they come in many different colors and patterns. Runners appreciated that there are so many colors to choose from. The shorts are fashionable and make your silhouette looks better.

Fabric
These are 100% made of Polyester.

Additional Features
There are built-in briefs to provide more comfort while exercising. We also found out that there’s internal key pocket- great for keeping your keys safe.

Value
The shorts are high quality product and the Nike is a prestigious brand so the price is high but it’s still worth buying. Runners said that the shorts are very durable so why not test them out.
Pros

They don’t ride up or down

Breathable

High quality

Cons

They run small

Columbia Ombre Stripe Racerback Sports Bra


The bra is a sports item that is very useful in many sports. If you want more support and comfort, check this one
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Fit
Runners said that the fit is very comfortable thanks to seamless construction. There isn’t any chaffing and it’s rather easy to find the appropriate size.
Breathability and moisture wicking
The bra is very breathable and it pulls the moisture away in very efficient way.
Flexibility
There’s a high level of flexibility, full range of motion will let you to perform your best.

Versatility
This bra is perfect for many different activities however it’s a medium support bra so it may not work for everyone when it comes to running. It will be excellent for hiking, biking and cross training.

Style
Many reviewers said that this is one of the best looking bras on the market. We also totally love the ombre effect on the bra and there are also different colors to choose from.

Fabric
This is a blend of nylon, polyester and spandex.

Additional Features
The caps are removable. If you prefer to get a coverage, you can put them inside. There’s also elastic binding for more support.

Value
The cost of the bra isn’t very high. The combination of the quality and the price makes this bra a great deal.
Pros

It doesn’t irritate your skin

Very comfortable

Soft in touch

Removable cups

Cons

Some runners said that it runs small

 

The Metrics We Used to Find the Best Workout Clothes For Women

Trying to find clothes can be a challenge in general. There are so many decisions to make based on color, size, fabric, price, etc. Trying to find workout clothes can be an added challenge as we need to determine not only style and fit but also comfort level and functionality. No matter how cute our workout clothes are at the end of the day we just want to be able to move comfortably through a workout or run. In seeking the best staples to add to add to any workout wardrobe, we broke it down into the following criteria to ensure these clothes work on all levels.

Fit
Fit and comfort are extremely important for choosing any item of clothing but are even more essential to choosing workout clothes. If you buy a pencil skirt that it too tight, you may be a bit uncomfortable during work but if you buy workout shorts that are too constricting you may limit your range of motion and get less out of your workout. We push ourselves out of our comfort zone all the time during workouts, we need to make sure our clothes are not making things any more difficult. Clothes that chafe or constrict will distract from your workout

Versatility
Having specialized gear is great when you do a variety of specialized workouts but your clothes should be able to go with you through most exercises. We looked for great items that can stretch with you during yoga, sweat with you during high intensity workouts and stay out of your way while running. Additionally, we looked for classic, quality pieces that can be mixed and matched with a variety of other items and layers.

Style
Of course function is essential when choosing workout clothes however, we love to find pieces that add a bit of style and are aesthetically pleasing. When seeking the best workout clothes, we looked for items that have a bit of style but will not be out of fashion before you have time to wear through them.

 

Other Factors We Considered

Fabric
Like all clothing, activewear is made in a variety of fabrics and fabric blends many of which are specially selected to work with you during exercise. The fabrics in these items include:

  • Polyester is a really common synthetic fabric used in activewear. It is essentially plastic fabric and has the ability to wick away moisture rather than absorbing it to help keep you cool and dry. It is a fairly durable fabric and gets bonus points for being recyclable. The only downside is that it does have a tendency to foster microbial growth and may begin to give off odor sooner than some other fabrics.
  • Spandex is another synthetic fabric that gives a great amount of stretch and elasticity to workout gear. It is wonderful for making up body-hugging shapes and moving with you in an unrestricted way. The elasticity is very durable and helps the fabric snap effortlessly back into shape after use. It tends to be lightweight and is great for wicking off moisture.
  • Also synthetic, nylon is great for adding softness and stretch to clothing. It is very breathable, moisture wicking and has some antimicrobial properties that make it additionally attractive for exercise fabric.
  • Many active people steer clear of cotton as it has a tendency to absorb moisture and can become heavy with sweat. However, cotton actually controls odor much better than many of the synthetic fabrics and is a pretty good options for lower intensity exercise where you may not be sweating as much.

Breathability
Workout clothes must be able to breathe to keep you cool, dry and comfortable through your workout.

Flexibility
Stretch is essential to comfortable and effective workout clothes. We looked for options that have a good amount of elasticity and will move with you through a variety of exercises.

Additional Features
We looked for items that had some additional features that make these clothes specially suited to fit an active lifestyle. Features such as mesh cutaways to keep you cool or convenient pockets for stashing keys or even a smartphone make clothing even more suitable for exercise.

 

FAQs

Q: What fabric is best for exercise?

A: That really depends on your personal preference and what workout you will be performing. Most athletes will be looking for clothing with a bit of flexibility and stretch so some spandex or nylon is usually a good option. Then it comes down to how much you expect to sweat. Plastic-y synthetic fabrics such as polyester wick away moisture and keep you dry. Cotton absorbs moisture so it does

Q: How do I wash workout clothes?

A: To prolong the life of your activewear, some good general rules are to wash activewear with cold water and air dry. Most activewear is designed to dry quickly so putting it through the damaging heat and drumming of the dryer seems like unnecessary torture to the clothes you may end up washing most often. If you are very dedicated to keeping your clothes fresh and like-new, you may also consider using a sport-specific detergents. These detergents are specially designed to remove sweat and bacteria while still protecting your activewear fabric.

Sources

  1. Astorino, Dominque, The Cheat Sheet To Washing Your Workout Clothes Properly, Web Page, Feb 22, 2017
  2. Bruning, Karla, 10 Fitness Fabrics Explained, Jul 08, 2017
  3. Feirereisen, Sharon, The Pros and Cons of Activewear Fabric, Nov 19, 2016
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