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The activewear market has exploded in the past few years with countless new workout and athleisure brands — not to mention that just about every fashion retailer has added or expanded its activewear lineup. Needless to say, there’s a lot to wade through when it comes to sports bras, running tights, and yoga tank tops. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork to precede your leg work. Below is our guide to the absolute best places to shop for workout clothes.
Adidas: The athletic giant has been a bonafide staple for quite some time, but it has really upped its game over the past few years with special collaborations, great branding and ad campaigns, quality gear, and celebrity partnerships with the likes of Karlie Kloss, Pusha T, and, of course, Kanye West. Shop the brand now for men’s, women’s, and kids’ clothes and sneakers across a huge range of sports and styles.
Asics: If you’re a runner, at one point in time you’ve probably tried a pair of Asics sneakers. The brand carries men’s, women’s, and kids’ training apparel with a look that’s a little less logo-heavy than the likes of Nike and Adidas.
Athleta: This Gap Inc.-owned athletic chain has been expanding at a rapid clip with a really solid selection of workout apparel. Clothes on offer range in function from studio gear to winter sports-friendly and are available in an agreeable range of hues like black, navy, and coral, with a few seasonally updated prints thrown in the mix.
Nike: The big daddy of athletic gear, where everyone’s a Nike athlete no matter what your sport or level of activity. The brand is obsessed with constant innovation in performance wear and consistently churns out the most on-point colorways. It really can’t be beat for shoes that are both functional and stylish, but you didn’t need us to tell you that.
Lululemon: A huge range of pants, shorts, sports bras, and tank tops for runners and yogis is the company’s bread and butter. Things like free in-store classes and a huge push for community building make it a full-on lifestyle brand, with shoppers swearing by the pricey leggings (which do at least come with complimentary hemming).
Paragon Sports: Paragon is another athletic behemoth, with a big-deal flagship store in New York City. But online, you can shop for clothing, gear, and shoes for just about every sport, from basketball to soccer to golf. The brand is especially good for its cold-weather clothing, like base layers, warm outerwear, hats, and more.
Patagonia: You’re probably familiar with Patagonia’s outdoor gear — it has lots of options for skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, and more — but the brand makes great activewear for indoor sports as well. They can be on the pricier side, but clothes comes with an “ironclad” guarantee, meaning the brand will replace or refund them (and repair regular wear-and-tear for a minimal fee).
Reebok: Like the rest of the names on this list, the activewear giant has an extremely wide variety of gear and can accommodate your needs across every single sport. Head here for running shorts, CrossFit gloves, UFC gear, pre-school sneakers, and so, so much more.
Under Armour: Under Armour has all its athletic apparel bases covered, from everyday athleisure to high-performance gear for marathon runners and cold-weather hikers. The brand also had a few big collaborations of its own, too, like the collection with Misty Copeland and the Steph Curry sneakers.
Aerie: American Eagle’s intimates line also makes comfy activewear. The options are super extensive for sports bras, shorts, sweatpants, and leggings, with less to offer as far as tops go unless you’re just looking for lounge clothes. Most things ring in well under $100, with basic leggings starting around $19.
Forever 21: If you’re looking for workout clothes or athleisure that doesn’t really need to stand up to the demands of marathon running, Forever 21 stocks a good selection of leggings, tops, and more that are trendy and affordable (think things like mesh leggings and low-impact strappy yoga bras). Everything clocks in at under $30, which makes it a great place to pop into if you forget to pack a gym bag one morning.
GapFit: Gap’s activewear section is surprisingly functional, attractive, and (best of all) affordable. The selection is super wide, with options for everything from athleisure to yoga clothes to dance-inspired “barre” looks to gear for working out outside.
H&M: Workout tank tops and quick-dry leggings are all mostly under $35, and both are available in standard solids and seasonal prints. Continue to stock your gym bag with cute accessories like water bottles, headbands, and sport socks.
Lane Bryant: The retailer’s own Livi Active line is great for both fitness apparel and athleisure, which includes leggings designed for cooling, wicking, and signature stretch, as well as supported bras with molded underwire and comfy loungewear.
Old Navy Active: You might be surprised to know that Old Navy’s leggings — which are all in the $20-to-$35 range — are actually fantastic. Even better is that the brand includes a wide range of sizes and dedicated active sections for plus, petite, and tall girls, which means those leggings will actually be the right length and fit; ankle bunch will be one less thing to worry about while breaking a sweat or holding a pose.
Target: What isn’t Target a great, cheap alternative for? The bulk of the retailer’s athletic gear is from the affordable C9 Champion line, which offers leggings, sports bras, tops, jackets, and more that are mostly all well under $50. As a major bonus, Target has lots of options for both plus-sizes and maternity.
Indie and Athleisure
Aether: Aether takes that “city-to-sport” look to the next level with well-designed pieces that work for blustery morning commutes and hardcore hikes (there is a section simply called “snow,” and the brand’s tag line is “outdoor adventure, urban exploration, and innovative design”). Invest in base layers, snow pants, moto gear, or studiowear.
ADAY: The direct-to-consumer brand is dedicated to making quality workout clothes and athleisure in simple, efficient designs and sophisticated performance fabrics, like the adored "Throw and Roll" leggings that have Olympic bonded seams.
Bandier: Former music manager Jennifer Bandier sought to reinvent the high-end activewear market when she launched her Southhampton boutique, which now has an e-comm element, two stores in Manhattan, one in Manhasset, NY, and another in Dallas. Find a variety of stylish specialty brands like Ultracor, Beyond Yoga, Onzie, Koral, and big brands like Nike, plus exclusive artist and influencer collaborations.
Carbon 38: This multi-brand retailer carries athleticwear from a ton of brands like Vie Active, Alo Yoga, Alala, P.E. Nation, and so many more, with a special section dedicated to ski. The clothes err on the trendy side, so if you’re looking for things like mesh bras and moto leggings, this is your spot.
FP Movement by Free People: The brand focuses heavily on yoga and dance gear, with all the fun necklines and strappy details you’d expect from Free People. Check it out if you’re in the market for a leotard and some flow-y studio pants that will function both during class and in some Instagram snaps.
Girlfriend Collective: The brand that was giving out “free” leggings on Facebook last year has launched for real, with a collection of reasonably priced leggings and sports bras in super-Instagrammable colors. The products are made from recycled fabric, and everything from the production to the packaging is as eco-friendly as possible.
Lolë: Running, yoga, beach, and snowsports apparel are on offer here. The brand’s White collection is especially elegant, with drapey tops in neutral hues and berry shades, plus performance outerwear you won’t mind wearing in the city, too.
Net-a-Sporter: High-end e-tailer Net-a-Porter’s sport division is called Net-a-Sporter (cute, guys), and it bills itself as “luxury sportswear.” Shop the most stylish picks from big names like Nike and Adidas by Stella McCartney and and gratuitous sport offerings from high-fashion labels like Fendi, as well as some really nice specialty brands like Live the Process and LNDR.
Nola Activewear: The fitness branch of Addition Elle makes workout clothes and athleisure for sizes 12 through 26, with most prices coming in under $100. Head here for basics — like supportive sports bras, tees, and puffer jackets — and check out the reversible leggings to get the most bang for your buck.
Outdoor Voices: Launched in 2013, Outdoor Voices is often heralded as sportswear for millennials, with simple sweats, leggings, and crop tops in neutral colors like emerald green and charcoal, or color-blocked tones you’ve definitely seen on Instagram.
Sweaty Betty: The British brand’s vast selection of sports bras, tops, bottoms, and jackets is shoppable by sport, from yoga to tennis, and done in punchy prints as well as basic black and heathered gray. It also makes great swimwear and some pretty cute matching sets.
Tracksmith: Tracksmith is a really simple brand that was built — like it’ll tell you on the website — out of love for running. The draw here is quality apparel that’s not flashy or overly “sport” feeling; just good-looking, functional clothes designed for both casual weekend runners and marathoners alike.