I truly believe that activewear is one of the hardest clothing categories to shop smartly for. Not only does it have to be movable, comfortable, and breathable, it also has to be high-quality enough to withstand multiple washes. Plus, squeezing in a good workout during your busy day is hard enough—doesn’t looking cute make it feel just a bit easier?
But like other areas of the fashion industry, activewear is pretty oversaturated with different variations of leggings, sports bras, and the like, which can feel overwhelming to anyone, especially those just beginning their fitness journey. If your arsenal of workout gear is less-than-inspiring, we found the best activewear featuring the softest fabrics, flexible stretches, and stylish designs that are so cute you’ll almost want to work out. And if you decide to skip the gym one day, no worries—these brands can also moonlight as stylish athleisure or loungewear.
Wilson has long been a legend in the world of athletic equipment, and its fashion game is everything you’d want from a brand that specializes in sports. The smartly made collection offers a refined take on typical workout gear, complete with modern designs and cool silhouettes that still maintain the brand’s iconic heritage. All of its clothing looks like something you would actually want to wear outside of a sports setting, yet is comfortable enough to wear in the most active situations.
Try: Midtown Tennis Skirt ($58; wilson.com)
Outdoor Voices believes that movement should be fun, which really shows in its clothing. The brand’s signature color-blocked leggings (think banana yellows and cotton candy pinks) and bras are a celebrity fave, and the strategic designs (like back storage compartments and no-fall waistbands) will get you through any workout.
Try: Core ¾ Leggings ($88; outdoorvoices.com)
This woman-owned Australian company believes in workout clothes that you can wear on the street, which will in turn encourage you to be more active in your everyday life. Although owning clothing that looks just as good in the gym as it does at happy hour sounds virtually impossible, the brand’s many collections manage to strike the right balance between athleisure and activewear.
Try: Post Game Spray Jacket ($116; lornajane.com)
Tired of humdrum, monotone activewear? Bring some life to your workout with Terez’s whimsical designs. Its matching sets with kaleidoscopic colors and funky prints are sure to boost your energy inside or outside the gym.
If comfort is your top priority, American Giant is made of breathable fabrics, roomy fits, and minimalistic designs that allow for effortless layering and easy styling. The quality is also top-tier, so you can rest assured throwing your clothes into the wash (no shrinking or fraying in sight).
Try: Cotton Sport Tank ($40; american-giant.com)
This new activewear brand has some ultra-chic pieces with intricate straps and elegant patterns (this cute marble number is a personal fave). Everything on the site is designed as a set, so you can mix and match as you wish.
Try: Flo Short Black Marble Shorts ($52; buffbunny.com)
A member of the Gap Inc. family, Athleta is a B-corp, sustainable activewear brand with a body-positive ideology (it offers sizes XXS to 3X). Perhaps most impressive about the brand: The textures of its activewear fabrics are buttery soft, stay in place and wick away sweat.
Try: Salutation Stash Pocket II 7/8 Tight ($60; athleta.gap.com)
We love an inclusive activewear brand—Girlfriend Collective’s sizes range from XXS to 6XL and has an environmental focus that prides itself on leaving as little of a carbon footprint as possible. All of its offerings are made with recycled materials, dyed with water that’s carefully treated to ensure no dyes are re-released into the earth, and are hand-cut and sewn in a facility that values its workers.
Try: Black Compressive Long High Rise Bike Short ($58; girlfriend.com)
A household name that needs no introduction, Adidas remains iconic in the category of activewear and athleisure—you’d be hard-pressed not to find anyone who doesn’t recognize the brand’s signature stripes. You can shop from a wide array of clothing styles and categories, but don’t overlook the activewear accessory options.
Try: adidas Z.N.E. True Wireless Earphones ($190; adidasheadphones.com)
When a brand earns a reputation as the world’s “most comfortable shoe,” you know it has to be good. All of Allbirds’ sneakers are lightweight and compressible, and the cloud-like soles provide a slight bounce that makes you anticipate every step. Plus the moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating capabilities make them ideal for sweaty feet.
Try: Tree Dashers 2 ($135; allbirds.com)