5 Questions to Ask When Shopping for Activewear
Activewear isn’t just for feeling cute and looking good at the gym. That is to say, being properly geared up for a workout can have a tangible effect on your mindset and your performance. With this in mind, here are five questions to ask yourself while shopping for the perfect workout outfits: (Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels)
Is It Seamless?
Seamless leggings, sports bras, and tops are workout wardrobe staples that offer a wide variety of benefits. In the performance department, seamless garments offer unparalleled flexibility, as they hug the figure and move with your body.
Comfort-wise, the fabrics used in seamless pieces are lightweight and remarkably breathable, preventing the wearer’s body temperature from rising too quickly during workouts. And because they’re seamless, there are no ridges that can chafe against the skin.
Finally, seamless garments are manufactured using a process that decreases waste, making them exponentially more environmentally-friendly. This is because they’re knitted as a tube rather than being sewn together from several cut-out pieces of fabric.
The best part is that there are plenty of ways to style seamless activewear and athleisure garments to your personal preference. They’re also versatile enough to be paired with statement streetwear pieces for a dance-ready outfit. That said, you’ll definitely want to buy a few pairs of seamless leggings and several sports bras so that you can rotate your outfits regularly.
Does This Sports Bra Offer Enough Support?
Sometimes, shopping for a sports bra can feel a lot like deciphering a secret code. In addition to band sizes and bust measurements, you also have to know the level of support you need to prevent soreness and long-term injuries.
To start off, getting your band size and bust measurements are easy. All you have to do is take out a tape measure and consult the brand’s size chart.
While measuring yourself, you’ll want the fit to be snug, but not so tight as to restrict your breathing. Meanwhile, the exact support level will depend on what activities you intend to use them for. There are three distinct ranges of support you can choose from:
- Low-support or low-impact bras. These offer a light level of support for activities such as Barre, Pilates, stretching, weight lifting, or yoga. If your idea of exercise is a brisk walk around the neighborhood, go for this type of bra.
- Medium-support or medium-impact sports bras. These are best for women who dance or cycle. They’re a solid choice if you want a more versatile bra that can support you through most light and light-medium activities.
- High-support or high-impact sports bras. These typically feature a defined cup structure, just like regular bras, to hold and support each breast. They’re great for women who do CrossFit, cross-training, HIIT, running, or team sports.
No matter which type you choose, you’ll want the cups to stay smooth and the bands to stay in place. If they feel uncomfortable or painful, try another size.
Is It Breathable?
Breathability is defined as a fabric’s ability to both absorb moisture and release it through the material itself. Thus, a garment with breathable fabric can help keep your body cool and maintain a comfortable temperature.
To determine if a fabric is breathable, simply put it over your nose and mouth and try to inhale and exhale through it. Generally, fabrics that are more tightly-knit or woven together are less breathable.
Therefore, you’ll want to find activewear made with nylon or polyester, as these are breathable synthetics that can pull sweat away from your body. Spandex is another material you can look for, as it’s commonly used to create activewear due to its stretchy and flexible properties. And while you can wear cotton while working out, keep in mind that it tends to absorb rather than wick away moisture.
Is It Appropriate for the Activity?
Wearing loose clothing to your next cycling session makes about as much sense as wearing high heels for a marathon. After all, all of that extra fabric will only create extra air drag, forcing you to work harder to propel yourself forward. And running in heels not only makes it nearly impossible to maintain your balance, but it could also cause you to hurt your feet and ankles. Hence, no matter what the activity, you should always wear the proper workout gear to minimize any potential injuries.
That being said, when shopping for activewear, choose pieces that are appropriate for the type of exercises you’ll be doing. If you aren’t sure what type of activewear you should get, just head to a sportswear retailer and ask a friendly sales representative for assistance. They should be able to make recommendations based on the information that you give them.
Is It Appropriate for the Season or Climate?
If you train outdoors, you may have to tailor your activewear according to the seasons. To keep cool during the warmer months, go for lightweight and breathable fabrics. You’ll also want to dress in cool, comfortable clothes that allow a full range of motion. During the colder months, it’s a good idea to layer your activewear to keep yourself warm during workouts.
When it comes to workout clothing, you’ll want to prioritize function over fashion. But if you know what to look for, you can find activewear that’s both stylish and practical. With these guidelines, you should have no problem shopping for gear that can make you look and feel great.