After testing various activewear brands, Nike’s gym clothes came out on top as the most consistent across the board for quality, fit and technical design features.
More expensive than some on the market
Whether you’re a yoga bunny or a running fanatic (or you love a bit of both) it’s important to have the best workout clothes that will accommodate your workout needs.
The sign of a good activewear brand is one that offers something for everyone—whether you prefer high intensity workouts or slower, less physically-demanding sessions. Gym clothes are designed to make working out a more comfortable and pleasant experience—whatever the activity.
We rounded up a shortlist of the brands we think have the best workout clothes, including ASOS, Nike, H&M, Sweaty Betty, M&S and Boux Avenue. But, while each has their own unique offerings, there was one brand that just clinched the top spot...Nike.
If you’re an avid gym-goer, it’s likely you’ll already have some Nike apparel in your wardrobe, whether it’s a trusty sports bra, some classic black leggings or even some of the brand’s many gym trainers. Nike is a brand trusted by athletes, as the garments not only make working out feel nice but they also make it easier as well—with their functional elements. So much so, it’s endorsed by sporting professionals such as Serena Williams, Simone Biles and Mo Farah.
Nike activewear pricing
There’s no denying that there are cheaper options out there when it comes to activewear. However, the quality of Nike’s products—across the board—justify spending a little more.
It’s worth pointing out that Nike prices are also mid-range compared to other retailers and is a cheaper alternative to premium brands, like Sweaty Betty and Lululemon. Nike gym leggings, for example, usually start from $40 / £35, whereas Girlfriend Collective leggings retail around $68 / £65 and Sweaty Betty and Lululemon typically start at around $85 / £70.
While the brand is more expensive than H&M, ASOS and Boux Avenue’s offering, the technical elements—like breathability, fast-drying fabrics and a general lightness to the garments–make them a step above the rest. Essentially, you’re splashing out a little more for features which aid your workout—like leggings with compression and sports bras which actually support you.
The Nike products we tried and tested
Nike One Leggings
Nike’s One leggings are a great choice for everyday wear. They are super-stretchy so they truly deliver on a “second skin” feeling, which most leggings aim for. Their flexible, “barely there”, nature makes them perfect for a whole range of different sports and activities—whether it’s getting into different positions during yoga or taking to a spinning bike.
These leggings, like the others the brand offers, also have zero transparency - which means they pass the “squat test” (doing a squat to see if underwear is visible through the garment).
But perhaps the best feature of these leggings—and Nike leggings on the whole—is how cooling they are. They’re made up of a fast-drying material which helps to get rid of sweat. But they are also designed with mesh panels at the back of the legs, to ensure an airy workout.
Nike Dri-FIT Rival high-support sports bra
A key part of a women’s workout collection is a sports bra, but there’s no point in buying one if it can’t withstand impact.
The Nike Dri-FIT Rival high-support sports bra does exactly as the name suggests—provides high support during an exercise session. There’s nothing worse than a bra which doesn’t support you when you need it most—be it on the treadmill, during an intensive hit session or in a dance class. But this sports bra really does. The straps are adjustable, so you can tailor just how much support you want and the bra moulds to your body shape beautifully—making it super comfortable to wear. The breathable mesh front, racerback and Nike Dri-FIT technology fabric are also key design features for keeping you cool as well.
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It’s not the only Nike Sports bra which delivers this maximum support. The Nike Alpha high-support bra also is another great choice - particular if you have a bigger bust—which can make working out difficult at times.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this is the fact that Nike sells sports bras in actual bra sizes, rather than just “S”, “M” or “L” which can be ambiguous at times.
What makes Nike the best workout clothes brand?
Nike has been designing clothes since the 1960s - so they have 50 years of experience under their belt in the sportswear department. And, in all honesty, it really shows in terms of the products, which stand out for three key reasons: exceptional high quality, their technical features and their impeccable design.
Nike pays a lot of attention to the technical features in their clothes in order to help an individual’s performance.
Numerous pieces in Nike’s collection are made with Nike Dri-FIT technology - a microfiber, polyester fabric that moves sweat away from the body and to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. The result? Athletes are kept dry and comfortable.
Some pieces are made with mesh panels, either on the bottom of leggings or in the middle of sports bras, to offer additional ventilation - which is always welcome during a workout. Other pieces, like the Nike Victory Women’s Training leggings, are made with graduated compression which targets key muscle groups. Some leggings also offer seamless sides, which means you won't feel any fabric digging into you during a workout session—it’s little details like these which make all the difference.
Ultimately, their garments are functional and performance-driven—which is what most people look for in activewear.
This quality and dedication to detail can also be seen in the fit of the garments, too. Leggings are soft and stretchy but are durable and thick enough so they are not transparent.
Sports bras are supportive but mould to the shape of a woman’s body and actually stay in place during a high impact session. Likewise, Nike tops are designed to flatter, with the option for either loose or tight fitting clothing - whichever an individual prefers.
Working out should be a pleasant experience and the purpose of activewear is to make an athlete feel as comfortable as possible. It’s clear that a lot of attention goes into the design of Nike’s clothes as the brand’s offering is as comfortable as it gets, with slimline fast-drying running tights, alongside lightweight, airy tops and purpose-built sports bras.
In fact, Nike’s workout clothes are so comfy they aren’t just limited to the gym. With the rise of athleisure, people wear them everyday and love how good they feel, even when they’re not exercising.
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