What do you wear to the gym? Maybe you grab whatever is clean (ish), maybe you like to parade next season's sportswear finery, maybe you just want to be invisible until your session is done.
Whether you’re a beginner at the gym, a cyclist or swimmer taking on some cross-training, or a veteran lifter looking for some new gear, looking for gym kit can lead to more questions than answers.
The entire point of heading to the gym for a punishing session is to come out feeling great about yourself. Which is why experienced gym goers rarely turn-up to workouts in threadbare t-shirts, frayed trousers, and busted trainers.
Just like the old adage, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’, likewise when picking out your gym wear, you should aim to be kitted out as someone dedicated and motivated – a slapdash approach to your gym outfit could soon rub off on your entire attitude toward training.
At the same time, the gym is not a fashion show. The gear you choose needs to prioritise function and comfort over style. But as we said – if you look good, you feel good. If you walk into the gym feeling confident and positive, then you will lift more, you will run further, and you will stay motivated to reach your goals.
To help you navigate this huge world of gym gear and accessories, we’ve put together a complete guide to kit for all needs, keeping you on track and driven to exceed your expectations.
Your first priority for gym clothing is for it be functional and comfortable. If you’re doing a lot of repetitive movements, such as spinning or big sets, then the last thing you need is for chaffing and poor-quality materials causing you more pain than gain.
Your plan is to get sweating, so you need light materials with wicking properties and breathability. If it looks great too, then all the better.
Gym clothes for men
Mens' gym tops
The sweat-shedding properties of the Adidas Prime Tank will keep you comfortable under strain. The sleeveless design is also great for keeping cool while pushing out those last two reps.
Just because this Under Armour Threadborne Gym Top looks great, doesn't mean it's not also practical. Its next-to-skin fit, seamless construction, four-way stretch, moisture wicking and anti-odour treatment make it a complete solution to your gym needs no matter what your focus.
Keep things simple with this The North Face Better Than Naked Short Sleeve Top. Stitch-free and featuring a breathable mesh with body-mapped ventilation, you'll feel very cool even when pushing your limits.
Men's gym trousers and shorts
Grey sweat trousers are a basic gym essential. These Adidas workout trousers are made of sweat-wicking fabric, which will help keep you feeling fresh even after a long cardio epic. Classic ribbed cuffs and a drawcord-adjustable waist ensures everything stays in place, while zip pockets provide a place for keys and small essentials. Perfect for that Monday night bench press.
Reebok's Knit Gym Pant are made from lightweight tricot fabric for their stretch and softness. Again, the essential wicking material plays a big part in keeping you from getting clammy, while mesh inserts at the back of the knee add important breathability. If you're including some cardio or circuit training, these are a great choice.
The Mirage 8" Short is designed for mobility and comfort and features a lightweight woven fabric with half back elastic waistband, hem vent, and superior moisture transport. If squating or deadlifting, these shorts will stay out of your way and let you lift.
For something a bit neater, these Under Armour Cage Shorts are extremely light and made from ultra-durable woven fabric, built for the most intense workouts. Containing 11% Elastane, these shorts will stretch with you, while the materials used are optimised for sweat wicking and fast drying, which makes them perfect for cardio or high rep sets.
Gym trainers versus weightlifting shoes
Do you need weightlifting shoes? It's a question many gym-goers ask themselves. Weightlifting shoes have hard, raised soles, designed to help you lift more weight by providing a more stable foundation. Their hard base allows you to punch all your power directly into the ground, which translates as more lifting power for your muscles. So, if you are regularly doing squats, deadlifts, cleans, jerks, or snatches, then weightlifting shoes will help you lift more.
However, if you're more into cross-training and circuit training, then weightlifting shoes may not be for you. But still, if weights form part of your combined workout routine, it's worth looking for a shoe with a sturdier sole to ensure stability and limit ankle roll - especially if lifting heavy weight overhead or performing exercises like the Farmer's Walk.
Here are a few examples of each type which are perfect for the gym.
Adidas Adipower Weightlifting Shoes have a specially structured design with a secure strap in the instep and a support structure in the heel which provides support for superb, lightweight stability.
Inov-8 Fastlift 370 BOA Weightlifting Shoes feature a stretch-free Boa® closure system and a stable platform for efficient power transfer. A wide toe box allows the toes to splay when lifting heavy.
The Adidas Built Crazy Power weightlifting shoes can handle a wide range of lifts and movements, and feature a sock-like fit. An anti-slip rubber outsole also ensures precise ground contact at all times.
For general gym use
The Under Armour Charged Legend Training Shoe is lightweight and offers exceptional cushioning and fit. The reinforced webbed lacing system provides superior lock down to support you in all workouts.
Barefoot-inspired, the New Balance MX20 v6s are lightweight and low to the ground to ensure stability. Featuring an asymmetric collar and a comfortable burrito tongue, these shoes will perform well in a circuit-training environment.
Gym clothes for women
Women's gym tops
The Shock Absorber Women's Tank Top is ultra comfortable, stylish, functional, and well ventilated. It's great for a cardio workout, and has powerful moisture-wicking material.
Adidas Women's Speed Tank allows you to move freely in this stretchy training tank top featuring climacool® for ventilation and a mesh back panel. Sleek and modern, it's an ideal top for performing techniques such as front rows, press-ups or planks.
Under Armour Women's Tech SS V-Neck Top is your standard workhorse 't'. Anti-odour technology keeps your gear fresher for longer, while Under Armours' signature moisture transport system wicks sweat to keep you dry and light.
Women's gym leggings
These dhb Womens Training Print Tights in 'Seascape' are available in four different prints and feature a hidden waistband key pocket, which will come in handy for a locker or car key. They are also soft to the touch and incredibly comfortable.
Under Armour Women's Mirror Breathelux Crop Gym Tights are constructed from StudioLux fabric, promising support with a super-soft luxurious feel. Four-way stretch construction, anti-microbial gusset, and daringly designed, these are a great all-round tight for even the toughest workout.
Women's gym shorts
Under Armour Women's HG Armour Gym Shorty has a soft, lightweight knit construction which delivers superior comfort & breathability. An anti-pick finish adds extra durability while the soft, exposed elastic novelty waistband uses an external drawstring for comfort.
Stay sweat free and dominate your training routine in these retro-style Adidas Women's D2M Knitted Shorts. The styling may be old, but the tech is not, as they're crafted with climalite fabric which wicks away sweat, keeping you dry and comfortable.
Reebok Women's 4" Woven Gym Shorts are simultaneously casual, stylish, and functional. Integrated 'speedwick' tech will keep you feeling and looking cool.
Wiggle also has an extensive selection of women's bras and underwear specifically designed for the gym.
Women's weightlifting shoes
Adidas Power Perfect II Weightlifting Shoes stabilise your stance with a lightweight rear-foot heel support and a high-density die-cut wedge midsole. The shoes feature air mesh lining and collar for breathability.
Adidas Women's Powerlift 3.1 Shoes are lightweight, breathable and supportive, providing a high-density. die cut midsole wedge. and lace closure with a wider strap. These shoes provide good stability and a lock-down, tight fit. Perfect for those squats, deadlifts, and military press.
Engineered to perform on the lifting platform, these shoes are built with optimal heel-to-toe ratio for squat technique, allowing you to dig in deep and get right under the lift, maximising your power. The robust upper wraps around your foot to ensure a locked-down feel and ultimate control.
Women's gym shoe
Adidas Women's PureBoost X TR Shoes provide both exceptional energy returning cushioning and lasting stability to power you through the most rigorous of training regimes. A floating arch hugs and supports every step, moulding to the shape of your foot and keeping you sure footed during cardio or cross-training.
Reebok Women's ROS Workout TR 2.0 Shoes are versatile, fitness focused, and great value for money. Featuring RopePro carbon rubber tech and moulded toecap, they are durable and offer protection and agility.
Asics Women's Conviction X Shoes are tougher than they look. Built for power athletes and intense training, they offer a built-in ventilation system that forces hot air out of the shoe with each step.
Gym bags for women and men
Zoot Performance Transition Bag comes with memory foam adjustable shoulder straps for comfort, exterior water bottle pockets, and a sealed wet/dirty laundry compartment.
The Castelli Gear Duffle Bag is water and stain resistant, with a vented and external shoe, or dirty laundry, pocket and a removable padded shoulder strap.
Under Armour Women's CS Flux Training Glove will keep your hands protected even under the strain with grippy palms and good wrist support.
These Under Armour Coolswitch Flux Training Gloves are made from polyester, cotton, and silicone. The adjustable wrist strap ensure a good fit and the strategically placed silicone on the palm help to increase grip and durability.
Harbinger Women's 5" Foam Core Belt has a lightweight foam core designed specifically for women.
The Harbinger 6" Padded Leather Belt for men or women will help you deadlift with confidence, providing reliable core support and with interior foam padding for ensured comfort.