What To Wear To The Gym : Workout Essentials You Need

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These days, we pre-plan our outfits. We create brunch outfit idea boards on Pinterest, or save grocery-run-fit-check clips on TikTok. But there is one place we tend not to take very seriously in terms of attire: the gym. And it is the one place we should consider planning the right clothes for, maybe more than our brunch fits!

Choosing the proper gym attire can truly make or break how you exercise. And guess what? Today, activewear is some of the most popular clothing ever, so you can kill it on the treadmill while making a fitness-fashion statement! Now, let’s get right into it. What should you wear to the gym?

Things You Need To Wear At The Gym

Athletic wear has come a long way since the basic leggings and sports bra days. Activewear is now developed with the latest innovations in clothing, offering wearers the ultimate bliss of feeling comfortable and making every drop of sweat count at the gym. 

When we’re thinking about clothes to wear at the gym, we’ll focus on the items of clothing instead of the material or fabric. And if we are focusing on fabric, we’ll probably go for the synthetic-compression-stretchy-shiny one because that’s all we see the fitness influencers sport in their videos. 

But there are a few important things to consider when picking out gym clothes. 

Considerations for Choosing Workout Attire

As we’ve mentioned above, while trends and colors are important to amp up your mood and look, you also need to focus on the following things, 

Fabric and Material

You must zero in on the fabric and material when selecting the proper gym attire. You should choose your workout clothes based on stretchability and flexibility. Materials like spandex or elastane provide stretch, flex,  and ease of movement, running, standing, or walking. 

The right combination of breathable, sweat-absorbent, and flexible fabric and materials will give you great workouts. But quality is also crucial. Spend a few extra bucks on high-quality makes, as they will last you and offer the benefits you want from gym gear. You won’t regret it.

Fit and Comfort 

To find the proper gym attire, you must prioritize fit and comfort. Breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials such as polyester and nylon keep sweat at bay and allow your skin to breathe. These fabrics will help regulate body temperature, preventing discomfort during exercise. 

While picking materials, make sure they’re the right fit. If it’s too tight, it will restrict your movement and stunt normal blood flow in some areas, and if it is too loose, it will distract you and get in the way. That’s why when you’re buying, you need to have the option of trying on. And if you’re buying online, make sure you have all measurements on the dot so you don’t waste your time or money on clothes you won’t fit in. 

Women’s Gym Attire

woman wearing workout attire

Amongst the ocean of activewear, the most saturated is definitely the women’s section. There are so many choices! From leggings to shorts, to skorts (skirts with built-in shorts), and of course, the plethora of options in sports bras, crop tops, tees, jackets, and onesies. The choices are truly endless, and it can be a little overwhelming trying to find the right ones. 

Today, we’re focusing on just the basics of women’s gym attire, mainly upperwear. Bottoms are not usually gender-specific, at least in activewear! What do girls wear to the gym in our day-to-day lives? What are the must-have items they need in their gym closet? 

Let’s find out!

Sports Bras

When shopping for a basic sports bra, you need to focus on three things: fit, lift, and your choice of style. The latest trends can be cool, but you have to wear them to ensure they fit your bust. A great-fitting one will give you the right amount of coverage, support, and lift, while still being breathable, stretchable, and moisture-wicking. 

A pro-tip: buy your sports bras in-store instead of shopping online. Different styles can fit differently, even if they’re your measurements and preferred fabric. So it’s best if you try it on before spending money. 


If sports bras aren’t your thing, or if you’re in Michigan where it gets chilly out of nowhere, go for active t-shirts or jumpers. Compression t-shirts are all the rage in activewear, and rightfully so. They’re really functional and comfortable, and they help you get the most out of your exercises. So, a high-quality compression t-shirt or crop tee can help. 

If you want to layer up, you can always go for jumpers and hoodies. Just make sure they’re not too baggy or too tight. You want to be able to focus on your sets instead of managing your bulky hood or feeling the zipper dig into your skin. Compression jackets are also a thing, so take your pick! 

Men’s Gym Attire

man wearing gym attire

Now, for the dudes, your options are just as saturated as the girls. Leggings, shorts, t-shirts, jackets, jumpers, and so much more! So let’s focus on the basics for you. These are also great choices for gym clothes for beginners! 

Athletic Shorts

These are essentials. Athletic shorts give you the right amount of support while still being breathable and moisture-wicking. Unlike leggings, shorts can help enhance certain exercises, like squats or leg press. Be sure to pick ones with breathable, sweat-absorbent material, and a stretchy waistband. 

Moisture-Wicking Shirts

When fit right, compression shirts turn up the notch on your exercise. They are designed to be moisture-wicking, and breathable while at the same time, form-fitting. These days, fabrics used in compression clothing are mind-blowing. From special cooling polymers that exude a cooling sensation to anti-wrinkle and crease fabric, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for to wear at the gym. 


workout footwear

Footwear is another component of proper gym attire you can’t compromise on. You want footwear that boosts your confidence and stamina with every step. Comfort, performance, and durability are the cornerstones of the right footwear for the gym. So make sure you’re taking your time when shopping for them. 

Importance of Proper Gym Shoes

The right footwear will provide the necessary support, stability, and cushioning, reducing the risk of injury during difficult exercises. Proper gym shoes enhance performance by offering balance and grip for different activities, promoting correct form and alignment. 

When you wear the wrong shoes, whether the wrong size or type, you’ll face issues working out, which can even lead to long-term joint discomfort and pain. So be sure to invest in the right footwear for the gym. 


This probably wasn’t the first thing on your radar, but we’re here to tell you it should be. When picking out socks, you want moisture-wicking fabric like synthetic blends or merino wool to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. Look for socks with cushioning for high-impact exercises like running, jumping, or weight lifting. 

Choose lightweight socks for light or freehand movements and ones with added arch support or grip soles for more difficult and high-effort exercises. 


workout accessories

Proper gym accessories are also important to elevate your experience at the gym. Let’s get into what accessories you’ll need.


Comfortable headgear and headwear like beanies and baseball hats can help protect your head from excess sweat and direct sunshine in the Florida summer and cold in the winter. Those with long hair can tuck inside hats so they don’t get in the way of working out.

Gloves and Wrist Straps

These are also essential accessories for the gym. Wear gloves with good grip and padding to protect your hands during weightlifting and other activities. When buying wrist straps, choose ones with adjustable straps for a snug fit and protection from injuries during heavy lifting. 

Dressing for Different Types of Workouts

While wearing the same gym gear for different workouts is effective, you can enhance your performance by wearing different gear. 

Cardio Workouts

For these workouts, wear lightweight items that are breathable and airy. A comfortable t-shirt and leggings cut the deal for a great cardio workout for both men and women. You can layer up if needed. 

Strength Training

This is where your compression gear will be the best choice. They’re moisture resistant and form fitting without feeling too tight. Wear supportive athletic shoes for stability, gloves, and wrist straps for added support and protection.


We hope our guide helped you get your ducks in activewear in a row! Remember to prioritize comfort, support, and quality whenever deciding what to wear to the gym. You’ll get the best out of your exercises and workouts when you’re feeling comfortable and secure, and your gym gear can certainly take you there!