Workout Gear 101: Your Guide on The Perfect Workout Gear


Workout gear has moved into the high fashion stakes. Gone are the days you could throw on a baggy t-shirt and rummage around your drawer for a pair of loose cotton shorts! The workout world has never looked so runway ready, so what about you? Do you have the basic workout attire sorted? Let us help!

Workout gear needn’t be expensive, but there are a few certain rules you need to stick to:

✓ Proper fit – You don’t want the dreaded chafe monster to pop up and ruin your workout (and the rest of your day). Well-fitted clothes mean they are not too baggy, don’t rub between your legs, under your arms or around your neck.

✓ Looks good – There is actual science to support the theory that looking good, will not only make you feel good, it improves your performance. Choose colours and styles that make you feel comfortable and excited to exercise.

✓ Quick drying or Sweat wicking – You definitely need any help you can get when it comes to keeping cool.

✓ Compression workout gear can be handy – There is mixed reviews about the effectiveness of compression wear to improve performance (although this obviously depends on your type of exercise and your performance goals). But, the rationale that they improve circulation is of benefit. Increased blood flow, takes increased oxygen to muscles therefore giving you the potential to improve endurance and recovery.

Workout Gear for your feet

Shoes, shoes, shoes

Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear piles of running shoes

Hands up if you have a slight shoe fetish? Don’t we all! The problem is there are just so many shoes to choose from. This is probably where we deviate most from choosing workout gear that simply ‘looks’ good. Your feet are your grip on this earth. So, you need to support, stabilise and allow them to move how they were meant to (so no stiletto’s for running, ok?!). Think about the main exercise you will focus on. Will it be running? Mixed and cross-functional HIIT training? Trail hiking? Cycling? Weights? Group classes? A combination? A lot of injuries come from people wearing incorrect shoes for the occasion. Try to get fitted for a shoe that matches your foot arch and walking/ running patterns.

Choose – Activity specific, comfort over looks, stability, support
Consider – Tread, cushioning, flex vs stability and weight


These are a more important part of workout gear than you first think. There is nothing worse than poor quality socks that rub and give you blisters whilst jogging. And, is there anything more annoying than a sock that gets sucked into the depths of your shoe while you’re working out. You become consumed with the squirming sock that has taken on a life of its own. Investing in quality socks can make a difference to your shoe fit and the comfort of your workout. You also want socks that allow your feet to breath and avoid pooling of sweat as this can lead to nasty bugs like athlete’s foot.

Choose – Fabric quality, breathability
Consider – Length, thickness, cooling technologies

Workout gear for your legs

Tights/ shorts/ skirt

Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear girls in lorna jane bottoms

There are so many funky and fashionable options to choose from – short tights, long tights, ¾ length tights?  Thin or thick? Different styles and different makes. A lot of workout gear is specific to the sport, activity or exercise you are doing, so keep that in mind before stocking up on all the same apparel. Remember you don’t want anything that gapes or catches on equipment. Make sure it fits snuggly but is not too tight. You don’t want it negatively affecting your circulation, cutting into your waist or riding up your butt. When trying something on, do a few test movements. You want to avoid any workout gear that restricts or inhibits the type of workout you want to do.

Choose – Comfort, snug fit, variety
Consider – tights or light loose pants for yoga, cycling knicks for riding, shorts or skirts for running, tights for weights and cross-functional training.

Workout gear for your torso


This is probably the hardest workout gear to decide on. There is everything from crop tops to cotton t-shirts to high-performance athletica. It all comes down to personal preference and comfort. The main attributes to consider are the fit around your arms and across your chest as you don’t want to chaff or restrict breathing. Be cautious of the length of your shirt too as too short may make you feel self-conscious and too long interferes with your workout. A quick test to try when fitting a shirt is to raise your arms above your head and do a wide circle to see how it feels. This will give you an idea of elasticity and comfort. Light weight, sweat wicking fabric is great for the hot, humid environment and will keep you cooler for longer. The other advantage to these types of fabrics is the ‘smell’ factor. Yes, we all get our stink on from time to time, so you want to avoid materials that hold the body odour.

Choose – sweat wicking fabric, fitted for length, chest and arms
Consider – range of movement


Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear fay hokulani adidas sports bra

This is big business in the workout gear industry, and so it should be. Be picky when choosing a workout or sports bra, and if possible, have it fitted correctly for your breast size. Consider support, comfort and ease of getting on and off. There is nothing worse than wrestling with a sweaty bra when you’re in a hurry to get to the shower. Check out more detailed information on choosing the right sports bra at Rei Co op and Fitness Magazine.

Choose – Properly fitted, adequate support, comfortable
Consider – Ease of getting on/ off


Even if you’re in hot and sweaty Asia, a lightweight jacket can be ideal workout gear for your warm up and cool down. As soon as you stop your workout you will find that you become even more of a sweat factory! Your body is no longer getting the air flow from your movement and you notice your sweat a whole lot more. Because evaporation cools the body you can then find yourself getting a chill, even though you’re in a warm climate. Alternatively, take a spare shirt with you and take your wet, sweaty one off and put on a nice dry one after your workout. You’ll save yourself from getting a chill and you’ll no doubt smell better!

Choose – Lightweight
Consider – Co-ordinating your outfit, so you can dash around town in your activewear

Workout gear for your head

Hair accessories

Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear girl wearing lorna jane visor

There is a reason the pony tail was invented – for women who workout! Use headbands to wick sweat from your forehead and prevent the sweat causing that ‘stingy eye’ feeling. Remember not to tie your hair back too tightly as you need heat to escape.

Choose – Soft, stretchy headbands
Consider – Nothing that pulls or ties too tightly


Visors are so on-trend. They have hidden trappings that are useful for more than just sun protection during outdoor workouts. A visor is often more useful than a full cap as it allows heat to escape from your head, keeping you cooler. Select a visor that is adjustable for size and comfort. A lot have built in sweat bands that prevent sweat from running into your eyes and that are great for keeping your hair from doing its own workout!

Choose – Adjustable, built in sweat bands
Consider – A light colour to reflect heat!


If you are training outside on a regular basis, it is a good idea to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes from the UV rays. You don’t necessarily have to invest in ‘sports glasses’ as part of your workout gear wardrobe, but try choosing sunglasses that are not pressing or rubbing on the skin under your eyes as this will trap sweat and sting your eyes.

Choose – Sunglasses that don’t trap sweat or rub on your skin under your eyes
Consider – Specialised sports glasses

Workout gear essential accessories

Water bottle

Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear girl with essential workout accessories

This is the ultimate workout accessory. Don’t leave home without a funky drink bottle. AND most importantly use it! Keeping hydrated is so much easier if you have water at your fingertips. You can also premix electrolytes to supplement your lost sweat and help with rehydration. Make sure you choose something that is easily squeezable or you don’t have to remove a lid while working out.

Choose – Something easy to drink from while you’re working out
Consider – a built in filter or infuser


It’s a great workout gear accessory to have in your bag. It can be used to lie on, to wipe sweat, to roll up as a block and to wrap over your shoulders after a workout. Microfibre towels are great for absorbency and tend to be more hygienic.

Choose – Any towel will do!
Consider – Microfibre

Funky bag to carry it all

There is a great array of gym bags available. You don’t have to go all out for this, but if you are often swapping your sweaty workout gear for your work clothes you may want to consider a specialised bag. Choose one with separate compartments to keep your used and clean clothes from crossing paths. A bag with ‘ventilation holes’ is often good to ensure it doesn’t get too stinky and an attachment or slot for your yoga mat is also handy.

Choose – Separated compartments, ventilation holes
Consider – specialised bags to carry extra’s like yoga mats and drink bottles


Active8me workout gear 101 your guide on the perfect workout gear app screens

Do we go anywhere without it? Ummmm, what a silly question! It’s great to have a waterproof cover on your phone to protect it from your sweaty workouts. Plus, you can have your Active8me workout at your fingertips, take an Instagram selfie and hashtag #Active8me or pump up the tunes while you workout!

Choose – Download Active8me app for FREE workouts
Consider – Waterproof case

We hope you are equipped (with knowledge and workout gear) to get started towards your fitness goals. The old saying of ‘Clothes make the man’ is just as fitting for ‘Workout gear makes the woman’. The next step is putting your workout gear into action. Never forget, it is the actually doing your workouts that gives you the body you want so you really look good in your gear. And most importantly, remember that it isn’t just that you feel better after a workout, it is the fact that you feel better ABOUT YOURSELF. That’s why at Active8me we believe so strongly in healthy, active living.

We’ve poured all our expertise and experience into one convenient app for you so try it out for free with our FREE 21 Day Trial and road test your workout gear with a whole bunch of ‘do-anywhere’ workouts.

Active8me try it free today

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