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Best Workout Clothes For Women 2023

Nov 16, 2023

The best workout clothes can add motivation to your fitness goals, whether you’re sweating it out at home, in the gym or outdoors. While there are hundreds of athletic brands out there, focus on ones that prioritize “functionality, performance and style,” says personal trainer and health coach Massy Arias.

The best workout clothes for women combine functionality, performance and style.

Having dedicated pieces for certain sports and activities is also key. “Choose workout wear that suits the conditions you’ll be in,” says Arias. Higher-impact activities like HIIT require clothing with support and compression while low-impact movements, like yoga, demand soft, stretchy fabrics that don’t feel constrictive.

To narrow down the best workout clothes for women, we asked multi-sport athletes, including Arias and celebrity fitness trainer Kira Stokes, what brands and specific pieces—from sports bras to leggings—go the distance for different types of exercise, so you can build a solid workout wardrobe. Here’s what the pros highly recommend:

Stokes has plenty of firsthand experience testing yoga and pilates gear. Her hands-down favorite brand is Lululemon. "The clothing washes well, holds up well and stands the test of time,” she says. In 1998 the brand launched its first yoga pants, and since then, they've defined the category with luxuriously soft, high-quality technical fabrics and stylish designs. In addition to workout gear, Lulu also makes accessories to support yoga and Pilates, like yoga mats and blocks.


Sizes: 0-20 | Colors: 21 total, including Java and Black | Materials: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra elastane

A favorite of Stokes’s, Lululemon's bestselling Align leggings feature the brand’s proprietary Nulu fabric, a buttery soft blend of nylon and Lycra ideal for low-impact activities like yoga, Pilates and barre. This pair is high-waisted with four-way stretch for maximum range of motion and flexibility, and the seamless construction helps to reduce irritation and chafing.


Sizes: 2-14 | Colors: Sonic Pink, White, Bone, Coral, Black, Bronze Green, Flower Burst | Materials: Nylon, Lycra elastane, polyester

Stokes wears the Flow Y Nulu sports bra for everyday wear or low-impact activities. The breathable, sweat-wicking bra has a Y-shaped back strap design for maximum movement and flexibility during yoga and Pilates. It’s ideal for women with smaller busts or those who prefer a less restrictive sports bra that can be layered under workout tops or worn on its own.


Sizes: 2-14 | Colors: 13 total, including Sunny Coral and Black | Materials: Nylon, elastane

The Ebb to Street is a seamless tank top with a built-in shelf bra that feels smooth against the skin and won't chafe or rub. The stretchy knit tank sits close to the body, staying put while you work through your routine. It's also sweat-wicking and quick-drying, so when you leave the hot yoga studio, you can feel confident that the only thing noticeable is your healthy glow.

This Swiss running brand has gained a loyal following for its performance apparel and running shoes, most notably the Cloud running shoe that athletes love, including Arias. The brand also strongly emphasizes sustainability and emphasizes materials made from carbon emissions. Whether running on the trail, road or treadmill, On’s high-quality apparel keeps you comfortable while you log the miles.

On Running

Sizes: XS-XL | Colors: Stratosphere, Moss, Black | Fabric: 100% polyester

Running apparel is all about layering, says Arias, which is why a lightweight and breathable jacket to protect from the elements should be a staple in any serious runner’s closet. On’s ultralight Weather Jacket shields you from the wind and rain while still allowing maximum airflow. The jacket, which weighs less than half a pound, is constructed from technical Japanese fabrics and features a brimmed hood, chest pocket, and 360-degree ventilation.

On Running

Sizes: XS-XL | Colors: Stratosphere, Moss, Black | Fabric: 100% polyester

These lightweight, versatile shorts are breathable enough to handle sprints yet stylish enough to be worn during the day. They sit high on the thigh and feature two hand pockets, a secure mesh pocket, an elastic waistband and a built-in brief. Plus, the stretch fabric ensures great range of motion.

On Running

Sizes: XS-XL | Colors: Twilight, Sea, Black | Fabric: 65% recycled polyamide, 35% elastane

For running, you need a sports bra that stays put and reduces bounce but doesn’t feel too constrictive on the chest. The Performance Bra achieves that: It has a wide, no-slip underband that keeps it from riding up and the built-in molded cups provide shape and support without excessive padding. The high neckline adds protection from the sun, and the breathable mesh racerback helps keep you cool on hot days.

Outdoor Voices makes sporty, flattering and functional clothing. The made-to-sweat-in apparel is versatile for hiking and walking since it’s easy to layer and has appeal in everyday life, too. The brand is also transparent about its sustainability efforts, and plans to launch a circular product take-back and repair program.

Outdoor Voices

Sizes: XXS-XXXL | Colors: Black, Navy, Evergreen, White, Saddle, Sun Dance | Fabric: 85% nylon, 15% spandex

The simple do-anything racerback dress is great whether you're dog-walking or day hiking and features adjustable straps and a built-in no-slip shorts liner with pockets deep enough to stash your phone and a trail snack. Made in the brand's ultralight quick-drying fabric, it keeps you cool after your workout, too.

Outdoor Voices

Sizes: XXS-XXXL | Colors: Bone, Black, Navy, Lizard, Chocolate, Kelp | Fabric: 90% nylon, 10% elastane

These zip-off pants transition to shorts and are excellent for hiking because they allow you to adjust to temperatures throughout the day. They’re also durable yet lightweight, water-resistant and capable of handling any outdoor adventure. The colorblocked design is a step above your typical hiking apparel aesthetic, too.

Outdoor Voices

Sizes: XXS-XXXL | Colors: Black, Mojave, OV Blue, Vine, Dark Sky | Fabric: 36% Lycra, 34% nylon, 30% polyester

For chilly morning hikes or winter walks in the park, the Frost Knit leggings have a brushed lining that keep you warm and cozy when the temperature dips. The double exterior side pockets are deep enough to stash your phone securely, and the reflective detailing on the leg lets you be seen in low light. The Frost Knit's are available in a handful of earthy tones, but you'll stand out the most in the brand's signature OV Blue.

Founded by the superstar athlete known for her style on and off the court, EleVen by Venus Williams is a top performance athleticwear and lifestyle brand. The tennis dresses, skorts, skirts, and other apparel are chic, comfortable and easy to move in—not surprisingly, many items are wear-tested by Williams herself.

Eleven by Venus Williams

Sizes: XS-XXL | Colors: White | Fabric: 76% nylon, 14% spandex

There's no outfit more closely associated with tennis than a crisp white dress, and the Break Point is a fresh take on the classic staple. The stretchy jacquard knit is soft and moisture-wicking, with an embossed tennis ball and "11" pattern in a simple, flattering silhouette with plenty of movement.

Eleven by Venus Williams

Sizes: XS-XXL | Colors: Coral | Fabric: 83% recycled polyester, 17% spandex

Pickleball is having a moment, so much so that EleVen has a collection dedicated to America's fastest-growing sport. Much of the clothing is made from recycled fabrics, including the Cosmos Pickleback tank top, which is a breathable, lightweight, sweat-wicking, sun-protective tank with a keyhole cutout racerback for added airflow. The tank conveniently includes a shortie with ball pockets.

Eleven by Venus Williams

Sizes: XS-XXL | Colors: Sun Kissed Coral | Fabric: 83% recycled polyester, 17% spandex

Add a bright pop of color to your on-the-court workout with this high-waisted micro pleat tennis skirt with built-in pocketed shorts. The Candy Dreams skirt is sweat-wicking and breathable for a hot day in the sun, and the pleated design adds maximum movement when you run, jump and swing.

For high-intensity movements that create a lot of sweat, Arias recommends Under Armour for its moisture-wicking and breathable athletic apparel. The clothes are designed to be supportive, offering compression and stability where needed during HIIT exercises, in styles that will make you look and feel strong.

Under Armour

Sizes: XS-XXL | Colors: After Burn | Fabric: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

A supportive sports bra like the Crossback Family helps reduce bounce and jiggle during intense movements. Made from Under Armour's double-layer HeatGear fabric, which wicks sweat and dries quickly, the crossover straps make it easy to get on and off, and removable pads add shape and coverage.

Under Armour

Sizes: XS-XXL | Colors: 12 total, including Charged Cherry and Black | Fabric: 90% polyester, 10% elastane

Wearing a sleeveless top that allows you to evaluate your body positioning during different movements can help you make the most out of your workouts, says Stokes. This lightweight and breathable tank top is made from an ultrasoft four-way stretch fabric that moves with you and keeps you comfortable during high-intensity intervals.

Under Armour

Sizes: XS-XXL in Short, Tall, Regular | Colors: 11 total, including White and Black Rose | Fabric: 90% polyester, 10% elastane

These colorfully printed leggings are Under Armour's most compressive, and the no-slip high-rise waist stays put while bending and lunging. They're also opaque, so you can focus on your workout and feel comfortable in that deep squat, and the drop-in side pocket is handy for stashing your phone or gym locker key.

For activities like ballet and barre, it’s key to wear comfortable, flexible clothing that allows for a full elongated movement. Stokes is a fan of Vouri, a brand that makes a range of activewear in ultra-breathable soft, stretchy performance knits well-suited to low-impact, high-intensity movements like you'll find in a ballet or barre class.


Sizes: XS-XL | Colors: Black, Azure | Material: 72% polyester, 28% elastane

There's perhaps no more classic clothing option for ballet dancers than a full-body leotard. Vouri's Mindset Jumpsuit combines their bestselling light support bra with a 7/8 legging to create a one-piece fit you can wear to the studio or afternoon out. This body-hugging jumpsuit is constructed from the brand's highly-breathable performance stretch knit, and the brushed finish delivers a smoothing look that feels soft against the skin.


Sizes: XXS-XXL | Colors: Black, Oxford, Basil, Light Penny, Cactus, Beryl, Ink, Black Camo | Material: 89% recycled polyester, 11% elastane

The Daily Legging is a go-to for Stokes because of the supple fabric and excellent fit. The leggings, which come in a range of muted earth tones, feature a flattering high-waisted design that helps to support your core and stays in place during your workout, with a drawcord tie that allows for an even more customized fit.


Sizes: XXS-XXL | Colors: 8 total, including Azure Heather and Black | Materials: 89% recycled polyester, 11% elastane

This simple v-neck top is made from Vouri's softest fabric, a performance stretch jersey called DreamKnit that feels extremely cloud-like. The Halo has a lightly supportive built-in bra with double straps, removable cups, a mesh liner, and crops at your narrowest point for the most flattering fit.

Good workout clothes can improve your performance by allowing you to move more freely while supporting different areas of your body. They can also make you feel confident, giving you the mental boost to stay focused and push your limits.

To pick clothes that you’ll feel good wearing, here’s what fitness pros look for:

The biggest tip that both Arias and Stokes offered is to start by choosing clothes that suit the type of exercise and the environment. For instance, if you plan to run outdoors in the heat, you’ll need a supportive, breathable bra that reduces bounce; for an activity like restorative yoga, you’d be better off with a less-constrictive bra with a ton of stretch. Most brands allow you to filter through options for various activities and will let you know what sport a product is best suited for.

Comfort is a key factor in being able to perform your best, says Arias. You want clothing that allows you to move freely without distractions. Whatever you choose, ensure that “it surrounds the areas where you need support and makes you feel strong.”

“Look for clothes that hug you and stay in place, but you never want to feel restricted,” Arias says. “Don’t opt for anything too tight or too loose and make sure that nothing is spilling over, especially in the breasts, hips and pelvic area.”

Another reason to avoid an overly baggy fit is that you’ll get the best performance out of sweat-wicking materials if they’re close to the body, says Stokes. “If sweat is sitting on you and not properly absorbed into the material, it’s not going to be comfortable and it won’t dry. The closer the sweat-wicking material is to your body, the more it can deal with sweat, drawing it away from your skin, which helps you stay cooler.”

The best workout wear will be constructed from technical performance fabrics that are breathable, sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and allow for freedom of movement during exercise. Honing in on the features to prioritize depends on the activity, says Arias. “For sweaty hot yoga, running or circuit training, look for materials that dry fast. For running, wear lightweight layers that you can take off when you get hot.”

Athletic-wear made from synthetic fibers like polyester are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of intense workouts while giving structure to the garment. It’s also important to look for garments that contain a healthy dose of Lycra or spandex for elasticity, says Stokes, because “four-way stretch adds comfort and helps clothing retain its shape.”

But don’t discount natural fibers altogether. “Cotton is typically a no-no just because of the stink factor,” says Stokes. “It stays wet, it smells and you can’t wear it more than once.” While wool might not be the first activewear fabric that comes to mind, more people are turning to the natural fiber because it’s antimicrobial, temperature-regulating and odor-resistant. “Merino wool has become such a big fabric as of late because it wicks sweat, keeps you warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and it doesn’t smell—you can wear it over and over again, typically without having to wash it every time.”

You’re more likely to wear clothing that makes you look and feel good, so finding activewear that matches your personal style is essential. If your workout wear keeps you comfortable in a Pilates class but also looks great running errands post-sweat session, all the better.

Workout wear sizing can vary greatly between brands. A certain size in one store may fit you perfectly, but it may be too snug in another one. With this in mind, confirming the return policy before you click to buy is always a good idea.

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