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Which workout clothes should I buy?

Gone are the days when boring sweatpants and ripped T-shirts are go-to attire for workouts. These days, exercise gear can be just as fashionable — and functional — as everyday clothes.

The best workout clothes fit well, look great and keep you comfortable while you exercise, whether you’re lifting weights, running or hitting a boot camp class. Finding them, however, involves taking a closer look at how they’re made. It also means being open-minded when it comes to trying on new styles and cuts.

Features of plus-size workout clothes


Most workout clothes are now made with cotton, polyester, Spandex, elastane or rayon. While all are lightweight, soft and flexible, there are a few key differences among these materials.

Essentials Plus Size High-Waisted Leggings

Cotton blends become progressively softer in the wash, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin. However, they’re prone to fading and shrinking. Most polyester leggings are blended with Spandex, elastane or rayon. These blends offer more stretch and flexibility than most cotton blends. They won’t fade or shrink, but they may lose their elasticity toward the end of their lifespans and become overstretched.

Where to buy: Macys

Wick-away material

Just My Size Plus-Size Cool DRI Tee

This feature sweeps sweat and moisture away from the body, keeping wearers cool and dry. These pieces are typically lightweight and breathable, such as Just My Size Plus-Size Cool DRI Tee. Additionally, many wick-away workout clothes also have odor-control properties or UPF ratings.

Where to buy: Amazon


Ideology Capri Legging

Many workout bottoms have pockets that are either hidden inside the waistband, as in this Ideology Capri Legging, or on the sides of the leg.

Where to buy: Macys

Waistband pockets tend to be small, but they usually hold keys, cash or IDs. Side leg pockets are large enough to hold these items as well as smartphones. As expected, those who listen to music through their phones during workouts gravitate toward these pants.


Workout shorts and leggings are available in several inseams, or lengths. Full-length styles, which reach the ankle on most wearers, remain the most common inseam length. Capri leggings are cut around the midcalf, while seven-eighths leggings usually fall just above the ankle. As far as shorts are concerned, inseams vary between 3 and 8 inches.

How to care for workout clothes

Most workout clothes are machine-washable. It’s best to wash them with bleach-free detergent and, if possible, forgo fabric softeners. Many workout clothes are made with stretchy materials, and fabric softener can cause their elasticity to break down.

As far as drying goes, many workout clothes indicate that they’re safe to put in the dryer. However, keep in mind that exposure to high heat may affect clothes in more than one way. In addition to shrinking the clothes, the heat in a dryer may deteriorate logos and cause stretch blends to warp. Instead, it’s better to line-dry workout clothes.

13 best plus-size workout clothes

Best plus-size workout tops

Under Armour Active Tank Top

Sleeveless tops, like the Under Armour Active Tank Top, keep wearers cool during intense, sweaty workouts. This tank is made with UA’s signature moisture-wicking technology and has smooth, no-chafe seams around the arms.

Where to buy: Macys

Nike Essential Tunic

Longer tees, such as Nike Essential Tunic, are ideal for those seeking a relaxed style that offers more coverage. The split sides allow for freer movement, and the shirt is made from a soft blend of polyester, cotton and rayon.

Where to buy: Kohls

Tek Gear V-Back Mesh Tee

The Tek Gear V-Back Mesh Tee is versatile and coordinates well with most workout shorts or leggings. It’s made with lightweight wick-away material and has a relaxed fit. The tee comes in seven colors.

Where to buy: Kohls

Gym Vintage Hoodie

Nike’s Gym Vintage Hoodie is a workout gear layering essential. Simple and chic, the solid-colored hoodie is great to throw on over any tank or tee. The kangaroo pockets are large enough to hold smartphones and other essentials.

Where to buy: Macys

Best plus-size workout bottoms

Adidas High Rise 3-Stripes 7/8 Tights

Wide-waist leggings, such as the Adidas High Rise 3-Stripes 7/8 Tights, offer light compression and shaping. This style features classic Adidas details and is made with a recycled blend of polyester and elastane.

Where to buy: Dick’s

Tek Gear Performance Capri Legging

The Tek Gear Performance Capri Legging has dual side pockets to hold smartphones. It’s made with moisture-wicking material and features mesh panels to boost cooling airflow. The legging has a wide, no-roll waistband.

Where to buy: Kohls

Stretch is Comfort Teamwear Bike Short

Bike shorts are as versatile as it gets when it comes to workout bottoms. The Stretch is Comfort Teamwear Bike Short is known for its soft, comfortable fit and high-quality construction. It’s available in dozens of colors and prints, including zebra and light pink.

Where to buy: Amazon

Champion Powerblend Fleece Graphic Jogger

The Champion Powerblend Fleece Graphic Jogger is suitable for workout or casual wear. These classic-style sweatpants are made with soft, organic cotton and anti-pilling fleece. They also feature a ribbed adjustable waistband and two side pockets.

Where to buy: Kohls

Best plus-size sports bras

Champion Vented Compression Sports Bra

If you’re looking for support and compression, the Champion Vented Compression Sports Bra is a popular option. It’s made with wide, gel-cushioned straps that provide optimal support across the back and chest. There’s also targeted ventilation for maximum breathability.

Where to buy: Amazon

Glamorise Sport No-Bounce Camisole Bra

The Glamorise Sport No-Bounce Camisole Bra offers plenty of coverage while remaining breathable. The bottom cups are reinforced to lift and secure, while the upper portion of the bra has a broad support panel to reduce movement.

Where to buy: Macys

Gear Low-Impact Racerback Sports Bra

Low-impact sports bras are suitable for activities like walking, yoga and cycling. This Tek Gear Low-Impact Racerback Sports Bra offers a comfortable, flexible fit with removable bra cups. The simple design has princess seams for contouring and support.

Where to buy: Kohls

Nike DRI-Fit Medium-Support Sports Bra

The Nike DRI-Fit Medium-Support Sports Bra is ideal for those who do a mix of activities during their workouts. It has extra-wide straps for support and stability, as well as flat, smooth seams that won’t dig into skin. The bra is made with Nike’s Dri-FIT material, which pulls sweat away from the skin.

Where to buy: Kohls

Wacoal Sport High-Impact Underwire Bra

A premium option, the Wacoal Sport High-Impact Underwire Bra has a U-shaped underwire frame for maximum support and bounce reduction. The hook-and-eye closure and adjustable straps offer a fully customized fit. It’s available in traditional bra sizes up through an H cup.

Where to buy: Macys


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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