The best gym wear for women
That age-old conundrum: what to wear to the gym. Why is it so hard to find leggings that are comfy yet also indestructible, a gym top that doesn't ride up when you're in Downward Facing Dog, or a pair of running trainers that don't cost the earth? Never fear, the ever-knowledgeable Mumsnetters are on hand with recommendations that are perfect for working up a sweat.
The best gym leggings
M&S Perfect Blackout Quick Dry Leggings, £28
A Swears By favourite, these leggings are squat-proof and high-waisted, so they'll keep you feeling supported – no matter how gruelling the HIIT class. Plus, the neutral colour means they won't look out of place with your brightest trainers, and the Moisture Wicking finish is guaranteed to keep you dry and cool.
“I got some black sports leggings from M&S last week that promise not to be at all see-through. They are dry fit, high-waisted and very flattering on the stomach."Buy now from M&S
Kalenji Run Warm+ Jogging Tights, £19.99
These leggings are perfect for outdoor workouts: they're thermal, have a drawstring waist to keep them firmly anchored in place, and they're reflective, too. But the pièce de résistance is definitely that they've got no seam between the legs, meaning
minimum chafing maximum comfort.
“If you run when it's dark, I've just bought these reflective and warm running leggings from Decathlon. They are amazing!”Buy now from Decathlon
Sweaty Betty Power Leggings, from £65
They're a bit more expensive, but many Mumsnetters promise you get what you pay for with Sweaty Betty. The Power Leggings come in a variety of leg-lengths and colourful designs, and have all the usual extras including a zip pocket and moisture-wicking material.
“My squat-proof, belly-squashing, bum-defining best leggings are the Sweaty Betty Power Leggings. They survived a nasty fall off a kerb, where my knee was scraped and bleeding but the leggings were totally unmarked. Quite brilliant.”Buy now from Sweaty Betty
ASOS 4505 High-Waisted Sports Leggings, £16
Yep, ASOS do exercise gear – and it's every bit as fashionable, functional and affordable as you'd expect. These leggings are high-waisted and smoothing, and, as they're the cheapest leggings on this list, why not get yourself more than one pair?
“I really like ASOS for sports stuff. They have their own range, 4505, and I've recently got two of these in the sale and they are very thick and smooth the tummy.”
“ASOS 4505 ones are the best I’ve ever worn, high-waisted and thick, but still stretchy.”Buy now from ASOS
Gap Maternity Blackout Full Panel Full Length Leggings, £39.95
Working up a sweat can be great for you while pregnant, and it's nice to have a bit of extra support while your body changes shape. These leggings offer maximum coverage in a breathable fabric, and they're high compression – perfect if you're facing anything remotely high-intensity like running or spin.
“I bought some leggings from Gap's maternity range and they're brilliant.”Buy now from Gap
The best sports bras
Sure they're expensive, but i's definitely worth making sure you have a bra that will do the job perfectly. As one smart Mumsnetter quips, "I spend on my bra and feet and go cheap and cheerful in between!”
Nike Rival Sports Bra, £48
It's hard to deny Nike are pretty savvy when it comes to activewear, and this sports bra is no exception. If you're after a no-frills, gets-the-job-done option, the moulded cups and racer-back style of this bra should suit you nicely. Plus, the Dri-FIT technology will keep you feeling fresh(ish) all workout long.
“It's utterly brilliant! It gGives excellent shape and support. I ran a 10k race in it today and it felt great.”Buy now from Next
Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra, £42
This bra is a firm Mumsnetter-favourite – particularly for those who are larger of nork. Available in cup sizes B to H, it has soft underwiring and wide cushioned straps to hold everything right in place. Plus, it's available in so many colours and patterns you'll find it hard to choose just one.
“I love this Panache one. I'm a 30F and it holds everything down.”
“Another vote for the Panache underwired sports bra here. I’m a 34H and they are great and last ages.”Buy now from Figleaves
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Non-Wired Sports Bra, £45
This sports bra offers non-wired support up to an FF cup, and wide padded non-slip straps that will keep everything anchored firmly in place. It's been created with high-impact and vigorous sports in mind, so you can be confident it will do its job whatever your PT has you doing.
“The only sports bra I will wear is a Shock Absorber Ultimate Run. Expensive, but so damn worth it.”
“Shock Absorber Ultimate Run is my go-to sports bra too – I actually ordered two more yesterday.”Buy now from John lewis
The best sports tops
Longline Thin Strap Vest, £6
Most Mumsnetters agree that when it comes to a gym top, they want something that will give full midriff coverage and that definitely won't ride up mid-Sun Salutation. Simply layer one of these underneath another looser top, and voila! you've got yourself an inexpensive but reliable gym top.
“I layer a Next long-line black vest top under a loose T-shirt or gym top – they come down to mid-thigh level so there's no skin on show. You can raise your arms and lift stuff, and your midriff remains covered.”Buy now from Next
Endurance Women's Long Sleeve Top, £9.99 (was £19.99)
Another staple for those among us who are partial to an outdoor workout, this top is designed for cold weather but can also be worn indoors. It's lightweight and breathable, has long sleeves to keep the chill at bay, and is even UPF30+.
“I bought a base layer from mountain warehouse which is one of my favourite tops for running in the winter.”Buy now from Mountain Warehouse
Peacocks Grey Marl Active Vest Top, £10
This vest top from Peacocks is sleek and sophisticated, with black mesh detailing which not only looks great but is breathable, too. You can even get your hands on a pair of matching leggings as well, and the whole ensemble will set you back no more than £25 – bargain.
“Peacocks is my go-to for inexpensive running vests.”Buy now from Peacocks
TU Active Key Hole Back Top, £7.50 (was £10)
Comfort is paramount when you're working out, and this lightweight top is perfect if you don't like the skin-tight gymwear look. It's looser fitting, has capped sleeves, and is made with a fabric that is breathable and quick drying – it's available up to size 26, too, which is perfect if you're on the search for plus-size gymwear.
“TU at Sainsbury's do decent sportswear in bigger sizes. The prices are good, too.”Buy now from Sainsbury's
And not forgetting the best trainers
Asics Women's Kayano 25 running shoes, £154.99
Absolutely chock-a-block with science-y sounding things such as a 'medial support system' and 'FlyteFoam Propel', you're certainly getting what you pay for with these trainers. Mesh on the top of the shoe helps to keep your feel cool and comfy, while all this technology will ensure you'll be comfy and supported however far you run.
“I wear Asics Gel Kayano as they’re ridiculously supportive and cushioned, but pricey. I buy previous seasons’ colours – I couldn’t give two hoots about what they look like, as long as they support my knees!”Buy now from Wiggle
Nike Free Run trainers, from £48
Nike Free Runs are designed to mimic how it feels to run barefoot, and are therefore very comfy. They're lightweight and breathable, and (most importantly) you can put them in the washer
when if they need sprucing up.
“I bought a pair of Nike Free Runs and they are great. Very light and very supportive. They also go through the washing machine like a dream. Two years later and I’m only just thinking about replacing them, so they were excellent value for money.”Buy now from Sports Direct
New Balance Running Shoes, from £19
Although they're often considered a fashion statement, New Balance sure know how to make a good pair of trainers. With prices ranging from £19 to over £100, you'll find something you like whether you're training for a marathon or you only go jogging once in a blue moon, and whether you run on a treadmill or out on the fellside trails.
“I read a load of reviews online then ordered a pair of New Balance – they're now four years old and still going strong, but I only run once a week for between 7-10km.”Buy now from Sports Direct
Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).