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What to Wear to the Gym: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimise Your Workouts

Working out can be a thrilling experience, full of sweat, hard work, and gratifying results. But part of that journey is ensuring you’re decked out in the appropriate kit. Wearing the right attire not only boosts your performance but also helps prevent unnecessary injuries.

What’s more, let’s be honest when you look good, you feel good, and there’s nothing quite like the confidence that comes with rocking a stylish outfit that also ticks all the boxes in terms of practicality.

At Gym Gear, we have put together this comprehensive guide on what to wear to the gym, providing you with tips and recommendations tailored for men, women, beginners, and even based on the specific workouts you engage in.

From nailing the basics like choosing the right shoes, to understanding how different workouts might necessitate different gear, we’ll cover it all. Let’s also not forget the often overlooked but incredibly essential accessories that could be a game changer in your fitness journey.

Gym Clothes for Beginners – Where to Start?

Stepping into the gym for the first time can be a tad bit intimidating. All those machines, weights, and not to mention the uncertainty of what to wear. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

Keep it Comfy and Practical

Your gym clothing should be comfortable and practical. That means no jeans, restrictive clothing, or heavy materials. Opt for a breathable T-shirt or a sports top, and pair it with gym shorts or leggings. Ladies, investing in a supportive sports bra is crucial to ensure comfort while working out.

Consider the Material

Material matters! Go for moisture-wicking fabrics – these keep you cool by moving sweat away from your body to the fabric’s surface, where it evaporates. Polyester, Lycra, and nylon are good picks. Cotton can also be a comfy choice for light workouts, though it tends to hold moisture longer.

Don't Splash Out Right Away

While it might be tempting to head to the priciest fitness shop and pick out a top-of-the-range ensemble, hold off until you’re more familiar with your gym routine. Find out what workouts you enjoy most and what clothing works best for those activities before investing in more expensive gear.

Remember, your gym kit doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable brands on the high street that offer comfortable, stylish, and practical workout gear. Start with the basics and gradually add to your wardrobe as you discover what suits your workout routine best.

What Should Women Wear to the Gym?

Choosing the right gym kit is crucial for a comfortable and effective workout, and when it comes to women’s gym wear, it’s about striking the right balance between fashion, functionality, and comfort. So, here are some essentials to consider when picking your next workout ensemble.

Supportive Sports Bras

Starting from the top, a good sports bra is a must. A well-fitted sports bra provides the necessary support, reduces discomfort, and helps prevent potential damage to the chest ligaments during vigorous workouts. There are various styles available, from low-impact designs suitable for yoga or Pilates to high-impact sports bras designed for activities like running or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Breathable Tops

Choosing the right top for your workout depends on personal preference and the type of exercise you’re doing. Some prefer loose, breathable tops that allow for ample air circulation, while others prefer fitted tops or tanks that move with the body and don’t get in the way during workouts. Look for materials that wick away sweat to help keep you cool and dry.

Leggings or Shorts

When it comes to the lower half, leggings and shorts are popular choices. Leggings are versatile, offering coverage and support, and they’re suitable for nearly all kinds of exercise. Look for a pair with a good amount of stretch to allow freedom of movement.

Gym shorts can also be a great choice, especially for high-intensity workouts or warmer weather. Whichever you choose, ensure they are non-restrictive and comfortable.

Remember, your gym wear should empower you to perform your best while keeping you comfortable. Whether you’re running on the treadmills, lifting weights, or doing yoga, having the right kit can make all the difference.

What Should Men Wear to the Gym?

Gents, let’s talk gym gear. It’s not just about throwing on an old footie shirt and a pair of shorts. You’ll want your gym kit to be comfortable, functional, and of course, to make you look the business while you’re pumping iron. Here’s the lowdown on what men should wear to the gym.

Choose the Right Top

When choosing a top for the gym, go for something that’s breathable and non-restrictive. A well-fitted sports T-shirt or vest made of moisture-wicking fabric is an excellent choice. This will allow you to move freely while keeping the sweat off your skin. Avoid overly loose garments that could get caught in machines or impede your movements.

Bottoms That Fit the Bill

For the lower half, you have a few options depending on the workout and your personal preference. Gym shorts are a solid choice for most activities, especially during more intensive cardio workouts or warmer weather.

For weightlifting or cooler climates, you might prefer joggers or gym trousers that offer more coverage. Look for bottoms with a comfortable, adjustable waistband and stretchy fabric to allow for a full range of motion.

Consider Layering

You might want to consider layering, especially in colder months. A lightweight, breathable hoodie or jacket can be ideal for warming up and cooling down. It also comes in handy if you’re nipping outside the gym in cooler weather.

What Shoes Are Suitable in the Gym?

Choosing the right footwear for your gym workout can make a big difference in your performance, comfort, and injury prevention. However, not all shoes are created equal, and what’s perfect for a run outside might not be the best choice for a gym workout. Here’s the lowdown on the do’s and don’ts of gym footwear.

The Good: Shoes Suited for Gym Workouts

Running Trainers

Running shoes provide excellent cushioning, which makes them a great choice for high-impact exercises and treadmill usage. They are designed to absorb shock, making them a good pick for cardio workouts.

Weightlifting Shoes

If you’re hitting the weight rack a lot, weightlifting shoes are a good investment. They have a flat, hard sole that provides a stable base for lifting, and the raised heel can help with form during squats and other lifts.

The Bad: Shoes to Avoid at the Gym

Sliders and Sandals

While sliders or sandals might seem like a comfortable choice, they lack support, grip, and protection – all key elements for gym footwear. They’re an accident waiting to happen due to the risk of slipping or dropping weights on your toes.


Crocs might be comfortable for a stroll, but they’re not cut out for the gym. They don’t provide adequate support or stability needed for workouts and pose the same risks as sliders or sandals.


While there’s been a trend for barefoot running and training, this is generally not advised in a gym setting. Going barefoot can lead to injuries from lack of support during high-impact exercises or accidents with dropped weights. As well as this, there could be objects on the gym floor and people may not really appreciate seeing bare sweaty feet around the gym.

Different Workouts, Different Clothes?

Just as you wouldn’t show up to a footie match in your cricket whites, the same principle applies to different types of workouts at the gym. Each workout requires a unique set of movements and demands, and your clothing can significantly impact your performance. Let’s dive into how your outfit should change based on the workout you’re planning.

Cardio Workouts

If you’re hitting the treadmill, the rower, or engaging in a high-energy Zumba class, you’ll want clothes that help wick away sweat and keep you cool. Breathable materials like polyester or nylon are great for these types of workouts. Women might consider supportive sports bras and fitted tops, while men can opt for fitted tees or vests. Bottoms can be flexible, with shorts often preferred for intense cardio.


When pumping iron, you’ll want clothing that offers a good range of motion and isn’t too baggy (to avoid getting caught in the equipment). Some weightlifters prefer tops that fit closely to the body to better see their muscles’ movements and ensure proper form. Shorts or joggers are commonly chosen for their comfort and flexibility.

Yoga & Pilates

Comfort and flexibility are your guiding principles for yoga and Pilates workouts. Opt for stretchy, form-fitting clothing that moves with you as you pose. Avoid baggy tops which can fall over your head during inverted poses. Leggings or flexible shorts work well for these types of workouts.


Loose, breathable clothing is preferable for boxing workouts, as they allow for quick movements. Moisture-wicking material is also a good idea, given the high-intensity nature of these workouts.

Additional Accessories?

Accessories can often be the unsung heroes of a gym kit. They not only enhance your workout but also provide an element of comfort and convenience. Here’s a rundown of some gym accessories that you might consider adding to your gym bag, particularly as you become more experienced or decide to delve into specific types of workouts like weightlifting.

Weightlifting Gloves or Grips

For the men and ladies who love weightlifting, gloves or grips can be a fantastic addition to your gym gear. Not only do they offer protection against calluses and blisters, but they can also improve your grip on heavy weights, reducing the risk of slipping.

Lifting Straps and Wrist Wraps

If you’re heavily into weightlifting, lifting straps and wrist wraps might become essential parts of your gym arsenal. Lifting straps can help enhance your grip for pulling exercises, while wrist wraps provide additional wrist support for heavy lifting.

Supportive Gear

Supportive gear such as knee sleeves, weight belts, or ankle supports can be beneficial for those engaging in heavy lifting. These accessories provide additional support, help maintain correct posture and alignment, and can aid in injury prevention.

Gym Towel

A gym towel is a must-have, whether you’re a beginner or a gym veteran. Not only is it useful for wiping away sweat during a workout, but it’s also essential for hygiene reasons, especially when using shared gym equipment. Plus, if you like to freshen up with a shower after your workout, you’ll definitely need a towel in your gym bag.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial during your workouts. Bring along a water bottle to keep your hydration levels up. Opt for a reusable one to do your bit for the environment.



When it comes to gym attire, it’s not just about fashion or following the latest trends. Your comfort, safety, and performance are paramount. Whether you’re a beginner just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned gym-goer refining your workout routine, your choice of gym wear can significantly impact your experience.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to gym clothing. What’s suitable for a cardio workout might not work for weightlifting or yoga. As you explore different workouts, you’ll develop a sense of what attire best enhances your performance and comfort. Invest in a few key pieces that fit well, allow for a good range of movement, and are made of breathable, sweat-wicking materials.

Getting fit and active is an exciting journey. Dressing appropriately not only boosts your confidence but also helps you get the most out of each workout. So get ready to rock your gym kit and smash those fitness goals. Onwards and upwards to a healthier, fitter you!

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