When you step into a modern and trendy gym, there’s a good chance that you will find yourself surrounded by brightly colored yoga pants, tight futuristic gym shirts, and specialized shoes for every activity from running to squatting. Looking back on the days when Arnold was only sporting a pair of shorts, a tank top, and plain sneakers, it’s clear that workout clothes have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Is it all of necessary though? Do we need these supposedly upgraded and improved workout clothes? Or is it just another overpriced fitness fad?

While there are exceptions, most modern-day gym clothes can help to make your workout more effective by wicking away sweat, adding support, and providing comfort. Let’s discuss the specific material to buy and the benefits of wearing these workout clothes.

Benefits of Workout Clothes

Aside from making you look like you’re from the year 2050, modern day fitness apparel can provide a variety of benefits to boost your workout.


Whether you’re lifting weights, running on the track, or performing the WOD (workout of the day), the last thing you want to be focusing on is how uncomfortable your clothes feel on your body. Modern workout clothes are designed to allow for full range of motion and flexibility without bunching or being uncomfortable. You’re already doing something that is pushing your body to the point of fatigue, and wearing comfortable workout clothes lets you focus on the thing that matters: your workout.


If you’re an athlete or if you take part in high impact training such as plyometrics or sports drills, the right workout clothes can offer you a level of support that spares you discomfort while keeping everything in place. Support may not be something to consider during a normal weight training workout, but for female joggers or male bicyclists, support is a necessity. You won’t find that level of support with a plain t-shirt, standard bra, and loose shorts. This is where the right supportive workout clothes can help.

Blood Circulation

Furthering this idea of support, some forms of workout clothes have been found to improve blood circulation. Again, this may not be something on the mind of your average gym goer, but for those who are serious about recovery and results, compression-based workout clothes are a must-have. Compression clothing might improve performance and aid in recovery. Compression socks, for example, are also ideal for the older fitness population with low blood pressure.


Matching your gym clothes to your workout might offer an additional level of protection. For example, wearing deadlifting shoes before trying for a new personal best may protect you from injury while boosting performance. Much of the fitness apparel that you’ll find in stores or online has the recommended sport in the name or is listed in its respective sport category.


The latest fitness apparel has come a long way from the high shorts and high socks of the 80s. Today’s workout clothes are stylish and fashionable while providing comfort. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t feel more confident when they suit up like some futuristic soldier before a workout? Modern day workout clothes look and feel great, helping you to do the same.

Match the Material to the Workout 

When it comes to comfort, support, and results, it’s all about the material of the gym clothes. Here are the four material types you should be looking for when you’re buying workout clothes.


What is Polyester?

A synthetic plastic-like material, polyester is what you’ll find in most workout clothes, and with good reason: it’s one of the best. Polyester can last during your toughest workouts, it’s decently flexible, and it pushes out sweat so it can evaporate faster, leaving you dry. Due to its super durable properties, polyester is often found mixed with other popular materials, specifically spandex and cotton.

Wear Polyester During These Activities

  • Outside activities / training
  • Sports-based training
  • CrossFit
  • Running


What is Spandex?

In the way that polyester is tough, spandex is flexible. Able to be stretched out many times over before simply snapping back into its original size, spandex is ideal for those activities that require full range of motion. Also like polyester, spandex is synthetic, wicks away sweat, and can make a real difference in your workout. It’s also the material used when making compression clothing.

Wear Spandex During These Activities

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Gymnastics
  • Any activity where full range of motion is essential


What is Cotton?

What is more comfortable than a 100% cotton t-shirt? Despite the high tech look of modern-day fitness apparel, cotton is a classic that people keep coming back to wear during workouts. Nothing beats cotton when it comes to comfort and they can be as durable as some other synthetic materials. Cotton does absorb moisture though so it’s important to wash it as soon as you finish your workout.

Wear Cotton During These Activities

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Weight lifting
  • Bicycling


What is Rayon?

Relatively new to the world of fitness clothing, rayon is a unique material in that it is made from raw material such as wood pulp and the finished product feels much like cotton. It provides a level of comfort similar to cotton with the durability of polyester. Due to these properties, rayon is often combined with spandex and polyester to create highly durable and stretchable workout clothes.

Wear Rayon During These Activities

  • Sports-based training
  • Weight lifting
  • Running
  • Outside activities

What Gym Clothes Do You Wear?

Are you an old school weight lifter with traditional cotton shorts and a tank top? Or have you upgraded to the fitness apparel of today? Let us know in the comments below.