We all have those few pieces of workout gear we reach for again and again. The sweat-wicking top that makes us feel like we haven’t just sweat buckets in spin class or those form-flattering leggings that stay put and look great, even beyond the gym. Most gear, however, can pose a plethora of problems, from chafing fabrics to waistbands that just won’t stay up. Here, we round up the most common culprits of gear dissatisfaction — and how to choose only pieces you’ll love, workout after workout.
1. Embarrassing sweat stains.
Without wicking abilities, we’re faced with awkward splotches and heavy, sweat-soaked clothing. Opt for a technical fabric that will quickly draw moisture away from the skin — like a polyester, nylon or merino wool blend.
Our Pick: UA Tech™ T-Shirts feature a signature Moisture Transport System, which draws sweat away from your body to promote rapid evaporation.
2. It stretches out after one wearing.
Your gear should provide support and allow for a full range of motion, even after numerous washes. Four-way stretch enables your every move with a supportive fit that empowers you to reach for that backhand or finish even your longest runs with confidence that things won’t slip out of place.
Our Pick: The four-way stretch construction of Fly-By Leggings ensures a second-skin fit that stretches both laterally and vertically — and snaps back to form after every move you make.
3. You’re hot — way too hot.
It’s cool outside, so you chose leggings and a long-sleeve top. A few miles into your run or ride, you’re drenched in sweat and uncomfortably hot. Switch to high-performance fabrics like a rayon blend that can do double duty: wick moisture and maintain air circulation. Bonus points for cool mesh panels and cutouts — they’re eye-catching and functional.
Our Picks: UA CoolSwitch Capris feature an interior coating that pulls heat away from the skin, making you feel cooler and enabling longer performance. Armour® Breathe sports bras have power mesh panels for increased airflow.
4. It just doesn’t fit.
You bought your usual size, but the garment is either too snug or not snug enough. Rather than go through the motions of returning the item, you battle a subpar range of motion from a too-small sports bra or struggle with leggings that fall down mid-burpee. The best fix: Make use of a brand’s customer services. Experts are there to help and can consult on sizing and proper fit for the activity of your choice.
Our Picks: Choose from new and improved fits for bottoms, spanning Dialed In (a muscle-wrapping compression fit), Always Ready (a tailored, supportive fit) and Feel Free (a loose fit for enhanced mobility).
5. Painful chafing.
Particularly during endurance workouts, less technical fabrics may begin to rub and chafe the skin. If chafing commonly happens below the waistline, try a pair of tighter-fitting or longer shorts to diminish friction. If it’s most common around your sports bra or armpits, look for a garment with seamless or welded-seam construction, and avoid cotton — a prime culprit for trouble spots.
Our Pick: The UA Streaker Tank boasts ergonomic, flatlock seams and UA Microthread technology, ensuring the fabric won’t cling, chafe or get weighed down with sweat.
6. It’s sheer or see-through.
When you’re focused on a workout, the last thing you should worry about is whether you’re exposed. The best gear has a sturdy construction with a thicker knit and opaque fabric you can feel confident in, regardless of the activity. Still skeptical? Do a few lunges and tree poses in the dressing room before purchasing.
Our Pick: UA Mirror Studio Leggings are made with UA StudioLux® fabric, a high-performance knit that delivers relentless support and ultimate coverage.
7. The waistband slips down or rides up.
Stretched-out elastic can stress you out and cause anxiety — the last thing you need during a high-intensity workout. Banish the worries by choosing a pair of leggings with a smooth, wide waistband that’s stretchy but sturdy. Supplemental features like interior drawcord ties may be helpful, too.
Our Pick: Improved, confidence-enhancing waistbands have been added to all new UA leggings. Try the UA HeatGear® Armour Leggings, which feature a wide, yoga-inspired waistband that stays put with every move.
8. It’s missing something important.
We’ve all fallen in love with the look and feel of an item, only to discover it doesn’t have one or more key features. Hidden pockets for a credit card and keys, zippered ankles to pull them on easily, reflective details for night runs and rides — every athlete has non-negotiables. Be sure to evaluate whether an item meets your every need before purchasing.
Our Pick: UA ClutchFit™ Capris feature a zippered back pocket, reflective trim throughout for visibility and antimicrobial technology to stay fresher, longer.