Workout Outfit Guide: What To Wear To The Gym

Workout Outfit Guide: What To Wear To The Gym

Authored by Marshall on November 20, 2023

They say to dress for the role you want, not the one you have. But most of us have many other roles outside of our careers, like parent, spouse, friend, student, hobbyist, or athlete! 

If one of your life roles is an athlete (or you’d like it to be), you’ll need a wardrobe to match. After all, hitting the gym in your office apparel is not very practical. A good workout outfit will be an asset during your gym visits, helping you to exercise comfortably and safely. Plus, wearing something you love makes working out even more fun.

If you’re unsure about what to wear to the gym, worry no more. We’re happy to use our expertise to help you pick the right athletic wear for your unique needs. Check out our guide to clothes for the gym, and don’t be afraid to ask us for advice IRL. We love to chat about things like this!

Decoding Gym Attire: Essentials for Every Workout

When it comes to gym attire, there’s something important to remember: everybody is different! 

For some athletes, only designer sportswear will do. For others, brand names couldn’t mean less! Some people require specialty items due to their preferred workouts or physical needs, while others only need the basics.

Stumped over the right workout outfit? Here’s a helpful reminder: it’s okay to stick with the essentials. You don’t need fancy gear to be a good athlete. What matters is that you wear things that are safe and conducive to exercise.

Let’s look at the basics.

  • Gym Shoes

Gym shoes are perhaps the most important workout apparel of all. Without a good pair of footwear, your workout could be much more difficult and a lot less safe.  

Our advice for most new athletes is to start with a high-quality pair of sneakers. These don’t need to be super expensive or have lots of bells and whistles—they just need to provide good ankle support and cushioning. We tend to prefer a fairly lightweight sneaker as well.

Your sneaker is a great jumping-off point for the gym. However, as you continue progressing as an athlete, you may end up adding to your collection! Some athletes buy specialty shoes for their chosen workouts, like running, cycling, lifting, or competitive sports. You may choose to do the same—your coach will be able to help you determine whether this is necessary.

  • Tops

Much of what you wear on top comes down to personal preference as well as workout style. Many athletes are happy to just wear a breathable t-shirt or tank top to the gym. Others prefer to wear gym-specific tops, as they are typically made from breathable fabrics that don’t easily absorb sweat.

  • Bottoms

There are several different types of bottoms you can wear to the gym. This choice will come down to personal preference, workout type, and even the time of year!

Shorts are probably the most popular pick for athletic legwear. They’re comfortable, allow for straightforward movement, and are nice and cool during a sweaty sesh. Some people invest in workout shorts from athletic brands, as they are well-lined and constructed. However, low-budget gym shorts are widely available. While they may not last as long as the branded versions, they will suit you just fine on the gym floor.

Leggings are highly popular gym items and can be worn for most exercises. That said, we advise a pair of gym-specific leggings over an everyday cotton pair from Target or Gap! While those versions are comfy, their fabrics can get pretty hot and sweaty, and they tend to fall down during exercise. Gym leggings will be made with breathable fabric with sweat-wicking properties and feature a thick waistband that stays in place. It’s much more ideal for a workout. Some athletes also choose to wear compression leggings under their gym shorts for extra support.

Sweatpants and other long trousers are a popular choice with bodybuilders and lifters. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a pair of long pants protects the skin on your shins from a deadlift bar. It’s also a surefire way to sweat more, which many bodybuilders seek when training to make a certain weight. Finally, working out in winter can be really cold, especially during less intensive workouts! Some folks just need that extra layer.

Generally, it’s best to wear workout pants that fit you well and aren’t too loose. You don’t want them to get caught on any equipment!

  • Socks

Socks are an absolute must-have piece of gym attire. Not only will a sockless shoe stink after a workout, but your feet are likely to be blistered and sore as a result. Most athletes opt for sturdy socks that won’t fall down during movement. Many also choose to wear ankle socks or a pair designed for a specific workout like running.

Gym Outfit Extras for Women

For AFAB athletes, a few extra items may be necessary. 

A sturdy sports bra provides upper-body support that everyday underwear can’t. This means a much more comfortable workout without the risk of strain or pain. It also provides great coverage, so you can work out in loose-fitting tops without the fear of accidentally flashing someone. Some athletes even work out in just a sports bra on hot days!

When packing underwear for the gym, choose the right pair. Leave lacy items for another time. Instead, choose something made of a breathable fabric. Cotton underwear is perfect for this, and many athletic brands also produce gym-specific pairs.  

Male-Specific Gym Attire

AMAB athletes sometimes require specialty protective items, like an athletic cup. This item is typically worn by athletes who play contact or competitive sports, like lacrosse or hockey. It is worn underneath your clothing and is in place to protect your groin area from injury. It is often supported by a jockstrap and compression shorts.

Accessorizing Your Gym Look: The Extras That Matter

We’ve covered the basics, but there’s more to explore! Your gym fits may also include:

  • Sweatbands

This ‘80s staple does exactly what it says in the name. Lots of athletes find it helpful for staying cool and preventing unnecessary injury from slippery sweat! 

  • Gloves

Some workouts, like weightlifting and boxing, benefit from a pair of gloves. Athletes who perform other workouts may also choose to wear gloves to protect their skin from calluses and blisters. 

  • Swimwear

If the pool plays a role in your gym routine, you’ll need a good swimsuit and goggles. Lots of swimmers also bring water shoes and a pool cap. 

  • Lifting Belt

Some bodybuilders wear a belt over their gym wear. This can help with stability and form during lifting sessions.

  • Workout-Specific Gear

Certain activities require specific garments. Depending on your chosen fitness routine, you may require items such as football padding, ice skates, cycling shorts, gymnastics leotards—you name it! That’s where your athletic community and fitness coach come in. They’ll help guide you on what to get for your specific needs!

Dressing for Your Style

Gym wear is all about what makes you feel comfortable. While it may be fun for some athletes to pick out fashionable or eye-catching gym fits, others are just as happy in an old T-shirt and sweatpants. At the end of the day, anything goes, as long as you feel confident in it and it’s safe and practical to work out in. Save your high heels or leather jumpsuit for another day, but barring that, you should be good to go. 

All Dressed up With Nowhere to Go?

Ready to premiere your gym fits? We can’t wait to see.

Now that you’ve chosen some great new clothes for the gym, it’s time to visit us. At Jack City Fitness, we welcome athletes from across Boise 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Our fitness center provides everything you’ll need to meet your health goals, like excellent coaches and counselors, engaging group classes, and first-class equipment. Our training programs are 100% customizable, so you can be sure you are getting exactly what you need. 

Your fitness journey is just a phone call away! Contact (208) 999-1111 for a FREE InBody fitness consultation and a chance to tour the Jack City facilities. Don’t forget to pack your gym wear! Once you sign up to become our Partner, you can jump right in. 

We look forward to meeting you and seeing you crush your fitness goals in style.





You can win a chance to ask more questions privately, plus a chance to Win a FREE $325 in person or online Partnership!"