Nedra Lopez, The P.E. Club Owner & Trainer, Reviews the top 10 Athleisure brands on the market.
When it comes to athleisure clothing, they are not all created equal.
...much like workouts! With that said, if you are paying upwards of $100 for a pair of pants, it better make you look good, feel good and last!
I have been a Personal Trainer and Instructor for many years prior to the athleisure boom, when there wasn’t much to choose from other than Under Armour and Nike. Then came Lululemon with their fabulous luon fabric, perfectly fitted tops, and accessories. The only problem was that everyone wore Lululemon…like a bunch of Lulu minions running around the city! I personally could care less if I am dressed like the next person, but understand there are many who want to stand out and not be dressed the same as everyone else.
SO whether you are looking for a deal, wanna look hot, need something that lasts or could care less what you spend, here is my expert experience on many popular and less-known brands…hope this helps to shed some light! After all, I wear this stuff everyday…have gone through weight gain, weight loss and multiple trends in spandex, luon and more!
Let’s start with the giant, Lululemon. From the moment you walk in you are greeted by their knowledgeable and oh-so-friendly staff. I can say from experience, these people are not fake…they really are that happy and LOVE their product. And why not? It fits incredibly, lasts FOREVER, and has everything you could ever want, whether you do Yoga, Lift, Spin, Run, Hike, Climb…or simply walk around the city in it! I personally love their “Wunder Under” pants which is their simple leggings that have stretch which come in many colors and designs, but are also great to pair with a sweater and boots! Their racerback tanks were also a personal favorite along with their “free to be” sports bras…which keep the girls looking perky and supported for a hefty price tag of $48 dollars! Just don't let the prices trip you up too much because unlike other athleisure products, they stand by their products 100%!! Since I am an active Trainer and Instructor, I use my pants and tops to their max and have torn through SEVERAL pairs of pants over the years and Lululemon has been gracious enough to either fix the problem or simply replace it with a new one...For that reason and their fabulous fit and style I give Lululemon 5 out of 5 Stars!
2.) ALO Yoga
Over the last year or so, ALO has become more popular with their "Moto" and "Dancer inspired" designs that allow you to transition from gym to street with style! Their price point is middle to high, priced just under $100 for a pair of pants. Now for the dirty truth...for those of you who complain about pants giving you that "muffin top" look, these pants will do that! Their fit is a mid rise, and for ladies who have long torsos like me, it hits you right in the "muffin top" zone. The pants are a thicker material, which is why they are one of my favorite picks...they last, they hold you in, and aren't too warm in the summer or have you freezing your booty off in the winter. If your looking for cool designs and durability, then ALO is the way to go!
An oldie but a goodie. Is it me...or do their commercials sometimes make you want to cry and go running at the same time? I've always been a huge fan of Nike's sneaker design, but skeptical when it came to their clothing for women. It was durable, but never flattering...especially for a woman with curves. Until now! They have created a pant that holds you in while still being able to breathe, making your legs look longer and leaner, along with widdling your waist! (Haha sounds like what I do for my clients!) The Nike Power Legendary tights are a must! They come in different rises, so you have options and are priced at $95. My only complaint would be that the color fades after awhile, but hey...nobody's perfect. If your looking for the LBD of black leggings, then Nike is the way to go!
If looking sexy in your gym clothes is your goal, Michi has you covered...well, sort of! Everything from lace, mesh, and cut outs are shown in their sport bras, tanks, pants and even outerwear. The material for many of their leggings are a lot thinner than other designers (made from Nylon and Lycra) so they are breathable, but see-through-as-all-hell when you bend over! The price point is on the higher end, with pants ranging from $135-$225, sports bras $95-$165, and tops $100 and up...I guess they forgot to mention they spun gold into their products too! All kidding aside, their designs are sexy, their product makes you feel gorgeous, but when lifting weights in a gym, the last thing I want to worry about is snagging the mesh on my leggings! If your looking to invest in a statement piece, then Michi is the way to go.
From candy, to blueberries, and even the NYC Subway line...Terez has put it on a pair of leggings. Their designs are fun, loud and even make you smile! I'm actually an Ambassador for them because I love their mantra. In a world with so much negativity, why not own a pair of pants that make you smile, laugh and get out of your own head for just a moment. Ok my rant is over...now on to the fit. Unfortunately, the fit is very basic...they don't really hold you in (made with 80% Polyester and 20% Spandex), and most of the waist bands are on the thinner side, which is not very flattering for the waistline. They are priced well, at around $75 and have sales all the time! I personally think everyone should own at least one Terez product that represents their personality. If your looking something fun to wear to your next workout, shop Terez.
Their claim to fame were their "Lustrous" leggings bringing shine to every workout. Their fit is definitely not made for a girl with curves. The rise on many of their pants are low, and fit tight so they are constantly falling down. Though they do offer high rise, but unfortunately the waist band is thin, so the fit is very unflattering. But I must acknowledge those ladies out there who have smaller frames! If you don't have hips, or a booty for days, then you would look killer in these pants. They are priced well from $88-$125, and are durable! What I would recommend from Koral are their Sports Bras and Tank Tops, though they are on the more expensive side, they fit and feel great! My personal favorite is the "Cut Crop Top" at $80, and the "Element Bra" at $98. If you have curves like me, then Koral tops, sports bras and outerwear are the way to go!
Most women know that horizontal strips are a Faux pas if you want to look thin. Well...K-Deer broke that rule when designing their oh-so-popular "Signature Stripe" pant. Their fit is high-rise but elastic-free, so you never have to worry about a "muffin top." Somehow the strips don't make your legs look big...I don't know how they did it, but they are very flatttering on! My only complaint is they do tend to fall down on me throughout the day, but since the rise is high, it isn't a big deal. Priced just right from $88-$98, these pants will last you, and come out of the wash perfect every time! If you are looking to add stripes that flatter to your fitness wardrobe, K-Deer is the way to go!
Known for their prints, seamless design and "second skin" fit. These two companies pride themselves on designing products that don't ride up and cause that unflattering "front wedgie." Their tops and bottoms range from $49-$100, but the only downside is they aren't supportive or hold you in. So if you are looking for something with a fun print, that feels like you are wearing nothing, then Prismsport and Nux are for you!
9.) Baby Brazil/Splits 59/Hard Tail
I paired these three companies together because they have been around for awhile and are always on trend. From the first fold-over waistband to the low rise scrunch waistband, there is something for everyone. Their material choices tend to be on the thicker side, but made to last! The price point is middle to high, but worth the investmnt since many of their products are made for gym-to-street use. If you are looking for something different that not everyone has, then Baby Brazil, Splits 59 and Hard Tail are for you!
10.) Monrow/Sundry/Tyler Jacobs/Spiritual Gangster
To me this is the definition of Athleisure wear...clothing that is so comfortable, that you could sleep in it, lounge on the couch or even workout in it. Yet stylish enough to wear it out on the town. Unfortunately, all 4 companies have a much higher price point, but their design, cut, and feel are well worth it! Lucky for us, the more worn something looks, the more trendy it is!
I hope I have shed some light on some of the most popular fitness brands. Remember that having so many options doesn't make finding the right athleisurewear any easier or more affordable! It's a long process of trial and error, so my advice to you is to pay attention to the return and exchange policy and find what looks best on YOUR body type! (Funny...the same goes for working out!)
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