Functional Activewear For the Fit Enthusiast

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Choosing the right workout gear can make a big difference in your sweat sessions.

By now, you’ve probably heard that new workout gear is motivating enough to show up and crush your workout. If you didn’t, now you know! When you look good, you feel unstoppable and that inspiration goes a long way in the gym, at the studio or on your runs. Researchers even coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the mental changes we undergo when we wear certain clothing. Let’s take a look at some of the functional-yet-head-turning pieces you need in your fit fashion lineup right now. Who knows; it may positively impact your performance.

Creative Pockets
Pockets are a practical choice when exercising considering how attached to tech we are, not to mention all the other accessories we like to keep handy. This year, pockets remain trendy but brands are getting creative to bring you more hands-free options. One of the best finds this season is Nike’s Power Pocket Lux, available for around $90. As an alternative, Senita Athletics has a variety of pocket gear ranging from skorts to sports bras and everything in between. Most items are in the $20 to $40 range.

Sun Protective
You already know to slather on the sunscreen when you’re outdoors during the summer months, but sometimes we forget to apply when we’re out for a leisurely walk, run or play day with the kiddos. Adding sun protective clothing to your collection can be a game-changer. Your skin will thank you for the extra protection from UV exposure. You can now find UPF hats, headbands, tops and pants at major retailers but if you’re looking for something extra soft, check out Shēdo Lane, a luxury sun protection apparel brand. Accessories start around $18.

This 2-in-1 look is making a serious comeback. All you have to do when your style feels worn out is flip it and reverse it. This makes it easy to mix and match styles for a fresh take on your favorite items. Brands such as lululemon and Sweaty Betty are jumping on the reversible bandwagon. This versatile option will make both you and your bank account happy.

Street Tights
With the athleisure trend turning mainstream, it’s no surprise that every closet needs a pair of glam leggings to take you from barre to happy hour in no time flat. Seriously, you can wear them anywhere. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable and still look fashionable? High shine, leather, mesh and moto details are all fair game when it comes to street tights. Warning—just wearing a pair to morning classes will make you want a post-workout mimosa. Look at your local retailers for stylish yet functional options.

Compression gear is quickly becoming essential for athletes. Typically made of LYCRA® or Spandex, compression gear, such as shorts, leggings, sleeves and socks, applies pressure in just the right places. Studies show that there may be some benefits when it’s worn during or after exercise. For example, after strenuous exercise, compression tights can aid in decreasing muscle soreness and help recovery. Most major brands have compression gear now or have incorporated compression into their designs.

Typically, activewear is made of synthetic materials. It’s not a category of clothing that is normally environmentally friendly. However, there are brands out there that are forward-thinking and are exchanging synthetics for sustainable materials. Basically, they are spinning the problem into a solution. Conscious activewear companies such as teeki, Patagonia and Adidas are making items out of recycled plastic. It’s the kind of purchase that makes you feel warm and fuzzy knowing that you’re doing our planet some good.

Cool, Calm and Collected Hues
Did you know that cool tones promote a sense of freshness and calmness? A little color psychology might be the magic behind creating soothing and productive moods. Think softer hues and pretty neutrals. As the mindful movement continues to grow, activities such as yoga and meditation will boom. On shelves, expect to see more pastels such as restorative green, blush pinks and nudes. Approach activity with ease with kits from Outdoor Voices. Leggings start at around $70.

Hybrid Smartwatches
Do you want the best of both worlds, a watch that is both smart and stylish? These devices look traditional at first glance but pack hidden smartwatch features. Think analog watch combined with smart measures including heartrate, steps, calories and distance. Top watch brands are now debuting hybrid timepieces with simple designs. One fashionably fit option is the new vívomove™ HR by Garmin. Additionally, vívomove HR has wellness monitoring tools that let you know if you’re having a calm, balanced or chaotic day to help you manage stress. ■

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