The 2024 Shopping Guide to Athleisure, Activewear, and Sportswear

The 2024 Shopping Guide to Athleisure, Activewear, and Sportswear


Having a tough time navigating the world of athleisure, activewear, and sportswear? Here’s a shopping guide to help you out where we consider three factors: Style, comfort, and functionality

We often use the words athleisure, activewear, and sportswear interchangeably, but we’re setting the recording straight. In this guide, we explore the key elements of shopping for athleisure, activewear, and sportswear, and provide tips on how to build a versatile wardrobe. Whether you’re embracing the athleisure trend, dressing for intense workouts, or gearing up for a match, these clothing options offer the perfect blend of fashion and functionality.

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Photo: PATRICIA HENSON (via Instagram)

The main thing to remember about athleisure is that between style, comfort, and functionality, style is the most prominent characteristic. While it could be worn at the gym, that’s not athleisure’s main function. Athleisure is multi-purpose and allows you to effortlessly transition from running errands to other everyday activities while still looking fashionable. Think of lifestyle shoes and joggers—they certainly have that athletic appeal and can take you far on runs, but they’re not the most practical attire.

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Photo: CHRISTINA NADIN (via Instagram)
Photo: FRANKIES BIKINIS (via Instagram)

When shopping for athleisure, prioritize versatile pieces that can be easily mixed and matched to create different outfits fit for different occasions. Skorts, joggers, sports bras, and stylish outerwear like shrugs, bomber jackets, and hoodies are must-haves that can offer endless outfit options. By mixing and matching different pieces, you can create a bold, confident look that showcases your unique style and personality. After all, athleisure comes in a variety of designs, patterns, and colors. Minimalist? Choose neutral colors and clean lines. Prefer bold prints and vibrant colors? The sky’s the limit!

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Photo: RACHEL TEE TYLER (via Instagram)

Unlike with athleisure, there’s no mistaking what you’re doing when you don activewear. Of the three factors—style, comfort, and functionality, comfort is the most essential one since it’s what will enable you to do intense workouts at the gym. Since they’re designed to withstand exercise, functionality is the clear priority over style too, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t be fashionable at the studio. Just remember to look for breathable fabrics, and for pieces with features like flatlock seams to prevent chafing. Additionally, choose materials that offer stretch and flexibility to allow for a wide range of motion. Prioritizing comfort will ensure that you can move freely and comfortably throughout your day.

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Photo: PATRICIA PRIETO (via Instagram)
Photo: ALO (via Instagram)

To that end, materials such as spandex, nylon, and polyester are popular choices for activewear as they offer flexibility and moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool and dry during exercise. It is also important to consider the type of activity you will be engaging in. For high-impact activities such as running or HIIT workouts, opt for sports bras with good support and leggings with compression features. Don’t forget to invest in a good pair of shoes that provide proper cushioning and support for your feet.

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Photo: ALEX EALA (via Instagram)

Likewise, sportswear is designed with purpose. However, unlike activewear, it zeros further into functionality for a specific sport rather than a catch-all for exercise. That’s why you won’t necessarily find a pro cyclist wearing their biking gear to the studio for a spin class. Sportswear goes deeper than activewear and provides optimal performance. After all, the right sportswear can make a significant difference in your athletic performance and overall experience, like help in preventing injury.

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Besides the material, you should also pay attention to the fit. Sportswear should provide enough room for movement without feeling constricting. It’s also crucial to note the specific rules of the game you will be playing when choosing your attire. For example, if there will be a lot of running, choose lightweight and breathable clothing that allows for maximum mobility. If you’re playing a contact sport, look for protective gear like padding or helmets. Understanding the demands of the sport will help you select the right sportswear that enhances your performance and keeps you safe. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be prepared and confident to give your best on the field or court.

Photo: MIKA REYES (via Instagram)
Photo: CAMILLE CLARIN (via Instagram)

All in all, style, comfort, and functionality should always go hand in hand to ensure confidence wherever you go. But to help you differentiate between athleisure, activewear, and sportswear, just remember that athleisure concerns itself more with style, activewear with comfort, and sportswear with functionality.

Featured Image: SHAPE ACTIVE (via Instagram)

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