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What are the Different Types of Activewear?

Activewear is designed to support your fitness journey, blending style with functionality. From moisture-wicking tops and compression leggings to supportive sports bras and breathable shorts, each piece is tailored for specific activities. Whether you're into yoga, running, or weightlifting, there's gear to enhance your performance. Curious about the best options for your workout routine? Let's dive deeper into the world of activewear.
M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

Activewear can take a variety of forms, from sports bras and light shorts to coats and thick pants, but in most cases it is designed to allow its wearer comfort and a minimally inhibited range of motion. The shape of an activewear piece is usually dictated by the type of movements required by the activity for which it is intended, as well as the temperature conditions in which it is meant to be worn. Often it is made from fabrics that enhance the wearer’s comfort.

Some activewear pieces are designed to be worn while participating in fast-moving, temperature-raising activities like basketball. This kind of activewear typically includes loose-fitting shorts and sleeveless shirts. The looseness of these pieces enables the wearer to maneuver his body freely and quickly, while their lack of limb coverage diminishes trapped body heat, preventing him from becoming too hot.

A woman wearing yoga activewear.
A woman wearing yoga activewear.

Other activities, such as yoga, are best performed in tight-fitting clothes that allow class instructors to observe and correct body postures. Tight activewear is also preferable for those using equipment in which looser clothing could become caught, such as a bicycle. Activewear of this kind might include tight, cropped pants and a close-fitting sleeveless tee or tank top. Despite their tightness, these pieces are usually made from highly stretchable fabrics like elastic and spandex that provide support while simultaneously allowing the wearer to move freely.

Compression shorts.
Compression shorts.

In most cases, activewear is made from fabrics that improve the wearer’s comfort. Some pieces help regulate the body temperature by drawing sweat away from the skin and allowing air to reach it. Due to its high breathability, cotton is a popular choice for this type of clothing. Modern athletic wear often blends cotton with synthetic fabrics like polyester, resulting in a sophisticated fabric that is not only breathable, but also transfers perspiration from the skin to the outside of the garment, where it quickly dries. This function prevents the wearer’s temperature from fluctuating as his perspiration cools as well as discouraging sweat-derived body odor.

A sports bra.
A sports bra.

The fabric and techniques used to make activewear can also provide the wearer with support and reduce the chances of skin chafing or irritation. Items like sports bras can be made from a nylon and elastic blend that supports the chest without restraining movement or breathing. These pieces are also often constructed in a way that minimizes potential skin irritation. For instance, many feature flat seaming or are tag-free.

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    • A woman wearing yoga activewear.
      A woman wearing yoga activewear.
    • Compression shorts.
      By: nito
      Compression shorts.
    • A sports bra.
      By: Karen Roach
      A sports bra.
    • A runner should dress in comfortable athletic clothing.
      By: Picture-Factory
      A runner should dress in comfortable athletic clothing.
    • Many women choose to wear tank tops for comfort during workouts.
      By: Tijana
      Many women choose to wear tank tops for comfort during workouts.
    • Activewear is often made from fabrics that provide support.
      By: michaeljung
      Activewear is often made from fabrics that provide support.