A smiling Asian woman in a bob wearing workout clothes

Have you ever wandered through the virtual aisles of an online activewear shop, scrolling through the thumbnails of shirts, leggings, and shorts, and wondered: do workout clothes make a difference? Couldn't you just wear a ratty 10-year-old free company tee and joggers? After all, you're just sweating in them? 

Unfortunately, equality isn't a thing when it comes to athletic wear. According to the 2017 book High-Performance Apparel, proper attire can optimize the wearer's thermal physiology and support movements. Breakthroughs in textile technology have developed fabrics and designs for better sweat absorption and physics. Depending on what exercise you're doing, what you don on your body may affect your performance.

Here are some factors to consider when you're looking for exercise clothes.

Do Workout Clothes Make a Difference in Performance? 

Different kinds of workouts require different style choices. For example, you shouldn't wear loose clothing when you're cycling. Baggy shirts can add wind resistance which may topple you over. Wide-leg pants, on the other hand, can get caught in the chain. Cyclists would do better to wear well-fitted clothes in spandex, an aerodynamic fabric that absorbs and dries sweat easily.

If you’re doing yoga or Pilates, stretchy pants are okay, but a loose top might not be advisable since it may prevent you from comfortably executing some poses. Moreover, high-energy and high-impact workouts like boxing and HIIT may require extra support, such as a razorback sports bra.

Don't neglect footwear either! Some exercises, like hiking, require traction on the soles, while others, like running, need bounce or cushioning. 

How's the Weather Today? 

As with any fashion tip, dress for the situation, especially the weather.

Some fabrics draw moisture away from your body in a process is called “wicking.” Sweat-wicking clothes, which absorb sweat and spread it on the cloth to evaporate faster, are especially effective during higher temperatures and more humid climates because it helps keep the body cool.

Cotton remains to be a popular fabric for apparel, even in exercise. However, its ability to absorb sweat doesn’t extend to fast-drying, which isn't ideal if you're doing endurance or interval training. If you're committed to cotton, however, you can keep yourself cool and fresh with deo powder.

Apply Rexona 3-in-1 Deo Powder Aloe Soothe in sweat zones like your underarms, neck, and feet to mop up excess dampness. Not only does it leave you feeling fresh, but it also wards off body odor and you can use it no matter what you’re wearing or doing. Some textiles are also antibacterial, which can help prevent odor-causing bacteria.

During windier days, opt for thermal garments that can insulate.

Where Are You Working Out? 

You have a bit more freedom to wear whatever you want if you’re exercising at home or in a controlled environment. If you’re working out outdoors, however, remember to protect yourself from the sun. Wear breathable long-sleeved shirts, a hoodie, or a cap. Look for material that can be layered as well, in case you need to wear a jacket or a vest.

Keep your head cool even when you’ve been sweating buckets. Sunsilk Naturals Watermelon Freshness Shampoo not only cleans your hair off exercise debris but also refreshes your scalp. Watermelon helps nourish your hair as mint gives you a soothing and cooling sensation.

Because you’ve been outside, make sure to clean your body well.  Dove Care & Protect Antibacterial Body Wash works double duty, washing away 99% of bacteria while moisturizing your skin.

What Are Your Personal Preferences?

One of the main criteria in finding the best workout wear is your comfort.

Comfort plays a huge factor in performance. For example, some people find dry-fit fabrics scratchy, distracting them from concentrating on their workouts. Others prefer the grip of sandals over boots when hiking or mountaineering. Some women are more comfortable wearing a rash guard instead of a one-piece. When you’re more at ease with what you’re wearing, your confidence will reflect in your performance.

Do workout clothes make a difference? Yes! When it comes to picking activewear, try to marry all of these considerations to maximize your workout. A cute design won't hurt, too!