If you’re newly aboard the fitness train, you probably have a question or five about fitness clothes. The main ones are probably: is it a waste of money? And: can’t I just do it in an old t-shirt and yoga pants? So, let’s delve deep and attempt not only to answer these questions, but to provide you with a detailed guide to the perfect fitness attire.

Are fitness clothes worth the price tag?

The answer to this burning question is: yes and no. First of all, you need to make sure that the items you are considering are actually intended for working out. Sometimes fitness brands will also make gear that looks sporty, but isn’t actually intended for a workout, but more for a show. If it is, in fact, intended for exercising, chances are that thought went into the fabric and design for maximum comfort. So yes, there is a reason for the price tag. However, sometimes brand prestige accounts for at least a part of the price tag. If you are operating on a tight budget, your best bet would be to buy quality gear off the discount rack.

Are all fitness clothes the same?

Absolutely not. Depending on your activity of choice, appropriate clothes could vary from similar to completely different. Quality bodybuilding clothes are entirely different from clothes for cyclists, for instance. Sometimes the difference will be in the fabric, or the cut, or specific features. For some sports, your clothes will add support in certain areas for added comfort. Nowhere is this more obvious than with shoes. For instance, shoes for running, aerobics, basketball and soccer have very little similarities. Once you have settled on an activity, it would be wise to look into the best gear for you. When it comes to shoes, the right ones could even prevent injury.

What’s with all these special fabrics?

Intuitively, most of us would say that cotton is the absolute winner when it comes to appropriate fabrics for gym wear. However, that is not entirely true. While cotton is very pleasant and doesn’t normally cause bad body odor, it also gets soaked pretty quickly. Cotton could be a terrific choice for low-sweat workouts, like yoga. If you are anticipating that you will sweat a lot during your workout, it might not quite cut the mustard. The secret behind the special fabrics used for fitness clothes is that they are normally all moisture-wicking. That means that the sweat goes from the surface of your skin, through the fabric, right to its surface, where it is allowed to evaporate, leaving you dry. The best moisture-wicking materials for fitness clothes are bamboo and nylon. Bamboo is a particular favorite, since it is all natural, soft, breathable, comfortable and provides SPF protection as well. Polyester is up there too, but it can sometimes give you pretty bad BO. If you are expecting to get wet, you might want to look into water-resistant fabrics like polypropylene.

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