Column: Best affordable clothing brands for gym clothes

Gym clothes are now an important component to the gym-going experience, but name brands tend to be very expensive. (metromela/Creative Commons)

Gym clothes are now an important component to the gym-going experience, but name brands tend to be very expensive. (metromela/Creative Commons)

Nowadays, going to the gym is not just about the workouts you do once you’re there. It’s also about what you wear. On college campuses especially, girls want to look cute for the gym. This could be because gym clothes are getting more and more popular, or because they’re getting more and more stylish.

The only downside to dressing for the gym is how expensive some athletic clothing brands can be. Companies know that cute gym clothes are in high demand, so they crank up their prices. Though it’s a good marketing move for the companies, I suppose, but it does a number on our bank accounts. The expensive, mainstream online clothing brands might have cute clothes, but you may be able to get the equivalent at local stores for a much cheaper price.

I’ve said it so many times and I’ll say it again: Target is THE place to go for literally anything you could ever need. You could pick up a bikini, a wall mural, school supplies and a slice of pizza all in one place. In terms of gym clothes, Target actually has a pretty good selection. I, personally, find that they have really nice leggings and sports bras, but their shirt selection could use some improvement. The leggings at Target can range from usually around $19- $35, which is much cheaper than some of the online brands that sell them for $80. There are also a lot of different styles, ranging from simple black leggings to ones with crazy prints. A lot of the athletic shirts at Target are long sleeve or v-neck, which is not my personal favorite, but they often match certain leggings as part of a set and are equally affordable.  

Another great place to shop for athletic clothing is Forever 21. As basic as that sounds, you can find the same things you’d find in small online stores, but for a price that won’t send you into five years of debt. They have leggings for $10, and shirts and sports bras for $10-$15. This is monumentally cheap compared to some brands. For example, there are leggings that look exactly the same as ones I saw on the Gym Shark website, but for $19. This is definitely a strategy on Forever 21’s part, because they see that people want Gym Shark clothing, but not everyone can afford it. So they take it upon themselves to provide customers with the clothing they want for an affordable price.

When it comes to shoes, Dick’s Sporting Goods is my usual go-to store. If you’re shopping online, Running Warehouse is a good option. Having ran cross country for six years, brands have become very important to me. Brooks is one of the best training shoe brand for long distance running. Mizuno is another brand of sneaker that works well for me personally, because they are extremely lightweight, but also provide your ankles and legs with enough support to decrease the risk of injury. When looking for a proper running shoe, you need to make sure they give you enough support and stability, or else you have a higher chance of pulling a muscle or twisting an ankle. Shoes without a strong foundation can also cause you knee or hip pain.

If you’re just looking for simple gym shoes to weight train or cross train with, Adidas Ultraboosts, Nike Free TR Flyknit 2 Bionic Lace Up Sneakers and Asics Gel-Kayano’s are some of the top recommended. Each of them have their own amount of comfort and stability, and are stylish and up to date with current trends. 


If you’re specifically weight lifting, you’ll want a shoe that is flat, so that all of your foot will be firmly on the ground and will allow you to use all of your strength. Adidas has sneakers specifically for weightlifting called Adipower Weightlifting Shoes, and are one of the top recommended shoes for lifting. They can be a little on the pricey side, but if you invest in one high-quality pair of workout shoes, they’ll most likely last a long time and be worth the money.


Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at tessa.pawlik@uconn.edu.