Not a Nike tick or an Adidas trefoil in sight.
In this wellness era, when we regularly spend just as much if not more time at the gym than we do socialising, having a good gym kit is essential. Going to the gym makes us feel good — both mentally and physically — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t simultaneously look good, too. For me, a new gym kit has sometimes been a motivator to actually get myself up of the sofa and go — I’m slightly hesitant to admit it, but it gives me the same thrill of putting on a new pair of shoes for the first time.
But considering we wear our gym kits more frequently than we would wear said pair of shoes, it’s an understandable buzz – and a great fitness kit is a worthy expenditure. Gone are the days of turning up to the gym in old baggy bed-style T-shirts and worn out leggings and trainers. These days, we’re likely heading from brunch to barre class, and we need kit that will carry us through the day — kit that doesn’t necessarily look like gym kit.
Thankfully, a whole host of new fitness brands are creating just that — understated gym wear that looks sophisticated, without huge logos stamped all over it. These are gym leggings you can throw on with your cashmere sweaters, or with crisp shirts and slides, and head out for a coffee in.
Keep scrolling for our picks of the best gym brands out there right now.
Combining a couture-like, tailored fit with technical sportswear, Ernest Leoty offers elegant and minimalist pieces such as sweetheart-cupped gym bras, leggings and cycling shorts in muted hues of navy, burgundy and cream — and not a logo in sight. Best of all, it offers knitwear too — perfect for throwing on top for coffee o’clock.
Louise shorty, £185, Ernest Leoty
Former model Tatiana Korsakova understands the symbiosis between health, fashion and everyday living – that’s why she founded the London-based fitness label Vaara. Each piece – from the high-waisted gym leggings to the full-length tuxedo bodysuits and swimming costumes – is tailored for a perfect and comfortable fit.
Edie bodysuit, £170, Vaara
Founded by a former sportswear designer for Nike, Wone is the most understated of all the gym brands out there — its collections are quietly sold in limited capsules via its own website, and through a select few retail partners. Crafted from French fabrics, the silhouette — with square-cut sports bras with superfine spaghetti tops — is essentially the gym kit for all lovers of The Row and Celine.
Stretch sports bra, £130, Wone at Net-a-Porter
Year of Ours
American brand Year of Ours embodies the busy yet relaxed LA lifestyle into its sportswear: every piece is flattering and practical, but with fashion-forward design details that means the wearer can style these pieces and wear them to go about their daily life. The high-waisted leggings come with a lace-up fastening, while the cute crop top-style bras have cut-out backs.
Cameron cropped lace-up leggings, £100, Year of Ours
LNDR says its gym kit is “made to move — just like you.” Crafted from supersoft ribbed fabrics which feel luxe, it’s a nice change to the shiny spandex we’re used to wearing. Led by a team of three female creatives who say the brand was inspired by their constant on-the-go lifestyles and the fact that they never wore heels, the brand also uses biodegradable shipping packaging, and all its gym kits come in a reusable zip lock bag that is perfect for packing your after-work gym kit in.
Juno sports bra, £58, LNDR
Gigi Hadid is a fan of Heroine Sport’s sports bras – does the brand need a better introduction than that? Based in New York, all of the brand’s leggings, gym bras and jerseys are proudly made in the USA. With a design aesthetic that is both architectural and understated, and colour palettes that feel far more luxe than the average gym gear, we especially love this cream curved cut-out on the crescent bra. Simple yet chic.
Crescent bra, £100, Heroine Sport at Net-a-Porter
US brand All Access makes street-ready activewear that is crafted from special, eight-way stretch fabrics to mean these pieces don’t just look good – they really perform. The debut leggings have an elongated wide waistband for extra comfort, are ribbed at the knees for a better fit, and are crafted with breathable mesh panels that wick sweat away and keep you cool when working out. Fashion editors love this brand for the cute product names – the Front Row sports bra and the Centre Stage leggings are personal favourites.
It’s rare for a sports brand to channel that boho-chic vibe, but that’s exactly what Aussie brand The Upside is famed for. Founded by former model Jodhi Meares, who came up with the idea for the brand when she was living between New York and Hawaii and practicing yoga every day, The Upside exudes that relaxed and carefree Australian way of life in its fashion-forward prints, such as this ditsy floral sports bra and leggings.
Floral print sports bra, £50, The Upside
US brand Girlfriend Collective is pushing the boundaries in more way than one. In a bid to help solve the world’s plastic problem, all of its gym wear is crafted from recycled plastic bottles diverted from landfills — with 25 water bottles used to make a pair of its super soft compressive leggings. Not only that, the brand is also size inclusive, ranging from an XXS to a 6XL. Is there anything not to love?
Compressive leggings, $68, Girlfriend Collective
Main image: Ernest Leoty, Girlfriend Collective, Vaara