The best men's workout clothes

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  • Being comfortable while working out starts with what you wear, be it a properly fitting pair of running shorts, a moisture-wicking top, or an added layer for cold-weather workouts.
  • It's important to make sure the gear is fit for your preferred style of fitness, too — running shorts for runners, versatile apparel for cross-training, stretch fabrics for weight lifters, etc. 
  • Below, we've rounded up a selection of our favorite workout clothes, with gear from brands like Vuori, Rhone, Janji, and Ten Thousand. 

Working out in the right attire makes a world of difference. Though a pair of athletic shorts and a sweat-wicking shirt may not seem like a world-beating combination, they're far better than some ratty pair of gym shorts and a cotton tee from your dresser. Put plainly, you get more from your workouts when you're comfortable — no matter if you're working out at home or breaking a sweat outside.

Your preferred workout matters, too. While the current wave of workout gear wants to help you perform better by keeping you cool and comfortable, there's also a variety of specialized gear designed for certain activities. For instance, a runner may opt for a lightweight pair of shorts while someone lifting weights would likely prefer a shirt made of stretch fabric.

No matter your go-to, there's a wide range of fitness apparel available for all of it — and we're constantly sweat-testing what we can to find what's worth a spot in your closet. Be it the line of functional running clothes from a brand like Janji or the versatile training gear from Ten Thousand, there's plenty on the market designed to keep up with however you stay fit. 

At the end of this guide, we've also included some tips on how to shop for workout clothes, as well insight into our testing methodology. 

A note on fit

This guide focuses specifically on workout clothing designed for cisgender men. Brands differentiate men's and women's workout clothing both in terms of specific design choices, as well as colorways and style. Men's workout shirts tend to be cut to fit broader shoulders while men's shorts often offer more leg coverage (though this isn't always the case) and added space in the crotch. 

Women's workout shirts are often narrower and form-fitting, have shorter sleeves, and are sometimes designed to fit tighter around the arms. Shorts designed for women tend to feature a cut that accommodates rounder hips, are void of any added space in the crotch, and may also have a wider waistband.

Despite these differences, finding the "right" workout clothing comes down to what fits you best and what feels comfortable while breaking a sweat. If you're looking for apparel that more closely associates with the design and fit tendencies found in women's workout clothing, check out our guide to the best currently available.

Here are the best men's workout clothes:

  • Best workout gear overall: Vuori
  • Best workout gear for runners: Janji
  • Best budget workout gear: MPG
  • Best workout gear for dispelling odors: Rhone
  • Best workout gear for cross-training: Ten Thousand
  • Best workout gear for comfort: Olivers

Updated on 1/7/2021 by Rick Stella: Updated the sections on how to shop for workout clothes and added a rundown of our testing methodology, checked the availability of each recommended product, and updated the prices and links where necessary.

Best workout gear overall

Vuori's clothing is both lightweight and comfortable, which makes it a breeze to work out inside or outside during summer.

Pros: Supreme comfort, quick-drying material, great for a wide variety of workouts

Cons: Some customers found that the shorts could be a bit restrictive due to narrow leg holes

It's obvious the Encinitas, California-based Vuori takes its inspiration from the beach. The workout gear from this company may just make you think you're on the West Coast, with its comfortable, lightweight fit. 

In particular, we loved the Trail Short, the lightest weight all-purpose pair of shorts from Vuori. The shorts have an elastic waist, supportive Coolmax anti-odor liner, and an athletic fit. The shorts also come with front pockets and a back zip pocket, as well as an iPhone holder in the liner.

Also beloved in the Vuori line is the Tradewind Performance shirt and the company's perennially popular joggers. The Tradewind Tee is the company's most technical in the lineup, featuring micro-perforation for ventilation, flatlock seams, and a front chest pocket. The shirt promises to wick moisture and dry quickly, making it perfect for a run, a hot yoga session, or anything in between.

Best workout gear for runners

Janji's running gear is functional, comfortable, and built to hold up no matter if you're doing a casual 5K or training for a marathon.

Pros: High-quality apparel for runners, most pieces feature quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabric, and are extremely comfortable

Cons: Can be spendy depending on the piece

Attaching superlative terms to workout gear often comes down to personal preference (and moderate exaggeration) but in the case of Janji, and the brand's extremely high quality running clothes, calling it the best isn't an overstatement — it legitimately makes some of the finest gear on the market. From running shorts and caps to tees, tanks, and weather-resistant tops, Janji covers the running basics in its own signature style. 

Some highlights are its 2-in-1 Traverse Short which comes with a built-in liner for extra coverage, four strategically located stash pockets for keys or cash, and a fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabric. They're functional enough for trail runs, neighborhood jobs, or even race day. 

Its AFO Singlet is also a great choice for summer runners as it's lightweight enough to keep you cool yet still protective. The singlet is also made using fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabric and features a four-way stretch to always move how you move. 

We've been running in Janji gear for some time now and keep coming back to it no matter the season. Its shorts are extremely comfortable, no matter how many miles you intend to run, and its tops and caps keep you protected and cool. The brand's selection of fun prints is a nice added touch, too. 

Best budget workout gear

MPG Sport understands that working out shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg, and is creating gear that helps you live a financially responsible lifestyle.

Pros: Affordable prices, wide selection of products, fabric that is soft yet ready for a hard workout

Cons: The sheer amount of product might be overwhelming for someone shopping online

Your gym membership is expensive enough, so your gym clothes don't have to be. Luckily, MPG Sport agrees. Short for Mondetta Performance Gear, MPG offers a wide range of clothing and workout gear that won't break the bank. 

Take, for instance, the Defender Performance Cashmere Shirt. This shirt feels like luxury without the luxury price tag. But it's not just the softness of the shirt that's important — It's the benefits it gives you during your workout.

The mix of Tencel, a recyclable and environmentally-friendly material derived from wood pulp, and cashmere helps you adapt to different temperatures. That means that you'll be warm in the winter but remain cool and dry in the summer. Plus, with colors like Port and Navy Sky, this shirt can transition well from the gym to just about anywhere else.

Also noteworthy is the Premier 1/4 Zip Stink-Free Seamless Pullover, which is made from NILIT fibers to protect against bacteria build-up and sweat stench. Well-fitted and nicely tailored, this was another piece that looks great. And the best part? It's on sale for $24.

If you're looking for shorts or pants, MPG has you covered as well. The Hype 3.0 Essential 7-inch Short promises plenty of flexibility as well as moisture-wicking properties. Alternatively, if you need something a bit longer, you might consider the Industry Essential Fleece Joggers, which are surprisingly warm given how light they are.

Best workout gear for dispelling odors

It's all about the GoldFusion technology with Rhone, which makes good on its promise to keep you stink-free.

Pros: Stink-free technology, comfortable fabric, and great fit  

Cons: Some reviewers note that the shirts can be a bit longer than anticipated

Back in 2016, Rhone managed to raise nearly $113,000 to bring its GoldFusion technology to its line of activewear. And now, that proprietary formula can be found in a wide range of activewear.

Rhone has long been one of our favorite makers of men's workout gear. Much of it is indeed due to the company's GoldFusion technology, a proprietary, eco-friendly fabric treatment that leverages real gold particles to help fabrics dry up to three times faster. In addition, it's UV protective and promises to permanently control odor.

Two new additions to the Rhone GoldFusion line include the 7-inch Swift Lined short and the Swift Tank. The shorts, meant for running, feature a perforated venting system for cooling, as well as two side zipper pockets to hold essentials during a jog. Plus, a soft performance liner promises exceptional fit. As for the Swift Tank, this workout shirt features a quick-drying, odor-repelling perforated fabric that keeps you cool as you break a sweat. 

Of course, Rhone also has pieces that don't necessarily have precious metals embedded into them but are no less effective at getting the job done. Take, for instance, the new Mako Unlined short. Available in both 7- and 9-inch lengths, this short is made of lightweight, four-way stretch fabric with plenty of pockets so you can wear them at the gym or anywhere else, too.

Best workout gear for cross-training

So many fitness brands say their apparel is "tested by athletes" but Ten Thousand backs it up with a large roster of athletes located all over the country that put its gear through everything from yoga and HIIT to Crossfit and powerlifting.

Pros: Lightweight, comfortable workout gear that's built for a wide range of workouts and use cases

Cons: Pockets can be too small to hold much else besides keys or credit cards, sizing in the shirt can run small

To say Ten Thousand puts its workout clothes through its paces is an understatement — the brand quite literally pushes its gear to the limit by throwing it on wear-testers that do just about any form of exercise imaginable. There's HIIT and powerlifting, strength training and functional fitness, and, of course, running. They even throw a little yoga in the mix to show off its comfort and versatility. 

But just because there's a large variety in the types of workouts the gear can handle doesn't mean there's page after page of a specific short or top fit for an exact routine. Quite the opposite, actually, and simplicity in what it offers is what makes Ten Thousand even more appealing.

There are five different shorts, two tees, one tank top, a quarter-zip long sleeve shirt, a base layer and compression short, one pair of pants, and a no-show and crew cut sock — as well as a Ten Thousand mesh hat and insulated water bottle to round out the collection. After spending many a workout decked out in the gear, the performance of each piece is as impressive as its field testing. 

No matter what I chose to do, the apparel felt comfortable and functional, and was always fit to hold up to whatever I threw at it. Maybe I'd be out for a 20-mile bike ride after doing a resistance band workout in my apartment. Perhaps it was a 45-minute yoga session followed by a quick jog around my neighborhood. Regardless of what it was, the gear held up and never felt out of place.

Even the prices aren't shocking to stomach. The shorts range from $58 on up to $72 while the tees are in the $50 range (which is what you should expect to pay for premium workout apparel). My favorite pieces are the lightweight Distance Shirt that held up well during particularly sweaty workouts (thanks to humid NYC summers) and the Tactical Short that performed just as well on a run as it did while I was on my bike or lifting weights. — Rick Stella

Best workout gear for comfort

Workout clothes don't have to feel like workout clothes and that's why Olivers created some of its gear with merino wool.

Pros: Superior comfort, great fit, great style without being ostentatious

Cons: Sizing can sometimes be a bit different from the website's suggestions

Merino wool is unlikely to be the first material that comes to mind when you think of workout gear but that's just the sort of innovative thinking that makes Olivers' clothes so comfortable. The highly breathable gear from Olivers is so comfortable, you may never want to take it off.

While Olivers' first well-known article of clothing was the All Over Short, the brand has proven it's capable of creating a wide range of comfortable, functional gear. The Terminal Tech Tee is a particular favorite of the Insider Reviews team, too. This merino tech mesh tee not only keeps you cool and dry but it also fits well. As Insider Reviews' Amir Ismael noted, "the Terminal Tech Tee..fits exactly as a T-shirt should."

While you can certainly work out in the naturally odor-resistant shirt, it's also just as appropriate for a day full of errands or a casual date night.

Oh, and by the way, Olivers promises your clothes will last for at least a year with its Olivers guarantee. The company will replace or repair any product "with a fault outside of normal wear and tear for up to 12 months" after your initial purchase.

How to shop for workout clothes

When determining the kind of workout gear you need to accommodate your lifestyle, consider the type of exercise you do most often. Clothing is just another tool to help or hinder you, so be sure you're buying the right gear for the right activity.

A piece of clothing's ability to withstand cycles in the washing machine is also a key quality. You'll likely be sweating through these clothes a lot and (hopefully) putting them in the laundry quite often. If you're buying flimsily made clothing, you'll have to replace them much more often.

Consider how multi-purpose you need your gear to be, too. Are you only going to wear those joggers to the gym, or are they also for lounging around? Is that long sleeve tee just as good for your run as it is for running errands on the weekend? The workout clothing you wear doesn't have to cover a range of use cases but some are designed for more than just running or lifting weights (and can make your investment stretch a little further).   

How we test workout clothes

Each of the pieces of workout clothing highlighted in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well it performed across these four categories: Fit, function, durability, and value. Here's how each category specifically factored into which athletic wear ultimately made this guide:

Fit: Fit. Comfort. This category could've been called either but we went with fit specifically because a well-fitting piece of workout clothing will almost always, in turn, be comfortable. Fit is also more than just making sure you select the right size, but also how it feels while working out. The rise of stretch fabrics has helped this category significantly, especially for those who do HIIT or strength workouts. 

Function: The basic function of proper workout clothing should be to keep you comfortable, move along with however you workout, and maybe even wick some sweat while it's at it. Thankfully, today's selection of workout gear does all of this in spades (some much better than others). When testing, we looked at how well a brand's sweat-wicking tech actually worked, whether it did, in fact, repel odors, and if four-way stretch fabric was able to really stretch in all directions. Other functions we assessed were the comfort of built-in short liners and the effectiveness of other materials (like merino).

Durability: Premium workout clothing (i.e. the gear that's actually worth your money) should last longer than a few months of heavy use and heavy cleaning. This means it should keep its fit and still offer whatever suite of extra features long after you purchase it and wear it for the first time. This category is best-served as a long-term assessment, and we've included updated insight on some pieces where we're able.

Value: As mentioned above, the best workout gear won't always been entirely cheap. Though we've included a budget brand in this guide (and one we stand behind), it's often times worth it to spend a little more on workout clothing that's designed to last (as opposed to spending less on something you'll have to replace over and over again). 

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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