In the past few years, people have become more conscious about their health. This led to the emergence of all kinds of fitness programs, equipment and gear.
Keep in mind, however, that just because certain running shoes, leggings, and sports bras look great on you, that doesn’t automatically make them the best choice.
You see, picking activewear can be like figuring out that complicated fitness machine at the gym – it entails doing a significant amount of research. So, before you head to your favorite GO Sport shop in Qatar, here are the top six tips you need to know when shopping for activewear:
1. Determine your workout or athletic purpose.
The rise of athleisure – a type of clothing that merges fashion and fitness into one – urged the public to engage in a more active lifestyle. But while it is great to see health and wellness become a trend, the “activewear” from newer fashion brands may be providing inadequate support for actual workouts and athletic activities.
Sure, they are cut in the best way to accentuate the wearer’s silhouette, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they can help you perform optimally during a workout. In some cases, this defeats the primary purpose of athleisure – to make working out more fun and encourage people to move.
You see, like most things, different types of athleticwear are tailored for various purposes. Some gear are specially designed for specific exercise routines, to support movements without adding unnecessary restrictions.
Take running shoes, for example. Lighter pairs are the best choice for sprinting as these let you run at top speed since the weight of the footwear does not tie you down. On the other hand, marathons and cross-country runs require light and cushioned shoes for added support and comfort.
2. Consider your workout environment.
When picking out sportswear, you’ll also want to consider the exercise environment.
For instance, if you run early in the morning when temperatures are lower than usual, wearing long-sleeve tops equipped with thumb holes may be your best option. This way, you can focus on your run since you won’t need to concern yourself with the sleeves flying up as you speed through the streets.
This is also an important consideration when deciding on the length of your bottoms. If the weather is just right (i.e., not too cold and not too warm), you can always pick out leggings that only cover three-quarters of your legs.
The key is to keep your activewear weather-appropriate.
3. Know your sportswear size.
When shopping for sportswear, you must remember that these pieces may be sized differently compared to regular clothing. Since you’ll be moving around while wearing these, you may need extra room to accommodate all the pushing, pulling, or twisting you must perform during your training.
Also, remember that clothing sizes differ for men, women, and children, not to mention different brands tend to use varying size labels. To make sure you choose the best one, try the outfit first when shopping at sports shops in Qatar. If you’re looking for specific brands, it also helps to research their size charts before going to the store.
4. Think about functionality.
Those low-cut stringers may show off more muscle than other men’s sports tops, but are they the practical choice when training? Not all the time.
Aside from the correct size and fit, activewear should also be functional. It is good to look for workout clothes that flatter your form, but sportswear should allow you to move freely during training.
For example, while a tight shirt can show off your curves and muscular physique, it can be restrictive for your movement. To be sure, move around as you check its fit to avoid buying a garment that is too small or too tight for comfortable exercising.
5. Consider the material.
Another important factor you need to consider when shopping for activewear is the material it is made of.
Take cotton, for example. Although it may be comfortable to wear when dry, it’s quite bothersome when wet with sweat. This is because cotton absorbs and becomes heavy with moisture. It can also lead to chafing and end up restricting you in your training.
For heavy sweating, choose technical fabrics made to wick sweat, prevent snags, and allow the skin to breathe simultaneously. Some are even made from 100 percent recycled materials, have a natural odor-blocking feature, and can wick sweat better than others.
Of course, there are instances wherein cotton is the best option. Since some materials work better for other situations, you need this quick guide to the ideal activewear fabrics based on the intensity of your workout activity:
Low Impact Activities
If you’re going to perform low-impact workout activities that won’t leave you too sweaty, cotton is not the worst choice. In fact, it is one of several materials that are perfect for the following activities:
- Gentle yoga
- Casual walking
Besides pure cotton, you can also go for athletic clothing made from French terry, fleece, polyester, or cotton blends.
Moderate Impact Activities
For moderate impact activities like intense weightlifting, dance class, and hiking, cotton and polyester material fabrics can also work. However, it would be better if these are blended with a certain percentage of Lycra, Spandex, or elastane – all of which are stretchy and synthetic.
Lastly, when doing high-impact activities such as aerobics, kickboxing, running, cycling, boot camp, or hot yoga, you should consider looking for clothing made from blends of the stretchy synthetic fabrics mentioned previously.
6. Look for special features.
There are also certain features that work best for specific exercises.
For Pilates, yoga, or any other activity that involves being in an inverted position, you should consider wearing activewear that hugs the body better or that will keep you covered regardless of the movement you make.
For evening jogging or night cycling, it would be best to wear something reflective. If you’re not keen on wearing stripes or looking like you’re on night patrol, look for jogging pants with small details or patterns that reflect light.
Other features you may want based on specific needs are:
- A small pocket to hold keys and other small items while running
- Knee-high socks to keep the legs covered during a barre class (an exercise that combines elements of yoga, Pilates, and ballet)
- A drawstring to keep jogging pants or shorts up without constricting blood flow
Physical activity has proven to be essential for your body and mind. Ensure you maintain an active lifestyle while wearing comfortable workout clothing with the help of this activewear shopping guide.
Hisham Elzubeir is the Marketing Manager at Doha Festival City, the largest entertainment, fashion, dining and shopping destination in Qatar. The mall has more than 400 international and local brands, including some of the most anticipated names, many of which made their Qatar debut, such as Harvey Nichols, Charlotte Tilbury, Kiehl’s, Dior Beauty Boutique, ACE and IKEA. Hisham brings over 15 years of international expertise to the communications team at Doha Festival City.