Sweatpants are not just for lounging. Discover what makes a good pair of sweatpants for the gym with our handy guide.

Gone are the days when buying a pair of sweatpants meant choosing from an indistinguishable line-up of joggers that were heavy, hot, and had minimal style points. In fact, there is now an array of sweatpant designs that feature different cuts, fabrics, and features like sweat-wicking properties. But when looking for a new addition to your workout kit wardrobe, what makes a good pair of sweatpants for the gym? And how does the training you do impact the sort of sweatpants you should buy?

How sweaty will you get?

It might sound silly, but the route to finding the best sweatpants for your gym session will depend on how much sweat your activity is likely to produce. A high-intensity, cardio-based class would benefit from a different style of sweatpants to a rest-filled visit to the weights room. Plus, wearing the wrong style could make a hot and hard workout even tougher.

What makes good sweatpants for the gym?

Fabric choice

For those sweatier sessions, you’re best looking for a pair of sweatpants that have a sweat-wicking fabric. You should also look for added breathability, and a bit of stretch. Most sweatpants in this category will be made of a synthetic material like polyester, but if you want to keep things natural, Merino wool is a good (if more premiumly priced) alternative.

The humble jogger is fine for anything else (and can even double up for sofa-based Netflix binging sessions too), and most modern designs tend to come in a cotton and synthetic (nylon, polyester) blend.

Finding your fit

The best cut and design of a pair of sweatpants fall on the same dividing lines as fabric choice. While not for everyone because of their skin-hugging nature, a tapered, tight-fitting pair of sweatpants is beneficial for sweaty gym sessions. This is because they are able to wick sweat away at the source rather than letting it pool on the skin. Plus, they won’t get in the way when running on a treadmill or in the saddle on a spin bike.

When your lower half isn’t being used for exercise or sweat isn’t an issue, then something baggier and free-flowing can often be more comfortable to work out in.

Additional features

Finally, it’s worth considering additional features when looking for the best sweatpants for the gym. A zip-up pocket is always handy for storing valuables like your phone and keys, while it’s worth opting for a drawstring closure over an elasticated waist if you want to truly be able to tailor the fit.