The best workout clothes for men will allow you to stay cool and comfortable while giving you extra support and complete flexibility of movement.

Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or are a seasoned gym-goer, the best workout clothes for men will help you get the most from your sessions. Cotton tees, baggy shorts and old trainers just won’t cut it when you start ramping up your HIIT workouts or weights programme. You need dedicated performance-focused training gear that will move with you and keep you cool and comfortable.

Clothes not made with performance in mind will be distracting at best, but will more likely be restrictive, unsupportive and uncomfortable. Trainers won’t support quick lateral movements, tees will get wet, heavy and start to chafe and shorts won’t wick sweat away and restrict your range of movement. Enter: the best workout clothes for men in 2024.

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Our pick of the best workout clothes for men

  1. Best gym shirt – Vuori Strato Tech Tee
  2. Best gym shorts – Under Armour Vanish Woven Shorts
  3. Best gym shoes – inov8 Bare-XF
  4. Best sweatpants – Under Armour Meridian Tapered Pants
  5. Best running shorts – inov-8 Race Elite 5-inch Short
  6. Best running shoes – Nike Vaporfly 3
  7. Best compression top – 2XU Core Compression Long Sleeve
  8. Best compression leggings – Skins Series 5
  9. Best sports boxers – CXP Ultralite XP
Kieran Alger wearing Vuori Strato Tech Tee

Vuori Strato Tech Tee

Best gym shirt

Men’s Fitness verdict

A great workout tee that’s versatile, lightweight and fits well. Ideal for travel, as it doubles as daytime wear and workout gear.
  • Incredibly soft and light
  • Excellent fit
  • Good flex for free movement
  • Holds sweat on longer cardio workouts
Materials96% Polyester; 4% Elastane
FeaturesMoisture wicking; anti odor; UPF rating
SizesXXS – 3XL
Colors17 available

The Vuori Strato Tech Tee offers simplicity, style, and comfort with its classic design, tailored fit, and muted color options, suitable for both workouts and more casual wear. Constructed from a soft, lightweight, four-way stretch fabric, it boasts UPF protection, anti-odor, and moisture-wicking properties. The flat stitch seams and flexible arm cuffs enhance comfort and mobility.

I noticed the fabric’s softness and lightness even before wearing, and it provided a barely-there feel ideal for workouts. It offers ample flexibility and comfort for various exercises – though its shorter length may cause slight rise during certain movements. Despite its classic appearance, it effectively handles moisture during shorter workouts, but may retain more sweat during longer sessions. Sizing is true to standard measurements, and durability looks good after multiple wash cycles and tumble drying, making it a reliable choice for most.

Easy to care for, it’s machine washable and tumble dry-friendly.

Product shot of a man wearing grey Under Armour Woven Vanish shorts

Under Armour Vanish Woven Shorts

Best gym shorts

Men’s Fitness verdict

Temperature-regulating Heat Gear tech works a treat, creating light and breathable shorts that are the comfiest we’ve tested.
  • Excellent fit
  • Good length and coverage
  • No zip pockets
MaterialUA Vanish (ultra-light durable woven fabric)
FeaturesPerforated panels for ventilation; 4-way stretch material; elastic waistband with pull draw; open hand pockets; notched hem
SizesS/M – 2XL
Colors16 colors available

Under Armour’s Vanish shorts will help you keep your cool even when your session really starts to heat up. While testing, we felt cool and comfortable throughout the entire sweaty workout, thanks to temperature-regulating Heat Gear tech, lightweight fabric and breathable mesh construction.

Its wide elastic waist also keeps the pressure off your middle, and flatlock seams minimise the risk of chafing – all in all, we found them extremely comfortable to exercise in. If you’re stocking up on the best workout clothes, your gym kit won’t be complete without a fine pair of shorts like this.

inov8 bare-xf gym shoe – one of the best gym shoes for men

inov8 Bare-XF

Best gym shoes

Men’s Fitness verdict

Minimal design meets outstanding performance. With a wide toe box and zero drop, it’s a solid choice for both minimalist shoe enthusiasts and those transitioning from more traditional trainers.
  • Zero drop positions your foot close to the ground for optimal lifting form
  • Wide toe box for natural foot and toe splay, promoting proprioception and healthy feet
  • Super lightweight and very comfortable
  • That zero drop can make squatting and Olympic lifting harder if you have limited ankle range
  • Slightly dull appearance; not the prettiest shoe
Features3D air mesh upper; Meta-Flex technology; Adapterweb Cradle lacing system; EHC heel system
Weight7.4oz / 210g

Despite its unassuming appearance, this shoe is a powerhouse of performance. Boasting Boomerang technology and a wide toe box, it offers the perfect blend of bounce and natural movement. The lightweight design feels like a breeze during workouts, while the stretchy laces add an unexpected level of comfort.

Transitioning to minimalist shoes has transformed not only my workouts but also my perspective on footwear. The Bare-XF’s wide fit option accommodates broad feet comfortably, reflecting its thoughtful design. The zero drop, meanwhile, promotes better form and proprioception, enhancing my connection to the ground during lifts and dynamic movements.

For anyone seeking a shoe that marries minimalism with top-tier performance, the Bare-XF is a great choice. From enhancing running efficiency to powering through lifting sessions, these shoes have become an integral bit of kit in our fitness arsenal.

Under Armour Meridian Tapered Pants

Under Armour Meridian Tapered Pants 

Best sweatpants

Men’s Fitness verdict

With a supportive fit and four-way stretch fabric, these comfy and supportive joggers allow for full range of movement and are ideal for short workouts or runs.
  • Flattering, supportive fit
  • Plenty of flexibility
  • Comfortable waistband
  • Breathability could be better
Material83% nylon, 17% elastane
FeaturesFour-way stretch material; elastic waistband with external drawcord; zip hand pockets
SizesXS – 2XL
ColorsBlack, Fresh clay

You might not initially consider sweatpants when shopping for the best workout clothes, but the right pair can offer unrivalled comfort during a workout. Plus, they double up as comfy loungewear when chilling at home.

The Under Armour Meridian Tapered Pants have a close, tapered fit for a flattering look and supportive feel. We love their lightweight, super-soft and stretchy fabric, which delivers all-day comfort whether you’re on your sofa, at the shops or midway through your session.

While working out, we found the material wicked sweat away from the body and dried quickly, making the Meridian suitable for intense gym or track sessions. Plus, the two zipped pockets came in handy for stashing our valuables. 

Pair of Inov-8 Race Elite running shorts

inov-8 Race Elite 5-Inch Short

Best running shorts

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Inov-8 Race Elite proved to be not only the best of our 5-inch shorts but the best running shorts overall. They are the most versatile, comfortable and high-performing shorts we’re tested.
  • Chafe-free boxer liners
  • Soft-lined waistband
  • Well ventilated
  • Could do with more storage
MaterialRecycled polyester, elastane
DetailsIntegrated boxer liner; rear zipped pocket with key loop
SizesXS – XL
ColorsBlack, Navy

Whether you’re logging training miles, nailing gym drills or rocking up at a weekend race, the Inov-8 Race Elite 5-inch should be on your list. On test, we found it struck the perfect balance between that lightweight, barely-there feel and confident coverage. 

We were also impressed by the perforated panels, which kept air flowing and sweat dissipating, while the silky soft boxer liners with flat seams enhanced our comfort. Plus, the soft, wide waistband also resists rolling and reduces pressure, adding even more comfort points. We also noticed there’s enough pocket storage for a large smartphone or a fistful of gels, as well as a key loop.

Product shot of a Nike Vapourfly 3 trainer

Nike Vaporfly 3

Best running shoes

Men’s Fitness verdict

We’d have forgiven Nike for making a carbon copy of its excellent v2 super shoe. Instead it’s made refinements that may divide opinion but there’s no doubting the racing pedigree of the Vaporfly 3.
  • Light, punchy and energetic
  • Softer midsole for more protection
  • Lost some stiffness
  • Less secure fit
MaterialsZoomX foam; Carbon fibre flyplate
Weight 6.9oz / 195g
ColorsWhite and Particle Grey / Sail and Orange

The Nike Vaporfly 3 makes notable changes over the previous iteration. More ZoomX foam in the midsole, along with a redesigned heel and improved midfoot stability, enhance the shoe’s performance. The new Flyknit uppers are lighter and more breathable, while the outsole features a thinner rubber covering with a waffle design for improved grip.

In testing over 50 miles, including a marathon, it performed exceptionally well, providing cushioned protection but with a slightly softer ride compared to the Vaporfly 2. While it’s still agile and fun, offering better breathability, it sacrifices some race-focused responsiveness for versatility and comfort. The Vaporfly 3 is the lightest carbon shoe available and is a great option for various distances.

2XU Core Compression Long Sleeve

2XU Core Compression Long Sleeve

Best compression top

Men’s Fitness verdict

The breathable 2XU Core Compression top ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort, support and reducing muscle fatigue. Breathability is impressive too.
  • Good compresssion
  • Excellent flexibility
  • No color options
Material80% polyamide, 20% elastane
SizesXS – 2XL
FeaturesCircular knit; 360-degree stretch fabric; flatlock seams; raglan sleeves; vent panels; reflective logo

If you want to upgrade to the best workout clothes, compression kit offers the latest top-of-the-range technology to support your muscles during workouts. The 2XU Core Compression top boasts high-level compression and a wealth of technical features. While testing, we found it had a tight, compressive fit, which is designed to support the muscles during exercise and kickstart the recovery process afterwards.

Its thick yet lightweight PWX fabric – combined with well-placed vent panels – finds the sweet spot between insulation and ventilation. During our workouts, we found the top provided reliable temperature regulation. Plus, the raglan sleeves also ensured our movement was unrestricted, while elasticated sleeves and that second-skin fit kept the top in place on the torso.

Skins Series 5 Long tights

Skins Series 5 Long

Best compression tights

Men’s Fitness verdict

Once you manage to wriggle into these flexible, breathable tights you’ll enjoy targeted compression and superb comfort – but they’re not cheap.
  • Graduated compression
  • Fabric is smooth and comfortable
  • Waistband can roll up
  • Expensive
Material76% nylon, 24% elastane
SizesSmall – 2XL
FeaturesBreatheable mesh panels; elasticated internal drawcord; reflective logos; rear stretch pocket

The close-fitting Skins Series 5 are dedicated high-grade compression tights that can be worn during and after workouts. Featuring the highest compression levels in the Skins recovery gear line-up, they deliver targeted, graduated compression to all the major muscles in your lower torso. 

Once you feel their muscle vibration reduction benefits – whether you use them for road runs, strength sessions or HIIT workouts – you’ll find it hard to go back. While testing, we found the super-smooth, quick-drying fabric to be some of the comfiest we’ve ever had against the skin. Plus, flatlock seams kept chafing to a minimum while we were working out.

Product shot of a man wearing CXP compression shorts

CXP Ultralite XP Compression Shorts

Best sports boxers

Men’s Fitness verdict

These shorts offer plenty of support and mild compression benefits in a light, breathable package. The waistband is super comfy too.
  • Mildly compressive
  • Bonded anti-chafe seams
  • Excellent durability
  • Fairly expensive
Material86% polyamide, 14% spandex
SizesSmall – XL

For seriously comfy and supportive sports boxers with compression benefits, look no further than the CXP Ultralite XP. During workouts, we found the bonded seams completely eliminated chafing, while a multi-panel waistband was effective at spreading the pressure out evenly for a comfortable fit.

They’re also the lightest sports boxers we’ve tested, yet durability and moisture management are first-class. Whether you wear them for regular workouts or sports, longer sessions or multi-hour endurance events, you really can’t go wrong with these CXP shorts.

How we test the best workout clothes

When you’re looking to invest in new workout kit, we know just how crucial those trustworthy reviews can be in helping you reach that all-important decision. So, our team of trusted testers put dozens of tops, leggings, shorts, shoes and more through their paces to bring you the very best of the best. All items were tested in terms of fit, comfort and style, alongside how well they performed during various workouts. Our testers also honed in on the high-tech features each garment offers, from sweat-wicking fabrics and four-way stretch to breathable uppers and zero-chafe seams.

What to look for in the best workout clothes

The best workout clothes should only enhance your workout. You want stretch, flex and breathability. You want comfort, light weight and support. So look for technical clothes made from advanced sweat-wicking fabrics including nylon, elastane and polyester (or natural fibres like merino wool). Look for flattened or minimal seams to stop chafing. And look for a fit that is close and supportive with good coverage, without being restrictive.

Don’t forget shoes, either. Unless you’re focused on lifting you don’t want dedicated lifting shoes, which are too rigid for most other workouts. Instead, for gym shoes look for ones that offer lateral support, or for running you want good flex and cushioning through your stride. Both should be lightweight, with breathable uppers.

Best workout clothes FAQs

What’s the most important thing to look for in a workout top?

Breathability and sweat wicking performance are the most important things to look for in a gym shirt. A gym shirt that promotes air flow and that dries quickly will stay lighter, drier and more comfortable for longer.

What length of gym shorts should I wear?

Gym shorts tend to come in three lengths – 3-inch, 5-inch and 7-inch. The best 3-inch shorts tend to be the reserve of runners. The best 7-inch shorts offer excellent coverage and the most storage but are a little heavier. Five-inch shorts therefore offer a good compromise of range of movement, coverage, weight and support.

Can I wear my running shoes in the gym?

Unless most of your gym sessions are focused on treadmill running, we’d recommend looking for shoes that offer more lateral support. Running shoes are built purely to support movement in one axis; good gym shoes should offer support whichever way you move.

Can’t I just wear my regular clothes to the gym?

Wearing street clothes is a sure-fire way to feel uncomfortable, restricted and unsupported. From jeans studs digging into you during floor work to your undies rubbing while riding an air bike, you’re guaranteed to get less enjoyment from your workout.

Are loose or form-fitting workout clothes best?

This one’s a matter of choice, really, though more intense sessions tend to favour looser clothes to help keep you cool. They’ll give you a better range of movement, too, although tighter clothes will give you better support.

Do I need compression gear?

Compression clothes aren’t necessary but they do offer certain benefits. Those include increasing blood flow to aid muscle recovery post-workout and good support to reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.