Athletic Clothing Trends That Work (And Those That Don’t)

Every year, you see advertisements for the latest and greatest athletic clothing trends, promising big results so long as you pay up. And so, it follows that by the next year, the fitness flops of the previous year have vanished in the discount bin and couldn’t be moved with a buy-one-get-fifteen free sign. Have you bought one of these haphazard fitness trends before? Do any of them actually work? Let’s take a look at the worst athletic clothing trends to avoid and the best ones that are worth your time and money.

Worst Athletic Clothing Trends 

Abdominal Electronic Stimulation Clothing

Ab shockers, as they were called back in the early 2000s, are still making their rounds in the fitness gear industry. You might even remember the throwback commercials and advertisements of the guy sitting on the couch, watching television, while he built six-pack abs.

The idea is that instead of eating healthy and performing core-focused exercises such as crunches and leg lifts, you can wear a belt that wraps around your midsection. On the front, you’ll find a small keypad that increases and decreases the intensity of electrical shocks that are sent through the skin, forcing the muscles to contract. 

Sure, sounds great on paper, but the reality is that these belts don’t work. Have you ever built 19-inch biceps from simply flexing your arm? Aside from a great party prank, these belts don’t amount to much.

Stability Improvement Shoes

Balance, stability, and proprioception became hot fitness keywords several years ago, and they haven’t let up. This obsession with training your balance and stability every chance you get led to the development of shoes that placed you in a state of instability the moment you slid them on. You might remember that one of the big-name companies got into trouble for making pretty big claims about the benefits of its instability sneakers. 

Yes, it’s important to train your body to adjust to unbalanced environments such as when you perform bodyweight squats on a BOSU; however, that unstable environment doesn’t need to follow you into the real world. Not only is it unproven science, but it’s potentially dangerous. Imagine carrying groceries upstairs in shoes that have no intention of cooperating.

Ionic Arm Bands

The crazy instability shoes were plausible; even the ab belt seemed feasible, but ionic arm bands might be the hardest pill to swallow. 

In general, ionic arm bands are pieces of durable material that have supposedly been integrated with low frequency technology waves. The most popular bands are for your wrist, but they also have ones for your ankle and neck. Pet ionic bands are also a thing, just in case you were wondering. The claims of better blood flow, more oxygen uptake, and enhanced athletic performance quickly caught on and haven’t moved. 

As you might expect, there aren’t any studies backing up these big claims. They might be a great fashion accessory if that’s the look you’re going for, but don’t expect much in the way of health benefits.

Best Fitness Apparel Trends 

Sauna Suits

The best sauna suits – the ones that work – are made from neoprene material, which is the same thing used to make diving suits. Sauna suits have been shown to safely increase your body temperature in the same way an actual sauna would. You can sit around your house or go through your normal workout. The benefits?

Aside from short term water weight loss, sauna suits can help to promote better tolerance to heat, improve total fatigue time, and support long term weight management. Remember that the key is to use the ones made with neoprene, not cheap PVC plastic.

Compression Clothing

While cotton t-shirts will always hold that classic crown for fitness clothing, compression clothing has made a grand entrance on to the scene. Compression-based workout clothes doesn’t mean tight shirts or leggings; rather, compression clothing is designed to provide an exact amount of tightness to promote a variety of benefits.

Compression clothing has been shown to help with blood flow, making it ideal for the athlete and the elderly person trying to get back into being active. Stylish, comfortable, and durable, compression fitness apparel needs to be in your wardrobe.

Wick Away Clothing

Maybe you’re in an intense cardio class, or maybe you decided to brave the gym that doesn’t have an air conditioner: either way, you’re about to sweat… a lot. The last thing that you want is to be drenched in sweat, feeling like your swimming instead of running. Thankfully, that’s where wick away workout clothes can help.

Usually made from blends of polyester, rayon, and spandex, wick away clothing helps to get the sweat off your body without soaking it into the shirt or pants. This means you stay dry, and you don’t have to worry about odor-causing bacteria latching on to your clothes. Super comfortable, ridiculously good-looking, wick away clothing is a staple for any gym goer.

Squatting and Deadlifting Shoes

If you’re serious about setting personal bests in the big three: squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing, you’ll want to give yourself every advantage you can. This is where the right pair of shoes can help.

Lifting for the numbers requires more than just a normal pair of sneakers, you need gear that is made exactly for that one movement you’re doing. Squatting and deadlifting shoes are designed to maximize your performance while minimizing your risk of injury. While deadlifting shoes get you as close to the ground as possible to ensure perfect form and maximum lift, squatting shoes help to keep your hip to ankle ratio spot on.

What Athletic Clothing Trends Do You Wear? 

Are you a fan of compression clothing? Ever try a sauna suit before? Let us know about your favorite fitness apparel trends in the comments below!

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What I love about this brand is that we're creating pieces that are worn over and over. It's not about seasons and we don't work to trends.

Auguste's Head Designer & Creative Director