The new year and its usual resolutions are well under way at this point, and with springtime fast approaching, it’s time for many to amp up their workout wardrobe for looking great while sweating it out. It’s easy to fall into the rut of throwing on the same tired sweats, but feeling good about how you look can help boost your mood and confidence and give you the energy you need to give it your all.
We looked at hundreds of stylish options on the market and even asked vendors to send in some favorites, and the choices below reflect some upcoming trends we noticed in activewear that will have you looking fresh this season and beyond. Whether it’s a rich blue sports bra with ferocious staying power or a windbreaker that calls up 90s street fashion, here are our favorite women’s activewear pieces for spring 2021.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Featuring a ferocious tiger graphic and stunning sapphire color, this sports bra is a great option for those who like to show a little skin while working out but also need support.
BeReal generously sent one of these bras over for testing to show the real support provided with this option. The fabric feels expensive and deliciously smooth, and the bra provides a snug fit for small (as seen on the model above) and ample busts (a la this cardio-addicted writer) alike. While those of us on the larger end of the spectrum may experience a bit of, eh, squishing, the thin pads inside for lining are easily moved to the side to give more of a lift than a smoosh, plus nothing is ever at risk of falling out unexpectedly.
There’s also no excessive cutting into the areas around the arms and back, and wearing something this bright and fun adds an instant boost to any workout. Definitely invest in one of these sports bras if you want to feel good before, during, and after your workout, and grab the matching leggings for a complete look.
A workout catsuit sounds daunting, but the stretch of the fabric and intensely flattering cut will put you at ease in no time. The "Brazilian bubble" design fabric conceals lumps and bumps while smoothing any bulges, and the halter neckline makes this a great piece of athleisure that goes from the yoga mat to the grocery store without losing an ounce of attitude. Another bonus: There are more than 30 color options available, so you don’t have to commit to the leopard option we love if it’s too loud for your tastes.
Anyone with thighs that even remotely touch while you’re walking will know the pain of so-called “chub rub” once you add a little heat and friction to the equation. Patented Bandettes counteract this issue by providing a non-slip fabric barrier to prevent skin-on-skin contact that causes unsightly redness and intense pain, both things that might prevent you from being enthusiastic about your workout.
While designed for slipping on under dresses and shorts in warmer weather for daily use, these are a lifesaver for wearing during long walks or runs once the weather starts warming up. They come in a variety of colors and fabrics, even in a sexy lace pattern, so snag a few pairs for your every mood and outfit and never suffer the soreness of inner thigh chafing again.
Blue is quite the on-trend color for Spring 2021, and this hoodie that can work for casual daily wear or a workout is proof positive it’s a good one. Made of 100% certified organic cotton, the creative but dainty graphics strewn across it represent the elements and thus are meant to symbolically link “the purification of water to the beauty of the environment as a whole,” according to Able Made.
The company’s founder Suzanne created a youth soccer foundation to honor her late husband after losing him to cardiac arrest while playing the game he loved so much, followed by Able Made to provide financial support. All products are created locally to “love, last, and make a difference,” and you can read more on their wonderful back story here before investing in a piece like the one above.
Once things start heating up during your workout, you’ll be thrilled by the breathability and naked skin you get with these great short shorts.
Featuring Nike’s super soft Pro fabric and Dri-FIT technology, sweat won’t be an issue as it is wicked away from the skin and quickly evaporated through the fabic. Four-way stretch means you’re never bound or dealing with a too-tight fit, and the figure hugging look will let your confidence shine.
What better for spring than a classic light jacket in a cheery pink color that reflects the blooming season? An adjustable hem and elastic cuffs make this track favorite customizable to fit your body perfectly, and only high-performance recyclable materials were used in its making, perfect for the eco-conscious wearer. Buy with the matching pants for head-to-toe coordination.
Clever contouring through color works on everything from makeup to clothing to give the illusion of a more chiseled shape, but this glam workout set from ASOS takes it to a whole new level by adding glitter to the equation.
The V-neck bra is a pull-on style with no pesky wires (so you won’t get poked mid-run), and the figure-hugging leggings feature an elastic waist and stretch throughout for a flattering look that moves effortlessly with your body throughout the workout.
For those who prefer their workout wear less revealing and tight, these Nike basketball shorts are a fantastic choice with the same DRI-Fit tech as the Nike shorts above with less restriction. An adjustable elastic waistband lets you cinch them as needed to keep them from falling down while you’re active, plus you can choose from four great basic colors.
You can never have too many pairs of basic, stretchy yoga pants and these come in varying lengths to accommodate a variety of heights. The three neutral color options have your bases covered, so order in all three to build up your workout basics.
Tennis and 90s nostalgia lovers rejoice! There’s a skort made of breathable fabric featuring a reflective logo for safety and a pocket in four different colors for just $12.96 each. An adjustable waistband adds comfort, as do the matching slits on either side that prevent the fabric from minimizing your range of motion.
As seen on the model, this windbreaker looks amazing with a big pair of hoops (like a pair we suggest in this piece on jewelry we love) but works as a light layer to protect you from blustery spring winds while getting in your outdoor workout. Reviews average out to 4.9 out of 5 stars so you know it’s a buyer favorite, but many suggest sizing up since there’s no stretch and you’ll most likely be moving a lot in it.
Tie dye continues to be “in” this upcoming season, so buy into the trend and look like the clouds on a sunny day in this textured two-piece set. The waffled fabric is super forgiving, and reviewers rave about the material’s thickness and quality, especially for such a low price.