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What to wear to work out

A girl tying her shoe.

Wondering what to wear when you work out? Well, lots of activities don't require any special clothes. Sometimes, your clothes do matter. (And we don't mean how cool they look! Anybody who is working out looks cool, we say!) Get tips on:

Choosing workout clothes arrow. top

When picking a workout outfit, remember:

  • Don't wear clothes that are very tight. You need to be able to move freely. And if you want to stay cool, air needs to reach your skin so it can dry your sweat.
  • Color matters (really). In the summer, lighter colors will help you keep cooler. In the winter, dark clothes trap light and help you stay warm.
  • Wear layers when it is cold out. You can take some off as you warm up.
  • The right stuff 

    Don't forget about safety! Wearing the right equipment can help keep you safe when you're playing sports or being active. Read more about equipment and staying safe.

  • Think about your head. Wear a hat or cap for sun protection. In cold weather, wear wool or ski caps to stay warm.
  • Find the right fabric. If you are going to sweat, you may be more comfortable in material that soaks up wetness. Try a synthetic, like polypropylene (say: pol-ee-PROH-puh-leen). Cotton may be less comfortable because it stays wet longer.
  • Consider wearing a comfortable sports bra. Wearing a supportive sports bra can help protect your breasts and keep them from bouncing painfully while exercising. Try on a few to see which style you prefer. If you need help finding the right fit, ask for help in a department store or bra store.

How to pick the right workout shoes arrow. top

Wearing the right shoes when you work out is very important. To find the right pair, follow these tips:

  • Make sure your shoes protect your feet. They should be sturdy and have cushioned soles. They should also have arch supports (the raised part inside that curves under the bottom of your foot).
  • Make sure the shoe is right for what you do. If you plan to run or play a certain sport a lot, consider shoes made for that activity. Tennis players should wear tennis shoes and runners should wear running shoes, for example. Ask a sports shoe salesperson for help.
  • Get the right fit. Ask a salesperson to measure your foot and then to check the fit. The wrong fit can hurt or even cause foot problems. Try to shop at the end of the day when your feet are a little larger (just like they are when you exercise). Also, when trying on shoes, wear the kind of socks you wear to work out.


Content last reviewed March 27, 2015
Page last updated July 16, 2015