What Is Activewear?

What Is Activewear?

By: Heather Bien

If you’ve ever tried to play catch in a skirt or made the mistake of wearing denim to the gym, you know how vital it is to have some activewear essentials in your wardrobe. 

But what if the term has you scratching your head and wondering, what is activewear, really? 

Put simply, activewear refers to clothing designed to be worn when you’re active, such as when you exercise or play sports.1 These items of clothing often use special fabrics and materials to make them more breathable, flexible, and supportive.

Still, there are some nuances to the women’s activewear options, and knowing what to use when can help you give your body a boost when it’s go time.

The activewear guide to get you moving

Planning to take a jog or curl some dumbbells? Your khakis will likely feel less than comfortable. They also won’t give you as much support as an activewear option.

Workout clothes and sportswear are extra essential when doing a physical activity or exercise. So, what items should you consider when staying active—and how can they benefit your performance? Let’s work through the activewear essentials from the inside out.

Undies and essentials

Out of sight, out of mind may be true for some clothing items. However, the clothing you wear under everything else can make a big difference when you’re in motion. That goes whether you’re a speed-walking champion or trying to set new rollerblading records.

The activewear undies and essentials you might need include:

  • Sports bras – If your chest could benefit from extra support, a well-fitting sports bra is a must. Sports bras come in a range of options, often sorted by their level of support for low-impact to high-impact sports. That means you might want a low-impact option for yoga, whereas hurdle jumping would qualify as high-impact. While you can certainly stock up on every option, a medium-support bra that provides coverage but wicks away moisture can work for most active occasions.

  • Socks – You could just wear any old ankle socks when working out, but you’d also be missing out. Socks designed just for sports often include breathable mesh panels, compression for arch support, and all-around comfort and flexibility you might not get from your regular pair.

  • Underwear – If stopping to adjust a pair of bunched-up undies before crossing the finish line isn’t in your training plan, you might want to choose these wisely. Your undies don’t necessarily have to fall under the activewear umbrella. However, when it comes to high activity, a pair of stretchy, form-fitting undies can be more comfortable and forgiving. 

  • Whether you're packing these items as gym bag essentials or wearing them, don't forget that what's under matters as much as what's over when it comes to active wear and workout clothes. 

    women's bras


    Sure, shooting hoops in a button-up or pencil skirt might give you that professional meets sports pro look. But to optimize your motion and comfort, you may want some tops designed to move as much as you do. Activewear doesn't have to be ugly either. Finding your style of workout gear from yoga pants to leggings and different style tops can make you look stylish and comfortable, and might even motivate you to work out more. 

    Consider the following options for your upper half’s activewear wardrobe:

    • Tees – T-shirts may already be the bread and butter of gym fashion. However, activewear tees often come with special features. Namely, they’re equipped with sweat-wicking fabric and odor-fighting features. Those special traits can help you feel cool and breezy even when pushing your limits.
    • Sweatshirts and hoodies – Whether you’re warming up or trying to fend off freezing temps, sweatshirts and hoodies are activewear staples. To avoid overheating, look for active pullovers that still allow your body to breathe - like those included in our sustainable athleisure collection. A zip-up sweatshirt is a flexible option for when you need to shed some layers quickly.
    • Tanks – A tank can be prime for showing off your hard-earned muscles—not to mention keeping cool when all that movement starts to bring the heat. When shopping for an activewear tank, keep in mind how the armholes and fit might affect your range of motion.
    What is activewear?


    Those legs do a lot of work in getting us from A to B. Or, you know, from the couch to the kitchen. Movement is movement—but making the most of it might require some special gear.

    Some activewear options for your lower half include:

    • Leggings – Leggings fit close to your skin, making them excellent for layering or wearing on their own. Activewear leggings differ from fashion leggings in that they offer fuller coverage and sometimes extra compression or support. As an added bonus, some come with pockets for your keys and phone.
    • Joggers – Joggers have a looser fit than leggings, but, as the name implies, they’re also a superb choice for taking a run. You can wear joggers on their own or layer them in the wintertime to add extra warmth to your workout.
    • Shorts – Activewear shorts come in several varieties, but many have the same benefits as a good pair of active leggings. The fit you choose mainly depends on the type of activity and how it might affect your motion. For example, you may want a set of supportive, tight-fitting bike shorts for cycling. Meanwhile, a looser pair of sweat shorts can feel better for a jog.

    Don’t forget to take good care of your activewear by washing it regularly. Washing your activewear doesn't only ensure you're cleaning sweat and bacteria out, but it also ensures they last longer. And if you're wondering how to wash workout clothes, this can be as simple as washing them in cold water or reading the instructions on the tag. 

    What is activewear?

    Make your move with Boody Eco Wear

    Maybe your morning movement involves wrestling with your pup, or you’re counting up the miles on your mountain bike. Or maybe activewear pieces are your answer to what to wear on a long flight when opting for comfortable clothing. However you like to keep your body moving, or sitting, the right activewear can make a big difference. That’s true for you and the earth.

    At Boody Eco Wear, we design clothing that’s light, comfortable, and luxuriously soft—but also sustainable. That’s why our bamboo viscose clothing comes with plastic-free packaging and a smaller carbon footprint than other activewear options. 

    For activewear you can feel good about, start moving with Boody.


    About the Author:

    Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.


    1. Quinn, Bradley. "Activewear." Love To Know.  https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-types-styles/activewear 

    You may also like

    Read more

    The Best Father's Day 2023 Gifts...according to Boody

    Read more

    Meet the Models Behind Boody’s Pride Photo Shoot

    Read more

    Spotted in the Press - Featuring Jane Goodall

    Read more

    What to Look for When Buying Activewear

    Read more

    #ClimateTogether Alliance