A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist U.S.
Anyone who has shopped at a bigger-box store knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are dozens upon dozens of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Lululemon, with all of its stretchy, sweat-wicking offerings, is one of those brands, with an expansive inventory (more than 100 styles of leggings alone!) that can be overwhelming to sort through. Read on for all of our favourite Lululemon finds, from marathon-runner-recommended shorts (and tights and tops) to leggings beloved by fitness folk and new mums alike.
Lululemon’s longtime best-selling Wunder Unders still get praise from fitness pros — and they’re our pick for the best overall workout leggings for women. These leggings not only have sweat-wicking and four-way stretch fabric, they now include waistband pockets that can hold your key, a credit card or ID, even a hair tie. Eastnine coach Tashi Skervin-Clarke calls them “squatproof,” while Maria Eleftheriou, head of barre at Psycle London says the Wunder Under in 28-inch length has finally given her a pair of leggings that flatter her five-foot-nine height and “hold their shape during movements.”
Lululemon’s Align pants are one of the most universally beloved pairs we’ve written about.‘They are the softest pair of leggings I own — they feel like a second skin’, says Tally Rye, personal trainer and author of Train Happy, who wears them to work with her clients and for her own gym workouts. For Eleftheriou, Align’s allure is in the way they “hold their shape and quality during movements.” Digme Fitness founder Caoimhe Bamber likes the way the “thick, high waistband helps you feel tucked in,” while Courtney Murray, a barre teacher at triyoga, singles out these as one of the few black leggings that “remain completely opaque, despite constant washing.” They’re available in sizes UK 4-18, with three lengths and 29 colours. Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester is another fan: She wore these while seven months pregnant and told us the same pair still fits her years later: “My proportions have more or less returned to normal, but the fabric has snapped back, too; it continues to conform to my shape.”
This shorter version of the Align pants also works as both workoutwear and loungewear, according to the Cut’s Diana Tsui. Made with lycra fibre that helps the pants hold their shape, Tsui says they offer a snug fit “without squishing any internal organs.” She adds: “They’re so ridiculously comfortable that I also wear them to sleep.”
The Strategist’s resident running expert, senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, calls this style one of her favourite pairs of running shorts. She likes that they are roomy enough around the legs, have a nifty side zipper pocket, and are long enough without getting in the way. “The slightly longer length provides generous coverage which can be nice on longer runs,” according to Adelson.
“When the weather’s verging on too cold for shorts, fitted styles like these are warmer than loose ones since they allow for less airflow,” Adelson says of these shorts, which she also loves to run in. “These are thin enough that you’ll never overheat,” she adds, noting that she “also loves the generously sized pockets, which fit my phone, keys, and some energy gels.”
Adelson also likes to wear these cropped tights on runs in cooler weather. “I started wearing these in the past year, and now I have them in three different colours,” she writes. “Like the Fast and Free shorts, they’re so thin and stretchy they feel like a second skin.”
Fitness instructor Hollis Tuttle, who is also a Lululemon ambassador, says that this Lululemon racerback goes the extra mile during runs: “It’s very breathable, light (even when sweaty), dries quickly, and does not chafe.” The lightweight fabric is interwoven with naturally antimicrobial silver thread to prevent odor (Tuttle calls it “anti-stink technology”). Adelson — who is not a Lululemon ambassador — is also a fan, telling us that “this top is a workhorse that gets me through most of the summer.”
According to personal trainer and yoga teacher Lauren Seib, this versatile split-back top will help you avoid unsightly back sweat during heavy workouts: “Wear it ‘open and flowy’ for barre and crushing weights in the gym or tied up in the back for practicing your arm balances next vinyasa.”
This workout top with a built-in bra — a feature that Lululemon calls “the original life hack” — is Y7 founder and CEO Sarah Larson Levey’s favourite for low-intensity workouts. “I love that it has a built-in bra and vertical ribbing, which makes it super-slimming, so it doesn’t bunch up during workouts.” The cups are removable, too, so the amount of coverage is totally up to you.
Tuttle told us that this long-sleeve top is “light and moves well without chafing,” adding that it can be both “a great top or midlayer piece.” Another feature she likes is that it “has thumb holes for a little extra protection over my hands.” Like other Lululemon tops on this list, it’s also woven with bacterial-killing silver thread to help minimize odour.
Strategist junior writer Chloe Anello calls this “a great lightweight fleece” to throw on when there’s a chill in the air, whether at home or outdoors. “It protects me from a breeze, but I also won’t overheat.”
Women’s bras and accessories
Lululemon’s Long Line Energy Bra came out with tops for Melissa Weldon, head trainer at Sweat It London, and Liberty Cox, trainer at Sweat by BXR. A long version of its original Energy Bra, this crop top has a band that extends an extra inch downward. The range is available in sizes 2-14, which correlates with back size, with size 2 being equal to 76 cm. Weldon, a B cup (a size 4 in this bra), wears hers when teaching treadmill running classes and likes how it offers flexibility and movement while also providing solid support. Cox, a G cup (and a size 10 in this bra), notes the bra has “retained its shape and quality despite hundreds of washes” and finds the longer length gives enough coverage to feel comfortable wearing it as outerwear during spin and weights sessions.
Bethany Lyons, the founder and CEO of Lyons Den Power Yoga, told us that the Lululemon Flow Y Bra is “forever and always” her go-to for boot-camping, spinning, or other medium-impact activities that call for moderate support and coverage. It’s made from lightweight, four-way stretch material, with minimal seams and removable cups, making it an ideal bra if you’re after that barely-there feel. “It’s versatile, looks good under anything, is comfortable, and gives great coverage,” Lyons adds.
According to Navarro College cheerleader Morgan Simianer, a lot of her female teammates “wear Lululemon sports bras.” She adds that “it depends on the girl, and certain things can be pricey, so preferences vary.” Melissa Weldon also turns to Lululemon for low-impact workouts such as yoga and weights. “Its Free to Be Wild bra is so lightweight I barely feel it,” she says. “The cross detail on the back [six interwoven straps] offers suitable support, but also creates a sexy silhouette under T shirts.” Weldon, a B cup, wears its Light Support A/B style as she needs “minimal support,” but the wider Free to Be range covers A-D cups, with long-line and high-neck styles. For this range, choose your cup size, and then select the size that correlates to your back size (2 is equal to 76 cm).
Simianer also told us that this Lululemon scrunchie is a popular item among her teammates. She says the Cheer stars all have them in “multiple colours” and “try to mix and match them with what we’re wearing.”
A slightly sweeter version of the the scrunchie above, this Uplifting Scrunchie with a bow is the one that contributor Elizabeth DuBois uses to tie her hair back for practically any kind of workout. “I struggled to find a hair tie to work out in until I found this breathable scrunchie — which not only dries fast thanks to its sweat-wicking fabric but more importantly holds my high bun in place whether I’m pedaling through Soul Cycle or attempting Warrior 3 at Modo Yoga,” she told us.
Strategist editor Maxine Builder finds the Lululemon branding on the front “a little embarrassing at times,” but in terms of function, this belt bag is “excellent.” She can fit all of her necessities, including sunglasses case, wallet, phone, and car keys, and “easily sling it across my chest.” Plus, “it’s fairly sturdy” and “water-resistant,” so she can wear it in a rainstorm and not worry that anything will get soaked.
Trainer Megan Norregaard told us that this Lululemon backpack is her favourite gym bag because it is “functional and stylish” as well as “durable and water-resistant.” Other details to like include a water-bottle holder, laptop sleeve, expandable pocket for dirty clothes, and an exterior phone pocket.
Sports bras and scrunchies aren’t the only thing from Lululemon that Navarro cheerleaders love. According to the team’s assistant coach Andy Cosferent, guys on the squad often wear these shorts to practice in.
This lined version of the above shorts is a favourite pair of Matt Jared, the co-founder of yoga and meditation nonprofit United We Om, who recommends them as some of the best gym shorts for men. He wears his to teach classes, telling us that “the fit is loose and relaxed, but they stay in place and don’t pinch, no matter what shape I find myself in.” Jared adds that he “especially likes the liner, which has serious moisture-wicking capabilities and keeps everything in place.” If you prefer shorts that are linerless, Lululemon also sells this style without one.
These slightly shorter lined Pace Breaker shorts are a favourite gym short of Chris Keyloun, a coach at New York City rowing studio Rowgatta, who likes that the “comfortable liner allows you to move in all directions.” He’s also a fan of their well-placed pockets, which include a zipper pocket made to hold smartphones. “It will hold your phone securely in place whether you’re rowing a 6K or sprinting a 2K,” Keyloun says. Lululemon makes a linerless version of this style, too.
Strategist writer Louis Cheslaw says these pants are “transformative,” calling out flattering design details like their flat front and dark colour, their size range that runs to XXL, and adding that the pants’ “stretchy, proprietary Warpstreme fabric keeps me from overheating and can accommodate any position I sit in.”
Another cool-guy-approved pair of Lululemon pants, these joggers — which are as suitable for working out as they are for lounging — are a favourite of Donnell Baldwin, a former style director for Mr Porter. He’s owned a pair for years, promising the price is worth it because “they don’t fall apart.”
Yoga instructor Ben Wisch says that this tank’s moisture-wicking material and “strategic” mesh ventilation are two reasons why he wears it to teach classes. We think those are two reasons to wear it for other workouts, too.
Like the women’s Swiftly long-sleeve crewneck, this long-sleeve Lululemon men’s crewneck has silver threads to reduce odour, in addition to being breathable and moisture-wicking.
They’re not athletes, but opera singers love these scarves. That’s according to opera singer Luca Pisaroni, who told us that this full-coverage unisex scarf is “frequently used in the opera industry because it is a 360-degree, long scarf that you can wrap around your neck. We all have them because we are all throat and neck freaks.”
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