It's no secret that workout clothes are far from cheap. Nowadays, a full workout outfit, including bottoms, a top and sports bra can cost upwards of $200 (and that's being frugal).
But you don't need to pay sky-high prices to get high-quality, durable workout clothes. And to prove it to you, we've gathered 11 of the best cheap workout clothes all under $50.
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How We Chose
We chatted with trainers, gym-goers and our own staff to get some firsthand insight on the best workout clothes under $50. To narrow in on the best of the best, we used criteria including:
- Extra features
We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to gender. While more brands now carry gender-neutral workout clothes, you’ll still typically see clothing brands market their products to men or women.
The main difference between most women's and men's clothing is the fit: Men's versions tend to be longer in length and roomier due to physical differences. However, fabrics, quality and comfort should be the same between gender-labeled pairs. We encourage everyone to purchase the products that feel right for them.
1. Target Men's Short Sleeve Soft Stretch T-Shirt
These simple tees should be a non-negotiable in your closet, according to Darnell Hardy, CPT, a CrossFit coach at Paradiso CrossFit. These shirts wick sweat, dry quickly and they come in 10 different colors with inclusive sizing.
"These shirts have great stretch, which is perfect for any overhead exercises I do," he says. And the price point is as wallet-friendly as it gets.
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $18
2. Mammut Aegility Half Zip Longsleeve Women
This half zip is on sale now, and Jessica Campbell-Salley, LIVESTRONG.com's Senior Fitness Editor and Colorado-based hiking expert, plans to stock up.
"This is my go-to summer in the mountains mid-layer: It is super lightweight but still long sleeve to protect me from high alpine sun, and the half zip is clutch for often-shifting weather," she says. "It dries fast, too, so it doesn't weigh me down on the uphills."
This one has a boxy fit, which Campbell-Salley loves, so she can layer as needed underneath. And it fits true to size with relaxed-fit arms.
Buy it: Mammut.com; Price: $48
3. Nike Pro Dri-FIT Short-Sleeve Top
"The material is sweat wicking and though it has some stretch to it, it doesn't have that Lycra look or feel, which I do not like," he says. Plus, these last: "I've never had one break down on me in terms of holes or tears, making it unlike other brands I have tried."
Buy it: Nike.com; Price: $24.97
4. Athleta Ultimate Bra
Although this bra sits right below the $50 budget, it's worth the splurge, according to Danielle Zickl, LIVESTRONG.com's fitness editor and avid runner.
"I've gotten my money's worth and wear it for all types of workouts: running, yoga, indoor cycling and HIIT workouts," she says. "The fabric is smooth on the skin and doesn't bunch anywhere, and the bra itself is super supportive."
Plus, this one is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from A to DD+ cups, XXS to 3X.
5. Nike Swoosh Long Line Bra
As LIVESTRONG.com's Associate Fitness Editor who loves triathlon training, tis simple racerback bra is an excellent workout staple for any kind of exercise, including my long bike rides or mobility sessions.
This bra actually has a super deep pocket in the front, starting at the neckline and running all the way to the bottom of the bra. When I go out on a long road ride, I hate carrying a backpack but I can store my car key, cell phone and even an energy gel all in this big pocket.
Buy it: REI.com; Price: $42
6. Yogipace Lightweight Wrinkle Resistant Travel Pants
These are similar to the Lululemon Dance Studio pants but for half the price. These pants are lightweight and breathable, plus they have adjustable drawcords on the legs to make them shorter as needed.
I'm always looking for a pair of versatile workout pants because the gym is rarely my last stop of the day. These are comfortable and dry quickly, so I can go from my workout to Trader Joe's without feeling gross.
These are best for lower-intensity workouts, though, like walking, yoga or light strength training.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $41.99
7. 1st Phorm Venture Shorts
Hardy likes 1st Phorm shorts for all his workouts. These come in multiple colors and have 4-way stretch and zipper side pockets, which are perfect for holding valuables, like your keys or phone.
The drawstrings allow you to find your perfect fit and you can get these bottoms in a wide size range, from small to 3XL.
Buy it: 1stPhorm.com; Price: $40
8. Senita Athletics Lux Baseline Shorts
They're versatile, stretchy and have pockets — all for under $30? These workout shorts are a no-brainer for Sarah Klein, CPT, LIVESTRONG.com's Editorial Director. She loves them so much she bought a second pair.
"My black pair withstands my sweatiest workouts without showing moisture, the 5-inch inseam offers a good amount of coverage without feeling restrictive and these don't ride up," she says. "They also fit undetected under skirts or dresses to prevent chafing!"
Buy it: SenitaAthletics.com; Price: $29
These days, leggings can cost upwards of $100 — definitely not wallet-friendly. But you don't need to break the bank to buy a high-quality, durable pair of leggings. Case in point: These Old Navy 7/8 tights.
"These leggings are hands-down the best pair I've ever worn," Dayan Marquina, LIVESTRONG.com's Digital Designer and a running and yoga enthusiast, says. "They're incredibly stretchy in all the right places, yet they still manage to stay snug and in place while I'm running on the treadmill."
As a heavy mid-workout sweater, she loves that these wick moisture, helping her feel dry even as she transitions from running to lifting weights. Plus, the fabric feels buttery but slip-free, giving her all the stability she needs to move from one yoga pose to the next
Buy it: Oldnavy.com; Price: $29.99
10. Nike Dri-Fit Form Shorts
Nike's Dri-Fit workout shorts top Howell's list when it comes to training gear. The unlined, 7-inch shorts give plenty of mobility and wiggle room in the thighs without sacrificing a sleek look, he says.
He loves the durable fabric and has worn his shorts through plenty of tough CrossFit workouts. And as a bonus, the pockets are deep enough to hold valuables while moving to and from the gym.
Buy it: Dickssportinggoods.com; Price: $45
11. Fabletics Women's High-Waisted UltraCool Legging
For D'Annette Stephens, CPT, Fabletics' leggings are her go-to for all kinds of workouts. These are high-waisted with a wide waistband, so they offer plenty of support.
"They are a thick but lightweight fabric," she says. "They're not constricting with the high waisted band, and they're flexible for any type of workout."
You don't even need a Fabletics membership to buy — you can get them on Amazon.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $30
3 Factors to Consider Before You Buy
Even when you're shopping for budget-friendly clothes, keep an eye out for high-quality fabrics. As Marquina mentions above, moisture-wicking materials are a must.
Before you buy a pair of leggings or T-shirt, read the product info to guarantee it's quick-drying and/or moisture-wicking. You want to avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture and stays damp. Instead, opt for synthetic blends, including polyester, nylon or Lycra.
2. Time of Year
If you're not in a huge rush to stock up, wait until a major shopping holiday (like Black Friday or President's Day). Most athletic brands have sales around holidays, so you can get high-quality brands for a fraction of their original price.
But, if you're in need of a new sports bra ASAP, browse sale sections often. Although generally more pricey, Nike, Athleta and Lululemon (among others) tend to always have some sort of markdowns with a wide variety of sizes and products.
Just because you're paying a reasonable price for products doesn't mean you can't enjoy top-level features. Like the shorts Klein recommends or the bra I love, you can still find cheap workout clothes with plenty of helpful extras, like pockets or zippers.
Think about what features are best for your purposes and favorite activities. If you're a cyclist (like me), a top pocket allows easy reach on the bike. Or, if you love hiking and climbing, like Campbell-Salley, zipper tops give some extra ventilation. Consider what you'd love to have during your workout and look for it while you shop.