Proper Clothing for Exercise

by Jennifer Loucks

About Jennifer Loucks

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.


Proper exercise clothing makes working out comfortable, so that you want to continue with the activity. Wicking clothing, also called athletic, technical or performance clothing, is the best clothing choice for all activities and climates. This type of clothing breathes well, dries quickly and holds its shape to prevent stretching.


Exercise clothing is available in different fabric weights, styles and features depending on the type of exercise being performed. Read the clothing labels prior to making a purchase to verify the item is appropriate for the desired activity. Choose to try on the clothing since you want items that fit well, look good, and give comfort without being too large or tight.

Lightweight Clothing

Exercising in hot weather and indoor workouts require you to wear lightweight outfits, best made from wicking material since you want to pull the sweat off your skin for comfort. Select tops that fit well without being so tight that they bind while moving or so loose that they add unnecessary draping, which prevents smooth arm and body movements. Choose pants or shorts that allow you to freely move your legs and have a comfortable waistband that is not so tight that it pinches your body or so loose that it slides down while moving. Do not choose items made from cotton as these will hold the sweat and create heavy and wet clothing during your workout.

Cold Weather Clothing

Cold weather workouts require you to wear clothing that insulates your body yet pulls moisture from your skin to keep you warm. Choose to dress in layers while working out in cold temperatures so you can remove one layer at a time as you get warm. Wear a lightweight wicking item as the layer closest to your skin, followed by a heavier wicking item. Choose an insulating polar fleece vest or jacket as the top layer to keep your arms and torso warm.


Remember to purchase undergarments that breathe and will wick the moisture from your skin. There is no point in wearing athletic clothing if the undergarments are cotton. Purchase athletic undergarments made from a breathable, wicking fabric to prevent moisture buildup, which promotes bacteria growth and causes irritation to your skin.


Shoes are an important item of clothing for exercise and are often overlooked. Because different styles of exercise shoes absorb shock in different areas depending on the activity, choose a shoe type that fits the specific exercise you're engaging in. Purchase running shoes if you are running, jogging or speed walking; buy aerobic shoes for using gym equipment or aerobic classes. Make sure the toe box allows room for the toes to wiggle freely. Your foot's heel should not slide in and out of the shoe when tied tightly. Regular exercise requires replacing your shoes approximately every six months since the cushioning breaks down.

Photo Credits:

  • exercise at the beach image by Pix by Marti from

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or