The ultimate guide to workout clothes and leggings that aren’t Lululemon! Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good pair of Lululemon’s, (hello Align legging) BUT the world has more to offer! Brands that have an inclusive message, harness the power of community, and attention grabbing designs!
Below are the brands I commonly rotate into my daily loungewear, light barre workout, or heavy strength training workout like Barry’s. Each brand makes multiple fabrics depending on activity, and I dive deeper into what fabrics work best for what you’re looking for in each brand description below!
You probably know about my love for Outdoor Voices already, but if not, check out this detailed blog post fully dedicated to OV.
- Warm Up leggings – are the thicker material, mid-rise and made for “recreation” (pink set above). The only reason I prefer it over the Tech Sweat material is the matching Venus color block crop top / bra. Also, this is my fav material to wear as a base layer skiing.
- Tech Sweat – thinner, cooler, high-waisted and sculpting!
- FreeForm – soft, coziest fabric they make! These are the pair to wear all day and lounge
Quality and thick yoga pants with their signature materials made for yoga, barre, and lounge. What got me hooked on the brand was the Moto legging – they have a craft for mesh and Moto designs and come un every color under the sun. I love the matching tops and sports bras – lots of cut outs and variations in length (crop top or full length).
Varley makes a variety of materials so this brand can essentially work for any type of workout activity! The ones I’m wearing are a soft, seamless and very stretchy pair. More of a lounge and barre style than a high intensity workout, but if I had to run in them it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They also make a thin, sweat wicking, lightweight material that would be better for more sweaty style workouts! The one that I’m wearing is the seamless style, this one is called Noble. Also – Varley’s printed leggings are amazing! Lots of animal prints with snakeskin and leopard workout leggings.
I love this brand so much I dedicated a whole blog post to cover their workout sets.
After owning this set for about a year now, I can tell you this is the sports bra I wear OVER and OVER and OVER again. I honestly don’t need any other sports bras, I’m good with this one! I probably love it because I can wear it all day, and it’s not too tight. It’s designed for lower intensity workouts, not running. I love how the one shoulder design adds a pop to your outfit!
Also – these leggings are THICK, super high waisted, and very comfortable. They are pretty warm, and these + my Outdoor Voices Warm Up legging are the two pairs I use as base layers that keep the wind out.
The leggings to get if you’re looking for soft. Comfortable enough for lounging, and the perfect weight for working out and lounging! Love all of the heather variations in multiple colors, and the latest gold splatter design!
Free People makes great lounge and comfortable leggings options, but they wouldn’t be my first pick for a run or high intensity workout. You won’t just find the average simple legging, expect simple design touches and unique colors to elevate the look.
In general, Carbon38 is a great website to check out because they carry so many different speciality brands – many of them described above. They also have their own line and they tend to be a little bit more affordable than some of the other brands on their site.
More Affordable Options
Word on the street is the PLAY leggings feel EXACTLY like the Lululemon Aligns, at a fraction of the cost!! The align legging is soft, lightweight, and feels like you’re wearing nothing. My favorite fit for NOT working out (aka airplane and car rides) or less intense classes like barre! I just ordered a pair to test myself….but get in on the action now! I also love this faux leather pair that is similar to the Spanx Leggings!
Also…they make really cute WHITE leggings that don’t show through. Another girl walked into pilates, and I was eyeing her white leggings from across the room, and I just had to ask where they were from.Surprised with the affordable answer of Aerie, I immediately googled and found them in stock! The best part? NOT see though!
Exclusive to Nordstrom brand. The spot to really snag a good deal on these….Nordstrom Rack. You can usually find them marked down to under $30 if you look at the right time. The Live In Leggings are similar to the Lululemon Wunder Under.
Dicks Sporting Goods occasionally has flash sales online. That’s the case tonight, with tons of Calia by Carrie, Nike, and more marked down to under $40. I think you know the brands Nike and Adidas, but Calia by Carrie is an exclusive activewar line to Dick’s sporting Goods created by Carrie Underwood. Her fabrics are sweat wicking, and the designs remind me of a higher end brand like Lululemon! I highly recommend checking the brand out.
And…brands not on liketoknow.it but worth mentioning!
DYI – Define Your Inspiration
A newer company from Houston, these designs and materials are something different compared to any other brand I’ve tried. This material is lightweight and cooling, and not the tight compression feeling. Yes, the high waist design hold you in, but something you can wear all day. A true do it all legging from barre to HIIT. Specializing in fun patterns from floral to tie-dye, there’s something that will catch your eye with a new collection monthly.
Favorite Workout Shoes – definitely my APLs! I have them in white and a rose gold color – and love how they match every outfit! Totally worth the price on comfort and style.
Let me know if there are other brands you love! I’m always to add another brand into the mix!