Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Dave Rentauskas

Cheap fitness gear

Where to find good workout clothes that don’t cost as much as your gym membership.


I’d love to know where I can find good-quality workout gear (Target’s stuff turns into a stank factory in two wears) that’s much, much cheaper than lululemon, whose prices truly make me angry.

While there’s certainly something to be said for all the bells and whistles on fancy-pants workout clothes (I love the thumb hole that keeps my wrists warm in my lululemon long sleeves), you’re also paying for the brand name. But markups vary significantly, depending on the brand. Victoria’s Secret’s new VSX Sexy Sport line carries flattering fold-over yoga pants for $48.50—about half the cost of lululemon, which average around $100. That said, some items don’t need to flatter. I buy cotton running gloves at the hardware store for $2 a pair. You snot all over those guys, so why pay a fortune for them? Plus, you won’t feel guilty when you inevitably lose them on the road. For sports bras, Target is actually great. The company exclusively carries C9, the more affordable division of Champion, whose racerbacks are $16.99 (Nike’s versions can cost $30 or more). Stock up and switch ’em out often—let’s face it, any sports bra is going to get that musty funk pretty quickly. The reason some other Target gear, like tank tops, gets stanky: It’s cotton. It doesn’t matter where you buy your attire, it’s what it’s made of that counts. Look for moisture-wicking fabric like technical polyblends and merino wool.

Save cash on workout shoes

Go online Score up to 50 percent off retail prices at discount sites like

Buy last year’s model Save as much as two-thirds the price of this season’s newbies on Google Shopping (simply search for your desired make/model), or check stores like Fleet Feet (locations citywide), which discounts shoes throughout the year as new merch replaces old.

Check the warranty Many tennis-shoe brands—including adidas, Asics and Nike—offer a six-month warranty on some models: If the shoe’s outsole (the part that comes into contact with the ground) wears out before the six months are up, you get a new pair for free. Just be sure to keep your receipt.

    You may also like

      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!