Activewear or athleisure wear has taken the world by storm. In 2020, the size of the global sportswear market amounted to approximately 353.5 billion U.S dollars. No longer are our only options a pair of black cotton leggings. Instead, there’s an array of brightly coloured, innovatively designed styles of activewear from thousands of brands.
I love that my job means activewear is my everyday wear. We often get asked where our leggings are from, since across the PMPP team there is such an array of colourful and stylish designs.
Whether you’re a runner, do Pilates, or a newbie at the gym, there’s a brand of activewear suited for you. Sportswear has become even more popular since the pandemic. With more people working from home, they have found they can do their jobs in the comfort of a pair of trackies or leggings!
So here’s my review of 7 popular activewear brands. There are many brands that haven’t made the list, as there’s only so many pairs I have personally tried and tested (or will fit in my wardrobe!).
Specifically I’ve reviewed leggings, but all these brands sell a range of athletic wear. In my personal review I’ve taken into account price, comfort, durability, sustainability and design. So my top picks are:
Lululemon originated in Canada as a yoga label but now is a global sensation. Their range has expanded to include designs for different activities including running, cycling, yoga/Pilates and casual wear. Styles vary from crop to 7/8th and full length leggings. Choose between mid, high rise and super high rise fit. Lastly they have a range of fabrics for seasons as well as different activities. For example, soft seamless fabrics for yoga, to light fast drying fabrics for sweaty workouts.
I personally love Lululemon’s range from a basic black or block colour pair to their patterned designs. They have some thick warm fabrics I love for winter. Generally I find their garments wash well and last several years.
Price varies from $99-$149. Several stores around Melbourne and on-line. A hot tip is to visit the outlet store in East Melbourne for some red hot deals.
Jaggad clothing gained popularity as it’s co-owned by footballer Chris Judd and his influencer wife Bec. They used to have a boutique store in Brighton and a partnership with the iconic, but now clothing can only be purchased online directly through Jaggad.
They have a range of styles from crop to 7/8th and full length available. Designs include block colours and often their iconic tiger prints. As for comfort, I find their waist bands are quite firm, but their garments are good quality and wash well in my opinion.
Prices vary from $89-$149.95, however they often have great sales on, including deals such as 3 pairs for $120! I do love a good deal so it’s hard to go past their sweat sets or outlet sales.
2XU have a range of leggings with a focus on running/ cycling more than Pilates/ Yoga specific. They in fact started out as a brand specifically for triathletes. Their designs blend technology and performance. The benefits of their compression garments relies on their fabrics being firm, durable and graduated. True sports compression can have an impact on training, performance and recovery.
Price range: $129.99- $169.99 so they are more costly than some of the other brands listed. If you are after a sports performance garment, I think 2xu are great for training, events and recovery. If you’re after an every day pair though I don’t think the cost is justified.
4. Dharma Bums
From a small studio on the northern beaches in Sydney, Dharma Bums has grown into an internationally loved activewear brand. I particularly love the values Dharma bums stands for. Their activewear combines performance with purpose, without compromising on their ethical and sustainable values. Every design is hand drawn and printed on sustainable eco-friendly performance fabrics.
Their all natural cotton fibre feels really silky and comfortable. Lenzing Modal is a soft fibre made from sustainable raw beechwood. They are certified as compostable and biodegradable. Recycled fabrics are made from post consumer recycled P.E.T water bottles! I love that they’re trying to decrease our environmental footprint while providing fun unique designs that are super comfortable. Some designs do ‘stretch’ with movements but they are backed with opaque white fabric so are not transparent.
Prices range from $45-$100 so they are well priced, eco-friendly and feel ethically good.
This label is a less well known Swedish on-line brand that I more recently discovered. Their motto is to inspire women to be the strongest version of themselves. They also boast several garments that use recycled materials. To reduce their environmental impact they limit their use of new textiles and make the majority of their collection from recycled polyester. I have several pairs that I love!
They stock a range of mid and high waist leggings with the majority being full length. Check out their funky handmade designs. I find the waist bands are a good level of firm, but flexible and supportive. They are very comfortable but haven’t had them long enough to test long term durability.
Price range: $99-$129 but look out for their quality sales.
6. P.E nation
Sydney-born activewear and streetwear brand P.E Nation has only been around for a few years but has made a successful splash in the athleisure scene. Like some of the previous brands, P.E nation claims all garments are made sustainably, ethically, and eco-friendly. They are usually simple monotonal or block colour designs.
I have found the garments don’t always run true to size and can stretch after washing. I won’t rush out to purchase more pairs but there is a mix of good and bad reviews online.
Prices vary from $99-$149
7. Lorna Jane
Iconic Aussie brand Lorna Jane has been around since the 80’s but still provides modern, chic designs.
I find the fabrics thick and ‘squat proof’ (i.e they won’t give everyone a peek at your undies), but less breathable than some of the other brands. To be fair I haven’t tried and tested a large range. On the plus side, they have firm but comfortable waist bands that don’t ride down during a workout.
Price range: $100- $130
I conducted a quick survey of the PMPP staff team. They had to rank these 7 brands from favourite to least favourite and results showed:
Lululemon was ranked favourite by 88.2% of our staff. Jaggad was next most popular. Least favourite was Stronger the label but this may have been because it’s less trialled. A benefit of being a lesser known brand is you won’t see as many people sporting the same leggings as you!
In the maternity range of activewear it’s worth noting that SRC and Lenny Rose (which we stock at the clinic or can order in for you) are listed on the therapeutics goods administration (TGA). As certified medical garments they can be claimed on private health insurance. These compression garments are specifically designed to provide continuous support, graduated compression and relief of pain associated with pregnancy, post-operative wounds, post-partum and post-exercise, by facilitating muscle healing and recovery. They are both great at providing extra perineal support. They can help provide appropriate graded compression for women that experience fluid retention during pregnancy and can provide some sacroiliac joint support for women with pelvic pain. So as far as pregnancy and post-natal recovery recommendations go, these top the list.
If however you don’t need the extra support and are just after a comfortable pair of leggings to wear during pregnancy you could also try the maternity range in Lorna Jane, 2XU or active truth (which I haven’t personally tried but have seen good reviews). Otherwise upsize in a cheap pair of Target or Cotton On leggings.
Hopefully after reading this review, you’re now one step closer to your next workout!