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You hear it all the time from coaches, personal trainers, and fitness experts: work smarter not harder. The same principle should apply to your workout gear. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of options when you’re buying new gear and putting together a gym ensemble. Will these short-shorts actually improve my performance? Am I going to sweat stain this t-shirt in minutes?
The best workout gear is designed with both performance and versatility in mind—what you don’t want is your closet getting clogged up by a million different pairs of of leggings for strength training, shorts for running, jackets for outdoor workouts, etc. Getting a few key essentials that you can use every day will help keep you motivated and ready to take on any workout. Light jog? Throw these pieces on. Pumped up cross-training? Same piece will get you through your most intense cardio sessions.
lululemon’s workout gear has features that make them stand out for all-around training, from moisture-wicking fabric for HIIT, to loose cut designs for running. Upgrade your old gear with their streamlined training pieces that can stand up to any way you choose to get your sweat on, so you won’t have to figure out which of the ten black gym shorts in your drawer was actually made for training. We’ve rounded up some of their best workout essentials you can use for running, hiking, cross-training—basically any excuse to move your body.
1. License to Train Linerless Shorts
lululemon might be best known for their yoga pants, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past by their seriously tough men’s workout shorts. lululemon’s License to Train short is a great example of lululemon’s hidden workout gear gems, boasting durable fabrics and versatile features that you’ll want for more than just yoga.
The abrasion-resistant fabric used for these shorts checks all the boxes you want in a workout short, with a quick-drying mesh waistband, sweat-wicking capabilities and a stretchy feel (thanks to added Lycra fibre) that’ll stand up to barbells and deep stretches alike. Unlike lululemon’s other shorts with liners, we actually prefer the lightweight feel and freedom these linerless shorts provide, which allow for a better range of movement. A secure zippered pocket also adds extra storage for your phone or wallet while you’re running or cross-training.
2. Surge Warm 1/2 Zip
A chill in the air shouldn’t stop you from getting your training on, and while the Surge Warm 1/2 Zip was designed for you to conquer cold-weather runs, the specially-designed fabrics make it work just as great for casual fall hikes, with a slim fit you can use under a shell, say, for winter sports.
The fabric is keeps the cold out and keeps you warm while the temperature drops, all while being lightweight enough to not feel like a bulky sweater if you’re wearing it to train. You won’t be dripping sweat by the end of your workout either, since lululemon’s fabric is sweat-wicking and naturally breathable (but you’ll still get the buttery softness of a good blanket). The added Lycra fabric also gives you a four-way stretch which moves with your body while you’re pounding the pavement.
3. Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt 2.0
This is the ultimate essential for both running and training, since this short sleeve shirt, as a part of lululemon’s Metal Vent Tech, is designed with a seamless construction that’s built to perform no matter how you move. The minimal seams actually reduce chafing during intense workouts, especially those that involve a lot of arm movements like weight-lifting.
Skip on the chafe, too, with this shirt’s added elastane, that also improves stretch abilities and shape retention in a similar way to Lycra fabric. The more you’ll be able to move in this shirt, chances are the more you’ll be sweating, but lululemon has you covered—thanks to their propriety “Silverescent” technology, the mesh construction is not only breathable, but also inhibits growth of odor-causing bacteria, for a shirt that won’t hold in sweat smells for days after your workout is over.
4. Surge Hybrid Pants
When you’re training in cooler weather, heavier joggers might slow you down, but super thin leggings might be leaving you with goosebumps. These Surge Hybrid Pants are the best of both worlds, with enough overall coverage to get you through an early-morning run while still staying lightweight. lululemon says they’re “cut to stay out of your way” and their streamlined design shows it.
These pants have a tapered fit without restricting your quads, which is exactly what you want for optimal running performance. The waistband lies flat, and won’t dig in when you’re catching your stride, either. But for any other kind of workout, these pants combine some notable features from other gear pieces—abrasion-resistant fabric if you train on a lot of machines at the gym, four-way stretch, and a zippered pocket to keep your valuable close to your thighs. Over-sweating will not be an issue in these pants, since they’re quick to dry, too.
5. Textured Tech Hoodie
A hoodie built for training? Don’t just reach into your closet and throw on any old pullover like Rocky and hit the stairs. Get yourself a comfortable, versatile hoodies designed with performance in mind, like this Textured Tech one from lululemon.
With a relaxed fit that works for both running and training, it’s made from 100 percent recycled polyester with a few cooling features that won’t make you want to rip it off in the middle of your workout. Integrated mesh and bonded eyelets both provide ventilation to keep you chill, but it also wicks sweat if you’re worried about how a hoodie can stand up to tougher HIIT sessions. From warm-ups, to cool-downs and everything in between, this hoodie will be your new training companion.
6. Drysense Long Sleeve Shirt
When you need a long sleeve training shirt, but don’t want it to completely cling to your body with sweat, this Drysense Long Sleeve shirt feels good against sweaty skin with no unnecessary stickage. While the shirt was made with intense training in mind, every runner or sportsperson needs a good long sleeve shirt for cooler months that won’t leave them drenched afterwards.
Speaking of running—the fit is comfortably relaxed for a shirt of this kind (with more of that stretchy Lycra fabric), with underarm gussets for increased mobility. Once again, you have our permission to really work up a sweat in this shirt, since their “anti-stink” technology wicks sweat, dries quick, and slows down the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
7. License to Train Pant
Great for training hard, or adventuring in the great outdoors, these License to Train pants are versatile enough to handle everything you throw at them and more. The abrasion-resistant and water-repellent fabric are more durable than your average workout leggings, and won’t ding it up too much if you’re doing burpees, or even backpacking.
What makes these a go-to for longer hiking trips too is their “No-Stink Zinc” technology, which stops odors in their tracks when you’ve been on the trail for a while. Besides handling the elements, this means you can wear them longer, and wash them less. When you’re walking or hiking, the streamlined fit will also give those glutes and thighs some breathing room, so you can say goodbye to chafing.
8. MicroPillow Tab Run Socks
Whenever you wish your socks would cushion, hug, and support your foot the same way a good running shoe would, turn to lululemon’s Micro and Macropillow Tab Run socks. These all-around training socks are made to cater to the movement and impact of a runner’s foot, but the light cushioning gives you an extra boost if you’re doing a lot of cardio that involves jumping, too.
The socks are made from naturally breathable mesh, which keeps things cool and dry around the sweatiest areas of your feet. The yarn is also treated with the same “No-Stink Zinc” as their other workout gear, so you can toss your socks in the hamper without worrying about them stinking up the room. While an ergonomic cuff protects your ankles from chafing if you’re a runner, we also like that the elastic yarn hugs around your achilles and keeps a tight lock if you’re doing yoga or other on-the-ground movements.