If you’re going to make the effort to go to the gym then you may as well have something stylish and practical to take your kit in. It’s certainly worth avoiding poor quality carriers where after a few days you notice your hairbrush sticking through the seam. Focus on ones with different compartments for shoes, kit and valuables. Multiple straps may also be a good option if you like to mix up carrying it on your shoulder or by hand.
Luckily for us ladies there’s lots of choice. Whether you’re after a fuss-free bag, sporty backpack or designer model we’ve got it covered. It’s time to ditch your dodgy-looking gym bag that you’ve had for years and upgrade to one of these fashionable holdalls.
1. GymTote Eva Tote: £170, GymTote
This British based brand has created a smart tote ideal for gym-to-office days. Rather than buying separate gym and work bags this creation combines both. It has several different compartments –dirty trainers are kept in a ventilated section at the side, your water bottle has a spot on the opposite side (also perfect for brollies on rainy days), while your work stuff, purse, mobile and keys can be kept in an easy access top section. All your gym kit is hidden in a back pocket too, so there’s no chance you’ll accidently whip your socks out in the office. It’s also available in black.
2. Sweaty Betty All Sport Backpack: £75, Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty is well known for comfortable and stylish active wear and a range of practical sporty bags. We loved this super sleek backpack for those who are always on the go. It’s made of scuba fabric, meaning it’s really light to carry and won’t start to smell after a few uses. There are various compartments on the inside and outside so you can grab your water bottle easily or leave your towel to dry separately. Yoga mats can be attached using the straps at the base of the bag and it also comes in blue.
3. UA On The Run Tote: £45, Under Armour
Under Armour is loved by athletes all around the world, including the likes of Andy Murray and Simone Biles. But for those of us who watch the Olympics rather than participate, it has some affordable gym bags to consider. This neon tote will get heads turning in the changing rooms but if yellow isn’t your colour it also comes in black and pink. It’s made of waterproof fabric, so kit won’t get wet in a downpour and has black detachable shoulder straps. It also folds easily, taking up minimal space in cupboards. There’s plenty of room for bulky items inside though, like towels and trainers and an internal zip pocket for anything you want to keep separate. Mobiles have a separate storage spot too.
4. Able Label Personalised Gym Tote: £15, Notonthehighstreet.com
Able Label specialises in personalised products and this fun tote is ideal for gym virgins who want to test the waters before committing to regular weekly workouts. It fits in a deceivingly large amount of kit and the straps are sturdy too – you won’t have to worry about them snapping on the walk to the gym. You can add your name at the bottom to help get you motivated and it’s available in white. At a bargain £15 it’s a no-brainer.
5. Lululemon Run Ways Duffel: £118, Lululemon
We love this duffel from high-end active-wear brand Lululemon. Designed to grab-and-go it has quick-access pockets for your valuables, opens wide (making it easy to stash your kit in a hurry) and water-repellent fabric, which is easily wiped clean. For yoga bunnies, there are also yoga mat straps that can be stowed away when not in use. We preferred the jazzy ‘ripple seal grey black’ design but it comes in plain colours too. Handily, the flexible fabric means it can fold down to a compact size, so it won’t take up much room in your wardrobe either.
6. Ellesse Candor Backpack: £20, Topshop
Branded sports gear is all the rage so we had to throw one in the mix. We particularly liked this classic Ellesse design for a fuss-free but cool gym bag. Considering it’s a backpack, there’s plenty of space for all your gear, an internal pocket for sweaty items and an external front pocket to keep anything you don’t want jumbled in with your gym gear. It’s comfortable on the shoulders too – nothing to complain about here.
7. Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Packable Backpack: £49.95, Adidas
As well as designing team GB’s kit, Stella McCartney continues to develop her range for Adidas. This means that not only is this backpack designer and affordable, it's also useful. It’s made for those who want to run to work or to the gym, coming with comfortable adjustable straps and a belt. It even packs into a smaller pocket bag. Silver will make sure you’re seen on the road but it also comes in black.
8. Sweaty Betty Luxe Gym Bag: £95, Sweaty Betty
Another entry from Sweaty Betty, we couldn’t resist this quilted carrier. It comes in blue or black and has two separate compartments, as well as multiple internal pockets, to keep wet kit and valuables apart. There’s plenty of room for those who don’t travel light and it could easily double up as a weekend bag. There are also adjustable straps on the bottom of the bag for yoga mats.
9. RI Active Black Neon Trim Gym Tote: £35, River Island
This high street brand has a great range of affordable active-wear. We loved this black carrier with neon elements. It comes with a variety of straps – grab handles, RI Active branded shoulder straps and a detachable longer shoulder strap. On the inside, there’s a mobile phone pocket and separate zip pocket, while on the outside there’s a mesh pocket for your water bottle. Great for chucking your kit in and heading off to the gym.
10. Charlotte Olympia Purrrfect Gym Bag: £350, Harrods
You may recognise this high-end brand for its playful kitty pumps – plenty of celebs have been photographed in them. So if you can’t be seen in anything that’s not designer and you’ve got the pennies – rather pounds – to spend then this one is for you. Embroidered with the classic Charlotte Olympia ‘Kitty’ face this cute carrier is actually rather roomy. There are three separate compartments, so you can keep sweaty stuff away from clean items and a mesh side pocket to place your water bottle in. It could easily double up as a weekend away bag too.
The two-in-one Eva tote is queen of gym (and office) bags and certainly worth the investment. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far though, we’d suggest the RI Active gym tote. Alternatively, Sweaty Betty’s All Sport backpack is great for those with mid-market prices in mind.
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