If you want to get the most out of your gym sessions, there’s a lot you have to consider. Everything from the size weights you grab to the Spotify playlist you choose can determine how effective a workout can be. But our first consideration is always: “What are we going to wear?”
It wasn’t too long ago that options for plus-size clothing were limited at best. And when it came to activewear, those choices were – ahem – even slimmer.
Remember when Nike unveiled its curvaceous mannequin in June 2019? It practically broke the internet.
Thankfully the industry has since come on quite significantly. Many websites now have extensive sections dedicated to fuller figures, and there’s been a noticeable increase in in-store inclusivity too.
Still, knowing which shops to turn to, especially for activewear, can be a challenge. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the hard work for you. This is the definitive list of the stores and sites you should be browsing.
Whether you exclusively shop on the high street, prefer to scour the internet, or want a brand that’s independent, there’s something here that’ll please, fit and suit everyone.
We love a lot of H&M’s activewear – it’s soft yet strong and flattering. The brand’s lined sports bras were an instant favourite of ours – they were supportive without being restrictive – as were the high-waisted cycling shorts which cinched us in while remaining breathable. At these prices, and with such a great range of sizes – up to a 4XL (UK34) – we’d wholeheartedly recommend trying the brand out for activewear.
It’s no surprise that Asos has made this list – it’s become a trusted retailer when it comes to body inclusivity, and its activewear collection is no different. The range, which is available in sizes up to UK30, is relatively inexpensive, with all pieces still being high in quality and able to withstand even the sweatiest sessions.
What we love about Simply Be is it’s a place where all sizes are welcome. The brand stocks up to UK32, or 6XL, and has everything from squat-proof leggings to wide-fit trainers. There’s even the chance to shop other plus-size brands like Adidas, Under Armour and Pink Soda, to name a few. Plus, its prices won’t break the bank.
If you’re into yoga, Curvissa has got you covered with cuffed joggers. Or, if you prefer to hit the trails rather than pound the pavement, then they’ll get you sorted with a pair of waterproof trousers. What we’re trying to say is that whatever your preferred method of exercise, Curvissa’s got your back – and sizes go from UK14-32.
We really rate M&S for its quality cycle shorts and sports bras. In our review of the best sports bras for bigger busts, we rated two of the retailer’s products (which go up to 42H) as some of the best for high-intensity workouts. There really isn’t anything we wouldn’t go to M&S for when it comes to activewear – you’ll always find good quality at affordable prices.
If we desperately need a new pair of gym leggings but our purse strings won’t stretch far, Sports Direct is always a good first port of call. With some products in stock up to size UK44, it’s a great choice for all the big-name brands in a wide range of sizes. We love the shop’s wide choice of leggings for everything from downward-facing dogs to 5km jogs.
When it comes to our everyday fashion, we adore New Look – it is one of the leading UK high street brands for a reason. While its options for plus-size activewear aren’t extensive right now, we’re confident it’s only going to grow. Its current range goes up to size UK32.
We’re honestly in love with this brand. In fact, we have everything from standard lingerie to swim and sportswear in our drawers from it at home. The activewear collection goes up to a size UK22 and fits extremely well.
But it’s the sheer range of sizes in sports bras and swimwear that makes it a true go-to. With bras extending to 40G, you can work out with the ultimate support and still be comfortable. And, as a bonus, some of their swimsuits are built with bigger cup sizes in mind.
Another great place to get brand names in bigger sizes, Debenhams stocks everything from Regatta to Yours and even Dare2B up to UK32. Get your hands on cycling shorts, leggings, running tops and even waterproofs, so you can exercise whatever the weather.
We’ve already spoken about Nike’s infamous launch of plus-size mannequins, but it was actually back in 2017 that they started to cater for those with more voluptuous figures. Now they continue to be inclusivity frontrunners, and stock everything from running leggings, to tennis skirts and hoodies in bigger sizes. If you need to update your activewear then just do it – and by it, we mean browse the Nike site.
Let’s face it, being fashionable at the gym is definitely a thing. You’ll often see people donning big brand names and we’re pleased to say Adidas is very much still in style. Featuring everything from tracksuit bottoms and jackets to sports bras and swimsuits in plus sizes, Adidas has really made its activewear accessible for all. Who can resist a pair of their classic stripe leggings (£25, Adidas.co.uk) when they are available up to a size 4X?
Probably one of the most well-known brands among regular gym-goers, Gymshark offers women’s tops stretching to a 2XL, so you can work out in comfort.
Though the products aren’t the most purse-friendly, it’s high-quality gear that should last you for years to come. Or you can make the most of its regular sales – especially on Black Friday – to get more bang for your buck.
Offering high-quality, stylish gear on a subscription basis, Kate Hudson’s brand is a great choice for those who regularly work out. With activewear available in sizes up to 4X and choices ranging from compression leggings to running jackets, the brand is certainly delivering on its promise to help everybody look and feel their best. If the prices put you off, it could be worth considering signing up as a “VIP” to get 50 per cent off some items.
A brand that we hadn’t heard of until sorting this round-up, we’ve now become obsessed with how confident Just Strong’s activewear makes us feel. We found the brand’s leggings, in particular, to fit true to size. Considering its stock goes up to a 5XL, there’s no reason anyone should have to miss out.
Lucy Locket Loves
Exercising shouldn’t have to be boring, and Lucy Locket Loves sure aims to make it fun. Its leggings are not only all high-waisted with a double seam – good news for leg day – but they come in a huge range of bright colours and wacky prints. Available up to a size UK26 in bottoms and 4XL in tops and other casual wear, with this brand you can guarantee working out will be a lot more colourful.
Before testing Asquith’s sports bras, we’d never heard of this brand. Now though, we will shout about it to anyone who will listen.
Stocking some of the softest, most comfortable trousers, leggings and tops we’ve ever tried, we felt super comfortable doing all our exercises – particularly yoga and pilates. Plus, the brand’s clothes are made from totally sustainable fabrics and even their packaging is eco-friendly. They may only go up to an XXL, but we’ve found most things came up a bit bigger than expected, so they’re worth a try if you’re on the bottom end of the plus-size spectrum.
“Manufacturing technically, sustainably and beautifully crafted clothing to make you feel body confident every day,” is what this brand is all about. We tried the medium compression leggings and can vouch for this mantra, as we felt fantastic in them. Every item is high quality, flattering and inclusive, with sizes ranging up to a 4X. Plus, you can search specifically by activity for the activewear you need, so whether you’re a dancer, cyclist or runner, there’s bound to be something for you to shop.
We couldn’t agree more with this brand’s ethos – it’s all about making women feel comfortable in their own skin. It currently stocks leggings and sports bras up to a 4XL and we can attest that they are not only extremely comfortable, but super supportive.
We tried out a couple of pairs of its high-waisted leggings and – not to toot our own horn – got several compliments on how good we looked. That’s partly thanks to the bum-sculpting material, but also the confidence afforded by the perfect fit. They might not be cheap, but they’ll withstand every squat and glute bridge.
If it’s sustainable activewear you’re after, then you need to know about KitChange. Priding itself on using recycled polyester, you’ll see when purchasing a pair of leggings just how many plastic bottles went into making them. As they’re available up to an XXL – and come up big – it’s easy for everyone to look good while saving the planet.
For the latest discounts on activewear and other fitness offers, try the links below:
For more inclusive fashion favourites, try our best plus-size swimwear brands for fuller busts and figures
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