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Let’s face it—many of us have been living in sweats these past few weeks while lockdown or shelter in place orders keep us working, and working out, from home. We thought this would be a good time to put a few different women’s workout outfits to the test to help guide you in your next selection of gear. We tested three different sets of women’s tanks and capri pants, using them for at-home gym workouts as well as some outdoor runs.
Women’s Workout Gear: Brooks Spirit Tank and Formation Crop Pants
Tank: $44; Pants: $55
The Spirit Tank is the lightest top in Brooks’ army of women’s run/gym gear—and it certainly lives up to its name. It’s so lightweight you sometimes even forget you’ve got it on. It offers fantastic freedom of movement, you’re never restricted, especially around the shoulders/chest, as it moves with you. It was designed to allow maximum air flow as you run/move/walk, so definintely scores highly on breathability and cool, soft-on-skin feel. There’s also zero chance of chafing, which is always a bonus. A favorite feature in this top is the cute cut-away details between the shoulder blades in the back: it’s not too often that gym/run gear feels functional and fashionable. This tank is available in three colors: black, white, and glacier. For a tank, it’s not cheap, but this is likely a top that’ll remain among your go-to’s for quite some time.
The Formation Crop pants are a sturdy sidekick to the light and breezy Spirit Tank. They offer a solid compressive fit and good support, with the wide waistband providing a flattering, slimming fit. While they’re described as mid-rise, they seemed to sit higher than this, but that’s not a huge issue. On cooler morning runs, these pants are thick enough to provide a little warmth, while also being breathable and wicking sweat away as your workout revs up. The hidden gem in these pants is the “stay-put” pocket in the rear of the waistband. It’s deep enough—and secure enough—to stash a car key or credit card, and keeps it well out of your way. It’s also worth noting that these pants dry fast, super fast, and throughout our testing we had zero problems with chafing. As with the Spirit Tank, the price tag isn’t the cheapest you’re going to find out there, but this is workout gear in which it’s well worth investing.
Women’s Workout Gear: Tracksmith Harrier Tank and Allston Long Shorts
Tank: $68; Shorts: $72
When you’re the (relative) new kid on the apparel block, you’ve got to arrive with a knockout punch—and Tracksmith has definitely done this with the Harrier Tank and Allston Shorts. Here is a brand that, since launching in 2014, has firmly placed its focus on the “pursuit of personal excellence,” and it shows in the quality of its gear. As someone who has been wearing (and, let’s be honest, living in) workout gear for the past decade or more, it’s not often you find yourself excitedly saying “Ooooooooh!” as you pull apparel out of its packaging. But this is exactly what happened with this Tracksmith gear. The feel of the material really stands out—it’s unapologetically high-end—and both the tank and shorts offer a great fit. The racerback silhouette style of the tank gives it an almost-retro look, and the fact it’s made of 89% merino means it’s perfect for the triathlete who wants to wear it time and again without worrying about washing it. Simply leave it to air after wearing it and (honestly) you’ll be able to wear it again the following day without any nasty niffs. Designed with running in mind, this tank is also versatile enough to be worn for yoga, strength workouts, or just hanging out. It’s available in three colors: charcoal, mulberry, and navy. Granted, the price tag might surprise you, but given its comfort and versatility, when it comes to cost-per-wear it’ll likely work out to be one of the most cost-effective items in your workout wardrobe.
When you put on the Allston Long Shorts you feel like perhaps today you’ll completely crush your workout—they have some kind of super-power look and feel to them. Yes, that might be quite a bold statement for a pair of shorts, but we’re just being honest here. It’s likely a combination of the highly compressive fit, which helps make you feel like you’re ready to tackle anything. Tracksmith developed them after requests from runners asking for longer length shorts, and so they responded with the Allstons, which boast a 7.25” inseam. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing run hill reps, burpees, or just chasing around after your kids and pets, these shorts stay in place, they are seriously comfortable, and they look fantastic. They have a higher waistband than most shorts, so if that’s not your thing be mindful of this, and, as with the Harrier Tank, they don’t come cheap. For people who like pockets, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the double pocket that’s tucked away in the rear waistband: there’s a larger phone-size pocket as well as a smaller one that can house a key or similar.
Women’s Workout Gear: Icebreaker Cool-Lite Motion Seamless Tank and Tights
Tank: $80; Tights: $100
This great-looking tanks-tights combo from Icebreaker brings a lot to the table—you name it, they offer it: lightweight, technical, breathable, durable, and comfortable. The Cool-Lite material combines two lightweight performance fibers—merino wool and Tencel, a wood fiber—that really works with your body, keeping you cool in even the sweatiest conditions, and wicking sweat away when the tempo of your workout kicks up. These tights and tank are just two products in the wider Cool-Lite range from Icebreaker, which also includes a vest, windbreaker, and short sleeve crewe. The tank is ideal for running, gym, yoga, and plenty more. It feels and looks good, with mesh paneling for added breathability and comfort. It comes in four vibrant colors: panther heather, shale heather, orchid heather, and fire heather, and is probably the most stylish and sleek of the tank-tights combinations we have on test here.
The tights feel terrific as soon as you pull them on—they’re form-fitting and easy to wear and move in. As with the tank, they have a 35% merino blend, so they are durable and do well when worn time and again. That said, they didn’t perform quite as well as the Tracksmith gear on this front. They’re quick-drying and extremely durable. Flatlock seams throughout ensures zero chafing and the hip height waistband is comfortable and stays in place as you run or move. They’ll keep you warm on cooler early morning runs—the reflective detailing on the back of the legs also helps keep you visible in lower lighting when running or working out outside—and they perform just as well when you’re crushing a high intensity at-home strength circuit.
As the priciest items on test—$180 for the two—this is a sizable investment for tights and a tank, and could understandably deter some people from parting with their cash. If you’re ready, willing, and able to invest in some new high-end workout apparel, though, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with this combo from Icebreaker.