The best men’s fitness kit of 2021 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

If you're going to squat, do it in style
Essential men’s gym kit 2021

You might think that any old gym kit will do the job, but if you want to get the very most out of each and every visit to the gym, then you need the right kit for the type of training that you're doing.

Gym kit should generally be made from lightweight material that dries quickly and wicks sweat away from the skin to keep you dry and comfortable during your workout. And although some people like to wear tighter options, whether that's for compression or showing off those gainz, It should also allow for unrestricted movement when carrying out exercises.

The type of kit you go for will largely depend on the activity, for example, when it comes to fit some gymgoers will prefer tight compression shorts, which can give your muscles a little extra support, while others will want a looser fit.

Generally, you can get the same kind of shorts for any activity at the gym, but if you’re going there for things like yoga classes, where inverted positions are a regular occurrence, you might well want to invest in shorts from a specialist yoga brand.

Now, without further ado, here are our favorite gym kit to buy right now

Best gym shorts

Under Armour Knit Performance Training Shorts

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym kit: Shorts and tops for every workout

Under Armour's latest pair of training shorts are designed with looseness in mind, which makes them perfect for gym training when you need mobility and comfort for things like squats and lunges.

The long fit sits just above the knee and offers an incredible light and airy feel whilst still being thick and durable. The waist is elasticated for a nice easy fit that includes a drawcord to tighten them up, and the material, although soft and cosy, is designed to dry quickly.

We've been using these shorts in a variety of gym workouts and found them to work best when strength training as they're slightly too thick for HIIT classes or cardio machines.

Nike Pro Flex Rep

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

The large elastic waistband on the back of these shorts helps to hold them in place as you power through whatever workout you have on your plan, while the slim cut and stretchy fabric allows for complete freedom of movement. That fabric is also lightweight, quick-drying and sweat-wicking, and you even get a decent choice of colors, with men’s gym gear staples navy and black joined by grey and a slightly jazzy red.

There are a couple of large pockets on the shorts, and the right-hand one has a smaller internal zipped pocket to slip some smaller valuables in. Think coins or keys, rather than your phone with this though.

Gymshark Vital Seamless Shorts

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

The slim cut and seamless construction of these shorts makes for a comfortable and unrestrictive fit in the gym, and the cut coupled with the long in-seam meaning that you need never fear that they’ll ride up uncomfortably high during even your most frenetic workouts.

As you’d expect, the material used in the shorts is sweat-wicking, with Gymshark’s DRY tech moving moisture away from the skin in a flash. As an added bonus, we rate the Vital Seamless shorts as among the more stylish gym options, so you can wear them to and from as well, though the lack of pockets might present a problem on public transport.

Zone3 RX3 Compression 2 in 1 Shorts

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

These 2-in-1 shorts feature a tight compression layer under a looser top layer so you can enjoy the benefits of that compression without worrying about your modesty in the gym. Both layers are made from fabrics that boast top-notch moisture-management features and, pleasingly, pockets – there are two side pockets and a zipped back pocket on the outer layer, while the inner has a thigh pocket that you can squeeze larger items into so they won’t bounce around during your workout.

The compression on the shorts is supportive without feeling overly restrictive during a workout, though the shorts sizing runs slightly small, so if you’re in between sizes it’s wise to go for the larger one.

Ohmme 2 Dogs Yoga Shorts

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

When you’re heading to the gym or studio for a yoga class, it’s wise to have a special set of shorts in your bag. For one the inverted positions involved in yoga can see standard gym shorts ride up to the waist, and for two you need shorts that will stretch to the max to accommodate the various lower-body contortions involved in your flow.

The Ohmme 2 Dogs shorts have a comfortably tight and stretchy inner liner that’s made from a sweat-wicking, odor-resistant material, while the outer layer is light and loose to ensure it won’t get in the way of your practice. That outer layer also dries quickly and resists wrinkles, so you can wear the 2 Dogs shorts when off the mat as well.

Be careful to size up when buying these shorts though, because they run small and the inner compression layer can feel uncomfortable if you do go for the smaller option.

Domyos 100

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

If you’re averse to spending big bucks on your gym shorts then check out this extremely wallet-friendly set from Decathlon. The Domyos 100 shorts don’t come with grandiose claims about the fabric technology used but they will get the job done and you’ll get change from a tenner when buying them, so you really can’t ask for too much. They even come in four different colors!

The shorts aren’t best used for extremely sweaty activities, when you will benefit from the wicking fabric used in pricier shorts, and they will start to smell after one trip to the gym, so don’t stash these in your bag and expect to come back to anything good after a week.

Best gym tops

Sundried Dom 2.0 Training T-shirt

The best men’s gym kit of 2020 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

If sustainability is a key part of your decision making when it comes to buying kit, then Sundried is a brand well worth taking a look at. Set up in 2016, the company's focus is to produce technical fitness kit that's made from eco-friendly materials.

The Dom 2.0 Training T-shirt is a testament to that design ethos, offering an impressively functional material that's made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Environmental factors aside, it's a formidable piece of training kit whether you're in the gym or heading out for a long run, offering a soft, loose feel that doesn't stick to the skin or chafe. As well as being sweat-wicking and stretchy, it also features reflective side seams for when you're planning on training outdoors. If you want one t-shirt to cover you across all of your training needs, it'll tick a lot of boxes.

We've tested the Dom 2.0 Training T-shirt in a size small and found it to offer a comfortable fit that, although not relaxed, doesn't feel tight anywhere on the body.

Men's UA RUSH ColdGear Mock

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

Under Armour's ColdGear range has been specifically designed to keep your muscles warm in the winter, and this base layer is the pièce de résistance of that technology.

The special material is made to absorb your body heat and reflect it back, something that not only keeps you warm but means your muscles are working more efficiently. It also manages to hug your body without being too tight and uncomfortable, offering a forgiving level of stretch that allows you to move around and do exercises without feeling restricted.

We've been using it for everything from CrossFit to power-lifting and it's become a staple part of our training kit. Not only that, but it also doubles as a great base layer if you're doing a bit of hiking in the colder months.


The best men’s gym kit of 2020 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

If you're not a fan of the materials normally found in technical kit or prefer t-shirts that cover you for gym workouts as well as daily wear, this recent addition to On's quickly growing list of products is a great option.

Made from a soft and breathable organic cotton and combined with stretchy elastane fabric, it ticks the box for looking good, feeling comfortable and offering a relaxed fit for performing functional movements. That fabric is also designed for to wick sweat away from the skin, which is always handy.

For high-level training like HIIT or cardio, the material is likely to be too thick, but for weight training sessions it offers a great all-round piece of kit that delivers functionally and aeasthetically.

Adidas Tech Gradient T-Shirt

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

Not everyone wants a super tight gym top to wear every time they work out, but that doesn't mean you need to skimp on the technical features. This Tech Gradient T-Shirt from adidas incorporates Moisture-absorbing AEROREADY fabric and Climacool technology to ensure that you stay dry and cool throughout any session.

The regular fit is wider across the body making it feel loose and breathable whilst forward-shifted seams reduce chafing over longer workouts.

It also comes in a wider range of designs than you're likely to find in most technical tees and the gradient style pattern helps to minimize the appearance of sweat marks when you're going all out on a tough session.

Reebok One Series Training SmartVent Move Tee

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

Considering its historical association with CrossFit, it's not surprising that Reebok knows how to create kit that's designed specifically for mobility when training. The SmartVent Move Tee is a testament to those years of experience, offering one of the best options if your workouts are heavily focussed on functional movements.

The SmartVent yarn provides 20% more ventilation as you train at high intensity with fibres that react to your sweat to ensure it's as breathable as possible. As soon as you do start to sweat, the Speedwick fabric will do a damn good job of wicking it away to help you focus on your workout instead of worrying about your waterlogged kit.

Gymshark Raid T-shirt

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

Gymshark has been releasing some outstanding kit over the past few months and, unsurprisingly, its range of gym wear is some of the best we've seen.

The Raid T-shirt is a great all-rounder, offering a comfortable and relaxed fit that'll have you covered whether you're heading to a HIIT class, pumping iron or heading out for a run. As well a DRY technology to help keep sweat at bay, it features a rather nice split hem design at the side with you can unbutton for added roominess when training.

Best hoodies

On Hoodie

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

Although On is best known for its range of running shoes, it has over the past year released some impressively technical fitness apparel. Our favorite for training over the winter months is by far the On Hoodie.

Aside from being one of the most stylish pieces of workout kit you'll find out there, it combines a heap of technical features designed to make training sessions as comfortable as possible. On the front and back you'll find zipped vents which open up to allow airflow, whilst the material combines a blend of polyester, lyocell and elastane, developed to manage temperature whilst a polygiene treatment help to keep the material fresh.

It may be a bit on the pricey side, but if you're looking to invest in a piece of kit that you can wear for anything from weights sessions to long winter runs, the durable design will mean that it's in your wardrobe for years to come.

Sundried Hoodie Running Top

The best men’s fitness kit of 2020 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

Designed with running in mind, the Sundried Hoodie is made from a soft, lightweight material that can be used as a base layer in colder months or as a standalone running top when the temperature becomes milder.

The loose, thin feel means that movement isn't restricted, whether you're heading out for a 10k, hitting the studio or performing a low impact activity like yoga or weight training.

We've found it works best for those runs where you need an extra bit of protection – and motivation – when leaving the house on colder days. The hood and thumbholes offer a nice added level of warmth against the elements until the point when you've warmed up, then you can roll up the sleeves and pick up the pace.

There's also a large front pocket as well as reflective branding for visibility – for the price, it's one of the best value options we've tested.

Zone 3 Hybrid Puffa Quilted Jacket

The best men’s gym kit of 2020 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

The Hybrid Puffa Quilted Jacket is so-called due to a clever combination of fabrics. On the front and back panels, there's a quilted Micro Shell layer that's designed offer insulation and wind protection, whilst the arms and side panels are light and stretchy to allow for mobility when training.

The result is a comfortable and functional jacket that's perfect for training outdoors in the colder months – especially if you're doing long slow runs or you're a fan of the occasional bootcamp. The 4-way stretch material is also flexible enough to perform upper body exercises like press-ups or burpees and the Micro Shell ensures that your core stays insulated.

We've been using the Hybrid Puffa over the winter months and found it to be an exceptionally comfortable and soft-feeling piece of kit. Although there's an athletic cut to the design, the fit feels relaxed, meaning you can easily wear additional layers underneath for training sessions where you're expecting to go hard and need to strip down.

There are also three zipped pockets on the front and chest, a high collar for guarding your chin and reflective logos for training in low-light.

Lululemon Mobility Train Half Zip Hoodie

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym shorts

As you'll notice from the design, this piece of kit from Lululemon is much more than your average run-of-the-mill hoodie. As well as offering an extra layer for training in the cold, it's also sweat-wicking and quick-drying, for when you've trained hard enough to beat the temperature.

The other nice feature of this hoodie is that it's water-resistant, which means that, unlike your average hoodie, you can train outdoors in the rain without sucking up moisture like a sponge.

Want more? Lululemon has also added a host of other workout features including strategically-placed abrasion-resistant panels, mesh panels for breathability, a secure zippered pocket to stick your phone and wallet in while you're training, added articulation in the sleeves and a gusset under the arms to allow for greater mobility.

Under Armour Recover Woven Warm-Up Jacket

Crush your workout with the best men’s gym kit: Shorts and tops for every workout

Another recent addition to the Under Armour Recover range, this hoodie/jacket is an incredibly light and comfortable piece of kit designed to be used after a tough training session.

As well as just being a great piece of kit to keep you warm after a workout, the material uses technology designed to return infrared energy back towards the body to help muscles recover quicker. We're not sure about the science behind that but we have found it to be an incredibly warm hoodie despite the thin material.

The relaxed fit incorporates a 4-way stretch construction to aid mobility – good for stretching after training – and the UA storm technology on the outside repels external water without affecting the breathability.

We've found it to be a great top to wear before and after the gym, and even used it during a workout on colder days due to the relaxed fit.

Best value fitness kit

Higher State Running T-shirt 2.0

The best men’s fitness kit of 2020 | Shorts, tops and hoodies for every workout

There's a lot of great fitness kit around these days when you're looking for something a bit less pricey. The Higher State range from SportShoes is a great example of that and well worth a look if you're after technical clothes but don't want to fork out for some of the premium brands.

The Higher State Running T-shirt is a lightweight technical top that feels like what you'd expect to find with some of the pricier options. It has a loose, breathable design that offers a comfortable fit and a nice range of motion whether you're running or doing weights in the gym.

The fit, unlike many gym shirts, is more relaxed, especially around the arms, so it's a good option if you're not into the tighter style that you often find with training tops.

Other features include flat-lying seams to stop irritation on the skin, a special fabric treatment to prevent the growth of bacteria and a reflective logo on the front and protection from UV rays. For the price, there aren't many value ranges out there on a par.

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