Although there has been a boon of stylish, size-inclusive brands in the last few years, Vox Creative associate editor Alexis Gaskin says it can still be hard to find and trust options for fashion-forward and supportive activewear online without knowing how they fit. That’s where TikTok and Instagram can come in — Gaskin says communities on these platforms for plus-size and fat individuals have made it easier for shoppers to see items in action and how they work on actual large bodies.
In that spirit of not gatekeeping, we talked to Gaskin and 13 other cool women about the leggings, shorts, sports bras, and other activewear they’ve tried and liked. Read on for comfortable, supportive sportswear that’ll get you through your next yoga livestream (and sometimes even double as loungewear on your rest day) at a variety of price points, which we’ve sorted by style of garment and supplemented with some Strategist-approved pieces. We tried to be as inclusive as possible when looking at sizing, so everything in this list is available in up to (and oftentimes over) 3XL.
Best plus-size workout leggings for women
Three of the women we spoke to mentioned the Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket Leggings by name. “The Salutation leggings are the best I’ve ever worn, hands down,” says Jessica Rahil, a yoga instructor and body-positivity advocate. “The material and waistband hug the body perfectly,” she explains, adding that the material is entirely opaque without feeling overly restrictive or thick. The leggings go up to a size 3XL and are also available in tall and petite sizes, so they’ll fit a range of heights in addition to sizes. Fitness influencer Chasi Jernigan is another fan, saying that “the stretch fabric allows you to move unrestricted.” Curve model Tatiana Lewis also loves these leggings, especially their pockets (which can fit a phone) and high-rise waist that she says offers full, comfortable coverage.
Two of our experts highlighted Beyond Yoga for the brand’s size inclusivity and overall comfort. Gaskin says construction is key when it comes to plus-size activewear, and she likes that these leggings have a slightly longer gusset panel and a supportive high waistband that holds the stomach. And the fabric can’t be beat — Gaskin says she fell down a hill while wearing hers once, “but my leggings stayed up, no rips, no nothing.” Berriez founder and CEO Emma Zack says she loves Beyond Yoga’s bottoms because the material is super soft and sweat-wicking. “I’ve never felt fabric like that, so I really do believe they’re worth the price,” she says. Sizes are available up to 4XL.
“I live in my Old Navy leggings,” Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst says, adding that they’re the best she’s tried for the price point. “If they ever discontinue them or switch up the fabric, I’ll scream.” Lewis also likes these “super-affordable” leggings, which she says are always “eye-catching and go up to a size 4XL.”
Lola Getts is a Los Angeles–based athletic-wear company that designs specifically for plus-size customers. Fit model and style influencer Rachel Richardson loves their high-waisted Hi-Rise leggings, which are made with a four-way stretch compression fabric that’s comfortable enough for lounging around the house but will also keep you supported during high-impact activities like runs. They’re available in sizes up to 3XL.
Richardson also likes these Spanx leggings, promising they offer everything you would expect from the brand: “The leggings are designed to compress and smooth while providing support.” The waistband-free style goes up to a 3XL and is so comfortable, she says, that “you won’t even realize you are wearing them.”
While some leggings can be slightly see-through, Jernigan promises that these are completely opaque, making them versatile enough to wear from the couch to the yoga mat to running errands. They go up to a size 40 and have a four-inch, elastic-covered waistband for added coverage and support.
Best plus-size workout shorts for women
As the weather warms up, you may want to add a pair of shorts to your workout-gear rotation. “Super Fit Hero’s bottoms are made of a buttery fabric that stays up” no matter what you’re doing, promises Rihal. In addition to being “buttery” soft, the shorts go up to a size 5XL and have full-size pockets and flat-lock seams to reduce chafing.
Zack also owns a pair of bike shorts from Beyond Yoga, and she says she likes that they have a high-rise waistband and come in the brand’s signature ultra-soft fabric. She adds that they don’t roll up like other bike shorts might, so she doesn’t chafe while wearing them for exercise or running errands. “They’re just so comfortable, I truly recommend them to everyone,” she says. Zack wears a size 1XL and says they fit true to size.
Brand consultant and entrepreneur Megan Ixim says that she is a fan of plus-size athleisure wear that has both “color and functionality.” If that sounds like you, she suggests Girlfriend Collective’s bike shorts, which come in 12 more colors beyond the black shown. The brand is known for being size-inclusive, and the bike shorts are no exception: They go up to a size 6XL. She likes to style them with the brand’s Paloma Bra (more on that below) for “the perfect combination of cool and sophisticated.”
Jernigan says that these shorts are “made for movement because the high waist is extra supportive for high-impact exercises like burpees and jumping jacks.” The shorts also come in a more neutral black or gray and go up to a size 3XL.
Best plus-size workout skorts for women
Gaskin says some brands’ sport skirts run short on her because they don’t consider the length of her stomach. But she says Girlfriend Collective’s version stays long and is true to size — she’s had hers for over a year, has washed and dried it multiple times, and it’s kept its shape. The underlying compression shorts are long enough so they don’t cause chafing, Gaskin adds, and she likes that they have multiple hidden pockets. Gaskin also says she likes that Girlfriend Collective has a sustainable ethos — this pair is made from recycled water bottles.
Brandii Stuart, a secondhand and sustainable style expert, says she likes this tangerine skort for its versatility and playful details, like the side slit. “We are not limited to just shorts and leggings for activewear, and the skort gives a fresh style perspective,” Stuart says. “You can be playing tennis or wearing it out casually, which allows maximum use of your wardrobe items.” Stuart owns the bright orange color, which she says helps her get and stay motivated while working out.
Best plus-size sports bras for women
Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell relies on the Girlfriend Collective Paloma Bra to get her through particularly bouncy dance-cardio classes at 305 Fitness. She’s not its only fan: “This longline bra made from recycled plastic bottles is super comfy and supportive,” adds Y7 and Harlem Yoga Studio teacher Angela Dawn, who notes that the bra is as good for yoga as it is for more cardio-centric exercises like burpees because there’s “no spillage at all.” Zack says she likes that it’s higher cut so her boobs aren’t popping out of the top, and the actual band is lower so there’s even more coverage and support. It’s so compressive “it’s kind of hard to take on and off,” she says, “But you know what? If I need to keep these ladies in, I gotta do what I gotta do.” This level of security means you can really be active without your breasts getting in the way, Stuart says — she says she’s also a fan and has had hers for years. The bra goes up to a size 6XL, which can accommodate a DDD bust and a 50-inch band.
Jernigan calls this a “maximum-support sports bra that keeps you bounce-free” while boxing, running, or doing HIIT. Dancer Jessie Diaz-Herrera agrees, calling it the “best sports bra for feeling secure” and saying its size range — which can support up to an H cup and 48 band — is especially great for plus-size women or those with larger busts.
“A quality sports bra can be one of the most difficult things to find as a plus-size individual,” explains Ixim, who told us she’s only found a handful that make the cut. One of them is Under Armour’s Infinity High Sports Bra, which she says is high-quality, breathable, and secure, no matter if you’re puttering around the house or sweating to a more high-impact pursuit. “It’s a classic sports bra with built-in support that just gets the job done,” she says of the bra, which is available in sizes 1XL to 3XL.
Also from our list of the best sports bras for women comes this high-impact sports bra recommended by triathlete Krista Henderson. She told us it’s the most supportive bra she’s worn. “I tried the Enell and that was it — lots of support without any irritation,” she said of the bra. “The sizes range from 32- to 60-inch busts. (I’m a 42-J bra size and wear a 6 in Enell.)”
Best plus-size workout tops for women
For a performance-oriented top with a little more coverage, Richardson is a fan of this Alala cropped jacket, which she says she’d wear with the Alala Captain Ankle Tights. The jacket, which can serve as an extra layer during chilly outdoor workouts, has a mock neck and thumbholes at the sleeve cuffs for added coverage. It goes up to a 3XL.
Singer and content creator Samyra owns a couple of these Beyond Yoga hoodies, which she likes for their breathable, super-soft fabric and full zip she can adjust on hikes when “it’ll be a little bit cooler in the morning, and maybe like an hour in, now I’m sweating,” she says. And while Samyra says there aren’t many options for matching sets in plus-size activewear, this hoodie coordinates easily with the brand’s other pieces. These zip-ups come in four colors and sizes up to 4XL.
Best plus-size workout one-pieces and sets for women
Stuart says Girlfriend’s one-piece is “a style statement and is retro in the best way with a hint of sexiness.” And because the unitard contains everything in one for working out — it’s bike short-length with a scoop neck, low back, and built-in bra for support — she says it cuts down on pre-workout decision-making. Plus, with a compressive fabric and no waist or center seams, it’s made to mold to your body, according to the brand. It comes in six colors and up to 6XL sizing.
If you want to channel Jane Fonda while doing your pilates workout, we suggest taking a cue from contributor Francine Maroukian, who wears one of her four Universal Standard Next-to-Naked Bodysuits for just that. The one-piece, which is available in sizes 00 to 40, is “insanely soft, comfortable, and liberating,” according to Maroukian, who says it’s ideal for barre classes and bike rides, too. She says its versatility is due to thoughtful design details including no-slip, adjustable straps, a higher neckline, breast support, and a contoured waistband. While the $84 price tag may seem a little steep, a bodysuit does eliminate the need to buy both a sports bra and a pair of leggings.
Best plus-size workout socks for women
Zack says she’s obsessed with the fit of these colorful cotton socks from Big Bud Press. “You know how some socks grip at the ankle? I hate that when I’m working out,” she says. “These are made for, I don’t know, not cankles, but like, bigger ankles.” Though Zack says she was initially unsure about the $9 price tag, after a year of owning the socks she says they’re so worth it — the stretchy crew-lengths stay put without being too tight around the leg and haven’t developed any holes, unlike other brands she’s tried. They’re available in more than 30 bright hues and in regular and large sizing (the latter roughly fits up to a women’s size 15 shoe, according to the brand).
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