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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Lululemon

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Anyone who has shopped at a bigger-box store knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are dozens of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is not all products from a given brand are created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Lululemon, with all of its stretchy, sweat-wicking offerings, is one of those brands, with an expansive inventory (more than 100 styles of leggings alone!) that can be overwhelming to sort through. Read on for all of our favorite Lululemon finds from marathon-runner-recommended shorts (and tights and tops) to leggings beloved by fitness folk and new moms alike.

Women’s bottoms

Lululemon’s longtime best-selling Wunder Unders still get praise from fitness pros — and they’re our pick for the best overall workout leggings for women. These leggings not only have sweat-wicking and four-way stretch fabric, they also include waistband pockets that can hold your key, a credit card or ID, even a hair tie. Kate Posch, a yoga instructor at Sky Ting, says the Wunder Unders are her “go-to everyday legging,” and praises the high-waisted fit in particular, which keeps her pants up while she’s teaching. Whether you’re doing a HIIT conditioning class or just running errands, these leggings will hold up — and according to Katherine Gundling, a coach and programmer at ICE CrossFit NYC and Oculus CrossFit, “They will last you years and stay in great condition,” too.

Lululemon’s Align pants are one of the most universally beloved pairs we’ve written about. Fitness instructor Ashley Rosenberg calls the style a “forever classic” that’s “just unbeatable.” Expecting mothers, yoga instructors, and other fitness folk all agree, praising their high-rise fit, durability, and four-way stretch. Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester is another fan: She wore these while seven months pregnant and told us the same pair still fits her years later: “My proportions have more or less returned to normal, but the fabric has snapped back, too; it continues to conform to my shape.”

This shorter version of the Align pants also works as both workoutwear and loungewear, according to the Cut’s Diana Tsui. Made with lycra fiber that helps the pants hold their shape, Tsui says they offer a snug fit “without squishing any internal organs.” She adds: “They’re so ridiculously comfortable that I also wear them to sleep.”

Former senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, who was also the Strategist’s resident running expert, called this style one of her favorite pairs of running shorts. She likes that they are roomy enough around the legs, have a nifty side zipper pocket, and are long enough without getting in the way. “The slightly longer length provides generous coverage which can be nice on longer runs,” according to Adelson.

Photo: Retailer

“When the weather’s verging on too cold for shorts, fitted styles like these are warmer than loose ones since they allow for less airflow,” Adelson says of these shorts, which she also loves to run in. “These are thin enough that you’ll never overheat,” she adds, noting that she “also loves the generously sized pockets, which fit my phone, keys, and some energy gels.”

Photo: Retailer

Adelson also likes to wear these cropped tights on runs in cooler weather. “I started wearing these in the past year, and now I have them in three different colors,” she writes. “Like the Fast and Free shorts, they’re so thin and stretchy they feel like a second skin.”

Women’s tops

The original Swiftly Tech racerback made this list back in 2020 — and the newly upgraded version has many of the same qualities that made it a favorite then, just with an updated waistband. Fitness instructor Hollis Tuttle, who is also a Lululemon ambassador, says that this Lululemon racerback goes the extra mile during runs: “It’s very breathable, light (even when sweaty), dries quickly, and does not chafe.” The lightweight fabric is interwoven with naturally antimicrobial silver thread to prevent odor (Tuttle calls it “anti-stink technology”). Adelson — who is not a Lululemon ambassador — is also a fan, telling us that “this top is a workhorse that gets me through most of the summer.”

According to personal trainer and yoga teacher Lauren Seib, this versatile split-back top will help you avoid unsightly back sweat during heavy workouts: “Wear it ‘open and flowy’ for barre and crushing weights in the gym or tied up in the back for practicing your arm balances next vinyasa.”

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When we went searching for the best clothes to hide sweat, stylist Gaelle Paul told us this performance tee works great because it’s designed for more active pursuits but is still nice enough to wear casually. She especially likes the “particularly flattering” neckline.

This workout top with a built-in bra — a feature that Lululemon calls “the original life hack” — is Y7 founder and CEO Sarah Larson Levey’s favorite for low-intensity workouts. “I love that it has a built-in bra and vertical ribbing, which makes it super-slimming, so it doesn’t bunch up during workouts.” The cups are removable, too, so the amount of coverage is totally up to you.

Tuttle told us that this long-sleeve top is “light and moves well without chafing,” adding that it can be both “a great top or midlayer piece.” Another feature she likes is that it “has thumb holes for a little extra protection over my hands.” Like other Lululemon tops on this list, it’s also woven with bacterial-killing silver thread to help minimize odor.

Strategist writer Chloe Anello calls this “a great lightweight fleece” to throw on when there’s a chill in the air, whether at home or outdoors. “It protects me from a breeze, but I also won’t overheat.”

Marathoner and podcast host Ali Feller, who is a Lululemon ambassador, recommends this jacket to “everyone who asks what to wear on winter runs.” It’ll warm you up in no time, and you can “also definitely wear it as an everyday jacket.” She adds that it’s great for traveling since “it packs up so small because it’s actually really, really thin.” This jacket is also a favorite of Strategist writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell, who loves how it “manages to keep me warm outside no matter how cold it gets thanks to the goose-down filling, but it’s also still very lightweight.”

Women’s bras and accessories

Lululemon’s Long Line Energy Bra has an extra inch of fabric in its band for added support and security, according to Tuttle, who says the design makes it ideal for running or high-impact workouts. “I don’t often wear shirts while working out, and I like the bit of extra coverage that this bra provides,” she says. “I feel less naked but still stay cool in the middle.”

Bethany Lyons, the founder and CEO of Lyons Den Power Yoga, told us that the Lululemon Flow Y Bra is “forever and always” her go-to for boot-camping, spinning, or other medium-impact activities that call for moderate support and coverage. It’s made from lightweight, four-way stretch material, with minimal seams and removable cups, making it an ideal bra if you’re after that barely-there feel. “It’s versatile, looks good under anything, is comfortable, and gives great coverage,” Lyons adds.

According to Navarro College cheerleader Morgan Simianer, a lot of her female teammates “wear Lululemon sports bras.” She adds that “it depends on the girl, and certain things can be pricey, so preferences vary.”

Introduced last year, this AirSupport Bra is designed for high-impact activities and made with a breathable fabric. The bra offers a lightweight lift and reduces bounce, and it’s currently available in sizes from C to DDD (Lululemon has not yet released this style with an E-cup but plans to this season). The bra comes in three shades — pink, black, and gray.

Hairstylist Ryan Cunningham recommends this headband from Lululemon to “people who like to exercise and can’t put [their hair] in a ponytail.” The style has moisture-wicking ability and features velvet bonding that he says won’t pull at your hair.

Adelson found the Cardio Cross Trainer headband a tad too thin to hold back her grown-out pixie cut, and she prefers this Fringe Fighter headband for its thick width, “so there’s no chance any hair can escape, but it also tapers down to a skinny elastic strip in the back that grips my head and easily stays in place.” Even after washing and wearing it for six months, she reports that it hasn’t warped or stretched.

Simianer also told us that this Lululemon scrunchie is a popular item among her teammates. She says the Cheer stars all have them in “multiple colors” and “try to mix and match them with what we’re wearing.”

A slightly sweeter version of the the scrunchie above, this Uplifting Scrunchie with a bow is the one that contributor Elizabeth DuBois uses to tie her hair back for practically any kind of workout. “I struggled to find a hair tie to work out in until I found this breathable scrunchie — which not only dries fast thanks to its sweat-wicking fabric but more importantly holds my high bun in place whether I’m pedaling through Soul Cycle or attempting Warrior 3 at Modo Yoga,” she told us.


Strategist editor Maxine Builder finds the Lululemon branding on the front of this fanny pack “a little embarrassing at times,” but says that in terms of function, it is “excellent.” She can fit all of her necessities inside, including a sunglasses case, her wallet, her phone, and her car keys, and “easily sling it across my chest.” Plus, “it’s fairly sturdy” and “water-resistant,” so she can wear it in a rainstorm and not worry that anything will get soaked.

Trainer Megan Norregaard told us that this Lululemon backpack is her favorite gym bag because it is “functional and stylish” as well as “durable and water-resistant.” Other noteworthy details include a water-bottle holder, laptop sleeve, expandable pocket for dirty clothes, and an exterior phone pocket.

This double-sided yoga mat made our list of the very best yoga mats for its multiple textures; it’s perfect for those who can’t decide whether they prefer the feel of grippy rubber or a smooth synthetic surface. Yoga teacher Hannah Gardner uses “the smooth side up during a Vinyasa flow, allowing easy transitions,” then turns it over for hot yoga because “having the grip side up keeps me from sliding around.”

Men’s bottoms

Sports bras and scrunchies aren’t the only items from Lululemon that Navarro cheerleaders love. According to the team’s assistant coach, Andy Cosferent, guys on the squad often wear these shorts for practice.

This lined version of the above shorts is a favorite pair of Matt Jared, the co-founder of yoga and meditation nonprofit United We Om, who recommends them as some of the best gym shorts for men. He wears his when teaching classes, telling us that “the fit is loose and relaxed, but they stay in place and don’t pinch, no matter what shape I find myself in.” Jared adds that he “especially likes the liner, which has serious moisture-wicking capabilities and keeps everything in place.” If you prefer shorts that are linerless, Lululemon also sells this style without one.

These slightly shorter lined Pace Breaker shorts are a favorite gym short of Chris Keyloun, a coach at New York City rowing studio Rowgatta, who likes that the “comfortable liner allows you to move in all directions.” He’s also a fan of their well-placed pockets, which include a zipper pocket made to hold smartphones. “It will hold your phone securely in place whether you’re rowing a 6K or sprinting a 2K,” Keyloun says. Lululemon makes a linerless version of this style, too.

Or if you’re looking to show off a bit more leg, Maurice Diong, a fitness coach and the founder of Sabi body butter, likes these four-inch-lined shorts. He describes them as “light and stretchy” but still roomy enough to make space for useful additional features such as an “added waistband loop that’s great for holding T-shirts during hot workouts.” They’re perfect for just throwing on during the warmer months: “Sometimes I just wear them with high socks, a black tee, and a smile and casually stroll around the city,” Diong told us.

Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw says these pants are “transformative,” calling out design details such as their flat front and dark color and their size range that runs to XXL. He says the pants’ “stretchy, proprietary Warpstreme fabric keeps me from overheating and can accommodate any position I sit in.”

Another cool-guy-approved pair of Lululemon pants, these joggers — which are as suitable for working out as they are for lounging — are a favorite of Donnell Baldwin, a former style director for Mr Porter. He’s owned a pair for years, promising that they’re worth the price because “they don’t fall apart.”

Writer Zachary Weiss told us he has been “living” in these Lululemon pants that the brand describes as “inspired by chinos.” According to Weiss, they may not be formal enough for a night out but are a “true life hack” for day-to-day life, travel, and lounging at home. “They’re comfortable without looking sloppy, and I love that Lululemon hems them for free, too, if you want a more tailored fit.”

Photo: retailer

While these are technically men’s shorts, comedian Sophie Santos loves them for their “perfect length — five inches is where you want to be, friends” and the fact that they’re “stain-and-rip resistant, something I need because I run into my furniture at least twice a day.”

Men’s tops

Yoga instructor Ben Wisch says that this tank’s moisture-wicking material and “strategic” mesh ventilation are two reasons why he wears it to teach classes. We think those are two reasons to wear it for other workouts, too.

Like the women’s Swiftly long-sleeve crewneck, this long-sleeve Lululemon men’s crewneck has silver threads to reduce odor. The shirt is also breathable and moisture-wicking.

Citius Mag founder Chris Chavez picked up this short-sleeved shirt for its moisture-wicking abilities and cool pattern. “I like how it’s sweat-absorbing and super-lightweight,” he says. “And blue is my favorite color, so I had to get my hands on this one.”

Men’s underwear and accessories

“Albeit pricey, anyone who owns Lululemon can confirm not only the quality but also the comfort of its products,” says SheaMoisture model Keith Pough, who told us this three-pack of Always in Motion boxers is a gift he’d never turn down. “If you’re looking for a lovely gift for your significant other, Lululemon Always in Motion boxers is it.”

They’re not your typical athletes, but opera singers love these scarves, according to opera singer Luca Pisaroni, who told us this full-coverage unisex scarf is “frequently used in the opera industry because it is a 360-degree, long scarf that you can wrap around your neck. We all have them because we are all throat and neck freaks.”

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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Lululemon