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The Best Plus-Size Workout Clothes for Women, According to Active Women

Photo: Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective

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If you’ve been leaning hard into your at-home workout routine lately, you might have noticed that your favorite sports bra is stretched out or that you need more than two pairs of leggings now that you’re washing everything in your kitchen sink. While the options for plus-size activewear used to be somewhat limited, there has been a boon of stylish, size-inclusive brands in the last few years. As fitness influencer Chasi Jernigan puts it: “Caring for your body does not stop at a certain size,” and now more brands are recognizing that.

To find plus-size workout clothes for women that are both comfortable and supportive, we talked to Jernigan and 11 other cool women in fitness about their favorite leggings, shorts, sports bras, and other activewear that’ll get you through your next yoga livestream (and sometimes even double as loungewear on your rest day). Read on for their favorites at a variety of price points, which we’ve sorted by style of garment and supplemented with some Strategist-approved pieces to round out the list.

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 who is hosting a free livestream yoga class every Wednesday while she is unable to teach in person due to the coronavirus pandemic. “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. 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.

“I live in my Old Navy leggings,” says Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst. Lewis also likes these “super-affordable” leggings, which she says are always “eye-catching and go up to a size 4XL.” And with the sale price, they’re basically buy one, get one free.

Two of the cool women we talked to mentioned Adidas’ plus-size line, which is available in sizes up to 4XL. Brand consultant and entrepreneur Megan Ixim loves these Adidas Logo Tights, promising that you can’t go wrong with them: “The fit is incredible, and the price point is even better.” Lewis is another Adidas fan, calling the brand “chic and classic” and adding that the fit “is always spot on.”

Lola Getts is a Los Angeles–based athleticwear company that designs exclusively for sizes 10 to 28. 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.

To bring some high fashion to your workout, Curve model Montanya Pierre loves Adam Selman Sport’s size-inclusive line (which is also a favorite of actress Barbie Ferreira). Pierre specifically recommends these French-cut leggings, which have a sheer leg and a built-in high-waisted panty. “The stitching on these leggings gives a fashion-forward feel and elongation of the silhouette,” she says. Plus, the lightweight fabric stays in place during both high- and low-impact workouts, Pierre adds. Adam Selman Sport goes up to an XXL, or a 16/18.

When she’s not wearing Lola Getts, Richardson relies on a pair of Zella leggings — which go up to a size 3XL — for workouts. “I’ve had my current pair for over three years now, and they’re like a second skin.” The leggings feature moisture-wicking fabric that’ll keep you cool and comfortable through even the sweatiest hot-yoga class.

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 28 and have a four-inch, elastic-covered waistband for added coverage and support.

For another pair of splurge-worthy leggings, Richardson says that Alala’s Captain Ankle Tights — which go up to a 3XL — are worth the investment because they are both “chic and comfy.” The leggings have cool-looking mesh panels that make them breathable during a workout and give them a little more character if you want to keep them on and head straight to a less strenuous activity. They also have two pockets that can fit a phone and other essentials.

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.

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.”

Overheating at the gym can be unpleasant, says Jernigan, but “these shorts were designed with 3 C’s in mind: Cooling, compression, and comfort.” The four-way stretch jersey is moisture-wicking and breathable, and they’re available in sizes 1XL to 4XL.

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.” While she thinks the sky blue color is “bomb,” the shorts also come in a more neutral black or gray and go up to a size 3XL.

$18

Denton-Hurst also swears by Aerie’s bike shorts, which are available online up to an XXL, or size 20. The medium-support shorts come in five colors (including black, heather gray, and camo) and have a seven-inch inseam to hit at the mid-thigh.

Best plus-size workout sweatpants for women

If you prefer slightly looser sweatpants to keep it cozy when stretching or doing yoga, Jernigan is a fan of these, which she says are also comfy enough to lounge around in “and cute enough to wear running errands.” Their leopard print is also subtler, making it a refreshing twist on bolder styles. The pants go up to a size 3XL and have pockets as well as a drawstring waist.

Those who like a wide-leg silhouette should consider these soft, knit pants that Jernigan says are “perfect for spring and summer” workouts. While you probably wouldn’t want to wear these for high-impact exercises, they would be great for some morning sun salutations or stretching (kind of like the sweatpants above). They are sold in sizes from 10 to 24 — and right now are half-off.

Best plus-size sports bras for women

Strategist junior writer 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 supercomfy 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.” It 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.

According to Rihal, this Lola Getts Bralette offers a “fun, feminine style with high-quality fabric.” The thicker straps and longer silhouette provide plenty of coverage if you have a slightly larger chest (the bra goes up to a size 3, which is Lola Getts’ equivalent of a 26/28).

“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.

When we surveyed athletic ladies about the best sports bras for women, yoga instructor and body-positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley said she “loves working out in longline, high-neck sports bras” because she “finds them to be the most supportive for bigger bodies, and the most comfortable.” She says the thick straps of this Core 10 bra, which is available in sizes up to 3X, make it even more supportive, especially for those with larger busts.

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

When we asked Stanley about the best workout tops for women, she told us that she loves this Core 10 racerback because it “layers perfectly with sports bras” — which are her preferred workout top. The Core 10 tank, she adds, “is great for high-impact fitness and can go from spin class to weightlifting, with excellent moisture wicking to keep sweat at bay.” It’s available in three colors and goes up to a size 3XL.

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.

Another piece for layering up on a run or walk (or even some at-home stretching on a colder day) is this sweatshirt that Richardson loves. It goes up to a 3XL, and she adds that Athleta in general is a “go-to because their styles are so versatile and can easily take me from workouts to lounging.”

Best plus-size workout one-pieces and sets for women

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.

“When I need a cute and affordable (but functional) matching activewear set, I always turn to Fabletics,” says Richardson. She says that the leggings and bra tops are designed for different levels of activity, so they keep her supported whether she’s taking a spin or yoga class. This set also has runner-friendly features like reflective detailing and secure pockets to keep your valuables safe. “And what’s even better is they now carry up to a size 4X,” Richardson notes.

Pierre says the matching sets from All Access “can handle high-impact workouts without shifting.” The sets are available in plenty of color options, like orchid, coral, and royal blue. They go up to a size XXL, which translates to an 18/20. And the fabric maintains its integrity after washes, Pierre promises.

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The Best Plus-size Workout Clothes for Women