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Because You Asked: My Favorite Workout Clothes, Sneakers & More

photo by veronica crawford for ehd

It’s about that time where I start to think about implementing more exercise in my life. I’m TERRIBLE at pushing myself and find myself listening to Armchair Expert (Dax Shephard’s podcast which is GREAT) and just walking if I don’t listen to a workout app (see below). But the other day, in an attempt to get my active juices flowing, Brian and I went MOUNTAIN BIKING. I am talking the extreme kind where people are wearing pads all over their body and jumping off ramps which was wildly fun if not kinda terrifying. We are currently shopping for our summer sporting routine up in this mountain town that we can do either together or as a family so we don’t just sit at the beach and drink rosé all day. Mountain biking was definitely the top of the list and this weekend we are trying kayaking (is that an actual workout?), paddleboarding and rock climbing (there is a close-by rock climbing outdoor gym which would be fun to get into). What else do people do?? Pickleball? Tennis? Water skiing? Dunno. Anyway, you guys DM me all the time asking what I’m wearing when I workout so we pulled together a quick post with all my current favorites and as always, we want to hear your suggestions, too.

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women9
photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd

That was my uniform for a while, mostly because the cuts were good, flattering and comfortable. But that shirt is no longer available so I’m kinda in the market for a new shirt (I don’t love tank tops on me). This one was great because it was fitted enough, but not tight and came down in the front, up on the sides and had a scoop neck: all cuts that I really like (while staying put and not bouncing up and showing tummy while running). I just ordered this one so I’ll let you know the verdict. But what I DO know is the following seven things are my regular go-to fitness items that I can recommend:

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women8

Lululemon Baller Hat, $38:

I don’t really know why I like this hat so much but I do. It’s not like I have tried on every hat out there and can say with conviction that it’s the best one, but it looks cute, is lightweight and is really simple. I’ve been wearing it for over a year (since before Souptember—OMG do you remember Souptember?) and I haven’t washed it once so that’s where I’m at as a human being. Whatever you do, DO NOT think it’s okay to borrow your husband’s favorite hat for any cardio exercise. He looked at me afterward and was so confused why I would think that is okay. Whoops!

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women7

Lululemon Speed Up Tight, $108:

These are my favorite pants for most activities because my phone, wallet and/or ID can fit in the zipper pockets. The waist has a thick band making it so it doesn’t cut in and is kinda high waisted. Nothing drives me more nuts than my tummy coming out and over my workout pants while running or doing yoga and then constantly having to pull up the waist. These stay put and keep things in.

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women6

Fabletics Seamless High-Waisted Mesh 7/8, 2 for $24 (with VIP membership):

I just got these and really like them (although I wish it had a pocket). The bright red is VERY good and the mesh feels a little more stylish. Plus, I like that when I’m hiking around with the kids in the woods behind our house they can find me easily. Without the VIP membership, they are $65, but if you like new gear every month then they are really inexpensive (I was super skeptical about any workout pant being $12 TBH, but I ended up really liking the fit).

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women5

Lululemon Run Times Short II, $58: 

These are really great running shorts. The waistband is thick and semi-high-waisted so, again, everything stays in its place. They also have a pocket in the back to hold a card or ID (great for going on runs in your neighborhood). They have a 4-inch inseam so they don’t ride up your bum, or you know, other places.

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women4

Nike Free TR8, $100:

I’m a Nike loyalist, being from Portland and two of my best friends work there. I typically ask them what is the best shoe for running and they both said quickly this one. I then went on to beg them to open up a store close to me so I could try on more workout clothes because workout gear (and swimsuits) is the one thing that I really don’t like buying online.

But back to these shoes. They are lightweight, cute and comfortable. I feel like I can run fast in them and are easy to pull on and off (have you heard of my disdain for laces and tying my shoes? Who’s got the time??)

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women3

XTFree Bluetooth Wireless Sweat Resistant Earbuds, $50:

These are my go-to headphones. Again, I haven’t tried every one on the market, but I have a few different wireless headphones and prefer this every time. They stay put, have the controls on the cord (not on the actual earpiece like some others which means you can accidentally turn them off if you are adjusting them) and they stay in my tiny ear holes. I have found that much cheaper ones are, well, cheap, but I’ve spent more and have not felt that it’s worth the dough.

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women2

Aaptiv Workout App, $14.99/month or $99/year:

I have a theory that personal trainers (like interior designers) might be going away for most people except the highly wealthy because of apps and the Internet, which make is just so much more convenient and cheaper. I’ve had personal trainers over the years and while I love having them, trying to coordinate time (they are always booked in the morning) and, of course, the fee (in LA they start at $80 if you want them to come to you) is pretty cost prohibitive. I’ve tried group classes to save money but with my schedule, it’s really hard to find the right class at 6 am. LONG STORY SHORT, I’ve been doing Aaptiv since Souptember and it’s the only real way that I’ll workout and even remotely push myself. I know that if I had a personal trainer, I’d get pushed more, but it’s a good substitute that is FAR more convenient and affordable. I’ll often just go on a 22 minute run with intervals and lunges (Akeem is my favorite trainer) and then if I’m up for it, I’ll try an 8 minute HIIT workout or strength training right after. Just the intervals, which include sprinting, get my endorphins up and change my day drastically. Again, it hasn’t really gotten me a six-pack because I don’t do it enough or hard enough but it’s good for maintenance and stress relief. I haven’t tried the yoga yet and if anyone can recommend the best power yoga instructor on the app, that would be awesome.

Emily Henderson best workout clothes for women1
photo by veronica crawford for ehd

I’d love recommendations on sports bras and shoes that are really supportive for tennis because while I played in high school and was actually pretty good at it, the last time I played was 8 years ago and I sprained my ankle pretty badly. Any good shoes for lateral moves? Any recommendations for good family outdoor summer sport or activities? What age can kids start rock climbing? We’ve tried hiking and we just end up carrying them…help. 🙂

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4 years ago

Love Nike as well ? The Serena Williams bras for Berlei are INCREDIBLE sports bras – especially when there’s a little more going on up too.

4 years ago

Hi love this post. Would love to hear more about your suit hunt. And would absolutely love that kind of store. Excellent idea. Would love more on sports bras and more running shorts too. And rock climbing has been great for my daughter. She started when was 7 and is now 15. She’s part of a coed team which has been great and it has been just a huge positive part of her life. And when we travel if we are outside I often get her a climbing lesson where we are which is fun too. I highly recommend. Laura

4 years ago

Lululemon entire sports bra is golden!

4 years ago

Hi! My go to stability shoe has always been Asics! The Revolution 7 is the newest upgrade to my fave from them. For sports bras Sentia CANNOT be beat. Affordable, cute, effective, what else does one need?!

4 years ago
Reply to  Amanda
4 years ago

We built a climbing wall in our basement about 8 feet tall and both of our girls could climb to the top before they turned two. So young is the answer. ?

As far as hiking goes – try not to carry them. Distract them with songs or “just a little further “. Kids can do so much more than we think. Here is my then 6 and 8 year old hiking out to Avalanche Pass in winter. We took them hiking from very young ages and made a point of having them walk as much as possible.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Just got the same lulu pants and I agree. They’re great. For high impact activities, lululemon Enlite bra is worth every penny (and you can return at any time so if it stops holding the ladies because the tension stretched out I heard you can exchange). Target’s Women’s Power Shape™ MAX Support Convertible Sports Bra -C9 Champion is also really good for running and HIIT. Neither are super sexy/stylish, but for a large (post breastfeeding) chest, they are great. I have yes to purchase any from Title 9 but their ratings by support and cup size give me hope. For yoga, I like strappy ones that have nearly no hold, that “float” with you as you go upside down… no peekaboo accidents… learned that trick from a large chested yoga instructor. I can’t find the style I prefer online.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Forgot to add that we bribed them on hikes with candy. My husband wanted them to enjoy hiking and camping and always made it a priority that it be FUN. They got to pick a candy each and whenever we stopped for a break they could have some (within reason). Hope that helps!

4 years ago

Ummm, no reference to that hoodie!!??!!??

4 years ago

You’re so cute! Love the active pictures.

As for the swimsuit— Kortni Jeane!!

4 years ago

For sports bras: Shefit! I found out about them on Shark Tank and they have changed my life– no joke. I never used to run because I just couldn’t find a bra to hold the ladies in… this one is amazing. And designed/owned by a woman, which is always a bonus 🙂

Pam Duxbury
4 years ago

I love Fabletics and have been a VIP memeber for over 3 years! Their workout clothing are HIGH QUALITY!! I refuse to pay Lululemon prices and Fabletics has all the style and quality of Lulu, Athleta, Nike….and they wash like a dream! I have even bought skirts and other “athlesiure” items. Now, new great monthly is a bit much but you can easily choose to “skip” the month or I share with my daughters and we all rotate months. Love fabletics! It’s all I wear!

4 years ago

I am part of a weekly nature group of homeschool mamas and kids in LA. We just finished our third year and kids range from 0-9. We usually Ergo the littlest but once they hit 3, they are hiking with us! Some have to be encouraged with snacks when they begin to get whiny but they can definitely be trained. My 4 year old just hiked with us at Zion National Park and was only given a lift on part of the way back. I definitely encourage more hiking!

4 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

Our 2.5 year old loves to hike with us. We bring a small variety of snacks: trail mix (low sodium) I put together myself, oranges, small apples, and water. We switch off carrying him on our shoulders if he needs a break for short spells, but keep it clear that he is heavy and we need breaks too. (35 lbs)
Last hike was solstice camping- and he did 3 miles in and managed about 2.5 miles out (the next morning).

4 years ago

Shoes for tennis:
The Nikes that Serena wears look like hi tops. They look like they would give great ankle support. Good luck!

4 years ago

Athleta’s Glory 2.0 all the way for everything medium- to high-impact. I have never had a sports bra that I can spend an entire day in and forget about it…until this one. I use it for running, skiing, mountain biking, Crossfit, and even yoga on days when I feel like I need extra support. It is T.H.E. best!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Tara

Second the Glory 2.0 sports bra! I used to wear the Lululemon one, but it always needed some aggressive reshaping after washing. The Athleta one doesn’t have extra padding and is almost a minimizer, so everything stays exactly where it should. I’m convinced that if I’d had it when I first started running, I wouldn’t have my super-sexy boob stretch marks …

4 years ago

we have found that hiking with another family with kids of similar age is a total win. we have done this from a very young age and it still helps today, years later. the kids end up running up the trail and having a great time together and there is 1000% less complaining. that and bribing with snacks (!) when we get to a certain milestone- halfway, waterfall, etc.

4 years ago

We call it “the ice cream hike”. It’s about 1 mile around a lake and there’s an ice cream shack at the resort at the end. If the shack is closed we walk another quarter mile over to the store. The end result is always ice cream. They beg for this hike.

4 years ago

Janela Bay swimsuits, their modest but cute with fun patterns and colors and are high quality!

4 years ago

I also have secret boobs and the Victoria’s Secret Incredible is my very favorite sports bra. It has memory foam padded under wires and is the only sports bra I can actually do high impact activities in without giving myself a black eye.

4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I recommend Brooks running shoes and the Down Dog yoga app!

4 years ago

Just remembering…Santa Monica… “Everything but Water” all things ” swimmy and sunny”[swimsuit apparel]…is it still open? Where you try ALL in store in cabanas with non-fluorescent lighting for better real time views and no regrets after purchase or are they MIA

4 years ago

I love cute workout clothes and I really LOVE workout clothes that perform (wicking, no chafe, washable, etc.) so enjoyed this post. Not surprised Lulu made your cut. While I hate that they are so expensive, over the years the Lulu products I have purchased have been consistent workhorses. Although I can’t wear their bras (36B is just not their world) as I find them suffocating. I tried Fabletics and wanted to like them, but they fall short for me and I felt like they were a fast fashion choice. I’d rather pay more and own less. That said, I am SO glad others find this model works for them. is worth a look for those willing and able to spend Lulu prices but don’t want to look like everyone else (or support that company). Vie Active is women owned and quality is fantastic. OutdoorVoices, Nike and Athleta also make solid investment wear that will last years. Now is the time where I feel it’s important to say getting active is so much more important than what you wear. And Target and Gap both make solid, inexpensive options if all you need is something to get you started. So… Read more »

4 years ago

For sports bras, I LOVE Lorna Jane. I have a large chest and they offer a variety of support levels. I don’t run, but if I did, I totally could in one of their maximum support bras and not feel self conscious. I also love that Lorna Jane sizing is straightforward and consistent so I can confidently buy stuff online. Oh and they’re cute too!

Lululemon sports bras are good and also cute but just not supportive enough for real workouts for me. I also haaaate that their sizing is all over the place. Even between different productions of the same bra! That’s ridiculous.

4 years ago

I’m an Athleta girl all the way!!! I love their clothes. I buy pants to work out in and others of their styles to wear while running errands or hanging out. Those styles are a little less workout-looking and are designed to wear out and about. I have tons of pairs of Athleta pants. I think they are a better price than Lululemon. They fit my body type which is small waist and ample derriere.
My favorite shoes are On Running shoes. I have 2 pair of the Cloud series. I don’t run but I do walk and go to the gym. I use them for both activities

4 years ago

The only sports bra I’ll wear for running is the Brooks Juno. They’re kinda pricey, like $70, but your girls deserve it. I wear a 34DD and like the tight, compressive fit. It is hard to get on so I pull it over my head with the clasps closed then unclasp to take it off

4 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

The Brooks bras (ex-Moving Comfort) ar pe the best! My favorite is the Fiona. They hold everything in place when I run – whether a 32DD while breastfeeding or my regular size.

4 years ago

Hiking is completely do-able with littles as long as you keep it fun and fit the length to their abilities. For years we would only hike to destinations involving water and throwing stones etc. Tell stories as you go along; they get interested and forget to be tired. And lots of food along the way is a must as others have said.

4 years ago

Kids can start climbing as soon as they fit in the harness! I took my 2 and 4 year old nephews and they loved it. It’s also a great family sport because they can run around the bottom of the crag while one person climbs and the other belays. There are special 4 point kids harnesses.

4 years ago

The BEST sports bra is the Enlite Bra from Lululemon imho.

No underwire! No removable pads to replace after washing! Super supportive for high-impact workouts for larger chests. I’ve been using/looking for running bras since HS. 20 years! This is the best I’ve ever used, promise.

Love these posts. I always look forward to Saturdays. Thank you!

4 years ago

I found my sports bras at Title Nine.
They changed my life after having kids I couldn’t find a sports bra that would support me. Finally I found one that had padded straps and velcroed in the front. Which meant that not only could I ratchet t everything down I could also nurse my baby on the sideline of an Ultimate Frisbee game and then hop in to play. That was nine years ago, they haven’t worn out, they support me and they are comfortable.

4 years ago

Your kids can rock climb now as long as you can belay them. Go to the gym by you and take the belaying class. Practice on each other for awhile and then start belaying your kids. Our kids now 6 and 8 have been climbing since about 3/4. We have a child harness for them and the eight year old has the special shoes. The six year old needs shoes now. We will save the eight year old’s shoes.

It’s weird because I feel like I know you from the blog, but you don’t know us. But if you are ever in the bay area, we would love to take your family to Ring Mountain in Marin. We have all the kid gear and would happily teach your children.

You will find that your rock climbing gym probably has kids classes/camps/birthday parties. We did our son’s 4th birthday party at the rock climbing gym. They provided one teacher to belay and we both belayed the other kids so there wasn’t too much waiting. It’s a great family activity.

4 years ago

Try Senita bras! A bunch of them have back pockets that are awesome so my shorts/pants don’t fall down from the weight of my cell phone/cards. The Sarah bra is my favorite. plus it’s a lovely woman-owned company that is continually improving in terms of diversity in their models’ looks/body types ☺️

4 years ago

Lululemon Energy bra is fantastic and cute! It says best for B/C but works for D too.

4 years ago

I wear a 36F and am ride or die with Enell sports bras. I’ve been using them for over a decade and I’ve tried others (including the Berlei bras) and nothing compares. The original sport one (that looks kinda like body armor) is the absolute BEST for anything with lots of running/jumping/quick changes of direction, and the racerback is nice for yoga/pilates/things that need lots of shoulder mobility. I’ve not tried the lite line, so I can’t comment on them. I go with the sizing chart recommendation for the original sport model and size down one for the racerback.

4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Seconding Enell – the only sports bras I’ll wear as a G cup (they basically have all sizes for C cups and above)! Sport for the maximum support, Racer if I want less coverage in the back, and Lite if I’m doing yoga or walking.

Emily W
4 years ago

My favorite athletic wear is from the Girlfriend Collective – so!! good!! The prices are fairly middle-ground, and they’re ethically made from recycled water bottles, and they’re really really great quality!! I have 3 pairs of leggings, they have some tops but I haven’t tried them yet

4 years ago

Kayaking is definitely a workout! And so fun!

4 years ago

If you’re looking for great yoga you can do from home, check out Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube. I have been doing her videos for about a year now and LOVE her! Plus, they’re free!

4 years ago

Lol “over a year (since Souptember..)”–that is not over a year 😉

4 years ago

This is the brand of sports bra Serena Williams wears!

Honestly great!

4 years ago

Swimming is SUCH a great workout for your entire body, without as much stress on your joints! Remember (Just like running), there is a warm up period, so make efficient calm breath control your goal! If you aren’t a regular swimmer, I recommend adding one relaxed swim per week for stretching and joint recovery from the rest of your program. (Also, don’t discount water aerobics- many pools offer more aggressive and relaxed classes.)

4 years ago

Random request….if you do a sports bra round up maybe you could include undies that are great for working out? Something that doesn’t trap sweat and make you look like you wet your pants…through your pants. And something seamless to work well with lighter colored workout pants.

4 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

I really like these, and they’re available on Amazon, too. And heck, our Kohl’s carries them in the store, so you could buy just one pair to try out:

I wear them for regular use, but have worked out in them, too. I prefer cotton for running, though.