What to Wear to the Gym: A Men’s Guide to Gym Fashion

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With the new year coming up, getting that resolution on going to the gym can feel a lot more intimidating than usual. First off, what do men even wear to the gym? Well, turns out, there’s a lot of options you can wear that not only benefit you but also the ladies who see you.

Regardless of the time of year, going to the gym is a healthy habit and lifestyle choice that you should always consider doing. With that said, let’s figure out the apparel you’ll be sporting when you go squatting and pressing in the gym. Here’s what you should wear to the gym for men. 

Figure Out The Weather

Before anything, you’ll have to figure out the weather. Don’t be that guy who wears a hooded cotton or wool jacket into a hot and humid gym. Trust us, you won’t have a great time lathering yourself with sweat bubbles. 

In this article, we’ll be guiding you through many options that are perfect for both hot and cold seasons. With that in mind, always keep a note of what temperature your gym is most likely going to be at. 

At the same time, depending on how you’re commuting or driving there, never forget to bring an umbrella. Now, without further ado, here’s what you should wear to the gym, starting with the upper clothes.

Uppers, Torsos, Tops

Going first with the tops, figuring out the shirt you’re going to wear to the gym will help accentuate your muscles. Additionally, depending on where you normally sweat, the right material will help you avoid spreading your musk everywhere.

There are a lot of clothes and fabrics out there that are optimized for sweating or strenuous exercises. 

Sleeveless Singlets

Perfect for a hotter day, singlets are a great choice of apparel if you’re going to the gym on a sunny day. Additionally, if you’re the type to sweat a lot, then it’s easier to wipe yourself off with a hand towel when you’re not covered in sleeves.

Singlets look cool, athletic, and sort of casual. If you have big arms and want to show them off, these would be the perfect shirt for skin exposure. With that said, it’s also an excellent way to feel amazing while you workout.

Your muscles will naturally bulge and pump up as you continue to workout. This is due to the fact that lactic acid will store in your muscles as they are continually strained. Taking a cold shower helps remove this later on, so definitely take advantage of that if your gym offers a bath.

By wearing a sleeveless shirt, you’ll be able to see your muscles flex with every arm workout. Don’t confuse this with narcissism, as everyone deserves to feel achieved and fulfilled with every pound of progress they make in the gym.

Sweatshirts

Moving on to the opposite counterpart of the previous choice, sweatshirts are comfy and a great choice for colder temperatures. Furthermore, if you’re genetically blessed on the tricep side of things, then this would be the best choice for you on this list.

Contrary to popular belief, biceps are not the biggest muscle in your arm. It’s actually the tricep. A great tricep will leave a significant bulge on the backside of your arm, which creates a perfect outline when you’re wearing a tight sweatshirt.

Of course, if you want to accentuate your muscles, then definitely get a tapered sweatshirt. Baggy sweats are a big no-no if you can help it. That being said, there’s a lot of different sweatshirts available on the market right now.

Try to avoid anything that’s too heavily cottoned or wooled, especially if you sweat a ton. These clothes will stay wet for hours and will soon smell if you don’t launder them within 8-10 hours post workout. 

Moisture Wicking T-Shirt

You can never go wrong with a moisture wicking t-shirt. A normal tee? Maybe, but not a wick. Moisture wicking shirts are synthetic and designed specifically to manage wetness better than traditional fabric. 

By moving the moisture and sweat to the outer layers of your shirt, moisture wicking tees essentially dry much faster than cotton. Apparel like this have a lesser chance of smelling bad mid-workout and look much better.

Moisture wicking t-shirts generally wrap around your arms, especially if you’re wearing one from a sport brand like Nike or Adidas. These clothes are popular with YouTubers, athletes, and other enthusiasts of the athletic lifestyle. 

If you’re the type of person who just prefers a regular shirt, perhaps due to the temperature or the comfort, then shop around for a moisture wicking tee immediately. These babies will wrap around your chest and shoulders, bringing out the size of your arms and overall upper physique.

Moisture Wicking Long Sleeves

Of course, there’s definitely a variety to moisture wicking shirts that don’t limit you to having exposed arms. A moisture wicking long sleeve is a great investment for those colder gym sessions or when you want to feel a little more reserved. 

Just like the sweatshirts, the long sleeve here also wraps around your arms and outlines your muscles. However, since moisture wicking fabric is much thinner, the definition on your arms will be much clearer.

You’ll find this particularly common with athletes, like Igor Opeshansky who looks amazing in Myprotein’s performance long-sleeve. For those of you wondering, moisture wicking shirts do perform similarly to Nike’s Dri-FIT shirts. 

Moreover, here’s an important thing to keep in mind that a lot of people tend to confuse. Moisture wicking or Dri-FIT shirts are not meant to keep you dry. Instead, these fabrics are meant to dry faster. With that said, don’t expect that buying a pair of Dri-FIT shirts will make you stop sweating.

Yes, it will dry you faster and stop the cloth from sticking to your body. Unfortunately, no, it will not keep you dry during your workout.

Compression Shirts

If you aren’t familiar with gym clothes at all, then you might confuse this with the previous mentions. Compression shirts or long-sleeves will look similar to Dri-FIT or moisture wicking apparel, but they have different functions.

A compression shirt is meant to increase your performance inside and outside of the gym. Regardless if you have a couple extra pounds of muscle or fat, your body jiggles when you workout.

This is especially common for runners or people who do high-rep workouts. As your body jiggles, this also adds an increased level of stress to your muscles which tear. By holding your body in place tightly, compression wear helps alleviate the soreness from jiggling and reduces risk of injury.

Additionally, compressing your body increases the blood flow and circulation of oxygen. This helps you perform faster, look better, and feel better. 

Track Jackets

For a more classic look, you can never go wrong with track jackets. This would be best worn on colder days, but it also helps to have one ready when you’re running in the gym and don’t want to be disturbed.

Jackets and hoodies are a great way to divert attention away from yourself, especially if you’re the self-conscious type. Just remember that if the environment is hot or warm, a hoodie will make you sweat and the center of attention.

Grab yourself a track jacket when the weather is cold or if your gym is air-conditioned enough for a jacket to feel comfortable. Track jackets look awesome, athletic, and sleek. Pair this with some matching Nike’s, sweatpants, and you’re good to go.

Additionally, if you want to look more fashionable than the regular joe who just wears all black, track jackets come in a lot of amazing colors. You can wear one with a slash of yellow or red, as long as you find a color that fits well with your personality. 

Hooded Sweats

Just like all the previous entries on this list, your best friend is wearing something that’s tapered to your physique. Look for something that fits, wraps, and hugs your arms so you can accentuate your growth. 

Hoodies aren’t an exception to this rule and can look absolutely amazing on the right person. However, if you’re still on the beginning steps of working out and don’t have the definition yet, then don’t feel pressured to look swole.

Remember, being comfortable will give you the best performance for your workout more than anything else. With that in mind, a grey hoodie, grey sweatpants, and a pair of white New Balance shoes never hurt anybody. 

Be careful about sweating too much, though! On cotton and wool hoodies, this can be a very big problem hours later when your sweat has dried and you smell like… ass. With that said, there’s definitely a time for this, like during cold seasons. 

Lower

Moving on to the apparel that covers your junk, you definitely don’t want your willy to show itself when you’re benching. With that said, there’s a mixed opinion from people when it comes to shorts or sweats. 

Tapered Sweatpants

If you’re going to wear sweats, avoid putting on a really baggy pair. It just looks out of touch, style, and self-care. Of course, you shouldn’t judge somebody’s mental health based on the bagginess of their pants.

However, if you’re taking the time to read this article, then take that extra step and look your best when you get to the gym. Figuring out what to wear to the gym for men can be confusing and hard.


We completely understand this dilemma, especially if you’re new to the gym life. Those first few steps inside can feel like you have all their eyes on you, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re going to the gym to lift weights, not to impress people.

With that said, tapered sweatpants are definitely not going to impress anyone. A pair of these will put you in the perfect line of casual and enthusiastic, especially with the right pair of shoes.

Gym Shorts

Shorts, believe it or not, are actually a popular opinion with the ladies. Of course, this isn’t the entire demographic, there are still a lot of women who prefer compression tights and sweatpants. However, it’s good to know that baggy shorts are given some love.

Now, before getting comfortable, make sure you’re wearing the most secure underwear you have. You don’t—with emphasis on this one—you don’t want to be that guy who’s benching 150 on the bench press with your genitals hanging out of your baggy shorts.

Believe us, that’s a sight nobody wants to see. Once you have that cleared out of the way, you can definitely have a good pick at the type of gym shorts you want to wear. A great pair can come in cotton, synthetic fiber, wool, or even mesh if you’re feeling like it.

The disadvantage of baggy shorts though is that it does get in the way of training in some exercises. Also, you’ll start weighing yourself down as it absorbs your sweat while you’re running or squatting. 

Compression Tights

Similar to the athletic entry above, compression tights are absolutely wonderful to have when going to the gym. This is especially useful for legs workouts that involve running, jogging, and other wide movement.

This is because compression tights will keep your jiggly thighs—arguably the muscle that moves the most—in place. At the same time, the compression will help blood circulate and provide you with more oxygen to perform better.

While the benefits of muscle recovery and increased performance are somewhat exaggerated, there’s no denying that this is the apparel that professionals wear. With that said, they definitely wear them for a reason.

Compression apparel feels better, looks better, and when you feel better about yourself, you perform better. 

A Combination Of Both Worlds

If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a tight pair of pants around, covering your junk, then you can mix and match. Combining the best of both worlds, it’s a completely acceptable outfit to wear gym shorts and compression tights together. 

You’ll find this look common with basketball players, and other gym heads who sport a similar vibe. With that said, the styling here is hard to get wrong, but there’s no doubt that it’s going to be much hotter in your thighs. 

Definitely something you should wear on a cold day, but think twice if it’s rather humid. With that said, feel free to mix and match. For really cold days, it’s very common for individuals to wear compression tights underneath sweatpants. 

There are no rules in the gym, besides moaning too loud and ego lifting. Make sure you’re wearing something breathable, comfortable, but keep yourself aware of your sweaty aroma.

Shoes

Arguably the make or break of most outfits, shoes can be incredibly intimidating. We’ve all seen that guy who wears Jordans to the gym. While… there isn’t anything wrong with that—it’s definitely not the best thing you can wear.

There should only be two types of shoes you wear to the gym if you can help it. If you don’t have either of these shoes, don’t worry. Go to the gym and do your sets, but save a couple of dollars on the side so you can afford a good pair later on. 

Running Shoes

Cardio today? Wear running shoes. While that might feel like an obvious tip, this isn’t something that beginners will think about. Usually, the thought that crosses most minds is that “running shoes are for people who take running seriously, I just want to jog for a couple of minutes.”

Unfortunately, that is completely wrong. Running shoes, whether you’re jogging for a couple of minutes or running a marathon, will protect your feet. These are designed to absorb force better, stretch easier, and feel more comfortable.

The right pair of shoes will help you avoid injuries like landing in the wrong angle—spraining your ankle—and so much more. As a beginner, it’s much more important for you to wear running shoes so you can feel better as you progress with your routine.

Never underestimate the stress your weight puts on your body as you land with every step. Your spine protects you from most of this, but you should take care of it for as much as you can. With that said, in all humbleness from us, we suggest that you watch a video on “how to run”. 

You might think that running is something we should know inherently, but the truth is that most of us have not been taught how to run correctly. There are techniques that help you run faster, longer, and avoid injuries along the way. 

Comfort Over Aesthetic

Regardless if you have the latest Yeezys, a pair of expensive Jordans, or some hype shoes, wear something comfortable. There’s definitely a lot of flack when it comes to wearing expensive shoes in the gym. 

For one, it’s not the right place to be wearing your best sneakers. And two, who are you trying to impress? This is more of a disclaimer than a suggestion, as we would want our readers to wear something that best comforts them over anything.

There’s definitely a social side to the gym that includes “flexing” expensive shoes. We won’t encourage or discourage you from being that guy, but keep in mind that there’s definitely a stigma there.

However, if you are comfortable wearing your sneakers, then go ahead and wear it. Wearing a comfortable shoe can save you from injury, especially if you’re benching heavy weights. 

Socks

Probably not something you thought you’d have to think about, but figuring out the right socks can do a lot for your routine. For one, they’ll help you feel much better if you’re running, as well as help you avoid injury.

Calf Socks

Socks that reach all the way to your calves are a surprisingly popular choice for runners. Although it isn’t that commonly worn, calf socks look great with gym shorts. This works much better if you’re lean though, as it accentuates calves without you looking like a boy scout.

The color here will have to be your biggest consideration, since these socks will cover a good chunk of your legs. Try not to look too bright, like orange or yellow as those are generally associated with football or soccer.

We recommend putting on a black or white pair, with a matching pair of shoes that accentuate your socks or vice versa.

Low-Cut Mini Crew Socks

This is definitely the best one you can choose to wear from this list, as crew socks are the most popular choice for men. This is due to a lot of reasons, like the overall look, comfort, feel, and design choice of the socks.

Unlike the previous mention—it’s longer counterpart—crew socks don’t cover your entire calf. You don’t have to worry about looking like an athlete or a football player in the wrong field. 

Additionally, there’s a big chance that you already have socks at this height anyway. Feel free to use those, specifically the white ones. 

Ankle No-Shows

While some people might prefer these, it’s not something we would recommend. No-shows are amazing when you’re going out, but not really when you’re in the gym busting your ass off working out.

It looks lazy, and sometimes, looks like you aren’t wearing any socks at all. Anyway, wearing the right pair of socks is meant to support your ankles and no-show ankle socks just don’t fit the cut.

With that said, here’s the most important type of socks you need to get.

Compression Socks

If you skipped through compression shirts and tights, then take your time to read about compression socks. Your ankles are gonna be under a lot of stress when you workout. This can be because of deadlifts, squats, standing dumbbell curls, and so on.

It’s absolutely crucial that you protect the joints holding you up from injury. A wrong step, wrong footwear, or wrong balance can put you in so much danger without the right gear. Compression socks will definitely give your feet a better time, as well as give you a better experience when running. 

Bags

Bringing the right bag to the gym can help you prepare for anything urgent. Whether it’s going to a friend’s house for an emergency, getting called to a meeting, or anything in between.

Duffel Athletes

Starting with our personal favorite, duffel bags are often seen sported by athletes in all kinds of sports. Despite it being incredibly fashionable, there’s a lot that this bag can bring to your outfit that makes it more practical than aesthetic.

For one, you won’t wear it. Duffel bags are not worn, they are carried. If you have a sweaty back, this can mean a world of difference. Stop worrying about washing your backpack every other week, carry a duffel bag and keep it away from your sweat. 

With that said, it’s definitely one of the more annoying things to bring with you after an intense arm workout. Not a fun bag to carry when your arm and shoulders are sore, so best keep that in mind.

Backpack Basic

The most basic but practical thing you can bring is a backpack. Remember, it’s all about comfort. If bringing a backpack is something you’re comfortable with doing, a bag you don’t sweat through, doesn’t smell by the time you’re home, then use a backpack if you can!

This would be the best choice to wear, especially after arm day when your biceps and shoulders are sore. At the same time, there’s a lot of compartments that come with a backpack, to help you separate wet clothes from dry clothes.

You don’t wanna come home and open up your bag just to see that your wallet, powerbank, and other items are wiped in sweat. 

Sling Bags

Kind of a rare case when bringing this is a good idea, a sling bag is not the best bag unless you plan to take a bath at your place. There’s not enough room for a spare of clothes, much less a towel.

With that said, there’s definitely a time when a sling bag works just enough, but that’s usually for the fortunate people who live close to their gym. 

Accessories

Wearing the right clothes shouldn’t be your only concern, especially when it comes to the gym. There are a lot of other essentials that you should wear and bring, starting off with the earphones.

Earphones Are King

A nice pair of pods, headset, or Bluetooth earphones can blow a workout into astronomical heights. With the right soundtrack backing you up, it’s only a matter of time before you get your next PR.


With that said, earphones are also a great way to avoid having people bother you or interrupt your workout when you’re on an intense set. At the same time, you can enrich your mind with podcasts or audiobooks, all while training your body. 

All in all, earphones are definitely something you pack in your bag when going to the gym.

Bring A Jug

Always remember to hydrate yourself. Whether you’re bringing a jug of pre-workout, cranberry juice, or just regular water, having a liquid at the ready is an essential. Keeping yourself hydrated helps you avoid injury, passing out, and a lot of other negative accidents. 

At the same time, waiting at the water fountain in your gym might take a while, or you’ll lose access to the bench press for your next set. Definitely do yourself a favor and pack yourself a jug of water.

Smartwatch

If you’re going to bring a watch, make sure it is neither leather nor metal. Ideally, you should bring a smartwatch if you’re all about the fitness life, however, this is of course not a requirement.

That being said, try to wear a rubber strap with a waterproof dial, as you’ll want to wash your watch after a sweaty workout session. 

Towel

Working out is no reason to lose all sense of courtesy. Bringing a towel, even if your gym already provides one, is great for cleaning yourself up. No one wants to use a sweaty bench, squat rack, or any other machinery in the gym after you’re done.

Wipe yourself off, and with the other side of the towel, wipe the equipment you’re using. Show some love and give the next person the respect and decency of being able to use a clean machine.

Frequently Asked Questions About What To Wear To The Gym For Men

What is proper gym attire?

The best gym attire is something that you’re comfortable with wearing. However, if you’re running or using a machine that’s close to you, try to avoid baggy pants or shorts. This way, you’ll avoid the accident of having it latch onto the machine by accident.

What should you not wear to the gym?

100 percent, do not wear cotton clothes, jewelry, or clothes that are way too tight. Each of these will ultimately give you a hard time, with cotton sticking to you with sweat, jewelry lathered in sweat, and tight clothes giving you a hard time to breathe.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

Wear something that you’re comfortable with wearing, but don’t skimp out on necessities. If you want to take a jog, invest in some running shoes. If you’re the type to sweat a lot, compression or moisture wicking fabric would be the best for you. 

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The Trending Man

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