Sportswear, Money Saving Tips and My Favourite Running Brands

Sportswear is currently experiencing a massive boom in global sales. Look good [insert tick] feel good [insert tick], workout good {insert tick]. Here are some money saving tips on how to buy great-quality sportswear.

My running gear is fairly simple and basic, as I usually stick to the sports brands dedicated to running whilst my gym gear is much more bold. There are a few reasons why I chose to have a slightly separate sportswear for running and another for other workouts.

Firstly, when it comes to outdoor running and training, I prefer to wear simple lycra styles. When it comes to the gym and classes, I prefer my style to be much more bolder. My state of mind is completely different to when I'm outdoor running, and that is reflected in the clothes I wear.

I prefer to wear lycra from running brands, because they design the clothes with the runner in mind. Every aspect of the clothing takes into account the runner's need, like windproof material, being lightweight, having thumb-holes, whilst ensuring the runner is fully comfortable throughout their running.

My ultimate favourite brand is Helly Hanson. I have one long-sleeved top I wear in the winter and a t-shirt I wear on warmer days. They are comfortable and the long-sleeved top keeps me warm on colder runs. Saucony, Gore and Brooks are a few other favourites and I highly recommend them for your running gear.

Running gear and sports-luxe can dent the bank account, but there are ways you can get round this. Here are my dos and don'ts:

DO:

1. Make use of any friends or family who work in sports-retail.

If you have friends or family that work in sportswear retail brands make use of this! I've been told by Nike employees, that Nike give their staff a huge discount for items, so if you know anyone who works in Nike, make use of this!

2. Buy your sportswear for the season in advance.

In some shops they heavily discount their clothes from the previous season. TK Maxx (TJ Maxx if you're in USA) currently have both summer and winter running gear on their sportswear lines, including a variety of well-known brands like Nike and New Balance. Winter running jackets can be expensive at their full RRP when you buy them in the winter, but in TK Maxx, Regatta jackets are (for example) being sold at £20 (ish), which is a pretty decent price, given they are normally £50 plus. Have a look through the racks properly though. Some of the clothes aren't of good quality, and just because a top is £6, especially a sports bra, doesn't mean it's worth it. Your tops need to last. A sports bra at £6 should ring alarm bells as it probably won't provide you the full support you need (pay attention to this if you have a fuller bust and do high impact activities!). Try it on at home and do the bounce-test if need be.

In London, the Running Works on Houndsditch is currently selling its stock, including trainers, from their previous branch at heavily discounted prices. Nike, Adidas, Saucony, Mizuonos, Adidas, Gore and One More Mile are all in there.

3. Need trainers for an outdoor or indoor workout?

When it comes to the gym or classes, your feet don't need the same support that they need while your running. Just ensure you are wearing trainers. If Nike is a little out of reach, there are other options. I recently discovered Deichmann by chance, and they sell a variety of comfortable, colourful and stylish trainers for £20. Perfect for the gym.

4. The Bounce Test for sports bras. 

A good sports bra will usually say on its label what level of support  it provides and what sort of activities it is best suited for. Don't buy the bra purely based on that. That is only the starting point. Either try it on in the shop's fitting room or at home. Then jump up and down, do a few burpees or squat jumps (basically anything that makes them bounce). If your bust is flying all over the place, then put down the bra; It won't provide you with the support you need as it has failed the Bounce Test. A sports bra that passes the Bounce Test is one that will strap it all in so that when you do jump around; nothing moves.

DON'T:

1. Spend all your time shopping in high-street brands.

Many brands have moved into sportswear sector, and whilst a lot of the clothing is more affordable, the quality is often no way near the same as sportswear from sports brands. Take H&M's sportswear. Whilst some of you may like it, the quality is poor meaning the clothes won't last as long. Other brands' sportswear collections, like GAP and Fat Face, have a far better quality. So shop around and really check the quality before you buy. Check for things like breathable material, moisture-wicking fabric (especially if it's a sweaty activity), lightweight or windproof.

2. Use fabric softener when washing.

When you're washing your lycra, NEVER use fabric softener. From personal experience when I've accidentally used it, I have found that the softener irritates the skin. Whilst you are working up a sweat this can be very distracting.

3. Put your lycra in the tumble dryer.

As with bras, to lengthen your lycras' life, don't put it into the tumble dryer. It causes shrinkage.






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