This Is What To Wear When You Work Out In Summer (Hint: It's Not Stretchy!)

August 3, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

If you’re a gym rat or exercise fiend–props, girl. You put in that extra work and see results. And you know that the struggle to workout in the dead of summer is real–motivating to go for a run outside when it’s 90 degree is like hero status.

The sweat! Oh, the sweat! There’s so much of it, and you’re not sure exactly what to wear to deal with it. Should you be one of those people in sweat bands?? Should you wear a loose cotton tee or a tight spandex top? What’s the best material for shorts–spandex, nylon, mesh?? It might seem like sweating a ton is inevitable when you put in work in summer, but there *are* some materials and outfit options that can actually make you sweat less and have a less sticky workout session. Dontcha want to know what they are? Here’s the answer:

READ MORE: Is It Bad To Wear Shapewear When It’s Really, Really Hot? The Answer

So, remember when we told you that when you’re hot you sweat, and in order to cool off you need the sweat to evaporate (because it’s the evaporation that drains the heat from your body)? Air flow is how sweat evaporates, so the more air that can flow to your skin, the better. It seems pretty straight forward, and this rule is especially true for workout clothes in summer.

The more skin you can show–the better. This is why you see the hardcore chicks in sports bras and booty shorts at the gym. They are allowing the maximum air flow to their skin by literally exposing it to the air. There’s no clingy clothing barrier to prevent the evaporation of sweat. This is the optimal choice.

READ MORE: Does Wearing Jeans Make You Hotter–Or Is It All In Your Head?

So, that said, let’s just assume that some (most?) of you don’t feel comfortable working out in skimpy or nonexistent clothing? Also, let’s assume that the sun is out and you need some sort of protection from burning. So, what should you do then?

Well, the answer is definitely more clothing–sunscreen is unfortunately bad for sweating because it does not allow the skin to produce sweat. Which, again, plays a key part of cooling down your.

So–if the suns out (guns out) and you’re exercising, you want to go with loose-fitting clothing. Loose fitting clothing, ones where the arm holes and leg holes are extra wide, will allow for the air to circulate. The answer is not your tightest tops–they are too constricting and prevent air flow. The answer is never Spandex (unless you’re competing in the Olympics!).

READ NOW: The Best And Worst Fabrics To Wear When It’s Really, Really Hot

Now, what about color? We already know that black clothing absorbs the heat from the sun and transmits it to the skin, which makes you hotter, so you want to avoid black clothing during a summer workout at all costs. (I know, like half my workout clothes are black. Time to invest in another color!). The answer to your color question is to wear the lightest colors possible – whites, pales, neutrals. Dark clothing is not the way to go–again, it will only make you hotter.

READ NOW: 4 Ways To Deal With Back Sweat

So, there you have it! The answer of your question, “what should I wear to work out in summer?” Was this article helpful? What will you wear on your next summer run? Let us know by commenting below or sending more of your summer style questions to [email protected]

[Photo: Shutter]


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...


The Perfect Summer Blouse To Wear With *Everything* Just Went On Sale For 40% Off

Even though spring and summer are all about dresses, some ...


Order This Flattering $39 Maxi Dress In Every Color While It's On Sale At Nordstrom

If you're working on stocking your closet for summer, ...


The Easy Outfit Trend That Will Instantly Become Your New Go-To Look

Remember when your mom used to dress you in matching ...


This $19 Top Is *Super* Flattering (It Hides Your Tummy!)

I don't know about you, but I'm all ...


Shoppers Can't Stop Raving About This $14 Tee--It's So Soft And Flattering

Sure summer is all about skirts and dresses, but you'...


Don't Miss Your Chance To Score This Super Popular, Stylist-Approved Bra For 40% Off

When we talk to celebrity stylists and personal shoppers about ...


You Can Stop Searching For The Perfect Silk Slip Dress--I Found It

I don't really consider myself a dress person, but ...


This Is The Perfect Flattering Black Swimsuit... And It's Only $18!

Counting down the days until beach season? Me too! I ...