Keep Your Workout Gear in Shape: Knowing When to Replace Gym Clothes

Gym workout clothing
Treating yourself to a new outfit can be a good reward for all of your hard work — or simply act as a motivator to get back into the gym!

by  Lindsay Tigar

If you've been visiting the gym for some time now, you've likely identified a few favorite outfits in your workout wardrobe. Whether it's a tank that fits just right or a pair of comfortable shoes that offer great support, your preferred gear has probably carved out a prime spot in your rotation.

This is great — but it can make things difficult when it comes time to replace gym clothes. How do you know when to let go? Is it when there's a hole in your shoes, or you run a certain number of miles? Is it OK to keep wearing a garment once it's faded or see-through?

Although everyone has their own threshold, there are some best practices to follow. Here is a no-excuses guide for knowing when to replace gym clothes.

Shoe Safety

First up, your shoes! The most important factor in understanding the quality of your athletic shoes is safety. Regardless if they're your most prized possession, the last thing you should worry about when getting your heart rate up is slipping and injuring yourself.

If your go-to kicks have lost their traction, have holes that could rip down to the sole, or don't generally make you feel steady anymore, it's time to invest in a new pair! Depending on how often you make it the gym, you may want to replace your shoes every three to 12 months. If you're an avid runner or performing another high-impact exercise regularly, it's common for the cushioning of your shoe to wear down making you more prone to injury. In this case, Runner's World recommends replacing your running shoes every 300–500 miles.

The Smell Factor

Figuring out how to replace gym clothes can sometimes be a tricky process, with tops being among the most difficult to analyze. Since tanks, bras, and shirts often become more comfortable once you've worn them countless times, a little rip here and there might not sound an alarm. But a small tear could suddenly, mid-workout lead to a much larger one — especially with the amount of movement you do in this attire.

Another thing to consider? The smell factor. If you can't get rid of the post-workout sweat stink even when you wash it, it's time to toss it out and go shopping! You deserve it.

Keep Your Soles Protected

In addition to routinely replacing your shoes, you should make an effort to regularly swap out old socks! If you feel attached to a specific brand and tend to wear the socks until they're super thin, it's a good idea to consider a new approach.

You always want to make sure your footwear helps you feel secure in your footing — and keeps your soles protected. Socks that don't offer support can create painful blisters, which, eventually, could disrupt your workout routine.

Treat Yourself

From workout pants and leggings to shorts and more, the bottom half of your fitness wardrobe is among the most important garments to shop for. With everyone requiring something different — whether those are leggings that rest easily on the hips or shorts that offer extra padding — once you find a solid item, you tend to hold onto it. So when making a decision to replace gym clothes, consider the wear and tear and how it impacts not only your own workout but others around you as well.

If your go-to bottoms have developed a permanent scent or worn down and become a little transparent, your neighbor on the treadmill might get more than they bargained for. And if you want to really give it your all in the gym, worrying if your workout clothes will reveal too much isn't a fear you should harbor. So when in doubt? Buy a new pair — or three!

Treating yourself to a new outfit can be a good reward for all of your hard work, or simply act as a motivator to get back into the gym. Either way, you deserve a few new exercise clothes; enjoy the boost of confidence and comfort!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.