I tried 6 local Instagram activewear brands so you don’t have to

hat if I told you that local brands are making some impressive activewear and you can get it for cheap?

Recently, I ditched buying activewear from abroad and decided to give local activewear a try. Some popular brands had been floating on my Instagram newsfeed, but my main concern was always, what if I end up spending on poor quality clothing?

That would be a major bummer.

Surprisingly, this thought was a shared one as I spoke to my colleagues and other fitness enthusiasts.

To save you the hassle, I got in touch with six popular local Instagram activewear brands and asked them about their collections.

I was in search of a sports bra, leggings and a top for the trials. I tested them in HIIT, weight lifting, Pilates, yoga and running. I rated all activewear on the basis of three metrics: performance/endurance, comfort/fit and design.

After weeks of trials, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the clothing. I've marked my top picks to exercise in and favourites, which I like but probably won't use for workouts.

Check them out.

Tip: a surefire way to check if leggings are squat proof is to place the palm of your hand inside the fabric and push against it, if your skin colour shows through, you'll know.

Livingfit Apparel

Livingfit Apparel has fun designs; minimal and chic. Unfortunately, their social media pages do not mention prices and material of most clothes, which makes it difficult to know more about their products.

1) Signature Sports Bra — Small

Price: Rs2,250

Material: Polyester, cotton & lycra detailing

The good: Provides good support and coverage. Straps are sturdy and hold up well. Doesn't cling after a sweaty workout. Good for all intensity workouts.

The bad: Size runs small.

2) Grey Crossback Top — Small

Price: Rs3,100

Material: Mainly polyester

The good: It's a soft, lightweight, wrinkle-free shirt — easy to wash and wear. Non-absorbent and moisture-wicking material — no sweat stains. Cute back detail.

The bad: Short length. Material feels hot. Sleeves don't sit well. Snug fit, go up a size for a looser fit. Tag inside is unusually large and gets uncomfortable, especially during exercise.

3) High Rise Cropped Push Up Legging — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs3,650

Material: Nylon, spandex, mainly polyester

The good: Best leggings of the lot. Sturdy and thick fabric yet very comfortable, fits like a second skin. Seams don't dig in. High waist provides good support. Hugs in all the right places. Provides good compression and elasticity — ideal for any workout. Squat proof, moisture-wicking. Good, basic design.

The bad: The tag! If they were seamless, it would've been perfect — but I'm nitpicking here.

Verdict: Surprisingly, LFA's clothing were some of the only pieces tested that didn't stink or have an odour post-workout. Except for the large tags, I think LFA has won me over. I know I'll be buying more leggings from here.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Tuhura

Tuhura has beautiful designs — especially the Nomi Ansari x Tuhura line. Unfortunately, their website doesn't mention material details either. When shopping online, fabric details are important since the customer can't feel the clothing or try it on prior to purchase.

1) Azure Compression Sports Bra — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs1,600

Material: Nylon & spandex

The good: Lightweight. Provides medium support with good coverage. The most comfortable fit out of all the sports bras listed. Elastic band sits very well. Breathable, well-ventilated. Doesn't cling after an intense workout. Sweat-wicking material. Nice colour and cute back straps!

The bad: Low support for running or high intensity workouts.

2) Black Full Sleeves Top — Medium (writer's favourite)

Price: Rs1,600

Material: Polyester & viscose

The good: Super soft and comfortable. Lightweight. Material drapes well. Doubles as a regular top. Flattering fit.

The bad: No moisture wicking, takes time to dry. Material clings during a sweaty workout. Not well-ventilated. Wrinkles very easily. Not durable after multiple washes; material hangs.

3) Anchor Black Tights, Nomi Ansari collection — Small

Price: Rs2,700

Material: Supplex, lycra & cotton

The good: Design looks cute in photos.

The bad: Size runs small. Not functional. The white knee patch is itchy and extremely uncomfortable and a pain to wash off stains from. Tights ride up during workouts. Material isn't breathable.

Verdict: The Nomi Ansari collection tights were a major letdown, but Tuhura's other collections seem pretty decent. Their sizing can be a bit tricky and runs small, but their sports bras deliver.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Haraka

Haraka has hip designs. I appreciate the extensive clothing details on their site. However, they also don’t include materials used.

What stands out is the chat bar in the corner of their site to help customers with their products. Instant help during online purchases is a bonus.

1) The Bare Necessities Bra — Small

Price: Rs1,800

Material: Polyester & lycra with mesh detailing

The good: Comfortable fit, cute mesh detail. Gives good coverage and medium support. True to size. No digging. Elastic band sits well. Well-ventilated.

The bad: Mesh detail is fragile — tore from the seam after two wears.

2) Arrow Tank Black — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs1,250

Material: Polyester & lycra with mesh detailing

The good: Well-ventilated, sweat-wicking fabric; airy, soft, comfortable, lightweight and cute design. Flattering fit. For a looser fit, size up. Really enjoyed working out in this tank!

The bad: Leaves sweat marks. Neckline doesn't sit properly.

3) The Bare Necessities Tights Black — Small

Price: Rs2,100

Material: Polyester & lycra with mesh detailing

The good: Nice mesh detail. Lightweight, breathable with sweat-wicking fabric. Back zipper.

The bad: Design-wise, they could've made it to the top picks, but these are not squat proof. Low elasticity for yoga or deep stretches. Poor stitching, came undone. No compression. Waistband rolls down during workouts.

4) The In-Line Shirt Blue — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs1,450

Material: Nylon & elastane

The good: Loose fit, super lightweight, breathable, well-ventilated and comfortable. Airy and feels good to workout in. I really enjoyed doing weights and cardio in this, it has a barely-there feel to it and keeps you cool throughout. Quick to dry.

The bad: Leaves sweat marks. White design detail around the corners is sticky and slightly clings to the mat during Pilates and yoga. The length can feel too short for comfort.

5) Sky-walker Tights — Small

Price: Rs2,800

Material: Nylon & elastane

The good: Soft material. Quick to dry. Doesn't slide off when running. Side pockets. Lightweight. Comfortable fit.

The bad: Leaves sweat marks. Poor stitching — came undone after a couple of washes. Low elasticity for yoga or Pilates.

6) Velour Shirt Crimson — Medium

Price: Rs2,200

Material: Nylon, spandex and polyester

The good: No sweat marks. Cute thumb cutout. Good for winter. Pretty colour.

The bad: Too thick for summers, not breathable and size runs small. High compression, the thumb cutouts add an uncomfortable amount of pressure to the palm.

7) Velour Tights Crimson — Small

Price: Rs2,600

Material: Nylon, spandex and polyester

The good: Good elasticity. The colour pops. Has side pockets and a back zipper. Good for winter. No sweat marks.

The bad: Not comfortable; seams dig into the skin due to compression. Thick material. Gets hot. Not for summer. Waistband rolls down during workouts, seams at the rim dig into the skin, cause discomfort.

Verdict: Haraka's clothes need more of a 'give' and the stitching needs work; the stitching started unraveling after a couple of uses. It's nice to see that they work on design but endurance and quality also need focus. Their leggings were a bit of a task to get on initially, but after the first wash they fit fine. The brand does give customers a guarantee; they replace any products that don't hold up or are defected even after use so there's that. Hopefully this was a one-off manufacturing error.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Peach Wear

Peach Wear is not exactly focused towards activewear; they offer that alongside other clothing, but I was pleasantly surprised with their relatively small collection.

Unfortunately, their site lacks details when it comes to their activewear. I got no sense of the material, design, cut... or anything.

1) Grey Sports Bra — Small

Price: Rs1,375

Material: Spandex & polyester

The good: The bra provides medium support and full coverage. Has good compression.

The bad: Thick material. Design needs work. The elastic band digs in, feels tight and uncomfortable, and wrinkles after a few washes.

2) Cutout Shirt, loungewear — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs750

Material: Cotton

The good: Loose-fit. Extremely comfortable, doubles as a top layer on workout clothes. Soft, lightweight. Breathable.

The bad: Cut-out placement seems odd.

Verdict: Peachwear needs to expand on its activewear and work a bit more on comfort and design, it's definitely a promising brand.

3) All Day Everyday Jogger Set — Small

Price: Rs3,500

Material: Double jersey

The good: The shirt is, light, airy, breathable and extremely comfortable during workouts. It looks cute too and doubles as a regular crop top. The pants have pockets and come with elastic lining with a considerable amount of stretch — good for cardio and/or weight lifting. Doesn't leave knees! Best for winter.

The bad: The shirt has big arm holes. Leaves sweat marks. The lowers get hot. No ventilation, not light-weight. Not for summers. Elastic lining can get itchy and annoying during a sweaty workout. Low elasticity for yoga and Pilates.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Spartan Athletics

As Spartan Athletics is operational as a seasonal pop-up, it makes sense that they have a limited collection. Though they have yet to introduce sports bras, they have an extensive line otherwise for men and women both.

1) Legacy Crop Top — Small

Price: Rs2,500

Material: Cotton & elastane

The good: Soft feel. Lightweight. Nice fit. Good for winter. Cute top.

The bad: Not well ventilated. Thick material. Uncomfortable. No sweat-wicking; material gets wet after sweaty workout. Shirt rides up during exercise. Massive logo in the front. Not for summers

2) Basic Logo Tee — Small (writer's favourite)

Price: Rs2,200

Material: Mainly cotton

The good: Loose fit, airy, lightweight, well-ventilated, breathable, great for cardio or high-intensity workouts.

The bad: Leaves sweat marks. Too loose for Pilates or yoga. Massive logo at the back.

3) Revival Leggings — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs3,500

Material: Polyester & elastane

The good: Really liked these leggings. Good fit. Well-stitched. Highwaisted and hugs in all the right places. Good quality material, maintains quality even after wash. Provide the right amount of compression. I like the funky electric blue colour.

The bad: Size runs small. Massive logo running along the side of one leg.

Verdict: Spartan Athletics has some good activewear. It's not for the style-conscious but it gets the job done.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Dabs

Dabs' site surprisingly lists fabric details for some of their clothing and I found it really helpful. They also have a chat option for customer support.

However, their product images need work, as most of them were not modelled it wasn’t easy to figure out how the clothing actually fit a person. They also customise clothing to the client's preference and size.

1) Sports Bra Black — Medium

Price: Rs1,795

Material: Mainly polyester & elastane

The good: Soft. Comfortable. Sits well. Provides full coverage.

The bad: Low support for intense workouts.

2) Double-up Crop Top Charcoal — Small (writer's top pick)

This is a crop top and tank top set; I tested them separately.

Price: Rs1,195

Material: Mainly cotton & elastane

The good: The crop top has a good fit and provides good compression. Mesh is good quality and comfortable. Fuss-free to workout in. Nice design. Good for winter. The tank top is the true winner though. It's loose-fit, well-ventilated, comfortable and fits well, true to size and dries fast. Good for all exercises.

The bad: The crop top is too thick and heavy for summer. Not well-ventilated, Leaves sweat marks. The material gets wet and sticky after a sweaty workout. The tank material shrinks after the first wash. For a looser, go a size up. Leaves sweat marks.

3) Relentless Shirt — Small (writer's top pick)

Price: Rs1,545

Material: Mainly polyester & elastane

The good: Soft. Lightweight. Sweat-wicking. Good fit. Quick to dry. High elasticity. Supportive and comfortable during weightlifting. Well-ventilated.

The bad: Thick fabric. Design needs work. Leaves sweat marks.

4) Long Sleeve Shirt — Small

Price: Rs1,395

Material: Mainly cotton jersey & lycra.

The good: Good fit. Simple design. For winter wear.

The bad: Thick material. Not well-ventilated. Not for summers. Shoulders/sleeves ride up during weight lifting or arm lifts.

5) Relentless Tights with Media Pocket — Small

Price: Rs1,995

Material: Mainly polyester & elastane

The good: Soft to wear. Comfortable to workout in. High elasticity, ideal for exercise. Back zipper. Lightweight. Sweat-wicking material.

The bad: Not squat proof. Too many seams which get uncomfortable during exercise. Tie-up gets annoying. The coloured sides are not sweat proof. Design needs work.

Verdict: Dabs has some great products which utilise good material and the stitching is well done. However, some of their activewear need to be more lightweight and breathable to provide maximum comfort during exercise.

 

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