Sweat It Out: The Men’s Workout Pants Guide

Image Credit: Reigning Champ

Stop letting shabby gym gear sour your style. Dressing well and staying in shape don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and wearing clothes that make you feel good shouldn’t stop in the locker room. Hitting the gym can do wonders for your physical and mental health, but you can feel even better about yourself if you ditch the moth-bitten T-shirt and ill-fitting shorts, and invest in some stylish workout clothes instead.

A well-fitting pair of workout pants should be at the top of your shopping list. They’re comfortable, warmer than shorts for those cold morning and evening sessions, and they look the part too.

Thinking of upping your activewear game and investing in a pair? Well, you’ve landed on the right page. We’ve pulled together all the information you need in order to buy a pair of workout pants that suit your needs, including the key styles to look out for and the brands making the best ones.

From traditional jersey joggers to high-performance fabrics, here’s what you should know.

Why Buy Workout Pants?


Workout pants are a great alternative to shorts for cold-weather training and for upper-body strength sessions when your legs aren’t seeing much action. In the olden days, they were made from fleece-backed jersey cotton, but today they’re often cut from technical fabrics that are designed to wick sweat away from the skin. With these types of workout pants, you may well find yourself cooler and more comfortable than you would be in shorts.

Performance aside, workout pants look good (provided you buy a good pair), and there’s no reason they can’t venture out to the gym. The athleisure movement in menswear has seen workout apparel creep into everyday wardrobes where it can be styled with casual garments for day-to-day comfort.

The right pair of workout pants can easily mingle with less sporty pieces, maximising that bang-to-buck ratio.

Key Types Of Workout Pants For Men

Classic sweatpants

Reigning Champ

You know the type. Elasticated at the waist and ankles, drawstring, usually grey, heavy, nice and fleecy inside. These traditional joggers have been around since the early 20th century, and even though fabric tech has come a long way since then, we still find ourselves drawn to the simplicity of this classic design.

Are they the most functional workout pants you can buy? No. Do they do the job? Yes. Do they look good while doing so? Also yes.

Technical sweatpants


These modern joggers make full use of advanced fabrics. As a result, they’re lighter, more breathable and better at wicking moisture away from the skin.

Some technical sweatpants are even treated with DWR (durable water repellent) coating, which enables them to shrug off showers with ease. They might even have pre-shaped knees and articulation for the greatest possible range of motion.



If you want maximum freedom of movement and ultimate comfort, sports leggings are the best way to go. Unfortunately, that comfort comes at a price – let’s just say pants this tight leave little to the imagination.

Still, why let that bother you? Or if it does, just pop a pair of shorts over the top and hey, presto, dignity preserved.

The Best Brands For Men’s Workout Pants


Canadian label Lululemon is the foremost name in premium fitness wear that’s stylish enough to wear outside of workouts. It started life making yoga pants for yummy mummies, but has since diversified to cater for men too.

The brand is known for its high-performance proprietary fabrics, which are designed to make exercise as comfortable and efficient as possible. Workout pants-wise, expect slim tapered fits, premium price tags and subtle branding.

Shop now at Lululemon


Torsa is a relatively new brand operating in the athleisure space. It offers a small collection of high-end workout kit that’s fine tuned with high attention to detail.

The label’s Wolf training pant is the product that first put the brand on our radar, offering a cropped leg, tapered cut and Japanese DWR-treated fabric to deflect the rain.

Shop now at Torsa


Need we say more? If you’re unfamiliar with Nike then where have you been? The American sportswear behemoth has one of the biggest R&D budgets of any apparel brand on the planet, which it invests into making highly technical kit for the best athletes in the world.

Whether you’re looking for an old-school pair of fleecy joggers or a some futuristic workout pants with techy fabrics, you’ll find it here.

Shop now at SSENSE


It’s one of the priciest running labels out there, but man does the kit look good. Famous for its slightly ridiculous ‘Mothtech’ cotton tees, the brand makes premium athletic apparel with a strong focus on aesthetics.

There are a few options when it comes to workout pants, ranging from £150 for a pair of tights all the way up to £370 for the top-of-the-line softshell pants.

Not exactly wallet friendly, but if you’re the type of deep-pocketed person who has to have the coolest gear then it’ll be right up your street.

Shop now at Satisfy

Reigning Champ

Canadian brand Reigning Champ creates high-end athletic apparel that harks back to the glory days of fleece-backed jersey cotton goodness. Think thick heavyweight sweats that are perfect for lounging around or hitting the squat rack, depending on the mood.

That being said, the label does dabble in technical fabrics too. Check out the Compression Tights and the Coaches Joggers for something a bit more modern.

Shop now at MR PORTER

Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices makes general outdoor apparel for doing active things, whether it’s hiking, jogging, hitting the gym or just walking the dog.

The pants are some of the brand’s best-selling items, offering a winning blend of comfort, performance and good looks.

Check out the Textured Compression Sunday Sweatpants, which have a relaxed tapered fit for all-round comfort whether you’re chilling or working towards your fitness goals.

Shop now at SSENSE

District Vision

District Vision is another high-end sportswear brand that makes fashion-forward athletic apparel for style-conscious customers. The focus is skewed towards running, but the brand’s workout pants aren’t just for putting down PBs on Strava.

We’d recommend taking a look at the Zanzie Track Pants, which feature articulated knees for full range of motion and zips to the ankles for quick changes when wearing running shoes.

Shop now at MR PORTER

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.