Activewear Review

The quest for workout clothing is real…I want something comfortable, that will stay up but move with me, provide support up top, and make me feel good.  Historically, I would go to a place like TJ Maxx and spend $20 max on leggings.  But I’m realizing the quality of those isn’t great, the fit isn’t the best, and they don’t last as long as I would like.  I’ve been contemplating spending a bit more on athletic wear to see if it is worth it for quality…so here goes my thoughts on the topic.  

From what I hear, Lululemon is the “gold standard”.  They say the material is super soft, the clothing is comfortable, and the customer support/warranties are great.  The problem: they’re so freaking expensive.  So the question is, is it worth it?  

If you’ve followed me for a while, you may have heard me mention P’tula…I’ve been eying them for years.  I love the community around the brand, the amount of detail that goes into every piece, the idea you get to hear a story about an amazing person each time you look at a product, and that it is a small business that matches my value system (e.g. uses diversity in their marketing, doesn’t use models, gives back, etc.). I could go on and on, but we’ll leave it there!  The products are more reasonably priced that Lululemon, especially when they’re on sale and people rave about these products…so I have to try!  

When I shared this project, other brands did reach out to gift their products including Born Primitive (who I had already looked into and considered for this), Gymshark, and Nux.

I chose to compare leggings, spandex shorts, and sports bras from each brand. I’ll first organize it by brand, then by type of clothing, so you can choose to scan through whichever way it makes more sense to you! For a general idea on pricing, I will use $$$ for a more expensive brand, $$ for a moderate price range, and $ for a cheaper price range.

As a disclaimer, clothing from Born Primitive, Gymshark, and Nux were gifted. I purchased Lululemon and P’tula. I do not have any formal relationships with any of the brands. At the time of writing this, I cannot comment on durability over time as I haven’t had the products for a long time.

Best Brands Per Category

Best overall: Born Primitive and P’tula (tie)
Best community: P’tula
Best bras: P’tula
Best shorts: Born Primitive
Most flattering on camera: Gymshark
Best ethically sourced brand: Nux
Best customer service: Lululemon

Overall Brand Comparison

  1. Born Primitive – For me personally, the fit was most consistent across all items and I was able to find my size with the sizing chart. They had a good amount of options for product selection across their leggings, shorts, and bras. Some of their bras can double as swim tops and they had more options for low vs. high rise shorts/leggings. Everything fit well, was comfortable, and felt like it would withstand some tough workouts. They offered inclusive sizing, have a charitable component to their business, and Born Primitive is a US based small business.
  1. P’tula – I love P’tula’s bras! They were unique, supportive, and comfortable. The shorts were initially a little tight, but grew on me a lot after the first few wears. I initially felt like they were a little too tight to scrunch up to the length I wanted as they only offer 6″ shorts, but as they were broken in, they became pretty comfortable and were very flattering. The leggings were soft, comfortable, and didn’t slide down, but the fit was slightly off in the crotch area for me personally. Overall, it almost felt that P’tula was more of a business casual and Born Primitive was what you change into when you get home…but that may have just been the items that I purchased, as I have heard their Bare collection is very comfortable. I did like the fact that P’tula has short/legging options without a front seam, waist didn’t require any re-adjusting, and that they were soft. I did have to have more assistance when shopping due to the sizing chart and variability in sizing. In the end, I was able to get the correct size, but it did require more back and forth. P’tula also has a charitable component to the business, is a US based small business, and has a great community. All their items are named after a client and you get to read about their story when shopping on their site!
  1. Gymshark – I liked the fit of Gymshark and that they were very flattering, but they were not as soft as other brands. Plus, they don’t have as many options as other brands for strappy back bras. I also felt the material needed to be broken in a bit when I first wore it…it was almost a little crispy, but it feels like it will become softer over time. I was able to easily find my correct size with the sizing chart without any additional assistance.
  1. Lululemon – Lululemon wins the customer service award, but that doesn’t help with the fact that their products are overpriced. Lululemon was hyped up a ton by a lot of people, so maybe I was expecting too much. I was not blown away by the products. The leggings I purchased according to their size chart did not fit. My waist measurement was the most accurate for the size I purchased based on the size chart and that was where it didn’t fit. The materials weren’t as soft as I expected, minus the shorts as those were pretty darn soft. They do have a unique waist tie in all their leggings, but I just found that a little odd and excessive as if you tried to tie it, it leaves a bump by your belly button. Don’t hate me, but I don’t think it is worth the hype or the price.
  1. Nux – Nux was difficult to compare to the other brands as it was so different. It is a completely different style and has a different marketing angle because it is ethically sourced. It is also a US based small business. If you want activewear that is ethically sourced, Nux is a good option! It just didn’t have as many options for me personally with my style for leggings, bras, and shorts. The full length leggings were also a bit too long for me, but otherwise they fit well and stayed put while working out. These are a bit more expensive as well, but that seems to be standard with an ethically sourced brand!

Best Leggings

  1. Born Primitive – fit well (no digging in and didn’t require re-adjustments when working out), soft materials, comfortable to wear all day. They had more options for mid and high rise compared to other brands, so if you like variety in rises, they can provide more options!
  2. P’tula – liked the rise and color, was soft, and was comfortable to wear all day. The only reason why they didn’t rank higher was because they slid down in the upper thigh/groin area during workouts and required some re-adjusting. Due to having the performance vs. lounge collection I was careful about lifting in the lounge legging because it wasn’t designed to withstand a barbell. I would prefer a legging I didn’t have to feel like I had to protect, but it possibly was due to the leggings I selected, as their shorts felt like a tough material yet were still soft and comfortable. P’tula had some options without a front seam, which may be a good option if you show camel toe easily.
  3. Gymshark – liked the fit, rise, and color. Made your bum look really good and didn’t have a front seam. Not sweat proof and wasn’t as soft as Born Primitive or P’tula.
  4. Nux – your go to option if you would like an ethically sourced brand or a mesh design. I liked the rise, but the design I chose made me look a little short and the length was a bit too long for me. It was softer than Gymshark’s vital seamless line, but not as soft as P’tula or Born Primitive.
  5. Lululemon – the pace legging did not fit well. It fit in the legs and hips, but was too big in the waist. It did have a front seam and I did have a fair amount of camel toe. Although I have heard amazing things about Lulu, I wasn’t impressed and I just personally can’t justify the cost. To be fair, the Aligns are the ones I hear the most about, but I couldn’t justify the cost even for this experiment! 😬

Considering the fit, softness, durability, and price, Born Primitive has my vote in this category. Followed closely by P’tula and Gymshark.

Best Sports Bra

  1. P’tula – the variety of options for strappy backs while being comfortable, supportive, and slightly cheaper puts P’tula ahead of the other brands
  2. Born Primitive – comes in a very, very close second due to the options for a strappy back, comfort, and support. Born Primitive is just slightly more expensive than P’tula, but has some bras that can double as bathing suits if you like transitioning right into swimming.
  3. Lululemon – you’re paying for Lululemon and the quality didn’t stand out from P’tula or Born Primitive. P’tula and Born Primitive were also softer than Lululemon, but I put it above Gymshark because they have more options for strappy backs.
  4. Gymshark – if you’re looking for a standard sports bra, Gymshark was good. They didn’t have many options for strappy back bras, which is a personal preference of mine. The one I did try had good support, stayed put while working out, was soft, and was at a good price point. If you like standard racerback sports bras, you would probably rank Gymshark higher!

I may be biased with these as I really like a unique, strappy back. I also am a 30C, so larger ladies may have a different opinion.

Best Shorts

  1. Born Primitive – had the most options for a shorter biker short. Were the most comfortable, stayed put, and did not dig in while still being soft. Had an option with a 3.5″ inseam with a pocket that fit an iPhone 12 pro, which I found very impressive! Again, Born Primitive has more options for different rises.
  2. Gymshark – had a good fit and did not move while working out. Were not quite as soft as Born Primitive and showed a little more (but it could have been the color). Did not have a front seam, so it helped with camel toe, and they were very flattering for the bum. Although I didn’t sweat in the vital seamless shorts, I have heard they are not sweat proof.
  3. P’tula – the quality was good and the fabric was soft. These were a very high rise, a little too high as it went past my natural waist and these were a 6 inch length. They did dig in a tad when you bunched them up with the first few wears and weren’t as comfortable due to this as Born Primitive and Gymshark, but after a few wears they became more comfortable. If you like a 6 inch short and a higher more compressive rise, these would likely rank a lot higher for you! They do only have two different options for shorts (both a higher rise and 6″ length), which is why I am ranking them a bit lower, although I do like the shorts!
  4. Lululemon – liked the rise, but the length could have been just slightly shorter (I went with the 4″ short and I know they have one option shorter, but heard those were too short) and they were a little tight around the thighs initially, but loosened up with a few wears. These were very soft, but I found the waist tie weird (although some people love it). They are a good short, but ranked lower due to the price point, as I don’t think they were a good value.

This ranking was hard as I believe they will provide different values based on what you are looking for. Born Primitive and Gymshark had more options if you are looking for a shorter short, but P’tula’s shorts could be scrunched up to a shorter short after a few wears. P’tula was more compressive through the waist compared to Born Primitive and had a slightly higher rise (but you’re able to roll or bunch down to a comfortable height if you prefer your natural waist). Gymshark was more flattering for your bum with the Vital Seamless collection, but wasn’t as soft as the other materials. Lululemon was fine, but just very expensive, so to me, isn’t worth the value.

Activewear Brands

Below is a detailed description of the products I purchased, pros/cons of each brand, brand return policies, shopping experience, and my personal overall impressions and brand comparisons.

Born Primitive ($$)

ProsCons
US based brand that supports many different charitiesLess options for higher waist leggings/shorts
Inclusive sizing (XS to XXL)Not as friendly return policy
Has some bras and products that can double as swimwearQuality over time?

Leggings: Your go to leggings 2.0 in cornflower (size XS)

I chose these leggings as they were high rise compared to some of the other leggings. I also looked at the Inspire legging, but a review said a longer torso works better with the your go to leggings (and I have a longer torso). These are a 7/8 length, so they worked well on my shorter frame. I really liked the color and they were comfortable to wear all day (they’re pretty soft). I didn’t have to pull them up while working out, hiking, or moving around in a weekend course performing manipulations on each other (aka moving around or being moved a lot). They had an interesting detail with the stitches on the inner thigh with 2 seams coming together into one. They did have a front seam, which may increase your chances of camel toe, but I didn’t have as much as with other brands. With a closer look at inspection of the stitching, you could tell that the quality wasn’t quite up to Lululemon, but you had to look close at where seams joined. Overall, I really liked the legging fit, softness, and appearance. They’re a good classic legging style to have!

Shorts: Your go to booty short in navy (size XS)

I got these as they were a higher waist and a shorter inseam. I really like the rise of these! The length was good at rest, but did ride up a little with stretching and working out. So depending on what you are doing/your comfort level, they may be a tad short. Ideally I think I would go with a 3 or 3.5 inch (they just came out with a 3.5 inch inseam of these). They stayed put during a workout at the waistband and although they did have a front seam, they didn’t give as much camel toe as other brands. When comparing the material to P’tula and Lululemon, these aren’t as soft, but were still very comfortable. These were not as compressive as P’tula’s Yvette short, so I found these to be a bit more comfortable. This was probably my favorite fit of all the shorts. Again, when looking very closely at the quality of stitching, you could tell they weren’t quite at the quality of Lululemon, but you had to look close at where the seams joined. I also did notice with the second wear that I did bump against something at some point and it did cause some pilling of the fabric.

Shorts: Rise and grind booty short in heather gray (size XS)

I got these as they were the only shorts at this length that I saw that had pockets. These were a mid-rise and significantly less compressive fit. The pockets fit my iPhone 12 pro, but I am not sure if they would fit a bigger phone. I would prefer to have a slightly higher rise for working out, but I liked the 3.5 inch inseam length. These were comfortable to lounge in all day and would work well for going on a walk in the summer. These were a little looser on me, so they were great for lounging or errands. I did go on a jog in them and did have to periodically fix them from sliding down with my phone in the pocket, but they stayed up a lot better than I expected!

Sports bra: Moxie sports bra in steel smoke (XS)

I got the Moxie sports bra as it had an open, strappy back that was unique to Born Primitive. If you’d want, according to the website, this can also double as a swim top. The bra fit really well and provided adequate coverage with still having an open back. The bra without pads provided a little less support compared to P’tula or Lululemon with the pads in. It did have removable pads, which arrived with the pads out. I kept them out for the first workout and felt like I had enough coverage. I would note that with the pads out, it can show some nipping when cold, but the pattern/color helped hide it some.

Return Policy

Returns are accepted for store credit only with the original shipping charge not refunded. If you would like a refund to the original payment method, there is a $5.99 fee. Time for returns has been extended at this time to 60 days due to COVID-19, so that may vary in the future. For the full return policy, click here.

Purchasing Experience

Cannot comment on purchasing experience as these were gifted.

Overall Impression

I was actually very impressed with Born Primitive. The brand is marketed towards Crossfitters, so I had a feeling it would be able to withstand some rough workouts. They had a lot more mid-rise options for the leggings and shorts, but less options for the high rise, so depending on which you prefer you may have more or less options. They did have a lot more options for a shorter length short compared to other brands as well, so if you prefer a shorter short, Born Primitive is definitely worth checking out! I also really liked a fair amount of their sport bras and they had a ton of options for a strappy back! The Moxie Sports Bra had good support and I would assume that the others would have good support as well, since they are designed for Crossfit, which requires some running and jumping.

Brand Comparison

Born Primitive probably had my favorite shorts out of all the brands (your go to booty short). The sports bra was one of the top bras as well. The leggings had one of the best fits from all the brands and had a good classic fit. Everything was comfortable, but I did notice very slight defects in the stitching where seams met another seam (had a few tiny, tiny strands) if you look really close (at first glance, I didn’t notice them) and I am not sure if I bumped into something or what, but I looked down the second time I wore the shorts and there was some pilling of the material on my hip. I would like to see if what I noticed with the stitching and pilling will progress or be more noticeable with age/use to determine the overall quality.

P’tula ($$)

ProsCons
Community – products are named after real people (can see their story)Sizing/fit varies significantly between designs.
Gives back to charities, shows diversity with modelsSizing chart makes it easy to be between sizes (can be confusing) – may require more back and forth communication with brand to get size
Small businessNot many legging options with pockets
Soft materialsNo shorts shorter than 6 inches
Inclusive sizing (XXS to XXL)

Leggings: Desa’ree II in mint (size S)

I got these as they were a cheaper legging and I wanted to try a performance legging. I did get them in a 23 inch inseam. For the initial wear, the waistband was a tad compressive but wasn’t quite as compressive with the second wear. The waistband was never uncomfortable though. I love the mint color, but it did show slight panty lines that are camouflaged by the wrinkles with some adjustments.  The 23 inch length is a great length for a shorter person (I’m 5 ft 1 in).  I was between sizes and sized up to a small and like the fit.  They do have a front seam, but the camel toe isn’t as bad as other brands.  While working out (lifting, bodyweight, walking, and running), they don’t slip down. I didn’t have to constantly pull it up. The first time I wore them, the very top part does roll then roll back up as you move (like less than a cm rolls), but it didn’t do that with the second wear.  The one thing I would improve would be the fit of the crotch area as it personally is a little loose so I do have to pull up the thighs periodically.  

Leggings: Shelby in vintage mauve (size S)

I got these leggings as they were a cheaper legging and I wanted to try a lounge legging. I did get them in a 23 inch inseam. The material feels a little thinner than the Desa’ree II legging and it isn’t as compressive (most noted around the waistband).  They’re super comfortable and move with you as you workout! You can see panty lines a little more with this one, but no color of the undergarments and they are squat proof.  The Shelbys were super soft…like, very soft!  I did notice it falling a little during a core workout, but not as much as my old (cheaper) leggings. They did fall more so from the crotch area vs. the waistband similar to the Desa’ree leggings, which again is my only slight complaint. Note that since these are in their lounge collection, they may wear faster if you choose to workout with a barbell/weights with them as that is not their intended purpose.

Shorts: Yvette in smooth black (size XS)

These were the only option for a performance spandex short. They only had a 6 inch inseam, so that is what I got. I was told that you could bunch them up so they would be shorter without any issues. The Yvette short has a slightly higher rise than Lululemon’s Wunder Train short, but are less compressive and have less digging in on the thighs.  The waistband is a bit compressive waistband, but they are a performance short, so that is as designed.  There is no front seam, so I didn’t have any digging in or camel toe.  If I had to compare, they’re just barely not quite as soft as Lululemon’s Wunder Train short (I really had to think about it and they’re still pretty darn soft).  I didn’t have to adjust the waistband at all during my workout, but it hits about 2/3 inch above my natural waist. If I had to be picky, I’d prefer it a tad lower rise and a shorter length, but this is personal preference.  Even when I played around with rolling the waist down a little, it stayed there until I rolled it back up (didn’t move while working out or flipping)!

Sports Bra: Grace in electric violet (size XS)

I have been eyeing this sports bra for years since I first saw it. I love the mesh detail on the front and the open back. It is rated as moderate support and does have removable cups. I preferred to keep the pads in and had no issues with being cold if you get my drift! I ran and worked out without any issues. I felt completely comfortable wearing the Grace bra and don’t feel like my boob will fall out or show anything I didn’t want to show!  I had no issues with the support while running, but again, I am a 30C, so my larger ladies, take it with a grain of salt! The color looks even better in person vs. online. The back does gap a little with movement, but I didn’t feel it gap when I was wearing it (saw it on video). The bottom band is a little tight (again not uncomfortable for working out), but I did size down when I was in between sizes.  Waist band was a little itchy on a walk after first putting it on, but I’m assuming that will change as I get used to where it hits and after it softens with use/washing.

Sports Bra: Anessa in mint (size S)

I wanted to try a more traditional sports bra with a strappy back as well to see how the support and coverage was. According to the website, the Anessa has moderate support, but I would say it has moderate to heavy support, which I find pretty impressive for a strappy back bra! It also has removable cups, but I preferred to keep them in. Again, I had no issues while being cold with the pads in. It covered me well without having to pull it up during a workout and supported me on a run. The straps felt like they were the right length, which can often be an issue with strappy backs! The mint color was slightly off from the Desa’ree II legging mint, so I wouldn’t match them (they’re from different collections), but it’s still a gorgeous color!

Return Policy

P’tula’s return policy is a bit stringent, so you want to make sure you know what you want. They do require a short time frame (18 days) to request a return item then 7 days after the request to ship, so no dilly dallying avoiding the post office! They do have stringent criteria to accept returns and shipping fees are non-refundable. There are also no returns on sale items. Domestic and international return/exchange policies are different as well, so you may want to check their website here for the full return policy.

Purchasing Experience

Sizes in stock were limited and effected purchasing decisions. I did have to go back and forth with P’tula a few times to ask questions on sizing on 3 out of the 5 items as I was in between sizes. I asked via instagram and via email and did receive different answers (e.g. one said you could size down, the other said to size up), but it is more likely personal preference for the fit. Response time via instagram was good. The chat on the website was an email to P’tula support (if you knew you were emailing vs. chatting, it would be fine, just the expectation vs. reality, was different). I did receive a response via email in 24-48 hours, which is fairly standard for any business. You did have to do your research reading the reviews to get a better idea about sizing vs. just looking at the size chart.

Overall Impressions

Overall, I’m fairly impressed with P’tula. The materials were fairly soft and bras were supportive and flattering. There were only a few options for leggings with pockets and they were more expensive than ones without pockets. I’d love to see them add more with pockets on the sides. I was very impressed with the bra collections and the unique designs I had never seen before. The shorts selection was limited and I would love to see different lengths offered in the future. The leggings stayed up well at the waist, but did sag or move down a little in the groin area, which required the occasional re-adjusting. With a closer look at the quality of stitching, I didn’t notice any defects or loose ends. Sizing was a bit inconsistent, which required me to ask a lot of questions and need a little more help (especially since I was getting a few things that were final sale). I partly felt bad for the number of questions I was asking, but am overall happy with my purchase in the end!

Brand Comparison

Hands down, I would purchase from P’tula over Lululemon for their leggings and sports bras. The price and fit were superior in my opinion. P’tula was also my favorite for sports bras. I am a sucker for a strappy back while maintaining coverage and support and P’tula hits the mark on this one with the amount of variety they offer! For the shorts, I would choose Born Primitive over P’tula since I like a shorter short, but if you like a longer short, P’tula has a couple good options for you. As mentioned before, the sizing was the most complicated from all the brands I compared, but I was able to get answers in time with customer support. I was able to get 5 items from P’tula for the same price as 3 items from Lululemon if that helps give a price comparison.

Gymshark ($-$$)

ProsCons
Detailing makes your bum look pretty goodMaterial isn’t as soft – felt like it needed to be broken in
Inclusive brand with size/models/influencersLimited designs on strappy back sports bras if you’re looking for that
Looks really good on camera – flattering and colors popLimited legging options with pockets
Has more product options in stock as it is a larger brand

Leggings: Vital Seamless leggings in smokey grey marl (size XS)

I got these leggings as these are probably the most characteristic Gymshark leggings that I see. My initial reaction was they are not as soft as I would have liked, but they actually got pretty comfy while working out the first time.  The design has dots, which can be felt through the material on your skin, so if you prefer a softer smooth legging, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the vital seamless collection. I like the fit of the waistband as it doesn’t dig in.  The pattern is very flattering for the bum and they film really well.  They didn’t move or slide down with a run or workout.  If there is any major texture to your undergarments (e.g. a bow), it will show texture of underwear, but if flat, it doesn’t show any lines. They were squat proof, but if you were looking at a light color on their website, it did mention they may not be squat proof in a smaller size. The waistband did gap a little with movement, but I only saw this on video (didn’t feel it while working out). I did not sweat in these, but have heard they show sweat pretty easily.

Shorts: Vital Seamless shorts in light green marl (size XS)

I liked these shorts due to the color and length. They are the same material and similar design around the hips as the legging.  You can see texture of underwear due to color, but would likely be fine in another color.  I like the length, and it is probably my favorite length when comparing the shorts.  I was able to do a full workout (including some flips) without making adjustments.

Bra: V neck training sports bra in raspberry red (size XS)

I got the V neck training bra since it was one of the few options from Gymshark with a somewhat strappy back. It was super soft! It was considered a low support bra and I would probably agree. I felt comfortable doing a plyo style workout, but wouldn’t want to run a long distance in it. I was a little worried with the V neck about coverage, but I was able to flip around without having to adjust or worry about falling out. It also has removable pads, which I kept in. With the pads in, you can’t tell when you’re cold. If I had to say something negative, it did cut in slightly in the chest and had a little side boob/pec fold, but I do have a wider chest. If you’re self conscious about this, this may not be the bra for you. I personally didn’t think too much about it and I like the bra overall. This was probably my favorite item from Gymshark.

Hoodie: Training cropped hoodie in blue (size XS)

I got this hoodie since I needed more cropped hoodies and I find them super cozy! It was soft on the inside, but a little crunchy overall. It felt like it needed to be broken in a bit with wear to make it more comfortable. I would say it is a moderate weight, not too heavy, not too light. I personally love hoods and have had some hoodies where the hood was too small or overly large, but this had a good hood size (my head is super small though!).  There was a little detail in the arm with the different texture pattern, which is a nice detail.  The thing that stood out to me most was the plastic part at the end of the ties for the hood. Normally it’s just a type of tape, but this seemed like it was really good quality. With the blue color specifically, it definitely had purple undertones, so I wouldn’t say it is a true blue. 

Return Policy

Gymshark has free returns to select countries. They have an industry standard with a 90 day return window. Click here to see the full return policy.

Purchasing experience

Cannot comment on purchasing experience as these were gifted.

Overall Impression

Overall, Gymshark met about what I expected. The material wasn’t as soft as I would expect from a seamless collection, but the fit exceeded my expectations. If you’re trying to make your bum look good, these are worth a consideration. They did not have a front seam, which really helped the camel toe situation. I would prefer a brand to have more options with unique backs to sports bras, but that is personal preference.

Brand Comparison

The patterning on the vital seamless collection was the most flattering, but the material was probably the least soft out of all the brands. The fit of these leggings was some of the best out of all the brands. The material used for the bra was also one of the softest materials of the brands.

Lululemon ($$$)

ProsCons
Customer servicePrice
More options/items in stockWaist tie in leggings/shorts
Can go in person to store if one nearbyHad to call many times to order online
Quality of product

Leggings: Pace High-Rise Crop 22″ in dark red (size 4)

I chose these leggings as they were on the cheaper end and had pockets and a little mesh detail. The color was gorgeous as well. The fit was snug around the legs and hips, but a bit loose around the waist and had a little gapping at the waist. I was not able to figure out how to get them to fit with the tie. When I tried to use the tie, the waistband wouldn’t lay flat and you could see the knot. I loved the color, number of pockets, and the mesh detailing, but overall despite following the size chart, they did not fit even with playing around with the tie.  They did have a front seam and I did have a bit of camel toe while wearing them. When looking closely at the stitching quality, I didn’t notice any stray strings or any defects.  I did end up returning them in the end and did not wear them for a workout. I called about these to see if I should try a size 2 since the waist was a little big, they recommended a different style, but if I wanted them, they would stretch out with wearing them.

Shorts: Wunder Train High-Rise Short in black (size 4)

I chose these shorts as I like a shorter length and a biker style short. I ordered a 4 inch length, but was sent a 6 inch length due to a mistake while ordering over the phone. They sent a complimentary 4 inch length due to the mistake. I like the length of the 4 inch, but will return the 6 inch as I didn’t like the length (and they were a little tight around the thighs). The 4 inch shorts were not too tight and VERY soft.  I did go on a walk wearing them and it did pinch the thighs a little (inside and back of the thighs).  The waistband is super comfortable and I did not have to pull them up at all throughout workout.  I did have to pick at the thighs a little during my workout to pull them down a little. I did find the waist tie interesting. The material is so soft you want to rub your hand against it, but you could feel the texture change due to the waist tie. If you do prefer a longer short, I would consider sizing up as the 6 inch short was a little tight in the thighs. If you like a shorter short, I stayed true to size based on their size chart (I was told to size up if between sizes).

Sports Bra: Energy Bra Long Line in feather pink (size 4)

I purchased this bra as it was one with a strappy back and was on the cheaper end for Lulu. I would consider this bra to have moderate support (but I am typically a 30C, so you larger ladies, take that with a grain of salt). The texture wasn’t as soft as I would have expected from Lulu.  I preferred to keep the pads in as it was a lighter color. I did not have any nipping when I was cold.  I would have preferred a more unique back as I already have a bra with a similar strap pattern. I did stay true to size based on their sizing chart.

Return Policy

It’s better to deal with Lululemon in person. You can return online or in store and they pay return shipping. There are limitations on number of items if you’re getting a refund or gift card for the return. For the full return policy, check out the link here.

Purchasing Experience

I had some difficulties when checking out using a gift card so I had to order over the phone. I didn’t have to wait to talk to someone each time I called and the people on the other line were very friendly. They did order the wrong length of shorts, but I caught the mistake before getting off the phone. They sent me the correct pair for free as it was their mistake. I did have to call back after they charged my credit card to get the gift card drained and then refunded. I decided to return the leggings and 6″ shorts and had to call another two times to get the return information.

Overall Impressions

Over-rated. I think the fact that it was hyped up so much made me have unrealistic expectations.  I wanted to be wowed from people’s reactions and from their price point, but I wasn’t.  They did have more options of leggings with pockets and more variety of items in stock (likely because they are a bigger brand compared to others I tried). With a closer look on stitching quality, I didn’t notice any defects in any of the products. Their customer service is great, but also, I don’t want to have to call a company 5x to get an order right.  I didn’t have to wait long at any point and they did send a free pair of shorts when they messed up my order, but it isn’t worth the price to me (don’t hate me).

Brand comparison

Lululemon probably had the softest material for leggings/shorts with the Wunder Train Short, but the Pace legging and Energy bra did not impress me with the softness of the material. The design of the bra did not wow me as there have been so many knock off versions that there is no need to pay full price for the “real thing”. Emily Marie Apparel has a similar design in black with similar support and a softer material for only a fraction of the price (this bra had been gifted to me previously). I did not like the waist tie in the leggings and shorts, which was unique to Lululemon. P’tula’s moderate support bras had more support vs. Lululemon’s moderate support bra I tried. I personally liked Born Primitive’s shorts better with the fit and length, but the material of the shorts and quality of the stitching with Lululemon was superior.

Nux ($$$)

ProsCons
Ethically sourced activewearPrice
US based brand/manufacturingLimited options for shorts
Lots of options with mesh detailing (if you’re into mesh)For those who like mesh/unique designs – not your standard athletic wear designs
Not so friendly return policy

Legging: All net legging in sierra (size S)

I chose these leggings as they had more of the mesh detailing and that seemed to be more unique to Nux. I was impressed with the mesh as I didn’t feel it would rip if snagged on something. Their website emphasized this and I am clumsy, so if I didn’t tear it on the first couple wears, I’m impressed. I liked the rise of the leggings as they hit at my natural waist. The leggings were full length, so they were a little long for me (I’m 5 ft 1 in), but didn’t look as bunched at the bottom due to the mesh. If you are a shorter person, the mesh detail doesn’t really help. The design on these leggings may make you look a little shorter. When I did take off the leggings, I did have the mesh design imprint on my legs for a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable when wearing them. These did say they were high compression, but I didn’t notice much of a difference between the compression with the mesa legging (rated at moderate compression). These stayed put while working out and I did not have to pull these up at all with stretching and a workout.

Legging: High rise mesa legging in sierra (size S)

I actually did not choose these leggings and they were just sent to me. These were a little bit thicker than other leggings I tried, so they will be better for winter! They had detailing in the texture of the material, but from afar look like a solid color. These were also full length, so they were a little long for me since I’m short. If you like wearing your leggings over your heels, they were a good length on me for that. They had a similar rise to the All Net Legging and were rated at moderate compression. They were moderately soft, but there was texture in the material, so they’re not meant to be super soft!

Crop: One by one long sleeve in sierra (size S)

The crop was made out of the same material as the mesa legging and had a similar pattern with the fabric. It was comfortable and hit just below my natural waist, so if you were to wear both the legging and crop, no stomach would show. Again, the material was comfortable. The arms were a little on the longer side for me, but looked fine bunched up a bit! The one by one crop is a good staple if you like tighter crops for working out as it looks solid from afar, but when you get close you can see more of the detail.

Return Policy

Returns are only eligible for store credit and must be returned within 30 days. Return shipping is not refundable. For the full refund policy, click here.

Overall Impression

Quality is there, which is hard to do with the mesh. I did not try a sports bra or short, so I cannot comment on those products. I would say it is a good brand for taller individuals as the length seemed a bit long for me for both the arms, legs, and torso.

Brand Comparison

It is a little challenging to compare Nux to the other brands as they have some stand out features that may be polarizing. If you like the mesh detail, it is definitely worth checking out. If you care about brands you purchase from using ethically sourced materials and manufacturing processes, check out Nux. These are a bit more expensive though, which may also turn people off to the brand.

Side Note: care instructions

Please note that the majority of the activewear was not able to be put in the dryer. Check the care instructions prior to washing! I typically wash mine with cold water and hang dry (like I said before, I am cheap…too cheap to use a dryer) 😂

If you’ve made it this far, I appreciate your time. Drop any questions, comments, thoughts below! If you want to be the first to know about new posts, services, etc., sign up for my email list here.

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