What a Guy Should Wear to the Gym: Workout Essentials

The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Workout Essentials. From functional activewear to smart footwear choices, discover how dressing the part can elevate your performance and style in the gym.

Henry Cavill Working Out Pushup

After many years in the gym, I realized that changing what you wear to the gym can highly boost your confidence and improve your focus on the workout. By swapping sweatpants for shorts, my beat-up shoes for stylish ones, and the old, bulky t-shirt for a well-fitting top, the transformation was remarkable. Read along to find out how to look your best in the gym.


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1. The Right Shoes

As mentioned in the intro, for a long time, I was often wearing beat-up running shoes to the gym with holes and occasional paint stains which was a huge style mistake. Picking the right pair is not only essential to look good, but it will also make you feel way better during your workout.

What to Wear to the Gym: The Right Pair of Shoes
Photo by Malik Skydsgaard

If you wear uncomfortable shoes, they will slowly crump up your workout, and hurt your leg. While it can be doable for one or two sessions, if you want to go to the gym for the long term, it’s not the best option.

Our Gym Shoe Recommendations:

2. Workout Socks

The right socks are essential for the gym due to several reasons. They provide cushioning and support, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort during high-impact activities.

Moisture-wicking materials keep feet dry, preventing fungal infections. Proper socks enhance overall comfort, performance, and hygiene during workouts.

3. Comfortable Shorts

Gym shorts are essential for men. They ensure unrestricted movement, prevent discomfort, and reduce injury risk. Moisture-wicking fabrics and functional pockets enhance comfort and utility, optimizing workouts for better performance.

4. Workout Pants

I understand that some men don’t like wearing shorts altogether, even in the gym. I, too, refrained from wearing them for a while. Achieving a stylish look is feasible with sweatpants. But you need to wear the right pair for the job. Not those baggy ol’ gray sweatpants from Rocky II.

5. Workout Top

The right top is essential for the gym due to numerous reasons. It ensures proper ventilation, preventing overheating during workouts. Moisture-wicking fabrics keep you dry, avoiding discomfort.

A well-fitting top allows unrestricted movement, enhancing performance and confidence during exercise. Define your style by choosing between long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or tank tops for your workout.

6. Fitness Tracker

Whether it’s your phone, a dedicated watch, or a fitness band, you need a tool to monitor your workouts. As the famous saying goes, “What gets measured gets improved.”

7. Workout Earphones

For an added pump and motivation in the gym, listening to your jam is essential. Many gyms play generic music that you might not enjoy. To focus on your workout, choose appropriate headphones or earbuds.

8. Water Bottle

A water bottle is indispensable for the gym. Hydration fuels performance and recovery. Having a convenient, refillable bottle ensures you can sip water between exercises, maintaining optimal energy levels throughout your workout.

Black Metal Iron Flask Bottle
Black Metal Iron Flask

9. Gym Towel

The gym towel is a must-have. It keeps sweat at bay, maintaining hygiene during exercises. Wiping down equipment after use is courteous to others. Carry a compact, absorbent towel to stay comfortable and respectful in the gym environment.

10. Gym Bag

A gym bag is essential for organized workouts. It accommodates all your gear, from clothes and shoes to accessories. A well-organized bag saves time and ensures you have everything needed, streamlining your fitness routine and making gym visits efficient.

Why Gym Clothes Matter?

First of all, gym clothes matter because they directly impact your comfort, performance, and overall workout experience. Properly fitting and breathable attire allows unrestricted movement, reduces chafing, and wicks away sweat.

Additionally, wearing suitable gym clothes boosts confidence and motivation, making you more likely to stay committed to your fitness routine.

Men Black Gym Clothes

What You Shouldn’t Wear to the Gym

1. Gray Pants

Man Doing Rope Workout Exercise
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

It’s worth keeping in mind when shopping for exercise gear. If you know, you know. However, if you don’t, let me explain it.

For some reason, sweat seems to be most visible in gray color. Gray pants can be extremely uncomfortable to wear as sweat will show through.

I recommend picking a darker color, such as black or navy for your workout pants. If you don’t like black, most colors will make it but with a dark tone.

2. Regular Socks with Shorts

Man Green Workout Outfit

When I swapped my sweatpants for shorts, I began pairing them with ankle socks. However, I soon realized that longer socks looked better with shorts than ankle socks.

It was an interesting discovery. Initially, I thought showing my calves would improve my look. However, when I wore longer socks, my outfit significantly looked better – and it wasn’t just me. I started to see it on other guys, and it hit me: “Maybe your shorts outfit looks better with regular socks.”

3. Tank Tops That Show Your Nips

What to Wear to the Gym: A Well Covering Top
Photo by: Men’s Health

Gentlemen, I know you are working hard on your pecs, and are proud to show them, but please keep your nipples away from the gym. It’s not manly or cool. Put on a tank top, t-shirt, or long sleeve that covers most of your upper body.

There’s nothing wrong with showing off your muscles, but keep some privacy in the bedroom.

Wear Workout Gloves to Help with Blisters

If you like to keep your hands well maintained and don’t like blisters I recommend you to wear workout gloves. There are a ton of brands on the market when it comes to workout gloves and almost all of them will get the job done. If you are someone who likes to lift heavy, I recommend this option.

What to Wear to the Gym: Workout Gloves
A Man Wearing Workout Gloves in the Gym

Wear A Good Body Spray or Perfume

Hugo Boss Pacific Limited Edition EDT
Hugo Boss Pacific Limited Edition EDT

Some people in the gym tend to sweat more than others, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To put it in the nicest possible way.

For those who sweat excessively and experience body odor, consider using a different body spray or perfume. However, keep it subtle since others wouldn’t appreciate walking through a cloud of solid scents in a crowded gym without much air. Also, remember to change your workout gear frequently for better hygiene.


As a guy, wearing comfortable and stylish clothing at the gym can greatly impact your confidence and workout. You will feel more confident in the gym and can focus on your training better. I hope I can help you with these tips. This list is constantly updated, so it’s worth checking back from time to time. Have a good workout session next time!

Keep on reading: The 9 Best Gym Exercises For Men

What a Guy Should Wear to the Gym: Workout Essentials
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What a Guy Should Wear to the Gym: Workout Essentials
If you're looking for a guideline as to what a man should wear to the gym, this is it. You'll learn the unwritten rules that make the best gym outfit.
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Midway Gentleman
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