12 Best Woman-Founded Activewear Brands for Style and Performance

Beyond Yoga and Outdoor Voices offer great product ranges and inclusive sizing

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Performance apparel is great. But if your schedule requires you to run somewhere right after you hit the gym, you might prefer something a little more versatile—like activewear. “Activewear is clothing that is meant to be worn while working out and that transitions well to casual wear,” says Amanda Freeman, founder and CEO of boutique fitness studio brand SLT. Easily dressed up or down, activewear is stretchy enough to get you through a workout—and sleek enough to wear to brunch and beyond.

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Beyond Yoga offers an extensive range of products, including collections for women, men, and maternity, with fast, free shipping. Outdoor Voices puts customer satisfaction first with a 45-day return window and inclusive size ranges.

There are loads of great woman-founded activewear brands out there. But there are a few that stand above the rest. When shopping for specific activewear products, you’ll want to consider comfort, fit, breathability, and longevity. “I look for fabrics that both stretch and breathe, while still passing the ‘squat test’ (you can squat down, and the pants will maintain their opacity),” says Michelle Ditto, training development manager for Pure Barre. “Sweatier workouts will demand fabrics that hold up against sweat, so this can be an additional consideration,” she adds.

We reviewed dozens of woman-founded activewear brands to find the best in class based on quality, customer service, value, and return policies.

According to our research, here are the best woman-founded activewear brands out there.

Our Top Picks

Beyond Yoga

Outdoor Voices

MICHI

EleVen by Venus Williams

Oiselle

Alala

Girlfriend Collective

ADAY

Carbon38

Thinx

Beyond Yoga

Beyond Yoga

Beyond Yoga

Pros
  • Free, fast shipping

  • Free returns with 30-day return window

  • Maternity items available

Cons
  • No high-impact tops

Looking for buttery-soft activewear that’ll hold its shape—wear after wear, and wash after wash? We recommend Beyond Yoga. The brand sells an array of cozy activewear, including compressive workout tops, long-lasting leggings, and stretchy exercise dresses. And some of its best-selling pieces are made from sustainable fabrics, which is yet another reason why this brand landed at the top of our list. (Keep an eye out for Beyond Yoga’s signature Spacedye and Heather Rib fabrics, if you want to shop sustainably.)

When the brand was founded in 2006, co-founders Jodi Guber Brufsky and Michelle Wahler wanted to create performance activewear that was both luxuriously cozy and built to last. To pull it off, they rigorously wear-tested their pieces—making sure their fabrics felt great in every size and style.

Beyond Yoga’s fan favorites include the brand’s Spacedye Slim Racerback Cropped Tank, a stretchy workout tank that’s tight enough to double as a sports bra, and its Spacedye Caught In The Midi High Waisted Leggings, a matching set of leggings that you can wear anywhere. What's more, Beyond Yoga offers its pieces in a range of colors (some seasonal, some evergreen). So once you find a piece you love, you can fill your drawers with different versions of it.

Shipping Cost: $0 | Shipping Window: 2–3 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XXS–4X

Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices

Pros
  • Free returns with 45-day return window

  • Clothes for all genders

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • No free shipping on orders under $75

Not only does Outdoor Voices offer top-notch activewear, but we also love that it offers amazing customer service. In fact, OV’s shipping and return policies are more generous than most. Where many brands require you to spend $100–$200 before earning free shipping, Outdoor Voices offers free shipping on orders of $75 or more. The brand also offers free returns, whereas many others charge restocking fees.

Finally, OV gives you a whopping 45 days to decide whether or not to keep an item. That’s 15 days longer than the industry standard—and thrice as much as what some of OV’s competitors offer.

Within years of its launch in 2013, Outdoor Voices became a fan-favorite brand in the activewear space. And it’s not hard to see why. The brand, founded by Tyler Haney, specializes in activewear that’s on-trend enough to wear inside and outside the gym. With Outdoor Voices, Haney wanted to “bridge the gap between your gym-life and your life-life”—and the brand still delivers on that promise today.

Browse OV’s website, and you’ll find a variety of products. The brand sells every type of activewear imaginable—plus a handful of shoes and accessories, too. But some of its most iconic pieces are still its best-sellers.

The brand’s Exercise Dress, made from a stretchy-soft blend of nylon and spandex, has long been a fan favorite. And its Rib Flare Pants are a classically cozy pick, fit for days at the gym, park, or coffee shop. Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention OV’s Springs 7/8 Leggings, which are similar to the Colorblock Outdoor Voices leggings that celebs were spotted wearing in the brand’s early years.

Shipping Cost: $5, $0 for orders $75+ | Shipping Window: 3–6 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 45 days | Size Range: XXS–3XL

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective

Pros
  • Sustainable fabrics

  • Inclusive size range

  • 30-day return window

Cons
  • No free shipping

  • No free mail-in returns

  • Slow shipping (7–10 days)

Girlfriend Collective launched in 2016 with a single product: a pair of black leggings, woven from yarn made of recycled plastic bottles. At the time, Girlfriend’s co-founder and creative director, Ellie Dinh, was struggling to find activewear that was sleek, soft, and sustainably made. So when her husband discovered a way to make buttery-soft performance fabrics from recycled plastic bottles, Girlfriend Collective was born.

Since then, Girlfriend Collective has expanded a lot. The brand still specializes in ultra-cozy leggings. But we love that it now also offers workout tops, matching sets, intimates, and outerwear. And all of these items are made from wasted or recycled materials, like cupro, recycled fishing nets, and of course, recycled plastic bottles.

For context, the brand’s fan-favorite Compressive High-Rise Leggings are made from 25 recycled water bottles. Its best-selling Paloma Racerback Bra is made from 11 recycled water bottles. And its squat-proof High-Rise Pocket Bike Shorts are made from 17 water bottles. True to form, Girlfriend’s packaging is also made entirely from recycled materials.

And all of the brand's packaging and products are 100% recyclable. (Just check out the brand’s ReGirlfriend program to recycle your activewear when you’re finished with it.)

Shipping Cost: $7 | Shipping Window: 7–10 days | Return Cost: $7 for mail-in returns, $0 for dropoff returns and exchanges | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XXS–6XL

MICHI

MICHI

MICHI

Pros
  • Fashion-forward activewear

  • Free returns with 30-day return window

  • BIPOC-founded

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • High threshold to get free shipping

Take one look at MICHI’s online store, and you’ll see what makes the brand so special. Its activewear is lined with striking mesh panels, sleek cutouts, and oh-so-flattering waistbands—details that we believe set MICHI’s activewear apart from more classic leggings and sports bras.

When Michelle Watson founded MICHI in 2010, her goal was to elevate activewear. And in the years since, the brand has been widely recognized for its ability to blend performance and style.

Some of MICHI’s best-selling pieces exemplify its signature look. The brand’s Antigravity Bra pairs a performance nylon-spandex blend with breathable mesh straps. Its Stardust Crop Leggings boast sleek mesh panels that run from thigh to calf. And its Indy Jacket, which is made of mesh from top to bottom, should make an easy addition to any gym ensemble.

MICHI also sells an array of jumpsuits, skirts, and dresses, which are as stylish and fitness-friendly as the rest of its activewear. So if you’re hoping to stock your workout wardrobe with statement-making pieces, MICHI is a great place to turn.

Shipping Cost: $9.99, $0 for orders $200+ | Shipping Window: 3–6 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XXS–XL

EleVen by Venus Williams

EleVen by Venus Williams

EleVen by Venus Williams

Pros
  • Performance, athlete-backed activewear

  • Speciality tennis apparel

  • BIPOC-founded

Cons
  • Shipping usually costs money

  • Returns cost money

  • Limited size range

EleVen’s Pro-Dri collection is full of breathable, quick-drying activewear. We particularly like its 4-Way Stretch collection that boasts flexible finds that’ll hold their shape over time. And its Ozone collection is full of UPF50-equipped pieces, which promise to block up to 98% of harmful UV rays. Another plus? Many of these collections overlap. So if you’re looking for a quick-drying workout top that’s equipped with UV protection, you can reliably find it.

Founded by the one and only Venus Williams, EleVen by Venus Williams specializes in activewear that’s bold, vibrant, and genuinely fun. And since Williams is an athlete, you can rest assured knowing the clothes aren’t just stylish—they’re also designed for performance.

Naturally, EleVen by Venus Williams specializes in tennis apparel. Some of its best-sellers include its Break Point Tennis Skirt and its Walk the Line dress—both of which would look great on the tennis court.

But there’s plenty of general activewear on offer, too. The brand’s Legacy Long Sleeve Top would make an easy addition to any workout wardrobe. And its Champs Leggings are sure to brighten up your day, whether you’re cross-training, walking outside, or lounging around at home.

Shipping Cost: $6, $0 on orders $100+ | Shipping Window: 3–5 days | Return Cost: $8 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XS–XXL

Oiselle

Oiselle

Oiselle

Pros
  • Made by runners for runners

  • Fast shipping

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • Shipping usually costs money

  • High threshold to get free shipping

  • Shipping label charge on returns

Made by athletes for athletes, we love that Oiselle’s pieces are designed with running in mind. They’re made from performance fabrics that are soft enough to keep you comfortable, stretchy enough to move around in, and sturdy enough to stand the test of time. And many of them are designed with nice-to-have details, like sweat-wicking fabrics, insulation and ventilation, UV protection, and more.

In 2007, Sally Bergeson founded Oiselle with a relatively simple goal: She wanted to create running shorts that were smooth, well-constructed, and not poofy. She succeeded. The brand’s lightweight Roga Shorts are still on offer today, alongside a range of other running must-haves.

Oiselle’s fan-favorite Flow Long Sleeve even boasts two built-in watch windows, which make it easy to see and use your watch, even when you’re wearing long sleeves.

Visit Oiselle’s website, and you’ll find loads of other runner-friendly favorites—like pocket-lined leggings, supportive sports bras, and insulated jackets that are surprisingly lightweight. These pieces come in an array of different colors—and in a pretty inclusive size range (XS–3X, 2–24/26)—making Oiselle a great place to shop.

Shipping Cost: $10, $0 on orders $150+ | Shipping Window: 1–2 days | Return Cost: $6 if you use the provided shipping label | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XS–3X, 2–24/26

Pros
  • Versatile clothing pieces

  • BIPOC-founded

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • Shipping usually costs money

  • High threshold to get free shipping

  • Short return window (14 days) with shipping label charge

We love Alala for its luxury activewear made from cozy performance fabrics. And yes, its silhouettes really are versatile enough to get you through the day. Take the brand’s Fractal Raglan Long Sleeve Tee, for example. Crafted from performance fabrics, like Tactel and spandex, the top can easily get you through a workout. But we think it’s also sleek enough to wear to brunch. And Alala’s Heron Joggers fill a similar void, offering a dressed-up take on leggings.

When Denise Lee founded Alala, she was used to spending all day on the go. She needed clothes that were comfy enough—and stylish enough—to take her from the gym to the office, and then to happy hour. And when she struggled to find them, she created Alala.

Even the brand’s more fitness-forward items, like the pieces in its just-launched Tennis Capsule, are surprisingly sleek. You might not think it’s possible to wear a tennis dress or a sweat-wicking wristband to brunch, but Alala will convince you it is.

Shipping Cost: $10, $0 on orders $200+ | Shipping Window: Not listed | Return Cost: $8 if you use the provided shipping label | Return Window: 14 days | Size Range: XS–3X

Pros
  • Durable, versatile pieces

  • Long-lasting, often sustainable fabrics

  • BIPOC-founded

Cons
  • Shipping usually costs money

  • Returns cost money

  • Limited size range

ADAY is no ordinary activewear brand. It’s a ready-to-wear brand that sells pieces so versatile you could comfortably work out in them. ADAY’s clothes are meant to be relied on. We love that each piece is durable, functional, and easy to clean. All of the brand’s products are made from long-lasting—and often, sustainable—materials. And they’re fully machine-washable and pocket-packed, to boot.

Meg He and Nina Faulhaber founded the brand, hoping to create a legion of outfit repeaters—people who owned a few pieces they could wear all the time.

Since ADAY isn’t exclusively an activewear brand, some of its items aren’t fit for intense exercise. But a few of its best-selling pieces could quickly become staples in your workout wardrobe. The brand’s Like A Boss Sweatshirt is an easy pullover to toss over your gym attire. Its Essentialist T-Shirt is great for low-impact exercise and lounging around at home. And its Layered Up Thermal Leggings could take you anywhere—to the coffee shop, on a run, or even to your hardest spin class.

Shipping Cost: $5, $0 on orders $150+ | Shipping Window: Not listed | Return Cost: $5 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XS–XL

Carbon38

Crisscross

Carbon 38

Pros
  • Fashion-forward activewear

  • In-house label, plus 250+ other brands

  • Free returns with 30-day return window

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • Shipping usually costs money

  • Slow shipping

When Katie Warner Johnson first founded the brand in 2012, she was struck by the lack of performance activewear that existed for style-minded people. So she set out to fill the void. Carbon38’s in-house label now makes some of the most stylish activewear around—with best-sellers, like its classic Crop Tank 2.0, its on-trend Teddy Zip Up Jacket, and its High-Rise Takara Shine Leggings exemplifying its signature style.

The average activewear brand sells its own clothes in its own online store. But Carbon38 works a little differently. We love that the brand sells its own clothes—alongside clothes from other brands—in its online store, giving you access to hundreds of labels every time you shop.

Browse the Carbon38 store and you’ll find designers like Isabel Marant and Proenza Schouler living alongside activewear favorites including Beyond Yoga and Sweaty Betty. You’ll also find Carbon38’s eponymous label, which specializes in pieces that are sleek, stretchy, and fashion-forward.

Like many other activewear brands, Carbon38 does charge for shipping. But it grants free shipping on orders of $100 or more. And it offers free returns with a standard 30-day return window.

Shipping Cost: $6.99, $0 on orders $100+ | Shipping Window: 6–10 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XXS–XXL

Thinx

Thinx Activewear

Thinx

Pros
  • Absorbent activewear (does the work of 2–5 tampons)

  • 60-day free trial period with free returns

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • Limited activewear selection

  • Shipping usually costs money ($5)

You may know Thinx as the brand that revolutionized period panties. But the company also boasts a line of absorbent activewear, which is as sleek and size-inclusive as its underwear. The brand—originally founded by Miki Agrawal, Radha Agrawal, and Antonia Saint Dunbar, and now helmed by Maria Molland Selby—first launched in 2013. And it only recently expanded into activewear, adding a small selection of exercise bottoms to its online store in 2021.

Because Thinx’s specialty is period-friendly products, it doesn’t offer as much variety as your average activewear brand. Instead, it sells just five basic pieces: a pair of Sleep Shorts, a pair of Training Shorts, a pair of Cycle Shorts, a pair of Leggings, and an exercise Leotard.

We think these items are must-haves in any activewear collection, and the fact that they’re absorbent makes them worthwhile buys. And since the pieces range from lightly absorbent (as absorbent as two standard tampons) to super absorbent (as absorbent as five standard tampons), they should offer enough variety to get you through your cycle from start to finish.

Shipping Cost: $5, $0 if first order with account | Shipping Window: 5–7 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 60 days | Size Range: XS–4X

Bandier

Bandier

Bandier

Pros
  • Fashion-forward activewear

  • In-house label, plus many other brands

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • Shipping usually costs money

  • Returns cost money

  • Shorter-than-average return window

Founded in 2014 by Jennifer Bandier, Bandier has become a beloved activewear brand known for its ability to blend performance with sleek style. We love that the brand specializes in stylish classics that can take you from your favorite fitness class to whatever’s next on your to-do list. And since they’re made from cozy, durable fabrics, you won’t mind wearing them all day.

Like Carbon38, Bandier doesn’t just sell its own label. Browse the store, and you’ll find pieces from Beyond Yoga, Nike, All Access, and more. These brands actually outpace Bandier’s in-house label. Aside from a few collaborative products, like Sincerely Jules for Bandier’s The Holly Half Zip Sweatshirt, most of the site’s best-selling pieces come from other brands.

One notable example? All Access’s Center Stage Leggings, which Bandier calls its “number one leggings.” The coveted piece is available in two different rises, three different lengths, and at least 20 different colors. It’s also available in two different fabrics: All Motion (50% nylon, 50% spandex) or Sport Rib (76% nylon, 24% spandex). And you can choose whether the must-have comes with or without pockets.

Shipping Cost: $5, $0 on orders $100+ | Shipping Window: 3–6 days | Return Cost: $5 | Return Window: 21 days | Size Range: XXS–3X

Lorna Jane

Lorna Jane

Lorna Jane

Pros
  • Fashion-forward activewear

  • Free returns

  • 30-day return window

Cons
  • Shipping is expensive

  • Limited size range

We’d be remiss not to include Lorna Jane on our list of great woman-founded activewear brands. After all, its founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson, allegedly coined the term activewear in the late 1980s. (We’re not kidding.)

When Clarkson founded the brand, she was an aerobics instructor looking for chic fitness clothes she could wear inside and outside the studio. And in the decades since, her brand has produced tons of stylish pieces to fill that void.

Visit Lorna Jane’s store, and you won’t just find performance leggings and sports bras. Those classic items abound, but more on-trend pieces do, too. The brand’s Drawstring Active Tank is sleek enough to wear all weekend long, and its Knit Rib Midi Skirt would work perfectly at home, at brunch, or at happy hour.

Like many other activewear brands, Lorna Jane is focused on producing quality products. So its pieces are made from durable materials and designed to last. One fun detail? Each of Lorna Jane’s pieces is emblazoned with a small, tucked-away heart—a symbol of the love that went into making each garment.

Shipping Cost: $12.95, $0 on orders $100+ | Shipping Window: 3–10 days | Return Cost: $0 | Return Window: 30 days | Size Range: XXS–XXL

Final Verdict

There are loads of great woman-founded activewear brands out there. But two stand out to us. Beyond Yoga specializes in stretchy-soft activewear, and its policies are tough to beat. The brand offers free one- to three-day shipping and free returns with a 30-day return window. It also offers many of its products in sizes XXS–4X.

Outdoor Voices is a similarly convenient option. The brand does charge $5 for shipping, but it offers free shipping on orders of $75 or more. (And if you’ve ever bought activewear before, you know that $75 threshold won’t be too tough to cross.) The brand also offers free returns with a generous 45-day return window.

How We Selected the Best Woman-Founded Activewear Brands

In a world full of great activewear brands, it’s hard to pick favorites. So as we considered dozens of woman-founded activewear brands, we used a few key criteria to narrow down our selection. 

First, we considered product diversity—looking for breadth or depth. We favored brands that offered a wide range of activewear. And when we encountered one that didn’t, we considered whether the brand was best-in-class for the product categories it did offer. We also looked for size diversity, favoring brands that offered inclusive size ranges and making note of those that didn’t.

Then, we considered how convenient it was to buy from the brand. Did the brand offer free shipping and returns? Did it offer a generous return window? And did it ship products quickly?

Finally, we paid attention to who founded the brand. Many mainstream woman-founded activewear brands were founded by white women. These brands are great, but there are loads of activewear brands founded by BIPOC women that are also great and that also deserve recognition.

For further insight, we also consulted various experts in the fitness industry—including a founder and CEO of a fitness studio, a training development manager for a top studio workout, and a yoga instructor—to get more detail on what to look for in an activewear brand and activewear clothing.

What to Look for in Activewear Brands

Shipping Policy

When it comes to shipping policy, we have some bad news and some good news. The bad news: Most activewear brands charge for shipping. The good news: Many activewear brands waive shipping fees when you spend a certain amount (often, $75–$200 or more). So as you shop, pay attention to shipping fees and policies. Check to see how much you’ll get charged for shipping an order, how much you need to spend to get free shipping, and how long it’ll take for your order to arrive.

Return Policy

When shopping online, it’s always a good idea to check a brand’s return policy. Why? You don’t have the luxury of trying on before you buy. So that piece you just ordered may show up looking, feeling, or fitting differently than you expected it to. If and when this happens, you’ll be glad you’re familiar with the return policy. So check to see whether the brand you’re browsing offers free returns. And double-check the return window, so you know how much time you have to return an item to get your well-deserved refund.

Size Range

A great activewear brand isn’t worth much to you if it doesn’t offer clothes in your size. So take a look at a brand’s size range before falling in love with any of its pieces. Some brands offer an inclusive size range (XXS–6XL), while others do not (XS–XL). And some brands go a step beyond size, offering pieces in petite, tall, and maternity versions, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is activewear?

    Activewear is fitness clothing that’s versatile enough—and stylish enough—to wear during everyday activities. “Activewear is clothing that empowers you to move freely throughout your unique lifestyle,” says Valerie Ugrinow, ERYT, master instructor for YogaSix. “Whether that means playing chase with your kids or hitting the gym or yoga studio, activewear will keep you comfortable and in style.”

  • How to wash activewear

    Most activewear is machine washer- and dryer-friendly. But if you want to keep your activewear in tip-top shape, consider letting it air-dry. “Hang-dry leggings, sports bras, or any items with the quintessential ‘stretchy’ material associated with activewear,” Ditto says. “This can help your clothes maintain their shape and avoid pilling over time.” Freeman adds that hand-washing—instead of machine-washing—is another great way to extend the life span of your activewear.

  • How much activewear should I have?

    To figure out how much activewear you should have, consider your workout routine and your laundry routine. How many days do you go between laundry cycles? And how many of those days do you spend working out? You want to own enough activewear that you’ll always have something clean to wear during a workout. And make sure you have something to wear on laundry day, too. “Some people have their favorite go-to pair of shorts or leggings,” Ugrinow says. “I think that’s OK, as long as you have a pair or two to swap out with on laundry days.”

  • What is activewear made of?

    Activewear can be made of many different materials—including breathable cotton, moisture-wicking polyester, sturdy nylon, and stretchy spandex. But most of the time, you’ll see activewear made of a blend of these different materials.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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