7 under-the-radar activewear brands to know…before everyone else does


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Photo: Splits59

Shopping for activewear or athleisure pieces is now overwhelmingly easy to do. You’re as likely to find the workout ready pieces you’re looking for somewhere like Asos or Shopbop as you are to find them at specialty boutiques and stores such as Bandier and Carbon38. There are so many activewear brands that are now household names that it can be easy to miss some of the more under-the-radar labels on the scene.

The brands rounded up below aren’t necessarily new or extremely niche, but they are a decidedly less common choice than your Lululemon’s or Outdoor Voices. Rounded up are seven of the activewear brands you should get familiar with before they become ubiquitous sightings at your workout studios.

1. Beach Riot

The best way to (sort of) succinctly describe Beach Riot’s activewear is: Miami Beach Sailor Moon. This is activewear that’s whimsical and fun. The pieces in the collection are colorful and made up of prints, like gingham, hearts, and polka dots, that you wouldn’t think to pair with activewear but that work surprisingly well. The styles are a mixture of the usual suspects (high waisted leggings) and surprising accents (ruffles, knots, cut outs).

2. All Access

All Access is a monochrome lover’s dream. The line is comprised of minimal, yet bold, pieces that work in their tone-on-tone pairings yes, but that also work if you’re more of the pick-and-mix persuasion.

3. Splits59

First and foremost, Splits59 makes performance wear. Their clothing is created with every aspect of your active lifestyle in mind—many of their pieces boast features such as moisture-wicking technology, four-way stretch fabric, and light compression. Aesthetically the clothes run the gamut from chic and refined to nostalgic-tinted. (Think elevated Sporty Spice.)

4. Nylora

If the uniforms you wore to JV sports practice were redesigned by a Parsons graduate, they would look like Nylora. The brand mixes traditional athletic materials and silhouettes (think perforated jerseys) with unexpected contours and colors.

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5. Joah brown

Joah Brown is the epitome of a brand that blurs or completely erases, the lines between activewear, athleisure, and ready-to-wear clothing. Take its T-shirts. However you choose to style them—they look as appropriate and outfit-completing with a pair of jeans as they do with a pair of bike shorts.

6. Nagnata

If Staud and Missoni had an activewear lovechild, that brand would Nagnata. The brand makes environmentally conscious knit cotton activewear that Cher Horowitz definitely would be caught dead in. The pieces are beautiful and minimalist but somehow manage to bring originality to something as ubiquitous as color blocking. When I first came across the brand, I was positive that everything must cost couture prices but lo and behold, Nagnata’s price point is nothing out of the blue for affordable luxe activewear with leggings priced at $113 and tops starting at $113.

7. Nux

If seamless leggings changed your life, then let me introduce you to one of activewear’s best-kept secrets, Nux. The brand has “technically” been around since before the athleisure-everywhere boom (2008). But it’s still so under-the-radar that it felt necessary to add to this list. Nux specializes in creating every single type of activewear in seamless versions with varying compression levels (light or moderate) and different types of fabrics (jacquard, ribbing, and open mesh). Nux is also surprisingly affordable for how durable and chic it is—the leggings start at $70, while tops start at $44.

Now that your workout wardrobe is under control, here are white sneakers you can wear even before the spring and shoes you won’t mind walking in all day.

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