When shopping for activewear, let us not forget about gym bags. Sure, we could all use a new pair of leggings or sneakers (or both, let's be real), but your workout 'fit wouldn't be complete without a place to store your beloved Hydro Flask water bottle and fitness tracker. And now that gyms are back in session, the struggle to find a bag that's practical, high-quality, and checks all your style boxes is more real than ever.
- Brooke Van Paris, Lifetime personal trainer
What is the best gym bag?
The best gym bag is one that meets all your needs. As in, it's a matter of personal style and preference. But there are some cues that may help point you in the right direction. For example, paying attention to the bag’s design, functionality and material can be a great way to gauge the quality and performance of the bag. In general, most activewear styles use some form of nylon and polyester since these fabrics are more durable and weather-resistant (and they won't easily damage if, say, your water or shampoo bottles leak). Looking for these, or similar fabrics, in the material of your gym bag may be a way to help you sort through what's really worth the hype.
"When looking for a good gym bag, I like to think about the most important feature of any attire these days: pockets," says Life Time Personal Trainer Brooke Van Paris. '"I look for a gym bag that has a lot of pockets or compartments, so I can store all of my necessary things. Some items I try to plan for include exercise bands (both loop and tube), lifting straps, lifting shoes, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, supplements, a tri-pod for filming my lifts, headphones, towel for sweat, shaker bottle, deodorant, and any necessary post-workout shower items." She also looks for something that is easy to carry around, which can be either a backpack-style bag or duffle.
No matter if you prefer style or function (or both), the options are truly endless. From big and spacious gym bags to functional and compact duffels, there is a little something for everyone. If you've recently been on the hunt for a new style, allow us to present you some of the most popular gym bags to try based on ratings, functionality and fabric.
Best Gym Bags for Women
When it comes to storage, this Nike tote bag really doesn’t disappoint. The large inside pocket has a special holder for all of your workout essentials, from your dry shampoo to your curling iron. There’s even a separate sleeve for you to comfortably store your yoga mat. Plus, you can use the removable laundry bag to separate your dirty, wet clothes.
Space, space and more space. This is exactly what the Athleta gym bag has to offer. Thanks to its endless number of pockets and storage, it takes the hard work out of lugging around your workout gear. From your spin shoes to your laptop, there’s not much that this bag can’t carry. Not to mention, the bag has a nice, soft fabric and an easy clean-up. Just toss it right into the wash after it gets dirty.
If you’re looking for quality at a budget-friendly price, look no further than this Gymshark duffel bag. It’s simple, chic, and easy to carry. The bag has one main compartment to store all your workout goodies, plus smaller slip pockets for extra storage, and a zip wet pocket to keep your wet articles separate. And thanks to its medium size, it’s great to take as a carry-on during your flight or as an overnight bag on your weekend getaway.
Van Paris likes this backpack, which is made of waxed canvas and water-resistant. It has two zipper pockets, side bottle pockets, and a third external front pocket to store the essentials you need to access easily. It also has a media pocket and a false bottom so you store your laptop safely inside.
For those who really like carry a lot of stuff, this FocusGear duffel bag is definitely worth considering. It has 10 total compartments to keep all your workout gear organized, including a full-length shoe pocket, large internal phone pocket and key loop, wet pocket, easy access pockets and two bottle holders. It has a water-resistant bottom panel to keep moisture out.
When it comes to size, this Fila pick may be the goldilocks of gym bags. At 10 inches wide and 19 inches long, the bag is a perfect fit for most gym lockers. It also has four major compartments that are great for hauling lightweight gear such as resistance bands, leggings and tiny tech devices.
Best Fashionable Gym Bags
This On My Level bag is the perfect mix of performance and style. Its slouchy tote design makes it versatile enough to wear to work, the airport and your yoga class. Additionally, the inside compartment is spacious and perfect to carry bulkier items like your running sneakers and lightweight dumbbells. And thanks to the air mesh divider, your clothes always get some ventilation.
This duffle is lightweight and roomy, with a removable/adjustable shoulder strap and padded bottom to make it easy to carry around wherever you go. It has a separate shoe compartment, front zip pockets, and side pockets to help keep your workout gear nice and organized.
The best part of this Béis bag is its hidden backpack straps. (Two bags in one!) Its tote design is simple, minimalist, and pairs well with your dressy athleisure styles. Not to mention, the soft water-resistant fabric is a huge plus for wet weather (and yeah, sweat).
At 16 inches wide, this lightweight Calpak duffel bag is definitely on the larger side. But it’s worth it if you need the extra space and versatility. That being said, it has nine different pockets, including one for your shoes and water bottle. Also, you can easily connect it to your suitcase thanks to the hidden trolley pocket.
Best Gym Bags for Men
Sleek and functional is what you can call this Tracksmith Club Duffel bag. Designed originally as a commuter and weekender bag, this duffel bag is perfect for anyone looking to pack light and store quick easy essentials for the gym—and beyond. Think: a few toiletries, a pair of sneakers and a change of clothes, and let’s go!
If you don’t like to bother with the straps on a gym bag, a sporty backpack is a great alternative. And this one from Gymshark is pretty comfortable. It comes with adjustable padded shoulder straps and a buckle chest harness for support. Also, the extra side pockets allow you to have easy access to your keys, headphones and other small essentials.
For simple and functional, consider this Everest gym bag. The brand uses high-grade polyester material to help manage moisture and mildew so you can work up a sweat freely. The side shoe compartment also gives you space to store your kicks, or separate your wet clothes.
For anyone who likes to train or uses sporting equipment, this Canway is a game-changer. Need a place to store your weightlifting belts? There’s a space for that. Need a place to keep your workout towel? There’s a space for that, too. Additionally, it has great durability, thanks to its water- and tear-resistant fabric.
Calling all athletes and basketball players: The perfect sports bag has arrived. No more carrying around your basketball or soccer ball on your way to the gym. This bag has all the space you need in the front compartment to keep your sporting equipment and activewear in the same place.
Best Gym Bags With Shoe Compartments
Adidas is pretty premier when it comes to athleisure, and this workout bag definitely reflects that. Made of 100 percent polyester, this Adidas duffel has multiple large zip pockets to organize your gear, plus a shoe garage on the side to store your sneaks. Additionally, reviewers seemed to be impressed with the bag’s high quality and large size. One gym-goer wrote, “This bag holds a ton of stuff in a meaningful way. I carry a weightlifting belt, shoes, blender bottle, knee wraps and sleeves, and I never manage to lose my phone/fob/keys in the bag.”
This is listed as Amazon’s best-selling sports bag, and for good reason. It’s really built for performance. The bag features two pockets for your shoes and a couple internal compartments for organization. Additionally, the fabric is tough and can withstand a lot of moisture, thanks to its UA storm technology. Currently, you can pick it up in 20 different colors and in sizes XS to XL.
Not only does this duffel bag have a shoe compartment but it also has a special divider to separate your wet and dry clothes. So if you’re a swimmer or happen to sweat a lot, this gym bag is a total win. Available in three different colors, this Iceivy bags makes a great storage bag for tennis, camping and other outdoor activities. It’s lightweight and compact so you can lug it around with little to no problem.
Editor's note: While we're recommending these products for women and men, *anyone* can buy them, regardless of how they identify. We're simply formatting this article this way to align with how people are searching Google.
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