Plus Size Workout Clothes

Some quick updates from today: I got my gallon of water in, did NOT partake in the Cosi tomato basil soup and got my weight training in this morning. Only thing I didn’t cross off this list was to go get some more Balega socks, but I can do that during lunch tomorrow.

Speaking of the Balega socks, I had a few questions recently asking about workout clothes. I have to admit that looking for workout clothes in my size has been one of the most frustrating things. Some stores go up to 2x, but those are still way too small for me. I am not at all satisfied with the plus size workout clothing choices that I have.

Bra: I have posted about this wonderful bra before. It rocks my world (and my boobs DON’T rock). It’s an Enell bra, and it is ALL about function (because OBVIOUSLY it’s not about looks!) This sucker will strap you in and not let go. Running? My stomach is what jiggles, not my boobs. It has some pretty unattractive seams, but purely for function, this one is a winner. It is worth every single penny. Just be sure to measure yourself before buying to make sure you get the proper size.

Socks: I have size 11.5 wide feet. Monster feet. I had trouble with my shoes rubbing funny with my socks. I couldn’t get “no show” socks because I couldn’t find any that would actually stay put- they’d always slide off my heel. I wanted something soft and supportive, not scratchy and paper thin. Enter the Balega sock. I am such a fan of these. My favorite are the Hidden Comfort socks. Like the bra, they’re more than I would have expected to pay for a pair of socks, but they are SO worth it. There are NO SEAMS anywhere! Aaaah.

Tops: This has been my BIGGEST FRUSTRATION!!! Seriously. I want workout tops with short sleeves- not too short, but not too long. I want a workout top that comes to mid-hip- not too short and not covering my butt. I want a workout top that has some kind of high performance material that will keep me cool but keep its shape and not get stretched out. Think something like Under Armour or Nike Dri Fit Plus. Under Armour has a couple of ladies shirts that go to a 2x- way too small for me. Nike has a couple of styles that go to a 3x, but that is a 24/26 and I’m more of a 26/28, plus they’re pretty short and I have a long torso. Nothing like a good flesh belt at the gym!

So, my current go-to tops are just plain $10 Mossimo v-neck tees from Target (the top row in this link). I need to place another order of these before summer goes away so I can have a “stash.” I also have several tees from Old Navy that are in the rotation. Their tees are weird sometimes though because I’ve noticed the fabric is different depending on the color. I ordered a hot pink one in a 3x from Old Navy last week for $4.99 and it is great.  During my last video at the gym, I was wearing a gray shirt from Old Navy.

One little rant about tees: When you have a race or an event, think of people who need shirts bigger than an XL! I want my shirt, dangit! Seriously, it’s so frustrating. I have stacks of XL, unworn tees sitting in my closet. Also, it would really be grand if companies who made custom printed clothing like Spreadshirt or Cafe Press to include more plus size options. I ordered the biggest shirt they had from Cafe Press and it was still too small during the 5K.  Apparently they’re not the only ones having the issue though since no one anywhere seems to be able to design great-fitting basic tees for plus size women. Think something like C&C California for the big girl. Wonderful styles, colors, long layering tees, etc. A big girl can dream, right?

Bottoms: This has been another source of frustration. I have so many bottoms I’ve tried out, it’s not even funny. I’ve gotten bike shorts from Junonia, yoga pants from Lane Bryant, various capris from Old Navy, etc. If you’re on a really tight budget, there is a line of Danskin NOW plus size activewear at WalMart. The shirts didn’t fit me. I got a couple pair of workout pants, but they are super long- I step on them (and I’m 5’10!). I also have some workout capris from them that I liked for a couple of workouts, but then they kind of lost their stretchy power. My favorite thing from there is a zip hoodie that is a wonderful material. I wouldn’t say to avoid these products at all, but just try them all on and if you don’t love it, return it. Keeping a bunch of stuff because it’s cheap and you kind of like it doesn’t make it right (take it from me)!

Recently, I saw a new line of Champion C9 for plus sizes at Target. I picked up 2 pairs of running tights, and they’re now my favorite workout bottoms. They are a great material, have a hidden zip pocket for a key or something, and have an inside hidden drawstring so you can make sure they stay in place! During the 5K my pants kept falling down, and this was the biggest pain. I love the inside drawstring. I was wearing a pair of these during my last workout video.

So, that’s my advice on the plus size workout clothes front. I would LOVE if companies like Nike would go to higher than their 3X (which is a little small). And Under Armour could design performance gear up to a 4x as well. The pretty workout clothes like a lululemon and Athleta are so cute, I would love to be able to have some of that, but doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon.

Housekeeping note: None of these companies paid me to put their stuff on here. Believe me, I had to pay for every last bit of it! That being said, if any one of these lovely companies wants to help sponsor my way to Fitbloggin, I’d be all ears.

So, what are your favorite workout clothes? Anything I’ve missed?

  • Mary Ann Hawthorne

    I can’t say enough good things about my Enell bra. Worth every penny. For pants, I wear the C9 pants from Target too. My favorite workout shirts are some sleeveless V-neck moisture wicking shirts I got at Target two years or so ago. I haven’t seen them since. My favorite socks Feetures. Love them–they’re thin, no seams, and fit snugly on my foot.

  • Marcie T

    I’m a size 18 in most clothes. There are some Danskin shorts WITH POCKETS at Walmart that I love (I’m an asthmatic and have to carry an inhaler everywhere – pockets are a must-have). I also have Yoga pants from Old Navy that are “roll over” waisted (no pockets though, unfortunately). The concept of a roll over yoga pant sounds like it would be awful for a girl with a spare tire or four, but they are comfy and actually look pretty good – but they are long and I have to take them to get hemmed. I am a size 6 wide foot and love the Adidas sports socks- they are extra cushioning and hold up pretty long (my big toe usually sticks out of socks easily and these haven’t done that after 2 months of working out).

  • Sarah7500

    I too have had issues with workout clothes. Do clothing companies think, “She’s fat, so she probably doesn’t work out?” IDK. I’m having issues with tops and not bottoms. I want short sleeves, and nothing too tight. I’d like a shirt that is mid thigh, I do want it covering my butt. (I have a serious ghetto booty that looks almost obscene in workout pants.) I also have issues with socks; my feet are little and adult socks fall off my feet and into my shoes while I’m on the treadmill. I am thinking about going down to children’s sizes just to see if they’ll stay on my feet. Crazy, huh?
    What kind of shoes do you wear? I’m a New Balance girl all the way.

  • Suzanne

    I’m so glad to see this post. I have so much trouble finding workout clothes! I’m a 6 foot giant and’re feet at not big, trust me!! Thank you so much for sharing your opinion and experience. I can’t wait to cross the border and hit a Target to get some running tights.

  • Suzanne

    I’m so glad to see this post. I have so much trouble finding workout clothes! I’m a 6 foot giant and’re feet at not big, trust me!! Thank you so much for sharing your opinion and experience. I can’t wait to cross the border and hit a Target to get some running tights.

  • Emily

    Thank you so much for this post! We are about the same size (tall, long torsoed and 26/28) I didn’t know about Target’s plus size workout gear….I’m going to have to break down and get a pair of those running tights. Also, that bra, I need it!!

  • Fluffy girl

    Love my cut offs I wear. Its funny to see them get huge on me, before they were snug to my body and I had to stretch them before I worked out in them. I also love my basketball shorts to workout in. I cant do the whole pants or capri’s when I workout. It just feels wrong.

  • D…

    Argh so jealous of your options out there. I find it so difficult to find clothes, especially comfortable gym clothes, tracksuit pants are ok but they wear out quickly and t-shirts, too short or they are just old, too big t-shirts, bleh, not inspiring. I have, thanks to your link bought some old navy things on line, can’t wait : ) I think that bra is calling to me…

  • Danielle

    I’m in LOVE with the target tops. I seriously bought one in every color… and am thinking about going to grab a few more. ha.
    great resources. I actually LOVE the Danskin bottoms I found at walmart of all places. and the danskin workout socks have been a cheaper alternative for me. I have flinstone feet and haven’t had any problem with them.

  • skinnyemmie

    I was a New Balance girl when I started, but a few weeks ago went to a local running store (where I found the Balega socks) and got fitted for a new pair of shoes. They’re Brooks running shoes, and they’ve made a huge difference for me. Not that New Balance’s are bad- I just probably had the wrong ones and the wrong size.

  • Emilie Moore

    I asked Shay where she got her workout clothes and she told me was a great resource! My problem was that I was losing so fast I could never figure out what fit me. I still have things that are way to big or way too small!

  • skinnyemmie

    Yeah, I have gotten some bike shorts from there- that’s a good resource I forgot to mention. They’re okay, but what’s funny is when I was running the 5K with Shay, her pants from there were falling down also! We were both trying to hike our pants up. I think she needed smaller ones :)

  • Lisa Eirene

    Great topic! When I was still shopping in plus-sizes I found it hard to find good work out clothes. I DID find a fantastic sports bra made by Lilly of France. I bought it at Kohl’s and it’s fantastic for large breasted women. :) I still buy that brand–just in a smaller size now.

  • Shannon-The Me Within

    Just stopping by to let you know I left you a blog award on my blog! Please stop by and check it out at I hope you will stop by.

  • Lisa

    Hi Emmie, loved this post and so grateful for the info, especially about the bra. I have a request please. I’m new to your blog so you may already have done it, but if not, could you please share some info on shoes? We have almost the same size feet (I’m 11 wide) and I have a horrible time finding shoes that fit. I’m now having my mother ship them in from the States because I can get almost nothing in Europe that fits me. I’ve not yet ordered online but that’s next. Just don’t even know where to start and some word of mouth would be excellent. Thanks so much!

  • skinnyemmie

    Hi Lisa-
    Thanks for the comment! Shoes are so difficult to shop for because
    everyone’s feet are different- size, width and how you walk all affect which
    shoe you should go with. I recently went to a local running store and they
    properly measured my feet and then watched how I walked. From there, they
    suggested a few different shoes to me- even some men’s shoes because of my
    large feet! Are there any local running stores where you’re at? The shoes
    are often quite a bit more expensive, but the quality is great and they will
    make sure you get the proper fit. You might find a mens shoe more
    comfortable, or you might like the ladies styles in large and wide widths. I
    ended up getting a 11.5 wide womens running shoe- something I couldn’t get
    at most stores. The brand is Brooks, but I’ve also had luck with New Balance
    because of their wide range of widths and sizes. Even if you’re not a
    runner, don’t be intimidated by a local running store or specialty store.
    They service everyone, and will help you find the best shoe for you!
    Hope this helps :)

  • Denise

    Thank you so much for your pant recommendations. I finally found a pair of capri sweat pants that didn’t show my cellulite (woohoo!) and now that it’s getting chillier (I live in Oregon) I am back to my old standby clean-the-kitchen sweatpants.

  • Colleen (Books in the City)

    thanks for all these resources – I use the Enell bra too and really like it. I like Lands End workout wear – their pants are great but I am struggling to find good tops right now.

    Another place that has worked for me is Two Roads Fitness – their selection is not great but they do have high quality workout wear for plus sizes.

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  • Amy Thomas Polk

    Hi Emmie, I’ve been looking around on your site today, trying to help some of my “well-endowed” clients.  Thanks for your posts!! BTW, those are my favorite socks too!!