Activewear Buying Guide

From hiking and walking to climbing, running, or cycling, you can do it all in the great outdoors.

From hiking and walking to climbing, running, or cycling, you can do it all in the great outdoors.

Avoid the queues and membership fees of gyms while connecting with mother nature at the same time. 

But you’ll need some clothing to keep you cool and prevent you from getting too sweaty. But what is activewear? Winfield’s Outdoors is here to explain not only what activewear is – but how you can also get fit while in our stunning countryside.

Read on to find out more about activewear and some of the ideal clothing for green exercise…

What is green exercise?

What is green exercise?

Green exercise is any activity or form of exercise that takes place in the natural environment, from your nearest park to woodland.

You may even have heard of some of these activities, such as park runs. Besides the physical benefits, green exercise can boost your mental health, as it’s proven to have a positive effect on your self-esteem, and overall mood.

You can do anything from cycling in the countryside and climbing to yoga or trail running. Ability doesn’t come into green exercising and because you aren’t in a gym, you have much more freedom.

The fact that you’re also able to soak in the scenic surroundings and enjoy nature is an obvious perk. 

What is Activewear?

What is Activewear?

Activewear (or sportswear) is specialist clothing designed for exercise, that helps to wick away sweat and keep you warm or cool. The majority of activewear is made from a synthetic material to aid cooling during exercise through breathability.

The clothing that’s included as activewear can include:

Base Layers

A base layer is a layer of clothing that is closest to your skin, almost acting as ‘second skin’ that can keep you warm or cool.

Base layers and thermal clothing provide a layer of warmth while, at the same time, absorbing and removing your sweat to keep you comfortable while on the move – this is called ‘wicking’.

Thermal clothing is versatile clothing and comes in different fabrics and styles that will benefit various climates, conditions, and activities. Base layers can be either tops or bottoms.

No matter when you go outdoors or which green exercise you choose, a thermal top is always a must-have. For summer exercise or warm temperatures, short-sleeves and vests are the best choices for activities. In winter, long-sleeves are often the best choice.


Leggings – or baselayer bottoms – can be worn underneath shorts or on their own, making them extremely versatile.

In summer, you can wear them on their own or underneath shorts if you start a hike or climb when it’s very warm. Base layer bottoms or leggings can also include compression shorts, which add heat retention and prevent muscle soreness during sport.

Base layer bottoms are great for adding extra warmth while enjoying the outdoors or as a standalone layer when running, particularly in warm weather. Designed to retain body heat and wick away moisture, leggings are an ideal all-rounder for all activities.


Active & technical t-shirts

Active t-shirts will often be made from lightweight synthetic materials to boost wicking and cooling while exercising.

Unlike a standard t-shirt, active shirts or vests incorporate moisture control technology. This ensures it’s the best fabric for quick wicking and quick-drying to keep you dry and fresh throughout your exercise.

Polyester, the most commonly used material, draws moisture away from the body, allowing for quick evaporation. Besides quick-wicking and drying properties, many of these running t-shirts also offer an anti-bacterial property, which is simply an odour control treatment.


Most activewear shorts will need to be lightweight to ensure sufficient cooling, and they may be shorter than usual.

When it comes to running and exercise, you’ll find that it’s quite common for many shorts to be shorter than standard. This is to allow for more movement – particularly if you are running or climbing, for example. You don’t want your motion limited by clothing.

Made from synthetic materials, active shorts can feature zipped safety pockets for keys or your phone. Quick-drying, many active shorts feature reflective detailing to provide enhanced visibility for early rises and late finishes.

Hats, gloves & socks

These three items can be extremely important and are often overlooked when it comes to exercising, particularly socks.

The importance of good socks when running or doing other activities cannot be stressed enough. Your feet will thank you for it. Decent running socks can be seamless and have been designed to wick away moisture and sweat from your feet. This can help reduce friction and prevent painful blisters.

Tip: Look for socks with more padding in certain areas to aid your shoes in cushioning. Some socks are specifically designed to be left and right only.

Hats and gloves are obviously best worn for winter exercise. This is because when you do an activity, such as running, blood is diverted from the extremities to the working muscles. Lightweight, waterproof and comfortable they’ll help to keep you going. There are winter and summer hats to maintain body temperature or protect from the sun, each made from high-tech fabrics.

What should you consider when buying activewear?

What should you consider when buying activewear?

As you would for winter coats and jackets, there are important considerations when buying activewear, from its stretchiness to the activity you’ll be doing. We’ve highlighted some important factors to remember when you’re looking for activewear:

Choose function first

Activewear should be functional, cut with designs and shapes which move with you during exercise. This also goes hand-in-hand with sizing. A tight t-shirt may also restrict your motion. Check you can function freely in activewear before buying.

Pick the right fabrics

Cotton may be comfortable when dry, but it’s not when it’s wet. Cotton absorbs moisture, making it heavy and prone to chafing, which can limit or prevent your training. Technical fabrics are designed to prevent snags, wick sweat, and allow your skin to breathe.

Make sure it supports you

Activewear should be compressive in the right areas so it supports your muscles. Therefore, you need to think about what you are going to be doing and where you will need support.

Move around when buying

Don’t just put it on in the changing room and then buy it. Move around. Lunge, jump and squat in it. See how the clothing feels and how it functions. This will make it easier to make a wise decision.

It should feel like it isn’t there 

Particularly for base layers, your activewear should be like a second skin. When you put your sportswear on, you shouldn’t have any restrictions in movement. It shouldn’t get in your way or be too tight.


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