Home » Products Sourcing » Apparel » Top 8 Inclusive Activewear Looks for Women in 2022

Top 8 Inclusive Activewear Looks for Women in 2022

Two women with yoga mats dressed in activewear

Finding activewear that fits, flatters, and offers comfort has been an ongoing issue for many plus-size women. Fortunately, the activewear clothing market has transformed over the past few years, and now offers a range of size-inclusive workout clothes that are not only comfy but also flattering for bigger bodies. 

In this article, we will explore how inclusivity is reshaping women’s activewear. We’ll analyze the global sportswear market and look at current market size, segment distribution, and projected market growth, then highlight the top women’s inclusive activewear looks that retailers should aim to stock for their 2022 catalogs.

Table of Contents
Why and how inclusivity is reshaping activewear
The women’s activewear market and women’s plus-size apparele
Top women’s inclusive activewear looks for 2022
Stocking size-inclusive activewear

Why and how inclusivity is reshaping activewear

Traditionally, few activewear brands stocked products that accommodate sizes 14 and above. The result of this was that plus-size women were left with very limited activewear choices, and in most cases, they had to give up fashionability for size inclusion as the styles offered were rarely trendy.

Fast-forward to the post-2010 era that we are now in, which has been heralded as a watershed moment for diversity within fashion, and things have changed. What took place was a general shift that puts focus on representation as well as diversity. Within the apparel and sportswear industries, this translated to prioritization of clothing that catered to women of all body shapes, sizes, as well as athletic abilities.

One myth that has been dispelled during this era was that bigger women did not work out. More and more brands have begun to tap into this market by serving it with activewear options that do not sacrifice style or quality for size. One such brand is Nike that actually revamped its flagship London store to include plus-size mannequins that showcases the brand’s commitment to diversity. 

The women’s activewear market and women’s plus-size apparel

In 2021, the global women’s fitness apparel market was valued at nearly US $171 billion. Statista forecasts that the market is expected to grow by over US $90 billion to reach a value of approximately US $269 billion by 2029. The top market drivers behind the growth of the industry include a rise in health consciousness as well as increased enthusiasm for sports and fitness.

When it comes to geographic distribution, North America is expected to maintain its dominance in the women’s sportswear market, with strong participation in sports such as basketball, hockey, and football in the region being a key driver of consumption of sports goods. Asia Pacific, however, is expected to achieve stronger growth in the women’s sportswear market due to rapid urbanization tied with increasing disposable income and changing lifestyles.

The plus-size women’s clothing market outlook shows an uptrend as the latest report shows that in terms of value, the market stood at US $178 billion in 2019, and would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% over the 2020–2028 forecast period. Increased body weight coupled with increasing body confidence are being seen as key drivers behind demand for plus-size apparel.

Top women’s inclusive activewear looks for 2022

1. Body-sculpt jumpsuits

Plus-size woman in a fitted red jumpsuit
Plus-size woman in a fitted red jumpsuit

This is also called the naked bodysuit because of how it sculpts the body’s figure. Body-sculpt bodysuits have become popular for their ability to celebrate body positivity for all body shapes. 

This activewear can come with built-in shapewear such as contoured waistbands that help to tuck the waist area in or built-in bras for chest support. They are perfect for low-impact workouts at the studio or at home, and also work great for layering. 

2. High-support sports bras

Woman wearing a gray sports bra doing yoga
Woman wearing a gray sports bra doing yoga

High-support sports bras do pretty much what the name suggests, they offer increased support for larger cup sizes in the form of added lift, support, and comfort. This means that plus-size women can have bras with high compression that are suited for high-impact workouts. 

Versions with added padding ensure a more comfortable fit and features like the extra-wide racerback design help keep the bra straps from digging into shoulders. Materials such as microfiber are becoming increasingly popular because of their ability to wick away moisture during sweaty workouts. 

3. Compression leggings

Two women doing yoga in compression leggings
Two women doing yoga in compression leggings

Compression leggings are leggings made from compressive fabrics that apply gentle pressure to the leg muscles. This pressure is said to improve blood circulation which ultimately helps to maximize performance during high-impact activities such as running, weight-training, yoga, as well as low-impact lounging.

There are great plus-size options that are performance-focused, comfortable, and stylish. Styles can include features such as high waistband support, gusseted crotches, and adjustable drawstring. Ideally the compression leggings should be made from quick-dry materials that keep the wearer cool during sweaty workouts.

4. High-waisted capri leggings

Woman wearing capri leggings with side pocket
Woman wearing capri leggings with side pocket

High-waisted capri leggings are multi-functional bottomwear that use waist compression or slip-free waistbands that offer tummy control, while also featuring easy-access side pockets that are convenient for storing phones, keys, or cards during workouts.   

These performance-oriented leggings are both comfortable and flattering. For added warmth, retailers can stock fleece-lined leggings that are super cozy for winter. Consumers are typically looking for fabric options that allow extreme flexibility, are highly breathable, and offer moisture-wicking, such as polyester and lycra.

5. Lightweight jackets

Woman on track field wearing lightweight jacket
Woman on track field wearing lightweight jacket

Jackets are an activewear staple. Lightweight jackets are particularly perfect outerwear for outdoor medium and high-impact sweat sessions as they offer shielding from the sun during sunnier seasons and added warmth during chillier ones. These jackets are typically made from lightweight and breathable fabrics such as polyester.

Advanced features such as waterproofing and windproofing add even more utility to these versatile jackets, making them double as raincoats or windbreakers. Other features such as drawcord hoods and chin guards also offer extra protection.

6. Cozy sweatshirts and joggers

Woman wearing sweatshirt and joggers
Woman wearing sweatshirt and joggers

Sweatshirts and joggers are workout essentials. They prioritize comfort and are perfect for low-intensity workouts. They also offer added warmth during chilly seasons.

The joggers can be elasticated, have drawstring waistbands, pockets, or tapered cuffs. The sweatshirts can be made from soft and lightweight fabric such as fleece, polyester, and cotton, and can have varied neck designs such as the crew neck or zip funnel neck design.

Sweatshirts and joggers have become athleisure or loungewear favorites, as the pandemic drove more and more consumers to seek out comfort over fashion in their clothing choices for working or learning from home. 

7. Versatile skorts

Woman playing tennis in skorts
Woman playing tennis in skorts

Skorts are a fun alternative to regular shorts or pants that offer the functionality of shorts with the appearance of a skirt, typically because of an overlapping front panel. For plus-size consumers, skorts allow comfort, performance, as well as style.

Styles can offer tummy control or built-in compression shorts that enable better performance for biking, tennis, or golfing. In terms of stylistic elements, designs can be pleated, ruffled, or have straight, wrinkle-resistant finishes.

There are also options for swimming skorts for wearers looking for more coverage during beach days or swimming sessions. Swimming skorts are typically more stretchy and made from a combination of materials such as polyester and spandex.

8. Stretchy biker shorts

Woman in matching biker shorts and sports bra set
Woman in matching biker shorts and sports bra set

Stretchy biker shorts are essential activewear pieces that offer support and flexibility while preventing thigh chafing. Biker shorts can be worn for actual workouts or casually under dresses or skirts.

The most ideal designs are made of breathable and stretchy fabrics such as cotton and spandex blends, and offer moisture-wicking. They can also have added features such as full-size pockets, smoothing or high waistbands, and thigh compression.

Stocking size-inclusive activewear

Updating your activewear product catalog by stocking size-inclusive activewear is both a plus for inclusivity and also for businesses as they will be able to tap into this greatly underserved market that is projected to boom over the next few years. 

When it comes to plus-size fashion it is not just enough to offer regular styles in bigger sizes. Retailers also have to ensure that they provide styles and activewear pieces that offer the greatest utility to plus-size wearers. To recap, the top women’s inclusive activewear looks to stock for 2022 include:

  1. Body-sculpt jumpsuits
  2. High-support sports bras
  3. Compression leggings
  4. High-waisted capri leggings
  5. Lightweight jackets
  6. Cozy sweatshirts and joggers
  7. Versatile skorts
  8. Stretchy biker shorts

Find out more popular activewear trends to add to your product catalog here.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top