Since it burst onto the scene in the 00s offering shapewear and 'silhouette-smoothing' underwear and tights galore, SPANX has been a household name – and when the brand launched high-waisted leggings a few years on from that, they quickly became a wardrobe staple for many too.
Whilst we're in full support of the body confidence movement and embracing your body exactly as it is, we're also all about choice (and we're certainly not about SPANX-shaming). Which is why when we heard that SPANX also have an activewear line (SPANX Active), featuring everything from gym leggings, to shorts to sports bras that promise to keep everything in place whilst you get your sweat on, we knew we had to try them out.
Here, two editors – with different body types and workout routines – put some of the range's key pieces to the test (note: the range typically stocks items in sizes XS through to 3XL):
SPANX Every Wear Leggings (tested in a size XL)
"I was slightly hesitant about trying SPANX activewear as I can get really distracted from my workout if a pair of leggings are uncomfortable… and whenever I’ve tried shapewear in the past, I’ve always spent half of my day adjusting it and feeling restricted by the garment. That’s fine for a party or a wedding, but definitely wouldn’t do for working out.
"Unfortunately the initial SPANX leggings that I wanted to try out (the Booty Boost leggings) came up too small, despite me ordering the size XL as advised, and therefore I wasn't able to review them. However, the Every Wear leggings fit like a dream (I’m a size 16 to 18 and again, opted for a size XL – but this time it was perfect. I wish brands had more consistency in their sizing from style to style, it's a problem for so many and is disheartening!).
"The Every Wear leggings were so comfortable that I didn’t feel restricted at all. Crucially, when I wore them for my workouts (boxing and weight lifting classes) the waist didn’t roll down during tough moves. I also felt confident enough to wear them with a jumper for a casual day out, without feeling the need to tie my jumper around my waist, something which felt novel for me! They’re really versatile and because of how soft they are I’ll be wearing them to a yoga class next." - Catriona Innes, Cosmopolitan's Features Director
SPANX Get Moving Skort (tested in a size M)
"Please let it be known first and foremost that I am not a shorts-in-the-gym person. I like wearing them to do yoga from home as they're freeing, and occasionally to run on a very hot day, but that's pretty much it. So I was surprised to fall head over heels for SPANX's Get Moving skort (essentially bike shorts - that don't roll up or budge - hidden under an outer skirt layer). So much so, I actually wore! it! thrice! in the gym whilst on holiday in Mexico (but alas it's still too cold to don outdoors in the UK at the moment). I opted for a size medium, which as a dress size 10/12, fitted perfectly.
"The shape was incredibly flattering and the high-waisted nature of the garment stayed put throughout crunches, squats and weights (and held my overly bloated-from-burritos stomach in so that I wasn't self-conscious about it). I also wore the skort out to dinner with heels and a vest top, as I rated its style prowess so highly. If I were the type to play tennis (I'm not – I was once asked to stop attending a casual badminton doubles tournament at my old office because I was so crap), it would be my summer go-to. In fact, tennis or no tennis, I think it still might be on sunny days where I want to workout in the park or gym." - Jennifer Savin, Features Editor
SPANX Medium Impact Sports Bra (tested in a size M)
"I have a severe love-hate relationship with bras... actually no, let's call it what it is, an aversion to bras – and that extends to sports bras too. They're either too tight and make me feel like I can't breathe, and part way through a workout I'll start panicking I've got Covid again (ah, health anxiety! Don't you just love it?), or aren't supportive enough. Meaning, every time I do a box jump, I'm worried I'll end up flashing half the gym.
So, with that in mind, I was sceptical about putting another sports bra to the test, yet the SPANX Medium Impact Sports Bra absolutely delivered. I felt well and truly held in place, without wanting to claw my way out, and loved the classic cut and design. Super flattering, this one gets a big tick from me and my 32Cs (I went for a medium sized bra)." - Jennifer Savin, Features Editor
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