Is It Time to Replace Your Winter Workout Gear? Read This to Find Out

If you love to work out, you know how important your activewear is. Finding the right fit, deciding if it’s supportive enough, and choosing the right colors and patterns can be an endeavor. And after putting that much work into creating the perfect workout wardrobe, we should be set for life, right?

Unfortunately, no.

Just like anything we own, our activewear and workout gear has a lifespan. And after a certain period of time, extensive use can begin to wear on it, making it no longer as effective as it used to be. While the thought of parting with our favorite sneakers or our sports bra from our college track team days may seem unbearable, holding on to it can have a negative impact on your workout.

So while it can be tough to say goodbye to your favorite activewear, giving your workout wardrobe a refresh can help your comfort, safety and overall performance. But how do you know it’s time to replace your workout gear? Here are five signs you should look for:

You’ve had them longer than you should

Your activewear doesn’t last forever. And while we all like to get our money’s worth, holding onto your gear for longer than you should could have a negative impact on your workout (think discomfort and lack of support). Every piece of gear has an approximate lifespan, so learning how long each is meant to last can help you determine when to toss. Here are approximately how long you should ideally be holding on to your gear:

    Sports bras: 6 months
    Leggings: 2 years
    Workout tanks: 10+ years (until you notice wear and tear)
    Sneakers: 6 months-1 year   

Everything starts to feel (too) stretchy

Your workout clothes should be comfortable, sure, but comfortable enough to attend a workout class—not binge Netflix and take a nap. Clothing like leggings and sports bras should feel supportive and not too loose. Between workouts and your washing machine, however, it’s normal for your workout clothes to stretch out a bit over time. As soon as your sports bra starts feeling too big and your leggings a bit loose, you’ll know it’s time to shop for a new set. Trust us; your body will notice the difference once you start donning new activewear that feels supportive and snug.

You’re beginning to notice some wear and tear

Ever pick out a workout outfit that makes you want to sweat? Wearing clothing and using gear you like isn’t just for pleasure, it can actually be a real motivating factor that can get you to class. But when your gear starts to show signs of wear and tear, it’s a good move to go ahead and toss it. Next time you’re rummaging through your gym bag, note any signs of discoloring, tearing or other wear. It could be time to replace them.

Your body feels discomfort

Probably the number-one sign you should absolutely replace your workout clothing and gear is when your body starts to notice the difference. Sports bra feeling loose and not offering support? Starting to get shin splints and aches in your ankles after running? Don’t take these signs of discomfort lightly. Investigate how long you’ve been holding onto the product and decide if it’s time to say goodbye.

Your gear isn’t doing its job

If your hands and feet can’t stop slipping while in downward dog, it may be time to replace that yoga mat. We know it can be tough to make the decision to toss some of the gear you’ve been using for a while, but the moment it stops doing the job it’s supposed to do is the moment it’s time to wave goodbye. 

Stephanie Limiti is a born and raised New Yorker living out her dreams of palm trees and sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not zenned out in yoga class, she's reading biographies and volunteering at dog rescue shelter. Follow her on Instagram.