Quality men’s athletic apparel at the low end price point is not quite as easy to find as women’s athletic apparel can be. There is a lack of design and technical clothing, especially for running. I’ve seen many men out there wearing the same t-shirt from their high school gym days or cheap sweats both on the track and in the gym. Unfortunately, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Men are prone to chaffing and overheating just as much as women. In fact I would go so far to say that in certain areas men are more prone to chaffing than women. You don’t need a lot of pieces to build a solid basic workout wardrobe. Just a few all-around options and a few sport specific pieces depending on what you like to do.
Old Navy comes through in the sizing department for men by providing regular as well as big and tall sizes to 3x but has less technical options than Champion (2x max). Champion has better design and offers more sport specific options like running tights. As for the quality of the items, my husband owns items from both brands and on the whole we find the Champion brand holds up better for pants and shorts. Other items are on par with each other. There is however a few stand out items in each brand that we will look at. I’d also like to point out that these options may not say “online only” but there have been a few times we’ve liked something online and gone to the store to check out the quality only to find they didn’t have the item. Both brands are very true to size and have fairly hassle free returns including in store returns for online items so you can confidently order something online if you like!
1. Old Navy Compression Top has a lot of tech features with it’s flat lock seams and it’s wicking compression. This is ideal for running but could be used as a base layer under casual clothes or ski/snowboard gear. It fits true to size but isn’t constricting. If you want true compression you might want to size down depending on your build.
2. Old Navy Compression Shorts have the same features of the compression top and will work for the same types of sports. If you are worried about showing off the “Family Jewels” use these under basketball shorts or track pants as underwear.
3. Old Navy Mock Neck Running Top features flat lock seams and wicking fabrics. The added 1/4 zip will allow you to control the heat built up in the top throughout activity. It has an athletic fit but isn’t skin tight. I will point out this is an obvious technical athletic apparel top and it’s not really casual wear so you might get some odd looks if you wear it that way.
4. Old Navy Active Performance Top is your replacement for all those grody T’s you have. Flat lock seams, tag free, wicking, and vented mesh panels make this shirt an excellent deal. It’s got a more relaxed fit than the other tops so if you are worried about your midsection looking a little fluffy, give this one a shot instead.
1. Champion Men’s Long Sleeve Ventilated Tee has flat lock seams, wicking fabric, and vents to help control your workout temp. This has an athletic fit and feels like really high quality in hand. It also comes in a great color selection. These can also be used as a base layer.
2. Champion Men’s Power Core Running Tights have all the same features the big brands do that cost 2x-3x more than this sale price. These are very compressing so prepare to be showing off your body. These would make a great base layer for snow activities.
3. Champion Men’s Ventilated Pieced Tee has flat lock seams, wicking fabric, and vents to help control your work out temp. The design of the tee is great and comes in fun colors. It’s got an athletic fit and the fabric is a little shiny for for casual wear.
4. Champion Men’s Gym Shorts are a great multi-purpose short. Perfect for sports practice, lifting, and running or general cardio. These don’t wear out fast and are really durable. These are such a great staple, I’d suggest getting 2 or 3 pairs at this price so you alway have a clean pair ready to go. They have a more matte texture so you can get away with wearing them in casual settings without to many people noticing.
5. Champion Men’s Venture Dry™ Soft Shell Jacket is a total surprise in this lineup. It’s the kind of quality you would expect from North Face or Columbia. This jacket repels water, keeps you safe from wind, has storage, and will keep you warm without overheating. It even has a chin protector at the top of the zipper which is a hallmark of expensive brands. The fit is semi-relaxed so you can layer under it without it looking bulky. While not exactly something you’d want to wear in the gym it is a great piece to wear for general outside fitness activities and can be worn with casual and business casual outfits making it an outstanding value.
6. Champion Men’s Advanced Duo Dry Running Pants are great for a guy looking for something on the fitted side to run in without having to wear tights. These offer some great features like ankle zippers, zip pockets, and reflective areas to help you be noticed by cars. The quality of these pants is comparable to some big names brands without the hefty price tag.
With both Old Navy and Target having online men’s athletic apparel sales it might be time to clear out some old worn stuff and get some high performing pieces into your gym bag. I know there is a lot of talk about how clothes help you feel better about yourself and you may only think that stuff applies to women. That’s not the case and you might feel more confident working out in something that looks good too. Most importantly, no matter what anyone tells you; muscle shirts are not cool. Not exactly on point but it could save your life :). Happy Shopping!