The Sacai x Nike Collection Looks Impractical for Real Athletes — 13 Other Puzzling Pieces Of Women's Gym Apparel

If you're anything like me, your daily gym apparel consists of whatever pair of gym shorts happen to be clean along with a giant t-shirt I no longer deem appropriate to wear on social occasions, both of which I've owned since roughly the eighth grade. But high fashion brands have a much different vision of what women want to wear while getting their sweat on. The results are often spandex-laden, featuring strange mesh panels, straps, flowy bits, and an overall surprising lack of support. Athletic wear companies seem to forget that not every woman is a supermodel who wants to roll up to the gym looking like she just stepped out of the hottest BDSM sportswear campaign known to man. Some of us just want to look semi-presentable, sweat it out without our boobs gyrating uncontrollably or our ensemble falling to pieces, and escape back into our regular, decently fashionable lives completely unscathed.

Nike's most recent collaboration with Sacai underscores this athletic corporation point of view on women's apparel perfectly. While the collection is undeniably interesting and experimental, a valid point has been raised regarding how wearable these pieces are for actual athletes. An article written by Megan Weigman over on Slate rightly, and smartly, points out how rather than creating a useful, well-designed collection, Nike and Sacai have actually delivered looks that are not only comical, but insulting, to female athletes. Weigman argues that the clothing they've created suggests, "that female athletes prize style and appearance over functionality and performance." Despite Sacai designer Chitose Abe's insistence that functionality and fabric innovation were of the utmost importance to her in the design process, the actual clothing's flowing peplums and hand wash only labels seem to loudly say otherwise. For Weidman, "this is yet another example of adding a traditional female element (pleats! lace!) and labeling it as 'designed for women.'” There is no consideration for function, only for the frivolous hallmarks of stereotypical womanhood.

While Nike and Sacai are definitely guilty of making some workout-unfriendly sportswear, they certainly aren't the only ones. Women's websites are chock full of these type of insane pieces of gym apparel. I've pulled together a few of the best in the slideshow below so we can all hit the gym in absurdist style this spring!

Image: NikeLabs

by Emily Kirkpatrick

Beach Cashmere Track Pants

Banjo & Matilda Beach Cashmere Track Pants - $350

The name pretty much says it all. Nothing screams summertime at the shore like a pair of flesh-colored cashmere track pants. And who among us doesn’t enjoy basking in the sunshine while working out in head-to-toe wool?

Yoga and Outdoor Shoes for Barefoot Exercise

Nike Studio Wrap Pack 3 Yoga and Outdoor Shoes - $120

Leave it to Nike to figure out a way to make you think you desperately need to wear their sneakers even when doing exercises that explicitly require no shoes. Add on the bizarre neon yellow elastic lace-up bits, and you’re sure to get noticed in your next yoga class… just maybe not for your vinyasa flow.

Floral Mesh Running Bloomers

Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Printed Climastorm Shell Shorts - $100

There’s something very odd about these running shorts. It’s partially the length which hits right around where most ladies’ underwear comes to an end and partially the slightly ruffled edges that give them the appearance of a frilly turn-of-the-century bloomer. If that’s not enough, the spandex beneath them, which I would usually count on to save me from flashing every person in the gym, is made of a mysterious sheer mesh that helps absolutely no one with anything.

Crop Top Rash Guard

Norma Kamali Printed Rash Guard - $215

I’m no surfer, but even I can tell that his rash guard isn’t going to help you with much. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it seems to me like a top that only covers your bust and arms is leaving a huge swath of your back and abdomen exposed to some potentially majorly devastating rashes. Here’s hoping they start selling an attachable corset-like rash guard extender ASAP.

A Casual Athletic Jumpsuit

Monreal London Mesh-Paneled Stretch-Jersey Jumpsuit - $745

This one doesn’t seem so far-fetched if you’re playing an extremely leisurely game of tennis, but it’s hard to imagine doing much else. Not only does a jumpsuit seem oddly restrictive and complicated for any kind of serious working out, but the price tag would make me afraid to even think about sweating anywhere near this ensemble.

A Plastic Visor That Blocks No Sun

Monreal London Ocean Drive Leather and PVC Visor - $140

I’m all about a well-accessorized workout look, especially when it involves the highly overlooked and underutilized sports visor. The only problem with this one is a see-through PVC visor seems to completely negate any benefit of wearing one to begin with. Plus, oppressive plastic on a sunny day? You’re basically asking for forehead acne.

Elaborately Embellished Sweatpants

Yohji Yamamoto Drop-Rise Cargo Pants - $1020

When putting on your favorite pair of sweatpants, who hasn’t thought, hey, you know what these need? A button-fly and cargo pockets. This is 1998, after all… wait, isn’t it?

Espadrille Running Sneakers

Stella McCartney Macy Espadrille Sneakers - $600

While these are clearly a part of the whole fashionable sportswear trend, there still seems to be an implication that these sneakers have some genuine athletic viability. For the girl who demands a fashionable lift while on the treadmill, and doesn’t mind paying in sprained ankles, these shoes should be the perfect fit.

Fashion Sneakers Disguised as Real Sneakers

Y-3 Nicke Wedge Sneakers - $295

When will this hidden wedge trend die? What was started innocently enough by Isabel Marant has quickly spiraled out of control, causing wedges to be tucked into every single women’s shoe whether you want them there or not. Even the ones you’re supposed to workout in.

Leggings You Can't Wear Underwear With

Blue Life Fit Contrast Leggings - $99

Finding the right pair of underwear to wear underneath a pair of skin-tight leggings is already challenging enough. No one needs leggings with strategic mesh paneling that actually makes it impossible to wear any underwear at all. You’re already brave to attend the gym at all without also inflicting this wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen on yourself.

One-Shoulder Sports Bra

Heroine Sport Performance Bra - $75

These types of sports bras have been around forever and they will continue to baffle me until the day I die. Why would you ever need only one-shoulder strap? Will only my right boob remain supported? But seriously, who is buying these?!

Strappy Mesh Sports Bra

ASOS Bad Girl Fishnet Crop - $33

I genuinely don’t even know where to begin with this one. My first instinct said, there is no way in hell this is a sports bra. But upon further inspection, it is most definitely and inexplicably found in ASOS’s sports bra section, so who am I to argue. The multitude of straps, the strange opaque mesh material, and the halter neckline are all screaming, please don’t wear this while performing any kind of vigorous activity. Unless you’re at a rave, that is, in which case, rave on.

The Barely There Mesh Top

Michi Gallant Top - $97.50

Well, this top is definitely breathable. Not only does it have a draped, wide-open back, but it also has an expertly placed mesh panel across your bust so everyone can see how cute your sports bra is from every possible angle. Michi’s Gallant top offers all the comfort of wearing a shirt, while simultaneously offering all the self-conscious joy of wearing nothing at all.