Did you know that your choice of fitness gear, including having one of the most fashionable gym bags, can help you complete your workout goals? According to scientific studies, when you look the part, you act the part. And your gym bag doesn't have to just be functional, it can also be eye-catching, and have qualities that will meet your individual needs as an athlete and as a human.
Before choosing your gym bag, think about the following:
What activity will you be doing?
Are you a swimmer? Then you need a gym bag with waterproof compartments. If you’re a yogi, consider a gym bag that will keep your yoga mat secure. Maybe you’re bringing your own equipment, in which case you’ll want a bag that can stand the same weight load as you.
What do you need to bring with you?
If you’re getting in a workout on your lunch break, then you might want to be prepared to shower before heading back to your desk. Apart from a change of clothes, you’ll need to pack toiletries. If you never part with your laptop or like to read your tablet on the bike machine, look for a gym bag that has a padded pockets for devices. A small gym bag is a great and light option if you’re not packing more than your sneakers, phone, and keys.
What other personal needs do you have?
Consider a bag with a separate shoe compartment to keep odors at bay. Look for extra beverage slots to make juggling water and coffee containers more manageable. And a water-resistant bag is a must if you live in a rainy city.
Below, I've curated the most stylish gym bags, ranging in size from a lightweight tote to a large canvas weekender. Whether you're looking for a slot for your laptop or a place to store your yoga gear, you'll find exactly what you need.
1. Best Duffel With A Shoe Compartment
The bottom line: With a 4.6-star rating across 2,000+ reviews, this Under Armour gym bag has something to offer almost every kind of gym goer. It's a great fit if you like to mix up your workouts and don’t always pack the same gear. It's also an excellent choice if you want to have a bag that can be just as versatile inside the gym as it is out. In fact, many users report how much they also love to use this duffle for travel. "I went to the beach for 5 days and I was able to pack all my needs into this one great bag," writes one.
Notable features: The bag comes in more than a dozen distinctive colors and patterns. It's also very durable— in addition to a water-repelling shell, it also has an abrasion-resistant bottom and side panels. Whether on gritty sand, airport baggage conveyors, or in a metal gym locker, gym bags get tossed around and the extra protection will help your bag hold up. It also has plenty of pockets to separate and store just about all of your essentials, including a ventilated shoe compartment, a large outside zipper pocket for quick-grab items, a mesh pocket to secure your water bottle or snacks, and a smaller internal pocket for valuables. The best part? The duffel is machine washable and comes with a padded shoulder strap.
Fans say: "Bought this to hold everything I need for crossfit after work AND to put my work clothes/shoes in it for when I change AND my purse AND my kid's tablet for when he has to tag along...you name it. It fits everything and then some; however, even when it's not that full it doesn't seem bulky at all. Good quality. I'm obsessed with this bag."
2. A Backpack For Yogis With A Clever Pocket For Your Mat
The bottom line: Unlike a majority of popular yoga bag styles, this top-loading backpack is designed to secure your yoga mat vertically, thereby freeing up your arms and taking up less space overall. That makes it great for use on public transport and on busy streets. The mat clip is adjustable and will hold even thicker yoga mats (up to 8 pounds) in place.
Notable features: The backpack has a padded laptop section that will fit tech devices up to 17 inches. There's also an interior zip pocket and one on the outside for easy access. It's a smaller yoga gym bag, but it can still hold quite a bit of stuff, like two yoga blocks and a blanket. If you’re a fan of hot yoga, you’ll appreciate the outside mesh pockets that can hold two water bottles. It's available in two soft grey fabrics and has ventilated shoulder straps. On thing that's good to keep in mind, though, is the fabric is not water resistant.
Fans say: "The mat pocket in this bag is the best I've come across with an extra strap to keep it secured, I don't have to worry about it or check on it when I'm walking. The large mat pocket is also great for tossing your sneakers in when you're running out fast to get to work but want to stop at the gym on the way home."
3. The Best Budget Buy: A Lightweight Duffel Bag That Can Fold Down Flat
The bottom line: This sleek duffel comes in five modern colorways, is incredibly lightweight yet still very durable, and costs less than $20.
Notable features: Reviewers love that this water-resistant bag folds flat into a small rectangle that’s only 13 by 10 inches, making it super convenient to store, or to throw in a suitcase to use while traveling. Several fans also mention how impressed they are by how much it can hold: "I found the pockets to be generously (and deceivingly) sized," reports one. "I wear size 10 womens athletic shoes, with that I pack a 32oz water bottle, jogging pants, hoodie, and under layers. In the side pocket I carry a few toiletries and earbuds, as well as [protein] bar. There's plenty of room for more."
Along with a dedicated shoe compartment, there's also a waterproof, PVC-lined zipper pocket to separate wet or sweaty items. Two outside mesh pockets are each big enough to hold standard-sized water bottles.
Fans say: "Super useful gym bag! Light weight, but keeps its form once packed. Wonderful for weekend trips or going to the gym. I love the wet pocket as well as the separate pocket just for shoes. Very handy and well made."
4. The Best For Workout-To-Office: A Classic Tote That Doesn't Look Like A Gym Bag
The bottom line: Made from waterproof, wear-resistant nylon, this sleek yet durable gym bag won't look out of place at the office yet can fit in a change of clothes, sneakers, and toiletries.
Notable features: The nylon fabric is easy to wash, so your bag can look as professional as you do, even with regular use. The tote has metal feet, protecting the bag and its contents from damage and has a secure zipper closure. "This bag has traveled with me to 15 countries in the last 4 months and it still looks new," one user gushed. The tote comes in 11 classic, goes-with-everything color options (including black, grey, navy, and purple) and comes with a detachable clutch that can also serve as your wallet and hold your keys. Though it does not have a padded laptop section, this gym bag is still big enough to fit laptops up to 15.6 inches.
Fans say: "I was looking for a gym bag that wouldn’t look weird to take into the office [...] and this one is perfect. The material is sturdy and easy to clean, it fits everything I need and comes with an extra bag inside to store small things. Really loving this one!"
5. A Water-Resistant Backpack For Swimmers That's Available In 30+ Great Colors & Patterns
The bottom line: More than 1,300 Amazon users have given this Speedo backpack a near perfect 4.8-star rating because it comes in more than 30 "beautiful" colors and works extremely well as a gear bag for swimmers and other aquatic athletes. Besides a water-resistant shell, there's a removable waterproof "dirt bag" that reviewers say can hold a sizable amount of wet gear.
Notable features: In addition to a durable exterior, the backpack has a water-repelling bottom, so you don’t have to worry about setting it down on a wet floor or damp sand during a beach volleyball game. This pick also has a unique included accessory you won't find anywhere else on this list— a lightweight, foam bleacher seat so your bottom can stay dry, too. There’s a padded sleeve big enough for a 17-inch laptop and two outside mesh pockets for goggles, water bottles and any other quick-grab items.
Fans say: "I have used this bag for the last 6 months. Love it. It’s the perfect size. Holds all necessities for swim. The different compartments are fantastic. I love that there is a waterproof section for clothes . Very durable. Still looks new."
6. A Small (But Durable) Tote That's Comes In Fun Prints
The bottom line: This versatile tote bag, can go with you to the gym or on a picnic and comes in an array of colors, nature-inspired prints, and stripes. At $15, it's so affordable that you can even buy multiples to use for grocery shipping.
Notable features: The lightweight tote is made a type of waterproof polyester fabric that's easy to clean with a wipe down. According to one reviewer, it's also strong enough to hold a pair of 5-pound weights. The main compartment has a a handy zipper closure, and though it's may not be big enough to pack your sneakers into, it's just the right size for the rest of your workout essentials. There are two additional smaller zipper pockets inside for your phone, keys and other smaller items.
Fans say: "This bag is beautiful and perfect for what I needed. I wanted a small bag to carry my gym clothes in, a small towel, lock and earbuds. It's almost too cute for the gym! The fabric it's soft too!"
7. A Large-Capacity Duffel With Genuine Leather Details That Doubles As A Weekender
The bottom line: Chic enough use on an airplane or for a weekend getaway, this duffel bag fits right in at the gym, too. The bag has a separate, waterproof shoe compartment and multiple sections to store everything from headphones to hand towels.
Notable features: It comes at a higher price than the other gym bags on the list, but this bag’s dual functionality and genuine leather details justify the cost. The duffel is made from a durable canvas fabric, and though the convenient shoe compartment is waterproof, keep in mind that the bag's shell itself is not. It's compact (it will fit underneath the seat on a plane) yet large enough to carry plenty of fitness gear— one user reports, "It was able to hold [my rollerblades], all my protection pads, helmet and even had room for a set of spare wheels and a water bottle." It also comes with a detachable, padded shoulder strap, two leather-wrapped carrying handles on both ends, and a number of zippered pockets on the outside and inside.
Fans say: "This bag holds a lot, great for long weekends. Use for the gym or travel. The gray color option is attractive. Very pleased with purchase."
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.