Just because it feels like a million degrees outside doesn’t mean you have to ditch your exercise routine. There are all sorts of great summer workout gear that’ll keep you comfortable, whether it’s a moisture-wicking t-shirt, breathable shorts, or another nifty gadget designed to keep you cool, dry, and safe from the sun.
Workout gear is essential during the hot months, but there are plenty other summer workout tips to keep in mind, too. Trainer Stephanie Thomas recommends adjusting your workout schedule so that you move during the coolest parts of the day. “Plan your outdoor workouts first thing in the morning or in the evening,” she tells Bustle. That way you can run, bike, or play pickleball without getting too hot or putting yourself at risk. Even just walking to your car post-gym will be easier when it isn’t high noon.
Another tip? Pay attention to what you wear. Thomas suggests breathable, sweat-wicking fabrics that aren’t too tight. Light colors, minimal fabric — think tank tops and shorts, versus heavy, baggy tees — and even clothes made with cooling fabrics will reduce sweat and keep your body temp regulated. From there, you just have to be sure to drink enough water.
“Being caught in the summer sun without a way to hydrate isn't just a matter of comfort, it's a matter of safety,” says trainer Rob Wagener. Whether you’re hiking, running, or playing a sport, you need to make up for all that sweat. “You'll want to drink water before, during, and after any outdoor workout in the summer,” Thomas adds. “Start hydrating a few hours before and sip on water slowly throughout your workout.” With that in mind, here’s all the best workout gear to get you through summer 2022.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Stephanie Thomas is a certified personal trainer and certified health coach through the American Council on Exercise.
Rob Wagener is a NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach.
1. One-Piece Training Suit
Whether you’re swimming laps, running into the waves, or spending the day on top of a kayak, you’ll definitely need a bathing suit that stays in place. This one-piece from BALEAF is chlorine-resistant so it lasts longer than traditional Nylon fabric. It also has a moderate leg opening and a medium neckline so you’ll have plenty of room to move without having to tug at straps or readjust.
- Pros: Elastic stays in place, built-in shelf bra, fully-lined
- Cons: It’s supposed to have a snug fit, so sizing might be tricky
Review: “It fits firmly (there is not a lot of give, but it holds everything in place),” one reviewer noted. “If you need a suit for swimming laps, etc. this is a great one.”
Material: 90% Polyester 10% Spandex; Lining: 100% Polyester
2. Sports-Ready Bikini
Another option is this workout bikini. It’s perfect for training, racing, or hanging out oceanside. The design offers 360-degree range of motion, flexible straps, and an adjustable drawcord waist. The fabric also offers UPF 50+ sun protection to block harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- Pros: Stays in place, long-lasting material
- Cons: Largest size is XL
Review: “I wanted a two piece to offset my serious swimmers tan,” a reviewer said. “This suit will do great. Honestly both medium and small would have worked for me, but I'll probably keep the small as I think it will have less drag in the water.”
Material: 100% Polyester
3. Fitness Tracker
Keep an eye on your heart rate as you work out with this fitness tracker from ZURURU. It has 11 exercise modes so you can better understand your data, all of which gets reported to the Hband app. Use it to count your steps, track your sleep, and see your pace and distance during a run. It’s also waterproof so you won’t have to worry about jumping in the pool or tipping over in a kayak. (Whoops!)
- Pros: Affordable, waterproof, sleep tracker, long battery life
Review: “Just like a Fitbit but much more affordable,” a reviewer noted. “I went through five Fitbits in 4 years, paid a lot of money, but this watch is just as good, if not better.”
4. Extreme Sport Sunscreen
Whether you want to cycle all day, do laps in a pool, or simply walk in the morning sun, SPF is key. And so is a sunscreen that’ll stay put, no matter how much you sweat. That’s what the Australian Gold Extreme Sport sunscreen is all about — “a must have for all those leading an active lifestyle!”
It offers broad-spectrum sunblock to shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The non-greasy lotion blends into skin. And it also has menthol for an instant cooling sensation. Apply a generous layer 15 minutes before going outside, reapply after 80 minutes, and you should be all set to spend the day in the sun.
- Pros: Oxybenzone-free, PABA-free, Phthalate-free, gluten-free refreshing, great scent
- Cons: N/A
Review: “It is awesome. It doesn’t burn my eyes or drip into them. It is also the best smelling sunscreen I have ever had.”
Ingredients: Menthol, Kakdu plum extract, vitamin C, tea tree oil
5. High SPF Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a stronger sunscreen, this is it. The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen is SPF 60 so you can spend all day outside without getting burned. It’s oil-free and great for sensitive skin, too.
- Pros: Oil-free, unscented, for all skin types
- Cons: A little pricy, might not fully blend into skin
Review: “The screen works very well,” a reviewer said. “I can be out for hours and not worry about getting burned.”
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7%
6. Breathable Hiking Shorts
When it comes to workout clothes, “think moisture-wicking fabric, lightweight material, and comfortable,” Hopkins says. These hiking shorts might fit the bill thanks to their lightweight, stretchy, quick-drying fabric.
They’re a little longer, too, which is great if you’re worried about chafing on hot days. If not, pull on a pair of bicycle shorts too or apply an anti-chafe cream. Then, throw your keys in one of the two zippered pockets and have yourself a nice hike.
- Pros: UPF 50+ sun protection fabric, ventilated, comfortable, drawstring waistband
Review: “Exactly what I was looking for. I don't like the shorter running shorts. These have a longer length and are great for any outdoor activity.”
Material: 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex
7. Quick-Dry Shorts
Another option are these quick-dry shorts from BALEAF. The lightweight, woven fabric will help keep you dry and comfy as you exercise, while the elastic waistband offers a snug, adjustable fit.
Just remember to take lots of breaks in the summer, no matter what you’re wearing. “Heat exhaustion can sneak up on you, so you always should be paying attention to if you're feeling lightheaded, thirsty, or extra exhausted,” Hopkins says. If so, head to the shade, drink more water, and relax.
- Pros: Two side pockets to hold keys and debit card, machine washable
- Cons: Bear in mind these have built-in mesh briefs
Review: “They have not ridden up between my legs when running. They are very light weight (but not see through in gray) and have a built-in liner.”
Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex; Liner: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
8. Running & Tennis Skort
Shorts aren’t the only option, of course. You can also pull on a skort whether you’re playing tennis, walking, or going for a run. It features a banded waist that stays put and moves with your body. It’s also moisture-wicking so you’ll stay dry and comfortable during high-impact activities.
- Pros: Moisture-wicking, soft, breathable
- Cons: You might need to size up to get the right fit
Review: “I bought these for a golfing trip and I LOVE them! They are so comfy, not see-through at all, and a perfect length,” said a review.
Materials: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex
9. Protective Bucket Hat
“I like wearing a bucket hat to protect myself from the sun when possible, especially for my face,” Pearce says. “The sun can be intense, so it is good to cover up when you can.” A cute option is this washed bucket hat from KBETHOS. It’s made of breathable, 100 percent high quality cotton and has four brass eyelets for ventilation.
- Pros: Breathable, one size fits most
Review: “Perfect size and good quality!”
Material: 100% cotton
10. Cooling Baseball Hat
If a baseball hat is more your speed, go for this “cooling” version that provides instant cooling comfort for your head. To activate the fabric, wet it until its damp, wring it out, then “snap” it to activate the cooling effects. If it starts to get warm, repeat the process and you’ll have yourself a chill little hat to wear atop your head. The fabric cools up to 30 degrees below your body temperature, which is ideal to wear before, during, and after a workout.
- Pros: Cooling, moisture-wicking, snap closure,
- Cons: One size
Review: “I bought one for myself last year to wear on hot hikes in the SW,” a reviewer wrote. “It was awesome, very cool to wear, and comfortable, too.”
Material: 100% polyester mesh
11. Breathable Sports Bra
If you tend to get sweaty, throw on this breathable sports bra from Under Armour and your next summer jog will be a lot more comfy. It delivers strategic support for medium-impact activities like cycling, weight training, and jogging. But the real bonus is the soft, breathable cups. No more sweaty boobs!
- Pros: Compression bra, second-skin fit
- Cons: Comes in multiple sizes, but may work best for A cups to C cups
Review: “It is stretchy and although thick, it’s breathable,” a reviewer said. “Nice not to have my stomach covered in a tank top on a sweaty walk.”
Material: 84% Polyester, 16% Elastane
12. Cooling Muscle Tank
Remember, “when it comes to warm summer weather, the lighter the clothing, the more comfortable you'll feel,” Wagener says. “That's not just about the material either. The color of your clothes matters. White and light-colored clothing reflects more and absorbs less heat, while black and dark colors do the opposite. If you are going to be in the sun, keep both the clothing material and the colors light.” One option? The Ice Silk Workout top. This fabric is soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking, so it helps keep you cool.
- Pros: Cooling,
- Cons: Hand wash only
Review: “It’s slippery and doesn’t cling. It’s nice and cool!”
Material: 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex
13. Sun Protectant Workout Tee
For a bit more sun protection, try a long sleeve shirt with SPF built right in. This one offers UPF 50+ fabric for maximum sun protection. You can wear it while swimming or hiking to hide from the sun, as well as when running to stay cool and dry thanks to the moisture-wicking fabric. Raglan sleeves and flatlock seams ensure a full range of motion and reduce chafing, too.
- Pros: Machine washable, can be worn alone or as a base layer
Review: “Wore this every day during my 2-week Grand Canyon rafting trip, washing it in the river each evening and hanging it up on a bush to dry overnight. The experience consisted of being mostly wet (cold water!) while on the river, interrupted by hiking excursions in hot sun. This shirt dried quickly whenever given the chance, helping to keep me warm enough, but also kept me cool (and not sunburned) during the hikes.”
Material: 100% Polyester
14. Breathable Running Shoes
If your feet tend to get sweaty when working out, pick up a pair of breathable sneakers that allow for more air flow, like these from Lamincoa. They have a mesh fabric design to keep your feet from overheating. The soles are extra squishy, too, to provide cushioning and support while walking or running.
- Pros: Lightweight, breathable mesh upper, anti-skid sole
- Cons: If you have wide feet you might need to size up
Review: “I love these shoes! I've had them a few months and I wear them every day. They've held up well to daily walks with my dog 1+ miles, yard work, bike rides, and general everyday use.”
Material: Mesh knit upper, rubber outsole
Weight: 500 grams/pair
15. Polarized Sunglasses
When working out in the summer, a good pair of sunglasses is a must, Pearce says. They have to stay put too as you run and jump. These frames hang on thanks to skid-resistance and sweat-resistant silicone nose pads. They offer polarized lenses to filter out reflective glare — and they come in an array of cute colors, too.
- Pros: Ultra-light, break-resistant frame, skin-friendly silicone nose pads
Review: “Not only are they adorable to wear for everyday use but they are extremely functional for outdoor activities,” a reviewer said. “I highly recommend these glasses. I will definitely be purchasing in more colors.”
Material: Tri Acetate Cellulose lens
Dimensions: 33 x 10 x 0.08 inches
16. Water Bottle Fanny Pack
When exercising outside in the summer, Wagener says he never leaves home without a fanny pack to hold his ID (in case he has a medical emergency in the heat) and a debit card so he can buy water in a pinch.
This fanny pack from PYFK covers all those bases and it has a spot for your own, personal water bottle. It fits up to a 44 inch waist and features a six inch main pocket, inner pocket, and earphone outlet. It also has reflective material so you can feel safer while jogging in the evening.
Review: “The thing just doesn't move,” a reviewer noted. “Extracting my bottle was smooth, and while I had my reservations, I didn't have to break stride to return my drink to its holster. Having previously lost my keys and wallet to a the zipper on my pack bouncing open, I have to say that I'm a huge fan of the locking zipper pouch, which is just large enough to fit my iPhone 6+ in a waterproof case, with room to spare. I couldn't be happier with this purchase.”
Dimensions: 53.5" x 6.3" x 2.8"
Weight: 5.6 oz
17. Cooling Towel
“I also take a cooling towel with me,” Wagener says. “The cooling towel is great for a quick bit of cool, but for me, it's more about the shade it gives. There have been several times when I can feel I am getting too much sun on my head or shoulders, and I can use the towel as a temporary sunblock until I can get to a better area.”
While any towel will do, try this option from Mission. To activate the cooling towel, simply wet it, wring it out, and give it a snap. It’ll cool to thirty degrees below the average body temperature in under 30 seconds and stays that way up for to two hours. Put it around your neck while jogging, hiking, or use it to return your body temp to normal on a blistering hot day. The microfiber won’t irritate your skin. And on top that, it also offers UPF 50 protection from the sun.
- Pros: Chemical-free, sun protection, reusable, machine washable
- Cons: Might start to smell a bit
Review: “After it starts to lose its coolness all you need do is take it off and snap it and put it back on and it's nice and cool again,” a reviewer said. “The redness was gone from my face in minutes.”
Material: 90% Polyester, 10% Nylon
Dimensions: 33 x 10 x 0.08 inches
18. Sweat Bands
“If I am using dumbbells outside, I like to wear sweatbands on my wrists so that my hands do not get all sweaty,” Pearce says. Sweat-free hands will provide a better workout, and prevent your gear from slipping out of your grip. This headband and wrist set from Suddora features maximum absorbency terry cloth to get you through high-intensity workouts, too. The unique blend of cotton, Nylon, and Spandex helps the bands stay in place, without feeling too tight.
- Pros: Machine washable, non-irritating fabric
- Cons: N/A
Review: “I recently took up pickleball, but after an hour my eyes were stinging,” a reviewer said. “The sweatband does the job. It is also thoroughly washable (as it needs to be) emerging as good as new.”
Size: 7 inches
19. Outdoor Yoga Mat
For hot summer days, Pearce recommends sticking with shorter workouts, especially if you take it outside. “Ten minutes is all you need to get after it and see great results,” she says. If you want to pop outside (HIIT workout in the park, anyone?) then bring this outdoor yoga mat with you. It’s slip-resistant, free of harsh chemicals, and made of dual-layered TPE to reduce joint stress. When you’re finished, simply wipe it clean.
- Pros: Wipe clean, free of PVC, closed-cell design prevents odors
- Cons: Large size is a bit cumbersome
Review: “I would definitely buy this mat again,” one review said.
Material: Thermoplastic Elastomers
Measurements: 72" x 24" x 6mm
20. Misting Fan
If you feel hot during an outdoor workout, Hopkins recommends splashing yourself with water to cool down. That’s the same idea behind a misting fan, like this portable option, which you can take it with you on long walks or keep in your bag for a post-gym spritz. One button controls all the functions, whether you want a cool breeze or 10 minutes of mist.
- Pros: USB charged, portable, foldable, has a clip
- Cons: 17ml water tank runs of quickly
Review: “Wow just wow,” one reviewer said. “The misting water doesn’t come out where it soaks you, which is awesome. It’s a very fine mist and it feels great.”
Size: 4.13 x 1.65 x 8.86 inches
Weight: 6.6 oz
21. Rash Guard
You never know where the summer might take you. Will you go going surfing, snorkeling, or paddling? If so, it’ll be nice to have a rash guard on hand, especially if you have sensitive skin. This one from ATTRACO has stretchy fabric, a zipper closure, and flatlock stitching for chafe-free comfort. It’ll protect your skin from rashes and scrapes and it’ll block the sun thanks to its UPF 50+ UV block fabric. Oh, and it’s moisture-wicking, so it’ll keep you dry if you wear it on land, too.
- Pros: Sun protection, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, breathable
- Cons: Hand wash only
Review: “Not only did it give excellent protection in the brutally intense Florida sun but, when I had an allergic break out, it kept me protected and prevented further irritation from the heat,” one reviewer said. “It's not cooling but doesn't make you hot either. Definitely keeps you dry. Sweat seems to dissipate.”
Material: 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex
This article was originally published on