So you've probably heard the terms "athleisure" and "activewear" used interchangeably and wondered what the difference is. Well, wonder no more. We're breaking it down so you know exactly what each means and find the answer to “Athleisure vs activewear.” 

Athleisure and activewear are not the same thing - even though they're both comfortable and flexible enough to work out in. Athleisure wear is clothing that looks like athletic wear but is intended for everyday casual use, not actual workouts. It's fashion-forward and meant to be seen. 

Activewear, on the other hand, is specifically designed for exercise and athletic activity. Its performance gear is made of moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics that can handle sweat and movement.

While athleisure and activewear do overlap in style, their intended uses are quite different. So the next time you're shopping for gym clothes or a cute athletic-inspired outfit, know whether you need gear to actually get your sweat on or if you just want the sporty look. We've got you covered on the latest and greatest of both.

Athleisure vs Activewear: Their Meaning & Differences

Athleisure and activewear are terms often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between them. Athleisure and activewear are two popular categories of comfortable clothing. But let us unlock this popular concern- Athleisure vs Activewear!


athleisure wear


Athleisure wear took off as a trend a few years ago and has only grown since then. This style incorporates stretchy, breathable fabrics cut in a relaxed, casual silhouette. Think yoga pants, joggers, t-shirts, and hoodies. The appeal of athleisure is that the clothing is comfortable enough for yoga or a quick gym workout but can also transition to running errands or lounging at home. 

Also Read: Perfect Gym Clothing for Women & Girls



Unlike athleisure, activewear is purposefully designed for physical activity and sports. The materials are technical, sweat-wicking, and range-of-motion-focused. Examples of activewear include sports bras, compression clothing, moisture-wicking tank tops, gym leggings with pockets, and athletic shorts. 

While athleisure and activewear do overlap in style and fabrics, their intended use differentiates them. Athleisure wear is meant for versatile everyday comfort, whereas activewear is engineered specifically for exercise and training. Both can absolutely have a place in your wardrobe, but it's good to understand the distinction between these trendy categories. So next time you're shopping for workout gear or loungewear, consider whether you need something purely active or if athleisure might also fit your needs.

Also Read: Leggings vs Shorts for Workouts

How Athleisure & Activewear Became a Fashion Trend

Athleisure and activewear have become popular fashion trends, but what exactly is the difference between the two? Athleisure refers to comfortable, stylish clothing that can be worn for both exercise and everyday activities. Think leggings, joggers, t-shirts, and hoodies made of breathable, stretchy fabrics. Activewear, on the other hand, is specifically designed for exercise and sports.

Athleisure for Everyday

Athleisure wear exploded onto the scene a few years ago and has become a mainstream fashion trend. Many celebrities helped popularise the athleisure look and made yoga pants, track pants, and stretchy tops fashionable and socially acceptable to wear outside the gym. The key is that athleisure clothing is meant to be comfortable and versatile enough for both working out and hanging out.

Activewear for Performance

In contrast, activewear is primarily designed for exercise and athletic performance. Clothing like moisture-wicking t-shirts, compression gear, padded sports bras, and gym shorts women are meant to endure intense activity and keep you comfortable during workouts. While athleisure and activewear overlap in some areas, it's useful to understand the difference. Athleisure can absolutely be worn while exercising, but its main purpose is a casual, comfortable style. Activewear, on the other hand, prioritises function over fashion. 

The rise of both athleisure and high-performance activewear speaks to our culture's growing interest in both fitness and comfort. And the good news is you can easily find pieces that fit into either category at most sporting goods and clothing stores.

How to Mix and Match Athleisure and Activewear for a Versatile Wardrobe

Athleisure and Activewear

Mixing athleisure and activewear pieces in your wardrobe is a great way to maximise their versatility. You can create stylish yet functional outfits for workouts, running errands, casual socialising, and even some workplaces. Here are some tips for combining these comfortable clothing categories:

Focus on layers

Athleisure tops like fitted t-shirts, sweatshirts, and lightweight jackets pair well with active bottoms like leggings, essentials joggers, and shorts. Add a stylish jacket for cooler weather. Mixing fitted and loose pieces creates a balanced silhouette.

Choose complementary colours

Pick athleisure and activewear for women in the same colour family or a complementary colour scheme for a coordinated look. For example, pair black leggings with a maroon athleisure top and maroon sneakers. Or match dark green joggers with an olive sweatshirt. Sticking to a cohesive colour palette prevents a mismatched, messy appearance.


Add accessories like a baseball cap, knit beanie, sneakers, comfy sandals or slip-on shoes to complete your athleisure outfit. A stylish bag, watch, sunglasses or jewellery can also polish off your look when heading from the gym to brunch or running errands.

Dress it up or down

You can easily dress athleisure and activewear up or down, depending on the occasion. For a night out, pair a fitted top with heels and statement jewellery. For a casual workplace, layer an unstructured blazer over a t-shirt and joggers with loafers. Add a scarf for extra style.

By mixing different athleisure and activewear pieces in your wardrobe and accessorising them well, you'll have comfortable yet fashionable outfits perfect for any activity. Versatile, multifunctional clothing is ideal for today's busy, health-conscious lifestyle. Your perfect balance of style and comfort awaits!

Also Read: What is Athleisure Wear?


So there you have it, the key differences between athleisure and activewear. While athleisure wear is all about style and comfort for everyday activities, activewear is specifically designed for intense physical activity and exercise. Both serve an important purpose in your wardrobe, allowing you to look stylish and feel supported no matter what you're doing. 

Whether you're lounging at home, running errands around town or working up a sweat at the gym, you'll want to make sure you've got the right gear for the occasion. Now that you know the difference, you can make sure your wardrobe is stocked and ready for any adventure that comes your way!


What is Athleisure? 

Athleisure is a style that blends activewear with casual wear, designed for everyday activities and leisure. It's comfortable, versatile, and often worn outside of the gym.

What is Activewear? 

Activewear refers to clothing specifically designed for physical activity and sports. It includes performance-driven features like moisture-wicking, compression, and flexibility for optimal athletic performance.

How do they differ in purpose?

Athleisure is for both workouts and casual wear, suitable for a wide range of activities. Activewear is primarily for sports and fitness activities, with functional features for enhanced performance.

What are the main style differences? 

Athleisure often includes trendy designs, streetwear elements, and athletically-inspired aesthetics. Activewear focuses on functionality, performance-enhancing features, and technical fabrics for better athletic results.

Can they be used interchangeably? 

While some activewear pieces can be worn casually, athleisure may not always be suitable for intense workouts. Mixing elements can work, but they serve different primary purposes.

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