When it comes to workout gear, the gym shirt is a timeless icon in terms of apparel. But there’s another top in the mix that’s just as pivotal in an athlete’s wardrobe, and some may consider it a greater must-have when building out their get-up — the workout hoodie.
On paper, workout hoodies can be great companion pieces to your training attire as an added layer for those cold workout sessions or brisker treks to the gym. But your hoodie’s benefits don’t stop once the outside temperatures climb above 50 degrees. There are plenty of perks to working out in a hoodie, even when the forecasts allow for lighter garb. Before we get into our top hoodies on the market today, let’s look at some of those benefits, as well as key features to consider before adding a hooded sweatshirt to your daily gym attire.
The Best Workout Hoodies
The Benefits of Working Out in a Hoodie
As with any hooded sweatshirt, one of the main perks of wearing a workout hoodie is better heat retention. These thicker tops can be great for staving off the chill, whether experienced in the throws of a morning jog or in the depths of a cold garage gym workout. That heat retention can also be utilized to an athlete’s advantage, particularly during warmup stretches and sets. The purpose of these modalities is to get your blood pumping and muscles active, and that extra warmth can be excellent for breaking a light sweat before getting into your main exercises.
Speaking of sweat, donning a workout hoodie can be a great way to facilitate more caloric burn throughout a given session. Because of the intensified body temperatures, you’re likely to sweat more when wearing these comfy tops, leading to an increased heart rate resulting in more calories burned throughout your routine. Just be sure to monitor your output and always give your body time to rehydrate and recover from the boosted exhaustion. Also, if you’re not used to working out in a hoodie, you may experience a dip in performance after expelling all that energy upfront. Just listen to your body and give it the time it needs to recover between sets.
Lastly, if you’re working out, odds are that one of your motivating factors is a better-looking physique. That swole frame or cut aesthetic is achievable, but not overnight, and some may want to keep their progress hidden, at least for now. While there’s no shame in showing off your physique at any stage of the process, if you feel more comfortable wearing a more covering layer overtop, a proper hoodie can easily facilitate that need. Think of it as wrapping paper on your favorite Christmas present. The goods are definitely underneath, but just not ready to make their presence known to the world.
What to Look for in a Workout Hoodie
Fit and Cut
When choosing a workout hoodie, you want to look for a profile that’s baggy enough to fit over your normal training attire while still keeping yourself agile without restriction. Some lighter hoodies may take a more next-to-skin approach, which can be great for warmer training days but could hinder maneuverability in key areas like the core, arms and shoulders. Oversized hoodies are also a popular option that really hides your silhouette, but that excess material, particularly around the arms, can easily get in the way at times and potentially add unnecessary weight, especially when drenched in sweat. How your hoodie fits your frame is up to personal taste, but a good rule of thumb, in my opinion, is to find a profile that’s somewhat loose without an exaggerated amount of excess fabric.
Additionally, you’ll want to look at the cut of your hoodie and base your choice on your personal taste. Most workout sweatshirts feature a pullover cut, but there are options with full-zip, half-zip and quarter-zip makeups for added breathability and easier on-and-off. You can also forgo the “hood” altogether and opt for a crewneck cut if that’s more your taste. Whichever you choose is up to you, but for reference, I tend to wear a pullover-style hoodie for strength training sessions and opt for a quarter- or half-zip style for cardio-based training.
Moisture Control and Breathability
If you’re wearing a workout hoodie throughout your training, it probably comes as no surprise that you’re likely to experience some additional sweat across your frame. All that perspiration can be great for the benefits outlined above, but that doesn’t mean your garment has to carry around that moisture through each rep or set. Many top-performing workout hoodies feature materials with some moisture-wicking capabilities, allowing your sweat to dissipate properly without weighing down your wardrobe — or stinking up your training-focused profile.
You’ll also want to look for a workout hoodie that offers some sense of breathability, particularly if you plan to don this garment during high-intensity training sessions. Breathable patches in the shoulders, hood and other areas can better regulate your body temperature, allowing for a well-to-do sweat session without tiring the body to the point of exhaustion or failure. Breathability is also key to keeping your workouts safe, as too much of a body temperature increase can lead to potential problems including dehydration, which is something no one wants to add to their given training plan (believe me).
Comfort and Style
Lastly, a quality workout hoodie is a comfortable workout hoodie. Try to find a silhouette that feels cozy on the skin, along with the proper features like pockets or zippered storage compartments that fit your needs. There are plenty of styles to choose from as well, from the vibrant screen prints to the more minimalist blank slates. Whichever you choose is up to you, but make sure you’re taking your personal comfort into consideration. There’s no sense in training in a piece of apparel that doesn’t fit with your aesthetic.
How We Tested
I’ve been wearing workout hoodies on and off throughout my years in various training disciplines, and I was lucky enough to get hands-on with a number of the picks chosen below. I made note of how each silhouette moved and stretched in the throws of various routines, as well as added convenience features like extra pockets, anti-odor technologies and more. Plus, I also wore these hoodies in both cold-weather training sessions as well as part of my normal warmup routine to get a full scope of each profile’s thermal capabilities — what’s a hoodie that can’t keep you warm, after all? Finally, I made note of each pick’s style and how it translated to not just my normal workout aesthetic, but my daily wardrobe as well.
Now, let’s warm up and get that sweat rolling with the best workout hoodies available today.
Ten Thousand Midweight Tech Pullover Hoodie
Ten Thousand makes some of the best workout apparel in the game, so it makes sense that the brand’s Midweight Tech Pullover Hoodie follows suit. I was thoroughly impressed by this top’s abilities in the gym, as the four-way stretch provided great agility across various stretches and movements. The moisture-wicking capabilities were also top notch, most notably during a grueling cardio session followed by agility drills. And through all that sweat and stink, this sweatshirt never gathered any errant funk thanks to the permanent silver ion anti-odor treatment.
The Midnight Tech Pullover Hoodie is an all-around great option for athletes and hoodie enthusiasts alike, and you’re plenty capable of getting a good warmup in with this pick. I will say, however, that the heat levels aren’t as warm as other hoodies tested, so if you’re looking to use this as your sole outer layer when hitting the outdoors, consider pairing it with a hard shell or vest to better battle the chills.
Arc’teryx Covert Pullover Hoody
Looking for a hoodie that really locks in that heat while also giving off a sleek aesthetic? I enjoyed this Covert Pullover Hoody from Arc’teryx thanks to its Alpenex II Heathered fleece interior that really turned up the temps during warmups. I also liked the articulated patterning that allowed for unrestricted movement when stretching and lifting. The bottom hem was slightly short on my lankier frame, but I don’t suspect that to be a major issue for others, especially athletes with more normal proportions.
Additionally, there’s only one chest pocket across this impressive top’s profile, keeping things simple while still allowing for an added dose of convenience. I was easily able to fit my smartphone in this space when moving from station to station, keeping my hands more free for the sake of carrying my other accessories like a shaker bottle and lifting belt. The only qualm I had with this hoodie was the scuba-style hood. The neck hem can rub at times, which was more noticeable after a fresh shave. Keep this in mind, especially if you have fresh stubble before your next training session.
DSG Fleece Hoodie
In my experience, I’ve gone through plenty of workout hoodies over the course of multiple years, so I understand that dropping a large sum on a singular silhouette is not always the most cost-effective strategy. Thankfully, there are worthwhile picks out there that cost less than $50, like this classic profile from Dick’s Sporting Goods’s in-house brand, DSG. I like the minimalist styling of the single hue, and there are plenty of options to match your own personal vibe. Plus, that cotton-fleece material is plenty comfortable, making you almost forget you’re warming up for intense training.
As with most budget picks, however, the durability is just not there when it comes to extended use. After four or five wash cycles, I did notice some pilling across this Fleece Hoodie, leaving traces of fibers across my arms and chest when worn. Still, I wouldn’t fret about wearing out this training-ready top, as you’re still able to replace it multiple times over without coming near the cost of other hoodies in this guide.
Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie
Full-zip hoodies can be excellent for athletes that want a quick and simple dressing experience with a full range of versatility when it comes to breathability. I like this Tech Fleece option from Nike thanks to its inclusion of a double-zippered profile which allows for venting at both the top and bottom of the silhouette for even more air and cooling relief. Plus, this workout-ready profile boasts two hand pockets and an additional sleeve pocket, giving you plenty of options to tote your small essentials.
Just pay close attention to the wash instructions, as some athletes have noted some logo peeling and other malfunctions when dried improperly. Placing this workout hoodie in a dryer could lead to less-than-desired alterations, so it may be best to let this hang dry after a proper wash cycle.
Vuori Ponto Performance Half Zip Hoodie
I particularly enjoyed this half-zip option from Vuori on light days that called for mild stretching and less intense cardio, but the main point of note across this impressive silhouette is the buttery soft nature of the pima cotton. According to the brand, this construction also contains a SeaCell fiber made from seaweed and wood pulp for ultimate comfort and performance, and believe me when I say this is one comfy hoodie. I could definitely see this being a trusty pick for non-training days, too, solely based on the comfort sewn into this half-zip.
The lightweight, stretchy composition of the Ponto Performance Half-Zip didn’t hinder any movements in training, either, but the thinner construction does leave me hesitant to grab this as a sole outer layer for colder environments. I’d recommend saving this for days where you’re just looking for a little more sweat in your warmups — or days where you just want a little more coverage as you navigate through chores and Zoom meetings.
Rhone Vapor Training Quarter-Zip Hoodie
The lightweight nature of this impressive quarter-zip is what lands it on this list. The body-mapped mesh provided the perfect amount of breathability and comfort, making all-session wear a breeze. Additionally, the anti-odor technology allowed me to wear this Vapor Training hoodie for multiple days without needing to throw it in the wash for a quick refresh.
While I wouldn’t substitute this hoodie as my go-to outer layer for brisk mornings and crisp, cool outdoor activities, I still feel there’s a place for it in many wardrobes. The only thing you need to be mindful of is storage. There are no pockets present across this silhouette, meaning you’ll need to keep your smartphone wallet, keys and other small essentials in a nearby gym bag or in the pockets of your gym shorts for convenient keepings.
Nobull Crew Sweatshirt
Perhaps you don’t enjoy the extra coverage that a hooded sweatshirt can provide in training. No worries, there are still plenty of warm, comfortable options to add to your ensemble. I really enjoyed the comfort and flexibility of this Crew Sweatshirt from Nobull, in part due to the fast-drying Polartec Thermal Pro fabric that kept my physique sweat-free while still retaining ample heat through workouts and stretches. Additionally, the soft material made for a welcome experience, and the minimalist design across the front provides the right amount of subtlety and boldness.
If you are broader chested, however, or have arms that are thicker than most, I would recommend sizing up before solidifying your purchase. While Nobull claims this crewneck to have a looser fit, I did experience a slimming snugness that didn’t allow for ample layering. If you desire this sleek look, then you may be okay with ordering true to size, but if you want a little wiggle room, I’d consider the next size up.
Gymshark Legacy Drop Arm Hoodie
Every now and then, a ticket to the gun show is warranted, and if you’re prime to showing off your arm day progress, consider this hoodie from training staple, Gymshark. I like the raw edge treatment around the armholes, hood and hem, as they give off that rugged, hard-nosed vibe that’s quintessential to a quality pump in training. Plus, the variety of colorways available allows you to mix and match, perfect for keeping your style on point while still showing off the goods.
Naturally, however, not everyone is going to jive with a sleeveless hoodie, and the cut of this pick may not sit well with some athletes. For one, the armholes do drape lower across the midsection, and if your chest is underdeveloped, could lead to showing more skin than warranted. Additionally, if you favor a sleeved t-shirt as your go-to gym garb, pairing that fit with this sleeveless hoodie can lead to some awkward get-ups. While I’m not tossing this out of my wardrobe completely, I will be saving this for warmer days that facilitate the cut-off life (or days where I know my biceps and triceps are firing on all cylinders).
Under Armour Project Rock Iron Paradise Heavyweight Terry Crew
For strength training scenarios, I prefer to have a little more air flow that allows for a full range of motion while still keeping my core nice and toasty. Well, there’s no better option for these needs, in my opinion, than the Iron Paradise Heavyweight Terry Crew from Under Armour’s Project Rock collection. Not only do the raw-edge sleeves provide excellent agility and movement, but the sleek design across the front gives plenty of motivation for moving serious weight, harkening back to the vintage garments from Gold’s Gym, World Gym, Powerhouse Gym and others.
Despite the heavyweight moniker, I also found this workout hoodie to be light and nimble. However, I think this silhouette is best saved for more static movements like bench press, deadlifts and squats, given the bottom hem’s tendency to ride up during more agile, dynamic exercises. This action called for more readjustments than I’d like to admit, but this isn’t too much of a negative, honestly. Save this raw, rugged top for those hangin’ and bangin’ sessions, and opt for a more dynamic hoodie for days when you know your body’s going to be the main item in motion.
Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0
Of course, training doesn’t always need to occur within the confines of a gym, and there’s plenty of room for a quality workout hoodie in your running wardrobe. Take the Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0 from Brooks, for example. This fitted, odor-resistant top can be great for chill-filled jogs, and there are plenty of conveniences sewn into its layout to make your cardio training as effective and efficient as possible. I really liked the included watch window, as this allowed me to monitor my data and performance without having to roll up my sleeve and expose my wrist to those brisk morning gusts.
The Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0 also comes in multiple colorways, making this a perfect fit for a number of styles. I will say, however, that the warmth received from this hoodie is almost too impressive — there were a few jaunts that I had to strip this layer off out of fear of overheating. If your environment typically sees temperatures below 40 degrees, I would highly recommend this as a foundational layer to your get-up. For anything warmer, however, expect to shed a layer before reaching the finish line.
Ibex Indie Hoodie
Merino wool has a slew of benefits going for it, both as an insulator and temperature regulator. Across my years wearing workout hoodies, I’ve yet to find a silhouette as impressive as the Indie Hoodie from Ibex. The attention to detail is impeccable, most notably in the flatlock seams that eliminate any chances of chafing during more intense activities. I also enjoy the added thumb holes that allow me to keep the sleeves in-place no matter my activity. Plus, while $170 might sound like an excessive price tag for a gym sweatshirt, it is far more approachable than other silhouettes constructed from 100% merino wool.
While I often find myself searching for activities that warrant wearing this impressive hoodie, I do tend to space them out due to the wool’s nature of soaking up excessive sweat. All that pooling can make post-workout drying a bit of a chore. I’d recommend hang drying this piece after each workout, and preserving your washes for when the garment really deserves a rinsing. Otherwise, you could be waiting for quite some time for a layer that’s dried and ready for the next workout on the calendar.
Reebok Identity Fleece Stacked Logo Pullover Hoodie
You can’t go wrong with the classics, and while cotton isn’t always the most performance-laden material for training scenarios, this hoodie from Reebok proves its worth in terms of comfort, warmth and style. I’ve had plenty of training sessions with this silhouette, and appreciate the classic logo design across the chest as well as the soft cotton fleece makeup. Plus, the loose, classic fit of the Identity Fleece Stacked Logo Pullover Hoodie allows for more than enough mobility when pacing through a given workout.
There’s a reason that cotton fleece isn’t the go-to material for performance apparel, however, and you can quickly realize this with this hoodie. After a lengthy session in the training center, your layer is often mopped with sweat, leading to an increase in weight, funk and sogginess. I’ve come accustomed to peeling this hoodie off mid-workout to help minimize this soaking, but if you’re less inclined to shed cloth in the throws of a workout, expect to weigh in a little heavier than you did pre-training.
Barbell Apparel Stealth Hoodie
Looking good is just as important in the gym as performing well, and when I hit the weights donning this sleek silhouette, I’m more confident than ever. The four-way stretch of the Stealth Hoodie from Barbell Apparel is more than capable of facilitating dynamic movements, and that clean design across the chest just gives off a training-focused vibe that’s sure to grab the attention of your fellow gym-goers.
I also appreciated the wrinkle-resistant nature of this hoodie, as it allowed me to stuff its profile in my bag post-workout without worry. Even after keeping it in a tote for a number of days, I was confident that its performance-based profile would remain, sparking a newfound sense of motivation every time I headed out to train. I will say, though, that the tailored fit described by the brand is only achievable through proper sizing, and you may need to double-check the chart before ordering if this is something you desire. For example, I typically wear a men’s large in hoodies, but I feel my arms and core could have been better accentuated had I worn a medium. It’s not the worst problem to have in a hoodie, but it’s worth considering, especially given this profile’s heightened style status.
Saxx Trailzer Lounge Hoodie
Naturally, you need to plan for recovery days as part of your well-rounded training regimen, and for these scenarios, I often wear the Trailzer Lounge Hoodie from Saxx. The midnight construction is loose enough for a soft, comfy fit and the zippered kangaroo front pocket allows for convenient storage for items like my smartphone and wallet. Hitting the streets for errands or taking the dog for a walk is a breeze, too, thanks to the subdued stylings and impressive warmth baked into this profile.
I definitely recommend this hoodie for post-workout wear, but place caution around the first few wears until it’s been washed a few times. The material is somewhat stiff right out of the box, leading to some discomfort and rigidity that you wouldn’t expect with a lounge-ready layer. Still, once this hoodie has been exposed to your typical laundry day, expect nothing but comfort from its generous fit and downright cozy makeup.