There are constant claims that workout clothes have magical powers. We all know by now (or should anyway) that toning shoes are B.S., so much so that Reebok lost a $25 million lawsuit over their version not living up to their claims. And it gets even crazier than shoes promising to boost muscle tone...
The False Prophets
Zaggorra Viva HotPants promise to burn off more fat. How? I'm not sure, but they claim that whatever it is will increase energy expenditure during exercise and weight loss is multiplied by around 4 times when wearing HotPants than when wearing a standard garment. HotPants can also magically increase the core body temp by an average of 18%, which leads to an increase in metabolism. Not quite sure on the logic there, as simply being hot does not equal burned calories, so I'm thinking I'll pass.
Power Balance Wristband is the latest craze among many pro athletes because of the performance enhancing effect they feel they get when wearing it. According to the manufacturer, Power Balance uses a hologram technology that interacts with your body's frequencies and they infer it helps to improve balance, flexibility and strength and general well-being. Something about ions aligning with something...it's a bracelet. It can't just improve you in all areas.
The Real Deals
While some make pretty ridiculous claims, there are clothes out there that can improve your workout, from strengthening your tootsies to just making you a little more comfortable while you work up a sweat.
You may have heard of sweat wicking material, but there is an even more advanced technology on the block. Brooklyn-based clothing company Outlier makes cycling clothes that resemble casual street clothes more than workout wear. The clothing is treated with a high-tech finish called NanoSphere that creates tiny spikes that suspend sweat droplets and dirt particles away from the fabric until they evaporate or are blown away. This technology beats the "wicking" approach which just disperses moisture throughout the fabric so it evaporates faster, leaving the stink and dirt to still absorb.
Big on cycling, but just not the duds? Or do you live to spin, but want to find a more comfortable ride? Lululemon's Presta Spin collection brings the beautiful design you expect from your Lulu out of the yoga studio and into the cycling world. The Presta Padded Short will make your ride more comfortable without making you feel like you're wearing a diaper and is made with four-way stretch Power Luxtreme for a comfortable, flattering fit. The Presta Jersey fits like a little dream but gives you the storage of traditional cycling gear. The hems are lined with stay-put elastic for a comfortable, stylish fit we've never seen in cycling gear before.
If your feet are smashed into heels all day or you want to take your yoga routine truly from head to toe, Adjustable Yoga Sandals from Gaiam can stretch and strengthen your feet while you walk. I've used toe separators called Yoga Toes that do the same thing without being a shoe, and they are better than any foot massage I have ever had. Separating each of your toes helps to improve your alignment and increase stability and balance by strengthening the muscles of the feet.
No shirt or pair of shoes is going to help you burn more calories, gain more muscle or lose more weight, but there are some great products out there that can benefit you while working out. Don't fall victim to gimmicks and invest in good, sound workout gear that will give you a competitive edge.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.