In the world of workout wear, there are often two facts that sometimes seem diametrically opposed: Your gear is going to get sweaty (and twisted and rubbed and stretched), and it’s probably going to cost a lot. It’s so different from every other part of the closet, where shoes and handbags and clothing that are pricey are treated with a sort of white-glove reverence. If it’s dry-clean only, it’s suitable for about 25 percent of my life—and you better believe it’s not coming out if anything is risky.
I get that technical fabrication and wizardry can perform better and is costlier, but I wonder if we passed a point where the amount we’re paying for our leggings and bike shorts isn’t really justified. It was with this suspicious mindset that I placed my first order of Amazon’s much-lauded fitness label, Core 10. The brand’s “Nearly Naked Leggings” have amassed thousands of glowing reviews, over 70 percent of them leaving five stars. Much of that appeal is thanks to the build-your-own leggings option. It allows you to mix and match fabrics, lengths, and waistband styles—a customization factor plenty of high-end stores would love to recreate.
My haul was relatively simple: a pair of leggings, a strappy cropped tank, and a boxy top in neutral colors that could easily work together and fit in with what I already have.
The unboxing itself might not have been as luxurious as the designer buys I’ve splurged on, but the stuff inside was all on-par with the high-end stuff I’ve convinced myself I needed in the past. It’s soft and stretchy and not shiny, a tactile giveaway of cheap material if I ever saw one. The leggings are thick enough to feel supportive and don’t make you worry about see-through squatting, another common complaint when scrimping on athletic apparel. Plenty of Amazon commenters are also converts from shelling out way more (like the person who said “I’m getting tired of paying $98 for leggings that have seams that are coming unraveled. These are similar in feeling but better quality and half the price”).
My Core 10 buys fit a specific need—workout clothes I’d get quickly—while far surpassing what I was expecting. They’re about a quarter the price of expensive options but definitely don’t show it in form or function. Goodbye leggings that cost as much as premium denim; hello Amazon.
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