My limited edition Carbon38 leggings and sports bras always seem to find themselves at the top of my workout drawer, and I’m willing to bet your A-game pieces do too. However, how many times is too many, and does the limit actually exist?
Yup, it sure does.
Just like anything else, our favorite activewear has an expiration date, and it’s a lot sooner than you think. Why? Two major things: performance, and your health.
Today’s expertly designed activewear does provide a little pushback to performance lifespan, but not much. Technical fabric with sweat-wicking and/or compressive features fade as time passes, making them ineffective, and your exercise uncomfortable. Not to mention, you also run the risk of getting injured as a result.
If you’re not sold yet with deteriorating performance, the detrimental effects that holding onto your gear has on your health will seal the deal. Fabric- regardless of type- holds onto bacteria more than any other type of surface, and it can cause some serious damage to your body. Fabrics with a higher nylon or spandex release your sweat more efficiently, keeping it slightly more sanitary for a longer period of time.
I’ve rounded up each individual expiration date for every type of piece, and care tips to keep them up to speed, and why it’s so important to retire them.
The longest you should ever keep your sports bras around is a year and even less if you’re a lover of high impact workouts. The easiest ways to spot your bra’s demise are: chafing, riding up, and overall ease of getting it on (if it used to be super difficult).
Ways to tell it’s time: If the cups start to loosen up and you’re getting that bunchy look around the edges and on the straps, it’s time to say goodbye!
Ways to help lengthen their life: If it’s an adjustable bra, try to use the loosest settings first. Try to avoid drying them, and keep them free from fabric softeners and other add-ins.
It’s even less! Especially if your leggings have compressive features and fabrics, their lifespan ranges from six months to a year depending on how well you care for them, and how often they’re worn.
Ways to tell it’s time: They start feeling awful: itchy and super pilly, or you find yourself feeling soaked for longer periods of time. If you’re constantly adjusting them, it’s also a safe bet they need to go.
Ways to help lengthen their life: It’s all about how you wash them! Use mild detergent, avoid drying, and avoid wearing your highly technical ones out on the town, or for extended periods of time. If you have super pricey activewear (think Michi/Lucas Hughes/etc), I HIGHLY suggest this detergent for those few items, and to hand wash them.
Your beloved sneaks have a functional life of three to six months depending on mileage/intensity of your workouts. Seriously. This is my own personal hell. As a self-proclaimed shoe freak, my closet is a museum of some of the most iconic heels and sneaks out there, and I feel like a piece of my soul dies every time I have to decommission a pair. However, it can be a big deal to your health if you don’t, making injuries/infections a more likely story.
Ways to tell it’s time: The cushioning along the heels and arches are wrinkling, shoes tilt inward when looking at them from behind, and if they’ve become easy to slip on.
Ways to help lengthen their life: #1: WEAR SOCKS. Next, make a rotation for your workout sneaks, it will allow them to get worn in equally and push out their lifespan a little longer than if you wear them every time you workout. Don’t mix work and leisure: save your workout shoes for the studio! I also SWEAR BY these cedar inserts that help dry out my shoes and keep odors at bay.
Photo by Christine of Christine Hanks Photography
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