Once upon a time, our workout wardrobes consisted of a pair of shorts and an old tee shirt or rugby jersey with holes in the elbows. Back then, it wasn’t about what we wore, but what we had in the engine.

Like everything else in sport, we started getting smarter about the details and realised that wearing the right training and activewear could actually improve our performance and give us a competitive edge.

With differences now measured in fractions of seconds or millimetres, knowing which training clothing to look for has never been more important. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to choosing the right kind of training gear, from the right type of fabric and treatment to the appropriate garment for each kind of exercise regime.

We’ve even recommended particular products to make dressing for your workout as easy as possible so that you can concentrate on the job at hand, which is putting in your best possible performance each and every time you train.

Fast forward twenty years and words like movability, breathability and moisture-wicking are now the important catchwords, and selecting the best activewear can mean the difference between putting in a mediocre performance and excelling at what we do.

Tips for choosing the best workout gear

Choosing the right training gear involves ticking off a number of important boxes including comfort, fit, layering and moisture-wicking ability. It also involves matching the different types of clothing to various forms of exercise.

Investing in the right workout clothes can make a big difference to the quality of your exercise, and these are some of the features a good training garment should possess.



Because training involves intensive movement, you need to be comfortable, as any chaffing or irritation from harsh or ill-fitting fabrics will destroy your concentration and quickly become irritating. Avoid restrictive form-fitting fabrics such as spandex and opt instead for soft fabrics that fit comfortably and move with your body while you exercise.



What is considered a good fit will depend on the individual, as some prefer a looser fit to be truly comfortable, while others prefer closer fitting garments that show off their bodies and allow them to see evidence of their progress. Your own body image will tell you what is a good fit for you as much as how comfortable it feels.


Layering ability

Having several comfortable, well-fitting garments that can be layered can save you a lot of money on training gear. Layering provides a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor and from summer to winter, and all you need is one or two quality singlets, tees, polos and hoodies which can be added or removed according to the temperature and level of activity.


Wicking ability

Sweat is a natural byproduct of exercise, but excessive sweating can cause discomfort and dehydration. So choosing workout gear that wicks sweat away from the skin so it evaporates faster is the best way to stay drier during training. Natural wicking fabrics include wool and bamboo, while synthetic fabrics include Polyester and Lycra. Or ideally, look for garments that contain moisture-wicking treatments such as Canterbury’s Vapodri technology (which we’ll discuss in more detail later in this guide).

Choosing the right gear for your sport

Suitability for the job is another important consideration, and while everyone’s different, the following are some general tips on what to wear for different activities:



Choose running shorts which have a split in the leg to allow for greater movement, a breathable tank top or singlet and comfortable athletic shoes that support your feet and ankles.



Avoid baggy clothes or long pants that can catch on obstacles. Lycra is a popular choice because it is aerodynamic, weather resistant, fast drying and practically indestructible.


Yoga and Pilates

Choose comfortable leggings or lightweight yoga pants and a comfortable t-shirt or singlet. Avoid anything too loose on top or it may leave you exposed or unable to achieve your poses.


Low-intensity workouts

Cotton is soft, comfortable and ideal for walking, stretching or other mild forms of exercise where you do not anticipate sweating a great deal. A large range of workout clothing is suitable for lower-intensity workouts.


High-energy Workouts

Because these can make you sweat extensively, choose wicking fabrics to keep you as dry as possible such as Polyester or a lightweight Cotton/Polyester blend with a moisture-wicking treatment.

Tighter-fitting clothes might be preferable for high-energy workouts to allow for freedom of movement, but avoid anything too restrictive.

Fabrics types and technologies

Each fabric has its own advantages and drawbacks in relation to training gear. Poorly chosen workout clothing can lead to problems with chafing, shrinkage, tearing and dampness, so selecting the right fabric is an important decision.

Choosing the right fabric for workout CLothing



Known for its comfort, cotton is ideal for low-sweat activities such as yoga and Pilates. It tends to produce less post-workout odours than some other fabrics, but because of its high sweat-retention properties, it is not recommended for intensive training or workouts.



Stretchy and comfortable, nylon is a breathable, quick-drying fabric that makes an appearance in many modern training garments. It’s ideal for outdoor training and unlike cotton, it wicks sweat away from the skin, making it a much better choice for intensive activities.



This fabric is used extensively in training gear due to its many great properties including durability, breathability and wrinkle resistance. It is also lightweight, UV repellent and moisture-wicking, although it is not as fast-drying as nylon.



Like Polyester, Polypropylene is made from plastic and due to the fact that it is highly water-resistant, it makes an ideal base layer in workout clothing. If you train in wet weather a lot, this is the fabric for you.



Also known as Lycra, spandex is a stretchy, form-fitting fabric used for compression wear, swimwear and cycling gear. It is soft, comfortable, lightweight and moisture-wicking, but not as breathable as some other fabrics.



This is an all-natural fabric that comes with some great built-in properties. It is a great insulator, wicks away moisture (as it does on the sheep’s back) and is highly durable and odour-resistant. Wool is used in a variety of training gear including socks, tops, underwear and sweatpants.

Broadly speaking, fabrics that are lightweight, breathable, non-chafing and moisture-wicking make the best training and workout garments. And all these properties can be found in synthetic fabrics such as Polyester, particularly if blended with soft materials such as cotton and treated with fabric technologies such as those perfected by Canterbury.

Canterbury’s exclusive fabric technologies

New fabric technologies have seen the emergence of sporting and exercise clothing boasting everything from odour-reduction to UV-resistance. But the cutting-edge fabric technologies pioneered by Canterbury mean there is now a training garment for every conceivable exercise situation.

Grown along with the world’s greatest game, Canterbury has been constantly learning, developing, testing and improving our garments over time. And our unwavering focus on rugby training and player wear has set us apart as the true voice of authority when it comes to developing garments for everyday life. Canterbury’s advanced fabric technologies include:



This is our patented fabric technology that wicks moisture away from the skin 75% faster than regular cotton, boosting the evaporation of sweat and keeping the wearer cooler and drier for longer.

It employs a unique blend of Cotton and Polyester that ensures maximum comfort and breathability and its quick drying properties make it perfect for reusing.

Vapodri’s superior technical elements have been incorporated into a range of singlets, tees and shorts; ideal apparel for workout sessions on the field or at the gym.



Our patented VapoShield technology protects the wearer against the elements, repelling rain and keeping the fabric from becoming saturated through water absorption.

Its high level of breathability gives it a 40% reduced drying time compared to regular cotton, enhancing performance in even the most inclement weather conditions.

VapoShield technology is employed in a range of Canterbury hoodies, jackets and pants, ideal for those drizzly days on the training pitch or when you’re on the side lines supporting your team.


Baselayer compression

Baselayer and compression wear is designed to increase blood and lymphatic flow to the limbs to improve overall performance and shorten post-exercise recovery time.

And Canterbury’s base layer compression garments are superior training essentials for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. After researching and developing the optimal base layer designs, we’ve created a range of compression gear that not only compresses your core muscles and aids in recovery, but also effectively regulates body temperature and helps eliminate moisture to keep you dry, comfortable and focused on your performance.

Made from the highest quality materials, our range of baselayer compression tops and leggings offer the wearer a superior fit, a stylish design and long lasting comfort and warmth.



Canterbury’s patented Thermoreg technology provides the perfect insulation. It helps to prevent your body from over-cooling during outdoor training by retaining heat in the core muscle groups, thereby optimising your performance and reducing the risk of injury during and post-workout.

It also helps to regulate your body temperature by creating an insulating shield that retains body warmth and prevents heat build-up in key areas.

Thermoreg’s cutting-edge technical elements have been incorporated into a range of tops, leggings and hoodies; perfect for those outdoor training sessions on cold winter mornings.

Essential training gear for rugby

The importance of
protective wear for rugby players

No matter how much you love the game, there’s no doubting that rugby is a full-contact, dangerous sport. Whether played at an ameteur or professional level, the risk of injury is all too common. However, unlike soccer where shin guards are compulsory, the rules of rugby don’t require players to wear protective equipment. However, wearing protective wear to prevent injury is highly encouraged.

Headguards are worn to prevent cauliflower ear, concussion, and soft tissue injury around the head. Cauliflower ear occurs when players receive repeated hits to the side of the head, causing the ear to become permanently deformed resulting from blood clots and other build ups of liquid. Headwear can prevent cauliflower ear via providing a medium of shock absorption.

Every time a player takes a hit to the head, they are susceptible to brain injury. But not many professional rugby players wear protective headgear, making it difficult to encourage kids. So, why is it not as common for professionals to wear headwear? The fact is, many professionals simply prefer not to cover their heads whilst playing. Some players tape their ears instead of wearing a full head guard.

Protectivewear for Rugby Players

At Canterbury, we understand the dangers associated with rugby, and that’s why we offer a range of different headgear types. The four types include:

Along with contact to the head, rugby players cop a lot of impact to their backs, shoulders and chests. In order to prevent injury from impact, a protection vest can be worn under a jersey. Protection vests are compression shirts with light shoulder pads that lessen the pain of constant attacking to a player’s shoulders, back and chest. A great plus with protection vests is that the abuse to the upper body is softened, and the moisture-wicking fabric turns away some sweat. This added layer of protection acts as an initial absorption of force, again preventing against soft tissue injury. But, protection vests cannot guarantee the upper body will be completely prone against injuries associated with shoulder charges or second and third players entering the tackle coming in late to the tackle. In recent years, referees have tightened up on these tactics in order to protect players.
Whether you choose to wear a protective vest only during training when there is a lot of repetitive contact, or want to stay protected at matches too, Canterbury have you covered. View our full range of protective wear, including protective vests, here.


best Training shorts for rugby players

Whether it’s gym work or training with the team on-field, rugby players today have access to a wide range of cutting-edge training shorts that go well beyond the traditional cotton rugby short.

Today’s tactic shorts, drill shorts and gym shorts are constructed largely from Polyester, due to its lightweight and durable nature, with blends of Taslon or Spandex often incorporated into the fabric to give the short greater movement and flexibility. These greater stretch areas are usually found in the crotch (sometimes called star gusset crotch) or side vents on the outside of the lower thigh.

Polyester also manages moisture better and rugby shorts can also incorporate wicking treatments to minimise sweating even further.

Canterbury’s comprehensive range of training shorts for rugby players features state-of-the-art garments designed with the world’s greatest game in mind, many featuring our patented Vapodri moisture-wicking fabric technology.


best Training singlets & tees for rugby players

On-field training can entail a lot of hard physical work where the main ingredient is the production of sweat. And that’s why the common ingredient in most rugby tops is some form of moisture-wicking or sweat-management treatment.

This can involve fabric treatment where moisture is wicked away from the skin so it evaporates faster or it can involve extra garment ventilation such as racer back style singlets or training tees with back mesh panels to allow air to circulate more freely while exercising.

The garments designed for both on and off field rugby training today are built mostly from Polyester, due to its lightweight and breathable nature and such is the quality of their design, they can be worn equally as comfortably when meeting the team down at the local for drinks after training.

Canterbury’s big range of singlets & tees for rugby players includes a variety of moisture management design features, including our Vapodri fabric technology that wicks moisture away from the skin up to 75% faster than cotton.


best Baselayer & compression wear for rugby players

Compression wear is now used widely for rugby training and you’ll find a baselayer garment in the kit of most rugby players. Designed to help you perform and recover at maximum athletic power, compression wear improves blood flow, reduces muscle vibration and regulates body temperature.

Most base layer garments are a mix of Polyester and Elastane, with some incorporating Nylon, Lycra and Spandex as well. Some compression tops are skin tight to support muscles as they work, while others can be looser fitting and more about providing warmth.

Depending on your training requirements, you can get cold baselayer options to keep you warm when the temperature drops or hot options to stay cooler in warmer conditions. There are also a wide range of compression wear features to choose from including anti-chaffing, moisture-management, odour control and anti-bacterial properties, all of which allow you to train intensively in comfort for longer

Canterbury’s baselayer & compression wear for rugby players features all of these properties and includes our patented Thermoreg technology which prevents the body from over cooling between workouts by retaining heat in the muscle groups.


Best training track pants for rugby players

A good training track pant for rugby players will keep you warm between exercise sessions on those chillier days on the paddock. Generally made from lightweight, durable Polyester, quality training tracksuit bottoms have an elasticated waistband and drawstring for an optimal fit, zip pockets to keep your valuables close at hand and full or partial leg zips for easy on and off when wearing boots.

They also often feature moisture-wicking properties so you can wear them not only for recovering but during your training session as well. This fabric treatment wicks moisture away from the skin, boosting evaporation of sweat and keeping you cool and dry while you train.

Canterbury has a comprehensive range of track pants for rugby players including our Team Track Pants, Uglies Track Pants, Pro Track Pants, and Stadium Pants. Many feature our Vapodri moisture-wicking and Vaposhield water repellent treatments and all are designed to look good both on and off the field.


best Training hoodies for rugby players

As with a track pant, a quality hoodie or rugby jumper is the perfect garment for cold weather training. Pull it on between sessions to keep your body temperature regulated or if it has moisture-wicking properties, wear it while you run and keep sweat to a minimum.

Made from a Polyester blend, a hoodie can be moisture-wicking, rain repellent or thermally regulated, depending on the conditions you train under and it should have a partial or full front zip, zip or kangaroo pockets and a flip up hood and storm cuffs to keep the elements at bay.

Canterbury’s range of training hoodies for rugby players come in a wide range of colours, including your favourite rugby teams and many feature Vapodri moisture-wicking, VaposShield water repelling or Thermoreg temperature regulating technologies to suit the climate you live in and your particular training requirements.


best Training accessories for rugby players

Every rugby player’s training kit should include the following items:

  • Socks Whether they’re training or playing socks, these should be designed to support your feet, cushion them from impacts and keep them dry and bacteria and odour free.
  • BOTS These should be selected with on-field position in mind. Back rowers should choose a lightweight boot with extra studs for traction, front row forwards need an eight-stud design for more flexibility and second to back row forwards need additional studs for enhanced support.
  • PROTECTIVE WEARThis should be designed to take the knocks while providing maximum ventilation and comfort and includes everything from scrum caps and headgear to impact vests, mouth guards and wrist bands.
  • BAGEvery rugby player needs a packaway bag to carry their kit. It should be made from durable, water resistant materials, have lots of compartments and have straps and fastenings that can take plenty of punishment.

Canterbury has an extensive range of training accessories for rugby players and all are designed exclusively with the world’s greatest game in mind.

Essential workout
clothes for men


Best training shorts for men

A good pair of training shorts should address both comfort and practicality in their design. Look for a durable fabric such as Polyester/Taslon, but make sure it's also lightweight and breathable to avoid an uncomfortable workout. Ideally it should have an elasticated waist with internal drawcord to ensure a comfortable fit and either side or back pockets to keep your valuables safe while you train.

Leg length is also an important consideration. For working out in the gym, shorts to around mid-thigh are usually preferable, while running shorts normally come in three length options, depending on your body type and personal comfort level.

Canterbury’s great range of men’s tactic and gym shorts are the perfect example of professional training wear that’s designed for a purpose, built for comfort and guaranteed to last.


Best training singlets & tees for men

When you’re training hard, you need a singlet or tee that fits well, allows you to move freely, keeps you dry and wicks sweat away fast. So look for a lightweight Polyester or Polyester/Cotton blend that lets your upper torso breathe while you’re putting it through its paces. Back mesh panels are always a good idea to improve ventilation and ideally you want something with a fabric treatment to wick away sweat from the skin and boost evaporation.

If you’re training hard in the gym, good features to have include a low profile collar and back hem drop to prevent riding up while you’re stretching. Or if it’s just some light on-field team work, a ribbed crew neck tee with contrast piping can add style to any training occasion.

Canterbury’s men’s singlets & tees have all these features and more, including our patented Vapodri moisture-wicking fabric technology to keep you cooler and drier while you train.


Best baselayer & compression wear for men

Quality compression wear improves blood flow and reduces muscle vibration, which can mean more athletic power and improved performance while training. When choosing compression wear, look for tops and leggings that are well cut and don’t have a lot of raised seams, which can contribute to chaffing. They should also have moisture-wicking properties and odour control and if you’re working out in winter, temperature regulation is a good idea as well.

Consider your training requirements when choosing baselayer garments. Cold options are designed to keep you warm when the temperature drops, hot options to keep you cool in warmer conditions and pure compression gear is made to improve your performance and speed up recovery.

Canterbury’s baselayer & compression range for men features compression tights, compression shorts, compression shirts and compression pants with all of these properties and our Thermoreg tops and leggings are designed specifically for cold weather training.


Best training track pants for men

Track pants are designed for training in cooler weather and a good pant will keep you warm when needed as well as cooling you down during intense bouts of exercise. Features include;

  • Strong, lightweight fabric such as Polyester
  • Generous cut to provide a free range of movement
  • Water-resistant and fast drying for training in wet weather
  • Moisture-wicking treatment to reduce sweating
  • Perforated side panels to maximise breathability
  • Leg zips for easier on and off with footwear.

If you run, look for a pant with an elasticated waist for a comfortable fit and zip pockets to protect your valuables. If you work out in the gym, select a pant with moisture-wicking properties and plenty of freedom of movement.

Designed for superior comfort and movement, Canterbury’s extensive range of track pants for men includes our Team Track Pants, Uglies Track Pants, Pro Track Pants, and Stadium Pants, many featuring our Vapodri moisture-wicking and Vaposhield water resistant treatments.


Best training hoodies for men

A hoodie lets you train in colder weather and stay warm and dry while you’re doing it, allowing you to regulate your body temperature whether you’re warming up or warming down. A quality hoodie can include moisture-wicking abilities to prevent excessive sweating, water repellent technology to keep you dry on the outside and thermal regulation to prevent excessive heat loss between training sessions.

Often constructed from Polyester, a quality hoodie features a partial or full zip for easy off and on, side panel zip pockets or a kangaroo pocket at the front for your valuables and storm cuffs to keep the elements at bay.

Canterbury has a big range of hoodies and jumpers, ideal for cold weather training and many feature our Vapodri moisture-wicking, VaposShield water repelling and Thermoreg temperature regulating technologies.


Best training accessories for men

Along with the right clothing, appropriate footwear and a good pair of socks can make a big difference to the quality of your training.

The best socks for running and high intensity workouts are those with temperature regulation features to keep your feet cool and dry and cushioning to minimise impact. The best socks for cycling often possess antibacterial properties to keep your feet clean and prevent blisters. And for field sports such as rugby, moisture management, cushioning, arch support and ventilation are all important properties to look out for.

As far as footwear is concerned, if you’re doing weights in the gym, go for shoes that are ideal for squats, with a flat, solid outer sole, durable canvas upper and minimal drop between heel and forefoot. If you’re a rugby player, choose a shoe with a wide forefoot and locked in toe box for dynamic, supported movement and plenty of studs for traction on all ground conditions. And if you’re into a variety of different training regimes, choose a good pair of cross-trainers, which are light, flexible, supportive, comfortable and ideal for most low impact training sessions.

Canterbury’s training essentials range includes socks that provide maximum support, comfort and ventilation, rugby boots that give you that performance edge you’re looking for, plus caps, beanies, bags and bottles to complete your training kit.

Essential workout
clothes for women


Best training shorts for women

Women’s training shorts have many of the same features as men’s. A good short must tick all the boxes as far as lightweight, breathable and comfortable fit are concerned and should have some or all of the following features, depending on the type of training being undertaken:

  • A durable, lightweight fabric such as Polyester/Taslon
  • An elasticated waist with internal draw cord
  • Side or back pockets for valuables (an internal fob pocket for keys is often a feature in women’s running shorts)
  • The right leg length (mid-thigh for working out, shorter and looser fitting for running)
  • Temperature regulation (ventilation or moisture-wicking for heat reduction)
  • Support (two-in-one compression tights for faster muscle recovery).

Canterbury’s range of women’s training shorts feature all of these qualities and more and many employ our patented Vapodri fabric technology to wick moisture away from the skin and keep you cool and dry while you train.


Best training singlets & tees for women

Women’s singlets and tees are suitable for most types of training. Whether you’re looking for women’s gym wear or gear that’s more suitable for track work, the key is breathability and most women’s training tops feature moisture-wicking properties to keep sweat levels to a minimum.

A quality singlet or tee needs to fit well while allowing you freedom of movement and Polyester is the fabric of choice due to its lightweight and breathable qualities. If your workout regime is intensive, a racer back style singlet with mesh panels will give you the ventilation you need, while for general exercise, a crew neck training tee offers functionality and durability (the ability to be washed many times), while being stylish enough for après gym wear as well.

Canterbury’s women’s singlets and tees are both practical and fashionable and most feature our unique Vapodri fabric technology that wicks moisture away from the skin 75% faster than regular cotton.


Best training track pants for women

A versatile training garment equally at home whether you’re working out in the gym or relaxing over coffee at the mall, track pants belong in every women’s activewear wardrobe. Made from lightweight breathable fabrics, these all-purpose pants have an elasticated waist and draw cord for maximum comfort and usually feature pockets with zips so you can run in them without losing your keys.

If you’re into serious training, look for styles featuring full length leg zips which allow for rapid cool down after an intense session or if outdoor running’s your thing, choose a pair with moisture-wicking or water repellent properties, depending on the climate. And if looking good’s an important part of the package, go for figure hugging styles or capris that can be worn for intense workouts or everyday casual wear.

Canterbury’s training track pants for women include great names like Uglies, Metro, Team, Upbeat and Capri and come in a range of styles, fabrics and treatments, depending on your level of training.


Best training hoodies for women

A quality hoodie is a must-have item for every woman’s training wardrobe. Lightweight, breathable and warm, it’s the ideal garment for covering up in between workouts and for exercising outdoors in the colder months of the year.

If your hoodie goes on and comes off a lot, you might want to look for a full zip through model for easy access and if you’re running any distance, zip pockets will keep your valuables safe. A good hoodie will also often have moisture-wicking properties to reduce sweating, water repelling properties to keep the elements at bay and ideally some form of thermal regulation to prevent heat loss between training sessions.

Canterbury has a big selection of women’s hoodies and jumpers to choose from and many feature our cutting-edge Vapodri moisture-wicking, VaposShield water repelling and Thermoreg temperature regulating properties.


Best training accessories for

What you wear on your feet can have a big impact on the quality of your exercise. Regardless of the type of training you’re into, the right shoes and socks can provide:

  • supportFrom cross trainers to playing boots, today’s training footwear is designed to provide arch support and cushion against impact. If you run, look for a light running shoe which supports your foot’s natural shape and provides energy return, while for gym work, go for a heavier shoe with the cushioning of a running shoe, but with a sturdier sole for maximum stability.
  • Moisture managementTraining shoes and socks now have temperature regulation and anti-bacterial features to keep your feet dry and prevent odour and blisters, particularly important for runners and cyclists.
  • StabilityGym trainers vary with the type of work being done. All purpose trainers feature a robust outsole for maximum sturdiness and mid and side forefoot support for side-to-side movements, while weightlifting shoes have a wider forefoot, allowing you to spread your toes for more solid footing as the load increases.

Canterbury’s training accessories range for women includes shoes and socks that provide maximum support, comfort, stability and moisture control, plus caps, beanies, bags and bottles to complete your training kit.