Are Cheap Exercise Clothes A Good Value?


Some clothes are insanely expensive. Case in point, I read an article lately about a celebrity that wore sock boots to an NBA game worth over $2000. I’ll never pay $2000 for a pair of footwear, and you’ll never catch me spending $300 for a pair of designer jeans. The value of those items just doesn’t justify the cost. On the other hand, sometimes buying the cheapest article of clothing you can find is a complete waste of money. The trick is to correctly determine when something is more expensive simply because the quality of the item is actually higher.

As a runner and avid exerciser, my closet and drawers contain just as many workout clothes as regular clothes. I always wear compression pants or shorts under my usual shorts. Name brand compression clothes are expensive, so as of late I’ve been buying cheaper ones from places like Target or Walmart.

A few months ago I found a pair of dark red compression pants at Target that were very reasonable. I liked the color and they fit well, so I bought them. Last week as I was taking them off after a great workout, I noticed that the area between the thighs up through the seat had literally disintegrated. I was left with a huge hole with some shreds of fabric still hanging together. I thought I had found a great buy, but in the end I wore them less than ten times.

A few days later I was putting together my workout clothes, and the particular outfit that had utilized the red compression pants hit the top of the rotation. Remembering that they had been thrown out, I looked through my drawer for an alternate pair of compression pants. I pulled out some basic black ones and threw them in my bag. Thinking bout those specific black Nike compression pants, I remembered that I was shocked by how much they cost at the time I purchased them. I paid about $50 for them, over 10 years ago.

I examined the compression pants for wear and couldn’t find any. I’ve worn that pair of tights countless times over the course of a decade and they show no signs of giving up. I compared them with another pair of less expensive tights in my drawer and could easily tell the difference. Both the material and threading are thicker. I could just tell that the Nike brand tights were constructed better. They may have cost more, but they’ve proven to be the much better value.

The next time I need to buy new compression tights, I’m going to look for ones that are constructed like my decade old basic black tights. It might hurt my wallet in the short term, but in the long term it’ll be the better buy.

Have you purchased less expensive clothes just to find out the wear out much faster? Do you buy clothes based on cost or brand name?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Me, I pretty much buy just exercise shirts, the non-cotton ones (because those chafe). I tend to sweat a lot and as a result they get pretty rank after awhile, so cheap is fine with me.

    • I buy the more expensive Hi Tech clothing but they last for years. Reason I spend more: they last for years, I do a lot of hiking in the wilderness & they
      literally can be a lifesaver. I use the REI brand a lot as they are cheaper than some of the other brands. I have some things that are over 10 years old and still great.

    • @MoneyBeagle, I know all about the chafing as well. LOL. Shirts I’m fine with the cheap stuff…BTW, you can buy sports wash that will get that rank out pretty effectively. 🙂

Leave a Comment