Five Below discount store's budget workout gear: Do or don’t?


Five below's yoga gear

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Let’s be real: we can’t all afford high-end yoga pants. I am a bargain fiend, so when I heard that Five Below, a nationwide discount store chain where everything sells for — you guessed it — five dollars or less, is selling yoga gear that you could bring home for small change, I had to investigate.

Their yoga pants and sports bras are totally cute and hard to resist at five bucks apiece. I went with the fold-over pant in blue tie dye and a black-and-white ombre sports bra. Dressed in my new swag, I head out for a jog around my local park where I’m pleasantly surprised that the pants do not wriggle their way down my waist. The bra is comfortable and tames the ta-tas. Larger chests, however, may not find it so supportive. For all the sweating I’m doing, there’s no pooling inside the bra. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the pants, where a Rorschach-like splotch of sweat appears right on my butt. Classy. I return home and hit the yoga mat for a short session, where the bra and pants hold up through a simple yoga sequence.

Wallet-friendly alternatives

Unfortunately, the pants don’t fare well the next day after a long walk. The fabric only seems to be getting thinner, and they don’t retain their shape even after a wash. For light activity, this pant might work, but it’s definitely not what you want to do a downward dog in at your local studio, particularly if you’re a fan of thongs. This is why I refuse to part with the Gap yoga pants I snagged while outlet shopping, bleach spot be damned! (Pro tip: never wear your favorite yoga pants while handling bleach.) Outlet shopping is a great way to find affordable exercise apparel from quality brands. I snagged my Gap pants for $25; a similar style on the site is more than double the price. Another inexpensive option is Mossimo Supply Co.’s yoga pant, available at Target. I’d stash the bra in my gym bag for light activities and as a backup. For another sports bra at a steal that holds up, try Danskin Now’s High Impact Seamless style. My Danskin Now bra has supported me through yoga, jogging, Zumba and ballet classes.

Five Below also sells yoga mats, and while the designs are lovely, the grip is less than stellar. I didn’t slip during my yoga session, but I didn’t feel confident or supported. I would not even attempt a hop to the front of my mat. This mat could provide comfort while doing basic floor exercises such as crunches, but I’d invest in a more supportive mat for yoga. You don’t have to go all Manduka Pro, either (though a girl can dream): my old mat from Target has served me well.

Bargains are great, but choose wisely. Fitness gear doesn’t have to be expensive, but sometimes it’s worth your while to shop around and invest in a few solid starter pieces, building your workout arsenal along the way. Happy shopping!