Gymshark is a UK sportswear brand gaining popularity every day. Their cute gym clothes and stylish activewear are taking the industry by storm and everywhere you look on Instagram, someone is wearing Gymshark Flex Leggings. But are they the real deal? We take a look.
The most important thing to look for when buying new womens gym leggings is the fit. You'll be wearing these to stretch and move, so they need to be comfortable. Not only that, if you are following the latest womens fitness clothing trend and wearing your ladies gym leggings outside of the gym as everyday casual wear, you'll want them to fit well.
The most defining feature of the Gymshark Flex Leggings is the tight waistband. These are not high waisted leggings so the restrictive elastic waistband will sit just above your hip bones. If you have a tiny waist and very low body fat, it'll sit nicely on your figure. However, if you have any fat on your hips whatsoever it'll be accentuated and highlighted by this tight waistband and will spill over the top. While this is not necessarily a bad thing aesthetically, it can be a little uncomfortable in a practical sense as the waistband will cut into you and is not forgiving.
The one positive aspect of the tight waistband is that the leggings are guaranteed not to fall down as you exercise. The main fabric is actually very stretchy and not tight at all. This means it'll skim over your body without cinching you in and won't flatter your curves like other leggings might. Especially in the lighter coloured leggings, any lumps and bumps you have will show right through the fabric. What it does mean, though, is if you have bigger legs, they will fit you well.
These leggings are definitely designed with the wearer in mind. They want to flatter your form and have stylish panelling to the back to accent your curves and natural shape. The Gymshark Flex Leggings now come in several different colourways with different leg/waistband colour combinations. All of the colours are pastel and fairly muted which means they will go with lots of different exercise outfits.
The thick waistband with Gymshark branding is very trendy and stylish and stands out when you wear them. The colours are also very on-trend and there's something for everyone in the current collection which is still growing. There's no doubt this is a very attractive pair of leggings.
It is unclear what the actual sporting purpose of these leggings is. The Gymshark website sheds no light on whether they are designed for running, weightlifting, yoga etc or if they are more just designed to be aesthetically pleasing and form flattering. As such, there are no glaring technical qualities that shine through to make these leggings stand out for certain sports, and they probably wouldn't be my first choice for a run or bike ride. However, the seamless design and superior comfort makes them perfect for a gym session which is what I expect they are mostly used for by Gymshark customers. They have a very simple design with no pockets or reflective trim so they would not be ideal for running and they are very thin so not great for cycling. However, the soft fabrics and seamless design would make them great for yoga with excellent freedom of movement. They'd also be suitable for gym classes and circuit training or HIIT.
The Gymshark Flex Leggings come in at £32 for the full length or £30 for the capri leggings. On the surface, this seems very reasonable, as a pair of other big brand leggings such as Nike could easily set you back over £50. However, upon closer inspection you realise that the more expensive Nike leggings are all highly technical with special features that these Gymshark leggings lack. The more basic Nike leggings are closer to £20 which actually makes the Gymshark ones quite pricey. When comparing prices of womens activewear, it's important to consider what they have to offer in terms of quality and technical capabilities. These Gymshark ladies leggings are very basic and so should be priced as such. Here, you are paying for the desirability and the fashion aspect.
If you would like a super stylish pair of leggings similar to the Gymshark Flex Leggings but which feature superior technical qualities and are more comfortable and flattering, take a look at the Sundried Ruinette 2.0 Leggings. These gym leggings flatter your figure and are super comfortable with their soft fabric and seamless design. They are high waisted with a no-dig waistband so they glide over lumps and bumps and are super comfortable.
Enjoy an exclusive discount on these leggings by using the code FLEX to get a huge 50% off RRP at checkout. That means they are cheaper than the Gymshark leggings too!
Topo Athletic is an up-and-coming sports brand that Sundried has reviewed a few times now. Their intelligently designed trainers are perfect for the more serious runner and their trail shoes have technical features that make them stand out from the crowd. Read our reviews of other Topo shoes here.
Features of the Terraventure Women's Trail Shoes
The drop of a trainer refers to the height difference between the heel and the forefoot. A conventional drop would be considered to sit at around 10-12 millimetres but more trainer brands are now adopting a more minimal design with a lower drop. Topo is one of these brands and their Terraventure trail shoe features a very low drop at only 3mm. Advocates for the low heel-to-toe drop claim it can reduce the risk of injury as it discourages a harsh heel-strike. A low drop also encourages a more natural running style and a low heel stops you from being pushed forward while running, which is an important aspect when running on uneven ground like a trail.
Minimalist shoes with a low drop can often offer less cushioning, but that is not the case with these Topo trainers. It is also important to have well-cushioned shoes when you're heading out on the rough and uneven surfaces of the trails. The Topo Terraventure shoes feature extra cushioning to provide a smooth ride.
Wide Toe Box
The ergonomic toe box is one of Topo's flagship features. It is more anatomically-friendly than classic trainers and allows your toes to spread out naturally and comfortably. If you have wide feet, it can be tough finding trainers that are comfortable, but these shoes with their wide toe box have got you covered. I often suffer from squashed toes, especially when running downhill outdoors, so this feature is very important to avoid that.
Rock Protection Plate
Having a rock protection plate in your trail shoes is a must if you want a pain-free run. Running over gravel and stones can be hazardous and having shoes with a specialised rock plate will prevent you from injuring your foot on rocks. Stepping on a jagged edge, especially on the ball of the foot, can cause a lot of pain and can lead to metatarsal issues. These Topo shoes feature the classic ESS rock plate which can be found on many trail shoes these days and should be a standard feature that you look for when choosing this type of trainer.
Suffering from sweaty feet can lead to more than just some discomfort. Running in damp shoes for too long can lead to skin problems and will end up distracting you from your run. Finding a pair of trainers made from breathable materials is a must, and these shoes feature just that. The lightweight design offers a '2nd skin fit and feel' according to Topo, although this isn't quite the feeling I got when I wore them. They're quite chunky and bulky, definitely not smooth and light like a speed trainer, but that's not what I'd expect from a trail shoe anyway.
Testing the Topo Terraventure trainers out on the trails
Trail running is very different from running on paved roads and you want a trainer that's going to be able to keep up. The 'aggressive' lug design on these trainers means that you have fantastic traction and the supportive rock plate prevents bruising and damage from stones and other debris which are inevitable on the trails.
I did find that they started to rub my little toes after a while and my feet were slipping around in the shoes because of the roomy design. When running up and down hills, especially on very rough terrain, I like my feet to feel like they're totally secure so that I'm not worried about twisting an ankle. These shoes could perhaps offer a little more ankle support to put my mind at ease.
Support and comfort
The foot support from these trainers is good and it doesn't seem to matter if you run with a forefoot or heel strike, they'll give you everything you need for a comfortable ride. If you have flat feet like me, it can be tough finding trainers which give adequate support, so I was a little dubious when trying them for the first time. I did get some ankle pain after the first few miles due to the limited arch support, and the low drop meant I ended up plodding a little towards the end. The roomy toe box does do the job well with regards to not squashing the toes so this is a big bonus.
The trainers are pretty much true to size. I did get a half size up from my usual size as I anticipated they might be a little snug and I'm glad I did.
The cushioning is great as is the roomy toe box. The rock plate definitely does the job of preventing painful bruises from jagged edges and stones.
The stability is good and the lugs on the bottom of the shoe certainly provide plenty of traction. I felt that my ankles were a little exposed, though, so there could have been more support and stability there.
I personally don't like the colour of this particular pair of shoes but that's certainly subjective. They also come in a choice of light blue or purple. The colour is a little garish so I would've preferred a more subtle colour, or even just plain black. The actual design of the trainers looks good, though, and for a pair of trail shoes, they definitely don't look too bad. I struggled to match them with any of my Sundried kit, though!
The price of these trainers is £115. This is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum and puts the shoes on the same level as trail shoes from big brands like Asics and Hoka One One. Considering Topo is still relatively unknown in the UK and is quite a new brand, this seems a little steep, especially considering you can buy Karrimor trail shoes at a price of around £35 and those boast being water-proof. However, these are good quality trainers and feature everything you would expect as standard from a pair of trail shoes so I definitely don't think it's unreasonable.
I'm pleasantly surprised by these trainers as I often struggle to find ones that are comfortable enough to run in for an extended period of time. Topo is a brand that knows what it's doing and this shines through in these trainers. I'm looking forward to taking these shoes on more adventures and seeing where they take me next!