Gym bags do more than just carry your sweaty gym gear. Now that fitness has become a very technical science, your gym bag will have to live up to much higher expectations to keep your equipment safe and secure. If you use your smartphone or a tablet to support your training - and let’s face it, just about everybody does - then you’ll want a bag that keeps expensive technology hidden, yet accessible and dry.
You’ll want to quickly find headphones, locker keys, ID cards, and a host of other small items. You’ll want to keep your shoes away from your day clothes, and sweaty gym stuff - and that awful sweaty lycra smell - away from everything else.
Modern gym bags need to be designed for efficiency, security, and organization, they need to be really durable, and it helps if they can also look good! The best gym bags for women are going to score high on all of these features, and leave plain old duffle bags behind. Let's have a look at the best options out there!
Summary: The Best Gym Bags for Women
Gym bags are not all the same, and if we are going to be truly honest about it, there are some features that might just matter more to women. The following features will help you decide on which is the best gym bag for women, or maybe just for you!
Storage design is the main thing to think about when choosing a gym bag. For many women, especially if you go to the gym on your way to or from work, having a lot of ways to organize your stuff and keep it separate is essential.
While a roomy main compartment for your clothes and a towel is important, chances are you are bringing a lot of other items along too. Having smaller compartments for shower gear or makeup means you don't have to chase bottles around your gym bag. A waterproof compartment is handy to keep your phone away from wet sweaty clothes and towels.
A separate insulated shoe bag will prevent your shoes stinking up your bag. A mesh pocket or two - while they aren't as secure as a closed zip up pocket - is still handy to keep some essentials visible and easy to grab. It all depends on how you use your bag, but there are a lot of options on the market to choose from!
Gym bags have to put up with a lot, and women are just as tough on their gear as men. Choose a bag from a reputable brand, and made from quality materials that are water and rip resistant, and have securely sewn seams. Some bags have reinforced materials on the sides and base, so if you throw your bag about or drop it on asphalt, then that might be important to you.
If you only carry your gym bag from the car to the gym, then comfort isn't so important. However, if you go to the gym on your way to or from work, and you have a long commute on public transport, then an adjustable and well-padded shoulder strap is going to make a big difference. If you tend to carry heavy items, like hand weights (or even wet towels and swim gear can weigh you down), then comfort features will matter!
Some gym bags are designed with special features in mind. If you go to yoga class and bring your own mat, chances are you are already frustrated that gym bags are never long enough for your mat. Instead of tucking your mat into the handles (and it always falls out when you do), look for specialist yoga bags designed to carry mats. Likewise, there are bags with features specifically for swimming, tennis, or other sports that might make some bags really stand out for you.
Let’s face it, if you look good in your gear, going to the gym is a lot more fun. If you carefully shop for just the right gym clothes, why not catch them up with a stylish gym bag, instead of any old bargain basement bag? The best made bags often come in great colors - even patterns - so you can find something that looks great and matches your gym style. More than just looking good, a brightly colored bag stands out and is easier to find in a crowded locker room or gym class!
Stylish and perfectly designed gym bag.
The Adidas Squad III has just about the perfect layout for gym bag storage. There’s a pocket for everything, and yet there is still room in the main compartment for big gear. Best of all, there’s a pocket that’s perfect for everything - a secure, water-resistant pocket for your phone or a small tablet, so your sweaty stuff doesn't damage anything. There’s an insulated shoe pocket - insulated from odor that is, so your trainers don't stink up your work clothes. There are mesh pockets so you can see stuff and find it, and zip up pockets so you can hide things and keep them secure. If you take it to the gym, there's a place in the Squad III to put it. It’s what a purse would be if it were a gym bag.
It’s got hand straps, and an adjustable shoulder strap, but as you’ll get everything in it, your hands will be free anyway.
Value for money
For around thirty dollars, you are getting a quality, convenient, and handy gym bag. In case you are concerned that at this price, and with how cleverly it is designed, everyone is going to have one, you can get it in a lot of different colors. That means you can always pick yours out after yoga class or in the chaos of the locker room. Most of those colors are pretty feminine too - from pinks and moss green to a really striking multi-color stripe - so chances are you won't have to worry about the guys stealing it!
Adidas is all about quality, and the Squad III is no exception. If you are sick and tired of gym bags that tear, split, or where zippers and straps break, then invest in the Squad III. It’s built to last, no matter what you throw at it (or in it), but if anything does fail, Adidas offers a lifetime warranty - that’s how much they believe in the quality of this bag!
Basic, but stylish and well-made gym bag.
The Storm Undeniable II is a great, basic all-around gym bag. It’s got a roomy inner pocket, so if you typically carry a lot of stuff with you, you might find this bag is more versatile that bags with more, but smaller, compartments. Don't worry about keeping smelly shoes away from your clean stuff, or being able to stow shower gear or keep your phone dry. With three exterior pockets, you can separate what you need to.
Under Armour has gone the extra mile with considering comfort, so if you carry your gym bag on a long commute this one would be perfect. The Storm Undeniable II has Under Armor’s Heat Shield technology on the shoulder strap, so you can load up this bag for the long ride to work and stay cool and comfortable. If you don't typically carry your gym bag on your shoulder or crossbody, the downside of this bag is the shoulder strap isn’t detachable. If you don’t use it or want it, you’re still stuck with it.
Under Armor also makes this bag in a great range of cool colors, so you can pick one that matches your gear, or something brighter that’s easy to find in the piles of bags at spin class.
Value for money
At around forty dollars, the Storm Undeniable II isn't the cheapest of bags, but you are getting a stylish, well-made bag that will last. While some may prefer a bag that has more compartments, the plus side of the simplicity of this bag is that if you do need to carry bulkier items, like a beach towel or yoga blocks, you've got room in the main compartment. That does mean that for the price, this is one of the most versatile bags around.
Under Armor is a well-respected name that invests in a lot of innovations for comfort and durability. The Storm Undeniable II is made of water resistant, high-tech fabric that won't rip or split at the seams. The sides and bottom are made of a reinforced material so they are extra tough. You can drag this bag or bump it off anything and it still holds up!
Great looking gym bag that’s perfect for yoga enthusiasts.
The Aurorae is designed with yoga in mind, but it also captures some of the features of the best gym bags from the big name companies. The main pocket isn’t huge, but it can take a carefully folded work outfit and a bath towel, so it’s probably big enough for most. It’s also divided to help you stay organized. You don’t need to put anything else in there either; you’ve got a separate phone and key pocket, a water bottle holder, and a couple other handy storage spots. There’s an insulated outer pocket to isolate sweaty stuff, and of course, there’s a yoga mat holder that won’t drop your mat! It may be a compact backpack style bag, but it is cleverly designed to hold what you need and make everything accessible when you need it.
Value for money
The Aurorae typically runs at about forty dollars, so it’s not one of the cheaper bags. That said, it doesn’t look like a gym bag, so slip out the mat and you can use this as an everyday backpack. It can easily take a laptop, and it looks good enough to wear just about anywhere. Think of it as not just your gym bag, but as your daily casual bag, and it becomes very good value!
The Aurorae is carefully made and comes with a two-year guarantee. The Aurorae company prides itself on excellent customer service too, but chances are you won’t need it. This bag is reinforced everywhere it matters, and while it isn’t designed for hiking or carrying a ton of books, it will stand up to daily gym and leisure use.
Basic, compact bag for gym essentials.
Not everybody needs a gym bag with a lot of features, and not everyone wants to pay for that. If you don’t need to carry work clothes or a lot of specialist equipment, or carry your bag on a long commute, then you might prefer to spend a little less and get a compact, basic bag that covers the basics and is built to last.
If that sounds like you, then the Adidas Diablo is a great choice. This is a no nonsense, one pocket bag that covers the basics and will get you and your gear to the gym and back. It will stash under your spin bike, fit into a gym locker, and stow out of the way at home. Don’t think that for simplicity you have to sacrifice style though. What makes the Diablo stand out among other bargain bags - even from brand name manufacturers - is that it does come in a great range of cool colors.
Value for money
The Adidas Diablo is all about value. You can find this bag for under fifteen dollars, which means you can get it in a few colors if you like to match your gear! It’s big enough for the basics, so if you want a separate bag for different activities, you can afford a few but still fit your spin shoes, your swim gear, or whatever you need.
You get the reliability of the Adidas brand, so you can count on this bag to hold up to regular use, even if you are tough on your gym bag! It is a basic bag, so it doesn’t have reinforced straps or seams, but the quality is perfectly serviceable, and at the price, you can keep a few or replace it when it wears out.
Sturdy, versatile basic bag with a good color choice.
The Nike Brasilia is a great compromise if you want a simple, well-made bag at a great price. It’s got a few pockets, enough to keep a few small items accessible, and keep some wet or sweaty stuff isolated. It’s not got so many that it becomes like a portable organizer though! It’s a little bigger than other basic bags, so you can manage a set of day clothes if you need to use this bag on your commute.
The Brasilia isn’t a bells-and-whistles type of bag, so it doesn’t have a lot of comfort features. The shoulder strap is adjustable, but it isn’t padded. So if you load up your bag or need to carry it for long periods, you might prefer something with a shoulder pad or a crossbody design. That said, this bag is a real do it all; big enough for gym commuters or for specialized gear, but small enough to fit in lockers or stay out of the way in a gym class.
Value for money
You can find the Nike Brasilia for around twenty dollars, which is pretty good for a decent sized bag from a top quality manufacturer. Now, you aren’t paying for a lot of frills or features, but if you want a simple, functional bag that can stand up to hard use, the Brasilia is a perfect choice. To keep costs down, there’s nothing fancy about this bag, but it’s a bit sturdier than most other bags in its price range!
Nike has added some strength to the Brasilia, which means it’s a good choice if you are hard on your bags or use your gym bag a lot. Nike has reinforced the stress points on the Brasilia for durability, particularly the base. While the shoulder strap isn’t reinforced, the handles are cross-sewn so will stay strong even if you load this bag up. Of course, you are also getting the Nike brand, so you can trust that the basic materials are strong and rip-resistant.