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There’s no shortage of athleticwear in this world. From big-name, global brands to boutique retailers, sports bras and leggings know no bounds. With the rise of athleisure, it’s become the norm to see price tags upward of $50 on T-shirts and upward of $100 on leggings.
While I’m a big fan of less expensive workout clothes that hold up just as well as some of the more pricey brands, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Having spent several hundred on both Alo Yoga and Lululemon, two popular (and pricey) athleticwear brands, I decided to do a deeper dive to see what you get for the higher price tags, and which brand would be my next go-to purchase (depending on my next activity and need).
About Alo Yoga: The Yoga-Wear Gurus
Known for: Stylish athleisure, streetwear, lounge clothes
Price range: $40 to $70 for sports bras; $50 to $100 for tops and shorts; $80+ for leggings and pants
Financing options: Afterpay, credit cards
Where to buy: Online, brick-and-mortar retail stores (California and New York only)
Alo Yoga is a streetwear-inspired yoga clothing company known for super soft fabrics and flattering fits, particularly high-waisted shorts and leggings. As the name implies, Alo Yoga specializes in yoga clothes, although I’ve seen people do other types of workouts in Alo Yoga leggings and tops.
In general, Alo followers love the brand for the wide range of comfy styles, but this brand may not be the best fit for people wanting thicker, more durable workout clothes for high-intensity training sessions.
About Lululemon: Amazing All-Around Athletic-Wear
Known for: Performance-driven fabrics and fits, compressive clothes
Price range: $50 to $80 for sports bras; $40 to $100 for tops; $40 to $120 for shorts; $90+ for leggings and pants
Financing options: Afterpay, Klarna, credit cards
Where to buy: Online, in-person retail stores and outlets
Lululemon regularly appears on lists of the most popular workout clothes, and as the brand has more than 3 million followers on Instagram, that comes as no surprise.
In fact, Lululemon is so popular that people often resell sold-out items on aftermarket sites like Mercari and Poshmark for well over market price. People will do anything to get their hands on the latest Lululemon drop, I guess.
Lululemon specializes in laser-focused performance wear. Each product has an express purpose: Some leggings are designed specifically for running while others are designed specifically for yoga, for example. The product description of each item tells you what it’s made for and how that specific product will improve your performance at that activity. This niched-down emphasis is likely what drives the brand’s popularity. The bright colors, flattering fits and durable fabrics help, too.
The Verdict: Lululemon Comes Out on Top in 3 Out of 5 Categories
Alo Yoga and Lululemon both manufacture high-quality athletic clothes. That quality comes with a price — one that millions of people are willing to pay, considering the brands’ cult-like followings and flourishing clothing lines.
Both brands have their pros and cons, but overall, Lululemon comes out on top. Here’s why.
1. Type of clothes offered: Lululemon wins.
Why? Lululemon makes performance-driven and a wide range of sport-specific clothes compared to Alo Yoga’s lounge- and streetwear focus.
Although Lululemon started as a yoga-wear brand, the company has since expanded into sportswear, streetwear and high-performance athletic wear. Lululemon has yoga clothes, yes, but also CrossFit clothes, running clothes, weightlifting clothes, hiking clothes, swimsuits, loungewear and more. And all of these items are designed with specificity in mind – each and every Lululemon product comes with a “Why We Made This” explanation, so buyers always know exactly what the product is best used for.
Alo Yoga, on the other hand, seems to have more loungewear and yoga-wear than anything else. According to some activewear fiends on Reddit, Alo Yoga clothes are best worn gently, as they tend to be thinner and softer than Lululemon clothes. This isn’t to say you can’t wear Alo Yoga clothes to exercise in. The clothes are designed to hold up during yoga and other low-impact forms of exercise (such as walking and cycling), but you may want to choose something more durable for high-intensity workouts.
2. Prices: It’s a draw.
Why? Alo Yoga and Lululemon have very similar prices for their items. In general, you can expect to spend $50 to $80 on smaller items (bras, shorts, shirts) and $80 to $120 on larger items (leggings and pants). Coats and jackets can surpass the $150 mark.
3. Financing: Lululemon wins.
Why? While Alo Yoga only offers one financing option (Afterpay), Lululemon offers two (Afterpay and Klarna).
Personally, I’m of the mind that no one should have to finance workout clothes, but these are luxury brands. While Alo Yoga only offers one financing option (Afterpay), Lululemon offers two (Afterpay and Klarna). You can also use your credit card for either brand, but Afterpay and Klarna offer zero-interest financing for those who qualify.
4. Try-on opportunities: Lululemon wins.
Why? Lululemon has stores all over the country. Alo Yoga only has stores in two states.
I would never, ever spend $100 on a pair of leggings without trying them on first. I know you can return clothes, but sometimes return policies get the best of you, and sometimes it’s just a hassle. Lululemon has retail and outlet stores all over the U.S. while Alo Yoga only has stores in New York and California. If you’re looking to try before you buy, Lululemon is your best option.
5. Sizing: It’s a draw.
Why? Both brands lack in the plus-size department, only offering a handful of items larger than a size 14.
Most Lululemon clothes range only from size 0 to 14, and in stores, there’s usually a dedicated plus-size section. Alo Yoga also only offers up to size 14 on most items, with a few products offering size 16-18 (XL). For both brands, finding plus-size clothes online is difficult.
Final takeaway: It depends on what you’re in the market for.
Because Alo Yoga and Lululemon are both expensive, your purchasing decision should ultimately come down to what type of clothing better suits your needs. If you want to invest in durable clothing that will stand up to uber-sweaty, high-impact workouts, go with Lululemon. If you simply want luxurious clothing for yoga and everyday wear, go with Alo Yoga.
Are Lululemon and Alo Yoga Clothes Worth It?
As someone who’s been working out for nearly a decade and who spends the majority of my waking hours in activewear, I would honestly say no. I have drawers full of workout clothes from Target, Old Navy, Champion and other less expensive brands, and I only have a handful of items from Lululemon, Alo Yoga, Calia by Carrie Underwood and other expensive brands.
I don’t wear the more expensive items as often as I thought I would, and I’m still wearing six-year-old workout shorts from Target. Seriously, there are so many brands out there that make high-quality workout clothes for lower prices: This article details several I’ve long been a fan of.
For those reasons, I don’t think luxury activewear is worth it (you just sweat in it anyway), but you’ll never know if it’s worth it to you until you buy and try.
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