Need New Leggings? Try One of These Cool AF Activewear Brands Started By Women
Ty Haney started Outdoor Voices after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her final project—a five-piece activewear collection—morphed into what is one of the biggest names in the industry today. At the heart of the brand is an easy-going, approachable vibe, which is likely part of why it has such a big fan base.
Since Outdoor Voices first launched, it's expanded beyond their initial athleisure. The line now offers tons of new categories: swim, tennis, golf, a sneaker collaboration with Hoka, and more technical running gear. While the brand was at first an "insider" find, a growing celebrity clientele (inlcuding Hailey Bieber and Sophie Turner) has broadened OV's appeal. Still, the core of the company remains the same: It's all about getting out there and moving your body in whatever way you choose.
ADAY founders Nina Faulhaber and Meg He created their technical, wear-everywhere (including the gym) line out of necessity. They both led super active lifestyles, but didn't want to compromise function over form. In other words, they wanted to look great, but also wanted their clothes to perform. Thus, ADAY was born: an edited selection of versatile pieces made from technical fabrics that could stand up to even the busiest days.
From trackpants to sports bras, each piece in ADAY works well with all the others, making mixing and matching virtually foolproof. Since its launch, the brand has expanded to offer everything from a multi-functional athleisure swim collection to specialized capsule collections for active travelers. If polished basics made for active days are on your wishlist, this female-founded brand is a win.
When they started Carbon38, former ballet dancers Katie Warner Johnson and Caroline Gogolak set out to create a marketplace for high-end activewear. Since then, Gogolak has left the company to lead retail at SoulCycle and Johnson is running the show as CEO. Though Carbon38 started selling other (mainly female-founded!) brands, they launched their own in-house label after a couple years in business.
Since its namesake label inception, Carbon38 has made a name for itself as the go-to brand for women who want to look polished, cool, and on-trend while working up a sweat. The brand's Takara leggings (pictured here) have become a cult favorite and come in 10+ colorways.
Zara Terez Tisch and Amanda Schabes Zeligman run Terez together, debunking the outdated "work wisdom" that it's a bad idea to start a business with your BFF. Known for their boldly printed leggings, the brand's mission is to empower women by highlighting their individuality and learn the joy in self-expression.
In the early days, Terez mostly offered printed leggings for women in just six varieties. Now, they've got over 1,500 patterns and have branched out into tops, dresses, bike shorts, and even a super popular girls' line.
If you've ever spotted someone wearing what seems to be the *perfect pair* of mesh-paneled workout leggings, there's a high probability they're Michi. Founded by Michelle Watson, a former designer at brands like Kate Spade and RLX Ralph Lauren, Michi has become a sort of cool-girl signal among the activewear-obsessed. Sleek silhouettes, mesh insets, color-blocking, and strappy bras are all hallmarks of the brand's signature style.
Bandier is now a ubiquitous presence in activewear. But back in the day, it all started when the founder, Jennifer Bandier realized she couldn't find a one-stop-shop for fashionable workout clothes. Rather than going to a bunch of different stores to create cute outfits for her sweat sessions, she wanted to be able to go to one place for a one-and-done experience. Since opening their first store in the Hamptons, Bandier has opened six more locations and started several of its own brands including We Over Me, Calé, and All Access.
Bandier's goal when she started her business was all about helping women feeling their best. "I started Bandier to help women feel good, make an investment in their health, and look good while they're starting to feel so great about themselves," she told Fashionista
. Today, the store's in-house brands have become so successful, they're also sold on Net-a-Porter, and have been spotted on influencers like Arielle Charnas of Something Navy.