How to Buy Fitness Gear for Cheap

There are so many great things about fitness clothes and gear and we seem to be at a high point of high points in what is released and out there right now. And that means you gotta spend that cash… or does it? It seems as you keep running or progressing there is more stuff to buy. I started in cotton boxers a tee and costco sneakers. Now on a brisk fall day you’ll find me in wind break nike pants, arm buffs, a merino wool top, with my iphone, apple watch Lululemon headband and well sneakers. How did it happen? Is it just a fact of time? cause it ain’t skill! Or have all these add ons become necessary?


I think it’s both really the more you try all these cool gadgets and gear the more you like them and can’t live without them. The longer you do your sport the more stuff you accumulate. Finally times have changed too fitness trackers, GPS (so a nice phone) and earphones are pretty much a have to now. Sure you don’t really need them and an argument can be made for leaving them at home but… I think the wasteful argument has passed. Plus getting new gear revamps your motivation and nothing says new outfit like a new training plan. So read on for how to collect all the gear you need/want for next to nothing!

Realize your will be sweating in it, getting it dirty

And maybe breaking it. That is to say perhaps you could be less precious about what you’re wearing out there. But maybe it’s time to get realistic, someday (usually once a season) I’ll fall off my bike and sometimes that will be classified as a crash (maybe once every 5 years). One of these times I’ll break my phone or my watch, it’s really just a matter of time. Biking for me usually but not always means mountain biking and I’ve never been able to say no to a puddle. That means all my biking clothes eventually have a brown streak up the back. And surprisingly mud once it reaches a certain level doesn’t wash out and even stains. Even my running clothes which don’t stain are always sweaty and dirty! Sports bras usually don’t last 4 months in heavy rotation and everything sees the washer (but not the dryer at my house) constantly. Sure the cute matching and brand name outfits look and preform awesome but once you get real about this you might be able to let go of brand new and brand name.

Now I do pretty okay with this for biking, swimming and yoga but running gear, I should learn to take my own advise. But a few bad influences buy me fun stuff I don’t really need. Just bought a super cute running skirt to day that I don’t need but in my defence it was $1.15 at the used clothing store so there is that. Weather permitting you’ll see it in a race recap coming up next week!

Online classifieds

I mostly do this for bigger purchases. But you don’t have to. Facebook buy and sell groups, sites like kijiji and cragislist can really be used for anything. I got on ours in Halifax and here’s some gems you could pick up right now! I might go get the nike leggings, no wait… take your own advice!

Used deals
Just a few minuets revealed these deal active right now!

Used clothing stores

This one is a favourite of mine… but not everyone’s cup of tea. My mom and sister wouldn’t be caught dead in there. But I buy so much of my clothes there since it’s so cheap, there is like new stuff there and you can find gems you’d never get too see gat the same three stores you frequent at the mall. If you think that after a few wears new clothes are used too it might make it easier. Plus if I find something amazing but it’s the wrong size or just not my style I sell that on eBay for a 500% mark up. Now I have no shame when it comes to what I buy there bras, even bathing suits on occasion and of course running gear but other things like undies are strictly off limits for me. No one is saying you have to go that far but hygiene doesn’t have to be a concern. What I do is throw it into the washer on the hottest setting, submerge it and let it hang over out overnight. I’ll usually try to make sure it takes a spin in out super hot (see old) dryer too. If there is a more delicate area on the garment I’ll dip it into 90% alcohol (70% kills even viruses on contact) and repeat the washing process. Some of my best finds have been:

  • short wetsuit -$15
  • Lululemon pants -$4 (sold for $45)
  • nike dri fit shirt -$2.50 (my favourite one)
  • peach sports bra and skirt ($6) also a favourite
  • all you can fit in a garbage bag (bring your own, and I have contractors bags) for $10.

A lot of items seem to have no wear at all. It’s still rare to find that elusive tags on item but there are clues. Look at the tags (just printed on the material usually) on your own running gear to get an idea of wear. Your best loved stuff is probably illegible, and even once its been worn and washed only a handful of times there’s probably cracking. Often the tags at the used clothing store are in perfect condition suggesting they haven’t been worn very much at all. Fitness gear usually has an obnoxious tear out tag that you rip off the minute you put something new on. Sometimes these even have a rigid anti theft tag too if it’s higher end. I tend to think workout gear with these tags still attached have never been worn since they drive you crazy within a minute should you forget about them. I find lots of things with these still attached. I have this theory that lots of people buy workout gear with good intentions and then it just sits there mocking them until they donate it. Watch out for items with pilling, haggard elastic (too easy to stretch), bagging and stains. Also the non-branded stores like frenchys, and the local shop tend to have better prices than the big used clothing stores like value village. That being said always be willing to pay for stuff that keeps you safe or keeps you from getting injured.

Let go of brand names

Nike, under armour and Adidas do have the cute stuff don’t they? And their stuff preforms well too. But it’s not the only good stuff out there. Walmart has a brand of fitness gear, costco carries things like merino wool tops and Joe Fresh in loblaws stores is pretty accessible too. Walmart and Joe Fresh lines at least tend to run really big, to the point an extra small is like a nike medium but take heart and head to the kids section. Walmart stuff is hit or miss depending on what you’re doing for exercise. Joe fresh is great usually but their athletic fabric is a bit thicker, making it great for warmth, flattening lumps and lines but it can be hard to find light weight stuff. Venture out past the sporting goods store your wallet will thank you!


Only do yoga in Lululemon? you do you, but when ever I snag some at the thrift store I sell it on eBay for profit. But you can get the brands your dedicated to for less on ebay and amazon is great for the knockoffs and reading reviews. Watch out for fake kicks though unless you want to take that risk. But if you know you absolutely love a particular line of nike sports bras you can do well on ebay.

In store sales

There are a few things I buy new and in store, namely and routinely sneakers. But the odd other thing too like helmets, cycling gloves (usually because I’ve lost them again), bike lube, swimsuits, swim caps and anything else I need in the moment. But I do my very best to wait for a sale on a particular item if I can, if not I’ll pick up last year’s clearance model or look for a sale. With shoes I shop early when the milage on my running shoes gets higher I start even if they still seem to have life. Then I start going out to try on and pick a model I want. Then I stalk them when I drive by and look at the flyer weekly. This has worked out well for me, cheaper models go on sale all the time and expensive ones (like my boosts) tend to hand around until the season regardless of size. I wear Adidas sneakers and they send different names of models to different stores and don’t carry their designs from season to season. This makes comparison shopping tough. Seriously though please, please check out this post asking for help for me to branch out to other brands, especially if you like adidas sneakers too! Also look down your training program and race season to get a better idea of when you’ll need new gear.

Needs vs Wants

Ask for gifts

You know what sucks buying presents for people who say, “oh I don’t know I’ll like what ever you get me.” Wouldn’t you rather hear, “arm buffs for running, I’m a small you pick the colour,” or even, “these sneakers, size 7 at sportcheck, I just texted you a picture.” That’s where most or at least a lot of my stuff, at least the nice stuff has come from. Remember I told you that now you might find me in wind break nike pants ($119) , nike arm buffs ($40), a merino wool top ($55), with my iphone, apple watch ($400) Lululemon headband ($25) and well sneakers ($149). Well all gifts. I can be hard to shop for and it seems a lot of my friends and family default to hey, Allison works out I’ll buy her workout gear! No complaining at all! Honey took care of the pants, watch and buffs over a few christmases by walking into a sports store finding a girl who runs and asking her what she wanted for winter, then buying it all! He also got a side of “can you tell my boyfriend what you’re doing right now”, what can I say I’m a lucky girl! My sister took care of the top on her own (and an iPod in the past), my mom gets those sneaker texts twice a year and a friend offered me her old headband once she stretched it out (I have a big head and a sewing machine). I also forgot my belt before, I have two one from honey ($50) and one I like more from eBay ($12). Why not give direction and get what you want? But stop short of sending them your amazon cart and send pictures of you enjoying it!

Overall workout gear is crazy expensive but it’s so nice to have! It’s been my experience one you add an item it almost immediately becomes a can’t live without. Like if my unnecessary, expensive watch broke tomorrow I’d have to get a new one ASAP! My fitness junk costs about $1500 dollars a year at minimum. What I actually pay is about $400- $500 and I go above the minimum by a lot in the cute clothes category. In my case that is in no small part due to presents which I’m very grateful for.

So what are your tips for spending less on fitness gear? Would you buy used clothing for working out in? I’m not even going to close with a question, don’t skimp on gear that keeps you safe or injury free!

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