Best Gymnastics Leotards: Guide to Buying Online in 2021
The leotard is just as important as any other piece of gear for the gymnast. It should be lightweight, form-fitting, and allow for plenty of breathing room. Despite the simplicity of the leotard, there are many different options available. Trying to find the perfect leotard can quickly become overwhelming if you don't already have experience shopping for gear. You'll need to consider the style, fabric, and other design features that make a difference.
Once you've found the leotard of your dreams you'll need to learn how to properly clean and care for your new uniform. Luckily, we've compiled all of the information that you'll need to succeed in your endeavors. Here is everything that you need to know before you begin shopping for your new gymnastic leotard.
Types of Gymnastics Leotards: The Most Popular Styles
Leotards are available in a variety of different fits and styles. Different gymnasts have different opinions as to which style or material is the best. Some of the styles are newer and haven't yet become as popular as more traditional options. At the end of the day, it's entirely up to you which style that you prefer the most. One of the biggest differences between the various styles of leotards is the length of the sleeves.
RELATED READING: See Perfect 10 Gear's Full Selection of Gymnastics Leotards
It's a good idea to invest in more than one leotard so that you have the option to wear whatever suits you best on a particular day. Here are some of the most popular options.
1. Sleeveless Leotard
If you're purchasing a leotard purely for training purposes, then sleeveless is always a good option. A sleeveless leotard tends to be comfortable and cool at all times. It will allow sweat to easily evaporate away from the body. It's the most common leotard option for boys, but plenty of girls also prefer to take the sleeveless route especially during training sessions.
The major advantage of the sleeveless leotard is its ability to keep you cool. However, many gymnast facilities keep the temperature very low. You might find that wearing a sleeveless leotard is simply too cold to train comfortably. It's a good idea to check the temperature at your preferred facility to determine if sleeveless is the best option.
2. Long Sleeve LeotardThe long sleeve leotard is most often used in competitions. If you're planning on attending a competition in the near future, then you should consider investing in a long sleeve leotard ahead of time. There are also plenty of gymnasts who prefer to train using long sleeve leotards for one reason or another.
Temperature is the main reason why some gymnasts prefer long sleeve leotards for training. If you exercise in a facility that is normally very cold, then a long sleeve option will help you remain comfortable and focus on your form.
There's also a psychological element to training in a long-sleeved leotard. It makes many gymnasts feel as if they are really performing in a competition even when it's only training. This psychological boost puts them in a better state of mind, which allows them to train at maximum efficiency.
Caring for a long sleeve leotard does require some extra work. Unlike short sleeve options, the sweat doesn't easily evaporate away from the body. The leotard needs to be properly cleaned and cared for regularly to ensure that sweat doesn't remain trapped in the leotard after a practice session.
3. UnitardOriginally known as simply a "bodysuit", the unitard has been in use even longer than the leotard. It became far more popular during the 1970s thanks to the rising popularity of modern dancers. It's now commonly found in gymnast's wardrobes across the country as well.
Unlike the leotard, which cuts off shortly after the waste with no legs, the unitard covers the legs down to the ankles. Unitards are made available in sleeveless, full sleeve, or capped sleeve options similarly to a leotard.
If you absolutely hate the cold environment in your gymnastics facility, then a long sleeve leotard may be what you need. They provide the maximum coverage possible without slowing you down or hindering your movement. They are still form fitting and comfortable but with a little extra fabric.
A long sleeve unitard will require even more time to care for due to the extra fabric along the legs. You may quickly notice discoloration if the unitard is not properly cleaned between your training sessions. If you don't mind the extra work, then this is a great option for cold environments or for gymnasts who just want more coverage.
Popular and Comfortable Leotard FabricsThe fabric is perhaps even more important than the style itself. You want to choose a fabric that is comfortable against the skin and does not cause irritation. The fabric will also determine how easy it is to clean and care for your new leotard. It is also going to influence the final price of the leotard.
1. SpandexSpandex is easily the most popular choice for leotard material when it comes to training. These leotards are sometimes referred to as Lycra, which is the brand name for a specific type of spandex fiber. Aside from the name, there is no difference between a Lycra and a spandex leotard.
Spandex is such a common leotard material due to its high elasticity and durability. It is able to easily stretch and then return to its original shape. Other materials will begin to lose their natural shape after extensive use. Those alternatives are more commonly seen in competitions due to their stylistic flair because they will not be used as frequently. When it comes to regular training and exercise, spandex is the better option.
The lifespan of a spandex leotard is another strong advantage. If you're just starting out, then you don't want to be forced to replace your leotard after only a few months. A spandex training leotard will continue to work with you for years as long as it is properly cared for.
2. CottonCotton is an affordable, comfortable leotard material that is more common with younger children. A cotton leotard provides excellent breathability and won't scratch against the skin. This lets the kid focus entirely on their gymnastic ability without fighting against their outfit. If comfort is your primary concern, then you may prefer a cotton leotard regardless of your age.
The disadvantage of cotton is that it doesn't provide the same level of elasticity. A cotton leotard will not be able to hold its natural shape after prolonged use. Luckily, it's not an expensive material and you can purchase several leotards in bulk ahead of time.
There are also some brands that manufacture blends of cotton and spandex. A cotton-spandex leotard will have the breathability of cotton with added elasticity. They will require extra effort to hand wash because the blend is prone to shrinking when washed.
This was once a very popular leotard material that has declined over the past few years. But if you aren't concerned with the popularity of the fabric you might find that you prefer the forgiving nature of velvet. A velvet leotard is extremely durable and can withstand regular motion and stretching.
Unfortunately, velvet lacks the natural breathability of cotton or spandex. You'll quickly find yourself sweating in a heated gym and that sweat will have nowhere to go. If choosing velvet, it's best to choose a sleeveless leotard so that you have less skin trapped beneath the velvet.
New Leotard StylesAs with most styles, the popular leotards continue to change over the years. Some of the biggest stylistic changes we've seen in the last year involve the type of back strap. Choosing the right back strap can impact comfort, style, and the visibility of a bra strap. These are all subtle changes and most gymnasts have a variety of different back styles to choose from in their wardrobe.
1. Multi Criss-Cross Back StrapsThe multi criss-cross back straps gained their popularity on the dance scene and have since transitioned to the world of gymnastics. This crossing pattern uses anywhere from six to twelve straps forming an X shape across the back. If you're interested in one of the latest styles to hit the gymnastic scene, then this is a great selection.
2. Wide Mesh Crossover Back StrapsIf you prefer maximum coverage with wide straps, then the wide mesh crossover is an excellent choice. It's a great option for hiding troublesome bra straps and it also happens to look great. The wide mesh is able to provide maximum support without digging uncomfortably into the skin.
How to Avoid Pilling on Your LeotardsSmall lint balls that stick to the surface of your leotard are known as pills. Pilling happens frequently with leotards because of their fabric and the various other materials they come into contact with throughout the day. It is most often a problem when the leotard comes into contact with a rough surface like velcro. Certain fabrics like cotton lycra blends are more prone to pilling than others.
Preventing pilling is very problematic and nearly impossible. One of the best ways to avoid pilling on your leotard is to wash it by hand and then dry it on a line. By keeping the leotard out of the washing and dryer with other clothes you are minimizing the contact with loose lint and other fabric. Some experts also suggest washing your leotard inside out. These techniques won't prevent pilling, but they can slow down the rate of pilling.
Washing and Care Instructions to Make Your Leotards LastProper care for your leotard is important if you want to avoid pilling, discoloration, shrinkage, and tears. Washing by hand is always the preferred option if you want your leotard to look as good as possible and maintain its proper shape. If you must wash it using a machine, then always use a gentle cycle along with a gentle detergent. You should also avoid the use of fabric softeners as they decrease the breathability of most fabrics.
Staining can happen over time if not properly cared for or very quickly after a strenuous training session. If your leotard is stained, then you should treat the stain before washing. A mixture of an oxygen-based bleach and water should be sufficient for many different types of stains. Give the leotard plenty of time to soak in the mixture before properly washing. Soaking the leotard overnight and then washing in the morning will yield the best results.
Where to Buy the Best Gymnastics Leotards OnlineThe internet cultivates a massive marketplace with thousands of online retailers who carry leotards. Naturally, some of these retailers are better than others. When it comes to pricing, quality, and selection of leotards, Perfect10Gear.com is one of the best. We realized that this was the new "go-to" place for ordering high-quality leotards after only one visit.
The creators of Perfect10Gear are part of what makes it such an excellent online source for leotards. The business is owned by Norm and Marisa Garrett. These are two proud parents of gymnasts who have personally dealt with the struggle of buying the perfect leotard. They know what to look for in a quality product and they know what really works.
Norm and Marisa also understand the financial obligations that gymnastics parents face on a daily basis. Raising a child (or two) can be an expensive endeavor. That's why they strive to offer affordable leotards for kids and adults without sacrificing the quality. They are clearly passionate parents as well as gymnastic enthusiasts.
Perfect10 sells all of their own custom gear. This includes a variety of other items and clothing in addition to their leotards. They aren't obligated to market specific brands or prices mandated by a larger manufacturer. It also means they are in control of every product they sell and can ensure that each item is of the highest quality.
If you're looking for gymnastic gear; whether it's a freestyle leotard or a simple backpack, we highly recommend Perfect10Gear.com. It's a family-owned business with attention to detail, quality, and affordable prices.