Big-Box Fitness: 6 Great Stores, Plus Best Buys

Big-Box Fitness: 6 Great Stores, Plus Best Buys

Old-school America’s favorite department store is still better known for its washing machines than its active wear—and will probably keep that reputation. But if you stop in to browse appliances, men, women and kids can stop by the active wear section and find an assortment of brand(ish)-name gear (Reebok and Everlast are among them) at reasonable(ish) prices. Dozens of extra brands are available from the Sears online marketplace, but your best bet for savings is to stick to accessories. 

With stability fit arch support, enhanced wicking capabilities and a no-slip fit, you can walk out of Sears with these New Balance socks nearly $4 richer than you would have been, had you paid the MSRP.

Here, you’ll find big brand names mixed in every aisle—and big name prices to match. The redeemer: sales. Near-constant markdowns make Kohl’s a haven for temporarily cheap designer duds from brands such as Nike, FILA, Reebok and more—just steer clear of anything full-price. 

It's Nike at less than half of the usual price. Look for markdowns like this one—or better!—when you shop Kohl's.
$24 (originally $60);

With Athletech, Everlast, Sofia Vergara and more, Kmart is making strides to stay up with a more exercise-centric world. And while the apparel of second- and third-tier brands is wearable, it’s not top-of-the-line. So why go to Kmart? The variety. Just when you thought shelling out mad cash was inevitable—BAM!—Kmart (and Kmart prices) come to the rescue. 

The long-sleeved swim shirt—ideal for water sports, surfing, cutting down on your water resistance during training or, heck, just making sure everything stays in place in the waves. Forget specialty stores—pick one up at Kmart.
$9.99 (originally $20); 

Last year, Penney’s launched its own, private brand of performance wear that claimed to deliver “style and quality at a smart price.” And that’s exactly what happened. Xersion, available for men, women and kids, nails the basics—decent quality, good colors, fantastic price. And it's available right alongside your favorite pair of mom jeans. 

Wicking, lightweight, and made to resist odors—what more do you need in a workout tee? Testers and reviewers love the feel of the fabric and the price point.
$9.99 (originally $14);

Just like its women’s counterpart, this is your basic exercise shirt—done right. One reviewer raved about the cut especially, declaring that with this version, they finally hit the nail on the head.

Paper towels may be the first thing that you think to buy at Walmart, but these days active wear should be a close second. Partnering with Danskin, the designer fitness brand, Walmart introduced Danskin Now—high-quality, fashion-friendly, holy-crap-that’s-affordable active wear for women that needs to be tried to be believed.

Seamless sports bras are fantastic for low-impact activities—hiking, biking, climbing, yoga—and should be in every woman's dresser. And sure, you could opt for the $20 per pair option available most places. But at Walmart, pick up a two-pack (I repeat: TWO-PACK!) for $10. Same quality, same support, same style—better price.

The little black legging has become as much of a staple as the little black dress—but a good pair can run you nearly the same price. Cue Danskin Now. While the fabric isn’t as high-tech as your pair of Lucy’s (it’s cotton, spandex), these leggings have gotten more than 500 five-stars reviews from women of all ages on, with owners raving about their quality and durability, comfort and flattering fit.

Is anyone surprised? The big-box favorite is partnered with Champion—a time-trusted fitness brand that’s known for delivering on its quality, durability and price point. With options that start at swimwear and underwear and layer up until you’re ready to pound the pavement, Target is the ultimate one-stop shopping destination to get in shape—and take down your entire shopping list at the same time.

A serious, high-impact sports bra is hard to find for cheap—especially if you’re, ahem, well endowed. But with a back enclosure, supported adjustable straps and modesty padding (to name only a few features), Champion’s new High Impact Bra gets the highest marks from its wearers (many of whom rock Ds or larger).

Athletic underwear may feel like a luxury—but it shouldn’t. Champion delivers on soft-to-the-touch, moisture-wicking briefs that keep their shape and keep you supported.

“These are better than Lululemon shorts!” reviewers everywhere rave. In assorted colors, with built-in running underwear and a back zippered pocket, there’s no reason not to pick up a pair…or four.