The 13 Best Activewear Pieces, According to Professional Ballerinas

The 13 Best Activewear Pieces, According to Ballerinas


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Their movements may look effortlessly graceful from the mezzanine, but ballet dancers are some of the most hard-core athletes in the world—training and performing for up to six hours a day. In fact, most traditional athletes "train in phases and work towards peaks," Sara Matthews, the director of the Central School of Ballet, once said in an interview. "As a dancer, you are pretty much performing throughout the year."

If anyone is going to be picky about the performance of their workout gear, it's ballerinas. So we decided to do some research to find out professional ballet dancers' current favorite activewear pieces. Want to see the leggings, sports bras, sneakers, and more that ballerinas like Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston swear by? Just keep scrolling.

1. Alo Yoga Amelia Luxe Long Sleeve Crop

Sassy Gregson-Williams, a ballerina and the founder of the online workout studio, app, and recipe platform Naturally Sassy, likes tops that have a built-in bra for extra support. The particular wrap top she recommended to us is now sold out, but here's similar one.

2. Lululemon Ease of It All Jumpsuit

In fall 2018, Lululemon teamed up with principal dancer Francesca Hayward of the Royal Ballet in London to create a collection of "studio-to-street" activewear, and one of the key pieces was an ultra-soft, breathable jumpsuit is one of the key pieces. "The feel, it's amazing against my skin," Hayward told Elle UK. "And I love the colors, too. That was my problem with dancewear before. … They were pink and flowery, and so stereotypical. I just think let's move forward and not be so old-fashioned. I don't need to be a pink ballerina."

Since it was a limited-edition collection, the jumpsuit is now sold out, but here's another option from Lululemon.

3. APL TechLoom Breeze Mesh Sneakers

Gregson-Williams calls these trainers her favorite sneakers to date because not only are they streamlined and stylish, but they're also ultra-lightweight and bendy. "Having been used to wearing a thin ballet slipper for most of my life, I like being able to have good flexibility through the foot," she says, "and these shoes give that to me."

4. Zella Live in High Waist Leggings

Everyone loves a good pair of sweat-wicking leggings, right? Zella's are so comfortable and easy to move in.

Ballet Shoes


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5. ToeSox Grip Pilates Barre Socks

"I love ToeSox because they keep my feet warm during the cold months," says Jacqueline Hinton, a freelance ballet dancer in Los Angeles. "Plus, they keep me from slipping in Pilates and yoga."

6. Outdoor Voices Doing Things Bra

Longline bras are great to wear because they cut out any extra layers when you might normally wear a top and a sports bra. This one is stretchy and supportive.

7. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Running Shoe

When she isn't dancing, Isabella Boylston, a principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre, can almost always be found in a leotard, shorts, and Nike sneakers. "I dress more for comfort because I have to take care of my body, and a lot of times I'll be dealing with injuries," she told Who What Wear in an interview last year. Nike sneaks are her favorites for both comfort and style.

Ballet Moves


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8. Alo Yoga Highline Lace-Up Performance Leggings

"These leggings remind me of pointe shoelaces with their intricate and eye-catching side detail," says Gregson-Williams. "They are extremely flattering, and beyond style, they’re very comfortable too."

9. Good Citizen Personal Pilates Loops

Reformer Pilates is one of Hinton's favorite ways to cross-train, and she loves being able to bring her own hand-and-foot loops to her studio. "I love these loops because I don’t have to share the communal Pilates loops at the Pilates studio anymore," she says, "and they are really cute too!"

10. Lululemon Energy Bra

Gregson-Williams swears by this chic Lululemon bra for the proper fit and support she needs while dancing. "I've always struggled to find a bra that fits well," she says. "I'm very narrow with a full chest, and that doesn't often bode well in finding bras that fit and support. The Lululemon energy bra has become my go-to with very simple matte colors and a pretty interlaced back. Simple and supportive."

Ballet on Street


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11. FlipBelt Original

"Fashionable, maybe not," says Gregson-Williams, "but my FlipBelt might be one of my most used workout accessories." The product sits on your hips and can fit your phone, keys, wallet, or whatever else you might need to on your person while you work out. Gregson-Williams got hers on Amazon on a whim and "would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat."

12. Adidas Alphabounce

These are Hinton's favorite sneakers because "they are so light but very supportive for cross training." Not to mention affordable.

Lacing Up Ballet Shoes


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13. Athleta Mindset Sweatshirt

Misty Copeland is never found warming up without a loose-fit sweater, and when she created a line for Under Armour she made sure there was one included and called it her signature. It's no longer available, but this similar sweater will get the job done.

More Ballet-Inspired Activewear Pieces

The cinching detail is so unique on this sports bra, and adds some unexpected breathability.

These super-soft leggings are designed for yoga and other low-impact exercises.

Having an extra layer for pre- and post-workout is a good call.

The v-neck bra is soft and supportive and features a racerback detail.

These may look like your average leggings until you spot the scalloped detail.

Wear this tank to class and any other post-workout activities.

Here's another comfy layer option. The cropped fit makes it more fun.

Next up: These Are the 20 Best Sports Bras for Running, Hands Down

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.