Can I Use Workout Clothes for Swimming?

You’ve probably seen people at the gym wearing workout clothes in the pool and wondered, “Can I use workout clothes for swimming?” The quick answer is: yes and no. It depends on the type of workout clothes and the type of swimming. Here’s a more detailed explanation.


You may be wondering if you can use your regular workout clothes for swimming. After all, it’s convenient to not have to buy an additional wardrobe for a different activity. While there are some circumstances in which you may be able to wear your everyday exercise gear in the pool, more often than not it’s best to purchase a proper swimsuit. Let’s explore this in more detail.

Benefits of using workout clothes for swimming

Using your workout clothes to go swimming can have benefits that may be appealing for some people. Workout clothes can be easier to change into and out of, as they are often designed with more flexible fabrics and are typically made of quick-drying materials. Additionally, the snug fit that these types of clothing often offer can provide more security when swimming. It is important to note, however, that these clothes may not give you the same level of protection in cold water or for longer periods of time than specialized swimwear does. Make sure to keep safety in mind when making your decision as to what type of clothing you will need for each particular situation.

Types of Workout Clothes

There are many different types of workout clothes available in the market that you can use for swimming. From easy-drying quick-dry materials to water-resistant fabrics and more, you can find a wide range of workout clothes that are suitable for swimming. This article will explore different types of workout clothes and their pros and cons to help you pick the right type for your swimming needs.

Compression Shorts

Compression shorts are a popular choice while swimming because they provide a snug, secure fit that holds your body in place during aquatic exercises. Compression shorts are typically made from chlorine-resistant material such as polyester or Lycra that is lightweight and quick drying. The snug fitting design provides extra support for your muscles during strenuous activities, reducing the risk of injury. Aside from swimming, many athletes use compression shorts for running, tennis, cycling and yoga to help reduce fatigue and enhance performance.


Leggings are the ideal choice for a wide range of physical activities. Acting as a second skin, leggings allow for full range of motion and ease of movement during workouts, while providing compression and support in key areas. Made with sweat-wicking technical fabrics, they’ll help keep you cool and comfortable by moving perspiration away from your skin. Leggings are available in solid colors, prints and quality fabrics like Lycra jersey or cotton blended with spandex. For swimming activities, look for leggings made from chlorine-resistant material to extend their life span.

Tank Tops

Tank tops are the perfect choice for a number of workout options and occasions. Typical tank top styles include sleeveless, racer-back and spaghetti straps which provide you with comfortable coverage that is also stylish. They are often less bulky than T-shirts and can also be layered easily as temperatures change.

The top material is typically a breathable synthetic blend such as Lycra or spandex that helps keep you dry and cool throughout your activity. Some materials are specially designed to wick away moisture, helping to keep you dry throughout your workout. The variety in cuts, patterns and colors mean that there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Tank tops make great choices for indoor activities, including yoga and spinning classes, as well as outdoor activities in warm weather like running or hiking. They can also be used while swimming, although you should always make sure they are made of chlorine-resistant materials such as polyester or nylon; it’s best to avoid cotton tanks when going for a swim. Depending on the design of the tank top, it could even serve double duty as a post-workout cover up!


If you’re considering using your regular workout clothes for swimming, there are a few things to take into account. It’s important to think about the material you’re wearing, the weather conditions, and the type of activity you’ll be doing. It’s also important to consider how these clothes will fit in the water and if they’ll be too heavy or too light. Let’s dive into the considerations in more detail.

Chlorine Resistance

Chlorine resistance is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a swimsuit or swimming apparel. Chlorine is used in most public pools to disinfect the water and keep it free of bacteria and other contaminants. As chlorine breaks down, it forms compounds called chloramines, which can irritate your skin and may even damage the fabric of swimwear over time. In general, adjustable, fade-resistant fabrics such as polyester spandex and nylon spandex blends are best for swimming because they are more resistant to chlorine than other materials. Look for items that explicitly note “chlorine-resistant” or “ultimate chlorine resistance” when shopping for your swimming wardrobe. Additionally, avoid materials such as cotton and rayon-cotton mixes – these will not hold up in heavily chlorinated water for a very long time.


Comfort should be your number one priority when it comes to choosing the right clothing for swimming. Swimwear should fit comfortably and snugly, allowing full range of motion when in the water. Workout clothes are often looser fitting than swimwear and can shift or restrict movement when wet. If you find that for whatever reason, you must wear your workout clothes for swimming exercises, look for material that is lightweight and quick-drying, offering maximum comfort and flexibility. Cotton fabrics may become heavy from absorbing too much water during a swim. In addition, avoid garments with thick seams or putting tight drawstrings on clothing that could become bothersome during vigorous activity underwater.


When selecting workout clothing for swimming, breathability should be a major consideration. When shopping for workout clothes to wear in the pool, look for fabrics with water-repellent technology that also provide high levels of ventilation and breathability. These technologies will help release extra heat and moisture efficiently while still keeping you snug and warm in colder temperatures. Additionally, fabrics should have a soft inner lining and mesh panels to allow maximum breathability while swimming. Many different materials exist on the market that incorporate these features, so make sure you find something that best suits your needs.

Care and Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your workout clothes for swimming, there are a few important steps you should take to ensure that the clothes stay in good condition and last long. Taking proper care of your workout clothes is important because they are often made out of fabrics that are moisture wicking, breathable, and durable. Maintaining your workout clothes properly will also ensure that they will remain comfortable and functional after frequent swims. Let’s dive into the details of proper care and maintenance of your workout clothes for swimming.

Rinse in cold water immediately after use

It is important to rinse your workout clothes in cold water immediately after use to remove any sweat, makeup, or chlorine present on the garment. This will help to minimize any stretching or shrinking of the fabric as well as fading. If there are any visible stains, you should pre-treat them with a one-to-one solution of warm water and white vinegar before washing. Once pre-treated, allow the garment to air dry away from direct sunlight if possible. Once completely dry, place your garment in a washing machine using the proper setting for synthetic fabrics and add detergent according to instructions. Avoid using bleach and fabric softeners as these can harm your fabrics and reduce their lifetime. After washing, make sure to air dry your garments away from direct heat sources like radiators and open windows for best performance and looks. Following these simple instructions will help ensure that you get the most out of your workout clothes and keep them looking their best for longer!

Hang dry

After swimming or sweating it out during exercise, it’s time to hang up your workout clothes to dry. This is an essential step in the care and maintenance of your sports gear. When hanging clothing, do not bunch fabric together or twist at the waist or leg; these activities can cause them to lose their shape or affect the stretchiness of certain fabrics. Hang items by looping one arm through each item’s hanger (the straps used for the waist and neck along with zippers) then pinning in place with two pins—one for each arm loop—so that the weight of the clothing does not stretch out its elasticity. Clothing pieces should also be hung separately rather than on top of each other in order to avoid bunching up as they dry. The best way to ensure that clothes are evenly dried is to try not to hang them close together, as this will create stiffness where pieces overlap once dry. Additionally, some materials may require a “fluff” cycle on a low heat setting if they still seem damp after hanging, otherwise they may become stiff and uncomfortable once completely dry. Hang drying your workout gear will help keep your individual pieces looking their best and lasting longer too!

Do not use fabric softener

When caring for your swimming garments, it is important to follow laundry instructions as noted on the clothing label. Many swimwear fabrics are manufactured from either nylon or Lycra, combined with a durable material such as elastane and together create a fabric blend that is resistant to chlorine. To keep the swimwear material in good condition, use a detergent that does not contain bleach when washing. Additionally, always rinse chlorine out of your garments immediately after swimming and do not use fabric softener with them.

Fabric softener can weaken the lycra and elastane materials used in your swimwear, decreasing the garment’s resistance to chlorine over time, potentially leading to discoloration or tearing of the fabric. Additionally, pool chemicals interact with detergents best when this product is absent. To ensure longevity of your swim gear and help preserve its shape and elasticity, it is recommended that you hang dry your gear after every use. Never machine dry since high temperatures can cause damage to delicate materials in swimming apparel like Lycra or spandex.


If you don’t have a swimsuit, you might be wondering if it’s safe to wear your ordinary workout clothes while swimming. While it is likely possible to do so in some cases, it’s not without risks. A better option is to look for alternatives, such as swimwear specifically made for swimming, rash guards, and wetsuits. In this article, we’ll discuss the different alternatives you can use when swimming.


Swimsuits are specially designed clothes that are meant to be used for water based activities like swimming, tubing, and water skiing. They come in a variety of styles and materials depending on your needs. Traditional swimsuits that were made decades ago were usually made of wool or canvas. Today, modern materials such as spandex and polyester offer lightweight comfort and UV protection. You’ll also find swimwear designed with a variety of fit, coverage, and special performance features including chlorine resistance, sun protection, lifeguard-tested endurance fabrics, hydronamic and quick-dry technology. When shopping for a swimsuit, be sure to take into account how often you plan on using the suit and what environment you’ll be swimming in. Olympic swimmers typically require suits made with spandex or polyester blends that feature drag-reducing panels while leisure swimmers may opt for shorts or tankinis made from cotton if they won’t be spending any time outside the pool.

Rash Guards

Rash guards are specialized garments that are designed to protect swimmers from the hazards of swimming in unsanitary or overly chlorinated waters. They will keep a swimmer’s skin from chafing, and help avoid painful rashes. These garments are very lightweight, typically made of polyester or Lycra/Spandex fabric, and often have long sleeves for extra protection. Rash guards should not be confused with wetsuits which are made of rubber neoprene and not suitable for swimming in a pool.

For those looking for an alternative to wearing a swimsuit while swimming laps, rash guards provide the best fit and comfort. They also offer some advantages over traditional swimsuits such as superior flexibility while swimming and resistance against water-based debris like seaweed, sand or jellyfish stings. Furthermore, rash guards come in both men’s and women’s sizes so that they can fit every body type comfortably. This makes them much more suitable than workout clothes which may not be designed for water activities.

Board Shorts

Board shorts are an essential item for recreational water sports, and they’re becoming increasingly popular for swimming as well. Board shorts are generally made out of synthetic materials that dry quickly and provide sun protection when you’re spending time outdoors. Some board shorts have mesh linings, which makes them especially comfortable in the water and also helps to reduce drag. Most board shorts feature pockets and drawstrings so you can easily adjust the fit to your preferred level of comfort. For those with a more outgoing style, there are many varieties of printed board shorts available. While they may not be quite as durable or streamlined as swimsuits designed specifically for swimming, board shorts are versatile and offer the right combination of comfort, coverage, support and style.

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