workout gear
bonetta/istockphoto

Overpriced Workout Gear: 16 Items That Are a Waste of Money

View Slideshow
workout gear
bonetta/istockphoto

Physically and Fiscally Fit

Living a healthy lifestyle is important to many Americans. But at times it feels like a bragging contest — especially with the popularity of social media. Expensive activewear, matching sneakers, and pricey headphones get more attention than actually working out. Practical fitness enthusiasts — and those of us looking to get in shape, whether it's because of quarantine weight gain, preparing for beach season, or recovering from the holidays — can find cheaper alternatives to the pricey gear listed here.

Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy

Smart Water Bottle
Amazon

Smart Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important during workouts, but do you really need a water bottle that electronically tracks H2O intake? The Hidrate Spark smart water bottle ($60 on Amazon) uses flashing lights to show progress toward a daily goal. Instead, use any well-made, BPA-free bottle, which can be found for $10 to $15 — or even less. Just be sure to refill as often as necessary to get enough water before, during, and after exercise.

Related: We Tried 9 Water Flavorings and These Are the Best

toe shoes
Amazon

Toe Shoes

Studies have found that toe shoes — the kind shaped like a human foot — aren't actually more beneficial than conventional, round-toe sneakers. Vibram USA, creator of FiveFingers running shoes, settled a class action alleging it made false claims about the health benefits of its glove-like footwear. And considering a decent pair of athletic shoes can be found for as little as $40, there's little reason to opt for pricey toe shoes — some of which sell for more than $100.

Manduka Begin Yoga Mat
Amazon
Bluetooth Earbuds
Amazon

High-Performance Bluetooth Earbuds

Bluetooth earbuds are convenient for workouts, with no wires to get tangled and a design less likely drop out during burpees. It's hard to discern any difference in audio quality over the whir of a treadmill, though, and it would be a shame to leave expensive earbuds behind in a gym locker. A wide variety of Bluetooth earbuds with good reviews can be found on Amazon for less than $25.

Looking for more inexpensive alternatives? Check out these 13 Perfectly Good Wireless Earbuds That Are Way Cheaper Than AirPods.

Lululemon Athletica
Lululemon

Name-Brand Workout Tops

The Lululemon Athletica and Michi sportswear lines have been all the rage, but their tops also cost as much as $200 apiece. If you're not obsessed with the "athleisure" fad, opt for practical workout shirts available at bargain prices. Discount retailers such as Old Navy, Target, Kmart, and Walmart offer affordable, moisture-wicking tops and tanks without hefty price tags.

Louis Vuitton bag
evemilla/istockphoto

Designer Duffel

A gym bag carries the essentials: sneakers, workout clothes, a water bottle, and toiletries. Luxury brands sell duffels for more than $100, but gym-goers who toss their bags around and bring them everywhere should consider cheaper options. Adidas and Nike sell inexpensive duffels for about $20 to $35. Older styles can be found for less than $20 on discount sites such as 6pm.com and eBags. More important than high-fashion design are features such as water-resistant material and plenty of compartments.

designer sneakers
Maryna Terletska/istockphoto

This Year's Sneakers

Quality sneakers are crucial for workouts, because they support the feet and affect form and posture. But there's no need to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest and trendiest versions. Brand-name shoes with proper arch support in last year's colors and designs can found at a discount on many shoe sites. Also consider discount retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and outlet stores.

Adjustable Weights
Walmart

Adjustable Weights

Adjustable weights are convenient because you can buy only one set and change the weight as you please. They're not cheap, though. A Bowflex dumbbell that adjusts from 10 to 90 pounds sells for just under $175 at Walmart. Individual dumbbells are the more sensible choice for most people. Lighter ones (5 to 15 pounds) start at a few dollars each. A no-cost option is to do exercises that use your body weight for resistance.

Fitbit Band
Tory Burch

Fitbit Band

Fitbits are useful for tracking health stats and motivating users to work out, although you can't always trust the devices' accuracy and they often end up stuck in a drawer somewhere. All the more reason to stick with something basic. Good fitness trackers start at less than $60. Steer clear of branded Fitbit bracelets from the likes of Tory Burch that pump up the price without adding anything but style.

Home Training System
Amazon

Home Training System

Home training systems, such as Bowflex home gyms, Lynx Fitness boards, and Power Press push-up training systems from Maximum Fitness Gear, offer convenience at a steep price — and they may just wind up in a corner gathering dust. For every muscle group targeted by a special training system, there are calisthenics or body-weight movements that yield similar results. A few minutes of online research will generate plenty of free exercises to target the abs, arms, glutes, quads, and more.

NK1919
Amazon

Pricey Sports Bras

Some gym-goers sweat in sexy sports bras and crop tops rather than shirts. But luxury brands that feature details such as mesh, straps, zippers, and cut-outs can be overpriced — take the NK1919 model that will run you $200 — and often sacrifice function for fashion. Shoppers in need of support without extravagant pricing should check out brands such as C9 by Champion, Under Armour, and Jockey, which offer sports bras in a variety of fun styles and colors for $15 to $25.

Pilates Reformer Machine
yasindmrblk/istockphoto

Pilates Reformer Machine

Pilates reformer classes go for more than $30 a pop, so a reformer machine for use at home can be tempting. But even refurbished or preowned machines can cost hundreds of dollars. Save money by practicing with free online Pilates videos, which incorporate light dumbbells and stretch bands for resistance.

Designer Boxing Gloves
Neiman Marcus

Designer Boxing Gloves

No one needs Versace boxing gloves with an extravagant $3,275 price tag. Those who plan to take up the hobby rather than just show off the equipment can spend thousands less on the essentials. Gloves, hand wraps, and mitts from brands such as Title and Everlast can be found on Amazon and from sports retailers for about $15 to $20.

Luxury Punching Bag
Louis Vuitton

Luxury Punching Bag

For something heavy to hit with the boxing gloves, a punching bag may be a worthy investment. A limited-edition Louis Vuitton punching bag designed by Karl Lagerfeld was priced at about $175,000 — an amount that would require a mortgage for most people. Respected alternatives from brands such as Everlast and Ringside Boxing are available online for less than $60. Accessories for hanging the bag start at about $10.

High-Fashion Workout Leggings
Fendi

High-Fashion Workout Leggings

Leggings aren't just for exercise anymore. Many people work out, hang out at home, run errands, and even go to work in leggings. Luxury brands such as Fendi sell leggings for hundreds of dollars. But comfy leggings can be found for cheap, whether from a fast-fashion brand such as Forever 21 for just a few dollars or from a big-box retailer such as Walmart ($25 for two).

Kangoos
Amazon

Kangoos

These crazy-looking jumping shoes — running and working out in them is like being on a trampoline — cost between $120 and $300, not to mention the cost of buying a bag or belt to transport them. No matter the health benefit, the big question is whether you'll use them enough to warrant the initial expense, not to mention that it seems inevitable these high-impact devices will have to be repaired at some point.

Related: 20 Products in Your Garage That Are Waste of Space and Money