Leotards – the colourful pieces of fabric worn during training and competitions – are available in all shapes, sizes and colours. With so much to think about (brand, fit, shape, cut, fabric, sleeves, measurements, and more!) it’s easy to feel spoilt for choice and overwhelmed.
Beyond the design and patterns, it’s important to understand that leotards have been made with the purpose of enhancing a gymnast’s performance, protecting them while in motion, and showing off to the judges.
This is why it’s important for gymnasts and parents alike to know how to choose the right leotard.
Gym With Me founder Rosanna Trigg shares some tips on how to choose the perfect suit guaranteed to see your child through their trainings and meets!
When should I get a new leotard?
With proper care, leotards can last your children for years, until they grow out of them.
Another obvious sign it’s time to change is when the fabric starting sagging or becoming loose, causing it to lose its original shape and elasticity.
A loose leotard is not only unpresentable, it can also serve to distract a gymnast at training, potentially causing a threat to their safety. We don’t want loose fabric getting caught on equipment or distracting a gymnast while they are training!
Here are a few considerations before you make your next purchase:
Purpose: Is the leotard meant for competitive or recreational use?
The first step to buying your leotard would be to establish its purpose. An easy way to do this is to ask, is your child’s leotard to be worn for regular trainings, or will it be worn for competitions?
Practice leotards: These are appropriate for regular use and might be less flashy (but still designed well). Your son or daughter will wear a practice leotard like a second skin and feel 100% comfortable training every week or every day in their pieces.
Competitive leotards: These are more like the leotards you see on TV. They’re flashier, embellished (often) and are generally in a much newer condition so the gymnast can really show off to the judges! The design and fit should very much accent the athlete’s movements, allowing them to show their lines and muscle at every opportunity.
Your child’s leotards should not feel too tight, limit movement, breathing, or cause any discomfort. The leotard is also not a t-shirt, so it shouldn’t have any excess fabric.
As with most clothing, the sizes and fit of different leotard brands can vary. The best way to get around this is to get your child to try them on, or take very clear measurements when ordering online.
Gym With Me has our own gym store – the GWM Pro Shop – where we display our wide selection of leotards in various sizes in our gym. Students and parents are welcome to try them on before they proceed to purchase. Our friendly coaches will also be around to advise on the sizes and the designs in between classes!
Fabric and size
There are several types of fabrics to pick and choose from, some more popular than the others. Some common fabrics include lycra, nylon, spandex or metallic, and to choose what’s best for your gymnast, you will need to consider the purpose as mentioned earlier.
You’ll need to keep the type of fabric in mind when choosing a size, as well. The more metallic fabrics tend to have less stretch and can fall out of shape easier. They can also feel a bit tighter to wear. Lycra leotards, on the other hand, tend to wash and wear well and have a good amount of stretch to them, keeping them comfortable.
To view our selection of leotards, head on over to our GWM Pro Shop!