Spin Class: Tips on What to Wear
By Tara R. McKee
Here is a summary of what you’ll need for Spin Classes:
- Short-sleeve top made from moisture wicking fabric
- Well fitted shorts- padded bike shorts are best
- Comfortable stiff-soled shoes (for best results use cycling shoes)
- Water bottle
- Hand towel
- Cycling gloves (recommended but not required)
- Heart rate monitor
Like so many things in life, we know we have to dress for the occasion, or for the sport. Spin class is no different. You will feel more comfortable if you are in the right shoes and in clothing. You probably have everything to get you started in your closet now.
Moisture Wicking Shirt
To begin with, it’s hot and it’s humid, so you feel better in a short-sleeved or sleeveless top made of a technical fabric that will wick away moisture and keep you cool.
For your first classes, you’ll be fine with some well fitted shorts. Avoid shorts that might cause chaffing with lots of loose fabric and shun cotton shorts like the plague. To protect your butt, you can wear some padded briefs under your shorts.
Wear Appropriate Shoes
If you are new to spinning, you can wear some cross-training shoes that have a breathable, mesh top and use the spin bikes that have straps on the pedals. Make sure not to pull your laces so tight that your toes become numb after awhile.
Bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated and grab a hand towel to mop the sweat away!
Work Up to It
After awhile, you may enjoy spin class so much; you are going to want to dress the part so you can get the most out of it. To begin with, you’ll want to be more comfortable on the hard bike seat. You’ll be happier with some lightly padded cycling shorts that have a chamois crotch. That is just enough to keep you comfortable for the hour or so you are spinning. (You don’t need heavily padded or aerodynamic shorts here!) A note to newbies: nothing comes between you and your shorts—not your undies, and definitely not thongs! Wash them after every use. You can wear cycling gloves, if you like, but some people (like me) feel that you don’t need them for spin class.
To make the biggest change in going from good to great, you really want to get some cycling shoes. Cycling shoes will allow you to clip into the pedals to improve the power and form of your pedal stroke. Bonus: it will also decrease foot fatigue. It really is one of those things that once you try it, it’s hard to go back. Most people will use mountain biking shoes for their spin class shoes, which have recessed cleat or SPD (Shimano Pedal Design) and a rubberized sole for walking safety. But first check with your local gym to make sure they have SPD compatible pedals. (Save your shoes for class by wearing your cross-training shoes there. You can change into the cycling shoes once you get to the spinning room.)
Use a Heart Rate Monitor
Lastly, a heart rate monitor is one of the best tools to have in spin class to help you with your training. It is the best way to assess how hard you are working. The instructor will often tell you to try to get into a particular heart rate zone. As you learn how to use it, you’ll soon want it for road biking and running. It’s an amazingly useful device.
Enjoy your spin class!