Vancouver-based sportswear brand Reigning Champ does one thing extremely well: Make hard-working sweats that are too nice to be worn exclusively at the gym. Unlike many similar lines, Reigning Champ develops its own fabrics, collaborating with mills to create signature knits with specific qualities in mind, such as softness, strength, durability, and flexibility.
The Core Program comprises the brand’s five most popular styles, including crewneck sweatshirts, shorts, pants, and short-sleeve tees. Made in Canada of mid-weight, 100 percent cotton terry twill with a soft hand, these basics are available year-round in heather gray, navy, and black. By our estimation, this is the classic gym stuff of dreams: The clothes would look right in a ‘Rocky’ montage.
In addition to flattering cuts, Reigning Champ stands out for hiding thoughtful engineering details within its garments, such as flatlocked seams (a stitching process that creates a strong, literally “locked down” seam) and double-layer ribbed gussets in areas that call for reinforcement, such as the sides of sweatshirts and the crotch (don’t worry, the effect is subtle when the pants are worn).
While the Core Program is a safe bet, you’ll want to experiment with other Reigning Champ fabrics depending on the season, such as the marled, retro-look tiger fleece, lightweight terry, dense Polartec thermal, and winter-ready heavyweight slub fleece. This might be our new favorite: It’s tightly woven to make an all-cotton garment with little to no stretch – crucial if you’re looking for a sweatshirt that won’t give out at the cuffs and neckline after a few washes. [Heavyweight crewneck, $129; reigningchamp.com]