Getting All Worked Up

Boots and flannel work clothes have become the most popular attire among gym enthusiasts. Standard outfits for gyms, health clubs and fitness studios such as white sneakers or ballet shoes, thongs, leotards and sweat bands have been replaced by boots and wrestling shoes, sloppy clothes, bandanas, beret or caps for headgear and bellbottoms. Gym managers, however, lament the invasion of boots and flannel, saying these wreak havoc on their equipment.

Arnold Schwarzenegger would faint at the sight of combat boots, sandals, or denim in his gyms. Jane Fonda, decked out in the usual Lycra and hairspray in her newest video, would do the same.


Workout Equals Work Boots and Work Clothes

The 1980s version of the health club, fitness studio, or gym attire was once a form of fashion inspiration. Remember all those gym wannabes driving their BMW’s to the local workout studio? Remember the bright white sneakers and way-too-tight Lycra outfits in supermarkets, malls and city streets? OMIGOSH!

Today, petroleum-based anything-wear is out, especially to work out at a cutting-edge gym like Crunch. “We have an anti-Spandex attitude here,” said member Jason Daniel Laino, 19, a New York University student of dance and acting. Crunch’s Elizabeth Story, a 26-year old dance instructor and choreographer, agreed. “I work at another place that makes me wear Spandex and I hate it.”

The street, heavy with boot and flannel work fashion, has found its way onto sweat-ridden gym floors. “Workout equals work boots and work clothes. I don’t understand why anyone wants to be uncomfortable,” noted Laino, who said he frequently goes directly from a nightclub in the wee hours to the gym without bothering to change.

But fashion or not, Gina Makowski, the manager at the World Gym’s East Village Manhattan location, where a sign clearly prohibits boots, sandals, or denim, realized the impracticality of rivets from denim cut-offs ripping up the padded seats on machines. Too many out-of-order signs are costly.

Jason Warren, a personal trainer there, confirmed, however, that the popularity of work boots and work clothes does not go unnoticed. “I’ve never worn them but I see them in gyms a lot,” said Warren. “I think a lot of the sneaker brands are going to have to come up with a boot suitable for the gym real fast.”

John Rosado, another personal trainer at World Gym, said weight lifters should wear whatever is comfortable. “I wear sneakers because I’m comfortable in them, but for most people, technically, it doesn’t matter what’s on their feet.”

A few blocks north of World Gym at Molly Fox Fitness Studios, Susan Yanker pedaled away on an exercise bike. “I think the boots are a cool look but… since boots won’t work on a treadmill and high top sneakers work for weight lifting, and since I certainly don’t want to change shoes between exercises, I’m gonna stick with sneakers.”

2 exercises


* Boots and wrestling shoes
* Big, sloppy, relaxed clothing
* Bellbottoms
* Textures: thermal underwear and flannel
* Drill sergeant-like instructors
* White or any other off-color hair plus head gear (bandanas, berets, caps, etc…)
* Multiple body piercing, tattooing and body toning


* White sneakers and ballet shoes
* Spandex, Lycra, and thongs
* Danskin leotards
* Neon and florals
* Cute, Barbie-like instructors
* Big hair and sweat bands
* Big muscles and pumping iron

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