A Complete Guide on What To Wear To Gymnastics

gymnast wearing a leotard outfit

Wondering what to wear to gymnastics? We’ve got you covered as your child embarks on their gymnastics journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and recommendations on selecting what to wear to gymnastics, from leotards and shorts to scrunchies and accessories.

Get ready to dress your budding gymnasts for success and make their gymnastics experience even more enjoyable.

Outfits for Gymnastics

Depending on your child’s age and level, the outfit they need for gymnastics will change and evolve. Read on for a what to wear guide for each age group.

what to wear to gymnastics guide

What Should Toddler Gymnasts Wear to Class?

Most toddlers wear either a Biketard or Unitard to gymnastics because they provide more coverage around the legs and hips. They are a one-piece garment that combines the leotard and shorts together. Most leotard companies also sell leotards in toddler sizes if you prefer the more traditional option.

Girls with long hair tie it up in a pony tail or bun so that it doesn’t cover their eyes or get caught on the equipment.

toddlers gymnastics outfit

All gymnasts, including toddlers, practice gymnastics barefoot. If you daughter has long hair make sure it’s pulled back so it doesn’t cover the face during class.

Best Gymnastics Outfits for Toddlers

Toddler Boys

Boys at this age usually wear a t-shirt and shorts but it is possible to wear a male leotard as a toddler if desired.

Gymnastics Attire for Young Beginners

beginner gymnastics outfit


If your child is aged 5 to 10 when they first start gymnastics, they will usually be expected to wear a leotard. Some older girls prefer to wear shorts over the leotard as they provide more coverage. Unitards are less common with older gymnasts compared to toddlers.


Gymnastics classes are done barefoot at all ages so you won’t need to worry about any shoes. There are specialist gymnastics shoes available to buy online but these tend to be worn by competitive gymnasts, not those at their first class.


Jewelry, watches, necklaces and earrings must be removed as they can easily get damaged or worse still get caught on the equipment. Some gyms allow for stud earrings to be kept in so it’s worth checking this point with the facility beforehand. This can be an issue if a gymnast has only recently had their ears pierced and has been told not to remove them.

Best Gymnastics Outfits for Beginners

beginners gymnastics leotardJesKids Leotard and
Matching Shorts
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GK Stars LeotardCheck the Latest Price
Destira Tidal Wave LeotardCheck the Latest Price

Gymnastics Leotards for Teens

As gymnasts get older they start to look for a more mature look whilst still being able to express themselves. These best picks for teens do both!

Destira Northern Lights

Destira is known for making bold and colorful leotards that stand out from the crowd. The ‘Northern Lights’ leotard is not the brightest or boldest in the range but definitely creates a more mature appearance.

destira northern lights for teens

From experience coaching gymnasts in Destira leotards, they fit extremely well and the fabric is smooth and stretchy. This particular leotard has a split in the back which also helps teen gymnasts reach the full range of motion in their upper body. Gymnasts often comment that this helps them stay cool as well.

Destira Lemon Drop

destira lemon drop for teens

Destira offers sizes up to Large Adults which is ideal for teens of all ages and sizes. Although Destira tends to be a little bit more expensive than GK (the Visionary Leotard costs around $45 – $50) they do run sales and discounts regularly.

Amazon Leotards for Teens

amazon leotard teen

If you’re looking for something on a lower budget for your teen gymnast then Amazon has a few good options. The older your teen gets, the less selection there is but we have found this excellent option for around $15.

It has plenty of fun and sparkle whilst also looking smart and sophisticated for teenage gymnasts. The option shown is White Blue but there are 15 color options in total on Amazon. However, not all colors are available in bigger sizes. The White Blue is available for up to 15 – 16 years old but check the size chart carefully as Amazon leotard brands will size differently to other brands such as Destira or GK.

Obersee Turquoise Waves

Obersee is less well-known than GK or Destira but produces excellent premium-quality gymnastics leotards.

obersee turquoise waves leo for teens

The Turquoise Waves leotard is a traditional scoop neck choice that looks and feels great. The shimmer effect of the lower part of the leotard really stands out and will help any teen gymnast feel super confident in the gym.

The superior quality of the fabric means an Obersee leotard will set you back anywhere between $50 – $60 but if you’re looking for something that’s durable and will last, its an ideal choice.

What to Wear to Gymnastics Besides a Leotard

Some gyms will allow for a t-shirt to be worn instead of a leotard at beginner and recreational classes. You’ll want to avoid baggy clothing as this can get caught on apparatus and make it difficult for a coach to support you.

boys gymnastics outfit

Boys are usually less pressured to wear leotards at beginner classes and they would be expected to wear a not-too-baggy t-shirt and shorts.

A leotard is recommended because it is tight-fitting and coaches can spot your full range of movement and physically support a gymnast when needed. If you are looking to wear something besides a leotard, you will need to choose something that still has those same qualities as a leotard.


A Biketard (also called unitard) is a good alternative option to a leotard as it can be more comfortable, especially for younger children. It has the leotard and shorts all in one garment so it provides more leg coverage and tends not to ride up so much.

The GK Cheetah Biketard pictured above is great value at around $17 on Amazon.

Tight-fitting crop tops are a popular choice as an alternative to a leotard but apart from that, there isn’t much to choose from. For boys, there’s not really much alternative at all! If your facility is OK with t-shirts then that’s great, if not it will probably have to be a leotard.

Are gymnastics leotards comfortable?

At first, leotards can be uncomfortable as they take getting used to. The most common issue is when a leotard rides up the leg – no one likes a wedgie!

There are also differences in fit and style from brand to brand. Generally speaking, the more established brands provide the best quality in these areas but there is also an element of personal choice. So if your gymnast is comfortable with a particular brand, I would recommend sticking with them.

Some of the best-known gymnastic leotard brands include:

Gymnasts often say that competition leotards are less comfy and this can be for a number of reasons. In competitions, judges will mark down a gymnast if their leotard is ill-fitting or they have undergarments showing so they have to be tighter. Some competition leotards have long sleeves because they look more professional and most coaches believe that this will score better (even if it’s not officially written in a code of points).

Can you wear leggings to gymnastics?

Most gym facilities will be happy for you to wear leggings, especially at a beginner or recreational level class. They are skin-tight so there’s no risk of them getting caught on anything. Because they are tight-fitting it also allows the coaches to spot when your legs are bent or straight which is very important.

Leggings also allow for bare feet to show which is essential in gymnastics. Tights on the other hand are not suitable because they cover the whole foot. A lot of gymnasts prefer to wear leggings in training as they cover more than shorts do.

Often at competitions, gymnasts would not be allowed to wear leggings or shorts but at training, it’s not usually an issue.

destira leotard and shorts set

Use HAPPY15 for a 15% discount at Destira

Can you wear glasses in gymnastics?

Yes, glasses can be worn in gymnastics! Morgan Hurd is a great example of a gymnast who wears glasses even during high-level competitions like the world championships!

For some gymnasts wearing contacts is not a good option due to their age. Contacts can also pick up pieces of dirt or even chalk which is used to give extra grip to the hands in gymnastics, so glasses can be a better option.

The Best Glasses for Gymnastics

Glasses are often worn with a strap to keep them in place. Straps can be bought easily on Amazon and fitted onto glasses that you already own. Or there is the option to buy a new set with a replaceable lens.

It is super important that a gymnast can see properly so a good coach would never advise a gymnast with poor eyesight to take their glasses off if they need them!

Should you wear shoes for gymnastics?

No, gymnastics is practiced barefoot. So if you are planning to start regular indoor gymnastics classes, you will not need shoes.

Even socks are a bad idea in gymnastics as they slip on the floor surfaces and mats.

There is such a thing as gymnastics shoes which are basically really tight-fitting slippers with grips on the sole. They are similar to socks used at Trampoline Parks but made with much more durable material. In beginner classes, not many gymnasts tend to wear gym shoes but they are more common in competitive gymnasts.

milano gymnastics shoes

They are a good idea as they are more hygienic and they still allow for a full range of motion in the foot whereas a traditional shoe has a harder sole and prevents the foot from pointing properly.

Why Are Gymnasts Barefoot?

Gymnastics is unusual compared to most sports because gymnasts usually compete barefoot. Shoes restrict the natural movement of the foot especially the ability to point toes which is a key movement for gymnasts.

Being barefoot indoors is not a problem and the extra grip and stability that bare feet provide are essential.

barefoot gymnast

The flat bottom surface of regular shoes might provide extra comfort when running or landing but the rigid surface won’t allow gymnasts to perform skills as efficiently.

The added weight affects the ability to flip, rotate or even hold advanced body shapes like Planche.

Gymnasts also like to feel the equipment they are using with their feet. Gymnastics equipment is made from surfaces such as carpet (floor exercise), suede (balance beam) and soft landing mats all of which are comfortable to land on barefoot.

Where can I buy a leotard for gymnastics?

If you are looking for a good quality leotard that is good value for money I would recommend Amazon. There are some great brands that sell on Amazon including:

You can also buy gymnastics leotards online from well-known brands such as Destira or Obersee.

The GK Stars leotard from GK Elite is great value

The other great place to find a leotard is the Pro Shop at the gym itself! Most facilities will stock both training and competition leotards and the advantage is you can try them on before you buy. However, you will probably pay more than if you purchase online at somewhere like Amazon.

Final Thought

Gymnastics kit for beginners is really straightforward and relatively low cost which is great as tuition fees can be expensive! The main thing is that your child feels comfortable and if in doubt about anything check with your specific facility in advance. Have fun!


Can you wear earrings in gymnastics?

Most gym facilities will have a no-earring policy but some may allow for small studs to be worn. Anything bigger than a stud could get caught on equipment or a coach when supporting. This is a rule that you should definitely check out with your specific facility as they will have their own policies.

Can you wear acrylic nails at gymnastics?

Do not wear acrylic nails to gymnastics as they can scratch a coach or other gymnasts during training. Fingernails and toenails should be kept short for the exact same reason.

For recreational gymnasts, wearing nail polish is not usually a problem however if you are going to a competition you may get deducted points. You will need to check with your coach and read the competition rules very carefully before going to a competition with nail polish.

Can you wear a swimsuit to gymnastics?

Yes, swimsuits can be worn as they are skin-tight and made from a similar material to gymnastics leotards, though they end to be slightly thinner. As long as they are comfortable for the gymnast a swimsuit can work well.

Can you wear a ballet leotard to gymnastics?

Yes, ballet leotards can be worn for the same reason as a swimsuit. However, wearing a ballet skirt is not suitable as it can get caught on equipment. Ballet tights are not suitable either as gymnasts need to be barefoot and tights will cover the whole foot increasing the chance of slipping. But the ballet leotard with either shorts or leggings would be ideal.

Just double-check with your specific gym facility that they are OK with ballet leotards or swimsuits as each club may have its own specific requirements but generally speaking, both should be fine.