There are a growing number of homegrown UAE fitness-wear brands to turn to these days, each featuring trendy, ethical and performance-focused pieces perfectly suited to the balmy local climate and its thriving fitness scene.
Indeed, choosing regional labels is an easy way of shopping more sustainably, supporting the nation’s small businesses, and gaining a sizzling, comfy and versatile new exercise wardrobe in the process.
Check out Livehealthy’s favorite UAE-founded fitness brands to work up a sweat in.
Satisfying the UAE’s relatively new enthusiasm for high-octane cycling, Empty Roads specializes in swish and professional sustainable biking gear. In order to avoid overproduction, it only makes 100 of each limited-edition piece, and every item is crafted from upcycled polyester fabric. As well as recycling the equivalent of 11 plastic water bottles for every jersey, the packaging is also recycled and it only uses processes that are water efficient and fueled by renewable energy. Quick-drying and made to fit like a glove, the nation’s love for this ethical brand is growing almost as fast as its cycling community.
Founded by Barry’s Bootcamp instructor and competitive athlete Chris Vahanian, it’s easy to become enchanted by FIO Athletics’ dedication to fashion and the environment. The head-turning women’s Shine collection presents figure-hugging recycled polyester and spandex sets in pillar-box red, baby blue and other bold shades, while the oversized tees, crop tops and quality men’s tanks, tops and shorts look just as good in your local coffee shop as they do in the gym. Again, the packaging is crafted from recycled materials, and $1 from every purchase is given to global development projects.
Meet the women-empowerment brand that’s on a mission to help every female feel happy and secure in their own skin. Focused on healthy mental health as well as physical fitness, its chic sets, tops, bras and leggings are designed to complement every body shape and help women feel unstoppable in all areas of life. It also stocks protein powders and herbal teas, and its attractive styles are sold at several local studios, including Seven Wellness in Abu Dhabi. One founder is a qualified yoga instructor and the other is a nutritional practitioner, so between them they boast a winning combination of knowledge and skills.
Gym Clothing Co
The brand that every Dubai fitness fanatic wants to be seen in, Gym Clothing Co creates active wear that’s just as glamorous and fashionable as its home city. Known as GCC, it’s run by three entrepreneurial expats who are fiercely proud of the empire’s Middle Eastern roots. Aiming to inspire athletes of all levels to perform at their best, the exceptionally pretty, quick drying and ultra-durable women’s sets are as Instagram-friendly as they come. Offering cuts to suit all body shapes, there’s also zero-bounce bras, stream-line running shorts and a slick men’s range that even spans hoodies and joggers. The very definition of style and substance, free delivery is included with every order of Dh150 or over.
Launched in 2022 by friends Dhbaya AlQubaisi and Shamma Almazrouei, PUSHED is already trending high with Abu Dhabi’s health-conscious crowd. Combining uplifting colors with durable materials, the small but thoughtfully curated selection encourages women to embrace their
‘curves, body and gains’. Made for strong and powerful females, the ‘squat-proof’ ombre leggings are exceptionally flattering, the sports bras provide unwavering support, and the power bands are guaranteed to take every glute move to the next level. The men’s range will be unveiled very soon, and it also plans to expand globally. Mark our words, PUSHED water bottles are about to become the hottest gym-class accessory in the Emirates
Founded by two fitness-mad Dubai professionals, SQUATWOLF delivers stylish and fashion-forward clothing that’s tough enough to withstand super-intense workouts and endless wears and washes. Made in consultation with local trainers and gym members, each urban-style and cutting-edge piece is made to enhance every kind of workout. Highlights of the new CODE Spring/Summer 22 collection include the on-trend cargo pants and casual draw-string women’s crop tops, while the quirky Golden Era range boasts a wonderful ‘80s-inspired theme. Offering plenty to delight yogis, runners and hikers alike, SQUATWOLF is an unbeatable force to be reckoned with.
The Giving Movement
One of the most iconic eco-friendly brands to come out of Dubai, The Giving Movement is renowned for its edgy styles and ethical practices. Committed to reducing its carbon output, it aims to inspire a new wave of ‘conscious consumerism’ and for every item sold it donates Dhs15 to children in need. Everything is made from either recycled materials or organic cotton, and whether you like your workout garb skin tight and elegant or baggy and comfy, there’s endless gorgeous men’s and women’s styles to choose from. This is far from average, quality stuff, that’s made to last.
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.