There’s no more important item of clothing in a guy’s closet than some good ol’ sweats. And with the weather cooling off a bit, now’s the time to start looking for that next great sweatshirt to train in, just lounge around in, or even head out on the town in.
The world of sweats is a vast one. You might think they all look the same, but they don’t wear the same. Quality, comfort, fit, style, and functionality can vary dramatically from one brand to another. From crewnecks to oversized to sleeveless hoodies, here’s a quick and easy guide to our favorite sweats.
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TODD SNYDER + CHAMPION MIDWEIGHT POCKET SWEATSHIRT
When looking for a go-to sweatshirt, you have an abundance of options — too many, really. Big-box stores, mom-and-pops, online retailers, and high-end boutiques all sell sweatshirts, ranging anywhere from $10 to a few hundred.
As with most things, when it comes to comfort, durability, and overall coolness in a sweatshirt, you get what you pay for. The value sweet spot here seems to be somewhere around $100-$150 — and in this range, New York designer Todd Snyder is always a top pick.
This particular one is a co-branded effort with sweatshirt icon Champion. It’s soft and insanely comfortable (thanks to the French terry cloth), has a non-frumpy tailored fit, and is built to last. It has some serious Rocky Balboa nostalgia going for it (particularly in the gray color), but it can also double as a casual sweater if you need it to (particularly in black or navy).
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AMERICAN GIANT CLASSIC FULL ZIP HOODIE
This 100% combed ringspun cotton, tailor-fitted hoodie is a modern classic. Other sweatshirts may be softer than this one, but very few will last as long. One M&F staffer has worn a Classic Full Zip for over four years and it still feels good as new, if not better due to break-in. The zipper is great for those who get tired of pulling over a hoodie.
Purchase: $118 at American-Giant.com; available in 9 colors.
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BEAST BEHAVIOR BLACK & GRAY ‘YEAR OF THE BEAST’ HOODIE
With a lion emblazoned on the front, you can’t go wrong with this 60% combed ring-spun cotton, 40% polyester blend hoodie. Its athletic cut provides a form fit for those with muscular physiques. Just because it’s fall or winter doesn’t mean you can’t show off the physique, right?
Purchase: $48 at BeastBehavior.com.
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BROOKS NOTCH THERMAL HOODIE
Look cool while staying warm with this new release from this running performance powerhouse. This warm and fitted hoodie is sweat resistant, keeping you dry while you’re running sprints on the track or long distances along the trails. It’s odor resistant (which is good news for both you and your running partner), and also comes with a convenient arm pocket to store keys and cash.
Purchase: $90 at Brooksrunning.com
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HYLETE FLEXION II JACKET
Hylete keeps raising the bar when it comes to performance outerwear, and this perfectly tailored jacket adds the perfect layer of comfort and flexibility you’ll need during these cooler training sessions. The Flexion II features top-notch temperature regulation technical fabric that breathes while you moving heavy things in the weightroom or pushing yourself to the max in the park for an outdoor sweat session.
Purchase: $118 at Hylete.com
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QUIKSILVER CHECKER ARCH ORGANIC HOODIE $65
Normally known as the brand for surfers and skateboarders, this surprisingly comfortable and functional hoodie can transition into a quality training hoodie or a post-workout fashion statement when the workout is done. It’s made from organic cotton, so it’s good for the environment, and a drop shoulder fit allows you allows you a little extra room during “bulking season.”
Purchase: $65 at Quiksilver.com
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ALO HIGHLINE HOODIE
Don’t get fooled by Alo’s reputation as strictly yoga apparel — these hoodies are perfectly equipped to go from Namaste to leg day. Solidly built and comfortable to wear — made from soft yet solid French terry — the Highline Hoodie is tough enough for all-out training and stylish enough for all-night fun.
Purchase: $118 at aloyoga.com
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MEN’S PROJECT ROCK TERRY SHORT SLEEVE HOODIE
Who rocks the short-sleeve hooded sweatshirt better than The Rock? No one, that’s who. Dwayne Johnson and Under Armour have been offering high-quality yet affordable training gear for years, featuring the M&F icon’s “Brahma Bull” and “Iron Paradise” trademarks.
This hoodie is lightweight French terry with good stretchability (meaning, you can train in it) and offers convenient open hand pockets just above the waist. It’s functional, comfortable, and as cool as The Rock himself.
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NOBULL MEN’S MICROPLUSH SLEEVELESS HOODIE
NOBULL make serious trainer gear for guys (and gals) who train hard. If you’ve got some guns and want to show them, this is your hoodie. The microfiber interior makes it comfortable and warm, and the polyester/Tencel/Spandex material offers great elasticity for any workout.
Purchase: $84 at NOBULL.com; available in 5 colors.
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CONTENDERS CLOTHING ‘BALBOA’ ZIP HOODIE
This lifestyle brand prides itself on designing clothing to show you’re ready to compete, no matter what life throws at you — just like the Italian Stallion in this fashion homage to the screen legend. This stylish, durable, and budget-friendly hoodie comes in an oatmeal color, but if Rocky isn’t your preference, there’s a “Top Gun” design landing for you Maverick fans as well.
Purchase: Available Nov. 1, $56 at Contendersclothing.com.
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