Leotards are unisex pieces of clothing worn by many different athletes, from gymnasts to figure skaters to dancers and more. One factor that sets gymnastics leotards apart is their material, as they’re made of velvet, velour, a nylon/spandex blend, or Lycra, and not cotton, unlike a lot of other types. They also have thick tank top straps or long sleeves, never any other length, and sit higher on the neck. Gymnastics leotards are generally more colorful and sparkly than many other athletes’ leotards (save figure skaters), as they’re often decorated with glitter, rhinestones, or even metallic designs. Unlike some figure skating or dancing leotards, a gymnastics leotard won’t have an attached skirt, ruffles, or frills, either. This is true for gymnasts of all levels and ages, including children. Here are some of the best leotards for kids who are gymnasts.
What to Consider in a Child’s Gymnastics Leotard
Here’s what to look into:
- Sleeve Length: As mentioned, a gymnastics leotard should have either long, wrist-length sleeves or thick tank top style straps. If a leotard has spaghetti straps or short sleeves, it isn’t considered a gymnastics leotard. Some gymnasts prefer the long-sleeved look because they find it makes their arms look longer and gives them a nicer “line” than a sleeveless leotard. Others like the sleeveless version because it allows for better airflow. Unless your child’s gym or competitions have specific standards, it all comes down to personal preference.
- Material: Since a gymnastics leotard will have to be washed after every use, a fabric that holds up to multiple washes is key. The more stretch a leotard has, the better, too. Metallic fabrics are shimmering and bright, which can find favor with judges in competitions, but they don’t stretch as well as some other materials and may be scratchy or itchy. Lycra is stretchy and comfortable, though it tends to not hold up to heavy decorations like rhinestones and appliqués. Nylon/spandex and polyester/spandex blends offer a sort of happy medium between metallic and Lycra in terms of give and comfort, though like Lycra, they often aren’t heavily decorated. Velvet and velour are very forgiving and can hold a lot of embellishments, but they’re also heavy fabrics that may make your child feel too hot and sweaty.
- Size: Gymnastics leotards are meant to be form-fitting and sleek, though not uncomfortably tight. If the leotard is too small, it’ll hinder your child’s movement and risk tearing. If your child’s leotard is too big, it’ll bunch around the hips or waist, which is not only uncomfortable for them but will lose points from judges in competitions. A loose leotard is also potentially dangerous, as it runs the risk of getting caught on equipment. If you plan to buy the leotard for training only, you can buy them a little big for your child to grow into; for competitions, you’ll want to make sure it fits them perfectly.
Best Long-Sleeved: HOZIY Gymnastics Leotard
If your child prefers a long-sleeved gymnastics leotard to a sleeveless one, this model is an excellent option. Made of polyester blended with spandex to give it extra stretch and comfort. This leotard is high in the front as lower in the back to provide your child with a little bit of extra breathability. Since it’s made mostly of polyester, this leotard can be washed by hand or by machine on a cold, delicate cycle, though it will need to be hung to dry either way. It will hold up well to multiple washes and won’t lose its shape, and it’s covered in anti-fading sparkles, so the leotard will maintain its color as well. This leotard is available in six sizes, starting with toddlers as young as two or three years old and fitting children up to age 10 or so. It’s also available in 16 sparkly, multi-colored patterns in the long-sleeved model and 12 in the sleeveless version.
Best Sleeveless: BAOHULU Gymnastics Leotards
If breathability is the most important factor for you when buying your child’s gymnastics leotard, consider this sleeveless model with its scooped back. Made of a polyester-spandex blend with pull on closure, it’s soft, lightweight, and comfortable. It has four-way stretch with elastic around the leg holes to give your child a greater range of motion and comfort while moving. There’s also a breathable mesh liner along the bottom for increased breathability. This leotard should be washed by hand in cold water and turned inside out to preserve the glittery sequins sewn along the front. It’s available in 19 different colors, including five in the long-sleeved model, and comes in seven sizes that will fit toddlers all the way up to young teenagers.
Best Basic Design: DANSHOW Basic Long Sleeve Gymnastics Leotard
Here’s a classic gymnastics leotard with a plain, basic design that is a great option for practice and everyday use. Made mostly of sweat-absorbing cotton, it’s blended with a bit of spandex to give it some extra stretch and softness. It slides on and off with ease, thanks to the elasticity. The rounded neck and scooped back, coupled with the softness of the fabric, make it more comfortable and a touch of breathability for your child. The long sleeves help to protect their hands and arms during routines. This leotard is available in 12 solid colors that range from neutral to pastel to bright. Sizing starts at a small, suitable for 2-to-4-year-olds, and goes up to a 2XL for 10-to-12-year olds. It can be machine washed, though handwashing is recommended for longer-lasting wear.
Best Sparkly Design: TFJH E Sparkle Gymnastics Leotards
Gymnastic leotards are known for their vibrant colors and sparkly designs, and this sleeveless model is a perfect example of both. Each of the 24 multicolored leotards (23 sleeveless, 1 long-sleeved) has its own unique pattern and is covered with sparkles to glisten and shine as your child moves. Most of the patterns are brightly colored, though there are a few that are darker or more neutral. The patterns range from stars and stripes to geometric shapes to animal and food patterns and more. The polyester fabric is extra stretchy to provide a greater range of motion. It’s also soft and silky to the touch and won’t weigh your child down as they’re practicing their routine, and they quickly cool any sweat and perspiration to dry out quicker. They’re available in 13 specific sizes; refer to the sizing chart to find the right fit for your child.
Also Great: BAOHULU Gymnastics Leotard
When it comes to picking out a gymnastics leotard, plain, solid colors and top-to-bottom sparkles and glitter aren’t your only options. If your child prefers a leotard that has some degree of glitz but isn’t overwhelmingly so, this pull-on leotard is a perfect choice. All seven options have color and sparkle that is understated yet elegant and appealing. The polyester/spandex blend is comfortable and easy to move in, and the low-back design makes it easier to put on or take off. You can even buy a size or two up (see sizing chart for details) for your child to grow into, as there are eight different sizes to choose from. Whether they’re a toddler just beginning their gymnastics journey or a teenager planted in their passion, there’s a leotard that will fit them. And if you or they prefer sleeves on their leotard, three of the eight colors come in a long-sleeved version. Be sure to hand wash it with a mild detergent and hang it to dry out of direct sunlight so that the colors don’t fade over time.