Searching for Sleek, Stealth Gym Bags

Somehow, gym bags haven't gotten the message that work out gear is chic.

Nocturnal Workshop

Nocturnal Workshop’s black backpack (Photo: Nocturnal Workshop)

As athleisure brands branch out, they offer leggings that look like leather pants, shirts doubling as silk camisoles and outfits meant to transition from the office to yoga…but somehow, gym bags haven’t gotten the message that work out gear is now decidedly chic. The majority of gym bags are bulky, oddly shaped and either neon, camouflage or masquerading as the same material as tinfoil. Some duffel-esque styles are large enough to carry a week’s worth of gym clothes, when leggings, a sports bra and tank top could easily fit in a compact tote, especially assuming sneakers aren’t needed for the class.

Many New York women want a bag stealth enough to camouflage itself at the office, not one in an actual camouflage pattern. While you could always use a leather tote, the thought of putting city sneakers inside is borderline repulsive. To avoid bulky bags that scream, “Fitness!” try these three stealth counterparts.

Balsa 201 Shopper Bag Set, $130, Carbon38.com

Balsa 201 Shopper Bag Set, $130, Carbon38.com (Photo: Courtesy Carbon38)

Balsa201 is a Korean brand carried by Carbon38 with multiple styles of gym bags that aren’t all the same customary shape and colors. There are oversized totes in marbled fabrics, boxing bags in black leather and leafy prints for summertime. While their website is difficult to navigate unless you can read Korean, there are enough stylish sizes on Carbon38 to choose a bag that stands out without knocking people over on the subway. It even comes with a matching makeup bag for those post-workout wipe downs.

N.3 Nishokku Backpack // Black, NocturnalWorkshop.com, $550.00 USD

N.3 Nishokku Backpack, $550, NocturnalWorkshop.com (Photo: Nocturnal Workshop)

Nocturnal Workshop‘s bags scream off-duty model style. The Canadian brand’s black backpack is far from the usual middle school knapsack, especially since it was inspired by the frames of WWII cargo trucks. The Italian leather backpack even has a floating laptop sleeve for people heading from class to coffee.

Tory Burch’s classic Ella bag gets a sporty makeover with our Canvas Tote. Crafted from durable coated canvas and trimmed with leather, this multifunctional style features a spacious interior that accommodates all of your everyday essentials — whether you’re running to the gym or packing for an overnight adventure. The interior includes a mesh pocket, accessible card slot and wristlet that easily converts to a mini cross-body bag by clipping on the adjustable strap. Finished with a signature removable tassel, it balances iconic Seventies style with modern innovation.

Tory Sport Canvas Tote, $295, TorySport.com. (Photo: Tory Sport)

Tory Sport is famous for preppy, simple designs and their gym bags do not disappoint. In fact, most people would assume you were carrying an everyday tote, when the reality is it’s durable and can even convert to a cross-body if your sneakers are especially heavy duty. The sporty bag and its tassel are sure to appear to tennis players, prepsters and moms at pick-up.

Searching for Sleek, Stealth Gym Bags