affordable athleisure
(Photo/Academy)

Stylish, Affordable, Comfy AF: ‘Freely’ Athleisure Wear First Look Review

The private label brand from Academy Sports & Outdoors focuses on yoga clothing and accessories for everyone. And firsthand, it’s awesome stuff.

I refuse to drop hundreds of bucks on clothes I’m just going to sweat or lounge in. As a certified klutz, I tend to stain, rip, or just wear out clothes that I love to pieces. It’s problematic, to say the least.

Sure, I’ve snagged high-end pieces secondhand on apps like Poshmark, but mostly because it’s hard to wrap my frugal mind around paying full price for any piece of clothing.

Enter Freely. On a recent trip to Florida, I was introduced to the brand through Academy Sports & Outdoors.

Born in the South, Available Everywhere

Southerners might be familiar with Academy as an affordable sporting goods chain store with local flair on the shelves. And though each store has marquee brands in stock like Columbia or Nike, Academy also has a ton of private in-house labels.

Freely is one of them. And its aim is the stylish loungewear crowd. But it manages to swing in at a fraction of the prices — $180 for a pair of leggings? Not on Freely’s watch. Though the pricing is low, I wouldn’t describe these as cheap workout clothes.

And it’s inclusive. Freely’s line extends to Plus Size for many of its offerings, and it offers a limited selection of clothing for girls.

Read on for my favorites from the current line. And if you’re not southern, well, don’t worry. Academy’s e-commerce store has your back.

Freely Athleisure Collection: Top Picks

Freely Haven High Waist 7/8 Pocket Leggings

Freely Haven Leggings

Am I wearing these right now? Um. Yes, I am. These workout leggings are buttery soft, as comfortable as any high-performance activewear brand I’ve ever worn, and so perfectly high-rise I could cry. The one downside for some is that they’re a bit thin, so they’re better for warmer climes.

They have pockets(!), which is a non-negotiable for leggings at this point in athleisure culture. They come in 11 colors and patterns. And they cost — wait for it — $30.

Check Price at AcademyCheck Plus Size Price at Academy

Freely Women’s Jackie Overlap Hoodie

Freely Jackie Overlap Hoody

Perhaps my favorite piece is the Jackie Overlap Hoodie. With a cute overlap in the front, this long-sleeve hoodie is the perfect piece to throw on for remote work, post-workout, or a quick jaunt to the store.

It’s soft, cozy, and right now, it’s on sale for $22.50 from $30. Did someone say budget-friendly?

Check Price at AcademyCheck Plus Size Price at Academy

Freely Women’s Layla Jogger Pants

Freely Layle Jogger

Joggers are a staple of the pandemic era, and the Layla Joggers cut the mustard. Comfy and classic, these joggers offer a wide waistband, pockets, and moisture-wicking fabric — just in case you do break a sweat.

Want these cozies? Pony up a big, whopping $22 (currently on sale from $30).

Check Price at AcademyCheck Plus Size Price at Academy

Freely Women’s Lex Bermuda Bike Shorts

Freely Lex Bermuda Bike Short

Biker shorts continue to be on trend in 2022, and Freely answered that call with the Lex Bermuda short.

It’s uncomplicated. A 7-inch inseam adds some coverage. Pockets add storage. And an above-the-knee hem offers a more stylish option than those legging capris gathering dust in the bottom of your drawers. Get these bad boys for $25.

Check Price at AcademyShop Plus Size at Academy

Freely Women’s Devi Criss Cross Pullover Shirt

Freely Devi Cross Shirt

Another cute pullover option, the Devi is plain in front with a fun criss-cross effect in the back. Drop shoulders lend a trendy oversized feel, while the sizing itself is true. A relaxed fit lends itself to leisure, and it’s currently on sale for $22.50 from $30.

Check Price at Academy

Freely Women’s Lola Ribbed Sports Bra

Freely Lola Ribbed Sports Bra

The Lola Ribbed Collection features both leggings and a sports bra, but what I like about this sports bra, in particular, is its longer silhouette.

This is a great option for hot yoga aficionados who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg looking decent when working out in a crowd. It almost doubles as a sweat-wicking crop top or a tank top alternative. Note that it is a low-impact workout bra, with cross-straps in the back and removable padding should you need it.

At a $25 price point, it’s an insanely solid deal.

Check Price at AcademyCheck Plus Size Price at Academy

Freely Cork Yoga Mat

Freely Cork Yoga Mat

In addition to making yoga clothes, Freely also makes super affordable yoga accessories and workout gear. Yoga mats can be wildly expensive, and this cute cork mat delivers on a budget.

Its nonslip cork exterior is easy to take care of and is sustainable. A bit of cushioning helps you move through poses. And it’s currently on sale for $25 from $30.

Check Price at Academy

Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.