19 up-and-coming athleisure brands that aren't Lululemon

'Smart' Yoga Pants Help Correct Your Poses Through Vibrations
'Smart' Yoga Pants Help Correct Your Poses Through Vibrations

Lululemon has been poised for a comeback; Wells Fargo analysts have stated that Lululemon has been improving its design, production, and supply chain.

But the company faces steep competition.

Over the past few years, the athleisure market has become incredibly popular. Everyone is trying to cash on it, from Dick's Sporting Goods to Nike.

And Lululemon still has its troubled history; customers were furious when founder Chip Wilson commented in 2013 that his pants didn't work for everyone.

These companies could make it harder for the company to hold such a large portion of the market share.

Some companies, like Gap's Athleta and Nike, are huge. Others are more niche brands that can be ordered online.

Under Armour

Facebook/Under Armour

Under Armour is arguably Lululemon's biggest threat. The company has explicitly stated that it wants to focus on growing its women's business. CEO Kevin Plank said that he wanted to make its women's business bigger than its men's, which would thereby make the company completely usurp Lululemon's stronghold on women's athletic apparel.

Under Armour also has the added benefit of having supermodel Gisele Bundchen and star ballerina Misty Copeland as faces of the brand.


Instagram/Nike Women

Nike has been making huge efforts to boost its women's business. Its #BetterForIt campaign has been paying off.

With its ubiquitous store presence and its status as the biggest apparel retailer in the United States, Nike has the opportunity to hook customers who Lululemon can't even reach yet.



Yogasmoga was founded by brother-sister pair Rishi and Tapasya Bali. Although the company's clothes have high price points similar to Lululemon's, the company prides itself on being a more authentic yoga apparel company.

"While other companies use Yoga as a marketing tool, we are yoga company that makes things for life, and this difference in philosophy makes us operate at a much higher level than any of our competition and have a deeper connection with our customer," Bali told Business Insider's Maya Kosoff in April. "Our authentic connection to yoga helps us understand the needs of our customers and make a very luxurious product that stands up to the demands of the consumer."


Dick's Sporting Goods

Calia by Carrie Underwood is Dick's Sporting Goods' athleisure line. Although Dick's Sporting Goods has been struggling amid the increasing popularity of athleisure, this line could be its saving grace.


Fabletics on Facebook

Although Kate Hudson's Fabletics has been the subject of a scandal — customers were saying that it and its parent company, Just Fab, were scams — the company has been working to get back into the good graces of consumers. The membership-based apparel company has been unleashing brutal videos satirizing Lululemon's see-through pants and high price points.

Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty/Instagram

United Kingdom-based Sweaty Betty has been expanding in the United States. It's even more luxurious than Lululemon, and it also boasts a roster of in-store classes. It's capitalizing on the fitness lifestyle approach to athleisure.

Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices Facebook

Outdoor Voices has been called the hipster version of Lululemon. It launched in 2012 and has been gaining more attention. It's sold at J. Crew as well as at its own stores and online, but the endorsement from Jenna Lyons certainly helps boost its street cred.



Athleta, which is owned by Gap, has been rapidly expanding its store base. Like Lululemon, Athleta puts emphasis on community and in-store events.

A few years ago, there were even rumors that Athleta was poaching yoga instructors from Lululemon.



Zella is Nordstrom's in-house yoga brand. The brand caused a stir with yoga fans in 2009 after it was revealed that Nordstrom had poached one of Lululemon's top designers.

Zella has the same elite client base as Lululemon, and has received rave reviews among yoga fans. Unlike Lululemon, the brand comes in plus and kid-sizes.

Calvin Klein


Calvin Klein's yoga brand is carried in major department stores like Macy's.

Its aesthetic is so similar that Lululemon sued the brand for allegedly copying its "Astro" yoga pants. The companies settled out of court.



Certified yoga instructor Jamie Hanna started the Zobha brand in 2008. Today, it is available at hundreds of stores around the world.

Like Lululemon, Zobha is considered luxury. It opened a 2,000 foot flagship in San Francisco last year, and has a popular men's line.

Lily Lotus

Lily Lotus

Lily Lotus is an ecologically friendly, Hawaiian brand that's available in boutiques around the world. The brand is known for its eclectic, stylish look.

As a boutique brand, Lily Lotus could appeal to Lululemon fans who are disillusioned by the retailer's rapid expansion and quality control problems.



Soybu is a sustainable active-wear brand available at many major sporting goods stores. Its clothes are made from soy, organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled materials.

Soybu's environmental values are increasingly appealing to consumers. It's also more affordable than Lululemon.

Old Navy

Meredith Galante/Business Insider

Gap's Old Navy brand also got into the high-tech yoga business. Old Navy expanded its active-wear line in 2011, and the move has been credited with improving sales.

Old Navy's yoga line comes in tall and plus sizes. At $12, the yoga pants are irresistible to consumers.



Prana is available in outdoor stores around the country. With $50 tank tops and $80 yoga pants, the brand is similarly priced to Lululemon.

Prana is already established in the men's business — a market that Lululemon is going after aggressively. Despite the brand's growth, many of the original employees remain.

Victoria's Secret

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret PINK

Victoria's Secret has been expanding yoga offerings in its VSX and Pink lines. The brand has posted record sales for several years, and is beloved by women everywhere.

Victoria's Secret is more visible than Lululemon. It's also big enough to know how to grow without quality control problems.

Mika Yoga Wear


Mika makes clothing for women and has a respectful e-commerce business. It also has about a dozen stores around the U.S.

The brand offers specialty apparel for hot yoga, pilates, and even pole-dancing. Instead of using real models, Mika uses real-life athletes for its promotional materials. It was even featured in The New York Times and Maxim.


Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Gaiam is a fitness lifestyle brand that also sells home goods and instructional videos.

The Boulder-based brand is already popular with the yoga community. Its best-known product is its basic yoga mat, which is readily available in supermarkets and has been described as the perfect beginner's mat.

Foot Locker

Flickr / lululemon athletica

Foot Locker, once considered a men's brand, is quickly gaining momentum with women. The brand is wooing women by redesigning many of its stores and offering more yoga clothing from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.

Like Nike and Victoria's Secret, Foot Locker is a better-known brand than Lululemon. Foot Locker is also working hard to make its stores "more in the Lulu mold," according to Bloomberg.

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Originally published