This Calia sports bra is my new workout go-to
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Stars frequently foray into fashion and beauty, giving us countless celebrity clothing lines (and seemingly as many Kardashian-owned brands as there are Kardashians). But while some fall flat, other star-studded lines keep customers lining up for years—even when they’re no longer connected to the celebrity founder. Calia, a Dick’s Sporting Goods activewear brand, falls into the latter category.
While Carrie Underwood, who launched Calia in 2015, exited the brand in 2021, it continues to offer activewear with a focus on both fashion and fitness. The celebrity connection lives on, though, thanks to the recently-announced “Calia Collective” comprised of four notable brand ambassadors. To see how the company’s on-trend styles stack up against other major fitness labels, we tested several pieces from the line: the Calia Long Line Energize Bra ($40), Made to Move Crossback Bra ($40), Performance Tee ($40), Scoop Neck Racer Tank Top ($35), Energize 7/8 Tight ($60), and Step Up Shorts, ($45).
What are we wearing?
What is Calia?
Calia is sold exclusively at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, or can be purchased online with free shipping and returns. While it was long associated with country singer Carrie Underwood (and known as “Calia by Carrie Underwood”), Calia now counts Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East, actress Dascha Polanco, golf journalist Alexandra O’Laughlin, and wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman as its celebrity brand ambassadors. Though the company has found success in its running, athleisure, and swim offerings, it also shifted into new categories as of late, launching both golf and maternity clothing in spring 2022.
Calia sells styles ranging from go-to neutrals to bright, trendy patterns. Clothing comes in women’s sizes XXS to 3X, with prices ranging from $10 for bikini bottoms to $149 for outerwear.
What I like about Calia
The fabrics are breathable
Even during a heat wave, Calia products kept me cool and (relatively) dry. The Scoop Neck Racer Tank Top was among my favorites, as it looks like a much more stylish version of a cross-country racing singlet. Thanks to the airy jacquard fabric, I felt like I was wearing nothing even while running on a 90 degree day. The Performance Tee was similarly airy.
The Long Line Energize Bra is a workout staple
The Long Line Energize Bra was by far my favorite of the pieces I received. Though it has more of a silky smooth feel than the Scoop Neck Racer Tank, it stayed in place for several spin classes and HIIT workouts without feeling tight or adding extra warmth. The “medium support” it provides was just enough for my workouts, and I also wore it as a crop top for casual Sunday errands. Unlike the Made to Move Crossback Bra—which also provides medium support—the Long Line Energize Bra features removable cups. However, as it doesn’t have adjustable straps, finding the right fit is particularly important.
There are plenty of colors and patterns
While Calia doesn’t offer as many options as, say, Fabletics, it still boasts plenty of pretty prints and staple solids alike. The Energize 7/8 Leggings, for instance, currently come in black, maroon, navy, and four trendy tie-dye prints. Additionally, with the brand frequently dropping new collections and refreshing its selection, you can always keep an eye on the website for more.
What I don’t like about Calia
The sizing wasn’t uniform across the brand
I typically wear a size 4 in most apparel, so I chose the small (which the site lists as a 4/6) for all of my Calia items. While the products fit, the Step Up Shorts are too short to comfortably wear for a run, especially given how loose and breezy they are. Furthermore, while I like the Scoop Neck Racer Tank top, it’s too long to wear unless it’s tucked into my bottoms—and even then I’d need to wear a cute sports bra underneath as the scoop neck exposes a lot of skin. The Performance Tee had the opposite effect, as it was slightly shorter than most of my T-shirts, giving it a rather unflattering, boxy look for me. Overall, as fit is a personal preference, I’d recommend trying on the pieces first if possible.
The leggings are thin
Calia’s leggings cost less than many products from Lululemon and Athleta, and that difference is most apparent in the fabric. The Energize 7/8 Tights are made of “Calibreeze,” a “long-lasting, lightweight” lycra fabric. While they’re stretchy, sweat-wicking, and pass the squat test, the fabric felt thin and didn’t have the same luxurious, buttery feel as higher-priced products I’ve tried.
Is Calia worth it?
Yes, depending on what you’re looking for
If you’re looking for cute, no-frills activewear, Calia is a solid choice. While I didn’t love the fit of some pieces, the brand’s overall quality and construction is on par with styles we’ve tested from Fabletics, without the higher prices and subscription model. Plus, because Calia has free shipping and a free 90-day return policy, it’s worth giving the styles a try to see if they’ll work for you.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.