If you are the proud parent of a budding gymnast, you may be unsure about how to find the right leotards for practice and competition. Use this guide to help find the right options, and to help ensure your gymnast stays comfortable during meets and training.
Choosing The Right Fit
Gymnastics leotards should fit snugly while still providing enough stretch for easy movement. It's important to choose the right fit, which means you'll want to measure both the length of your child's torso, the width of their chest, and the width of their hips. These measurements can then be compared to the sizing charts for each leotard manufacturer. Remember that many manufacturers have slightly different sizing, so you'll want to check each sizing chart carefully before making a purchase. If you are shopping in a gymnastics supply or sporting goods store, be sure to have your child try on each style first. For competition leotards, your child's gym may offer custom fittings to ensure everyone has a uniform fit.
Choosing The Right Fabric
When it comes to selecting leotards for training, you have a bit of freedom for choosing the fabrics your child is most comfortable in. Cotton fabrics allow for a comfortable fit while also helping to keep your child cool during long practices, and spandex designs provide the added stretch needed when performing back flips and other more complicated routines. Be sure to check with your child's instructor to make sure there are no restrictions on the fabrics for leotards that should be worn to class.
Sleeve length is sometimes regulated during competitions, so if you are purchasing a leotard for your child to wear to a competition, you'll want to pay special attention to the rules for each meet. Fortunately, gymnasts competing with a team sometimes have their leotards picked out by the coaches. This takes some of the guesswork out of choosing a leotard. However, you will still need to make some decisions regarding sleeve length for practices. Sleeveless designs can be more comfortable during training, but they don't offer the warmth your child might need during the cold winter months. Conversely, long-sleeved leotards offer warmth yet limit your child's mobility. It's a good idea to invest in an array of leotards with different sleeve lengths so your gymnast can select the right option for each day.
If you are unsure about which types of leotards to purchase, talk to your child's gymnastics coach for guidance. With the right apparel and gear, your child can get the foundation needed for a fun future in gymnastics.