The Best Gym Bags for Women of 2023

best gym bag for women

Everything featured on The Nessie is independently selected and rigorously tested. We may receive a small commission on purchases made from some of our links. Also, The Nessie is part of the Ness Card ecosystem. Since you’re here, you’d probably be into it.

A gym bag isn’t just a vessel for workout gear. It should also help keep you organized and transition seamlessly between the gym or a fitness class and the world outside. Because of this, gym bags are no longer the single-compartment duffels of the past. Now, sports and luxury brands alike have branched out to create duffels and totes that serve as all-purpose lifestyle bags.

We set out to find the best gym bag for women and were surprised by the versatility and style of the bags on the market. In the end, the Béis Sport Duffle ($88) took top honors as best gym bag for women. But there are some other bags to consider, depending on your budget and preferences.

Here’s the TL;DR on how the best gym bags stacked up:

  1. Béis Sport Duffle (Top Pick)
  2. Nike Gym Club Women’s Training Bag (Budget Bag)
  3. Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag (Most Versatile)
  4. Gymshark Everyday Tote
  5. Sportsnew Gym Duffel Bag

The Best Gym Bags

Top Pick

Béis Sport Duffle

  • Bag type: Duffel
  • Material: Nylon and Polyester
  • Size: 10″H x 17″W x 8.5″D
  • Made with recycled materials: Yes
$88 at Béis
beis | best gym bag for women
  • Can be carried four ways
  • Extra bag included to carry shoes or dirty clothes
  • Has nine different pockets both inside and outside
  • Often sold out

The Béis Sport Duffle is one of the best gym bags out there. It definitely looks like a gym bag, but it’s also a lot more luxe. Because of that, it’s often sold out. If that’s the case when you go to purchase it, the the brand has a waitlist you can join so you’re notified as soon as it’s back in stock.

The Béis can be carried four different ways, including as a backpack (the straps are easily hidden on the bottom by a separate zipper compartment). It’s easy to stay organized with the bag’s many available pockets, including interior pockets that fit a water bottle. One such pocket is located on the outside of the bag; the bottom of the pocket unzips, making it a sleeve to fit onto the handle of a suitcase.

The one drawback is that this bag doesn’t provide an easy quick-reach external storage space for things like water bottles. It does, however, come with a separate bag that can carry shoes or dirty clothes, keeping your other gear (and the bag itself) clean. If the bag gets dirty, Béis instructs users spot clean and lay it flat to dry. If you’re worried about this whole process, choose the black bag over the beige color, which is apt to picking up splotches. 

I loved that the Béis has a hard bottom, which helps it hold its structure, and makes packing and unpacking much easier. The bag is lightweight and it doesn’t feel bulky when carrying it around, which is nice even on a short walk from the parking lot to the gym.

Reviewers note that because the Béis bag’s zipper pulls are made of plastic, they can easily break (though we didn’t experience this during testing). Other than that, feedback is positive, with others saying the bag was exactly what they were looking for. It got the highest score in testing and is one that seems like it will hold up for years to come.

Best Budget Bag

Nike Gym Club Women’s Training Duffel Bag

  • Bag type: Duffel
  • Material: Polyester
  • Size: 13″ H x 20″ W x 9″ D
  • Made with recycled materials: Yes
$42 at Nike $69 at Amazon
Product Image
  • Multiple interior pockets for organization
  • Durable fabric helps it maintain shape
  • Every pocket big enough to fit a phone
  • No separate pocket or bag for shoes
  • Crossbody strap lacks padding

At first glance, the Nike Gym Club Women’s Training Duffel Bag looks like a simple, two-pocket duffel bag. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll find two large interior sections and extra zipper pockets, making it a little bit easier to stay organized. This bag has ample room to fit everything you need for a trip to the gym, and every pocket is at least big enough to fit a phone, meaning there is no wasted space. 

The biggest downside of this bag is that there is no pocket or bag included specifically for shoes and/or sweaty clothes. However, even after holding sweaty clothes and shoes for 24 hours, the fabric didn’t have any lingering smell. 

While this bag is too big to fit under the seat of an airplane, it could be used as a carry-on and easily fit in an overhead bin. It comes with a shoulder strap, which is a bit uncomfortable due to a plastic adjustment piece, but the handles are durable and can easily be put over your shoulders. The bag can fit a few days worth of clothes and some toiletries, but because it only has a large interior pocket divided into two, it’s a bit harder to keep organized than other bags we tested. However, the size is sufficient and the bag is lightweight, making it a great budget option for the gym and travel. Should the bag get dirty when you’re out and about, Nike recommends spot cleaning only. 

The Nike Gym Club Women’s Training Duffel Bag is not the least expensive we tested, but it easily took top honors of best budget bag. Others agree. This bag typically makes every list of best gym bags and is highly rated in reviews (coming in at a 4.75 out of 5 stars on the Nike website). If you’re looking for a durable grab-and-go bag, this is a great option. 

Most Versatile

Dagne Dover Medium Landon Carryall Bag

  • Bag type: Duffel
  • Material: Neoprene and recycled plastic bottles
  • Size: 14.5” L x 7.5” W x 9” H (medium)
  • Made with recycled materials: Yes
$185 at Dagne Dover
Product Image
  • Separate bag provided for shoes
  • Lots of interior pockets (and a laptop sleeve)
  • Small enough to fit under an airplane seat
  • Pricier than others
  • Shoulder strap and air mesh pouch missing with order

The Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag is a luxe bag with a luxe price. However, if you’re looking for a bag that can work for the gym, office, or travel, this is the one for you. The bag comes in five different sizes—extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large. We tested the medium. This size has ample room (and pockets!) to fit everything needed for a trip to the gym and more. 

One feature that sets this bag apart is its fabric. Not only is the lining made from recycled water bottles, but the majority of the bag is constructed from neoprene. (Unlike most of the all-polyester bags we tested.) Not only does this mean the bag is water resistant, but it can also be hand washed, rather than just spot cleaned. The company provides detailed care instructions, so maintenance is a breeze.

This bag has pockets galore; this includes a laptop sleeve that can hold most 13” laptops, but can easily be used to store your gear if it’s solely used for the gym. The outside of the bag has an open pocket specifically designed to hold a phone, keeping it secure but easily accessible. In addition, interior pockets designed for water bottles and valuables help keep belongings easily organized. A separate bag—also made from recycled water bottles— is provided to store shoes and keep them separate from the rest of your clothes and gear. When traveling, this bag could be used to store an extra pair of shoes or even sweaty clothes you wish to keep separate.   

The biggest downside of the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag is that my bag did not come with the detachable shoulder strap or additional air mesh pouch as advertised. This wasn’t a complete dealbreaker; the handles are long enough and can easily be worn over the shoulder (and there’s a luggage-handle sleeve to easily tote it around on a roller bag). The bag also arrived in a dust bag, which can be used when storing the bag as an added layer of protection. 

Despite the few shortcomings, this bag is perfect for someone looking to invest in a quality gym vessel that can also be used as a commuter bag or for travel when needed. The bag has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Dagne Dover’s website—though this is for every size, not just the medium—but reviewers appreciate the “quality materials” and that it is “the perfect carry-on size.”

Another Gym Bag To Consider

Gymshark Everyday Tote

  • Bag type: Tote
  • Material: Polyester
  • Size: 21.3” L x 5.5” W x 14.6” H
  • Made with Recycled Materials: No
$36 at Gymshark
Product Image
  • Handles covered in no-slip rubber
  • Can carry a yoga mat
  • Outer mesh pockets perfect for a water bottle
  • Exterior zipper pocket not big enough for a phone
  • No separate pocket or bag for shoes

The Gymshark Everyday Tote was a worthy contender for the best budget bag. However, it lacks some of the features that stood out in the Nike Gym Club bag. Most notably, though the Gymshark bag has more pockets, many of them are small and can’t hold basic items (such as a phone). 

This bag shouldn’t be completely counted out, however, if you are looking for a nice, deep tote that has space to hold a lot of gear. While it’s too big to fit under an airplane seat, the Gymshark Everyday Tote can easily fit in an overhead bin and is large enough to fit a weekend’s worth of clothes. Yogis will especially appreciate the space this bag has in its handles for a yoga mat—though not marketed this way, we tested it and it works—making this the go-to choice on our list for people who need to schlep a lot of gear.

How We Found The Best Gym Bags for Women

best gym bag for women | nike, beis, dagne dover, gymshark gym bags on floor
Ashley Lauretta for The Nessie

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Ashley Lauretta, a health and fitness journalist with more than a decade of experience. I’ve been a contributing editor for running and triathlon magazines, where I got extensive experience testing gear and products in the running and fitness space. I’ve regularly attended expos to see the latest and greatest in fitness gear and enjoy trying new-to-me products. Also, I’ve interviewed fitness trainers and coaches from all disciplines for places such as WIRED, Well+Good, Parade Magazine and Runner’s World, and written for companies such as Nike, Under Armour, and more. When not writing about fitness, I’ve spent time training for and running the Los Angeles Marathon (as well as a handful of half marathons) and taking fitness classes to support local gyms and studios.

Our Testing Process

When creating this guide, we zeroed in on women in the age range of 20-55—recent statistics note these are the two largest age groups for gym memberships—and the features that would be most important for that demographic. From there, I researched popular items in the product category and looked at numerous reviews, making detailed notes on specific features that make bags popular. Next, I began to make a detailed list of bags that should be considered for testing, noting things such as price, materials, and customer reviews. The Nessie purchased the top bags for testing. 

As I received each bag, I took time to inspect their construction, looking for loose threads or seams, as well as using each and every zipper on all of the bags over 50 times to make sure they didn’t stick or break with use. I then assembled gear that’s typically brought to a workout—workout clothes (shorts, tank, socks, and sports bra) and a pair of shoes, small towel, small toiletry bag, water bottle, keys, wallet, phone, and headphones—and packed the same gear in each bag to make sure it fit and could stay organized. I carried each bag to workouts to make sure the straps and handles were comfortable and didn’t slip off of my shoulder or rub against my hands.

After taking note of the types of fabric that made up each bag, I did research and combed through studies, making note of which fabrics hold onto smells and whether or not they can easily be laundered. Each bag was put through a smell test, where I put clothes and shoes loaded with sweat from doing yard work in the Florida heat in each bag for 24 hours. (That was to mimic what happens when you come home from a workout and forget to unload your gym bag overnight.)

Finally, I did a versatility test, looking at the measurements of each bag to see if they fit the specifications provided by airlines to fit under an airplane seat. I then packed three days worth of clothes, a pair of shoes, and a bag of toiletries in each bag to see if they could hold enough for a weekend trip.  
After each use—to the gym, for the smell test, and evaluation as a travel bag—I took notes on the capacity, ease of use, versatility, smell guard, and durability of each bag. I also took customer reviews into consideration. For more information on how we found the best gym bags for women, you can read the test notes.

Are Gym Bags Worth It?

beis duffle bag in beige and black

You don’t need a dedicated gym bag to take you to and from the gym, workout studio, or wherever you get your sweat on. But it can definitely help, particularly if you go to the gym right before or right after work and need a spot to store your workout clothes, sneakers, water bottle, towel, and anything else you schlep to and from your exercise spot. Sure, you could use any old tote you have lying around—but a bag with zippers, compartments, and other bells and whistles will work a lot better. A great gym bag will also double as a weekend duffel, office bag, or any other kind of storage spot. 

How to Clean a Gym Bag

It’s important to pay attention to the fabric and care instructions for your gym bag, especially if you want to extend its use. Some fabrics are easier to care for than others; for example, polyester has been found to hold onto smells longer than cotton. Unless instructed otherwise, spot cleaning is the right call. For spot cleaning, you can use gentle dish soap and water on a washcloth to rub out stains (a toothbrush can work on more difficult stains) and then let the bag air dry.

A Gym Bag You Can Skip

Sportsnew Gym Duffel Bag

  • Bag type: Duffel
  • Material: Polyester
  • Size: 19” L x  10” W x 12”H
  • Made with recycled materials: No
$19.99 at Amazon
Product Image
  • Dedicated shoe compartment
  • Affordable
  • Noticeable odor
  • Extra pockets eliminated in lieu of “wet pocket”
  • Loose strings on bag upon arrival

The Sportsnew Gym Duffel Bag is the most affordable on our list. But it comes with some drawbacks. The bag arrived with a pungent, chemical odor, which may be from its plastic interior “wet pocket.” The bag didn’t hold onto any smells after having sweaty clothes inside, but the original smell didn’t dissipate or change, either. (Other customers noted this in reviews, too.)

While the fabric of this bag didn’t rip, it had a few loose strings when it arrived. During use, my keys stretched and poked the plastic of the wet pocket, which I had to use for extra storage. This bag would have ranked a bit higher had there been at least one additional interior pocket; however, its separate shoe pocket gave it a bit of a boost in scores. It wasn’t enough to make it onto the list of our recommendations—ultimately, it fell short due to the low durability and smell.


Exploring the health and wellness world is better with a friend.

Wellness recommendations you’ll want—delivered to your inbox twice a week. Subscribe to our (free) newsletter and join our growing community!


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
In this article
Articles you might like

Want more?

Subscribe to Nessie Sightings. Wellness recommendations you’ll want—delivered to your inbox twice a week. Subscribe to our (free) newsletter and join our growing community!

The emails are free, the finds are priceless.

A dose of wellness for your inbox


Ness will process your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

“This card is such an exciting addition to my wallet and it’s perfect for someone who values health and wellness but hasn’t found a credit card that rewards me for that. I love getting rewarded for wellness practices like sleeping, meditating, and moving my body—plus extra points on purchases at my favorite places like Whole Foods, ClassPass and sweetgreen. The app is easy to use and the card is designed for your definition of health and wellness, which I love. It’s flexible!”

Kira's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s no secret that wellness is such an important part of my everyday life. I spend a lot of money to help fuel my love of running, recovery, nutrition and mindfulness, so the fact that I can now earn rewards for every dollar I spend with the Ness Card is amazing. My health always comes first, and the Ness Card makes that easy to do. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Andi's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As a new mum, wellness and self-care is a priority for me—so I can, in turn, be able to take care of my baby. I love the incentives that Ness offers for making healthier choices. And to be rewarded along the way for those purchases is such a plus!

Oh, and getting 5x point rewards on my Erewhon $20+ smoothie makes it a little more justifiable.”

Amrit's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I made a promise to myself to find my joy again in 2023. For the past few years, I haven’t been taking care of myself mentally and physically because I’ve just been on the go and focusing on the future instead of being present. I realized that part of the reason I wasn’t happy was because I wasn’t taking care of myself. So, now with the Ness Card—which literally rewards you for staying on top of your wellness journey—I’ve easily been able to focus on my mental and physical journey. Using the card is now a part of my weekly routine, whether I’m buying groceries, going to therapy, spending a day at the spa, or treating myself to a delicious yummy meal.”

Candace's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love life with the Ness Card! The team behind the scenes work really hard to make it valuable and to create a sense of community, which you feel in every newsletter and hand-crafted partnership. The card itself encourages me to be even more curious about where I’m spending my money. It definitely incentivizes me to spend ‘healthier’, which is really unique. On top of that, getting points for taking more steps? There is seriously nothing like it.

David's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“My favorite thing about the Ness Card is that it rewards you for your healthy habits, and not all of them require spending. Yes, you can earn 5x points when you spend at any of their approved health and wellness merchants (think Erewhon and many of your other favorites) but you also earn points for being active daily! So now your sanity walks are literally paying off :) As someone who not only works in wellness but lives and breathes it, essentially most of my expenses live in that realm and with the Ness Card I can now be rewarded nicely for those purchases.”

Kirsty's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love that I have rewards to look forward to when I focus on my health and wellness. As a mom of two and full time photographer/creator, it’s hard to find time to prioritize my health and—as my body ages—I want to make sure that I’m treating it to all the TLC it needs (and deserves)! The Ness Card reminds me to take care of my mental, physical, and emotional health on the daily.”

Valerie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s refreshing to have a card app that is so easy to use. I can track my spending and rewards at the click of a button. I love getting a notification when I get extra points for getting a full night sleep or getting my steps in, though of course those are optional. I work a lot, and I feel like I get extra rewarded for taking the time to take care of myself – whether it’s therapy or simply cooking at home instead of dining out. The points accumulate really quickly, and I’ve already gotten a $1,000 credit at Erewhon in my first four months. I also go visit family in Europe a lot, and no one takes my card there, so it’s so convenient to be able to use my Ness Card without ever paying a fee.”

Mélanie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As someone who spends the majority of her money on wellness, the Ness Card is perfect for me! I love earning 5x points on purchases at healthy businesses that I was already making, anyways. The Ness Card also motivates me to get enough sleep, practice mindfulness and other healthy habits. The app is really user-friendly and I love watching my points add up. I am excited to redeem them for wellness-related items!”

Lauren's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card motivates me to keep up my healthy habits, and has helped me discover new brands and products that are in alignment with my goals. I’m not spending any more with my Ness Card, but the money I am spending on health and wellness is actually earning me rewards, benefits, and even cash back. And because Ness’s definition of a ‘healthy merchant’ is so generous, I’m able to recognize all of the small ways I practice self-care throughout the week. From buying fresh veggies to going to therapy to taking my supplements, the Ness Card is there to cheer me on: ‘Keep being healthy, girl. You deserve 5x points for that.'”

Melissa's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card rewards me when I spend money on health and wellness. Especially because so much of my wellness routine is spent being active, gardening, making food with my husband, getting a massage, or having some me time, it is nice to be rewarded for that with points that are with brands I shop at all the time anyway. It allows my wellness choices to work harder which I love.”

Research Based

This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

If something doesn’t seem quite right, let us know at [email protected].