When it was revealed in 2018 that Target would not be renewing their 15-year contract with C9 Champion, speculation ran about whether this move would hurt, or benefit, Target as a whole. Sure, there had been some success with their newer in-house brands, but when you’re talking about stretch, moisture-wicking, and other activewear properties, why would they take all of the trust they’ve built with C9 and throw that out the window, starting fresh?
Based upon what I’m seeing so far, they totally made the right call.
When you’re taking on Lululemon, the details matter. The materials matter. The fit and mobility is crucial. And it really does seem like Target’s designers took a long, hard look at their competitors, and dove deep into the little things about activewear that people care about. This isn’t basic stuff. Everything has small details that bring each piece of gear up a notch. Here’s what we found when we took some of Target’s new All in Motion activewear line for a spin.
Sizing Note: Ryan N. is 5’9″, 160 lbs. All shirts are size Small. Shorts and pants were all over the place, and sizing will be noted below.
A terrific basic. Great for strength training, cardio, etc.
This thing is suuuuuuper lightweight. Like, forget-you’re-wearing-it lightweight. The mini-jersey knit pattern is not only interesting visually, it’s also functional to help move air around the body. I’m surprised that this is so soft for a 100% recycled polyester tee – could’ve easily mistaken it for a blend. Curved hem in the back is a nice touch. As for sizing? I still like the Small in these (which is shown above), but to my surprise, I’m not swimming in a medium. If you like a trim fit, order your normal size. Want it “loose fitted”? Size up. What might be the best part? No chest logos. All you have is an unobtrusive “shadow” sleeve logo. Boom.
A little more structure. Flexible but not thick.
A little more structure than the previous “Run” t-shirt. It’s substantial, but far from thick. This stuff is made to move. I found this particularly different from C9 in that C9 seemed to stretch for no particular reason. Some of those shirts stretch out twice their size. No one needs that. What you get with All In Motion, though? I’m terming it, “flex.” Specifically designed to move where you need it to move, no more, and then settle back to where it’s supposed to be. Not unlike a resistance band. Raglan sleeves here again, shadow logo, and a nice low-key visual interest to the pattern. Taped seams on the collar and split hems, with a flat style hemline. Affordable as heck at just $16.
Shorts that can do it all. Yoga to HIIT to walking the dog.
Size medium is shown above. I LOVE these. Silver medal for me out of the bunch (keep scrolling for that gold). This is everything I want in a workout short. Supremely stretchy (yes, I just said too much stretch can be a weird thing, but these are so comfortable, I don’t even care). As I mentioned in our last Target athletic roundup, I do a lot of BodyCombat with high kicks and movement, and these would be my new go-to. For me, the 7″ length is perfect. The shadow logo is hidden nicely on the back of the shorts near the side, rather than out in front. Drawstring elastic waistband for fine-tune control. Huge, usable pockets up front, and a zipper stash at your back right pocket. Last but not least, each of their pants and shorts (that I have found, at least) have a small elastic loop on the inside back for hanging in a locker or out to dry. So simple, yet so thoughtful. Target is really nailing the details on these. These walk the line between athletic and leisure. Someone should come up with a name for that!
That’s… not a rowing machine. Or a bike.
I sized down to a small for these shorts shown above. Clocking in slightly longer at a 9″ inseam, these are not as thigh-ful as the “Lifestyle” shorts, but still hit above the knee. Not quite as stretchy, either, but plenty good. There’s a subliminal hexagonal pattern to them, barely visible, but which you can see much better on the inside. Drawstring, stretchy waistband, and hang loop here as well. Since I like my gear on the minimalist side, the graphic is not my style, but it’s far from garish and fits nicely with the aesthetic. Small logo matching the graphic color on the back left.
And that’s not a medicine ball.
“Train” shorts, and now “train” pants. Size small shown above. These share that “hexagonal” patterned look, but it’s much more visible on these. You’re basically getting the pants version of the black patterned shorts for only $2 more – that seems like a bargain to me. Very affordable at $20. The color is nice and neutral, and these wear just super duper easy. Comfy, lightweight, you could wear these all day. Now, the question here is the sizing. In the past, I’d be a dead-square medium across the board in C9, but All In Motion might just have some tricks up their sleeve. I actually take a Small in these, whereas the Medium is just a little too baggy for my liking. But does that mean I’m a Small across the board in AIM? Well…
Ryan appears to have unorthodox training techniques.
The answer to that is, “Nope.” Surprise! I’m back to a Medium here. It seems like perhaps for their “jogger” style leg opening (see the very top of the post) I need a Medium. Trying on the Small, I couldn’t even get these past my calves. Honestly, the overall fit on these is slightly strange. My calves are still quite tight in the Medium, but there’s tons of room up top. Like, a weird amount of room. Reviews on Target’s site tend to agree with that notion. Unfortunately, the zip ankle openings don’t relieve anything from the calves, so there’s no real airflow to speak of. Pockets are pushed almost halfway in from the outseam, meaning they will lay more flat, but they also kinda look like you’re giving yourself the business every time you reach in. DANGEROUS. They’re comfortable and visually look sharp, don’t get me wrong, but they’re an afterthought in this bunch. Instead of these things, go with the Amazon Peak Velocity Trackster pant and save yourself a few bucks.
Well, it COULD rain on the course.
Size 32×30 shown above. I picked these up in-store when my Target dropped the collection early, since new golf pants have been on the back burner for me for a while. Could these be my new jam? At $40, they aren’t the cheapest, but certainly cheaper than something from the Bonobos golf line.
In fact, now that I’m looking at it, these are pretty close replicas / homages to the Bonobos “Lightweight 5-Pocket Golf Pants,” but for less than half the $98 asking price. The same 5-pocket layout with jeans-style pockets on the back. Same reinforced back knee seams for when you hunch over your putt on the green. Same UPF 50+ rating for sun protection. I would have really liked to see them go the whole 150 yards and take cues from Bonobos’s sticky waistband that holds your shirt in place, but no such luck.
All In Motion does have a leg up with a zippered “coin” pocket, which I would be using for tees and a ball marker, and a double-closure waistband that buttons and slides. These flex really nicely, allowing me full range of motion on my swing. Definitely worth it (and really looking forward to warmer weather).
This polo is remarkable in the “performance” front for a multitude of reasons. First, and most noticeable, THERE IS NO LOGO ANYWHERE. Not on the chest, not on the sleeve, not even on the hemline that would be hidden when tucked in. Nowhere. Unbelievable. Second, a lot of performance polos are slick, shimmery, and overall very “artificial,” barely being passable outside the links. Not so here. Not only is it not slick, it has a pique texture that is matte in appearance and feels premium. Third, the collar actually looks like a collar. C9 didn’t quite get it right, nor do most performance polos. But this one is stitched all the way around, giving it structure and hope that it won’t flop over after the 4th hole. The fit is spot on, too. The same familiar flex from the workout shirts is here, with just enough give for full range of motion. Worth every penny at $22.
Post workout protein is important I suppose.
Saved the best for last, as I often do. But seriously, wow. I’ve never had a performance henley; I’ve just never really seen the point when I could get a v-neck or a looser crewneck. I think I’ve seen the light. All In Motion has crafted a beautifully-textured shirt, with an awesome camo pattern, that performs in the weight room. Talk about a transitional piece – you could wear it in the gym or out for afternoon drinks. Scooped (or baseball-style) hem and taped neck seam. Did I mention the texture? This is why All In Motion is a step up from C9. Target brought out all the bells and whistles while keeping the price in the same range. These pieces just feel so finished, so well-thought-out. We’ve got a real winner on our hands, and I’m looking forward to what they’ll bring to athleisure in the coming years.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Cat squats are the new burpee.
(Note: Brave here was a VERY GOOD GIRL about this photo.)