8 Perfect Gym Bags for Working Women

Is it just me, or is it impossible to go to work and the gym without looking like a bag lady for the entire day? Honestly – I’ve got my breakfast and lunch to pack, my gym clothes, my toiletry bag, my work clothes…it’s a little insane and probably giving me scoliosis.

Lately, I’ve been trying to look and act the part of a twenty-something working professional in Manhattan. That means I’ve ditched the Limited Too camisoles that somehow still fit me (barely), I’ve finally thrown out the flats I bought at Kohl’s a million years ago, and I’ve said goodbye to the cotton t-shirts to make room for my new and improved workout wardrobe of dry-fit gear.

2016 is the year I finally learn that buying things just because they’re cheap and a short term fix isn’t smart. Instead, I’m looking to invest in “perfect” purchases that will stand the test of time, even if that means shelling out a few more bucks.

My most recent quest is to find that all-purpose, classy, functional as fuck bag that can transition me seamlessly from apartment to gym to work to happy hour. I'm tired of looking like the bag lady with 3 different mismatched reusable bags and my college backpack.

It’s a tall order and so far I haven’t found the perfect fit. But my research has turned up some pretty stellar options that I thought I’d share with you, in case you’re in the market for your next Mary Poppin’s bag too.

Gym Bags.jpg

Before we get into the bags – let’s talk about the 4 factors that are most important to me.


I’m a petite person and a giant duffel bag that I could curl up inside of just isn’t going to work when I’m walking to and from the subway and schlepping up multiple sets of stairs. Not to mention cramming on the cross-town bus during rush hour. That being said, I’m often trying to fit two outfits, two pairs of shoes, a book, 2 meals and toiletries in this bad boy – so I do need a good amount of space. And there-in lies the first conundrum to my mission.


As of now, I mainly use a Northface Backpack as my commuter bag – not exactly professional – especially considering the blue/teal/green flannel pattern. Backpacks are so convenient and much more comfortable than shoulder bags that make you walk lopsided and fall off your shoulder whenever you wear a big winter coat. I’m definitely open to a backpack if I found the right one – but it isn’t the perfect solution. It is inherently less professional looking than most other options and in the summer, the back sweat it produces isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world.

Style-wise I’m looking for a bag that can pass as a work bag which means it’s a neutral color. As much as I love colors and patterns, I’m trying to reel it in with this purchase.


This is one of the most important factors for me. I don’t want a bag that’s just one big compartment. I thrive on little pockets for my jewelry, a side slot for my water bottle and – key here – SOME PLACE TO PUT MY SWEATY CLOTHES AND SNEAKERS that’s not going to stink up my work clothes.

I’m no yogi – so straps for a yoga mat aren’t one of my requirements.

I am however dedicated to blogging more this year – which means the idea of a padded laptop sleeve appeals to me, though it isn’t a make or break feature.

A hard bottom so that the bag maintains some form and makes it easier to find things would be clutch as well.


As I said – I’m willing to spend a good amount on this purchase with the intention of using it as my everyday bag for a good long while. But anything over $200 is realistically out of my price-range considering I do have less-than-ideal options that I could make work. I want a gym bag that's affordable - after all, it's still going to be holding my sweaty clothes, dirty sneakers and there might be some lunch spillage every once in awhile!

So I’ve done all the hard work for ya – the scrolling through Amazon and Kickstarter and Lulu and a million other sites.  I even asked my friends from the Bloggers Gonna Blog Community, who had some great suggestions. Finding a bag that's perfect for the gym and the office is harder than I thought.

What have I found?

Unfortunately, I’ve found that my perfect bag probably doesn’t exist. But there are some great options and maybe one of them will be perfect for you. So without further ado...

Po Campo Midway Weekender

What I Love:

  • Separate Shoe Compartment!
  • Lots of little sections inside
  • Keeps its shape
  • Cross body or over the shoulder straps
  • Fits laptops up to 15”
  • Yoga/Jacket Strap
  • Semi-water proof

What I Don’t Love:

  • I’m just not crazy about the look of this one. Totally a personal preference – there’s a bunch of different color options but none of them excite me.


  • $95 and free returns. Available online here or on Amazon here.

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Weekender

What I Love:

  • Separate Shoe Compartment!
  • Keeps its shape
  • Cross body or over the shoulder straps

What I Don’t Love:

  • One big compartment on the inside makes organization difficult
  • No laptop sleeve
  • A little too big
  • Just looks like your standard duffel bag


  • $80. Available here.

You could also check out the Herschel Supply Co. Outfitter Luggage - this is a duffel bag that has BACKPACK straps as well. It's also large and looks like a duffel, but it's got a shoe compartment. They're $140 and can be purchased here.

Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Plus Backpack

What I Love:

  • No surprise here, this one made the list because of the separate shoe compartment!
  • The convenience of a backpack
  • Simple style makes it look more professional than my patterned North Face
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Lots of compartments

What I Don’t Love:

  • I just don’t know that backpack screams “professional”


  • $75. From what I can gather, they’re no longer available via the Herschel website – but I found some on Amazon.

Moop Shop “The Porter”

What I Love:

  • The look – I’m not 100% sold on the canvas material, but from the pictures, it looks like a beautiful bag!
  • Compartments and key chain
  • The site specifically points out that it fits the following: 3 books, 17” laptop, sneakers, water bottle – sounds perfect!

What I Don’t Love:

  • No separate compartment for my sweaty things


  • $137. You can order online here.

Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag

Recommended by: Katie

What I Love:

  • Sweaty things compartment with ventilation!
  • Lots of separate pockets
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Option to carry a yoga mat
  • Seems to be the right size
  • Keeps its shape
  • Fair price

What I Don’t Love:

  • This one, like many of the others with all the right features, doesn’t scream “sophisticated work bag” to me – it screams, “Gym Bag!”


  • $60. Available here.

*"Don't buy the teal Lauren - professional, professional -"

Om The Day Bag by Lululemon

Recommended by: Carmy

What I Love:

  • The description is exactly what I’m looking for – “This structured gym bag takes you from workout to work and then out for dinner – hands free and with plenty of room to spare.” Yes, please.
  • The shape and style of this bag makes it super "fetch" despite being a gym bag
  • It comes with a removable laundry bag AND interior wet/dry pocket
  • It has a zipper pocked for a laptop  

What I Don't Love:

Actually there's not much I don't like about this bag - it might be the winner - and my first ever purchase from Lulu (cue the gasps!)

$128 and available here.

Fivesse Home-Gym-Work Bag

Recommended by: Priya

What I Love:

  • Again – this back describes exactly what I need – to go seamlessly from home, to the gym, to work.
  • Tons of compartments – there really is a spot for everything!
  • Stays upright
  • Shoe compartment AND laundry bag

What I Don’t Love:

  • Overall, I could deal with the look of this bag, though I’m not a huge fan of the colors. I wish they had some more options. It’s a little strange to me how one side looks like a gym back and the other like a work bag. I think they took the whole “use for the gym and for work” idea a little too far. Plus, the solid colored bag is sold out – and I’m trying to avoid too much pattern.


  • Currently on-sale for $40 – I’m hoping this means an updated version is on the way! You can buy it here.

Lo & Sons The O.G. Overnight Bag

Recommended by: Lauren

What I Love:

  • There's a shoe compartment, which if you haven't realized by now, was one of my main search requirements
  • It could easily transition to a work bag
  • There's a laptop sleeve
  • There's a second size option (The OMG is a slightly smaller model with the same great features)
  • As someone who travels for work, the fact that this easily attaches to your suitcase is that little extra sumthin' sumthin'

What I Don't Love:

  • That price tag hurts.


  • $295 and available for purchase here.


What is your go-to for an everyday bag?
Do you use one bag for the gym AND work?
What features are most important to your when choosing a gym bag?

Fitful Focus