What’s the difference in latex and fabric fitness loops? (how to pick the right ones)

January 25, 2023

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So, I’m a little embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out why someone would invest in cloth fitness loops over the latex design. I’ve been exercising at home for over 20 years. How did I not know this?

It got me thinking that there’s most likely a few other home exercisers who wonder about this at one time or another as well. I mean, can’t a girl just use latex loops for everything? Today I’m going to explain EXACTLY why you might need one style over the other (or even both) designs.

Latex Fitness Loops

What are they?

Latex fitness loops (also called exercise bands) are a closed circle made of a stretchy rubber material.

Latex loops can break or tear. I’ve never had one do this but I know other people who have so keep that in mind. You might have to replace them someday.

Here’s what latex loops look like:

The resistance choices

While every company sells latex loops in packs of 3 to 5, there’s no universal system for describing the amount of resistance in each loop in the set.

You’ll find that some companies use the terms heavy, medium and light, some brands use icons to show you the amount of resistance on each loop and some loops don’t say anything at all.

You’ll also notice that every brand sells it’s own set of colors.

Some companies use primary colors and others offer more feminine shades.

In my opinion, the majority of companies are selling latex loops that are virtually identical (other than the branding on them) so just pick a set.

Ideal use case for latex fitness loops

Stretchy latex bands are ideal for exercises when the loop is placed around your ankles. Period.

Regardless of the exercise or whether you’re on the floor or standing, if you’re placing the loop below the knees then (in general) a latex loop is going to be the best choice.

Cloth Fitness Loops

What are they?

Cloth fitness loops are a closed circle made of fabric and are typically wider than a latex loop.

You won’t have to worry about a cloth loop tearing or breaking. These will last you forever.

The different resistance options

Cloth loops are also sold in packs of 3 to 5 loops with 3 different resistances.

Ideal use case for cloth fitness loops

Your cloth fitness loops are the perfect resistance for exercises where the loops are hooked above the knee (so, around your thighs).

So, they’re great for glute and hamstring exercises.

Because the resistance on a fabric loop is so much tighter than a latex loop, you’ll find it ideal for the bigger muscle group in the thighs and glutes.

But you will NOT be able to use these loops around your ankles.

When I bought my first set of cloth loops I thought you could use both designs (cloth and latex) interchangeably.


I quickly discovered that I couldn’t move my ankles apart even a millimeter with a cloth loop hooked around my ankles.

You’ll also see cloth loops that are really long. Like these:

I don’t recommend buying those unless you’re doing a specific program or exercise where you know you’ll need them (like Cathe Friedrich’s program Boss Bands and Loops).

Could a girl use a latex loop for every type of exercise? (like they do in 80-Day Obsession)

Yes, you could.

But you’ll be happier with both kinds of loops.

It was very frustrating trying to get my loop to stay in place at times during 80-Day Obsession*.

*I’m not picking on 80-Day Obessesion here. It’s a great program. But a lot of people are familiar with it so I’m using it as a good example. The same frustration is true here for a LOT of programs I’ve done using latex loops over the years.

If you’re doing exercises with a latex loop around your thighs the loop will roll into a cord shape and cut into your skin while simultaneously sliding up and down your thighs with every rep.

Very annoying.

If I’d known the value of a cloth loop at the time I would have swapped back and forth between them while I was doing the program.

Finally, if you’re like most people you’ll never know for sure which color to pick up during a class (at least not the first time you do it).

When you’re following an on-demand instructor and she hooks a pink loop around her ankles. You’ll stare at your green, blue and orange loops and wonder which one to use. It’s ok.

But at least now you’ll know whether to grab a cloth or latex loop.

My recommendation for buying a fitness loop

Get both kinds.

If you’re a home exerciser that does a lot of on-demand classes then you’ll discover that there are a LOT of classes that use these loops.

The investment isn’t that much to get a set of each style and you’ll be happier knowing how and when to use them so you’ll get your money’s worth.

Recommended articles for you

A Very Honest Review of Fire and Flow

Review of Boss Bands and Loops

What You Need to Know about 80-Day Obsession

Kira Stokes Fit (another great instructor who uses fitness loops)

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