Leotard Rankings: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

There are hundreds of different leotards worn each year in NCAA gymnastics. Some good, some bad and some just plain old weird. We’ve all got opinions, and naturally the gymternet loves to talk about everything from mesh to nude sleeves. So to keep track of our favorites — and not so favorites — we decided to hold a running competition throughout the season.

The process is simple. Each Wednesday, we’ll take the leotards we feel particularly strongly about (either in a good way or a bad way) from the previous weekend’s competitions and rank them using our very sophisticated system: up to three points for design; two points for fabric, sparkle, etc.; and two points for school spirit; three points for overall appearance.

We’ll then tally up the scores for each school and average them with the previous week’s. So by the end of the season, we’ll know for sure which team has the best leotards (according to us) and which teams not to much.

So to give an example before the season really gets underway this weekend, we’ve judged and ranked the three leotards from the Cancun Classic. Let us know which team you think had the best (and worst) leotard in Mexico in the comments or on Twitter.

Score: 7.25
Note: This picture was not taken at the Cancun Classic but does show the same leotard worn by Iowa there.
Design: 2.2/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.6/2
School Spirit: 1.2/2
Overall Appearance: 2.7/3
Total: 7.7/10

I know this is one of those classic leos a lot of people have worn, but I really like it. Apart from using the right colors, I feel like this is lacking in school spirit. But really what do we expect them to do? Iowa doesn’t have an M like Michigan or a G like Georgia that’s easy to incorporate into a leo. I don’t like how the mesh cuts off, though. Other than that, good job, Iowa.

Design: 2/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.3/2
School Spirit: 1.3/2
Overall Appearance: 2.2/3
Total: 6.8/10Overall I like this leo. The design has been done before though. I feel like a lot of teams have it in their various color combos, so this is nothing special. I do like the choice to use only a tad bit of yellow rather than going all out. We don’t want a homage to the Nanning Bee afterall. The mostly mesh sleeve until the cuffs really isn’t doing it for me though. Either go all in or none at all.

​Score: 6.4
Design: 0.9/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.2/2
School Spirit: 1.7/2
Overall Appearance: 1.2/3
Total: 5.0/10

I didn’t like this leo very much. When you subtract the massive A, it’s just a boring red and white leo. Then it kind of looks like it’s raining vertical lines of rhinestones. Maybe that was just my angle. I do think the mesh in this leo works a lot better than Michigan’s.

Design: 2.3/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.7/2
School Spirit: 1.4/2
Overall Appearance: 2.4/3
Total: 7.8/10I really liked this leo. The color white mesh sleeve were lovely and paired well with the red. The razorback logo on the sleeve in rhinestones was subtle and not overpowering. However, the giant A on the chest was meh. Maybe if it were smaller or was just a design?

Score: 6.2
Note: This picture was not taken at the Cancun Classic but does show the same leotard worn by Michigan there.
Design: 1.9/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.1/2
School Spirit: 2/2
Overall Appearance: 1.7/3
Total: 6.9/10I like the M a lot, so the school spirit category is carrying most of the weight here. I really like how it looks almost like a normal rhinestone pattern before it’s like, “Oh wait, there’s an M in there.” I’m not a huge fan of the yellow-ish rhinestones, and the mesh was only OK to me.

Design: 1.7/3
Fabric/Sparkle: 1.1/2
School Spirit: 1.2/2
Overall Appearance: 1.5/3
Total: 5.5/10

This leo is just meh to me. My score makes it seem like I absolutely hated, it but honestly it wasn’t that bad. it was just boring. I liked the block M on the side in rhinestones, but the rest wasn’t super exciting. Sorry. I did like the mesh sleeves. It added a different texture to the leo besides just the same fabric everywhere.

One comment

  1. Love this idea! NCAA leotards are such a unique beast; I’m sure you’ll have plenty to talk about this season.
    I like Iowa’s leo the best – most years they have some of my favorite NCAA leos. Although I agree the mesh sleeve cutouts are hideous. The mesh trend in general has gotten kind of out of control lately; I end up knowing way too much about these gymnasts’ undergarments.

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