It’s NCAA gymnastics season, and the leotards are as sparkly as ever. With new designs come your favorite series: Leotard Rankings! Each week we’re analyzing leotard debuts to find our weekly faves. There will be up to three points for design, up to one point each for fabric and sparkle, school spirit and uniqueness, and up to three points for overall appearance. This week Claire, Christina and Rebecca are joining editor in chief Elizabeth to help judge. Don’t agree with our ranking? Let us know your thoughts on this week’s leos in the comments or on social media!
And don’t forget to vote in the poll at the end of the article each week. We’ll be tabulating all the votes to find the overall fan favorite design at the conclusion of the 2022 season!
Design 2.2/3, Fabric 1.0/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
I love this. More teams doing throwback leos and especially using velvet is making my heart sing. The only thing I don’t like about this design is the shoulder/arm design. It didn’t really show up on video and I’d prefer it to be plain blue mesh. Otherwise, this is great!
Design 2.7/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
Be still, my retro athletic leo-loving heart! The patterned sleeves aren’t my favorite, but I appreciate that it sets this design apart from its inspiration leo. The only change I’d make is having the piping around the neck and back white. The velvet is divine.
Design 2.3/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
The velvet! I am obsessed. I really appreciate how different and unique Auburn’s leos have been over the last few years, for better or worse. At least they don’t all look the same and each is memorable. I agree with Elizabeth about the design on the shoulders and arms, and I too wish it had been plain, or even velvet! Anyway, a great look overall.
Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
All previous comments about the retro and the velvet apply to me. I also don’t get the swirlies, and I think the text on the front could be a little smaller.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3
I feel like this leotard is one that has to grow on you. The initial shock of it is pretty jarring, but as I looked at it more, the more I liked it. The collar is weird, but I like it for some reason? I also like the ombre and amount of sparkle. I think the only thing I don’t like as much is the pattern of those sparkles.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3
My first impression wasn’t particularly favorable, but the more I look at this the more I like it. The inverted symmetry of the neck and opening in the back is clever, and I love the red to black ombre in the sleeves and body. The neckline and bodice are a little bit haphazard, but the back of the leo is a 10 for me.
Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
This would have been one of my favorite looks of the year if it wasn’t for this neckline! I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a neckline so much before even though Bama gave us this one. Otherwise, the ombré is stunning, and I am truly obsessed with the gorgeous back. I just want to keep looking at the back and ignore the front. There, I would remove that very low band of sparkles around the belly button, and I have to admit the pattern of sparkles is a bit overwhelming. But I truly cannot look past this terrible neckline.
Design 2.1/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 1.0/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3
I’m actually a big fan of the neckline, I just think the sparkle is a bit much. I’m very confused by the shoulder cap situation, and the whole thing comes off a big busy. I do appreciate someone being creative about the grand-scale structural engineering of a leotard, though. We don’t see too many innovations on that front.
View the image of this leotard here.
Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
This is great! A lot of teams have used this design lately, but it’s a good one so I’m not too upset. The shades of blue are lovely, and the back is nice. I also like how bold Sharks is on the back. It really stands out.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
I don’t care if we’ve seen this before; it’s a great stock design! The different shades of blue combined with the different fabric textures gives it a watery, ethereal look that’s perfect for the Sharks.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.4/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
While this has been a popular design, I really love it. The shades of blue are beautiful, and I love the ombré on the back. Great one!
Design 2.8/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.4/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.4/1, Overall Appearance 2.7/3
Simple but pretty! I would have liked a little bit of yellow, maybe in the sparkles in the team name on the back.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3
I like parts of this. The shades of blue, gold rhinestones, ombre and back is great. The love handle mesh side cutouts and weird design of the gold rhinestones are not.
Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2/3
The shades of blue melding on the bodice are gorgeous but get totally overwhelmed by the crystals on the stomach. On the other hand, I can’t appreciate how very cool the campfire crystal design is because I’m too distracted by the colors. Pick a bold element and let it stand out!
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.1/3
In theory, I should have loved this. The shades of blue are great, the neckline is lovely and it has the right amount of sparkles. But the side mesh cutouts are always a no for me, and the three holes on the back are just too distracting and unnecessary.
Design 1.7/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.3/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 1.8/3
I remember a few years ago when everyone on Twitter wanted UCLA leotards to be light blue instead of navy. I’ll say it: We’re officially in the light blue golden days now, and I don’t like it. I’m sure I sound like an old lady, but I just can’t look at this and convince my brain that this team is actually UCLA. It’s an OK leotard in a vacuum, though the back and the sparkle pattern are both distracting to me, and I don’t think side cutouts are ever necessary.
View a video of this leotard here.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
This reminds me of early 2010s Arizona designs but with a modern twist. It also reminds me of Iowa. I don’t really dislike the design as a whole, but I’m not shouting about it in a positive way either. I do like the big block A though.
Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.1/3
I love a good black and white Iowa leo, which this definitely would be. It loses points from me for the chest hole, which adds nothing and breaks up the overall flow of the design.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.3/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 1.6/3
I honestly thought this was an Iowa leo just by looking at the front. At least the (too) big block A is on the back. This design is alright—quite elegant overall even though I am not a fan of the chest hole.
Design 1.0/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 0.9/3
I’ll never support a chest hole. I really like the colored sparkle block A, but that’s about all this one has going for it.
Iowa State: 5.250
View a video of this leotard here.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.4/1, Overall Appearance 1.7/3
This week was “debut a leo similar to another team” week I guess. Every time I saw Iowa State in this leo I had to do a double take because at first I thought it was Texas Woman’s. I like the design best out of it, TWU’s and Oklahoma’s, but the unique score here for me has to be low.
Design 2/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2/3
This one looks much better in motion than it does in photographs. That said, the back feels pretty plain compared to the front, and there’s nothing that immediately says “Iowa State.”
Design 1.3/3, Fabric 0.4/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.3/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
It had potential, but it’s not quite well executed. The transition between the white, stripe-y fabric to the solid red bodice is a bit too sharp. Otherwise, I’m feeling pretty indifferent to this leo. This could also be the look of a handful of other teams.
Design 1.3/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.2/1, Uniqueness 0.3/1, Overall Appearance 1.1/3
I didn’t like this design when any of those other teams did it, and I don’t like it now either. I also don’t think it’s particularly ‘Iowa State’ in its color or design.
Design 1.2/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.4/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.1/1, Overall Appearance 1.4/3
This design is basically just this leo in a different color. Same beef, different week for me. I don’t have much else to say.
Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.3/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
Same song, different verse. It’s a perfectly fine, pretty leo that looks just like their other perfectly fine pretty leo with this exact same scalloped neckline in a slightly darker shade of blue.
Design 1.9/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.1/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3
Not going to lie, I totally thought Florida had already worn this one because it looked so familiar. But yes, what’s the point in getting the exact same leo in a slightly different color? Points for using orange sparkles, and it is a nice-looking leo overall, but why does everything have to look the same?
Design 1.3/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.1/1, Overall Appearance 1.4/3
I don’t begrudge Florida having a lot of redos this year because of the manufacturer change, but I do just not like scallops. It’s not flattering or exciting or fun to look at in the slightest.
View a video of this leotard here.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
This is OK. I don’t love it or hate it. The flame design is nice, but my favorite part is the back. Plus, red and white always looks good together.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 0.5/3
It’s…fine? Aggressively inoffensive? I can’t pinpoint any particular element that doesn’t work, but the overall look is less than the sum of its parts.
Design 1.2/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.3/1, Overall Appearance 1.3/3
Meh. I am over the flame design, and I don’t know why it’s making a comeback. I’m also not a big fan of the faux straps on the back—but nice addition of the “Red Rocks” there.
Design 0.4/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.2/1, Overall Appearance 1.1/3
Blah. I’m not such a big fan of the red/white combination without something darker to balance them out, and nothing else about this is particularly great either. The sparkle pattern on the front is distracting and neither the sleeves nor the back are appealing either.
Congrats to Florida for winning the week eight fan poll! Vote for your favorite from week nine here.
READ THIS NEXT: Leotard Rankings: Week 8
Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Claire Billman, Christina Marmet and Rebecca Scally
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