What Is the Difference Between a Leotard and a Singlet?

What Is the Difference Between a Leotard and a Singlet?

Leotard Vs Singlet

When it comes to the Olympics, gymnastics is one of the most popular sports among Americans, and it’s no wonder why.

Watching the way gymnasts’ bodies move, whether it’s on the floor, on the beams, or flying around the high bars, is enough to make you stare in awe. It truly is a sport that sucks you in.

To be able to do these moves safely and with ease, the gymnast’s clothing makes a huge difference — they can’t wear just anything. 

That’s where a leotard and a singlet come in.

Leotards and singlets are the most common thing you see gymnasts wearing. They conform to the gymnast’s body and give them a full range of motion to perform their routines safely and successfully.

Though it may not look like it at first, there is a difference between a leotard and a singlet, and we’re here to make that differentiation clear. Read on to find out what that difference is.


Named for its creator, a French acrobat named Jules Léotard, the gymnastics leotard was created to eliminate any restriction placed on his body during movement. He also had safety in mind, as well as the ability to show off his physique.

The leotard’s style was eventually adapted for trainers in other sports, such as ballet. No matter the sport, however, the purpose of the leotard remained the same — to allow the body to flex and move in various ways without any restriction.

From the leotard evolved the one-piece bathing suit, the catsuit, and even the singlet.

The main thing to focus on in gymnastics leotards is the cut of it. The leotard does not cover the legs at all. Think of it as a bikini bottom, where the fabric sits right at your hip.

The top of the leotard can show off different styles, such as short-sleeved or long-sleeved.

The backs can be cut differently, too, as there are some open back gymnastics leotards. These have become a really popular type of gymnastics leotard for girls. But the bottom of the leotard will always resemble a bikini bottom.


This is where leotards and singlets differ — when focusing on the cut of the bottom of it.

While singlets still offer all the ease of movement and flexibility that a leotard offers, where they differ is that they provide more coverage. 

Singlets are cut at the bottom in the shape of shorts, rather than being cut in the shape of a bikini like a leotard. The singlet was adapted from the leotard for wrestlers to wear, but gymnasts can wear it as well.

Which to Choose Between a Leotard and a Singlet

Gymnasts must wear either a leotard or a singlet in competition, so it’s up to you to choose which one feels more comfortable to you.

Leotards and singlets consist of the same materials and techniques, so they are very similar to one another. However, the one main difference between them is the cut of the bottom.

As long as there are no frills or straps dangling off that will get in your way, if you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll perform safely and execute your routine well.

Time to Shop

The only thing standing in your way of becoming the next Olympic gymnast is the outfit.

Wearing the right outfit is what will keep you safe and allow your body to flex and move the way it needs to. Between a leotard and a singlet, you can't go wrong — the choice is really is up to you.

We offer a selection of gymnastics  leotards that offer all the comfort, flexibility, and colorful patterns you’ll need, and we can guarantee you’ll find one you love. You can shop for them here.