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Welcome to our 2019 guide to choosing the best backpack for gym and work. Whether you’re shopping for men’s or women’s packs or even both, we’ve got you covered in our guide below. Our #1 pick is actually so awesome for the gym and work that making a Top 10 list would have been overkill and ended up wasting your time.

best backpack for gym and work featured image

Over the past several months, we’ve reviewed and investigated a vast number of new 2019 model backpacks by our favorite brands and new brands making a splash on the scene. All of this time looking at backpacks has given us a full view of what’s available. We’re confident that our guides save you and all of our visitors precious time when shopping for the pack(s) that best suits them.

Several key features we looked for when choosing our best backpack for gym and work were:

  • Shoe compartment/dirty laundry compartment
  • Laptop & tablet sleeves
  • A sleek, professional appearance
  • Lightweight design
  • Functionality
  • Anti-theft features to keep your possessions secure at the gym and while in transit
  • Internal organization for paperwork, pens, pencils, etc.

Now, let’s check out the packs.

Top 5 Best Backpacks for Gym and Work

Backpack Features & Highlights
#1 Best Backpack for Gym and Work (Men & Women) 

 

#1 Korin Design FlexPack Pro

Korin Design FlexPack Pro best backpack for gym and work 2019 men and women

View at Amazon
  • Expandable Thermal Insulation Quick-Access Side Pocket (Shoe Compartment) – This is the #1 feature for gym and work in this bag. The antibacterial storage compartment holds gym shoes, dirty gym clothes, and/or wet items to keep them 100% separated (Shoe Compartment Dimensions: 9.65″ Length x 5.31″ Height x 3.94″ Depth)
  • The only pack we’ve seen that has a built-in USB charging port with an inlet and outlet. This feature allows you to charge your power bank from outside the bag as well as charge your phone essentially turning the pack into a portable charging station.
  • Premium water-resistant materials
  • Padded laptop and tablet sleeves with velcro closure (fits up to a 15.6″ laptop)
  • Internal organizer pockets for holding office supplies and other personal belongings
  • Magnetic sternum strap (we love this feature)
  • Anti-Theft Features: TSA combination zipper lock at main compartment, built-in retractable cable lock that allows you to connect the bag to a fixed object (e.g. inside your gym locker), and double-layer YKK zippers
  • Overall, the FlexPack Pro is far and away the best backpack for gym and work currently on the market
  • Dimensions: 14″ Width x 19″ Height x 7″ Depth
Our #1 Gym Pick 

 

#2 Targus Work and Play Fitness Backpack

targus work and play best backpack for gym and work uk

View at Amazon
  • Unlike the Korin FlexPack, the Targus Work and Play pack is specially designed for the gym with lots of thoughtful touches you’ll undoubtedly enjoy
  • The 180º lay-flat opening allows you to hang the Targus bag in your gym locker or on any hook to access/store your items in the internal organizer pockets
  • Separate shoe compartment with ventilation
  • Dedicated laptop & tablet compartment keeps your computer separate from your gym gear (fits up to a 15.6″ laptop)
  • Includes portable laundry and detachable washbag
  • Expandable side water bottle pockets and top zipper pocket for easy access to your phone
  • Overall, the Targus backpack is the best on our list for the gym, yet it lacks several anti-theft features and the convenience of an external USB port. We also think the Korin FlexPack has a more attractive appearance.
  • Dimensions: 12.19″ Width x 19.29″ Height x 9.44″ Depth
  • Capacity: 24-liter
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs
Our #1 Casual Pick 

 

#3 Under Armour Hustle 4.0 Backpack

Under Armour Hustle 4.0 best gym and work backpack

View at Amazon
  • Large bottom zip pocket to store your gym shoes and dirty gym clothes completely separate from the rest of your belongings
  • Plenty of colors to choose from for men and women
  • External D-ring gear loop/keyring near the bottom of the bag
  • 2 fleece-lined quick-access front zip pockets for cell phone, wallet, etc.
  • 2 large side water bottle pockets perfect for holding modern insulated stainless steel water bottles
  • Wide padded S-shaped HeatGear® shoulder straps and fully padded back panel (more padding than the Under Armour Recruit pack)
  • Separate laptop main compartment w/ fleece-lined sleeve holds up to a 15″ laptop
  • Wide top comfort-grip handle
  • Dimensions: 5.9″ Depth x 13″ Width x 19.3″ Height
  • Capacity: 26-liter
  • Weight: 1 lb 6 oz
  •  Note:  Skip to 8:08 on video to watch his Hustle 4.0 demonstration
Our #1 Budget-Friendly Pick 

 

#4 MarsBro Business Laptop Backpack w/ Shoe Compartment

marsbro best bag for gym and work black

marsbro best bag for gym and work red  View at Amazon

  • The MarsBro laptop bag is an excellent budget option that has a similar appearance to the FlexPack Pro and holds larger laptops up to 17.3″
  • A shoe compartment in the bottom of the bag with vent holes to let the funk breathe (enough room for shoes and a set of gym clothes)
  • An external USB port for phone charging on the go
  • Internal zip pocket, water bottle holder, umbrella holder, tablet & laptop sleeves with velcro closure
  • Large dry/wet insulated side zip pocket
  • TSA-friendly 90º opening at main compartment
  • Hidden rear pocket for storing pocket change and/or documents you need quick access to while in transit
  • Luggage strap on the back panel to pass over a rolling suitcase handle
  • Quick-access zip card pocket on the shoulder strap for bus cards/credit & debit cards
  • Wide padded shoulder straps and fully padded ventilated back panel for superior comfort
  • Professional appearance is ideal for the office, yet not too professional for the gym
  • Dimensions: 6.3″ Depth x 13.4″ Width x 16.9″ Height
  • Capacity: 25-liter
  • Weight: 1.95 lbs
Our #1 Pick for Functionality 

 

#5 Kah&Kee Compact Gym/Work Backpack

Kah&Kee Compact best bag for gym and work

View at Amazon
  • What we love most about this gym and work bag is the compartment arrangement. There are three main compartments: 1.) The main front compartment with vertical zipper 2.) Bottom ventilated shoe compartment 3.) Laptop compartment with internal organizer features for office supplies
  • Confirmed by current owners to stand the test of time: sturdy build quality, smooth zippers, and premium stitching
  • Padded laptop sleeve fits up to a 15.6″ computer
  • Ventilated shoe compartment fits up to a men’s size 13
  • Quick-access top pocket for storing your phone and other small items
  • Ventilated padded mesh back panel and adjustable sternum strap
  • More compact than the other bags in our Top 5 if you prefer a smaller pack
  • Water-resistant nylon shell
  • Comparable to the Aer Fit Pack 2
  • Dimensions: 8″ Depth x 12.5″ Width x 18.5″ Height
  • Capacity: 18.8-liter
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs
  •  Note:  Video is for the Aer Fit Pack 2, not the Kah&Kee Compact

Gym & Work Backpack FAQ

What size shoes does the shoe compartment fit?

One of the most frequently asked questions when choosing a gym and work backpack is what size shoes fit?

Of the packs in our Top 5, the Targus, Under Armour, and Kah&Kee bags fit the largest shoes. Keep in mind, the larger your shoes are the more space you’ll eat up inside the bag. You may find that you overpacked if you’re using the bag to store basketball shoes or have large feet.

While we do love the Korin Design FlexPack Pro and consider it to be the best backpack for gym and work overall, the shoe compartment size is smaller. Be sure to check the dimensions in the chart above and compare them against your gym shoe dimensions to ensure they’ll fit before you buy.

Can I fit my laptop?

Depending on the type of laptop you own, you’ll have no problem sliding slimmer laptops such as a MacBook inside the designated laptop sleeves. Be sure to check the max laptop size in the chart above before you buy.

If your laptop is larger than 15″, we recommend the MarsBro backpack that fits up to a 17.3″ laptop. The other packs in our top five max out at 15.6″, which is more than enough room for most people.

Which backpack is the best for trapping the smell of my shoes and dirty gym clothes?

The FlexPack Pro antibacterial pouch is the best pocket for trapping the smell of your shoes. The Targus backpack includes a separate laundry bag that you may want to put your shoes inside.

The other packs are sealed or have ventilation. If you’re concerned about other people smelling your clothes or shoes on public transportation, we recommend our list of best smell proof backpacks. These packs use a special carbon-filter lining to completely trap odors inside the backpack.

A second option is a large odor-proof bag to store your shoes and gym clothes in after you finish your workout. Click Here to view the bag we recommend at Amazon.

Bottom Line

We’re confident that our Top 5 Best Backpacks & Bags for Gym and Work will suit everyone’s taste. Whether you work in a casual office space or a more formal setting, there are options here to suit your needs.

By following our chart, watching the videos, and reading through the brief FAQ/buyer’s guide above, you obtain all the knowledge you need to make the best buying decision.

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