Part of getting ready for a new school year and new sports season is making sure you have all the gear you need to win in style. And that means a new school bag. With so many different styles and colors to choose from, it can be hard to find the bag that’s right for your sport and for your look. We’re breaking down our top three favorite backpacks, mini backpacks, gymsacks, tote, duffels, crossbody bags, and kids’ bags to help make the decision easier. 

Back To School Bag Guide Backpacks

Backpacks

Obviously, when it comes to school, the most popular type of bag is the classic backpack, but there are so many varieties within this category from basic to decked out. To help you choose, here are our top three favorites as well as a list of some common features that you’ll find on many backpacks so you can identify the technology and know exactly what you’re getting.

Nike Hoops Elite Pro Backpack

While this backpack is designed for basketball players, it’s loaded with a ton of great features that make it the perfect choice for everyone. The bag has a sleek design and a duffel-like opening so you can set it down flat while looking for your workout clothes or textbooks. There’s a laptop sleeve, water bottle storage, and a ventilated pocket to keep sweaty items separate from the rest of your gear. Shop it here.

The North Face Jester Backpack

This do-it-all backpack is built to carry everything you need while keeping you cool and comfortable. It comes with a floating padded laptop sleeve, secondary compartment with zippered areas for pens and pencils, a front elastic bungee for external storage, and two water bottle pockets. It also features compression molded shoulder straps and a padded mesh back panel to ease the strain of carting around school supplies and sport gear. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Utility 4.0 Backpack

If you want the classic functionality of a backpack, but with a more unique look, this is the bag for you. It’s on-trend camo print and cord-lock and hood closure will help you stand out in the halls while keeping all your gear secure. This bag also has two water bottle pockets, an interior laptop sleeve, and ear-bud and charger storage. As an added bonus, this backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Mini Backpacks

Mini Backpacks

If you want the school aesthetic but a little more stylized, try a mini backpack. These look like regular backpacks, but as the title implies, they’re smaller so you won’t find as many tech features on them and you won’t be able to fit as much inside. So, if you normally carry all your textbooks to and from school, this might not be the best choice for you. But, if you’re focused on style, here are our three favorite mini backpacks for this year.

Nike Brasilia JDI Mini AOP Backpack

With a see-through outer shell and allover print, the Brasilia Mini Backpack packs a big punch for such a small bag. It has two side mesh pockets, water-resistant construction, and two roomy zippered compartments for your essentials. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Santiago Mini Backpack

You can’t deny the appeal of the classic adidas Trefoil. On this mini backpack, it’s front and center, with additional branding across the top. This clean design is the perfect complement to all your school fits, and the webbed shoulder straps and multiple zippered pockets are perfect for comfortably securing all your must-haves. Shop it here.

Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack

This school year, vow to be bold, even down to the smallest details. The Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack is the perfect accessory for carting around your keys, wallet, and other small essentials. Its bold colors and thermoplastic material will pop in the halls or when you’re out with friends, and adjustable shoulder straps and top haul loop make it super easy to grab and go. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Gymsacks

Gymsacks

Gymsacks are as simple as bags get. They’re super lightweight and easy to throw on, but they rarely have pockets or any other tech. Usually, it’s just a single pull string compartment to put everything in. If you like minimalist style and carry very few items, this could be an option for you. They’re bigger than a mini backpack, so you could probably fit a small laptop or tablet in it, but, because of the simplicity of design and material, you’ll want to make sure you put your electronics in a padded case before putting it in the bag. Here are our three favorites.

Jordan Air Drawstring Gym Sack

You can’t go wrong with the Jumpman. This gymsack is designed to hold an extra pair of clothes and small workout essentials, and it has a side zippered pocket for more secure storage. Shop it here.

adidas Alliance II Sackpack

This gymsack packs a little extra punch, thanks to two side mesh pockets and a front zip pocket to hold your valuables. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and no matter which one you choose, you’ll be rocking the classic athletic Three Stripes. Shop it here.

Nike Brasilia Gymsack

When you want to grab your workout or class essentials and go, simplicity is key. The Nike Brasilia Gymsack has everything you need and nothing you don’t – with three storage areas and a reinforced bottom to protect your gear. It comes in multiple colors to match your personal style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Tote Bags

Tote Bags

The most purse-like fashion option is a tote bag. They’re big enough to fit everything you need and feature a few separate sections like a small accessory pocket and laptop sleeve. The biggest difference with this bag is that it’s not quite as hands-free. Since it doesn’t have dual shoulder straps, you can either put it on one shoulder or just carry it in your hand. Here are three great options.

Jordan Flight Essential Adjustable Tote

Legendary Jumpman logo? Check. Removable shoulder strap for multiple carry options? Check. Coated zipper pulls for durability that will last all school year? Check. The Jordan Flight Essential Tote is a triple threat. Shop it here.

adidas All Me Tote

Sport and style go hand in hand with the functional adidas All Me Tote. This bag is made from premium air mesh and has adjustable straps so you can carry it as a crossbody, over your shoulder, or by the handles. Multiple internal pockets let you organize everything just the way you like it. Shop it here.

Nike One Tote

This bag is the one to fit all your needs – from class to practice and everything in between. This versatile tote bag features a large main storage area, water bottle pocket, and elastic bungees for external storage. And it comes in two great neutral colors to complement your school fits and your workout style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Duffel Bags

Duffel Bags

A small duffel bag can be a great option for student athletes. Most come with a long strap that you can wear crossbody to keep your hands free. When people picture duffels, they often think of big, bulky bags, but they come in many smaller sizes that can be perfect for athletes who don’t want to carry multiple bags to school. With a duffel, you’ll have enough room to store your school items as well as your gear for practice. Here are our top styles.

Nike One Duffel

Just like the Nike One Tote, this duffel bag combines sporty style and functionality in a way that can’t be beat. A vented compartment is great for storing sweaty clothes after practice, and a zippered shoe compartment and magnetic pockets provide plenty of storage for your school essentials and workout must-haves. Shop it here.

adidas Defender IV Duffel

This durable bag has front and end zippered pockets, dual carry handles with padded grip, and a shoulder strap that you can adjust or remove to meet your needs. The dimensions on this version are 11.75″ H X 20.5″ L X 11″ W, but it also comes in a medium size if you need extra space for practice clothes and shoes. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Nike Brasilia Duffel

With an array of color options and the classic Nike Swoosh, the Brasilia Duffel is a great option for student athletes who need to grab everything and go. It features a dual-zip main compartment, zippered outside pocket for small essentials, and a show compartment to keep everything clean and dry. The dimensions on this bag are 20″ L x 11″ W x 11″ H, but it’s also available in a medium size if you need more space. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Back To School Bag guide Crossbody Bags

Crossbody Bags

If you’re looking for a stylish way to carry your daily essentials, a crossbody bag might be the right choice for you. Small and lightweight, these bags won’t work for all your school supplies or sports gear, but they’re perfect for your keys, wallet, chapstick, phone, and other small items. Here are three picks we love.

Nike Heritage Hip Pack

With a main compartment and smaller accessories pocket, the Nike Heritage Pack will keep everything organized and easy to reach. The strap has a buckle closure, and can be worn around your waist, across your body, or over your shoulder. This comes in a bunch of colors and is the perfect finishing touch to your everyday look. Shop it here.

adidas Originals National Festival Crossbody

With over 100 5-star reviews, this bag can’t be beat. Its unique design features a hook-and-loop fastener so you can attach this to larger bags and backpacks and a customizable strap for when you want to wear it solo. It comes in three colors and features the iconic Trefoil front and center. Shop it here.

Jordan Jumpman AJX Crossbody

Elevate your look to legend status with this synthetic leather crossbody. A zip closure and back pocket for your phone leave plenty of room for all your essentials and an adjustable strap lets you wear it your way. This bag comes in white or red for a vibrant pop that’ll turn heads. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Kids' Bags

Kids’ Bags

Even the youngest student athletes need great options for carrying their school and sports gear. We’ve got a variety of bags sized just for them and designed to meet their specific needs. Here are three of our favorites along with a tip to make sure you’re carrying your gear safely.

Pro Tip:
If you find yourself hunched over to ease the weight of your bag, consider lightening your load. Kids younger than 13 shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight, while kids 13 and older are okay carrying up to 25% of their body weight.

Nike Young Elemental Backpack

This backpack is the perfect fit for a young student athlete who needs to organize all their gear. It has a removable pencil case for easy access in class. There are also multiple zip pockets to hold school books, gym clothes, calculators, and everything else you might need. Padded shoulder straps keep you comfortable in the halls, on the bus, and back and forth from practice. Shop it here.

Nike CR7 Backpack

For an athletic look that doesn’t sacrifice storage space, go with the Ronaldo-inspired CR7 Backpack. It’s got bold design elements, a large main compartment, and a zippered front pouch for smaller items. The back panel and shoulder straps are padded, so you’ll stay comfortable even when you’re loaded down with homework. Shop it here.

Nike Futura Jumbo Lunch Tote

Who wants a boring brown bag lunch when you can keep your food fresh and cool in an insulated tote from the Swoosh?? It’s the perfect size for lunch and snacks, and its soft shell design means you can easily fold it up and fit it in your backpack when it’s empty. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Sports Bags

Sport-Specific Bags

If you need a bag built specifically for your sport, we’ve got you covered there, too. We’ve got options with compartments for your basketball or volleyball, baseball bats and helmet, wrestling shoes, and more.