Best Gym Bags
A lot of companies make bags out of Cordura, a ballistic nylon originally developed for the military—but not very many of them have as much fun with the stuff as the goofily-named Baboon to the Moon Day Duffel does. It’s got the roomy pockets and near-indestructibility required by any gym bag, with the added bonus of some wild-as-hell hues. But if your aesthetic veers more gorp than god-that’s-bright, the legendary Patagonia Black Hole Duffel—which has been hauled across every imaginable kind of terrain, to the farthest corners of the globe by adventurers—remains undefeated. (As in, yes, the littlest Black Hole can handle some rank shoes and a rainy sprint from the car to the gym door.) And if you’re dead-set on leveling up your gym gear, opt for the Bottega Veneta Tote Bag. Besides being the extremely practical, exceedingly fly height of gym flexes, the bag’s massive mesh pocket on the front lets your swampiest duds get the air they desperately need.
Best Workout Socks
We deeply stan Nike’s socks, and the Nike Everyday Max Cushioned Sock is no exception. They’ve got a slightly thicker terry sole for perfect cushioning and construction that will survive longer than most athletic socks we’ve used. If you’re planning to run long distances, though, get the Stance Athletic Tabbed Sock. Instead of feeling filmy on your feet, like most thin running-specific socks, these have a little extra underfoot cushioning where you need it, but maximum ventilation everywhere else. For those with blister issues, the poly-cotton Bombas Performance Tennis Calf Socks, with their front-and-back blister tabs, will protect you from the fresh hell of gross skin bubbles. Plus Bombas donates a pair of socks for every pair purchased. Upgrade your sock drawer…for a good cause.
Best Running Sneakers
Most Stylish: Hoka One One Clifton L
Hoka One One was doing extremely chunky runners before the fashion kids ever caught on, and for good reason. The hulked-up, deceptively light soles on the company’s freshly dropped Clifton L provide a smooth, cushioned ride for runners of all levels—especially those who need a little extra support to cope with chronic pain issues or when returning from an injury. And yeah, they look great when you’re not logging splits, too.
Best Carbon-Fiber Upgrade: Saucony Endorphin Pro
Nike has dominated the racing shoe game from an innovation perspective for the last few years—but with the Endorphin Pro, it finally has some competition. Unlike other carbon fiber plate kicks on the market, which can have a foamy, mushy feel, Saucony’s debut carbon racer has a locked-in, close-to-foot fit with a natural ride.
Best Workhorse: Nike Pegasus 37
As usual, the latest iteration of Nike’s classic neutral sneaker is sturdy enough to train in, light enough to race in, and cool enough to run errands in. The biggest change this year is the Zoom airbag under the ball of your foot, providing better cushioning and responsiveness. (If you’re keeping score, that’s Zoom pods 1, Zoom meetings 0.)
Best Old-School Racer: Asics Metaracer
The pendulum has swung all the way back from the barefoot running days. Spurred by Nike’s Vaporfly line, the new wave in go-fast running shoes is packing in a ton of foam…but not everyone likes how that feels underfoot. Enter Asics’ Metracer, which combines modern tech (a carbon plate) with an old-school, close-to-the-ground feel—and looks great doing it.
Fastest Everyday Runner: Brooks Hyperion Tempo
Brooks took its next-level racing foam and put it into a sturdier shoe—sans race-day carbon plate—so you can enjoy that bouncing-on-clouds sensation on your fast training runs, too.
Best Gym Shoes
Best CrossFit Kicks: Reebok Nano x Froning
If the phrases “burpee-over-barbell” or “toes-to-bar” are in your regular vocabulary, then these sneakers should be in your closet. A collab between Reebok and CrossFit legend Rich Froning, the new Nano is ideal for both uptempo HIIT and heavy weight training thanks to a flexible but ultra-stable construction.
Best Platform for Lifting Heavy: UnderArmour TriBase Reign 2
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another shoe that performs as well as the Reign 2 in the weight room. The sneaker’s low center of gravity and grippy sole means your clean-and-jerks stay as clean as can be.
Best for HIIT: Nike Air Zoom SuperRep
Choosing the right shoe to wear to a HIIT or bootcamp class has always been a bit of a dilemma—you need something stable enough to throw weight, but nothing so stiff or heavy you’ll be swearing after two minutes of treadmill sprints. With the Super Rep, Nike dialed in the flexibility-stability compromise precisely, and even designed a small gap between the forefoot and heel that’s the perfect cradle for a resistance band.
Best For the Treadmill (and Everything Else): On Running Cloud X
Co-founded by a champion triathlete, the cult Swiss label On is best known for its propulsive distance-running shoes and its newly-minted endorsement deal with Roger Federer. The sleek Cloud X is its most versatile model—it rocks front-to-back like a pure runner (great for the treadmill), but it has enough lateral stability for side lunges and dance cardio. Hell, you could play some pickup indoor soccer in these things.
Best Cycling Gear
Best Step-Up Bike: Cannondale Topstone Carbon
Cycling isn’t all spandex shorts and skinny tires anymore. The wave these days is gravel, a style of ride that takes all the fun of road riding (big climbs, long rides, fast bikes) and brings it off-road. The ideal bike for this is essentially a road machine with wider tires and maybe a bit of suspension. What you get is a bike that’s up for anything—or, in the Cannondale’s case, a bike that can do everything really damn well. It’s quick on city streets, handles impeccably on hard-packed gravel, and saves your ass (literally) on trails thanks to the small amount of rear suspension. The only thing it can’t do is pedal itself home after you grab a post-ride beer.
Best A-to-B City Bike: All City Spacehorse
The Space Horse harkens back to cycling’s origins: simple lines, steel tubing. From far away you could mistake it for a vintage Cinelli. But this Minneapolis-built bike is fast, responsive, and more than anything, fun. You’ll want to ride to work every day and saddle up again on the weekend to knock out a half-century. And All City’s bikes are built to last. Think of it like buying a Honda—be kind, and it’ll last longer than you imagined.
Best Bike Helmet: Giro Syntax Mips helmet
You don’t need some $350 Fast Guy model, and you certainly don’t want to sweat your ass off with one of those stuffy skateboard-adjacent helmets (they’re heavy and you’ll just sweat), but you’ve gotta cover your dome. Giro’s Syntax is loaded with vents to keep your head cool, features the latest Mips technology, which helps protect your spine from twisting rotational forces in a crash, and it sports an unassuming form-follows function look. Just make sure you get the fit right—try one on at a local shop, or at the very least, measure your head.
Best Bike Kit: Team Dream clothing
Team Dream started as a joke amongst friends. A handful of cyclists in Topanga Canyon built a fictional cycling team and made kits for their pals. Their logo? A chubby bobcat. Now Team Dream operates out of what they call The Cub House—a storefront, bike shop, and coffee shop in San Marino, California. From the spandex shorts to their limited-edition t-shirts, everything’s made in the U.S. The color palette isn’t shy (purple, yellow, royal blue, De Stijl, cow print) and they’ve taken a page out of the streetwear handbook with seasonal drops that sells out as fast as a Tour de France peloton.
Author: “The Editors of GQ — www.gq.com “