Our Favorite Fitness Gear of 2022
The sneaks, ropes and rollers that whipped us into fighting shape this year
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.
Fitness and nutrition comprise a pretty crazy portion of consumers’ spending pies these days.
Over a third of American adults now commit over $100 a month to their wellness, and can expect to put down well over $100,000 (!) over the course of a lifetime. That’s more expensive than four years at a public four-year college education.
In theory, that’s a good thing. Getting in shape is always a worthy enterprise, and pledging dollars to your fitness routine is a way of keeping you honest. If those dollars are going towards quality things — comfy running shoes, a satellite watch, a gym that doesn’t smell disgusting — it’s all worth it.
But sometimes gym equipment goes unused, or falls apart not long after you take it out of the box. Working out is hard, and finding the right stuff to work out with can sometimes be even harder.
We recommend ending the goose chase here and perusing this list, our favorite fitness gear we tested in 2022. From a creative take on a foam roller, to the perfect pack for the year’s buzziest new activity, to a pair of lifting shoes favored by kung fu artists, this gear whipped us into fighting shape this past year.
It’s hard to do too much leaping and bounding when you’ve got the lower back of Carl Fredricksen from Up. But getting on the ground with a Chirp Wheel helps ease those trigger points around the spine. (It’s accompanied by a pretty satisfying cracking sound, too.) We used our Chirp Wheel at least three times a week this year.
An understated classic in the crowded gym bag space, which would pair real well with your New Year’s resolution for the year ahead. There’s plenty of room for sneaks, a 13″ laptop and all your sweat-specked activewear.
We put hundreds of miles on these suckers this year. They’re perfect for longer/slower runs, as an advanced take on an everyday shoe, but work well in a pinch for track workouts and other fast fare. Fortunately for you, On recently added four more colorways to choose from.
This is the best budget running watch on the market, and the perfect entry-point for anyone who’d rather not hit the roads with their phone, yet refuses to buy an Apple Watch. The 45 has fantastic GPS tracking for the price, plus a handy Coach feature to keep your training challenging and fresh.
In case you missed it, Tracksmith and Puma teamed up on a collab earlier this year. We sure didn’t. Like everything else the Boston brand makes, the “Speed City” collection effortlessly blends elegance and performance. Shop the full collection here, though the tee is tops, in our opinion.
We once stuffed three bananas into this thing and it didn’t blink. The Beast lives up to its monstrous moniker, every damn day. Best (and best-looking) blender on the market, full stop.
January, February, March, April, November, December…most American runners can’t really wear running shorts for half the year. A trusty pair of joggers is critical, and there is literally nothing wrong with this offering from Vuori. (That’s high praise in the running community.) They do great on lounge or travel days, too.
It’s insane to think massage guns only really arrived on the scene three years ago, considering how synonymous they’ve become with recovery fitness. There are dozens of options now, obviously, and it can all be a little confusing, but for the price-tag, and the tiny, ergonomic design (which hits parts of the body easier than the clunkier machines), the Mini has long been our favorite.
Rucking, loosely defined as the act of carrying heavy shit over a great distance, is a full-body, Navy SEAL-approved workout that burns more fat than running. GORUCK makes packs with rainproof exterior and zippers that have been tested in Middle Eastern sandstorms. This one’s been strength-tested at up to 400 pounds, but we recommend starting easy, with a 25-pound plate, dumbbell or kettlebell.
We first started researching these sneakers after seeing them time and time again on the feet of serious lifters throughout New York City. Born in the streets of 1920s Shanghai, Feiyue became the preferred sneaker of 20th century kung fu artists and Shaolin monks. A French company relaunched the branding and production in the early 2000s, and the shoe is now beloved on the gym floor for its wide, flat, grippy base — the ideal for compound lifts.
Buying a yoga mat is always a good idea…unless you buy one that A) you can’t fit on, or B) turns into a slip-and-slide the second you start sweating. Gaiam’s is big enough to fit two, and touts a texture surface that will keep you on your feet.
Rapha makes the finest cycling gear on the planet. You don’t have to “Everest” once a year to join the club, though — their lightweight, windproof GORE-TEX jacket can function as an unbeatable outer shell for cycling to work in the year ahead. We’re also fans of their more approachably-priced training T-shirts.
So you’ve returned to the gym — or plan to join one, sometime soon. Fair enough. But battle rope (like a jump rope, medicine ball, or yoga mat) is an underrated, inexpensive, easy-to-store fitness tool that can provide a scorcher on days you don’t feel like commuting to your health club or signing up for a class. Just five 30-second intervals will totally fry your upper body, while putting your lungs through the ringer, too.
These shorts are excellent. They don’t tear or fray, they never ride up on runs, they have little compartments for keys and cards, and you can order them to your exact liking: lining/no lining, 5″/7″, XS-XXL, 10 different colors. We recommend bringing home a couple pairs.
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