After almost two years of anything but normal, so many of us are looking forward to 2022. The number one item on everyone’s list? Being more healthy.
Whether you’re finally taking that first step towards fitness, or maybe you’re already a work out wonder woman and looking to kick things up a notch…good workout gear can make all the difference to your success. The right gear can enhance your ability to perform, reduce your potential for injury and of course, keep you looking good through whatever exercise you’re doing.
Our editors have pulled together our short list of must haves for some of the most popular work outs out there. These are the items we use and love, and we’re excited to share them with you.
So let’s get moving!
Not as bone-jarring as running, sprinting or high-intensity jumping, walking is still a great work out. And you’ve pretty much been doing it for most of your life. That said, you’d be seriously missing out if you didn’t get yourself some solid gear to keep you comfortable and motivated to keep going.
When a shoe under $40 gets 5-star reviews from nurses, pharmacists and other women whose days keep them on their feet for hours at a time, you know you’ve scored a great walking shoe. Memory foam insoles, soft and stretchy material throughout and shock-absorbing soles all come together to keep you motivated.
With UV400 protection and FDA approved impact resistant lenses, the Fast Lane Sports from Knockaround are a great all-around pair of sunglasses perfect for a walk around the block. They come in a whole range of cool colors (both frames and lenses). Our current fav is this aquamarine and fuchsia combo that instantly puts us in our happy zone. Big bonus on these, they have rubberized nose pads that help keep your sunnies firmly on your face. So you spend less time doing the “nose push” and more time enjoying the world around you.
We prefer a good midlayer jacket for walking. Why? Because walking heats you up, but not to the sweat level of a run. So you want something that breathes, but not so much to give you a chill. This 4-way stretch hoodie by RYU is made of midlayer technical fabric in front and FUN-MAX®Cool moisture-absorbing mesh in the back. This helps your front core stay warm, while excess heat dissipates through the back. Oh, and it’s also treated with Polygiene® that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, so you can wear it more often with fewer washes.
If Namaste is your way to good health, you’re not alone. Around 55 million Americans have sought out this form of exercise for both their bodies and mind. It’s easy for beginners, perfect for practicing in small spaces and, like walking, is low impact which makes it a great form of exercise for all age groups.
Having burned through a few Bikram classes ourselves (as well as a Hatha and Vinyasa or two), our editors have some great items that will take your asana to next level…
As one of our editors put it “I’ve gone through so many mats, trying to find one that doesn’t turn into a slip and slide halfway through class. It never occurred to me that it wasn’t the mat I needed to upgrade…it was my towel.” This thin, but absorbent towel from Alo Yoga is perfectly sized to fit your mat. Its underside is covered with thousands of tiny silicone hexagon-shaped grips, ensuring it stays put and right where you need it. Knowing you have plenty of traction, regardless of the move, will give you the confidence you need from your first breath to your last.
Yoga moves require a lot of poses in all sorts of directions. One thing no one every wants to deal with, but all of us have, is the occasional protest from our underwear…we’re looking at you, Mr. Wedgey. These leggings by Honey Love feature a patented, absorbent inner gusset and sheer-proof fabric that allows you to wear them without underwear. Seriously. It also has built-in shaping panels and a soft, compressive fabric that both smooths and conceals. These will definitely be your new go-to.
Being low impact, you can get away with a variety of simple, easy wear bras for Yoga. But one look at this bra by Vuori, and you’ll never want to settle for just another training top. Giving light to medium support, the Yosemite gives off some glorious vibes with its triple strappy back design that looks anything but ordinary. Comes in three other colors, but we’re loving this dark green camo cutie.
The mother-of-all-cardio workouts, running is the most popular and practiced sport in the world. The results range from fat burning to muscle building, stamina to stress release. A good run is a great thing, but not prepping yourself with the right equipment, and you’re lost in the land of blisters, strains and sprains.
Designed with the intermediate runner in mind, the X9000 L3 comes with the adidas boost midsole (giving you energy with every kick) while the built in Control Rail ensures your strike (aka when your foot hits the ground) stays stable. Why is that important? As you move into longer distances, the potential of fatigue grows. That can throw your rhythm off and increase the likelihood for injury. Consider this shoe your own personal trainer, whispering in your ear to “keep proper form” while you continue to push your limits.
Designed by runners, for runners. This bra comes with all the bells and whistles you need for a great run – four-way stretch fabrication, high impact support, breathable spacer knit fabrics, bonded finishes and dryCELL moisture-wicking technology for enhanced temperature control. Its high impact support will keep the twins happy and secure, even through your fastest wind sprints.
Speaking of keeping things in place, these sport sunglasses by Knockaround have all the premium must-haves you want in a good running pair, minus the premium price tag. Super lightweight frame with rubberized grip nose pads, and polarized, UV400 protection lenses that even if you do manage to knock off your face, are impact resistant. They come in a variety of color options (frames and lenses) including this sharp looking Navy/Mint combo shown above. They’re a favorite of the SLH crew for their great quality and amazing price.
It stands for “High Intensity Interval Training” and it has exploded in popularity since the pandemic. It’s extremely flexible in how you approach it – there are HIIT series out there that use traditional weight + hard cardio and others that use your own body weight plus short, intense moves like box jumping. Whatever your preference, these workouts are meant to kick your metabolism into high gear by alternating your moves. And while you could use your trusted running outfit in a pinch, your main go-to for this workout should be a proper training shoe and attire.
While we all love to think that if we’re already running and using weights, starting a HIIT program means we can skip to the intermediate level. After your first session you’re going to learn really quickly that HIIT is a whole different beast. Changing gears from intensive cardio to burpees to weights are gonna send your stamina into a free fall. That’s where the new PUMA Fuse will save you. The wide toe box will give you a stable stance, while the internal midsole provides shock absorption. And the big bonus – durable PUMAGRIP provides all-purpose traction while a TPU heel clip offers a boost of support.
Sweaty Betty, Power Workout 7/8 Leggings $47 (reg. $100)
With its wide, high waist band and reinforced seams, these Sweaty Betty leggings can handle whatever you throw at them. Then also have a long left thigh pocket and a back zippered waist pocket, perfect for keeping your phone and airpods, or keys and other items, close by. Top it off with a cool, abstract pink tie dye pattern and you’ll want to lift a pair of your own right now.
When you’re kinda over the sports bra + loose fit tank combo, reboot your gym look with some glam. The thick, elastic waistband ensures the top stays in place as you move, while the mesh back and chic cut-out design turns ventilation into a fashion statement. Stylish and functional thanks to the on-trend print, this crop top works just as well at the weekend as it does for the gym.
Whether you’re spinning or hitting the pavement, a good biking gear is a must. Support is paramount or you risk pedal-slippage, sore buttocks and undue strain. A word of note here about shoes – no true biking shoe is complete without proper cleats. There are two main types, and choosing will depend on what your bike requires. SPD is the classic 2-bolt and the most common for all around cycling (including indoor and road). The other is the LOOK Delta cleat and that is what Peloton uses. Cleats are usually sold separately from shoes, but it is important to note that some advanced biking shoes are only compatible with one or the other.
Giro, Empire ACC Cycling Shoe $299.95
With biking shoes, you really do get what you pay for. The Empire series by Giro feature a female specific design, so the ankle is narrower, making it much more comfortable with less potential for injury due to improper form. It also has a carbon sole and adjustable arch support, making it light but sturdy. And there’s plenty of ventilation in the upper, which is key especially if you’re spending quality time in a hot, spinning class. Maintenance is super easy with a wipe clean surface, which you’ll find most welcome for when you’re out on the road.
Bike shorts are adorable, and it just so happens, super trendy now. High end designers and big sports brands have them in all shapes, prints and colors. However, any woman who’s taken a ride on a bike will understand that there’s a difference between a bike short and a biking short. In a word, it’s called a chamois…and it can literally save your butt. True biking shorts have a built in chamois to protect and cushion you from some serious soreness and potential bruising of your buttocks and groin area. Here’s the rub though (pun intended) – most of those super cute, designer brand bike shorts that you love? They don’t have them. Does this mean you have to sacrifice fashion for function? At SLH we say ‘no way’! Get this removable padding insert from Aero Tech. It slides into any bike short you have and stays put with a silicone gripping back. Now any bike short you own can become a true biking short. Trust us, your butt will thank you.
RYU, Vapor Bra $38
Things can get heated when you’re in the zone, so keep your ladies happy and breathing with RYU’s Vapor bra. Made with circular knitting technology, the seams are minimal and won’t cause chafing. A generous front mesh keeps the air moving while the large t-back backside gives your shoulders plenty of easy movement. Comes in three colors, including midnight blue (shown above), black and a super light gray called Raindrop.
From Hip Hop Abs to Zumba, nothing beats getting in shape while shaking your groove thing. Cardo, flexibility, balance and coordination are just some of the results you can look forward to. Plus it’s just so damn fun.
ASICS, Gel-DS Trainer 26 $129.95
Much like HIIT, there is a lot of quick movement which can include jumping and lots of laterals. So you really need a shoe that is close to a trainer. The difference is, you aren’t going to be doing any power sprints, so good cushion and stability are what you’re after instead of any need for super traction. With a soft and flexible knit upper that moves with you while the GEL® cushioning improves shock absorption and provides a soft feel from landing to lift off. Added bonus, the DUOMAX® technology helps reduce overpronation to support your stride and keep you dancing.
While its name implies it’s made for the court, this lightweight top is ideal for cardio dancing. First off, it has a medium support bra built in, so no slipping and sliding up top while you’re…well, doing your own slipping and sliding moves. It has a generous Y-Tank back, giving your shoulders and arms maximum movement for all your awesome flex moves. And while the fit is slim, it is made from high-stretch material that won’t pinch or bunch as you get your groove on, but it will breathe…so no sweat spots on you!
With its high-waist design and stretchy waistband that sits above your navel these leggings (as the name implies) are made for dance. The soft cotton blend wicks sweat, making these full-length leggings an easy choice, plus the pattern is just pure fun, which is exactly what dancing your bootie off should be.