So you've found a cool CrossFit gym box. You’ve forked over the membership fee. But what's the point of joining CrossFit if you don't have a few pieces of awesome swag to show for it?
After all, your daily WOD demands purpose-built equipment to help you prepare, train, perform, and recover at your best. Scroll through the gallery for the best in accessories and gear—and be sure to check out our roundup of the best shoes for CrossFit. Happy shredding.
Photo credit: Rehband
Mid-Calf Crew Socks by TruSox
Trust us: You’ve never worn a pair of socks like this. Created by Jim Cherneski, a soccer player and coach in Baltimore, TruSox pack a series of pebbled non-slip INEX pads on the inside and the outside of the sock, ensuring that your foot grips the inside of your shoes as you cut, run, and jump. It sounds ridiculous, but we were amazed by how dramatically they improve the sense of traction on our feet in everything from deadlifts to running. And don’t just take our word for it—the upstart brand first gained fame after the world’s top footballers started cutting the feet off of their official uniform socks so they could wear TruSox underneath without upsetting sponsors. TruSox come in three lengths (we like the mid-calf), 11 colors, and two styles (cushioned or thin), all made in the U.S.A.
An ideal bag for the CrossFitter on the go, the MobilityPack was specifically designed with gym gear in mind. Its wraparound zipper enables duffel-style access, and bike commuters will appreciate the stabilizing sternum strap and hydration port. Our favorite feature: the external shoe storage compartment and anti-microbial treated dirty clothes compartment, which ensures that your sweaty, stinky gear doesn’t have to share space with the rest of your clean stuff, ever. It even has specially designed straps to comfortably carry a foam roller.
Whether you’re a CrossFitter or just a hardcore weightlifter, you’re probably familiar with how badly a hook grip can maul the skin of your hands. “Over years of Olympic weightlifting, my thumbs used to get raw and develop calluses,” says Dan Wells, a CrossFit Games veteran and owner of CrossFit Horsepower in Los Angeles. “Nubs slide over your thumbs to eliminate that. It was a game changer for me. These workouts are hard enough—the nubs take away the pain and distraction giving me one less thing to worry about!”
Some mobility tools are awesomely lo-fi—and while the humble lacrosse ball is probably the simplest, it’s also one that the average CrossFitter can’t go without. Hammer tight muscles, sore spots, and knots with these after a solid foam rolling session, and you’ll be back to 100% in no time. (Just remember to pick up a couple for when your workout partner “borrows” yours and forgets to give it back.)
When lacrosse balls and foam rollers just aren’t cutting it, add a dose of vibration to your massage work with the Hypersphere. Made by HyperIce, the Hypersphere is a hard, rubberized, battery-powered, rechargeable vibrating ball that makes it easy to massage sore and tired muscles. Plus, it’s only 5” in diameter—about the size of a grapefruit—making it easy to slip into your gym bag. It has three vibration settings: Target your muscles with a low-frequency setting to warm them up before a workout, and then hit them again with a high-frequency setting to relax knots and relieve residual tension. It’s a game changer.
These high-tech tights are probably the best all-around pair of compression gear you could want. Cut from 24 individual panels of equipment and joined by heavy-duty seams, the A400 is designed with 70 Memory MX fabric around the knees to allow for natural movement, plus 210 Memory MX fabric over muscle groups like the IT band and the TFL muscle so they’re not squeezed too tightly. They offer up to SPF 50 for sunny day workouts, plus 360-degree reflective paneling for late-night runs. And sure, they’re a little pricey, but considering you’re going to be doing just about everything in them (and very comfortably, at that), they’re worth it.
Plenty of gym rats are familiar with Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey. The next step up is Platinum Hydro Whey, which is 100% hydrolysed whey isolate—meaning the isolates are broken down for easier mixing and digestion. Each serving packs in 30g of protein and nearly 9g of muscle-restoring BCAAs. “Plus, I think it tastes a little better than the regular stuff,” Collins says. CrossFit workouts seem to really beat people up, and a lot of the hardcore athletes say that BCAAs help them heal up from that soreness quickly. And because hydrolysed whey isolates are faster-digesting than standard whey concentrate, it helps deliver maximum protein to your muscles fast right after a tough WOD.
Best Belts are actually named for Dean and Jackie Best, who proudly make them by hand in North Carolina, and they deserve the name: Crafted from supple but tough leather with heavy-duty stitching and big metal prongs, these powerlifting belts are designed for true titans of the sport. The Bests recommend the fully customizable suede Athlete belt for cross-training; you can pick from one of 18 colors with either a single or double prong. You’ll have to wait five to seven weeks for yours to arrive, but when it does, expect a lifetime of use—and a bona-fide gym heirloom to hand down to your kids.
Anyone who’s endured a wicked WOD of overhead squats and box jumps knows just how bad a beating CrossFit can put on the knees. So even though CrossFitters seem to shun clothing at every opportunity, they’re never without their knee sleeves—and for that, they look to Rehband.
Whether you're coming off an injury or just looking for some more knee stability and support, the Swedish company's line of 5mm high-tech neoprene sleeves—including the special Limited Edition CrossFit Games sleeves, shown above—help stabilize and compress vulnerable joints during big lifts or plyometrics. At the very least, they help reduce lateral motion mid-squat, and they seem to be required apparel in boxes everywhere.
You can't go wrong with Uniqlo's basic AIRism shirt, which comes cheap, fights stink, stretches comfortably, and easily evaporates sweat all the sweat you'll produce. Plus, “the Uniqlo Airism shirts are perforated, so they grip a bit better when I’m benching,” says Collins, who is also a competitive powerlifter. “Other brands use material that is so slick, I feel like I’m slipping.” So there: Good for CrossFit and bodybuilding training.
There are gym shorts, and then there are do-it-all WOD-conquerors. Hylete’s Vertex model is definitely the latter, with everything you could want in an all-purpose pair of shorts: They’re stretchy and forgiving, so you can whip through a WOD without worrying about these bunching up around your nether regions. Their slim zipper pockets keep your gels and keys handy on runs while also preventing them from jangling around, and the cleverly designed tie-off waistband helps you lock them down so they don’t slip off mid-rope climb. Plus, they dry fast—and they’re impervious to chlorine, so you can use them without fear in a pool. In long, regular, and above-the-knee styles.
However you do your pullups—kipping, strict, butterfly, whatever—one thing’s for sure: After about 30 of them, your hands are gonna take a beating. WODies are a simple woven elastic wrist strap and palm protector that helps ensure that your muscles fail before the skin of your palms does, without the restriction of weightlifting gloves. (Just be sure to use plenty of chalk.)
CrossFitters and boxers alike love jumping rope—but when a rope is the wrong length or too knotted up for your needs, it can often mean spending the entire workout untangling yourself. Wittenstein recommends the jump ropes from Rx Smart Gear, which are fully customizable. Choose your handle colors, cable weight, cable length, and cable color to ensure a rope that’s just right for you, and you’ll be whipping out double-unders in no time. (The brand recommends a length about 3’ longer than you are tall, so if you’re 5’9”, then buy an 8’9” cable.)
“Flossing,” a method of mobility advocated by CrossFit mobility training luminary Kelly Starrett of MobilityWOD fame, involves tightly wrapping an elastic band around a joint to loosen up tight tissue, improve range of motion, or simply apply compression. CrossFitters will often wrap Voodoo bands around knees, elbows, and ankles after workouts.
Keith Wittenstein, a Level 4 CrossFit trainer at Guerilla Fitness CrossFit in Morristown, New Jersey, says he makes sure he always carries a few Voodoo bands with him in his gym bag.
These compact, ultra-dense bars are packed with macros, good-for-you ingredients—mostly egg white protein, cashews, and dates—and, as the company says, No B.S. “RX Bars are actually great post-workout when taken with protein,” says Sean Collins, C.S.C.S., a coach at Crow Hill CrossFit in Brooklyn. “They’re high-carb—and that’s key for replenishing glycogen levels that are almost all but guaranteed to be depleted after WODs—but they also pack egg white protein, the gold standard other proteins are rated against.” Chocolate Sea Salt is a popular flavor, and the Mint Chocolate is a favorite around the Men’s Fitness offices. Just be sure to take small bites—they're chewy.