Because nothing will motivate you to get your ass to the weight room—or crossfit Box, or yoga studio—like getting to wear top-of-the-line, visually stunning, well-fitting, technologically functional, and undeniably cool athletic wear.
Bill Bradley 1 / 5
Cycle Wear That's Off the Chain
When you’re joining a group spinning class, it’s all about ditching the bib and embracing some color.
THE SHIRT: No road-race wear, says Chad Stringfellow, a New York–based Soul-Cycle instructor. Instead, keep it casual with this Sir Bradley Wiggins–tribute shirt by Rapha. Buy snug, so it won’t droop “and because too big causes chafing,” says Stringfellow. ($40, rapha.cc)
THE TIGHTS: You need compression for support. Nike Hypercool, with breathable mesh panels running up to the hips, offers just the right amount of blood flow and comfort. ($45, nike.com)
THE SHORTS: You cancover tights with these featherlight Nike Freedom shorts. “I wear my shorts over my spandex,” says Stringfellow. “I don’t like to have all my stuff exposed.” ($45, nike.com)
THE SHOES: Any major brand—Shimano, Diadora, or these, made for cycling studio Flywheel—is perfect, so long as it has SDP cleats, the most common spinning-bike pedal.
The lunging, squatting, and twisting of yoga requires just the right fit and just the right amount of understated, carefree style.
THE SHIRT: The Rufskin Elijah tank is light and moisture wicking, with a stylish contrast pocket. You need to look good and “be able to wrap your arms around yourself and reach back without the shirt’s restricting arm movement,” says Monica Pirani, a Brooklyn-based yoga instructor. ($62, hastasporting.com)
THE SHORTS: “Beware of baggy clothes, as they tend to get in the way and may reveal more than you’d like,” says Pirani. These Myles Everyday shorts, which you can also wear outside, move with your body and won’t expose your, uh, assets during class. ($58, mylesapparel.com)
Whether you’re doing CrossFit or just hitting the racks hard at your normal gym, eschew the highlighter hues for simpler, darker tones.
THE SHIRT: Youneed “a tight top that’s free of loose-hanging material that might get caught on a dropped barbell or a jump rope,” says Dan McCarthy of Crow Hill CrossFit, in Brooklyn. We recommend the Halfway tank by RVCA. ($36, rvca.com)
THE SHORTS: “If you can feel your shorts tighten around your ass when you’re squatting, it’s time for new shorts,” says McCarthy. You can’t go wrong with the R.F.Y.L. Run Things from Brandblack. ($70, brandblack.com)
THE TIGHTS: Compression gear is essential in weightlifting because “there’s absolutely no loose clothing to get in the way of your workout,” he says. These A400 Starlight tights will keep you warm and increase oxygen to your muscles. ($140, skins.net)
THE SHOES: “A flat-soled shoe is best, which allows your foot to actually feel the ground,” he says. These Nike Free Trainer 3.0 V4s are flat, fast, minimal, and, best of all: totally WOD-ready. ($120, nike.com)
From a plain-old cotton to Chuck T’s, boxing training requires the coolest throwback gear.
THE SHIRT: “The only time guys box shirtless is in the presence of women,” says Joel Villines, owner of Echo Park Boxing in Los Angeles. “Save the sexy shirtless look for your Tinder profile pic.” This Roots of Fight cotton shirt hearkens back to the no-frills days of boxing before high-tech fabrics. And besides, who doesn’t want to look like Rocky at the gym? ($40, rootsoffight.com)
THE SHORTS: “The only people I know who have a full set of boxer bling—boxing shoes and boxing shorts—are people who are usually new to the sport and have way too much money for gear,” says Villines. These upscale shorts from Todd Snyder + Champion are comfortable with a sharp silhouette—and the cutoff look wouldn’t be out of place in a gritty Philly boxing gym. ($98, toddsnyder.com)
THE SHOES: “Chuck Taylors are the greatest all-around boxing shoes ever made,” he says. “Their flat, flexible sole is perfect for pivoting, and they’re light enough to move quickly in. But if you get in a bar fight, watch out. If there’s spilled beer on the ground you’re gonna go flying.” ($55, converse.com)
Don’t even think about wearing those hulking, “all purpose” basketball shorts on the treadmill.
THE SHIRT: The New England-based Tracksmith specializes in well-engineered gear with classy, Ivy League looks, like this natty Van Cortlandt mesh singlet. “The mesh is key in the gym because cotton is terrible on the treadmill,” says Jay Dicharry, a physical therapist and director of REP Lab in Bend, OR. “It becomes very heavy, and it can chafe a lot.” ($65, tracksmith.com)
THE SHORTS: “I know a lot of folks wear basketball-style shorts to the gym,” says Dicharry. “It’s probably one of the worst things to wear because they get real heavy when you sweat, then stick to you and create chafing.” These Athletic Propulsion Labs shorts are the perfect light fabric and the ideal length—halfway between ’70s-era short shorts and baggy hoops threads. ($65, athleticpropulsionlabs.com)
THE SHOES: “Most treadmills have tons of cushion,” he says. “You run differently on a super-cushioned surface. Thin, light, and flexible shoes work great for treadmills.” Meet the sleek LunarGlide, Nike’s trainer ready to fullfill all your indoor-running desires. ($125, nike.com)