It’s a weird time to talk about fitness. Gyms are open again, your office frenemy keeps pestering you to join his run club, and new variants continue to spring up with a startling frequency; a return to some semblance of normalcy—whatever that means—no longer feels just a few months away. All that uncertainty, though, also represents an opportunity to reevaluate what working out looks like in the first place. So over the last year, GQ went deep to find some answers, testing a dizzying array of sneakers, dumbbells, and smartwatches (plus one gnarly pair of compression boots!) for our annual Fitness Awards. However you get your sweat on, there’s something here bound to pique your interest.
Finally canceled your gym membership? We tracked down the equipment you need to transform your living space into a makeshift Equinox. Still hitting two-a-days to make up for precious hours lost during quarantine? Some buzzy new gear will help those mirror selfies pop. Perfectly content to get your steps in taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood? Cop a pair of shoes designed to maximize your mileage—and earn you knowing nods of approval from the judgemental teens on your block.
Sure, the state of working out might be in flux, but no matter what the next few months throw your way, Deion Sanders’ endlessly quotable soundbite stills hold true: if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good. These 77 products—from budget-friendly recovery essentials to big-ticket home gym upgrades—helped us look, feel, and play our best over the last (very strange) four quarters. We promise they’ll do the same for you.
The GQ Fitness Awards Table of Contents
In case you’re looking for something specific:
- Best Workout Clothes: Shirts, Shorts, Hoodies, Outerwear, Underwear, Tights, Socks
- Best Workout Accessories: Hat, Sunglasses, Gym Bags
- Best Workout Shoes: Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, Gym Shoes
- Best Fitness Tech: Fitness Trackers, Workout Headphones
- Best Home Gym Equipment: Bikes, Workout Machines, Weights, Prehab and Recovery Tools
Best Workout Shirts
Best Everyday Tee: LifeLabs CoolLife
LifeLabs’s CoolLife tee beat out the competition this year thanks to its proprietary fabric: a silky, moisture-wicking polyethylene that uses a whole lot of slick R&D to keep your body temperature low when you’d normally be shvitzing through your shorts. If the patent-backed tech doesn’t faze you, all you really need to know is that the fit—trim without being clingy—and the feel—soft enough to pull double-duty as an undershirt—warrant its inclusion on their own. Oh, and it comes in half a dozen discreet colors and costs a mere 50 bucks. See what we’re saying?
Best Running Tee: New Balance Impact Run
We’ve tested many, many great-looking running shirts that suck to actually run in—that immediately