The 2021 GQ Fitness Awards: The Best Workout Clothes, Gear, Tech, and Accessories


Best Workout Shirts

Best Everyday Tee: Ten Thousand Durable shirt

You want your gym shirt to look good, of course. And yeah, it’s gotta be up to snuff performance-wise, too. But more than anything, it needs to be able to take a serious beating: getting snagged on machines, stretched every which way, and run through the heavy cycle 50 times a year. Ten Thousand’s tees hit all those marks. They’re flatteringly cut, treated with odor-fighting silver ions, finished with chafe-free flatlock seams, and built from a heavy-duty poly-cotton blend that’ll stand up to just about anything. Oh, yeah, and did we mention they only cost $34 a pop? Stock up.

Ten Thousand Durable shirt

Best Long-Sleeve Tee: Tracksmith Van Cortlandt long sleeve

When it’s chilly out and you need to trick yourself into running, there’s no easier method than pulling on a long-sleeved tee as good as this one. It’s soft and breathable and anti-microbial, but the striking color combination alone—that cool, deep green with a blaze of burnt orange across the chest—will be enough to get you primed and energized for a crisp morning of pounding the pavement.

Tracksmith Van Cortlandt long sleeve

Best Running Tee: Soar Running Hot Weather T-shirt

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky SOBs for whom the changing of the seasons is not an issue. Where you live, there’s never a cloud in the sky, and you break out a parka if the weather dips below 75. How nice for you. Soar Running’s handsome paneled tees are just the thing to complement your blessed warm-weather existence. They’re crafted from feather-light jersey with UPF50 protection, with a spot-on boxy fit to keep the breeze flowing just right.

Soar Running Hot Weather T-shirt

Best Active Tank Top

Sure, Ciele’s NSB tank has all the bells and whistles you need: it’s got flatlock seams for comfort, an antimicrobial finish to battle stink, and it’s made from a blend of cooling organic cotton and quick-drying recycled polyester. But the real reason it made our list is that gorgeous mullet of a colorway: all-business white in the front for when you’re chasing down a runner; party zebra print in the back for when you’re blowing right past them.

Best Workout Shorts

Best Running Shorts: Alo 5″ Adapt running short

If you’re looking for some bare-bones, high-performance bottoms to throw on and get moving, Alo’s Adapt running shorts are as good as it gets. The 5″ cut is both flattering and unobtrusive, the crazy light material and interior brief will keep everything secure and comfortable, and the hidden pocket is just the right size for your cards and keys. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Alo 5″ Adapt running short

Best Attention-Grabbing Shorts: True Tribe active swim shorts

A lot of activewear claims to be ready for anything, but these glitzy trunks from Parisian label True Tribe actually are: they’ll take you from a morning run to a powerlifting sesh to a dip in the pool. Maybe even to a night at the club—that is, if you dress ‘em up right and don’t skip leg day.

True Tribe active swim shorts

Best Lifting Shorts: Y,IWO logo-print color-block tricot shorts

The musclebound aesthetes behind Y,IWO—that’s “Yeah, I Work Out”—borrow liberally from the greased-up bodybuilding heyday of Arnold and Gold’s Gym. These shorts are silky smooth and have a helpful brief liner to make sure the only things that show are your quads. 

Y,IWO logo-print color-block tricot shorts

Best All-Purpose Shorts: Olivers All Over short

They look pleasingly basic to the naked eye, but Olivers’ signature shorts are more performance-minded than you’d think: the fabric is soft, stretchy, sweat-wicking, and water-repellent. Plus, a trio of pockets—two on the hips, one hidden within—will keep your stuff secure on the go.

Best Workout Hoodies

There are hoodies you can work out in if you want to, and then there are purpose-built workout hoodies. Fourlaps’ Equip Hoodie is unmistakably the latter. The fit is trim, the material is seriously stretchy, there’s a handy zip pocket for your valuables, and it’s got those performance thumbholes at the cuffs (if you’re into that sort of thing and know what to do with ‘em). What the hoodie isn’t? Stifling. It’s a flawless light layer you can pull on for anything: yoga, crossfit, XC skiing on a sunny day. The appeal of Pangaia’s eco-friendly activewear hoodie, meanwhile, is written plainly across its chest: “This hoodie is made from seaweed, eucalyptus, biobased nylon and a responsible stretch fiber. The fabric is treated with plant-based moisture absorbing technology and peppermint oil to keep it fresh—saving water, energy, and time.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Pangaia activewear hoodie

Best Fitness Outerwear

If the weather app warns about showers or wind, bring along Lululemon’s Warp Lite packable jacket. Pull it out of the pouch, and you’ve got a layer that’s water repellent enough to get you home mostly dry, yet breathable enough to keep you from overheating in the process. Doesn’t hurt that, like a lot of Lululemon pieces of late, the Warp Lite also looks good—enough that you’ll be tempted to break it out when there’s no weather alert. If you’re a cyclist who actually celebrates a rainy-day ride, you’re better than us. And you’ll also want the sleek Chroma bomber from cycling upstarts Universal Colours. The fully waterproofed outer will keep you bone dry, while the ventilated pits and back will ensure your performance doesn’t suffer from all the wet.

Lululemon Warp Lite packable jacket

Universal Colours Chroma rain jacket

Best Running Hat

The best running hat is the one you don’t even remember you’re wearing. Janji’s Hyperlight cap—clocking in at a mere 29 ounces—is precisely that, while also keeping your noggin cool and dry and comfortable. The pliable foam brim can be flipped up when you don’t need sun protection, and the whole hat can be scrunched up into your pocket after a workout without ever losing its shape. Though you might not remember it’s on, the Hyperlight’s extra tasty “spray dye” treatment ensures that everyone around you sees it loud and clear.


Best Gym Bags

Aer’s pocket-happy duffle—with a special compartment for your sneakers, side ventilation to air out your sweaty duds, and a tough water-resistant outer to keep everything inside dry—is for Type A folks who like everything in its place. In the market for an understated flex? Prada’s signature black nylon still speaks volumes, even 40-plus years after it was first introduced. For more of an overstated flex, give the Baboon to the Moon Go-Bag Mini a shot. It’s a spacious backpack in a slew of candytones, built from military-grade materials and featuring a slew of thoughtful conveniences, like external stash pockets and easy-access key hooks.



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