We all have people we go to for advice when it matters most. Who that person is, though, depends a lot on what sort of advice you’re looking for: career input, dating tips, facial hair product recommendations. And just like you probably wouldn’t call mom to ask for input on which beard oil to buy, you shouldn’t ask just anyone about what goes inside your gym bag, either.
This is where our team of experts comes in. Whether you’re looking to lift some weights, tackle a trail run, or simply up your shoe game at the CrossFit box, we reached out to experts across different specialties for their must-have picks for fitness apparel and workout equipment: the gear they swear by, and go back to buy over and over again. Fair warning: You may need a bigger bag.
John Collinson, pro skiier, Utah
The must-have gym gear: The North Face “Better Than Naked” Short
He says: I wear these shorts every day at the gym and around town, so have ended up getting pretty much every colorway that’s been offered. I appreciate a snug fit for the weird exercises I always end up doing in a crowded gym. The liner has lots of little pockets that fit a phone or whatever else I need to stash. I also use the zippered pocket on the waistband to throw in essentials like keys or credit cards for a quick store mission.
Dr. Dan Giordano, Bespoke Treatments co-founder, New York City
The must-have gym gear: CEP Compression Short Socks 3.0
He says: I make an order every few months for the CEP short socks. These are the only socks I wear when I run, and I feel so much more stable in them than I used to in other no-name brands. Made by a company called Medi, their technology improves circulation through my training runs; padding in the sock helps prevent those annoying blisters; and they manage moisture better than any socks I have ever worn.
Mike Aidala, strength and wellness coach, Boulder
The must-have gym gear: Chrome Industries Bravo 2.0 Backpack
He says: This has been my go-to backpack for years. I’m fairly rough on the things I carry with me all the time, and even though this bag’s taken a beating it keeps ticking. The reason I bought this one in the first place is because it’s waterproof—being outside a lot, I wanted to make sure it could keep my things dry and secure. It also has a padded laptop sleeve that can handle the times I forget my computer is inside and throw this bag on the gym floor. I love the straps on the outside, which I usually use to hold sneakers or my yoga mat.
George Foreman III, Everybody Fights founder, Boston
The must-have gym gear: Apple AirPods
He says: They take a pretty good beating. From the comfortable fit and amazing sound to the way they pair seamlessly via Bluetooth, it’s hard to compete with them. My problem is that I keep losing them, and they can be hard to find! But after trying two other brands and being let down, I’m going to continue to buy AirPods no matter how many times I lose them.
Dennys Lozada, fitness coach, New York City
The must-have gym gear: Nike Metcon 5
He says: I train four to five times a week and teach 20 HIIT classes in that same timeframe. I want to set a good example for the people who come to take class and wear shoes that are actually meant for this kind of training — instead of say, a running shoe. A lot of people think one sneaker can do it all and that’s just not true. The traction of the outsole has excellent grip on various training surfaces, including wet gym flooring and turf. Plus, I’ve always felt if you look good, you feel good, and why not have a bit of fashion in your fitness, right?
Adrian Ballinger, pro mountaineer, Squaw Valley, CA
The must-have gym gear: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts
Patrick Frost, FrostFit creator and Nike Master Trainer, Miami
The must-have gym gear: NutriBullet
He says: NutriBullet is hands down the best blender out there and I buy it time and time again. It’s the best in terms of actually breaking down things like kale or ginger root, and it’s super portable. I’ve gotten one for almost every family member or a friend’s housewarming gift at some point in the past eight years. It’s that good
Andy Stern, Director of Talent at Rumble, New York City
The must-have gym gear: Beats Solo 3
He says: I’ve tried a bunch of different models, but my favorite is the Beats Solo 3. There’s nothing worse than fixing my headphones while I’m running or lifting. These have stayed in place for an entire half-marathon, which is a testament to their greatness. They also have a long battery life—as someone who forgets to charge things, this is a must.
Charlie Dark, run coach, London
The must-have gym gear: Lululemon Metal Vent Tech 2.0 Long Sleeve
He says: It’s my go-to for literally anything—my toughest workouts, sweatiest yoga practices, and longest runs. It’s got an anti-stink technology, and the 2.0 version has spandex for improved shape retention so I can wear it multiple times before a wash and it doesn’t necessarily look like it.