This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear, rounding up the most notable releases of 2022.
Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint (unless, of course, you are in fact sprinting). Progress and performance take true dedication to see results through, and along that journey, there’s plenty of tools and gear to help you achieve your training dreams.
Acting as a uniform for working out, your apparel and footwear can help boost your activities with subtle details and accents, from sweat-wicking properties to keep you cool and comfortable, to advanced carbon plates to propel your PRs forward faster. Over the course of the year, there have been plenty of innovative and worthwhile releases when it comes to training shoes and garb. Below are some of our favorite pieces taking aim at making each workout successful, effective and, above all else, stylish.
Nike Forward Hoodie
Nike’s been known to unveil a breakthrough textile from time to time — take the brand’s React foam and Flyknit fabrics as noteworthy examples. These innovations often start with fitness-oriented silhouettes, and it appears the brand is onto its next revolution with this all-new pullover. The Nike Forward Hoodie employs an ultra-futuristic, hyper-efficient needle-punching process to decrease the number of steps needed to bring a garment to life. The result? An average of 75 percent reduction in the carbon footprint.
Winning at the biggest stage is a damn fine way to get some attention to a new product, and that’s just what TYR accomplished earlier this year with its first step in cross-training footwear. Six of the top 10 male competitors at this year’s CrossFit Games earned their respective rankings while donning TYR's new CXT-1 Trainer. Featuring Surge NRG foam underfoot and a patent-pending Stability Platform for more secure lifting stances, it’s clear to see how the tech baked into these all-new kicks can take your workouts from the gym floor to the top of the podium.
Brooks Run Within Crew
Brooks has its roots in running, but much like many athletes out there, the brand also realizes the effectiveness that can come with cross-training regimens. The Run Within Collection is designed for multifaceted performance in whatever your session calls for, and we really enjoyed the perks stitched into this impressive crewneck. There’s plenty of flexibility and breathability showcased across its semi-fitted profile, and the subdued style makes this an excellent pick for non-training scenarios as well. An additional side pocket also gives this sleek top the added benefit of storage capabilities, keeping your smaller essentials at the ready, whether working out or kicking back.
Puma Run XX Nitro
This fresh silhouette puts female runners first thanks to its updated fit designed to hug a woman's heel, instep and arch better than male-focused alternatives. Named after the double X chromosome DNA sequence specific to female athletes, this running shoe also houses a firmer Nitro foam midsole, delivering plenty of responsiveness and cushioning to keep your routes as engaging and comfortable as possible. The Puma Run XX Nitro is also a key point in the brand’s resurgence in running, serving as the culmination of dedicated research and surveying that saw 224 runners log more than 36,000 miles over eight weeks.
Near Earth Distance Running Socks
Not every piece of impressive fitness apparel comes with a lot of bells and whistles. We loved the subdued styling of these new running socks offering up ample breathability and cushioning. The closer fit around the arch of your foot keeps the silhouette in-place no matter how long your runs last, and the Lycra fiber construction cloaks your digits cozily for extended training regimens. Plus, the crew height of the Distance Running Socks allows for better coverage, making these a trusted go-to for trail running and winter running routines.
Hoka Tecton X
Hoka is known to make moves in the running space, but even we couldn’t have seen this innovation coming. Boasting not one, but two independent carbon plates to help propel your strides forward across the varying terrains of trail running, the Hoka Tecton Xs quickly became one of our favorite silhouettes of the year. The split carbon plate design also marries well to the Profly X midsole foam, creating a ride that’s plenty responsive but still carries a sense of cushioning — a definite must-have when traversing rigid rocks and tree roots.
Ten Thousand Seamless Shirt
While first glance of this premium workout top might fly in the face of the “seamless” tag line, the seams present aren’t like the stitching you’d find on your favorite daily pocket tee. According to Ten Thousand, the entire shirt is knit in a single pass, with the raglan stitching serving as an engineered feature for improved comfort and mobility. This top was a repeating addition to our normal workout ensemble throughout the year thanks to its impeccable style and body-mapped mesh that kept every mile or set as comfortable as the last.
Altra Vanish Carbon
Altra has been a go-to brand for many running enthusiasts over the years thanks to its dedication to the zero-drop movement. It took until this year, though, for the brand to step into the carbon-plated landscape, and that first footprint was definitely worthwhile in the Vanish Carbon. Thanks to Altra’s signature expanded toe box and a rocker geometry for easier transitions, the Vanish Carbon easily earned its spot within our ranking of the best marathon shoes. At $240, it’s also one of the more approachable carbon-plated runners available, provided you prefer the zero-drop feel underfoot.
Puma x Tracksmith Speed City Shorts
The Speed City Collection was a partnered release between Puma and Tracksmith this year, paying homage to the iconic Speed City running program from San Jose State University that produced countless athletes that not only advanced the standards of running, but also continuously fought for social justice efforts. These split shorts feature dryCELL mesh for exceptional fit and breathability, and the three-inch inseam creates that fast aesthetic and feel you want on race day. What better way to honor the innovative athletes of yesteryear than with a capsule boasting performance-laden components as we all continue to push forward into tomorrow.
Nike Metcon 8
The Nike Metcon stable is one of the most respected in training footwear, and the latest iteration continues that legacy with key improvements in vital areas. We love the reworked upper that showcases textured overlays for improved durability, and there’s nothing quite like lifting atop Nike’s React foam midsole offering plenty of energy return and stability. Plus, the branding across the silhouette can provide just the right amount of flash to your in-gym getup that brings attention to your performance without looking too flashy.
Lululemon SenseKnit Running Long Sleeve
Compression gear has seen its ups and downs over the years, but there is still some effectiveness to these skin-tight silhouettes if done correctly. Take, for example, the all-new SenseKnit Collection from Lululemon. With proprietary fabric technology and engineered zones of support, this long sleeve top can be the perfect addition to any running ensemble where comfort and mobility are a must. Additionally, the SenseKnit Long Sleeve also boasts reflective designs at key areas to help improve your visibility to oncoming traffic and passersby. This is why we often wear this garment during our late evening or early morning jaunts.
Reebok Nano 6000
Not every waking moment is spent in training mode, so to help seamlessly transition from workouts to daily activities, it helps to have footwear options that are versatile. This latest silhouette from Reebok provides just the right amount of performance and vintage aesthetics across its silhouette, powered by impressive Floatride Energy Foam that’s at the base of most Reebok trainers. We admired the sleek style notes that fit well with gym shorts and well-fitting jeans alike, and a grippy outsole provides the underfoot support you’d desire whether climbing under a barbell or strolling down the sidewalk.
On Active Sports Bra
Designed for everyday, multi-functional activities this supportive silhouette dispels the notion that high-impact sports bras value performance over comfort. On utilized Swiss engineering to painstakingly alter and improve the profile of this must-own fitness apparel option, even pairing with Progressive Sports Technologies to better understand the needs and requirements of female athletes when it comes to sports bras. The Active Sports Bra features 360 support with an ergonomic cut, as well as premium elastic straps for helpful stretch without that restricted vibe.
Nobull High-Top Trainer+
Nobull is no stranger to high-performance footwear, with the brand’s Trainer+ stable remaining one of our favorites for both comfortable and grippy underfoot performance. Recently, the brand elevated this lineup with the inclusion of high-top offerings, boasting even more ankle support and an upgraded tread pattern when compared to Nobull’s flagship trainers. The colorways are always on point, regardless of the silhouette, but seeing the Trainer+ lineup expand into the high-top silhouette was a welcome note this year, giving more athletes the chance to see the no frills, all performance nature that’s synonymous with the brand.