Whether you’ve gone deep on biohacking this year or just want to nail down a fitness routine (any fitness routine) that will actually stick, the GQ team is here to keep you up to speed on all of the latest and greatest for your workout needs. That’s why for this year’s edition of the GQ Fitness Awards, we’ve taken a more personal route with our picks, offering up some first-person recommendations for the gear and garb our staffers and contributors turn to in their homes, on their bodies, and out on city streets and far-flung trails to stay in shape.
Over the last year, our intrepid staffers and contributors tested tons of sneakers, gym equipment, fitness tech, and recovery gear, plus a bevy of nutritional supplements to get a sense of what’s worth adding to your gym bag or your makeshift weight room. All of our top recommendations are laid out for you below, including Sour Patch Kids-flavored supplements, solar-powered biking computers that charge up while you ride, and at-home cold plunge baths that will shock your system out of its half-asleep stupor. However you choose to get your heart rate up, there’s a little something for everyone.
The GQ Fitness Awards Table of Contents
In case you’re looking for something specific:
The Best Workout Apparel and Accessories
“When the days are warm, I spend roughly 80 percent of my life in these Goodfight shorts. Walking the dog? Without question. Grabbing lunch with a pal? Absolutely. Crushing six hours of Drag Race on a Sunday afternoon? You know it. And, crucially, when I’m hitting the weights or clocking a couple of road miles? Wouldn’t dream of doing it without ‘em. They’ve got the ease and charm of the shorts you used to whip dodgeballs around in during gym class—only leveled up with softer, sturdier mesh and a techy fabric lining engineered to keep you cool. The exterior pockets are specially vented to keep stuff from falling out, while the hidden interior pocket will hold your phone or wallet firmly in place while you’re on the go. There are handy elastic loops for securing your keys, and the flattering silhouette falls at the ideal mid-thigh length to show off all that work you’ve been putting in on leg day. Perhaps most importantly, they come in a bunch of sick colors, like a screaming hot pink, an icy cool blue, an inky black for all you fitness goths out there, and a freaky new patchwork spin designed in collaboration with 3sixteen. Not a single detail on these shorts was left overlooked—and, as a result, there’s virtually no place short of a black-tie wedding you won’t find me wearing them. Go ahead and cop three pairs and then thank me later.” —Yang-Yi Goh, GQ style editor
The Best Workout Tee: Tracksmith Strata Tee
Stylish running shirts unfortunately tend to be hot and heavy—not Tracksmith’s gossamer thin Strata. (Your long run fit won’t hit the same if you’re peeling half of it off 20 minutes in, you know?) Thankfully, with this airy layer on your back, overheating will never be an issue.
The Best Workout Tank: Rhone Swift Tank 2.0
In a world filled with racerbacks and makeshift cotton cutoffs, Rhone’s updated Swift Tank stands apart as the breeziest, most flattering sleeveless shirt for your workouts. The redesigned neckline and new bindings on the armholes accentuate your shoulders and delts in all the right ways, while the mesh, sweat-wicking fabric comes imbued with technology to combat your stink. Combined, you’re looking at a tank that will last long enough to help you literally flex the gains you’ve been making at the gym.
The Best Long-Sleeve Tee: Zegna High Performance Wool T-shirt
Wool is perhaps the most underrated fitness fabric around, with natural sweat-wicking, thermo-regulating, and odor-resistant properties that rival even the techiest of manmade blends. And nobody knows ultrafine wools better than Ermenegildo Zegna, the 113-year-old Italian house famed for its exquisite textiles and stealth-wealth aesthetic. This breathable base layer, from Zegna’s performance-minded outdoors division, is every bit as luxurious and striking as one of the label’s tailored suits.
The Best Hoodie: Nike ACG Dri-Fit “Lava Tree” Hoodie
For a while there, running gear felt as grim as your homie’s plantar fasciitis. So Nike ACG, the Swoosh’s crunchy-cool sub-label, took it upon itself to enliven the genre, drenching its slinky, UV-blocking sweatshirt in a slew of icy hues. Your runner pals will be impressed with its sun-protecting prowess, but the real coup is how gloriously normal it looks off the track.
The Best Compression Shorts: Janji 7″ Multi-Short
Runners love nothing more than built-in storage on their shorts. Janji, a Boston-based brand that’s all about outfitting the hippest runners, made a pair of compression shorts that is so full of surprises that it took us about a month to discover there were pockets on either leg. The stretchy nylon is more than ready to move with you into your deepest squat or longest stride, and all that give comes in handy since the waistband has another [checks notes] five built-in pockets—enough to cram approximately 50 gel shots in them, if you’re hoarding them on your next long-distance run.
The Best Tennis Shorts: Palmes Middle Shorts
Tennis gear has come a long way since Rene Lacoste, the wily French racquet savant, thrashed the competition in newfangled pique shirts of his own devising. Case in point: the Copenhagen-based tennis wonks at Palmes, whose laid-back preppy staples treat the sport less like canon and more like moodboard fodder. Sure, its Middle shorts are mesh-lined and fit a can’s worth of balls in each pocket, but the dialed-in fit and swishy poly fabric will help you glide like Federer when your only opponent is grocery store traffic.
The Best Sweatpants: Alo Accolade Sweatpants
The best part of Alo’s sweatpants isn’t the plush French terry fabric or the sleek hit of chrome by the hip: it’s the dialed-in, extremely 2023 fit. That pooling, perfectly slouchy cut looks like it swaggered straight off the runway and into the locker room. Your next pair of sweats should follow their lead.
The Best Sports Sunglasses: Koo Demos Sunglasses
If you enjoy mountain biking or trail running, you’ve probably already navigated the tightrope act of attempting a tricky descent while clenching every muscle in your face to keep your sunglasses in place. Koo’s limited-edition Demos shades have a little more staying power than most: They use anti-slip inserts for more grip around your ears, and Zeiss lenses to clarify the path up ahead. They also come in a range of colors and lens options—all helpfully ranked on their website by the amount of visible light transmitted. There’s even an option to have prescription lenses clipped inside if your vision’s far from 20/20.
The Best Workout Socks: Ten Thousand Training Crew Socks and Definite Articles Striped Crew Socks
It’s easy to forget, but the socks on your feet are equally as important as the shoes. Ten Thousand’s Training Crew Socks have an elevated design that look more high-end than your typical gym crew, but are stuffed to the gills with features that keep your dogs feeling fresh even when the workout is doubly intense: strategic zone cushioning, foot-specific contouring for added arch support, slight compression for added support, and breathable mesh to air things out. Meanwhile, Definite Articles‘ old-school good looks—courtesy of those handsome stripes along the cuffs—mask the fact that its socks are decked-out with cutting-edge tech, from the arch compression to the biodegradable materials that ensure your socks will break down gracefully in a landfill.
The Best Workout Underwear: Falke Climate Control Boxers
The German hosiery specialists at Falke design socks to the exacting specifications of a NASA spacesuit. They apply that same rigor to their boxers, a luxe amalgam of soft Egyptian cotton and silky-smooth viscose formulated with a proprietary sweat-preventing technology. If all that sounds a little wonky, don’t stress it: They look really sexy, too.