As winter fades and the gym junkies crawl out of hibernation, spring is a great time to add a few new pieces of specialized gear to your arsenal. Excel in the gym, hit the trails comfier, ride your bike faster, and get active outdoors with the latest in fitness gear.
Best Running Shorts for WomenPearl Izumi Pursuit 3" Shorts, $50 1 of 17
The Pearl Izumi Pursuit shorts fit nearly every woman's body type because they're tested on the diverse range of women that actually work at the company. Tall, short, curvy, athletic—you name it.
The shorts don't ride up, thanks to the soft, wide, stay-put waistband with a back fold pocket. The waistband is extra breathable too, unlike other popular brand name running shorts, so you're not soaked at the end of your workout.
The 4-way stretch fabric is light as a feather and dries quickly. You'll barely feel the built-in mesh liner, and it won't retain moisture, either.
Best Running Shorts for MenZoot Men's PCH 5-Inch Short, $40 2 of 17
Zoot is based in San Diego, so you know these shorts are West Coast cool. The name draws from the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), and the shorts feature beach-inspired graphics and a lightweight, unrestrictive fabric.
Designed for warm weather runs, the Ice-fil liner keeps you cool and the VENTflex hip panel increases the fabric's breathability and range of motion.
Best Leggings for WomenLululemon Inspire Tight II, $98 3 of 17
This sequel is even better than the last.
These leggings have 4-way stretch and Lycra, so you have room to really push and stretch yourself to the limits. The zippered hip pocket stashes away valuables, and the zippered back pocket can hold a couple run gels.
The medium rise waistband adds modesty while doing squats and cycling, and the Full-On Luxtremxe fabric keeps your body cool while wicking sweat away from your body. Working out at night? Touches of reflective details improve your visibility in low-light conditions.
Best Gym Shorts for MenFalco Kaizen 1.0, $44.99 4 of 17
Ever sit down or get up from a bench and your phone or iPod slides out of your pocket? Or maybe you've placed a pair of dumbbells on your thighs, changing the song, or even worse, causing damage to your device?
Initially we thought these training shorts were just great for running—which they are—but they're extremely effective in the gym, too.
The Secure-Stretch pockets located on each hip make a variety of gym movements convenient, leaving you worry-free throughout your workout. The stretch band along the top also makes products easily accessible, so you don't have to worry about struggling to get your device out of your pocket each time you reach for it.
Best Sports BraBrooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, $60 5 of 17
There's no doubt that Brooks makes one of the best high-impact sports bras on the market right now. The supportive best friend every woman needs, this sweetheart-shaped bra offers full coverage and range of motion without stifling you in any way.
Against the skin, it feels super soft, with internal lay-flat seams to avoid chafing and add support. Front-adjustable straps and three bra-like hook closures in the back give you a custom fit, and the woven polyester lining and expensive-feeling mesh (not scratchy like other bras) on the racerback is just what you need to go all out.
Best Workout Shirt for MenAsics FuzeX Printed Short Sleeve Shirt, $45 6 of 17
The satiny-smooth fabric of this shirt is light and breathable, perfect for humid spring days. An all-over print is subtly distinctive, and reflective details make the top great for low-light runs.
The fit runs a little small, so we recommend ordering up a size.
Best Workout Top for WomenEverlast Women's Racerback Tank Top, $10.99 7 of 17
This mesh tank lets you sweat it out on a run, in the gym or during a tough boot camp. And at $10.99, it's a bargain compared to many other similar products.
The lightweight fabric and racerback cut keeps you feeling—and looking—cool on those warm spring days. A curved hem covers your bum, while hitting your waist in just the right place for the ultimate running comfort.
Best Lightweight Workout JacketUnder Armour UA Storm Layered Up Jacket, $89.99 8 of 17
Rain and wind stand little chance as you crank out miles in this jacket. The UA Storm Layered Up is ultra-light and easily packable, which is ideal for bringing it in the pocket of a small hydration pack or gear belt if you're unsure of the weather.
The jacket is made with Under Armour's highly water resistant, UA Storm technology. Zippable vents under the armpits and a covered mesh venting at the upper back add breathability and will keep sweat evaporating.
The elastic arms are a little longer, which is great for movement in wet conditions, as is the drawstring bottom hem so winds stays out. The hood, which isn't too big or too small, and the high collar help keep out weather, too. With a great cut and a variety of colors to choose from, this jacket is a spring fitness must-have.
Best Workout Jacket For Spring ShowersAdidas Outdoor Wandertag Color Block Jacket, From $99 9 of 17
If you're headed out for a ride or a hike, this fully waterproof, windproof and breathable coat is exactly what you need. It's a little heavier—although still lightweight and highly packable—than a windbreaker, but the Wandertag is much more protective from the elements.
Slightly longer, Velcro-adjustable sleeves keep the elements out. Mesh keeps you fresh, as it runs all along the back lining of the jacket and in the hood area to zero in on sweat and air it out.
Climaproof fabric protects you from both overheating when it's warmer out,or getting chills when the temp drops. It's the perfect light-shell outerwear for spring outdoor activities.
Best Running ShoesMizuno Wave Catalyst, $109.99 10 of 17
Mizuno's latest offering is gimmick-free, light-but-stable and has just the right amount of get-up-and-go for your next run. The Wave Catalyst's smooth ride allows you to focus on mechanics rather than the slapping of your shoe against the pavement, but it works well as a gym shoe, too.
The shoe also features Mizuno's Fan Wave technology, a common element in their support shoes that helps guide and stabilize the foot. We found it soft but responsive on runs, but stable enough to put in some serious bodyweight exercises on a BOSU ball.
Billed as "everyday fast," the Wave Catalyst is ideal for runners who want to pair their miles with a side of bench press.
Best Gym ShoesReebok One X CrossFit Cushion 3.0, $109.99 11 of 17
Whether you're an avid CrossFitter seeking a supportive shoe for run-heavy WODs, or just an average gym-goer combining cardio and strength training, the Reebok One X CrossFit Cushion 3.0 addresses both needs.
While these shoes aren't the best for Olympic lifting (or marathon training, for that matter), they're great for workouts that include short intervals of jogging and running, box jumps, burpees or pretty much anything else thrown your way.
We found the width and overall fit of the shoe to be true to size, and they were surprisingly comfortable and stable during a 90-minute workout that included a half-mile jog to and from the gym, a Stairmaster circuit and strength training. The Kevlar-reinforced upper (bulletproof vests, anyone?) provides lightweight protection and durability, and the triple-foam midsole creates a pleasant, cushioned feel.
If you're looking for a multi-purpose training shoe, this is a great option.
Best Yoga MatManduka PRO Mat, $108 12 of 17
The Manduka PRO is luxuriously dense for unparalleled comfort.
The mat itself is 6 mm thick, providing ample cushioned support for joints. It also has a fabric-like finish, so it's not only nice to the touch, but also stands out in class.
Choose from eight different colors and two different sizes—the 71-inch Standard option or the 85-inch Extra Long mat. As an added bonus, the PRO is the only mat on the market with a lifetime guarantee, allowing you to revolutionize your practice for years to come.
Best Active SunglassesOakley Moonlighter Sunglasses, From $120 13 of 17
These Wayfarer-shaped sunglasses are something you can whip out for an outdoor bootcamp class, a run, or even a casual bike ride.
The lenses filter out 100 percent UVA/UVB/UVC and harmful blue light, and the frame is stress-resistant. Most importantly, the no-slip rubber nose grips and gently bowed-in ear hooks make sure these beauties stay put.
If you go for the polarized lenses (from $170), you add a level of clarity, as these lenses filter out 99 percent of glare and optical distortion.
Best Affordable Home Fitness AccessoryBlack Mountain Products Stackable Resistance Band Set, $32.99 14 of 17
These tubed resistance bands from Black Mountain Products come at a low price—especially when you consider the set's versatility. With a door anchor, ankle strap, exercise chart, carrying case and five stackable bands of varying resistance—all for $32.99—it's quite the bargain.
No need for tubing? Check out the other affordable fitness accessories BMP offers: stability balls, medicine balls, battle ropes and much more.
Best New Fitness EquipmentStrongBoard Balance, From $269 15 of 17
While it's up for debate whether the StrongBoard Balance really is an "evolution in fitness" as the site proclaims, this recently released piece of fitness equipment is as versatile as they come.
The board adds difficulty and a balance factor to dozens of bodyweight exercises, and with a creative mind, the possibilities seem endless. A quick, effective workout can include alternating between some bodyweight squats, push-ups and mountain climbers.
The price is a bit steep, and the product is bulky and difficult to store if space is limited, but it could be great for group fitness classes (bulk deals are available).
Best New Fitness Tech ProductUnder Armour HealthBox, $400 16 of 17
Everyone loves a good package deal, right?
If you're in the market for an activity tracker, heart rate monitor and smart scale, the Under Armour HealthBox is for you.
The 3-in-1 package deal groups together three popular fitness accessories: the UA Band, which is worn on your wrist and measures sleep, steps, resting heart rate and workout intensity; the UA Scale, which measures body weight and body fat percentage; and the UA Heart Rate Monitor, which is worn as a chest strap and helps you track your training zones during exercise.
Together, the three products provide an all-encompassing health monitoring system.
We tried the HealthBox over a span of several weeks, and found the holistic health experience (all three products sync with the UA Record app) to be pretty revolutionary. Is it worth $400, though?
Read the full review below: