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Discover top fitness essentials from a year full of innovation, breakthroughs and PRs.
This story is part of the GP100, our list of the 100 best new products of the year.
Complacency and fitness aren’t the most ideal partners. After all, with a category rooted in progress, the last thing you want is to be caught standing still. The gear you use along your fitness journey should have that same sense of progression, pushing boundaries to benefit not only your performance, but also the world around us.
From clean and cutting-edge tools rethinking how we fuel and dress for our workouts, to technical newcomers delivering exceptional metrics and information for smarter training, this year has been a great example of just how far fitness innovation can reach.
Why It’s Notable: Natreve’s Mooless takes the cow out of the equation, offering up an industry-first whey protein option that’s a highly sustainable alternative to the original.
The Big Picture: Whey protein has been a foundational supplement for years thanks to its fast-acting ability to aid in muscular development. Unfortunately, traditional cow-based whey does not carry the most sustainable manufacturing processes. Relying on microflora from Perfect Day rather than bovine-based materials, Mooless requires 99 percent less water consumption, 60 percent less energy consumption and 97 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.
The end result of all this science is an industry-first whey protein that features zero animal involvement, which is a huge breakthrough for those wanting to supplement their diet with the body-boosting powder. While there are whey alternatives out there like pea, soy and rice protein, they cannot match the protein statistics of cow-based whey. Natreve’s new supplement, which delivers 100 calories containing an impressive 20 grams of protein, 4.6 grams of BCAAs and a slew of helpful digestive enzymes, closes that gap. That means it could be the answer many athletes — especially vegan-leaning ones — have been searching for in the nutritional supplement category.
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Of course, there’s hesitancy when approaching a new supplement, especially one as innovative as Mooless. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in this space, after all. But after several weeks of thorough testing and comparisons, we can attest to the power and legitimacy of this forward-thinking, tasty and downright impressive protein source. While performance gains can be subjective, we appreciate the easy-to-mix nature of the powder, and the added enzymes make digestion much more efficient, as opposed to the normal rumblings experienced with cow-based whey.
Add in the peace of mind that comes from shrinking your carbon footprint, and the upsides offer loads of promise. Here’s hoping we’re seeing less of a breakthrough and more of a supplement revolution with Natreve’s animal-free offering.
Why It’s Notable: Having boosted every other body part, Therabody boldly rolled out a multi-faceted innovation designed to freshen up a whole new frontier — your face.
The Big Picture: Twenty years ago, the idea of personal percussive therapy seemed crazy. But thanks in part to Therabody, the massage gun is now a weekend warrior essential. So we hardly raised an eyebrow when the brand made a play for yet more corporeal real estate with TheraFace PRO, which boasts five science-backed modalities to relax, lift, tone, rejuvenate and cleanse your ugly mug. Our testers were impressed enough by the array of attachments offering percussive, LED, microcurrent, cleansing and cryothermal hot and cold treatments (a $99 add-on), one made deploying the device a regular part of her morning routine. Guess this idea isn’t crazy either.
Why It’s Notable: TYR has dominated competitive swimming for years, but with the release of the CXT-1 trainer, the brand can claim a newfound authority in the world of fitness.
The Big Picture: We first saw the TYR CXT-1 Trainers on the floor at the 2022 Crossfit Games. To say they were dominant would be an understatement, as they were worn by six top-10 finishers in the men’s competition. While this professional performance was exceptional, our tester found the shoes to be just as impressive. The mesh upper is more breathable than other functional fitness shoes across the market, and the patent-pending stability platform nicely straddled the line between comfort and rigidity. Shoe designers are constantly trying to produce Crossfit trainers that perform well across the board, and right off the proverbial starting block, TYR did just that.
Why It’s Notable: The Normatec Go gives athletes better access to compression therapy thanks to a sleek, portable silhouette and far more approachable price point when compared to other recovery boots.
The Big Picture: Compression therapy via recovery boots has emerged as an awesome option for athletes wanting to kick back and relax after a hard day on the road, in the gym or at the office. But along with their exceptional capabilities, these devices have been among the more expensive recovery modalities available. Unveiled in August, Hyperice’s portable, sleek wearables give more people the opportunity to savor compression’s benefits.
The Normatec Go’s form factor is a pair of calf sleeves that can be used individually or in tandem. The silhouettes feature no bulky air chambers, no hoses and no large head units. You can even control your recovery sessions via Bluetooth thanks to the companion Hyperice app, allowing for quick adjustments and monitoring without even having to bend over.
Despite the smaller footprint, the Normatec Go boast specs similar to those of the flagship Normatec 3. Both devices feature seven pressure levels, three hours of battery life and multiple gapless compression zones. The portable Go model actually ups the pressure range, too — from 30–110 mm Hg to 40–200 mm Hg — thanks to the more localized treatment of the calf.
While we’ve liked the soothing, revitalizing notes that the Normatec Go brings to our recovery sessions, the big step forward here is the cost. For less than $400, a price similar to Hyperice’s flagship Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun, you can add a profound new chapter to your downtime.
Why It’s Notable: The Reebok Fit to Fit collection complements style and performance with accessibility, giving more athletes the chance to suit up with ease and excitement for their next sweat session.
The Big Picture: With the goal of helping more people get in the game, Reebok created an adaptive footwear collection that looks as good as it functions. The brand partnered with Zappos Adaptive to launch the Fit to Fit Collection, featuring both performance and lifestyle silhouettes that are, quite simply, easier to take on and off. The key feature with both the Nanoflex Parafit TR and Reebok Club MEMT Parafit? Subtle zippers that make the laces optional while maintaining the classic looks of similar footwear, simplifying the process of gearing up. Available in a four different colorways, the Nanoflex Parafit TR in particular ensures those with disabilities can break a sweat without breaking a sweat, so to speak.
Why It’s Notable: Mikra’s CELLF helps bring balance to your body by defending against cellular deterioration, allowing you to bounce back from stressors quicker and turn back the clock on your everyday vibe.
The Big Picture: Every time you stress your body, you cause damage to your cells. And as the wear-and-tear piles on with age, you become less able to fight off new stressors. This is what’s known as oxidative stress, and it can potentially lead to weakened cell structure, chronic illnesses and more. Acting as a Limitless supplement of sorts, Mikra aims to tackle oxidative stress through its CELLF daily nutraceutical. The nutritional gel boasts a two-stage liposomal-lactoferrin complex that allows the nutrients to better absorb into your cells. Sound far-fetched? Having spent quality time with this supplement, we can say without stress that there’s merit to the “miracles” it claims.
Why It’s Notable: The Hoka Tecton X takes the traditional carbon-plated design and splits it in two to create a propulsive footbed that’s better suited to varying terrain.
The Big Picture: Carbon-plated shoes have been transforming the running scene for some time thanks to their propulsive, lightweight nature, but because of the uneven surfaces and pathways in trail running, the tech hasn’t dominated this discipline as heavily. To give runners the ability to traverse technical terrain with an added boost of speed, Hoka unveiled the brand’s independent plate system in the Tecton X, marking a seismic shift in how carbon plates can enhance your running experience.
Our tester took to his favorite trailways to see if the dual-plate design was noticeable and effective, and was happy with the pop provided in each step regardless of the terrain underfoot. The jacquard mesh upper is extremely durable and ready for the mud and muck ahead, and the protective toe rand provides enough security as you trek over boulders, logs and other obstacles.
While the plate design is the biggest calling card of this new age trail running shoe, Hoka added plenty of other features that make this a damn fine sneaker, carbon-plated or not. The dual-density Profly X midsole offers the perfect blend of cushioning and responsiveness, and the 4mm lugs are grippy enough for most trails and thruways. Pickups are also a breeze thanks to the 8.5-ounce weight, supporting the notion that this is Hoka’s race-first, training-second silhouette.
Top speed isn’t just for the roads anymore. Hit the trails at breakneck paces with this breakthrough footwear design.
Why It’s Notable: One of our favorite running watches got significantly better this year, without simultaneously jacking up the price.
The Big Picture: Running watches can provide exceptional data tracking services for more fine-tuned training, and among the top-tier wearables we donned for multiple routes and workouts, Garmin’s Forerunner 955 Solar stood far and above the competition. Packing in plenty of metrics for anyone from the newcomer to hardcore endurance athlete, this iteration boasts a number of upgrades over its predecessor, the Forerunner 945: a first-ever touchscreen, increased battery life and, as the name suggests, solar capability to further extend its life between charges. Even with these performance-enhancing tweaks, the new watch sells for the same price as the 945 did originally, meaning a better bang for your buck that’s hard to beat.
Why It’s Notable: Nike Forward takes a revolutionary approach to apparel creation, employing punch-needle machines to produce premium, sustainability-minded products.
The Big Picture: On the heels of Flyknit fabrics and React foams of yesteryear, Nike is on the hunt for the next textile breakthrough — this time aiming to revolutionize the way we approach apparel materials and construction. The brand put five years of R&D into the Nike Forward collection, which 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. And though it is a bit on the stiff side, our tester’s sample hoodie is surprisingly warm despite the lightweight fabric.
Why It’s Notable: The Hydrow Wave Rower maintains the brand’s industry-leading rowing experience while shrinking the footprint, freeing up 36 square inches of space compared to its flagship rower.
The Big Picture: Indoor rowing has grown into one of the most popular at-home fitness disciplines due to its low impact and whole body training experience. With just one session, you’re able to target up to 89 percent of your body, adding layers to every workout. Still, for those living in apartments or tighter spaces, finding a top-of-the-line rower that fits comfortably in your abode can be a struggle.
Hydrow has been at the forefront of home fitness equipment for quite some time, but even their premium flagship Rower carries a larger footprint. To help get rowing into more spaces this year, the brand launched its Wave Rower, maintaining the best-in-class rowing experience while reducing the footprint by 36 square inches. The lightweight, durable thermoplastic polymer frame also boasts upright storage capabilities, perfect for keeping your living area uncluttered when you’re not chasing down new wattage totals.
The Wave Rower comes in a range of colorways, helping it liven up any living room or training space. And across the 16-inch monitor, you still have access to over 4,000 live and on-demand workout programs through Hydrow’s all-access membership, priced at $38 monthly.
We’ve highlighted the Hydrow Wave Rower as one of the best home rowing machines for tight spaces, and at less than $1,700 for the black colorway — hued versions are slightly more expensive — this is one piece of home gym equipment that can go the distance, just about anywhere.
Why It’s Notable: With titanium club faces having reached their peak, TaylorMade took the next logical material step: carbon fiber.
The Big Picture: For years, titanium has been the go-to material for premium golf clubs, but after so many brands and manufacturers have taken a swing with the lightweight metal, it was inevitable that innovations would run dry. So golf titan TaylorMade tried something new, unveiling the brand’s 60X Carbon Twist Face — featuring, yes, 60 layers of carbon fiber — in the all-new Stealth Driver. According to the brand, this breakthrough material decision can help create optimal spin and launch as well as better energy transfer and faster ball speeds. What they have really done here, however, is open the door to a whole new round of innovation.
Why It’s Notable: This all-new wearable offers runners crisper, more accurate tracking and introduces a brand-new, customizable metric to your records.
The Big Picture: The latest lightweight, water-resistant running watch accessory packs a ton of optimized sensor hardware and intuitive software algorithms into its tiny profile. Coros upgraded the accelerometer in the all-new Pod 2 to help make data reception more instantaneous for clearer on-the-go readings. Additionally, the brand unveiled Effort Pace, a brand-new metric designed to provide a more personalized reading of your performance. As you continue to train, it recognizes different types of terrain, as well as inclines and declines, to provide more holistic feedback, and it could be just the beginning: Coros is exploring the possibility of incorporating additional factors — such as temperature, humidity and altitude — into the algorithm.