The ACTIVE.com team knows workout gear isn’t cheap, so we tested and reviewed the newest releases to see which items are worth their steep price point. From high-performing active wear to fitness tech that will keep you accountable, these products cover everything you need for a tough workout session—and are well-worth the splurge.
New Balance Short Sleeve Layer$54.99 1 of 24
A T-shirt that fits perfectly is pretty much priceless—so we like to think a smidge under $55 is a solid bargain. This short-sleeve workout tee from New Balance is sure to become your new favorite top this fall, thanks to its relaxed fit and functionality.
Cut from a super-soft, NB Dry spandex knit, the shirt has an unmistakable breezy quality, and it's just oversized enough to pair well with leggings, without drowning you in extra fabric. Its mesh paneling on both the arms and back keep your workouts well-ventilated, and unlike cheaper tees, there's quality in the construction—we expect ours to last long after the season is over.
Brooks Glycerin 15$150 2 of 24
Devoted pavement pounders have long praised the Brooks Glycerin, and for good reason. It's a classic, neutral trainer that can help just about any runner go the distance, thanks to its ample support and cushioning (the most of any Brooks shoe).
Like all Glycerins before it, the focus is still on one thing—comfort—and new features include a "plush transition zone" on the outsole to optimize heel to toe transitions and a tad more cushioning in the midsole to better support long-distance efforts. Coupled with the high-performance features that made it so popular (we're looking at you, Super DNA foam), it's still the coziest ride around, making it well-worth the investment.
Vi — AI Personal Trainer Earphones$249.99 3 of 24
What investment could be more worthwhile than a personal running coach? Vi is an artificial intelligence trainer who lives in your earphones, meaning she learns about your strengths, weakness and tendencies and adjusts accordingly, in order to maximize performance and efficiency.
Equipped with aerospace-grade bio-sensors, Vi is constantly measuring heart rate, elevation, cadence, speed, time and location with peak accuracy. There's no need to leave her behind once your run is done, either; Vi can be worn as an all-day tracker, similar to a FitBit. Read the full review here.
Compatible with iOS and Android.
Spanx Active Compression Cropped Black Leggings$88 4 of 24
When it comes to super comfortable—but still flattering—workout pants, Spanx probably isn't the first brand to come to mind, but founder Sara Blakely's line of active wear has built a devoted, if under the radar, following. We love the compression cropped black leggings, with Slim-X performance fabric, that both wicks sweat and smoothes lines.
Thoughtful touches like the center-seam free design and double-layer waistband make this a standout performer in the crowded legging market.
Saucony Liberty ISO$160 5 of 24
We got a sneak peek at Saucony's new Liberty model, and even with its high price tag, it's well-worth the investment for high-mileage runners. Featuring a full-length EVERUN midsole and a medial guidance frame to increase overall stability, this shoe is perfect for anyone training for a half or full marathon this fall.
After taking our pair out for a series of runs, we found the fit excellent, thanks to Saucony's ISOFIT, one of the best uppers around. Pair that with a layer of plush cushioning, and it's a powerhouse combo for long-distance runners. Note: Saucony does run a bit smaller than most brands, so make sure to size up a half size from your normal running shoe.
Release Date: November 1
Lululemon Run On Tank$58 6 of 24
Though seemingly simple at first glance, the beauty of this tank is in the details. Made with a stretchy Lycra fabric, the Run On can be washed and re-worn over and over again without losing its shape, making it well worth the almost $60 price tag. It comes with laser-cut holes all the way down your back for extra ventilation, and bonded seams that won't irritate your skin.
Plus, with wide shoulders, loose structuring and a high neck, you don't need to spend a second worrying about coverage.
CEP Nighttech Compression Socks7 of 24
Safety is always a priority when it comes to running—especially at night—and these compression socks from CEP are working overtime. Not only do they have a host of reflector dots on the back to increase your visibility, but they speed up recovery time, too.
We noticed less soreness after we finished our hard run, and we were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they were, despite the compressive fit. Once out and about, the socks did a great job of keeping us visible, which makes them a must for darker days.
Brooks Juno Bra$65 8 of 24
A longtime cult favorite of women runners everywhere, the Juno Bra from Brooks deserves its status as one of the most supportive high-impact sports bras on the market. Unlike other bras that are molded with individual cups, the Juno comes with one lightweight, perforated "unicup" that truly locks you into place.
Their DriLayer sweat-wicking fabric also works wonders as the miles wear on, but the best feature is the construction on the back. Say goodbye to trying to get a sticky, sweaty sports bra off your body; the Juno has adjustable straps and a back closure. You simply unlatch, and you're free!
The bra is best suited for women sizes B through E.
Adidas PureBOOST X All Terrain Shoes$150 9 of 24
This shoe is called a boost for a reason—it's the most responsive cushioning that Adidas has in its arsenal, and you will feel it within the first step. Made with a special design that allows a woman's arch to extend and flex naturally, it won't be long before you're well on your way to a new PR.
The all-terrain outsole, which features rubber flexes for better grip, means you can even take these shoes off-road—because who doesn't want to run through the leaves? The shoe is finished with a knit upper for extra comfort.
PowerBlock Dumbbells, U33 Set$298 10 of 24
These innovative dumbbells from PowerBlock are changing the strength training game, especially for anyone who loves to work out at home. The U33 set, which contains 3 to 33 pounds of weight, replaces—are you ready for this—25 pairs of dumbbells and 866 pounds of free weights. That's a lot of floor space you're freeing up with one product.
Here's how it works: The dumbbells come with a selector pin in each set, which you slide in and out to select the weight you want. It's a quick and easy way to move from one weight to the next, and because the product comes with two one-pound "adder" weights in the handle, you can customize the weight to whatever you need. The square construction also makes the dumbbells ideal for push-ups with an added row (you won't risk rolling!), and you have a choice between holding it with one hand or two—perfect for tricep extensions.
The weights go up to 125 pounds for anyone seeking more resistance.
Lululemon Fast & Free 7/8 Tight II$128 11 of 24
Say hello to the butt-sculpting, leg-compressing tights of your dreams. Lululemon made these tights with runners in mind, but they're also great in the gym or in the yoga studio. The Nulux fabric is soft, sweat-wicking and stretchy; plus, there are ample pockets—including side leg pockets for your phone—so you never have to worry about leaving items at home.
These high-rise leggings keep your lower core compressed and have a "naked" feel, leaving you free to move without a second thought to your clothes.
Under Armour Recovery Sleepwear$99.99 to $200 12 of 24
Marketed as the secret to recovery for New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, it makes sense that these pajamas will set you back a bit, but we couldn't wait to get our hands on a pair.
Under Armour combines all the benefits of a good night's sleep, when your body releases more human growth hormone during your deepest cycles, with the power of Far Infrared technology to help your muscles rebuild faster. Know what that means? More gains. Even without the fancy technology, this is one of the most comfortable sleep sets you'll ever wear. We found the fabric soft, light and sweat-wicking, keeping us cool all night long.
Garmin Forerunner 935$499 13 of 24
The latest watch in Garmin's Forerunner line is targeted toward a higher tier of athletes not satisfied with merely tracking their workouts, but also looking for intelligent analysis of their entire training cycle.
The Forerunner 935, however, is especially suited for runners due to its ability to pair with Garmin's Running Dynamics Pod, which takes the place of a chest strap and provides runners with a number of metrics. The watch also connects to Strava and TrainingPeaks, feeding your scheduled workouts directly to the watch. Read the full review here.
247 New Balance Grey$119.99 14 of 24
New Balance is quickly becoming the new go-to for lifestyle shoes, and this 247 Grey is just another example why. A special edition sneaker, these kicks features embellished copper accents, embossed trim in a stingray print, copper tips for the laces, sheepskin lining and full-grain leather throughout—yeah, it's pretty fancy.
But because this is a running brand we're talking about, they're not skimping on performance. The 247 Grey is made with New Balance's REVlite midsole, which offers similar performance to other foams on the marketplace but is 30 percent lighter, plus an EVA heel for extra cushioning.
Brooks Cascadia Thermal Vest$110 15 of 24
If you're struggling to find the perfect fall running layer that keeps you warm but not sweaty, the Brooks Cascadia Thermal Vest fits the bill. While on the pricier side, this vest is well worth the cost simply due to the multitude of features packed into one very lightweight design.
We found the fit so snug that we didn't have to worry about excess fabric hindering our movements while out on a run. The stretchy fabric on the sides gave us a little leeway as we picked up the pace, and the hidden phone pouch inside the pocket allowed us to say goodbye to our bulky armband. Plus, if you're still a wired headphones wearer, the zipper actually has a little notch to keep the wire tethered so it doesn't annoyingly whip around throughout your entire run.
With its simple and stylish design, this vest is so comfortable that it has us wanting to wear it even when we're not breaking a sweat.
CALIA Mesh Bomber Jacket$89 16 of 24
Who says you have to choose between fashion and function? This bomber jacket from CALIA, the activewear line designed by country superstar Carrie Underwood, is just as great for out and about as it is a workout in chilly weather. The jacket is fully perforated, which is a fancy way of saying it breathes like you wouldn't believe, but it's the bomber construction that keeps it looking good while you're running errands.
The jacket also comes with front hand pockets for storage, plus ribbed collars, cuffs and hems to keep the material from riding up. It's even sealed with antimicrobial technology to prevent odor.
Lululemon Enlite Bra$98 17 of 24
Don't let the near-$100 price tag deter you from adding this sports bra to your shopping cart. Lululemon put so much research and testing behind it that it's now one of the best bras on the market.
Not only does the Enlite bra have thick, supportive and soft straps, the bra cups don't smash down your chest. Instead, they encapsulate it to create the most minimal movement possible. We found the fit uber-supportive whether we were running, box jumping or down-dogging.
Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones$150 18 of 24
Wireless has become the new norm for fitness-focused headphones, and if you've ever worked out untethered, then you can understand why—the freedom and minimal fuss of no wires makes it hard to go back to the old model.
These SoundSport Pulse headphones from Bose not only capitalize on the wireless trend, they also add a built-in heart rate sensor. With the Bose Connect app, you can monitor your workout efforts in real time and receive in-ear coaching that will tell you when to push harder or when to slow down.
Another great feature is the inline mic. Not only can you use it to discreetly turn up or lower your volume, but you can also take calls without reaching for your phone. All those features combined with five hours of battery life, and your workout just got a whole lot easier.
UA Threadborne Fortis 3$109.99 19 of 24
If you're looking for a new gym shoe that is extra cozy, it's hard to beat the fit of the Threadborne Fortis 3 from Under Armour. Now made with an embroidered upper construction, this shoe is soft—really soft. Thanks to the internal ankle bootie and a Molded Charged Cushioning sockliner, we didn't even have to break these shoes in.
The foam midsole also gives great energy return, and the shoe flexes well, so it can keep up with your quick feet during any high-intensity workouts.
New Balance Essentials Full Zip Hoodie$69.99 20 of 24
It's time to finally donate that old tattered hoodie to Goodwill, because this Essentials Full Zip from New Balance is here to save the day.
This hoodie is a serious upgrade to your worn-in favorite thanks to its modern street-style and antique silver and gunmetal trims. It's made out of heavyweight French terry material, so it will definitely keep you warm in cooler months, and it's soft enough that you won't even miss your old hoodie. Plus, there are no holes or pizza stains to speak of.
Public School for Fitbit: Axis Accessory Band$295 21 of 24
Fitness trackers are hardly unique these days, and Fitbits even less so, but if you're looking to make a serious statement with yours, investing in this designer watchband will definitely do the trick.
Crafted by Public School, this limited edition Axis Accessory Band is meant to inspire speed, power and motion. The band is made from surgical-grade stainless steel and comes in a one-size model, but it does have adjustable metal links to find your perfect fit.
Do note that purchase of the band does not include the Fitbit Alta, which has to be purchased separately for $179.95—we told you it was a splurge.
CALIA Printed Color Blocked Leggings$75 22 of 24
These color-blocked leggings from CALIA have managed to check all of the boxes, which is why we don't mind spending a little extra to get everything we need in one pair. From the tight compressive fit (complete with mesh panels for breathability), to a waistband that actually stays up, this legging can handle long runs, HIIT workouts and even hot yoga, while still looking good.
It even has a zippered pocked on the hip to store your key or ID, so you're ready to go straight from your workout to a recovery meal out.
Under Armour Swacket$119.99 23 of 24
In the market for that perfect workout jacket that takes you from fall to winter? This is it. Made from a sweater-knit fabric, the Under Armour's Swacket packs enough heat to keep you warm, without going full-on winter padding, and the price is matched by a laundry list of performance features.
The jacket comes with zippered side pockets (with a matching internal pocket that holds your phone), thumbholes for the sleeves, UA Storm technology to ward off the elements, reflective arm tape and a three-piece cordlock hood.