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Editors’ Picks for Fitness Gear

by
author image Jess Barron
Jess Barron is head of editorial at LIVESTRONG.COM.She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio. Barron's writing has appeared on Wired.com, Yahoo! and Poprocks.com.

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Editors’ Picks for Fitness Gear
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From running and cycling to soccer, yoga, CrossFit and mixed martial arts, the LIVESTRONG.COM staff members are into all different kinds of sports and fitness activities. Often we are biking to work or fitting in a run during our lunch break, so we need gear and clothing that is versatile and holds up to being worn all day and subjected to being banged around in our bags. We also need gear that is comfortable and supports our performance. Read on to see the 19 items that made our staff members’ list of top picks. Some of this gear and attire was so helpful and durable (and cool looking), that we chose to dress our Stronger.com cast members in it when we filmed the workouts for this high intensity daily training program.

1. Decibullz Custom Molded Earphones
Illustration: Decibullz Photo: Adam Piotrowski

1 DECIBULLZ CUSTOM MOLDED EARPHONES

LIVESTRONG.COM’s Head of Audience, Adam Piotrowski needs earphones that hold up to intense sprint drills. He’s already been through several top-rated pairs that didn’t last more than a week, because he worked up a sweat and shorted out one of the ear buds. Also, they weren’t comfortable nor fitted for his ears, so they fell out during his workouts. After doing research online, he ordered Decibullz which mold to the unique shape of your ears (using hot water). After several workouts, Piotrowski is happy with his Decibullz, telling us happily, “They don’t fall out!” He explains that their sound is probably not ideal for true audiophiles, but for the price, he thinks they sound great. PRICE: $29.99. WHERE TO FIND: Decibullz.com.

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2. Lock Laces
Photos left to right: Kelly Plowe, Lock Laces

2 LOCK LACES

While training for the Malibu triathlon, Stronger.com Supervising Producer Kelly Plowe tried Lock Laces as a possible solution for cutting down her transition times. “I loved how easy they were to put on in the morning,” she says. “My only complaint is that sometimes my feet would go numb during my runs." Product Lead Jeffrey Storey says that his young son enjoys Lock Laces, as they make it easier for him to get his shoes on. “With the Lock Laces I never have to worry about my shoes coming undone when I'm running trails,” says Ryan (boyfriend of LIVESTRONG Content Editor Crissy Van Meter). “They stayed tight and never came loose.” Ryan offers one warning: “If you don't cut them perfectly, you risk ruining them or not enjoying the fit." PRICE: $7.99. WHERE TO FIND: Locklaces.com.

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3. Urbanears Plattan Headphones – Assorted Colors
Photos left to right: Jess Barron, Urban Ears, Cate Norian

3 URBANEARS PLATTAN HEADPHONES – ASSORTED COLORS

I wear my Urbanears Plattan headphones for all my runs, whether outdoors or on the treadmill. They’re comfortable for 5, 6 miles and more! They also have built-in microphone for talking on the run if you get a phone call. Plus, they fold up for easy travel or to fit in a bag or purse. LIVESTRONG.COM photo editor Cate Norian wears her grape-colored Urbanears Plattan headphones every day at the office. “I love my Urbanears because they don't make my ears sore -- I find that when I wear my ear buds for an extended amount of time sometimes my ears start to hurt,” she says. “I can wear my urban ears headphone comfortably for much longer.” PRICE: $59.90. WHERE TO FIND: Urbanears.com.

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4. C9 by Champion Women's Double Strap Cami - Assorted Colors
Photos left to right: Target, Stronger.com

4 C9 BY CHAMPION WOMEN'S DOUBLE STRAP CAMI - ASSORTED COLORS

In the summertime, the women on the LIVESTRONG.COM team (including me!) like to wear versatile, supportive tops that can take us from yoga class to lunch with friends. This top has a built-in shelf bra and cool slim crisscross spaghetti straps, and it has a decent length so you won’t be showing skin at the waist. Also, it comes in some fun prints. We loved this cami so much that we dressed Stronger.com cast member Frances Flores in it for the Soldier workout video. WHERE TO FIND: Target.com.

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5. LuluLemon “The Mat” Yoga Mat
Photos courtesy of Lululemon

5 LULULEMON “THE MAT” YOGA MAT

I do yoga 5 times a week, and my old yoga mat was starting to look pretty sad. It was wearing thin in the spots where my toes dug in during downward dog, and it was not sticky enough to give me traction nor thick enough to provide cushioning. A few months back I noticed a woman next to me in yoga class with a sleek, thick-looking mat, and I asked where she got it. “LuluLemon, and I love it!” she gushed. I picked one up that very day. It has a different surface on each side: smooth or grippy. I prefer the grippy side! I should also mention that it contains antimicrobial stuff to keep it from getting funky. The only downside is that it has a slight smell of tires because it’s made from rubber. PRICE: $68.00. WHERE TO FIND: LuluLemon.com.

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6. Fitletic Hydration Belt and Ultimate II Belt
Photos courtesy of Fitletic

6 FITLETIC HYDRATION BELT AND ULTIMATE II BELT

I wish I had had the Fitletic Hydration Belt or Ultimate II running belt for my half marathon last year. I didn't use any type of running belt, and that was one thing I regretted. Fitletics various belt options offer a convenient and comfortable way to carry your water and energy gels. While running in my race I had my iPhone stuffed into a tight pocket in my running tights which wasn’t ideal. It would have been much easier to have had my phone in the water-resistant Neoprene pocket of a Fitletic belt. There's always next time! PRICE: Pricing Varies. WHERE TO FIND: Fitletic.com.

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7. Nike Free 5.0+, Men’s and Women’s
Photos left to right: Stronger.com, Nike

7 NIKE FREE 5.0+, MEN’S AND WOMEN’S

The Nike Free 5.0+ is the most supportive of the Nike Free shoes, which are all ultra-light. These come in so many fun color combinations, and -- most importantly -- they’re incredibly comfortable with a flexible barefoot feel. What’s more, they are also Nike+ ready. “I love Nike+,” LIVESTRONG.COM's Adam Piotrowski says. “It really changed my running and was the first thing that allowed me to track time/distance/progress/etc.” Many of the Stronger.com cast members wore their own Nike Frees for their rehearsals and filming. In the photo above from a Stronger.com recovery workout, you can see both Ashley Dillahunty (in the foreground) and Katie Wildhagen (in the background) wearing Nike Frees. PRICE: $100. WHERE TO FIND: Nike.com.

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8. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor With Chest Strap
Photos left to right: Stronger.com, Polar

8 POLAR FT4 HEART RATE MONITOR WITH CHEST STRAP

Most LIVESTRONG.COM team members have been wearing Polar heart rate monitors to view their heart rates and calorie burn numbers while running, cycling and during cross-training workouts. They are calibrated to your gender, age, and weight so they can give you a more accurate calorie count than the elliptical machine or treadmill at your gym. “I'm addicted to my Polar heart rate monitor,” says Constance Ejuma, LIVESTRONG.COM’s Sr. SEO & Inbound Marketing Manager. “I put it on even if I'm just doing 15 minutes of warm up and burning 100 calories.” As a team, we believe in these heart rate monitors so much that we had the Stronger.com cast members wear them during all their workouts. PRICE: $99.95. WHERE TO FIND: Polar.com.

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9. Onzie Capri Pants - All Different Patterns
Photos courtesy of Onzie

9 ONZIE CAPRI PANTS - ALL DIFFERENT PATTERNS

LIVESTRONG.COM’s Managing Editor Luz Plaza turned me on to these low-waisted nylon spandex capri pants, which are great for yoga or cross-training workouts. They make a statement because they come in so many fun and cool patterns. “My friend has the skulls print and they look so cute on her,” Luz said, “She wears them for spin class and yoga. I want them!” PRICE: $52.00. WHERE TO FIND: TheOnzie.com.

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10. Brooks Men's EZ T III Moisture-Wicking T
Photos courtesy of Brooks

10 BROOKS MEN'S EZ T III MOISTURE-WICKING T

LIVESTRONG.COM engineer Paul Rohwer loves these shirts for exercise as well as wearing to work and weekend activities. “I get so many compliments on them,” he said. “I also love their great colors and dry fit.”

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11. C9 by Champion Women's Premium Short Tights
Photos left to right: Stronger.com, Target

11 C9 BY CHAMPION WOMEN'S PREMIUM SHORT TIGHTS

We loved these fitted workout shorts with bright colored waistbands so much that we dressed Stronger.com cast member Samantha Harvey in them for the workout video series. They held up to the high intensity interval workouts, and they emphasized Sam’s toned legs and waist. Even better, they didn’t ride up (which would have been problematic while filming!) WHERE TO FIND: Target.com.

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12. Mizuno Wave Sayonara - Men’s and Women’s
Photos left to right: Luz Plaza, Mizuno

12 MIZUNO WAVE SAYONARA - MEN’S AND WOMEN’S

LIVESTRONG.COM Managing Editor Luz Plaza and I were in the test group for these Mizuno Wave Sayonaras. We’re both fans of bright, colorful running shoes. These Wave Sayonaras are light – 7.1 ounces (Women’s) and 8.1 ounces (Men’s) – and they have great traction. "My feet are a bit bony and my arches quite pronounced,” said Plaza. “So, it's not always easy for me to find tennis shoes that fit well and look good. This shoes provide with the snug fit I like and also give me support – while still being light.” I have run over 50 miles in mine so far, and they're comfortable and fast. PRICE: $119.99. WHERE TO FIND: MizunoUSA.com.

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13. Lorna Jane “Hard Work Wins” Mesh Tank
Photos courtesy of Lorna Jane

13 LORNA JANE “HARD WORK WINS” MESH TANK

Lorna Jane, creator and founder of Lorna Jane women’s athletic wear company, blogs for us at LIVESTRONG.COM, and many of the gals on our team are fans of her well-designed workout wear. My favorites are definitely the tanks with “fitspiration” messages on them. They really do help to motivate me to fit a workout in, or to push myself harder when I feel like giving up. This tank is pricey, but it has a unique mesh fabric and cool cut in back. It’s worth the splurge to me if I feel so good about wearing it to the gym that it gets me to burn more calories. PRICE: $59.99. WHERE TO FIND: LornaJane.com.

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14. Sweaty Betty Adrenaline Galaxy Run Capris
Photos courtesy of Sweaty Betty

14 SWEATY BETTY ADRENALINE GALAXY RUN CAPRIS

I haven’t bought them yet, but these cool run capris are on my wishlist. They’re pricey, but a gal can dream, right? What could be more inspiring to wear than the entire galaxy of stars during your run? Maybe if I keep putting in the extra mileage, these will be a "reward" for training hard. They have a criss-crossing pattern that is reflective for high visibility when running at night. PRICE: $135.00. WHERE TO FIND: SweatyBetty.com

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15. C9 by Champion Women's Cami Sports Bra - Assorted Colors
Photos left to right: Stronger.com, Target

15 C9 BY CHAMPION WOMEN'S CAMI SPORTS BRA - ASSORTED COLORS

There are a LOT of active women on the LIVESTRONG.COM staff, and that means we go through a lot of sports bras. The Target ones are affordable and cute and they hold up pretty well. We chose to outfit Stronger.com cast member Courtney Prather in a C9 sports bra for the high intensity workouts she appeared in. It looked cute and showed off her amazing abs. WHERE TO FIND: Target.com.

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16. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 (Women’s & Men’s)
Photos courtesy of Brooks

16 BROOKS ADRENALINE GTS 13 (WOMEN’S & MEN’S)

For those who don’t always like bright colors and who need running shoes with a bit more support, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 provide amazing support, and you can get them (for both men and women) in all black! “I've always worn Brooks shoes for support for running,” says LIVESTRONG.COM Content Editor Crissy Van Meter. “They keep shin splints away and are comfortable on long runs.” I agree! I ran my first half marathon in Brooks Adrenalines, and they were comfortable for the entire race (and many of my training runs). PRICE: $110. WHERE TO FIND: BrooksRunning.com.

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17. LuluLemon Run: Inspire Crop II
Photos courtesy of Lululemon

17 LULULEMON RUN: INSPIRE CROP II

“Workout crop pants are to die for,” says Constance Ejuma, LIVESTRONG.COM’s Sr. SEO & Inbound Marketing Manager. “If I could afford to augment my closet with 15 pairs of these, I'd never miss a day working out. I swear!” These are moisture-wicking. Plus, they have flat seams so they’re chafe-resistant. Finally, the mesh panels are anti-bacterial to help prevent a smelly gym bag! PRICE: $86.00. WHERE TO FIND: LuluLemon.com.

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18. Sweaty Betty Shock Absorber Run Bra
Photos courtesy of Sweaty Betty

18 SWEATY BETTY SHOCK ABSORBER RUN BRA

Though this bra is difficult to put on due to its double back clasps on the racing back, it’s an incredibly comfortable and supportive bra. I wore it for my half marathon last October without experiencing any chafing at all. PRICE: $62.00. WHERE TO FIND: SweatyBetty.com.

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19. C9 by Champion Women's Fit and Flare Tank - Assorted Colors
Photos courtesy of Target

19 C9 BY CHAMPION WOMEN'S FIT AND FLARE TANK - ASSORTED COLORS

“I love bubble tops like this that are cute and stylish but very forgiving around your middle,” says Rachel Lee, LIVESTRONG.COM’s VP of Product, and mom of two small children. This tank has a scoop neckline and built in shelf bra. WHERE TO FIND: Target.com

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