16 of the Most Important Fitness Products of 2021

Innovative apparel, speedy running shoes and elevated equipment took center stage this year.

tyig fitness
Gear Patrol

This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear, rounding up the most notable releases of 2021.

Push and progress, or get left in the dust. In the world of fitness, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. There is no maintaining without movement. Much like the carnivorous shark, if there isn’t continuous motion, there’s death. Do we sound a little melodramatic? Perhaps… but if you’re anything like our crew, you know the value and meaning intrinsic in the pursuit of strength and vigor.

The following 16 items are the highlights from 2021, and feature products from a new take on the home gym, to boundary-pushing footwear, and everything in between.

These pieces are built to perform, and to aid in the advancement of physical feats. Try a few on for size, and align with your highest potential.

VKTRY Performance Insoles

vktry gear soles
VKTRY Gear

Presented by VKTRY

Whether you're a world-class athlete or simply trying to stay in shape, there's always a need to avoid added strain or prevent fitness-related injuries. If you ask VKTRY, the best athletic performance (and pain avoidance) starts right at the insole. Crafted out of aerospace-grade carbon fiber, the technology is designed to store and return energy, diminish the potential for knee, ankle and foot injuries and deliver "spring-like" shock absorption. The overall result means you can work out or play at your peak, without worrying about burning out your body. Even better, Gear Patrol readers can score up to 35 percent off with the code GEARPATROL21 until the end of 2021, so it's never been more affordable to add a bit of VKTRY into your step. Used by NFL running backs (like leading rusher Jonathan Taylor) and Olympians alike (on top of plenty of other everyday athletes), VKTRY's insoles are designed to keep you at your peak.

Price: $119+

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Polar Verity Sense

polar verity sense
Polar

There's a lot to like about Polar's updated standalone heart rate monitor. Primarily, a 20-hour battery life, 16 megabytes of data memory, a mode for swimming, a knit strap that'll keep the sensor right side down, and the high heart rate accuracy that makes the company a favorite of data-crunching athletes.

Price: $90

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Lululemon Take Form Yoga Mat

lululemon take form yoga mat
Lululemon

To foster alignment awareness in simple and challenging poses alike, Lululemon gave the top layer of its newest yoga mat a touch of topography. The raised surface takes the shape of ripples and undulations, creating tactile and visual cues to use during practice. It's extra grippy too, and supported by a base made of rubber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Price: $118+

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Therabody Recovery Air

therabody recoveryair
Therabody

As awareness of the positive impact of recovery on performance increases, so does the number of tools to facilitate it. Therabody, best known for its percussion massage guns, recently revealed a set of medical-grade boots that reduce muscle fatigue and inflammation through pneumatic compression. Read more about how these fancy (and pricey) boots work here.

Price: $699

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USWE Pace 2

uswe pace 2
USWE

USWE built the Pace to combat a running vest's most annoying pitfall: bouncing. To do it, the brand designed a unique central clasp affixed to lateral elastic straps that help the vest hug your body, even when it's packed with hydration flasks, snacks and extra layers.

Price: $140

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Adidas x Allbirds FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT

adidas x allbirds futurecraft footprint
Adidas

Adidas and Allbirds put aside footwear competition to make a shoe with the smallest carbon footprint ever. The FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT's CO2 load weighs in at 2.94 kilos compared to an industry average of 13.6. To get there, the companies used sugarcane, wood pulp and recycled polyester as well as conceptual packaging. You can enter to win a pair now; otherwise, you'll have to wait until 2022 for a wide release.

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Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

saucony endorphin speed 2
Saucony

Saucony's first Endorphin Speed earned acclaim among runners for its velocity-oriented design — and it won a spot on our list of the best running shoes — but the brand didn't consider that its finish line. The new version has an improved heel fit, more breathability and a new set of anti-slip laces.

Price: $160

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Oakley Kato

oakley kato
Oakley

If Oakley's newest performance sunglasses look strange (and call to mind a superhero mask), it's because the company figured out how to do away with the frame by building rigidity directly into the lens. The effect is a contoured close-to-face fit and, according to the brand, improved visuals.

Price: $291

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On Running Cloud Boom Echo

on cloudboom echo sneakers
On

The latest entry into the class of carbon-fiber-equipped, ultra-fast marathon running shoes is On's Cloudboom Echo. The company developed it in close collaboration with professional distance athletes, who will rocking it on the big stage at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Price: $270

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TRX Bandit Kit

trx bandit kit
TRX

As handy as resistance bands are, they can also dig into or slip through your mitts. Always innovating, TRX founder Randy Hetrick has a solution. “With the TRX Bandit, we have refined strength-band training in a manner that optimizes control and results," he explains. "The ergonomic handle design is a game-changer." This kit packs two handles, four strength bands and a seven-day TRX Training Club trial to help you use them.

Price: $49.95

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Hyperice X

hyperice x
Hyperice

Not to be outdone, Hyperice has introduced this futuristic-looking knee sleeve, which offers both hot and cold therapy to soothe aches and reduce inflammation, respectively. An adaptive fit and cordless power means you can wear it anywhere, while a Bluetooth connection lets you pair with the Hyperice app to essentially set it (your treatment, that is) and forget it.

Price: $399

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Whoop 4.0

whoop 4
Whoop

Whoop’s new-and-improved fitness strap boasts all the pros of its predecessors, plus a 33 percent thinner profile, more accurate heart rate monitoring and a unique trait: the ability to wear it without a bracelet, holstering the tracker to your skin via Whoop Body sportswear (leggings, undies and more). Free with a subscription, the Whoop 4.0 will begin shipping September 27th.

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Ten Thousand x Rich Roll Far Collection

ten thousand x rich roll far collection
Courtesy
ten thousand x rich roll far collection
Courtesy

An eco-friendly running apparel capsule, designed in collaboration with endurance athlete, author and podcaster Rich Roll? This must be what dreams are made of. Welcome the Ten Thousand x Rich Roll Far Collection into your outdoor wardrobe this season. The Far Collection includes a recycled-nylon, moisture-wicking lined short, highly breathable short and long-sleeve run shirts designed to combat chafing and a running beanie made from EcoVero Viscose. The entire collection is GRS-certified vegan, Bluesign approved and infused with an eco-friendly Polygiene Biostatic permanent anti-odor treatment.

Price: $38- $78

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Mobility Wall Smooth Roller

mobility wall smooth roller
Mobility Wall

The Smoother Roller is a new kind of foam roller, innovating how we recover from workouts. Built for those just getting into foam rolling, or who are looking for a low-intensity experience, the Smooth Roller comes with a smooth split foam roller for low-impact recovery, as well as a small ball attachment that targets smaller muscle areas with high intensity.

Price: $99

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Satisfy Short Distance 8" Running Shorts

satisfy short distance 8 inch shorts
Satisfy

Transport yourself to the American Southwest with Satisfy’s newest collection, inspired by the arid landscapes of the region. We’ve got our eye on the Short Distance 8" Shorts in particular, which pair a Tech-Silk exterior with Satisfy’s proprietary Justice silk liner to maximize comfort, breathability, performance and unbeatable weight. A double waistband, sweat-proof back zipper pocket, reflective print, mini carabiner and detachable exterior tag round out the performance short.

Price: $255

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Tempo Move

tempo move
Tempo

If you're looking for a "smart" workout system that doesn't cost four figures or take up an entire wall, this is the option for you. The Move integrates seamlessly with your TV and iPhone to offer a completely personalized training experience, without breaking the bank. Using 3D Tempo Vision, the Move leverages the front-facing camera on your iPhone to offer real-time guidance and feedback on your form, reps and more. The Move comes with the Tempo Core, Smart Weights, a weight storage cabinet, weight collars and the HDMI cable needed to link your phone to your TV.

Price: $495

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Engo Smart Sunglasses

engo eyewear
Engo

These smart sports sunglasses are ideal for endurance athletes that want to track their performance on the go, hassle-free. Control your pace and manage your intensity with real-time data for up to 12 hours of continuous use. Engo Eyewear pairs with bike computers, GPS watches, smart phones and other Bluetooth-enable devices for seamless tracking and display of performance data. On top of their tracking capabilities, the glasses are lightweight, impact resistant and provide 100 percent UV protection.

Price: $397

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