Shape Best In Fitness Awards 2023: Best Exercise Accessories

Whether you're running, lifting, or boxing, these little exercise accessories will make a big difference in your workout.

MZ Wallace / Craft Boxing / Goodr.

There's no doubt that the gear you use to train (think: yoga mats, kettlebells, resistance bands) can make or break your performance. But stocking up on the right accessories — running belts to stash your essentials, sunglasses to protect your eye health, headbands to keep flyaways out of your face — is just as important. In fact, these items can make your workout much more enjoyable. Here are the add-ons worth wearing the next time you jog, bike, lift, or box, according to Shape experts and editors.

Best Belt Bag: Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

This cult-favorite bag has a roomy interior pocket to stash your must-haves, plus an exterior zippered pocket that rests against your body so you can safely store valuables such as your phone and ID. Thanks to the water-repellent fabric, your essentials will stay dry even when you get caught in a rainstorm.

Everywhere Belt Bag
Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag $38.00

Expert Review: “It’s the perfect size to carry essentials — phone, keys, credit cards, lip gloss — and has interior pockets to stay organized. The fit is fabulous for wearing in traditional fanny-pack fashion or over the shoulder. It’s the perfect companion for walks/hikes or just running around town.” Kira Stokes, NASM-certified personal trainer, CEO of Kira Stokes Fitness, and founder of the KiraStokesFit app

Best Running Hat: Lululemon Race Kit Hat

This lightweight running hat has reflective details for safety and perforation for extra breathability. Bonus: Clip it to your bag or running belt with the adjustable back closure.

Race Kit Hat
Lululemon Race Kit Hat $48.00

Expert Review: "As a Black woman running with braids, this hat not only comfortably fits my braids but also has great ventilation. I tend to wear my hats backward, and the adjustable hardware sits nicely on my forehead. Lululemon also drops limited edition colors every season, making the cop feel exclusive." Kayla Jeter, NASM-certified personal trainer and certified functional strength coach

Best Handheld Water Bottle for Runners: Nathan Sports SpeedShot Plus Insulated Flask

This 12-ounce flask is insulated to keep cold beverages cool (perfect for hot summer long runs), and the hand strap has an expandable zippered pocket for keys, IDs, and energy gels.

SpeedShot Plus Insulated Flask
Nathan Sports SpeedShot Plus Insulated Flask $25.00

Expert Review: "I've always been extremely annoyed by holding anything while I run, but the SpeedShot is the exception to this rule. I actually find it comfortable to run with and the chafe-resistant fabric doesn't irritate my skin at all. Plus, extra room for gels? That's a win." Kristen Geil, NASM-certified personal trainer and Shape senior fitness editor

Best Hydration Backpack/Vest: Salomon Sense Pro 10

This hydration vest prioritizes minimalism for a precise, friction-free fit. It includes two 500mL flasks that fit snugly into the front pockets, and its elastic fabric moves with you.

Series Pro 10
Salomon Sense Pro 10 $220.00

Expert Review: "The Salomon Sense Pro 10 packs a lot of water without feeling heavy. The vest fabric is durable, and I haven't experienced much chafing. Additionally, the bladders inside of the vest are great to carry solo and there is tons of storage throughout the vest." — Jeter

Best Running Belt: Ponray Running Belt

Lightweight and water-resistant, this running belt bag can easily stash all your cardio essentials — including phones up to 7 inches — and has a soft texture that won’t irritate your skin. The reflective details help increase visibility during your late-night jogs. 

Running Belt
Ponray Running Belt $17.00

Expert Review: “It’s compact and stays out of the way, and it’s stretchy so you can hold your keys, wallet, and phone while running.” Laura Su, NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and strength coach

Best Workout Headband: Alo Yoga Airlift Headband

Alo Yoga's Airlift Headband can be worn anywhere. Its pretty, ruched center elevates the design a bit, while the sweat-wicking fabric and no-slip grips keep hair in place. It's breathable, so you don't have to worry about a sweaty forehead and messy hair after wearing it to a workout. 

Alo Yoga Airlift Headband
Alo Yoga Airlift Headband $24.00

Expert Review: "I have alopecia, so I'm very particular about what kinds of accessories I use on my hair. This headband gently keeps my hair out of my face without pulling or tugging, as some other workout headbands can do. I truly can't tell you how frequently I wear this, it's my go-to accessory for almost everything I do (and it's thick enough to hide my thinning hair!)" Christina Oehler, Shape beauty commerce editor

Best Weight Lifting Tape: Goat Tape Scary Sticky Premium Athletic Tape

Designed for wrist, finger, and thumb taping, this cotton-based tape is soft enough for comfort but tough enough to protect your hands (and improve your grip) during heavy AF lifts.

Goat Tape Scary Sticky Premium Athletic/Weightlifting Tape
Goat Tape Scary Sticky Premium Athletic Tape $11.00

Expert Review: "If you’re a CrossFit athlete, Olympic lifter, or powerlifter looking to buy weightlifting gloves, I’d like you to consider an alternative: Goat Tape. Made from strong, woven cotton and painted with strong adhesive on one side, Goat Tape is far more versatile than traditional weightlifting gloves. You could, for example, wrap this hearty tape around your thumbs before you snatch or clean a barbell to protect your delicate skin from the friction of hook-gripping. You could also use the tape to make gymnastics grips, which will protect your palms while you deadlift, pull-up, rope climb, and more." Gabrielle Kassel, Shape contributor and CrossFit coach

Best Running Backpack: The North Face Mini Borealis Backpack

This backpack may be tiny, but it does the job — and does so with style. Its sleek, compact design makes it perfect for running, especially if you're distance running out in nature. It's lightweight and has straps that tighten to fit the curve of your body so it doesn't bounce around during wear. 

North Face Black Mini Borealis Backpack
The North Face Mini Borealis Backpack $59.00

Expert Review: "I use this backpack to travel and any time I go camping. It fits everything you need for a day out, whether you're running errands or exercising. It's my favorite to run with because it doesn't feel like I have a ton of extra weight on my back." — Oehler

Best Running Gloves: Lululemon Women's Run for It All Hooded Gloves

A cozy combo of gloves and mittens, these hand coverings are designed with a water-repellent and windproof exterior that fends off the winter elements and a soft fleece fabric on the inside to keep your hands toasty. The silicone grips ensure you won’t accidentally drop your phone as you jog, and the tech-friendly fingers allow you to answer a call or snap a mid-race selfie with ease.

Women's Run for It All Hooded Gloves
Lululemon Women's Run for It All Hooded Gloves $52.00

Expert Review: “The added protection the hood provides is key for cold days, and I love having the option of whipping it off if I’m just feeling a touch of chill. The gloves have reflective details and tech-friendly fingers. And if you’re like me and find yourself losing one sock or mitten often, the snap feature rocks so you can avoid a rogue glove." — Stokes

Best Running Sunglasses: Goodr Flamingos On a Booze Cruise OG Sunglasses

Goodr sunnies are cult favorites in the running community, and for good reason: They're no-slip, no-bounce, 100-percent polarized, and — wait for it — just $25. The OG line of sunglasses are a classic shape and style, but the bright colors give the sunglasses a pop of personality.

Goodr Sunglasses
Goodr Flamingos On a Booze Cruise OG Sunglasses $25.00

Expert Review: "Goodr sunglasses may be cheap (a major pro for someone like me who loses sunglasses regularly), but they're exactly what I need for running. I've never once felt them slipping down my nose on sweaty summer days, nor do they fog up in humidity. I'm obsessed." — Geil

Best Running Arm Band: Tribe Fitness Armband

The armband is designed to fit all standard-size smartphones and allows for touchscreen use through the protective cover. Its non-slip material keeps it in place for a comfortable, hands-free way to listen to music, track activity, or stay connected during a workout.

Tribe Fitness Armband $30.00

Expert Review: "I use this armband on all of my runs and some of my walks. It fits my iPhone, has a secure pocket for keys, and has an adjustable velcro strap for a custom fit. It’s quite comfortable to wear and is water-resistant." Christie Calucchia, Shape news editor

Best Multi-Sport Sunglasses: Oakley Sutro

Serious athletes need serious shades, and the Oakley Sutro sunglasses stand up to the test. They're made with durable yet lightweight material, and they feature nose grips that resist sweat. The brightly colored lenses aren't just for show: They enhance color, contrast, and detail for extra visibility.

Oakley Sutro $215.00

Expert Review: "I love a statement accessory, and the Oakley Sutro sunglasses create an energy that says, 'I'm about my business.' Whether running or biking, these sunglasses have become an extension of my athletic persona and just made me feel like that girl. They're also super lightweight and durable." — Jeter

Best Bike Helmet: Trek Bontrager Solstice MIPS Bike Helmet

Equipped with a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), this bike helmet is designed to better protect the brain against angled impacts. Along with this key safety feature, the helmet has moisture-wicking pads that can easily be removed for cleaning, reflective details that boost visibility, and a fit system that can be adjusted with just one hand.

Bontrager Solstice MIPS Bike Helmet
Trek Bontrager Solstice MIPS Bike Helmet $70.00

Expert Review: “There’s nothing worse than a hot, sweaty helmet head during a long bike ride, but this helmet takes breathability seriously — the airflow is awesome, and I can feel the breeze coming through the channels. It’s lightweight, the magnetic strap closure means no pinched skin when putting the helmet on, and MIPS technology lets me know I’m protected if I take a tumble.” — Maggie Peikon, Shape assistant social media editor

Best Gym Bag: MZ Wallace Small Metro Tote Deluxe

This multi-use bag is water- and stain-resistant and filled with plenty of pockets and compartments to separate your sweaty clothes with ease. To say hands-free on your commute from the studio to the office, attach the removable, adjustable crossbody strap.

Small Metro Tote Deluxe
MZ Wallace Small Metro Tote Deluxe $255.00

Expert Review: "Unlike other gym bags, this soft design is comfortable and durable. I can fit my laptop for work, boxing gloves for my workout, and my toiletries for freshening up in between. I've taken it for weekend trips, and it's a great carry-on option (there's a compartment to add to slide onto a wheelie bag). One more reason to add to your cart? Jennifer Garner trusts it for her holiday road trips." — Marietta Alessi, Shape social media director

Best Boxing Gloves: Craft Boxing Legacy Leather Strap Gloves

These hand-crafted leather boxing gloves are furnished with three layers of foam padding to keep your knuckles protected and double-stitched seams that ensure the mitts will last for countless punches to come. You can also choose between three different weight options (12, 14, and 16 ounces) to ensure your gloves match your individual weight class. 

Craft Boxing Legacy Leather Strap Gloves
Craft Boxing Legacy Leather Strap Gloves $150.00

Expert Review: “These high-quality gloves are just as durable as they are gorgeous. Another reason to back them up? Professional boxer George Foreman III (you may recognize his dad, whom he's named after) is the founder of the brand.” — Alessi

Best Deadlift Accessory: Equip Products Aldridge Arm Harness and Strap

Developed by Peloton’s Logan Aldridge, this strength-training accessory enables athletes with impaired arms to perform not only deadlifts but also pull-ups, farmer's carries, toes-to-bars, and other CrossFit-style exercises. The heavy-duty harness wraps around the shoulder and the chest, while the accompanying strap attaches to the harness’s mighty D-ring and the barbell or pull-up bar to give you two points of contact with your equipment. 

Aldridge Arm Harness & Strap
Equip Products Aldridge Arm Harness and Strap $145.00

Expert Review: "Since both of my hands are unable to grip, I tried using the Aldridge Arm on my right arm as a way to lift heavier weight without using lifting hooks that pull on my wrists and leave nasty velcro burns. The harness gave me great leverage and the ability to sling around heavier weight than I was used to," — Maggie Rath, adaptive CrossFit athlete

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