Want to get fit? Our essential guide to fitness classes has you covered, with dance-inspired workouts that will make you perspire while improving your strength (and upping your dance-floor cred), the best spots for yoga in NYC and how to bike New York. Whether you're a runner, a Spinning fanatic, a yogi or a fan of outdoor adventures, there’s no reason why you can’t look good while breaking a sweat, so check out the best fitness-gear shops for sporty wares and high-tech health-maintenance gadgets.
RECOMMENDED: Find the best NYC fitness classes and gyms
The best yoga shops
This Canadian yoga-wear chain specializes in ultrafashionable and highly functional gear for when you’re downward-dogging it. At any of the city’s seven locations, super fit salespeople can help you pick out clothes that will keep you comfortable during class, but that you won’t mind wearing post-savasana either, such as cropped yoga pants with a hidden waist pocket and flat seams to prevent chafing ($78), draped tank tops with built-in bras ($64) and breathable wrap sweaters ($138).
Both locations of this modern yoga mecca boast an impressive variety of classes, but it’s the West Side studio that wows with its selection of apparel and accessories. The spacious Zen-like shop stocks everything a modern yogi could desire, including colorful mats ($47–$66) and stretchy yoga pants ($75–$88). For those who want to embrace the Om lifestyle without breaking a sweat, there are wellness-themed books, candles and Chakra-printed tanks, but none offers the tongue-in-cheek humor of Alternative Earth’s spiritual gangster graphic tees ($48).
This British fitness-meets-fashion label provides women with versatile threads, such as packable running jackets ($175) featuring an elastic pull on the front zip that doubles as a hair band. Workout must-haves include printed capris ($105), colorful dance shorts ($80) and lightweight athletic tanks ($100). Test out your new gear and get fit for free at the store’s in-house studio, where fitness classes take place (just sign up for a gratis membership). Fitness professionals always receive 20 percent off loot both in-store and online.
Yoga is all about finding your inner Zen, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look fly while your perfecting every pose. Stemming from Indian roots and possessing a modern flair, the gear here is made from high-performance fabric and eco-friendly color-safe dyes. Scoop up clean and simple designs for women like leggings ($96) and tanks ($55) and Sherpa tees ($84) and long-sleeve shirts ($85) for men.
The best running shops
For the truly style-obsessed, the average gym shorts and tanks won’t cut it for a workout. At this depot of the high-performance sports brand, you can find athletic gear that references vintage Adidas styles, as well as designer collaboration lines. Choose from logo hoodies ($75) and canvas gym bags ($40). There’s also a huge selection of footwear, like neon running sneakers ($130) and even the brand’s classic three-stripe low-tops ($60).
Part of Gap's growing empire of clothing brands, this shop carries women’s clothing and accessories for nearly any workout routine. The earthy store, styled with rustic wood tables and wicker baskets, is organized by sport. But we’re impressed by the running and gym section, which is filled with colorful athletic wear, such as featherweight track jackets ($98) and SPF 50 training tees ($46).
Neatly organized to outfit runners, cyclists and swimmers alike, this depot offers NuMetrex heart-rate-sensing sports bras ($50), Craft Prozero’s insulating, second-skin-like shirts ($50) and BOB Revolution strollers ($359) for those overextended parents who run their kids around the park. Beginning joggers, half-marathoners and triathletes can also enroll in training sessions ($145–$445).
This 9,000-square-foot, bi-level spot is dedicated to cardio enthusiasts and is the first of its kind in NYC. There are tons of free extras for workout fiends: If you’re looking for some electronic juice mid-run, stop by to recharge your iPod and nab a digital gait analysis on an iPad. New products include Nike+ polyurethane watches ($149) that track your run and heart rate, and long-distance-friendly colorful kicks ($110). Ladies can improve their workout wardrobes with breathable racerback sports bras ($40), formfitting tanks ($42) and low-rise shorts ($35). We especially dig that you can drop off old sneakers for donation, and they’ll be recycled into sport courts and new Nike shoes.
The best outdoor sports shops
The home to this outdoor sports equipment store is an enormous, 12,000-square-foot outpost featuring two floors of everything you could ever need for hiking, camping, cycling, climbing, paddle sports and more. A top-notch Puma GWS sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering ($740) will keep you warm in temperatures up to –25’F, and a Jet Boil stove ($100) enables you to boil water in 90 seconds. If you’re not planning a getaway to the wild anytime soon, pick up a Kryptonite New York Chain ($85) for your bike–its 12-millimeter, six-sided links are designed specifically for the crime-filled streets of New York City.
Been hiding from the cold so long you’ve forgotten what the sky looks like? Get outside already. Paragon fulfills all outdoor sporting-good needs, from the unusual (badminton, kayaking) to the everyday (they carry a slew of gym gear, plus essentials like sunglasses). Besides the Parks Department, Paragon is the only store in the city where you can purchase permits to use public tennis courts.
This Seattle import, which opened its first New York location in December 2011, has virtually everything you need for an outdoor adventure. On the first floor of the tri-level space, snowboards ($299–$700), ski equipment ($230–$1200) and all manner of bicycles ($239–$2,999) greet you at the door. Upon further exploration, you’ll find swimwear such as Pearl Izumi triathlon swimsuits ($101) and Aqua Sphere goggles ($28), plus running, yoga and cycling gear. The large back room holds a plethora of camping and hiking equipment, with tents ($100–$800), sleeping bags ($60–$420), compasses including the Suunto Leader ($34) and backpacks such as REI’s lightweight hiking pack ($189).
When a hike across town is just not enough, head to Tent and Trails, a three-story adventure-sports emporium in Tribeca that’ll get you amped for a trip to the sticks. The helpful staff is made up of experienced hikers, rock climbers and campers, and the store stocks everything from basic tents and North Face gear to medical kits and water-treatment products for more hard-core trekkers.
The best dance shops
You don’t have to be a Fame-hungry dancer to don the Lycra goodies from this brand for hoofers. Its leotards (from $18), cozy leg warmers ($15–$45) and cropped pants ($30–$45) are ideal for both prima donnas and Pilates devotees. Don’t forget to hit the Broadway outlet for discounted basics.
On Stage Dancewear Inc.
Most people don’t consider dance to be a sport, but then those people probably aren’t taking into consideration the calf muscles ballerinas develop from walking on-point in toe shoes. Gyrating athletes of all stripes flock to this shop for its huge selection of leotards, stretchy tanks, leggings and shoes, much of which also makes great gear for yoga and working out.
This flagship features designer Yumiko Takeshima’s ready-to-wear and handmade dance line. Pop into the shop, where bright colored leotards are the main attraction. Though you can customize your own fabric and style online, the boutique carries an array of one-pieces featuring many embellishments like mesh sleeves, in many colors.