Most of us are out of touch with our bodies. We clueless about calories, how much we’re walking in a day, or even how to check our own heart rate. Luckily, there’s a host of new fitness trackers that make training truly personal. Strap them onto your wrist or toss them in your pocket and they’ll track your every move — every step you take, every minute you sleep, every calorie you inhale or burn off. Read on for our five best bets for prying you off the couch — and tracking your efforts.
Ditch the hulk for some helpful tech
Go forth and perform
Warm weather: we can’t say enough good things about it. There’s something noble about putting on cold weather gear and sticking it out all winter, but running in the summer, sweat pouring off your brow, hat and clothing looking like the Bonneville salt flats, the first sip of Heed after a 20 miles in the scorching heat, runner babes in short shorts — this is pure, unadulterated sport pleasure. Here’s the gear we’re wearing. If you’re prepping for a race or just like to hit the pavement for an hour after work, this stuff has performance written all over it.
Strokes of genius
There’s no easier way to cool down on a hot summer day than an adventure at the local lake or river, and no better way to enjoy said body of water than a kayak. A good one will help you ditch the crowds and find the perfect hidden spot for some summer fun –- all while traveling the water less paddled. Don’t know the difference between a whitewater creek boat and an ocean kayak? We’ve got you covered with some great kayaks for summer adventure.
Stock up for Woodstock
Ah, the music festival. Concert after concert under the hot sun, huge fields of camping fans, available yet astronomically priced food, and port-a-potties stretching to the horizon combine for a strange breed of “roughing it” with large doses of civilization mixed in. Prepare properly and you’re in for the weekend of a lifetime; shirk the prep and you’ll be poor and plenty grumpy come Sunday night. Here are ten pieces of gear — appropriately fitting the chaotic and not at all fashionable atmosphere you’ll come to know and love — to get your music festival experience on track for “Epic!” status. We’ll leave the collapsible peace pipe to you.
Board optional, shorts required
Some of the best days of summer are spent out on the water — or at least relaxing, sipping beers and socializing near it. But what to wear? Board shorts are the safest (and best) bet in our book, providing the rugged construction necessary for water sports with a look and form — thanks to a rigid waistband, fly, snaps, ties and quick-drying, stretchy material — that also lends itself to an inland hike for boardwalk pizza. We’ve herded our five favorite board shorts of the year for your wearing pleasure here.
Defend Your Dermis
After months of Vitamin D deprivation, our seasonally affected psyches aren’t the only thing longing for a little summer loving. But before you shed the layers and start basking in the glow, we want to make sure you’re covered (literally). To keep you from flash frying to a shade between John Boehner and Gene Hackman’s nose on a whiskey weekend, we’ve put together this comprehensive collection of knowledge to keep you safe in the sun and prevent your future-face from looking like a catcher’s mitt.
You've got twelve weeks. Get busy!
We love winter and all it brings: fires, warm sweaters, skiing and flasks of Scotch. But come June, we’re ready to bust out and undertake some adventures that can only be done in the warmer months. Memorial Day is traditionally when bikes and boats and boots get dusted off and you hit the ground running until the Labor Day slow down. This summer, why not go a little further and tackle something truly epic? We’re here to help with five great summer-only adventures. There are only twelve weeks of summer, so get planning.
Meet the concept cars of the sneaker world
Nike has been a dominant force in basketball for years, equipping some of the game’s biggest stars with footwear both on and off the court. Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Nike Basketball Design Director, Leo Chang, to discuss the second generation of the Elite Series, a limited collection of kicks designed for Nike’s premier athletes just in the time for playoff season. Given the stakes, the series which originally launched last year, provides a unique opportunity for Leo and his team to push what’s possible. It’s about designing the best for the best, when limitations have left the building.
Smartphones have made typical point-and-shoots about as useful as Ryan Lochte in a public speaking class. But until our favorite thigh weights gain a thicker skin, there will always be space for tougher rigs designed to take a licking and keep on clicking. Toss one of these rugged cameras into your bag before your next big adventure, and maybe you’ll finally capture some evidence to go along with that hell of a yarn.
Zero Drop, Zero Limits
The vernacular of the running shoe industry has morphed in recent years. While we were out pounding pavement and burning trails, the polo-clad retailer who spoke of under- and overpronation (often interchangeably) has been replaced by a more sophisticated runner who uses terms like “minimalist”, “zero-drop” and “windlass effect”. New slang is good, but it can be confusing — and it doesn’t necessarily bring us closer to understanding what makes the perfect running shoe. To get a better grasp on what goes into running shoes today we spoke with Golden Harper, founder of Altra Zero Drop Footwear.
Many of us remember the days of over-zealous and hyper-vigilant guardians of flight security; I’ve had children’s safety scissors, nail clippers (sans nail file), and three wooden toy swords (gifts for my sons) turned away in the name of national security. Being a serving member of the military didn’t help, even on the occasion when I was flying with both a service rifle and pistol on a contract aircraft.
The lifting of the Transportation Security Agency’s prohibition on knives brings both a boon for your every day carry (EDC) and a challenge in deciding on a folding knife that meets the TSA’s parameters. Wading into travel regulations and the many suitable sharp options on the market, we’ve picked five knives (plus a bonus) that will both get the odd job done and actually make it onto a plane.
An inside look at the insider's home of horse racing
Kentucky is the undisputed mecca of the thoroughbred industry in the U.S., both for breeding and racing. Each year since 1875 this truth has been reaffirmed on the first Saturday in May, when sport’s brightest spotlight turns toward Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Its reputation as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” is well-deserved. The same goes for the race’s record attendance numbers, which eclipse both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. But those who follow the sport beyond the Julep-fueled weekend of seersuckers and sundresses know that much of the prestigious race’s success is owed to another place a mere 80 miles east.
Detroit is trashed worse than Ke$ha on a Tuesday morning. Everybody knows it, and that’s why we love that the city’s in the hunt to host the X Games for the next three years. If you’re going to have a rundown slum of wasted buildings, why not use said buildings as dramatic backdrop for awesome 360s and Fakie kick flips?
A Hard Shell for the Hard Charger
Traveling fast and light on a backpacking or climbing trip is a worthy goal. But while less junk stuffed in your pack means easier miles of trail, sometimes what’s left behind would otherwise keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Westcomb’s Focus Hoody claims to provide excellent protection in an ultralight form. We took it into the elements to see how it would fare.
The Right Boards For Any Mountain
It seems that you can’t walk through a ski resort parking lot without seeing a few new brands of skis and boards being toted around. Some of these new styles are grounded in real testing and evaluation, while others miss the mark in favor of design flashiness, but how to tell? Our intrepid ski testers put quite a few sticks to the test this season to make sure you’ve got the best ski out there. Whether you’re searching for a burly, rockered pow slasher for your upcoming Alaska trip, or you’re on the prowl for the perfect park-rat set up to impress the ladies with your mute-540s in the half-pipe, the end of the season is often the best time for great deals. We’ve got the skis you should be after right here.
Kicking It Old School
Soccer has never held our collective national attention like other sports — with Landon Donovan’s goal in extra time against Algeria during the 2010 world cup and Brandi Chastain’s sports bra celebration being the two possible exceptions. So who knew that 2013 represents the 100-year anniversary of the birth of U.S. soccer, originally established as the United States Football Association, a not-for-profit, governing body of soccer in America? Nike’s Centennial kit celebrates this notable milestone with throwback duds for players and fans alike.
Hone your inner survivalist
No, it’s not made especially for a zombie outbreak. The Lansky T.A.S.K. (Tactical Apocalypse Survival Kit) ($200) is aimed at avoiding (or taking down) whatever your own personal apocalypse may be. We break it down.
Mr Hasemeyer tests gear, tries not to die
Scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, homestyle potatoes, a bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee: when preparing to take on Squaw Valley with Chris Davenport, simply a two-time World Champion skier who recently scaled and skied Mt. Everest, one must fuel up. So I did.
Sitting on 3,600 acres northwest of Lake Tahoe near the California and Nevada border, Squaw Valley offers skiers the chance to take on wide open runs (groomed and not) of greens, blues and blacks, most of which are clean of trees (death sticks), allowing the average skier to be more daring with less severe consequences. This range in terrain, altitude and weather presented the perfect setting to test my new gear — a Bern helmet, Gordini gloves, and Obermeyer jacket and pants — while being guided by this veteran pro.
Bike Geek Spoken Here
The annual traveling circus known as the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) is the high point of the year for the arcane world of custom crafted bikes. I connected with the 2013 edition of the show in Denver a few weeks ago, and I was damn lucky to have my bike-geek daughter along as an interpreter.
high and dry
To soothe the discomfort of a damp, rocky and generally pokey forest floor when camping, ground-bound tenters have to make sure they’ve come equipped, which is a drag en route. The Blue Ridge Camping Hammock ($140) combines the comforts of being high, dry and comfortably cradled during your next forest foray.
Look Like a Local
It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to Whistler for early spring powder turns or Fort Lander for the summer climbing festival; mountain style is a little different than your garden variety runway fare. Put the moonboots and sweat pants down. You’re not fooling anyone. We’ve put together a few indispensable mountain style standards, chock full of storied, quality brands, to help you blend in with the locals — unless you’re heading to any ski resort in Montana. In that case, it’s time to stock up on Wrangler and Carhartt.
Skis for the Snowbound Connoisseur
When picking out a new pair of skis, most of us don’t think to ask about core materials, side cut or vibration dampening — in fact, even knowledgeable ski bums probably don’t have more than a general understanding of these topics. Fortunately for you, the designers at Park City, UT-based RAMP Sports live and breathe ski engineering and manufacturing. It doesn’t take long after stepping on to their small manufacturing floor to see that building handmade skis is both a passion and a way of life for this small collective of diehards.
Drink coffee, go really fast
Coffee and cycling go together like beer and brats. It may be because the local coffee shop is the ideal spot to hook up with your buddies for a ride, or because you want to get a quick jolt so you can drop them at the county line sprint. But the simplest explanation lies in the data, which strongly suggest that caffeine improves performance for endurance athletes — cyclists, triathletes, runners, you name it.
Ride hard, look sharp
If you’re going to climb on a bicycle and tear up some terrain you’re going to want to first don appropriate gear — the best, most protective and comfortable out there (this has been, and will always be, our concern, dude). Only problem is that high-tech performance cycling clothing isn’t always up to snuff for wearing around the office after your commute (showoff). Giro’s New Road apparel blends the worlds of performance and fashion in a big way.
Better, faster, stronger
You’re not the guy who has a frequent buyer card at Sears, so you can’t always find the perfect tool in your less-than-organized garage. Perhaps a versatile multi-tool would be your best ally. Multi-tools have been around for twenty years, and they’re not going away anytime soon. Today’s multi-tools are better than ever, with innovative designs that are only limited by the imagination. If you’re wondering what all-around multi-tool to purchase, we have five of the best full-sized multi-tools on the market today.
Now you're ready for some Football
The Nike Vapor Laser Talon was designed from the start to shave time off a critical combine metric — the 40-yard dash. Given that goal, Mr. Golden Shoes himself (a.k.a. Michael Johnson) was brought in as a consultant on the project and emphasized the importance of the “Zero Step” in determining an athlete’s propulsion and acceleration.
Shoes for the year-round runner
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere lasts four months, but for all intents and purposes the conditions it imposes on runners — cold winds, snow, ice, mud and generally unpredictable terrain — are good for another two. That’s half a year on a treadmill or cross-training in another discipline. That won’t do for most runners. Aside from the functional pre-race advantages of running on roads and trails, exercising in the cold has been associated with all kinds of health benefits, from increased calorie burn to improved stress-coping capacity.
Fortunately, there’s a battery of winter running shoes that perform and protect, many of them incorporating positive design elements from the minimalist running movement — shoes that are, in other words, more than glorified lightweight hikers. We’ve got the 10 best here. Lace up, put the law offices of Jim Sokolove on speed-dial, and get outside.