6 best fitness bags of 2023: Shop TODAY Wellness Awards
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6 best fitness bags of 2023: Shop TODAY Wellness Awards

Aug 26, 2023

A versatile fitness bag is the ultimate workhorse — our trusty totes and go-to belt bags put in almost as much work as we do at the gym and beyond.

But, because great, hardworking bags come in all shapes and sizes, finding the right one for you can be a challenge. Whether you need a ludicrously capacious gym bag to schlep all of your things around town or prefer to tote just the essentials, we've got an option that will suit your lifestyle. Narrowed down from a list of over 300 products we considered for the Start TODAY x Shop TODAY Wellness Awards, we put these bags through rigorous trials and cut through the clutter to find the only six you need to consider.

From a small-but-mighty running belt to a commuter-friendly gym bag, keep on scrolling to see all of our picks. Finding your new carry-all is — quite literally — in the bag.

Award: Best Travel Bag

Whether you’re heading out on a walk, running errands or going to a concert, a hands-free crossbody bag is a must. This option with an adjustable and detachable strap from Aerie is super compact but deceptively spacious, making it the ideal bag for storing all of the essentials.

“If you’re not into the belt bag trend, it’s a good alternative to a sport bag,” says associate editor Shannon Garlin. “It holds A LOT. I had my house keys, wallet, pepper spray, earbuds, chapstick in one pocket, and stored my phone and metro card in the front pocket. It even has an interior zip so you can stick your cards/ID in there and not even carry a wallet.”

Award: Best Commuter Bag

Aerie also picked up the award for best commuter bag with this neoprene tote. According to the brand, it features a small interior pocket, button closure and side extendability. Photo editor Kara Birnbaum tested the tote out both as a workout bag and as a weekender bag.

"The neoprene is flexible and comfortable when carrying. The strap doesn’t hurt your shoulder," Birnbaum notes. "The size is also great. I was able to pack multiple outfits in the bag for a weekend and multiple pairs of shoes for the gym."

Award: Best Belt Bag

If you've been following the belt bag trend, you'll probably recognize our next winner. The viral Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag won over our team of reviewers for its just-right two-liter capacity, interior compartments and back pocket, adjustable strap and stylish design.

Senior health editor Maura Hohman reaches for this bag when she walks her dog. "I loved that there were two zippers so I could zip each one part of the way and leave the pouch open for easy access to treats," Hohman says.

Award: Best Gym Bag

The most spacious of our award-winning bags is this option from Gym Shark. Coordinating producer Sara Snyder used it for workout classes and soccer games — including one in the rain — and came up with a long list of reasons why she loves it.

"I love that it doesn’t wiggle while I carry it. It’s the PERFECT size for someone on the go," Snyder raves. "The over the shoulder strap is exactly the right size. The small pocket was very useful for wet gym clothes or wet soccer clothes after I played in the rain. The secret pockets inside are great for tiny personal items. Also the bottom is rubber and kept everything in the bag nice and dry. I’m pretty picky about duffles and extra bags … but this one is worth it!!!"

Award: Best Budget Running Belt

If you're heading out on a walk or run and don't want to take your usual purse or other bulky bag, this small-but-mighty running belt is super useful. Garlin runs with it and said that it expands wide enough to fit her phone, house key, ID/credit card and even cash. She says it fits snug on her body and doesn't move or bounce around while she runs — she actually swears she can barely feel it.

Garlin's favorite part of having this now is that she can be hands-free and not have to carry her phone, since she never leaves the house without her music on a run. Plus, it's super affordable.

Award: Best Splurge Running Belt

Salomon has emerged as one of the trendier activewear options on the market lately. When it comes to this adjustable running belt that comes with its own water bottle, our reviewers get the hype.

"I liked that it came with a water bottle, that it’s easy to adjust, that the pocket fit my phone and had a clip for my keys," says commerce editor Evan Siegel, who put it to the test both at home and jogging. "It’s also made of a breathable mesh material."

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Award: Best Travel BagAward: Best Commuter Bag Award: Best Belt Bag Award: Best Gym BagAward: Best Budget Running BeltAward: Best Splurge Running Belt