Beats Solo Pro
The Solo Pro is a completely new model from Beats. Turn on the truly wireless active noise cancelling headphones by simply unfolding them and block out the outside world if you’re sitting at your desk, streaming a movie or getting pumped up by your favorite music before a match. The internal and external microphones monitor ambient noise to determine the level of noise cancellation. For those occasions when you need to be aware of your surroundings the headphones have a transparency mode that lets in more external noise. The ear cushions are well-padded and have greater surface contact than previous models to enhance noise isolation while providing extended comfort.
On-ear touch button controls handle all the playback, volume and virtual assistant functions. Music is Beats quality and phone calls are like being in the same room. Depending on the listening mode used, the headphones get anywhere from 22 to 40 hours of playback on a full charge, which takes just under two hours with the provided lightning cable. And if you have several different iOS products, the headphones can easily switch between them. The Solo Pro ($299) comes in a recycled felt carrying case and is offered in six different color options: black, ivory, gray, light blue, dark blue and red.
Carpe Sweat Management
The calendar is speeding toward winter, but for some players battling sweat is a year-round endeavor. Being drenched in perspiration can affect performance, especially if it’s causing the grip to roll in your hands. Carpe has created an antiperspirant lotion specifically to help reduce hand sweat. Rather than a pre-match quick fix, it is designed to work best when applied daily before bed for several weeks. It can feel a bit sticky with a strong eucalyptus smell, but dissolves quickly as long as you don’t overdo it.
In addition to the hand lotion, Carpe offers a range of antiperspirant options that tackle overly sweaty feet, thighs, groin, breasts and underarms. And the On-The-Go Wipes come in handy, individual packets that would fit conveniently in a tennis or gym bag. The products can be purchased individually ($15-to-$20) or packaged in discounted bundles.
Tennis players often shell out $100+ on their shoes and pair them with budget socks. Big mistake. Your feet deserve better, especially if you’re hitting the courts on a regular basis. Feetures has earned its stripes in the running community, but their socks work just as well for tennis. They’re constructed with targeted compression, anatomical design (left and right foot specific), iWick fibers to keep feet dry and cool, seamless toe and high-density knitting for increased comfort and durability. The only knock is hang-drying is recommended after washing to prolong integrity and durability, but that can be inconvenient. I'd sooner just buy some new pairs.
There are three lines in their active wear—High Performance, Elite and Merino 10—all available in different heights and cushioning levels. I’m accustomed to playing in thick socks, so I preferred their max cushion offerings, which are still thinner than something like a Thorlo. No issues if you're someone who prefers a little court feel. The lighter cushion and Merino models were a little too thin for my game, but they found a nice home in the workout pile. They cost a a little more—a pair can run between $13-to-$20 depending on model—but are well worth it. And if you like to add some flair to your performance the socks come in a variety of catchy colors and patterns.
When you’re looking for a pair of truly wireless workout earbuds, durability is a must. And Jaybird has always fashioned its gear to appeal to the hardcore, outdoor fitness crowd. Their latest—Vista—is designed to be so tough, they’ve dubbed it EarthProof: the encapsulated construction makes it IPX7 waterproof, sweat-proof and crush-proof.
While the lightest and most compact model they’ve ever made, it’s also the most powerful and technologically advanced. The charging case is the size of a small pack of chewing gum and fits easily into the stash pocket of running shorts. It delivers six hours of playback on a single charge, with 10 more in the charging case. The redesigned 6mm drivers in the earbuds hike the sound quality and reduce distortion, and the improved connectivity means no video latency. The accompanying app offers a customizable equalizer for a personalized audio experience, as well as Spotify playlists from the Jaybird community. Available now, the Vista ($180) comes in three colors: black, nimbus gray and mineral blue.
Fast becoming a staple in pro team locker rooms and fitness facilities, Theragun provides percussive therapy to relieve pain, prep for exercise and speed recovery. I got my hands on the G2 model when it was released, and it did wonders to help solve my chronic inner elbow pain. The new G3 models improve on the gun’s performance with a 50% quieter experience—the earlier model sounded a bit like a drill—two speeds, an ergonomic, multi-grip design and increased power. There is a half-dozen attachments available designed to target specific muscle groups.
The G3 ($399) comes with a built-in rechargeable battery with up to 60 minutes run time, two color options and 40 lbs. of force to satisfy most athletes. While the G3 Pro ($599) has two swappable batteries, an adjustable arm and 60 lbs. of force which makes it great for serious competitors and rehab specialists. Both come with travel cases and have charging stands ($79) available for purchase, so you’re never without power. There’s also a Theragun app that provides tips and instruction for treating certain ailments and specific parts of the body.
Volkl V8 Pro
The 8 family of racquets is Volkl’s power and spin franchise. With its thicker beam, stiffer flex and open 16x18 pattern, it’s ripe for aggressive hitters looking to deliver heavy ground strokes. The brand-new V8 Pro ($260) adds an interesting wrinkle to that equation. A tighter 18x20 configuration delivers a more predictable response for those players seeking to tip the scales more toward control. The extra strings give the frame a slightly firmer feel with more ball connection. It also fills a hole in the Volkl lineup as the only 18x20 currently available. And if you like frames that make an impression, the lava red cosmetic gives a striking appearance. Check back in the coming weeks for a review.