By Jessica Allen

Once upon a time, “gym rat” used to be an insult. No longer. Nowadays there’s a fitness center or yoga studio or gorgeous gym on every corner. We spin, we do Pilates, we lift weights, we run on trails and in parks. We are a city of athletes! And here’s where to go to stock up on all the sports equipment, gear and clothes you’ll ever need.

Brooklyn Running Co.
222 Grand St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 782-7866
www.brooklynrunningco.com

Brooklyn’s largest independent running supply store caters to beginners, which means you won’t be made to feel bad if the last time you ran somewhere was gym class in high school. But regular pavement-pounders as well as walkers and joggers will find a home here too, especially since Brooklyn Running Co. boasts a ginormous shoe wall. In addition, each and every customer can have his or her gait (while walking or running on a treadmill) videotaped and analyzed to ensure the perfect fit. This is a free service, and the store prides itself on a no-pressure policy.

Modell’s Sporting Goods
234 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 764-7030
www.modells.com

If you’ve watched TV in the NYC area in the last several years, you’ve no doubt experienced their jazzy, catchy jingle. Morris A. Modell founded the first eponymous store in 1889 and today his descendants run the oldest sporting goods store in the United States (with over 150 locations in the Northeast). From weightlifting to swimming, tennis to golf, basketball to baseball and everything in between — basically, if it can be played, you’ll find the equipment to play it and the clothes you have to wear while doing so at Modell’s.

NYC Racquet Sports
157 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 695-5353
www.grandcentralracquet.com/nycrs.html

The largest racquet sport store in New York City, NYC Racquet Sports is the number-one destination for your tennis (regular, platform, and table), racquetball, squash, badminton, and frescobol needs. Indeed, the tagline of this local chain is “All Racquet Sports No Limits.” We particularly like the kids’ room at the flagship store in Herald Square, with its huge selection of pint-sized goods, apparel, and accessories. Not only does the store offer same-day stringing, but it also runs an awesome Demo Program: for just $5 a day, you can try out a tennis racquet and determine if it’s the right one for you.

Paragon Sports
867 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 255-8036
www.paragonsports.com

A New York institution, Paragon Sports has been outfitting active New Yorkers for years (since 1908, in fact). Its multilevel space in Union Square is the perfect place to while away an afternoon, trying on backpacks, browsing hiking guides, hefting hand weights and do a little downward-facing dog. If you’re looking for a little individual attention, sign up for Paragon by Appointment, a free service offered in the snowboarding, trekking, skiing, and camping departments. Fitness pros can receive a discount, especially if you’re willing to teach one of the store’s slew of classes and events.

Tent & Trails
21 Park Place
New York, NY 10007
(212) 227-1977
www.tenttrails.com

Here’s a crazy thought: you can wake up and grab a fresh croissant and coffee in Manhattan, get into your car and be on the Appalachian Trail by mid-morning, and return to the city for dinner or a Broadway show. The truth is that New York is surrounded by incredible hikes, many accessible by public transportation. Whether you’re looking for a few hours or a much longer excursion, the folks at Tent & Trails will help you gather all the supplies your jaunt may require, from your toes to your tummy to your nose. Sign up for the store’s Meet-Up to participate in group excursions and ongoing discussion boards.