December 7, 2022

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Expert shopping: Best running gear

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Running, on the surface, is a pretty low-gear activity. Put on your favorite pair of running shorts, an exercise bra, sneakers, maybe some earbuds, walk out the door, then get going! But sometimes, complications can arise to disrupt the melody: You start to chafe, your running pants don’t have pockets and you’re tired of stashing your phone in your waistband. Or your all-purpose workout shoes aren’t cutting it anymore. That’s where running gear comes in. High quality and functional running apparel and accessories can make a huge difference in how successful your run is. We consulted a few committed runners about their favorite accessories when they’re hitting the road.

Related: Running experts share their preferred sneakers and hiking boots from Nike, Brooks, New Balance, ASICS, Saucony and more.

1. Orange Mud Endurance Pack V2

“I use this for all my running hydration and storage needs,” says Jason Falcon, ultramarathoner and owner of Falcon Fitness & Nutrition in Virginia Beach. Before finding this pack, he’d experimented with packs from three to four different big name companies, each of which was uncomfortable, poorly fitted, caused chafing or the hydration bladder would leak. “This pack solves all those problems,” he said. “Super comfy, can’t even tell you’re wearing it, perfect for running four miles or 40 miles — I’ve raced all my ultramarathons in this vest and have never been left wishing it did something more or something better.”

Orange Mud Endurance Pack V2

  • Orange Mud Endurance Pack V2 $134.95 at Orange Mud

  • Orange Mud Endurance Pack V2 $134.95 at Amazon

2. Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt

Jordan Zimmerman, a regular marathoner based in Louisville, Kentucky, likes this running belt for its convenience and design. “It fits large phones, keys, snacks, credit cards [and] is adjustable to many, many sizes of waists.” She also likes that it repels sweat, meaning it can be used over and over in between washes.“I love this way more than an armband, which has a limited size range for arms, usually, and in really hot, sweaty weather, irritates and chafes my skin,” she said.

Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt

Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt $25.00 at REI

  • Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt $24.95 at Amphipod

  • Amphipod Air Flow MicroStretch Plus Belt $24.95 at Amazon

3. Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra

Or, if you wear a bra and don’t like a belt, Zimmerman recommends this sports bra from Nike. “This bra will fit your keys and ID some small, essential things.”

Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra

Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra $50.00 at Nike

  • Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra $46.63 at Zappos

  • Nike Swoosh Pocket Bra $39.95 at Amazon

Related: These expert-recommended sports bras are stylish, size-inclusive and practical for low-impact exercises, long-distance running and plyometrics.

4.Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets

Leigh Power, a longtime runner based in Vancouver, Canada, drinks NUUN before or after her runs. She says drinking water with these electrolyte tablets is “better than straight water for pre- or post-run hydration.” The tablets come in flavors like Orange, Tri-Berry, Citrus Fruit and Lemon Lime, and they all have a variety of vitamins and caffeine.

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets – 8 pack

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets – 8 pack $41.21 at BackCountry

  • Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets – 8 pack $47.60 at Roadrunner Sports

  • Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets – 8 pack $37.78 at Amazon

5. Buff Lightweight Sports Band

Power calls her Buff band “the essential piece” and “super versatile.” She says, “It’s a lightweight piece of material that can be used as a headband, around your neck to keep you warm or cool [or]wrapped around your wrist like a tennis wristband.” She’s also seen people use them as masks while running.

Buff Lightweight Sports Band

Buff Lightweight Sports Band ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Buff Lightweight Sports Band (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Buff Lightweight Sports Band $29.00 at REI

  • Buff Lightweight Sports Band $34.99 at Amazon

  • Buff Lightweight Sports Band $34.77 at ebay

Related: Need a breathable face mask before your next workout? We consulted experts on everything you should know before buying one of these essential face masks.

6. Tough Headwear Head/Wrist Sweatbands

Power loves sweatbands to keep sweat off of her while she’s running. “Everyone uses them for tennis, but I love them for running, too.”

Tough Headwear Head/Wrist Sweatbands

Tough Headwear Head/Wrist Sweatbands (Amazon / Amazon)
Tough Headwear Head/Wrist Sweatbands (Amazon / Amazon)

Tough Headwear Head/Wrist Sweatbands $4.95 at Amazon

7. Adidas Superlite Visor

Zimmerman always recommends wearing hats or a visor because it “will protect the sensitive skin on your face from the sun’s rays and also soak up sweat around the hairline so that it doesn’t get into your eyes. It also keeps rain out of your eyes if you catch yourself out in a storm unexpectedly.” Her favorite is the Superlite Visor by Adidas.

Adidas Superlite Visor

Adidas Superlite Visor ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Adidas Superlite Visor (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Adidas Superlite Visor $22.00 at Adidas

  • Adidas Superlite Visor $19.95 at Zappos

  • Adidas Superlite Visor $14.98 at Amazon

8. Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses

If you don’t want to run with a hat on, Zimmerman recommends these sunglasses. “I was a nay-sayer for years, thinking they’d bop around on my face — but these are really inexpensive, come in fun colors and stay put. Now I own three pairs to match various running outfits.”

Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses

Goodr A Ginger's Soul Running Sunglasses ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses $25.00 at BackCountry

  • Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses $25.00 at Roadrunner Sports

  • Goodr A Ginger’s Soul Running Sunglasses $25.00 at Goodr

Related: These running shorts from Nike, Rabbit, Hill City, Girlfriend Collective and more are both functional and stylish.

9. New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker

Power says that the right running shoes are a matter of personal choice and preference, based on “the shape of your foot, whether you pronate or supinate, how much cushion you need and the heel drop,” all of which vary by individual. She prefers these New Balance running shoes, which she loves for their cushioning and endurance.

New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker $79.99 at New Balance

  • New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker $79.95 at Zappos

  • New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker $78.51 at Amazon

10. Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe

Falcon’s favorite trail running shoes are these Nike Terra Kigers. “I’ve worn them in almost all of my trail races, something like 10 different ultramarathons — they take a beating and after a wash they still look new.” He loves that they’re supportive and have lots of cushioning and grip, “I have raced in about eight degrees all the way up to 90 degrees in them, and the comfort is always there.”

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men's Running Shoe ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe $110.50 at Zappos

  • Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe $130.00 at Urban Outfitters

  • Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Men’s Running Shoe $168.98 at Amazon

11. ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe

For road running, Falcon prefers these Altra Escalante shoes, calling them “super minimalist but at the same time super springy.” He says that they “let your foot splay naturally, so are great for those who want a wider toe box, and feel weightless on your foot.” He’s used them for everything from timed miles to half marathons and thinks they’re overall an “awesome training shoe or race day shoe.”

ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe

ALTRA Men's Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe $72.59 at Zappos

  • ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe $64.83 at REI

  • ALTRA Men’s Escalante 2 Road Running Shoe $71.93 at Amazon

12. Bombas Women’s Original Socks

“I’m super into Bombas socks,” says Power. “I like the quality material, and don’t have to worry about blisters from running.”

Bombas Women’s Original Socks

Bombas Women's Original Socks ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Bombas Women’s Original Socks (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)

13. AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

It can be hard to find headphones that stay in during movement — especially while you’re sweating. Zimmerman recommends the Aftershokz. “They use bone-conducting technology — which transmits sound through your cheekbones — and don’t actually sit inside of your ear. That way, you can hear cars, bikes, animals, etc., before they see you.” They’re pricier than some other headphones, she says, “but worth it for safety, in my opinion.”

AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones $119.95 at REI

  • AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones $119.99 at Roadrunner Sports

  • AfterShokz Air Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones $119.95 at Amazon

Related: Trainers and coaches share their favorite — and best performing — headphones for running, working out and more.

14. Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

For chafing, Zimmerman calls this “a godsend. She continues, “Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do without it during longer runs.”

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm $8.00 at REI

  • Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm $7.99 at Roadrunner Sports

  • Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm $7.99 at Amazon

15. Goodwipes Body Wipes

If you tend to get sweaty or need to use a park bathroom along your running route, Zimmerman recommends the individually wrapped Goodwipes Body Wipes. “It’s great if you’re going to ‘run’ errands, or ‘jog to brunch’ and don’t want to look like a sweaty mess when you have to be around people. They’re also great for the environment, in comparison with their peers.”

Goodwipes Body Wipes

Goodwipes Body Wipes ('Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / 'Multiple' Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
Goodwipes Body Wipes (‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home / ‘Multiple’ Murder Victims Found in Calif. Home)
  • Goodwipes Body Wipes $10.00 at Goodwipes

  • Goodwipes Body Wipes $9.99 at Amazon

Related: Portable grills heat up fast, are affordable and travel-friendly, making them handy for a BBQ. What to know before buying one of these top-rated grills.

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