If you love running then you know how important is to have the best running gear. Running feels amazing, and liberating. You get out of your home and you start running, you have more energy, and your brain releases endorphins that make you feel good about yourself.
Running helps you lose weight and get in shape. But you can miss all these positive effects if you don’t have the proper equipment. Like in all sports, you need several accessories to help you achieve the best results.
As you can expect, shoes are the #1 most important piece of equipment you need when you run.
But that is not all. What other clothes and accessories do you need when you run?
We decided to find out and with this goal in mind we reached out to 18 running bloggers and asked them the following question:
What Is the Best Running Gear That You Use and Why Do You Recommend It?
We received wonderful feedback. The top 3 most recommended running gears are:
#1. Running shoes – 6 votes
#2. Special running clothes – sports bra, running belt, and running socks (each got 2 votes).
#3. Gadgets – headphones, especially bone conduction headphones like Aftershokz (3 votes) and GPS watch (3 votes).
Here are some highlights (some of them might surprise you, they certainly surprised us, and there are some small “wins” that you might want to try on your next runs):
“Latest science verifies that comfort is the most important consideration when purchasing running shoes.”
“The best < $10 you can spend on running is on a pair of Lock Laces.”
“My favorite piece of running gear is definitely my toe socks.”
“My favorite piece of running gear isn’t apparel or a piece of clothing – it’s my gym membership.”
Keep reading this post to find out why they recommend each running accessory and how you can pick the best products that you need.
There are a couple of running gear items that I can’t live without.
First of all, I have used the Orange Mud Hydra Quiver hydration pack for the past four years. It is a running pack that carries one 22-ounce water bottle. It also has a pocket for your phone, gels, etc. It is comfortable, durable, and easy to use. I use it on runs longer than six miles. It is also perfect to use during races because you can easily refill the bottle at aid stations.
Another piece of gear that I’ve come to depend on is my TomTom Spark GPS watch. The watch has all the usual bells and whistles such as monitoring pace, distance, and time, but it also has a built-in wrist heart monitor.
The best and most unique thing about this watch is you can load up to 500 songs onto the watch. The music plays through Bluetooth sports headphones. No need for wires or carrying your phone!
I don’t run these days without applying the anti-chafing balm, Body Glide before I head out the front door. The balm forms a dry, invisible barrier, effective wherever skin is rubbed by clothing, footwear, or skin. Seriously, I often wonder if I have applied it correctly or enough, that’s how invisible this product is.
For my first marathon, I used petroleum jelly on my thighs and between my toes. It’s sticky stuff that just gets everywhere and is impossible to wipe or wash away. There’s nothing worse than running a marathon with sticky fingers. Body Glide is a thousand times improvement on petroleum jelly. As I said, you wonder if it’s been applied right because it’s so invisible!
I typically apply Body Glide on my thighs, where my bra rubs, on my lower back where my shorts rub, and even on the tops of my toes. No chafing! I’ve applied it ahead of running distances between 5kms to 45kms and again, no chafing!
I’ve also started recommending Body Glide to my triathlon friends for the swim leg where their wetsuit rubs their neck raw. Since the season has come to an end, I haven’t heard yet about how waterproof Body Glide is. But for sprinting, this is my all-time favorite product.
At Another Mother Runner, we often say a best running friend (BRF) is the best accessory a runner can have. Yet we realize many folks have to run solo. That’s why we started the Another Mother Runner podcast seven (7!) years ago: The AMR Podcast is like a BRF who keeps you company and talks the entire run—even on uphills!
Our preferred way to listen to the AMR Podcast is via AfterShokz bone conduction headphones. These innovative Bluetooth headphones transmit sound via bone conductivity.
You place the headphones where your cheekbones meet your ears, rather than jamming them in your ear canals, allowing you to hear traffic, passing cyclists and pedestrians, animals, and course officials.
AfterShokz headphones are incredibly comfortable (I wore them in the 2017 Twin Cities Marathon, so I know they can go the distance, especially with their 6-hour battery life!)
AfterShokz allows you to run #SafeAsaMotherRunner, while also letting you listen to your favorite music and podcasts.
My favorite piece of running gear isn’t apparel or a piece of clothing – it’s my gym membership.
A gym lets you strength train (it’s so valuable that I don’t even consider it cross-training!) to prevent injuries and develop power, rehab an injury using all of their great equipment, and cross-train to boost your fitness.
Runners don’t improve with fancy socks or the latest sweat-wicking fabric. They get better by investing in their knowledge of the sport and the resources that keep them dashing strong! Encouragement goes a long way regarding running!
And what better gift to give a runner other than time and attention, which are precious commodities nowadays.
My favorite piece of running gear is definitely my toe socks! There are numerous brands and styles of toe socks available, however, Injinji may be the most well-known. Toesox is another brand option and there are other choices available around the internet.
Initially, I tried this type of sock because I have a couple of toes on each foot that sit fairly close together which can form a blister between them during very long runs.
After discovering toe socks and using them nearly exclusively for all of my running and racing, even up to 100 miles at once, the problem has been solved.
I also feel such a sock style keeps the feet cooler and drier in the summer since there is more sock surface area on the foot to wick moisture off of the skin. Plus if you think that a glove is cooler than a mitten, it would make sense toe socks are cooler than a traditional sock design!
Although I love my Garmin 935, the most important piece of kit that I use is a sports bra. It became even more important to me after having a baby as I’m definitely ‘fuller figured’ these days!
I prefer SYROKAN Sports Bra because it is comfortable, reasonably priced, and comes in a range of colors. It is similar to Brooks Moving Comfort Juno but at a cheaper price point.
This sports bra took me through my marathon training in comfort. It is made of wicking fabric, which helps to avoid chafing. A special feature that made it particularly useful for me is that the straps adjust with velcro – not only does this make it possible to get the perfect fit, but it also makes it suitable for nursing mothers. I like this sports bra so much that I have five.
1. The main investment any runner needs to make is a good pair of running-specific shoes.
That means you shouldn’t dig out your old gym shoes from the back of the closet or wear the same shoes you’ve been wearing to your hip-hop cardio class for the last year.
The best running shoes are the ones that fit your individual needs. They must be comfortable, sized correctly (usually 1/2 to one full size bigger than your dress shoes) and appropriate for your running mechanics.
Visit your local specialty store and they can help you make sure you’re in the right shoe for you.
And most runners don’t replace their running shoes as often as they should. Look out for the signs that your running shoes need to be replaced.
2. The next consideration for running gear is clothing.
You can fit your gear to your fashion tastes. Some runners are loyal to brands, some are happy to pick up discount clothes at an off-price retailer.
The only rule of running clothes is this: Running friends don’t let friends wear cotton.
Stay away from cotton and cotton/blend clothes and socks. Cotton absorbs water (aka sweat) which can show embarrassing sweat stains and cause blisters.
Synthetic materials like polyester wick away moisture to keep you dry and cool.
3. I always need a place to keep my ID, keys, and my phone (for in-run selfies, of course) so a running belt to keep my belongings is a wise investment for convenience and safety.
I personally like the FlipBelt because it is a sleek tubular design that is big enough to hold your phone but doesn’t bounce around or look like a fanny pack.
People have their own personal choices, and so do I. It’s about convenience and efficacy while picking my set of running gears. And again, different people have different yardsticks.
With that being said, my personal favorite gears for running sessions include; a pair of shoes, a fitness tracker, my wireless earphones, an armband for my phone, and most importantly my jogger pants.
To me, running doesn’t feel that peace without these five! I’ll tell you why?
A perfect pair of footwear is a must for sprinting. I mean, who wants to go hiking with a pair of flip-flops on?
Every outdoor activity necessitates a specific kind of shoes, and you will find plenty in the market that are shaped for running.
Next is my fitness tracker! You might prefer a GPS running watch instead, but I love to run lightweight on the trails.
Why, you ask?
Well, you won’t feel the weight of a wristwatch, but, you get all the data to keep track of your activity hours. What is more, you have access to your phone, and all the notifications vibrate in real-time.
You know, wireless sweatproof sports earphones are important. Especially, when you are all by yourself, all alone on the run. I never felt the same state of mind as listening to something on my morning jog.
Let me tell you, wires suck! Because earpieces are prone to sliding out of your ears while dashing.
Can’t imagine going out without my phone, and I’m sure you can’t either. But I’ve lost my phone a few times on the run – so I reckon, pants are not the right place for them anymore. And, wearing the phone on my neck looks weirdo.
So how to carry a phone when running? This is where an armband comes into use.
Lastly and most decisively, my jogger pants! Imagine yourself running on “Sleeping Pajamas” – can you? Absolutely absurd, I know.
You might love loose pants with drawstrings like me, or you may go for tightly fitted legs, or even running shorts (restrictive or loose).
Whichever is it, just make sure it meets your comfort gages.
Besides running shoes, a good quality sports bra is probably the best thing a woman runner can have!
I am obsessed with the Juno from Brooks Running because it gives me support without adding bulk or discomfort.
I love how comfortable it is, no matter if I’m running three or 20 miles!
In my twelve years of running, I’ve found that not many running tights have pockets so, where are you supposed to put your door key / phone / money / parkrun barcode when you’re out sprinting?
For a while I had the luxury of a digital door lock, thus negating the need for a key but there are still times when you need to carry stuff about with you.
For example, I don’t usually take my phone out with me but I recently began a running schedule on an app and obviously needed my phone.
It fits easily into the Roo Sport Fitness Pouch, which attaches to your running tights and is held in place with a magnet.
It has a large inner compartment that easily holds a phone and a smaller, zipped pocket for keys, coins, cards, etc. It’s comfy, stays in place and I never run without it.
Running is one of the best natural ways for you to stimulate your immune system but being unequipped can be rather daunting. As a passionate runner, I’ve built my habits to a level where I would rather skip a jog than get out unprepared.
Running gear is an absolute necessity. Personally, I can’t do it without my waist belt pack.
I simply have to safely store my keys, phone, a bottle of water, ID, and a small amount of cash, without having to worry about each.
A long time ago, I used to carry a small backpack but that’s uncomfortable, to say the least, and clearly, a poor choice when the hot summer days hit.
If you can’t find a belt pack, then at least get an armband for your phone. I would rather not run without audio on.
Last but not least – eyewear! You need to have a bad experience once to learn this lesson.
Did I mention my phone? Gear is gear but the software is where the numbers are and numbers work. They work a lot.
When it comes to running gear – the quintessential element is shoes. There can exist much confusion around what pair of shoes a runner should wear.
The good news is that the latest science verifies that ‘comfort’ is the most important consideration when purchasing running shoes.
That is if it comfortable it is likely to serve you well and assist in the pursuit of injury-free and faster running.
All the best with your running!
Without delving into the realms of the obvious, shoes should be your first and foremost concern when looking to invest in new gear.
Popular brands include Nike, Adidas, and Asics, and to be sure you get the right shoe, have your feet professionally measured and tested (Sweatshop stores have facilities to do this quickly) and never buy online without trying.
After shoes, I would suggest a good thermal under-layer (Underarmour is popular) for winter months, as well as a reflective outer-layer for when you’re running in the evening, early morning, or night-time conditions.
One piece of gear I never set out without is an armband to attach my phone, through which I listen to music and track my routes on Nike+ Run Club.
Though I do recognize the increasing popularity of smartwatches and Bluetooth headphones which is slowly taking over this market.
Lastly, try and invest in at least one item of clothing that has pockets, be it shorts or an outer layer: they are invaluable when it comes to storing snacks and gels for longer runs.
For my runs, I used to have an arm strap for my phone and either run without water or carry a bottle which I hate. I switched things up with a running vest. I use the gear vest from Orangemud.
While these are intended for trail running, I use them when running anything longer than 5 miles or more than an hour.
I can keep my phone in the front pocket where it’s much more easily accessible. I’ve got plenty of water.
My hands are free. And I have enough space to store sunglasses, bandana, gels, etc. Hands down the best improvement for my distance runs and marathon training.
The best < $10 you can spend on running is on a pair of Lock Laces.
They are elastic laces that you use to replace the ones in your shoes.
You achieve a better fit and you never have to lace your shoes anymore – they also never untie while you run.
- Garmin 645M. A brand new GPS watch can track any activity, stores 500 songs that can be played via Bluetooth – speakers or headphones – (so no need to carry a phone or MP3 device), and GarminPay feature (allows a runner to pay from your watch so no need to carry money).
- Aftershokz TrekzAir Headphones. To listen to music on the go (from your Garmin 645M) and the open fit provides awareness of your surroundings for safety.
- Good Running Sunglasses. At $25 you get a polarized pair of sunglasses in an array of fun colors.
With a passion for running that’s spanned nearly twenty years, I have developed many favorite brands that support my obsession with sprinting and racing.
Shoes are the most important decision to start with. My current “go-to” are Hoka One One Cliftons. One cushy ride!
Next, you have to clock your miles and while there are many options; Garmin has been my brand as they’ve matured to wireless, smartphone-friendly options while improving the time to capture the GPS signal.
In terms of clothes, I have bushels of items & while training runs don’t really matter what you look like, I spend a bit more time on my race-day apparel decisions.
My latest lust in run clothing is Love the Pain out of Los Angeles which makes edgy gear for the runner, swimmer, and triathlete.
Finally, Pro Compression socks are “must haves” for long runs, racing, and recovery.
Running socks are one of the most overlooked pieces of gear by new runners.
But experienced runners will tell you that buying the right socks is worth every penny!
Skip the cotton, and be ok with spending a bit more for the right technical material and fit.
A great pair of running socks will eliminate a few major issues with your foot when running:
- friction (blisters and black toenails)
- heat (discomfort, swelling, blisters)
- moisture (blisters, swamp foot bacteria, feeling cold)
- rubbing (blisters, raw skin)
Thank you so much to all the running bloggers that contributed to this expert roundup!
Now you know what is the best running gear that you need to achieve top performances when sprinting.
Remember that even if running is just a hobby for you, it’s important to use clothes and accessories to keep you comfortable, supported, and on top form.
Author: Minuca Elena
Minuca Elena is a freelance writer specializing in creating expert roundups. Her posts provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers.