No two runners are alike. And their gear needs aren’t either. What you choose to wear on the road (or trail) should reflect the intensity and frequency of your workouts. Heading out for a quick two-mile jog? You probably don’t need to worry about compression socks — especially if you’re only pounding pavement once or twice a week. But if you’re routinely crushing 15-milers or more, lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue are legitimate concerns, and those tight, knee-high socks might just be worth considering. Below you’ll find the latest and greatest from the best brands to help you maximize performance. Even if that means just getting you out and around the block. A win is a win.
The Weekend Warrior
5 miles a week or less
Maybe you only get out once or twice a week, but you’re still a “runner” — even with that post-workout beer factored into the equation. Looking cool and casual is also a priority, especially if your running getup is the same that you don at the gym. But that doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about performance. Focus on the essentials — shirts, versatile shorts, shoes and socks — and invest in quality that you can build upon as milage increases over time.
5 to 40 miles a week
Runs are sacred ground, your necessary alone time in an otherwise hectic schedule with the job, the spouse, the kids; maybe it’s the only time you get to listen to music. Your gear is made for running, and you put in enough miles a year to go through several pairs of shoes. You’re not too concerned about hitting intervals but you’re fit enough to perform well in a handful of 5Ks every year. Perhaps you’ve even eyed the local marathon — just to say you did it. But at the end of the day, you’re all about getting a good run in because you enjoy it.
40 miles a week or more
Running is a sport, and sport means competition. When you travel for work or for leisure, running shoes are the first things you pack — there are no excuses in this game. Form and speed are primary concerns, and you’re willing to invest in the gear that helps you realize that potential.
Honey Stinger Gel Gold $21 for 24-pack
Fitbit Surge $249
Arc’teryx Accelero Cap $35
Iffley Road Classic Running Vest ~$78
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 $125
Rudy Project Firebolt $175
SmartWool PhD Run Graduated Compression Ultra Light Socks $37
Blood, Sweat and Dirt
Whether you only hit the trail a handful of times a year, or have made it a full-time pursuit, multi-surface terrain is an animal of its own that carries a unique checklist to consider. Hydration and first aid are also high priorities. Anything could happen out there, and it’s best to be prepared.
3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion $15
Inov-8 Race Ultra Gaiter $36
Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 $120
Farm to Feet Asheville 1/4 Crew Socks $15
Nathan Sports HPL 020 Hydration Pack $72
La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Sunscreen $25