The Best Gear and Accessories for Runners
Last Updated: Apr 07, 2016
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One of the best things about running is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. It’s just you and the open road (or trail or track or treadmill). But even though we don’t have to have fun accessories or high-tech gear, it’s still fun to try it out. And runners are the kings (and queens) of experimenting when it comes to their running (as long as they’re not in the middle of training for a serious race). And who knows? You might improve your pace and endurance in the testing process. So whether you’re a minimalist or a technology junkie, you’ll want to check out all the new gear, clothing and accessories our staffers have put to the test.
BALEGA WOMEN’S ENDURO LOW-CUT SOCKS
“I always thought nice socks -- especially running socks -- were a luxury. Not anymore. After running in these socks, I now understand nice socks are a necessity. They were snug, airy, light and comfortable. In a sentence: These socks felt like a family of baby clouds was lovingly hugging my feet for the entire run. For me, that feeling is definitely worth $12 a pop. With a 7.5 shoe size, the smalls fit perfectly.” Niki Gruttadauria, LIVESTRONG.COM Social Media Manager PRICE: $12
Related: More info on Balega Women’s Enduro Low Cut Socks and where to find them.
“I’m already a huge fan of CamelBak, but the Circuit vest is my new go-to for longer runs or hiking around Southern California. It’s practically weightless, offering only the essentials -- a 1.5-liter water reservoir and two small front pockets that are within reach when wearing the pack. Perfect for warmer temps, the bag offers a mesh lining (allowing you to keep cool) and sweat-proof pockets (a win for your cellphone).” Kelly Plowe, RD, LIVESTRONG.COM Nutrition Editor PRICE: $85
Related: More info on CamelBak Circuit and where to find it.
GRACED BY GRIT LAND & SEA HALF ZIP HOODIE
Just because it’s spring, that doesn’t guarantee it’s automatically shorts-and-tank-top weather. So this hoodie from Graced By Grit is a great transition piece to add to your running wardrobe. “I love how comfortable it is!” says Demand Media staffer Faizah Karimi. “It’s very light and complements my figure perfectly.” Complete with a drawstring hood, thumbholes, utility pockets on each arm and SPF 50 UV protection, this lightweight jacket may just become your favorite. PRICE: $96
Related: More info on Graced By Grit Land & Sea Half Zip Hoodie and where to find it.
JABRA SPORT PULSE WIRELESS EARPHONES
“The Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earphones were very easy to set up -- took me less than 10 minutes. I was eager to try the built-in heart-rate monitor. It is unique in that there is no need to wear a separate heart-rate sensor. It read my heart rate directly from my ear and conveniently sent data to the Jabra SportLife app (connected via Bluetooth). There are a wide range of sizing options for the earbuds and ear hooks, so I had no problem finding my size (and I’m a petite, five-foot woman). Music quality was great and provided noise isolation. Overall, the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earphones are lightweight, comfortable and easy to use.” Audrey Fang, Demand Media PRICE: $199.99
Related: More info on Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earphones and where to find them.
IBEX W2 SPORT ZIP
“Light and breathable, the W2 Sport Zip is perfect for my early-morning runs. The flatlock stitching, inset sleeves and tag-free design lend themselves to hours of comfortable, chafe-free running. A must-have in my workout wardrobe.” Jason Capunitan, Demand Media PRICE: $110
Related: More info on Ibex W2 Sport Zip and where to find it.
ALIGN FOOTWEAR ARCH MOBILITY INSOLES
"I have been using these insoles for about a month now, and they still feel like new every time I put them on. I have used them while I go running and hiking and my feet have never felt better after such workouts! There is no pain in my feet, which I used to experience on a regular basis prior to using these due to a previous foot fracture." Jill Shah, Demand Media PRICE: $49.99
Related: More info on Align Footwear Arch Mobility Insoles and where to find them.
SAFE-FLASH PERSONAL REFLECTORS
“I live in Los Angeles, so my neighborhood is pretty busy, and I’ve had a few near misses when walking my dog at night. I love the Safe-Flash Personal Reflectors because they can stick to anything -- hats, sweatshirts, dog collars, etc. -- keeping me and my pup safe.” Kelly Plowe, RD, LIVESTRONG.COM Nutrition Editor PRICE: $2 to $10
Related: More info on Safe-Flash Personal Reflectors and where to find them.
XERO SHOES AMURI Z-TREK SPORT SANDAL
“These shoes did not seem like they were going to handle much when I first tried them on. A few cleverly placed straps, some thin yet comfortable material for the sole and nothing more. Forty-five days of daily wear, which included hiking over various terrain -- beach sand, river crossings, rocks, gravel, manicured city trails and a few trips off into the woods with no path at all -- proved that not only do these shoes hold up to the abuse, they have become my favorite light shoe.” Shelby Pratt, LIVESTRONG.COM Senior Customer Support Manager PRICE: $59.99
Related: More info on Xero Shoes Amuri Z-Trek and where to find them.
MITSCOOTS LOW-CUT PERFORMANCE SOCKS
“Mitscoots moisture-wicking socks are the thick-soled, arch-supporting running socks you didn’t even know you needed. Long-distance runners know that the wrong sock can prevent you reaching your weekly mileage or beating your PR. The soft, plushy fabric of the Mitscoots provides your well-worn running soles with the cushioning they need, whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon. If you’ve avoided low-profile socks because you’ve found yourself yanking them up at every turn, fear not: The extended heel pad on the Mitscoots are slippage free and protect your heels from blistering.” Dena Karsenty, LIVESTRONG.COM Director of Product PRICE: $12
Related: More info on Mitscoots Low-Cut Performance Socks and where to find them.
TOMTOM RUNNER 2 CARDIO
“There are apps that track distance, calories and time, and then there’s this watch. It does all that, plus heart rate, which is measured at your wrist so you don’t need an uncomfortable chest strap. And it’s also your own personal running coach. Depending on what your goal is, you can interval train, race yourself, track training zones or count laps. It also syncs with a desktop app so that you can chart your progress and plan out your training regimen. It does take a bit of time to acclimate yourself to all of the functions, but once you do, you’re set.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $170
Related: More info on TomTom Runner Cardio and where to find it.
ACTIVE ACCESSORIES ON-THE-GO HAIR BANDS
“I love these hair ties! What I like the most about them is that they don’t leave that unattractive dent in my hair like the normal elastic ties do (perfect for quickly throwing my hair up at work when needed and still being able to wear it down later). Also, they look cute as a bracelet on my wrist. If you have thick hair, they might not hold your hair up very well, especially while running. But for medium to thin hair, they work wonders!” Jill Shah, Demand Media PRICE: $6.99
Related: More info on Active Accessories On-The-Go Hair Bands and where to find them.
FABLETICS OULA TANK
Sometimes, what your running wardrobe really needs is a plain black tank top. No frills, but slimming and functional.“[The Oula Tank] is fitted but still very breathable,” says Demand Media staffer Faizah Karimi. “It doesn’t feel like other tanks, which stick to you when sweaty.” Plus, if basic black isn’t your thing, Fabletics offers seven other colors for you to choose from. PRICE: $19.95
Related: More info on fabletics Oula Tank and where to find it.
SUGOI PACE 7" SHORT
“This two-in-one running short is an ultra-comfortable performance piece. The Pace Short is lightweight, moisture-wicking and water-repellant. And with a total of three pockets -- two front pockets and one zippered back pocket -- you’ll have plenty of room for your cell phone and energy gels.” Jason Capunitan, Demand Media PRICE: $31.50
Related: More info on SUGOI Pace 7 Short and where to find it.
HEALING TREE ALL NATURAL MUSCLE RUB
“I’ve used other muscle rubs in the past, and they’ve all had a pretty strong, unnatural scent. This one definitely has a strong scent as well, but it smells natural and refreshing instead. There’s no wax, alcohol or parabens in it, but it really works well the day after a long, hard run -- or in conjunction with my foam roller.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $15.95
Related: More info on Healing Tree All Natural Muscle Rub and where to find it.
GRACED BY GRIT LAND & SEA KNICKER
“The fit, material and style of these capris are just perfect! They are those capris that make you look good while working out and also when you are out and about running errands. They don’t roll down from the top while running, and the bottom doesn’t roll up either, which is great. The material is thick, so it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable while bending over.” Jill Shah, Demand Media PRICE: $72
Related: More info on Graced By Grit Land & Sea Knicker and where to find them.
Skida Headwear and Shelby Pratt
SKIDA NORDIC HAT
“The fit of this hat is phenomenal! It comes down enough -- about mid-ear -- to keep me toasty-warm without slipping and moving all over the place or making me feel as if my head was buried under tons of material. Lightweight enough to barely notice it’s there, but able to keep the wind and cold out and heat in. I wore this in rainy Pacific Northwest weather and was impressed with how warm and dry my head stayed while out on hikes.” Shelby Pratt, LIVESTRONG.COM Senior Customer Support Manager PRICE: $30
Related: More info on Skida Nordic Hat and where to find it.
WAXELENE ANTI-CHAFE BALM
“No runner wants to use that communal container of petroleum jelly they have available on race day, and the regular stuff you buy at the store can be so goopy and oily. But Waxelene doesn’t contain any petroleum or artificial ingredients -- it’s basically just soy oil and beeswax. While it isn’t 100-percent scent-free, the scent isn’t really that noticeable, and it’s definitely better than the alternative.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $7.60 to $12.99
Related: More info on Waxelene Anti-Chafe Balm and where to find it.
GRACED BY GRIT EVERYTHING LEGGINGS
“I love the name (and the premise) of the Graced By Grit apparel. The creators designed their wear to inspire women to feel confident and motivated to be active, and they understand that every woman has experienced hardships and that ‘grit is often what gives us grace.’ The Everything Leggings offer total support (i.e., keeps it all in) without being true compression pants, and they offer two hidden pockets (one with a hook for keys). The pants come with a safety whistle and offer SPF 50. The leggings have a hint of shine to them where stretched, so they’re not completely matte.” Kelly Plowe, RD, LIVESTRONG.COM Nutrition Editor PRICE: $86
Related: More info on Graced By Grit Everything Leggings and where to find them.
GO MOTION SYNERGY HYDRATION LIGHTVEST
“I’m the kind of person that really hates wearing a utility belt to hold my water bottle and gels when I run. But this pack is light enough and secure enough to not bother me on runs or hikes. Plus, as a nighttime runner, I really appreciate having a light on the front and back of the pack. The first time I wore it while listening to music through headphones, there was a jumble of wires and straps and tubing to deal with, but I’ve learned how to place everything so that it’s not a mess.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $94.95
Related: More info on Go Motion Synergy Hydration LightVest and where to find it.
JLAB EPIC BLUETOOTH EARBUDS
“These headphones quickly made my workout must-have list. With crisp and immersive sound, ergonomic fit and ridiculously long battery life, the JLab Epic Bluetooth Earbuds are perfect when I’m looking to tune out, pump my favorite workout mix and get lost in a workout.” Jason Capunitan, Demand Media PRICE: $99.99
Related: More info on JLab Epic Bluetooth Earbuds and where to find them.
MITSCOOTS RECOVERY SOCKS
“[These] knee-high socks are a great pair of supportive, cozy recovery socks. While these cushy socks are not exactly built tough for the wear and tear of the road or the trails, they are the perfect fit for those days you want to keep your tootsies and calves warm. Or if you’re just looking to brighten up your wardrobe, the playful purple-stripe pattern with a hint of neon green adds an element of fun.” Dena Karsenty, LIVESTRONG.COM Director of Product PRICE: $12
Related: More info on Mitscoots Recovery Socks and where to find them.
“Having one of these bracelets in high school would have allayed a lot of my parents’ concerns when I went out running by myself. Instead of carrying an ID (which might have too much personal info or an emergency contact number), this cute little rubber bracelet is completely customizable to have whatever phone numbers, allergies or medical conditions you want. You never want to think about fainting or collapsing on your run, but it’s really important to plan for those kinds of emergencies. And it’s so lightweight that you don’t even really notice it’s there until you need it.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $12.99
Related: More info on ICOE Bracelets and where to find them.
URSA MAJOR ESSENTIAL FACE WIPES
“After an intense run, these face wipes are like getting a mini facial. On their recommendation, I put them in the fridge before a run, and then when I come back they’re cold and refreshing. My skin is a little sensitive, so I usually wait several minutes until my pores close a little, but I love the light, spa-like scent and the way my skin feels afterward.” Rachel Grice, LIVESTRONG.COM Fitness Editor PRICE: $24
Related: More info on Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes and where to find them.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? What are some of your favorite gear, clothing and accessories for running? Are you more of a minimalist, or do you love tracking every mile and trying out the latest innovations? Let us know in the comments section below!
Related: The Best Sports Bra for Every Workout
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