The North Face Naked SingletThere's beauty in the simplicity of running. A pair of shoes, socks, shorts, and shirt is all you need to hit the road. But skimping on the gear—especially when you're just starting out—can lead to an early exit from the sport. These 10 running basics will help you get running pain and injury-free.
You've probably heard the adage "cotton kills," but you probably haven't heard "cottons kills nipples" (coined here). It goes without saying that you should ditch your favorite cotton college alum shirt for a top that wicks moisture and minimizes chafing. If you run in a hot climate, a tank top minimizes skin on clothing friction, making for the ultimate top. We like The North Face Better than Naked Singlet because it is exceptionally light, averaging in at 2.82 ounces, and wicks as well as any top we have tried out. ($45)
New Balance Leadville 1210 Ultrarunning ShoesWe strongly suggest you head to a running shop with trained employees who can watch you run before purchasing a pair of shoes. Listen to what they suggest, but consider avoiding minimalist shoes unless you already have experience with them or are willing to fully make the jump. If you're looking to make the move into trail running, you can get away with your road shoes. While they're often less substantial than trail runners, they should give ample support for your first forays onto the dirt. If you would like to start your search for distance shoes online, we suggest starting with the super-duper cushy New Balance Leadville 1210. ($125)
Nathan Endurance PackWhile we wouldn't suggest packs for anything less than a 50-miler or self-supported adventure race, it can be a nice comfort to be able to carry a bunch of food and liquid if your training runs bring you deep into the wilderness. We like the Nathan Endurance if you are planning to use one on race day because of its extraordinary breathability and easily accessed 2L hydration pouch, which is a breeze to fill. ($95)
Ultimate Direction Fast Draw PlusIf you're not looking for a pack, you'll still want a way to carry water. And picking one is fairly simple, so long as you visit the stores in person. Make sure you try on whichever model you plan purchase to be positive it is comfortable in your hand. Also, go for a model with a gel pocket for easy access to quick calories. The Ultimate Direction Fast Draw Plus is one of our favorites. It manages to hold a 20 oz bottle in a feature-rich holder that doesn't feel bulky or get in the way. ($23)
Feetures SocksSuggesting socks can be rough because they're such a personal personal piece of gear. But regardless of preference, make absolutely sure that your socks wick moisture and are extremely form fitting. We are huge fans of Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show socks because of their incredibly close fit and seam-free toe closure. ($15)
KT TapeThink we're too focused on chafing? Well, you probably haven't seen chafe like we have. Trust us: It gets ugly. KT Tape Pro is one of our favorite anti-chafing tools because of how easily it went on and—more importantly—came off. It served us comfortably as nipple covers during long runs, and even pulls double duty as a brace for sore joints and muscles if applied correctly. ($20)
Salomon S-Lab Light JacketWhen hitting the trail, you should always go prepared with an extremely lightweight outer layer, or what many endurance runners affectionately call condom jackets. The jacket you choose should be light, offer enough wind and rain protection to get you home if the weather turns, and roll-up for easy carrying. At 70 grams and being able to roll to the size of a fist, we suggest the Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket. ($80)
Patagonia Nine Trails 8" ShortsWhen it comes to your shorts, almost always go with something light and moisture wicking. We suggest going with internal liners, but make sure you run with them to see how they support you (men) and chafe (men and women). We like the Patagonia Nine Trails 8" shorts for their wicking and odor resistant liner as well as their stretchy, light 9 percent spandex exterior.
Body GlideBody Glide Anti Chafe Balm looks like a deodorant stick, goes on surprisingly dry, and could become your best friend as you establish your potential chafing points. ($10)
Probar Bolt PacketsWhile absolutely crucial on race day, it's almost equally important to think about what you're going to eat on your longer runs in training. We love Probar Bolt Packets. We've tasted every flavor and found them all to be delicious with an easy consistency to put down during the toughest of runs when nothing tastes appealing. They are also caffeinated with yerba mate which gave a smoother, not cracked out, boost to our energy when we ate a bunch of them. ($3)
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