2004 Buyer's Guide: The Essential Trail Runner

Pick Up the Pace

Set a new personal best with gear and garb that can take a pounding

2004 Buyer's Guide: The Essential Trail Runner

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SUIT UP » Trail running has its share of hazards: Sneaky roots will instantly take you from vertical to horizontal, while ankle-twisting rocks seem to pop up out of nowhere. Needless to say, your attack plan should include high-performance gear. Start with (1) LOWE ALPINE’s DRY ZONE LONG SLEEVED T-SHIRT ($59), with patches of high-ventilation polyester over chest, pits, sides, and spine. On chilly mornings, cover up with the (2) SPIRE WIND VEST ($75) from MOONSTONE—it’s got ripstop nylon in front, breathable Polartec PowerStretch in back, and nifty reflective stripes. For your locomotive half, THE NORTH FACE’s FLIGHT TRAIL SHORTS ($42) have a supportive CoolMax liner shelled with quick-drying nylon, plus four pockets. For comfort in the cold, try thermoregulatory (3) CONDITIONING TIGHTS ($80) from CW-X, built with a generous helping of CoolMax, plus structured Lycra-and-nylon panels to stabilize your knees. FOOT ARMOR » Blisters suck, so treat your feet to SMARTWOOL’s ADRENALINE MICRO SOCKS ($13); they have serious cush down below, a reinforced arch, and anti-blister padding for the heel and Achilles. The sap-sticky, topographic treads on the (4) LA SPORTIVA COLORADO TRAIL AT ($85) invite you to cruise any landscape, from fire roads to boulder fields. ACCESSORIZE » Complete your outfit with some specialized accoutrements: Say sayonara to chilled digits with the (5) COLDOUT MIDWEIGHT GLOVE by DESCENTE ($25). (6) ULTIMATE DIRECTION’s EXCEL HHS waist pack ($30) holds a 20-ounce water bottle horizontally, for easy snagging with either hand.

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