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Reviews

The Best Running Gear for Men and Women

02/03/2020
By Soji James, CPT, CSCS

Best Overall

Pros

If you’re the type of runner that likes to bring everything with them, then this running pouch is perfect for you. The belt features two zippered compartments and reflective strips for running in the dark. The bigger pocket is large enough to fit an iPhone 8 Plus, X and Samsung Galaxy. The waterproof fabric is soft and doesn't bounce or rub against the skin. The pouch fits a range of waist sizes and is suitable for both men and women.

Cons

The belt can stretch, so you might need to adjust it each time you go for a run. If you have very narrow hips, the belt can sit a little high, meaning that it will bounce unless you have enough layers underneath. Although it’s well-made, it’s not ideal for people with small hips.

Bottom Line

This running pouch is perfect for runners who need to run with their phone and keys but don’t want to be weighed down. There’s plenty of room, the belt doesn’t ride up, and the reflective strips are great for running at night. The belt is an excellent choice for both men and women but not quite perfect for those with very narrow hips.

Best Value

Pros

The socks are made from nylon, elastane, and Drynamix polyester. Drynamix polyester contains a blend of fibers and knit patterns to provide the right amount of tension and compression. These no-show performance running socks feature antibacterial moisture-wicking material covered in silver ions designed to kill germs. The silver coating helps to keep your feet dry, clean, and odor-free. Runners will enjoy the thick cushion underfoot while the breathable top keeps your feet fresh.

Cons

The socks can run small. No one wants to squeeze their toes into tiny socks, so order a size bigger. Some runners find that the socks aren’t completely stink-free. Although they don’t retain as much odor as regular socks, odor-free might be pushing it a bit.

Bottom Line

Super comfortable and hugging, you won’t have to worry about your socks moving around during your run. Balega makes some of the best running socks out there. They control moisture and reduce heat, keeping your feet dry and cool.

Honorable Mention

Pros

This reflective vest is a must-have for running or biking in the dark. Whether it’s an early morning jog or evening run, visibility is essential. It includes adjustable reflective patches and strips. It’s bright and not too bulky with a very minimalist design.It can be seen from all angles up to 1,200 feet away.The vest has been designed to allow for a full range of motion and not feel restrictive in any way. It’s also made from an ultra-lightweight and comfortable material.

Cons

The sizing of the vest can be a bit off. Some runners find it too small while others too big. If it’s on the small side, it sits on the ribs at the right spot, but you can’t tighten it past a certain point as you run out of velcro. If you needed to wear more layers like on a hike or walk, then this wouldn’t be a problem.

Bottom Line

The vest uses a very lightweight and breathable material. It’s a great way to keep yourself safe in the dark, whether you’re out running, biking, or walking. The minimalist design doesn’t interrupt arm swing but is bright enough to let drivers know where you are.

Sport2people Running Pouch Belt

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Pros

If you’re the type of runner that likes to bring everything with them, then this running pouch is perfect for you. The belt features two zippered compartments and reflective strips for running in the dark. The bigger pocket is large enough to fit an iPhone 8 Plus, X and Samsung Galaxy. The waterproof fabric is soft and doesn't bounce or rub against the skin. The pouch fits a range of waist sizes and is suitable for both men and women.

Cons

The belt can stretch, so you might need to adjust it each time you go for a run. If you have very narrow hips, the belt can sit a little high, meaning that it will bounce unless you have enough layers underneath. Although it’s well-made, it’s not ideal for people with small hips.

Bottom Line

This running pouch is perfect for runners who need to run with their phone and keys but don’t want to be weighed down. There’s plenty of room, the belt doesn’t ride up, and the reflective strips are great for running at night. The belt is an excellent choice for both men and women but not quite perfect for those with very narrow hips.

Balega Silver No-Show Running Socks

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Pros

The socks are made from nylon, elastane, and Drynamix polyester. Drynamix polyester contains a blend of fibers and knit patterns to provide the right amount of tension and compression. These no-show performance running socks feature antibacterial moisture-wicking material covered in silver ions designed to kill germs. The silver coating helps to keep your feet dry, clean, and odor-free. Runners will enjoy the thick cushion underfoot while the breathable top keeps your feet fresh.

Cons

The socks can run small. No one wants to squeeze their toes into tiny socks, so order a size bigger. Some runners find that the socks aren’t completely stink-free. Although they don’t retain as much odor as regular socks, odor-free might be pushing it a bit.

Bottom Line

Super comfortable and hugging, you won’t have to worry about your socks moving around during your run. Balega makes some of the best running socks out there. They control moisture and reduce heat, keeping your feet dry and cool.

Nathan Streak Reflective Vest

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Pros

This reflective vest is a must-have for running or biking in the dark. Whether it’s an early morning jog or evening run, visibility is essential. It includes adjustable reflective patches and strips. It’s bright and not too bulky with a very minimalist design.It can be seen from all angles up to 1,200 feet away.The vest has been designed to allow for a full range of motion and not feel restrictive in any way. It’s also made from an ultra-lightweight and comfortable material.

Cons

The sizing of the vest can be a bit off. Some runners find it too small while others too big. If it’s on the small side, it sits on the ribs at the right spot, but you can’t tighten it past a certain point as you run out of velcro. If you needed to wear more layers like on a hike or walk, then this wouldn’t be a problem.

Bottom Line

The vest uses a very lightweight and breathable material. It’s a great way to keep yourself safe in the dark, whether you’re out running, biking, or walking. The minimalist design doesn’t interrupt arm swing but is bright enough to let drivers know where you are.

SmartWool Merino 150 Pattern Beanie

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Pros

The SmartWool beanie is made from 150 Merino wool, so it’s soft, lightweight, and breathable. It’s designed to move sweat away from the body and is suitable for running all-year-round. Durable and soft next to the skin, it allows your head to breathe while keeping your ears protected from the elements. If you’re looking for an ultra-thin layer, this beanie is perfect and packs into a small space.

Cons

As the material is so thin, if you have very short hair or are bald, your hairs might poke through the fabric. The sizing is a bit larger than you might be expecting, so some people find the fit not quite snug enough. It is a very thin hat, which is both a pro and a con depending on the type of beanie you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

If you’re wanting a super-light and breathable running hat, then this is a great option. You can layer it up or put it under a helmet; it’s very versatile and durable. Depending on the size of your head and the type of fit you’re after, it may feel a bit big for some people.

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How to Pick the Best Running Gear for Men and Women 

Running is a low-maintenance sport with numerous health benefits. It works your core, strengthens your joints, and can improve memory. One study looked at nearly 100,000 runners and walkers. Researchers found that runners are half as likely to suffer from knee osteoarthritis compared with the walkers. 

Man running up steps using appropriate running gear for men.
Do You Know How to Pick the Best Running Gear? (Image Source: Unsplash)

Whether you are a seasoned marathon runner or starting your first marathon for beginners, you don’t need a ton of fancy and expensive running gear to perform at your best. But, if you want your run to be as comfortable and safe as possible, it’s worth investing in a few essential pieces. New workout gear can give you the motivational boost you need to improve your speed and endurance.

When buying technical running clothes, keep an eye out for lightweight pieces. Seams should be in areas that are least likely to chafe and should move effortlessly with the body. It doesn’t matter if you’re jogging or taking part in a sprint or a marathon. Whatever your fitness goals, running in the right fabrics will keep you dry and warm. 

Technical fabrics tend to hold up better in the washing machine, as well. A lot of running-specific clothing features reflective strips, perfect for running safely at night. Other features to look for include compression, sun protection, and pockets. 

Running Equipment Features to Avoid 

Now that you know about the best running gear for men and women, there are a few things you should avoid. Cotton is a big no-no for runners. Once it gets wet, it just stays wet. When you run, you sweat, so cotton will make you uncomfortable in hot weather and be potentially dangerous in cold temperatures. You’re also more likely to chafe if you’re wearing 100% cotton. 

Women running outside.
Know Which Running Equipment Features To Avoid (Image Source: Unsplash)

The same cotton rule applies to sweatpants, as well. Sweatpants are fine for a short run but aren’t ideal for longer runs. Again, once they are wet, they will stay wet. Sweats are perfect for running errands and around the house but, but try and stick to running clothes that are made from technical, moisture-wicking materials. For example, when it’s warm outside, women can try a pair of Lululemon shorts.

The great thing about running is that you can do it all-year-round. You can even run during the pandemic. In the winter, you should invest in the best cold weather running gear for men and women. When you run in the cold, avoid using thick layers like a big coat or jacket. Aim to layer up with thin, wicking layers, so you don’t sweat too much. This way, you can slowly take off each layer as you need to when you start to get warm. It can be tempting to reach for thick socks when it’s colder but try to avoid them. Your feet swell when you run, and thick socks will squish your toes up against the front of your shoes. 

Find Your Perfect Running Gear 

Have your eye on some fantastic athletic shoes, like the Adidas Ultraboost 19? Remember to keep an eye on the wear and tear of your running shoes, as worn-out shoes can increase the chance of injury. Over time, running trainers can lose shock absorption, stability, and cushioning. You should replace most high-quality running shoes every 300-500 miles

Best Running Gear in 2019 – Zach Levet

Signs that your shoes need changing include worn soles and persistent aches and pains. Always break new running shoes in slowly, or consider having two pairs. This way you can rotate a new pair when your old trainers are halfway through their lifecycle. 

Your running gear should be comfortable and suit your specific needs and goals. If you love to run after work, then you need reflective clothing that shows where you are on the road. The right equipment can motivate you to keep going. Focus on high-quality running gear made from moisture-wicking material. If you’re an avid member of the Strava community—a popular social fitness app—then you might need your phone to track your run. Look for decent-sized pockets that can secure all of your items. 

The best running equipment elevates your efforts, improves performance, and keeps you safe on the road. With the right gear, nothing will stop you from running. Whether you need protection from the elements, pockets for your phone and keys, or the perfect beanie, wearing the right clothing can make a huge difference.   

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