9 Essential Pieces of Running Gear

By: Erin McGrady + Save to a List

Hydration vests, socks, and more to keep you running strong through the miles.

Hoka One One Clifton 7

The Clifton’s have been my go-to training shoes for several years. Though I’ve had a history of stress fractures, I’ve been running injury-free since lacing up in them. They’re cushy and lightweight and they stand up to the miles (I regularly get about 500 miles out of mine before I need to move to a new pair.)

Hoka One One Carbon X 2

While the Clifton’s are my daily go-to running shoes (and probably always will be unless they stop making them), what’s new on my radar and that I’m loving a lot, are these Carbon X 2’s, also from Hoka One One. They’re a little more firm (meaning when your foot strikes the pavement there’s a little less give) than my Clifton’s but the firmness results in a ride that has me reaching for them on speed days when I want to go a little faster. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that they not only look cool but they’re also super lightweight.

BioLite HeadLamp 330

Several months out of the year I do a majority of my miles in the dark. What with shorter days in the winter and my work schedule, the darkness is something I’ve learned to embrace. (The cold, however, is another story.) BioLite’s HeadLamp is my first pick when it comes to headlamps. It’s lightweight, is micro USB rechargeable, has a reflective strip and writing on the headband, and best of all, it doesn’t bounce with every step you take, it stays in place.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

As far as training tools go, my Garmin Forerunner 735XT is one of the most important because it allows me to pair how I’m feeling with actual data. Those two things help me choose what to route to run (hilly or somewhat flat), what type of workout to engage it (tempo, easy, short, distance, etc.), and sometimes, when to take an extra day off (the 735XT gives you resting and workout heart rate info to help you make an informed decision). The watch also gives you a notification when you hit a PR. Plus, it’s lightweight and sleek, and waterproof up to 50 meters which means you don’t have to leave it at home when it’s raining or you’re having fun in the water.

Nathan Running Vests

Several years ago I started looking for a solution to carry snacks, water, car keys, and my phone while running. I tried carrying things in the pockets of my shorts, then moved to a waist/hip pack, and ultimately found my way to the running vests by Nathan. Though a lot of people only use these vests when they're running long distances, I wear mine even on short loops around my neighborhood. I like the peace of mind of having my phone with me at all times in case of an emergency or to snap a photo. These vests are lightweight and comfortable, and they fit great (meaning no chafing or bouncing.)

Rnnr Hats

My hair is either in a top knot or it’s tucked under a hat. Lately, it’s been the running hats made by Rnnr because they fit just right. (I've got a few hats that feel like I'm wearing a five-gallon bucket on my head. These are not those.) The brim is designed to flip up when you want a little sun or stay flat when you don’t, which is how I like to wear my hats.

Injinji Women’s Lightweight No-Show

The first time I saw these socks by Injinji I thought they were cute gloves. Not exactly. But they are cute running socks! And effective ones, too. They don’t slide down into your shoe and they literally keep the blisters away since each toe has it’s own little pocket of sweat-wicking fabric to move around in. Sure, they take an extra 30 seconds to wiggle into, but it’s worth it, especially on race days or long training days when the last thing you want to deal with is a blister.

Hoka One One Performance Crop Tights

I’m picky about running tights. One of my pet peeves is when, midway through a run, they start to sag and you have to pull them up every other stride. It really impacts the flow. But these don’t do that which is why I love ‘em. Plus, they have a couple of cool pockets, one on the side of each leg, for carrying a credit card or a key. They’re also super soft which is why I have a tendency to linger in them long after the workout is over.

Everyday Oil Hand Sanitizer

These days it seems like we are all on a quest to kill germs and bacteria. Viruses. The idea in and of itself is a violent one but we can be kind to ourselves and the planet in doing so. That’s where Everyday Oil comes in. They make the whole icky hand sanitizing process feel less like an attack and more like really good self-care. It’s made with 100% plant-based ingredients, smells like something you put on with the intention of having others delight in, and 10% of all sales go to local food banks and relief efforts. I make a point to take a bottle of it with me pretty much everywhere I go including my running bag and the van.

Running Gear Recap

As far as outdoor activities go, running requires a lot less gear than say, skiing. Or kiteboarding. Still, there are some accoutrements that will make your pursuit of miles a little more, dare I say, fun? Note that I didn’t say easy...because I’m not actually sure that’s what running offers. While you can probably get away with just a pair of shoes and some shorts (or, perhaps in some places, neither!) these are my top picks.

Erin is a mid-pack runner who keeps finding herself at the local brewery post-run. Math was never a strong subject but 4 miles underfoot tends to equal 1 IPA. Photos by @e.mcgrady and @carolineperdue

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