Best Running Gear


About this Review

 

 Running is one of the most accessible forms of aerobic exercise: You can do it almost anywhere without needing a gym membership or expensive equipment. But although you can run while wearing just about anything, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a good time doing it. We spent more than 90 hours researching and testing running gear and enlisted the help of a current collegiate track coach (and former podiatrist), a former Runner’s World editor, and several of the most passionate runners on our staff to help us find the best gear to get you up and running. 

 

Our Pick's

Bench Mark Product Name Model Name Key Features Price
Value For Money LifeKrafts amazon  B0756BZB1G Green ₹225
Value For Money Champamazon  B01MA5G10Q Black ₹270
Value For Money Aeoss amazon  B07B6NRXQV RED ₹299
Value For Money Vector Xamazon  B01NBHVG3J Yellow ₹300
Value For Money Genericamazon  B01FW0SGXA 134 Grams,Polyester,Green ₹315
Value For Money Vector X amazon  B01N3P4NV3 Orange,Synthetic ₹359
Value For Money Aeoss amazon  B07CNNPDB1 Red ₹399
Value For Money Xtrim amazon  B079RHSD9Y 200 Grams,elasticized-fabric,Leather ₹399
Value For Money Touchwood amazon  B01FJH9JUU 399 g ₹400
Value For Money Saco amazon  B0154KN5DY Green,Polyester ₹465
Value For Money Trase amazon  B072N5J39Q 449 g ₹499
Value For Money Sacoamazon  B0154KN59S Green,Polyester ₹625
Value For Money Vector Xamazon  B01N069TXN Red/Black,Synthetic ₹735
Bench Mark Product Name Model Name Key Features Price
Value For Money CASVOamazon  Google Pixel 2 XL 128GB Black ₹1,149
Value For Money Far End Gearamazon  B0195OPLN2 Black ₹1,155
Value For Money Aeoss amazon  B07D2BR8XG Grey ₹1,240
Value For Money Di Graziaamazon  neon-yellow-reflective-gear 249 Grams,Nylon, Canvas, Polyester ₹1,299
Bench Mark Product Name Model Name Key Features Price
Value For Money ProTechamazon  4326943983 15.2 x 8.9 x 3.8 cm,13.6 g ₹3,761

 

Table of contents

Gadgets-Headphones

If I wanted a pair of wireless headphones for running, I’d put the Plantronics BackBeat Fit first on my list. While unsealed headphones tend to sound worse than their sealed counterparts due to a lack of bass, they allow you to hear your surroundings so that you can remain safe while running on busy streets.

Unsealed Wireless Pick - Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth

  Brand - Plantronics BackBeat FIT Wireless Bluetooth<   Model - 206005-01
  Item Weight -23 g   Package Dimensions - 21.1 x 14 x 5.6 cm

This pair lets in environmental noise to keep you safe and sounds better than the competition.

I like the BackBeat Fit a lot—in fact, it’s the only set of unsealed headphones that I’d even consider buying. Why? First of all, among the unsealed in-ear Bluetooth headphones we tested, the BackBeat Fit sounded the absolute best. Yes, you lose some of the low-end frequencies and the richness that comes with a good deep bassline, but overall the BackBeat Fit doesn’t sound in any way objectionable. The headphones also fit well on a wide variety of ears, have a sturdy feel, and come with a neoprene pouch that doubles as a smartphone armband. No other unsealed Bluetooth headphones even come close.

All products are imported from the USA. All electronic products must be used with a step down/up converter for Indian voltage compatibility.

Wireless Pick - JLab Epic2 Bluetooth

 

  Brand - JLab Epic2 Bluetooth   Model - B01EZ7HCEA
  Item Weight - 204 g   Package Dimensions - 5.1 x 12.7 x 19 cm

This great-sounding pair is sealed to block out distractions and able to take a beating, and it fit all of our panelists equally well.

If I were seeking a pair of headphones for treadmill use or trail running, and therefore more concerned about sound quality than the ability to hear environmental hazards around me, I’d get the JLab Epic2 Bluetooth. We considered a total of 147 sport-specific headphones and tested the 85 best-reviewed and newest options—and our panel of experts agreed that the JLab Epic2 pair sounded and fit better than anything else. Slim earhooks comfortably keep the headphones in place. A three-button remote allows you to change tracks, adjust volume, and take calls without having to reach for your mobile device, and Bluetooth means you don’t need to worry about a cord getting in the way of getting your sweat on. These headphones sound great, too, with (like most sport headphones) only a little bass boost—just enough to drive a workout to the next level. And their IPX5 waterproof rating means they’ll hold up over time: We listened to them, ran with them, got them wet, kicked them, tugged them, stomped them, and then listened to them again. Finally, the 12-hour battery life means this set will last twice as long as similar models made by Beats.

Wired Pick - Sennheiser OCX 686G Sports

Comfortable in a variety of ear shapes, these headphones stay put through your workout. Plus, they sound much better than many competitors.

If you aren’t worried about getting tangled up in your cord while running, our latest pick for the best wired exercise headphones is Sennheiser’s OCX 686G Sports. The OCX 686G Sports survived all the tests to which we subjected our original pick and fared just as well. Plus, this pair comes with an impressive two-year warranty when you purchase it from an authorized Sennheiser dealer. For other situations and budgets, take a look at our full guide to wired exercise headphones to see a few more choices. —Lauren Dragan

Android Sennheiser's new SPORTS headsets are the perfect fusion of sound, performance and ergonomic design for people with a passion for sport. Six models were developed in conjunction with commissioned university studies researching the impact of extreme movement on sound, comfort and fit. High tech materials were carefully selected to maintain comfort, water resistance, durability and hygiene. New drivers were developed to deliver excellent energizing sound. Oval cables are employed to significantly reduced noise. All models include an integrated smartphone remote and microphone allowing for easy control of volume, tracks and calls when exercising. Sennheiser's OCX 686G was created to energize your music so you can concentrate on sets and reps. New high-output drivers deliver amazing sound quality. Innovative ear-canal coupling and behind the ear cable routing work together to reduce unwanted background noise so you can enjoy your favorite music without distractions. The lightweight, ergonomic design ensures a comfortable fit while the ear hooks provide extra hold providing maximum freedom of movement during your workout. Sennheiser's OCX 686G lets you focus on achieving your personal best performance each and every time. They're the best training partner you'll ever have!

 

  Brand - Sennheiser OCX 686G Sports<   Model - AUSE00R713

Smartphone Armband - Grantwood Technology TuneBand for iPhone 7

 

  Brand - TuneBand for iPhone 7   Model - TUNEBAND-IPHONE-7-BLACK-V01
  Item Weight - 113 g   Package Dimensions - 14 x 7.1 x 1.3 cm

A reasonable price and a comfortable, versatile fit make the Tuneband our pick for the best armband for the iPhone 7.

As phones grow bigger, running with one strapped to your arm becomes less pleasant. But after researching for 30 hours and actively testing 26 armbands and waist packs, we think that the TuneBand for iPhone 7 TuneBand for are the best and most comfortable accessories for running with your phone on your arm.

While most bands take a one-strap-fits-most approach, the TuneBand comes with both large and small bands, providing a secure and comfortable fit on a wide variety of arm sizes. What’s more, the TuneBand’s design keeps the bulk of the phone’s body from directly contacting your skin, and its open-front, silicone skin provides a secure fit for your phone while allowing for direct access to the handset’s screen and buttons (although this design means that you can’t use another case with it). —Jim McDannald

Smartphone Armband - Grantwood Technology TuneBand for iPhone 7 Plus

  Brand - TuneBand for iPhone 7 PLUS<   Model - TUNEBAND-IPHONE-7-PLUS-BLACK-V01
  Item Weight - 113 g   Package Dimensions - 16.3 x 8.4 x 1.3 cm

A version of our pick for Apple’s larger phone.

As phones grow bigger, running with one strapped to your arm becomes less pleasant. But after researching for 30 hours and actively testing 26 armbands and waist packs, we think that the TuneBand for iPhone 7 Plus are the best and most comfortable accessories for running with your phone on your arm. Our previous picks for the iPhone 6 and 6s, iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus, and iPhone 5 and 5s were all TuneBand models as well. You can check out our full guide to armbands if you want to learn more about these older models.

While most bands take a one-strap-fits-most approach, the TuneBand comes with both large and small bands, providing a secure and comfortable fit on a wide variety of arm sizes. What’s more, the TuneBand’s design keeps the bulk of the phone’s body from directly contacting your skin, and its open-front, silicone skin provides a secure fit for your phone while allowing for direct access to the handset’s screen and buttons (although this design means that you can’t use another case with it). —Jim McDannald

Fitness Tracker - Garmin Vívosmart HR+

 

  Brand - Garmin vívosmart HR+ Activity Tracker, Regular   Model - B01DOJDR4O
  Item Weight - 455 Grams   Color -Black

Feature-packed and equipped with an easy-to-read display and exceptional distance measuring, and some of the most accurate heart-rate monitoring we’ve seen.

We conducted research, surveyed readers, interviewed industry and exercise-physiology experts, walked, ran (and ran some more), slept, grocery-shopped, jumping-jacked, swung kettlebells, analyzed user experience, and got many a curious look from passersby. And after 60 hours of all that activity, we determined that the Garmin Vívosmart HR+ is the best fitness tracker for most people. It effectively collects the same data as top competitors from Fitbit and Samsung but offers integrated GPS and a larger, more legible touchscreen and more useful smartphone-notification options, as well as full waterproofing to 50 meters—other models are merely splash resistant.

The Vívosmart HR+ checks off nearly all of the boxes: It tracks steps, floors climbed, distance traveled, calories burned, and active minutes.

It monitors heart rate continuously, keeping a record of both resting pulse and workout intensity; many rivals do one or the other, but not both. Its display is easy to read, and you can customize it more than its peers to show whatever metrics you desire. The display also manages to show smartphone notifications and the current weather along with music-player and camera remote controls. Its distance-measuring accuracy is particularly impressive, even when compared with that of trackers sporting built-in GPS receivers. And it offers all of this functionality in a slim, waterproof package. Check out our full review of fitness trackers for more information on the Vívosmart HR+, as well as some alternative picks for other uses.

Shoe-Buying Advice

Because feet come in a variety of sizes and shapes, having a single pick for the best running shoe is impossible. As a podiatrist, a distance-running coach at McGill University in Montreal, and a former employee at a running specialty store, I’m familiar with how difficult it is to get the right shoes. Not only are everyone’s feet and running routines different, but the sheer abundance of options also make it a uniquely challenging category to cover. If you follow a few guidelines, however, you’ll find something that you’ll like.

While it’s tempting to go shopping for the best deal online, a brick-and-mortar running store is your greatest ally in your quest for the best running shoes. Use your favorite online review service (such as Yelp or Google Places) to find a highly rated store near you. Some general sporting-goods or department stores will have decent selections, but a running speciality store will stock a broader offering. More important, since running-store employees are runners themselves, the staff will be more helpful since they can speak from experience—and they don’t have to worry about selling fishing poles or baseball gloves too. Their expertise will save you a lot of time and potential discomfort from getting the wrong shoes. They may also have a treadmill, or they might give you the option of running a bit outside so that you can take a few strides before committing.

If paying the lowest price is paramount, or if you already know exactly what you want, buying online is a valid option. Take advantage of sites that offer no-hassle returns, such as Zappos. This way, you can try multiple pairs and return the ones that don’t fit right. Just be aware of any restrictions on the return policies (most sellers won’t accept returns if you’ve used the shoes outside). It’s also bad form to have someone spend time with you at a running speciality store and then bail to go buy the same shoe online for a few bucks less.

While a great running store will be able to help you find the right shoes, even if you have no idea what you need, answering the following questions before you begin shopping will increase your odds of getting the perfect fit:

  • What distance or specific competition are the shoes for?

  • What type of surface will the majority of your runs take place on? Roads? Trails?

  • Do you have medical issues with your feet? Do you wear orthotics?

The answers will allow you, or someone assisting you, to narrow down a large list of possibilities to a manageable number of shoes that meet your particular running needs.

When you’re shopping for running shoes, be sure to have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but also to keep an open mind. Remaining fixated on a specific brand or model can lead you to select a shoe that doesn’t suit your needs or, in a worse-case scenario, increase your chances of getting injured. For example, a Nike pair may look great, but many Nike running shoes are built on a narrow last (the plastic mold around which shoes are manufactured). This means that they can hurt if you have wider feet. But the design varies from model to model—and even from year to year for the same model—so you really need to try before you buy.

Another common mistake is shopping on price alone. A ₹15,000 pair of trainers marked down to ₹10,000 may be the best bargain, but it may not be the best pair of shoes for you. Trust how your feet feel in the shoes, as well as the guidance of the running-store employee who is working with you. Expensive does not necessarily equal better.

If you already have a favorite running shoe, bringing it with you may help the staff find a new pair with similar characteristics. They may even be able to help you select a new model that’s better based on the wear pattern of your shoe. If you are having any issues with your current shoes, the employees can troubleshoot and help you find a solution. When I was helping customers during my days at Universal Sole, it wasn’t uncommon to find a great shoe that was just a little too narrow or prone to rubbing in a particular spot. Thankfully, the store had tools available to remedy the issue, and gently spot-stretching the offending area of the shoe fixed the problem and helped achieve a near-perfect fit.

Unfortunately, the bliss of finding the perfect running shoe may be short-lived. Every few years, as fashions change, shoe companies discontinue models or make major redesigns to existing ones. So if you find something you love, you might want to invest in an extra pair for later while you’re at it.

Here are a few general tips:

  • Keep in mind that feet tend to swell with exercise or after a long day of walking around. By trying on shoes at the end of the day, you will help to ensure a proper fit.

  • Be sure to wear your running socks and orthotics, if necessary. Socks can come in a variety of thicknesses, so trying on shoes with your own socks is important. As anyone with orthotics knows, those pieces can take up extra room in a shoe, so you want to make sure that the shoe can comfortably accommodate your foot and your orthotics. Beware of stores that strongly suggest that you need to buy foot supports or inserts. If you have pain in your feet, see a trained medical professional.

  • Don’t be afraid to spend time walking around the store and to ask if you can run outside to test some shoes out. A study profiled in The New York Times (now the parent company of The Wirecutter and The Sweethome) found that selecting the right running shoe is less about addressing pronation (the rolling inward of your foot) and more about ensuring comfort.

Clothing- Brooks Juno

  Brand - Brooks Juno   Model - OAZK013231

Our favorite DD+ bra has straps that adjust in the front with Velcro, making it the easiest to adjust of any bra we tested, and it offers ample support without underwire or hardware that can be uncomfortable.

For DD+ wearers, we like the Brooks Juno. The Juno’s straps are the bra’s highlight: They use Velcro, and you can adjust them from the front while still wearing the bra, making this bra the easiest to customize out of any we tested. The supersmooth, breathable material and seamless inner lining make this bra one of the most comfortable we looked at; with firm straps and band, it offers ample support without underwire or excess hardware that digs into skin.

Get control of your most intense workouts in this sports bra, odor-resistant, drilayer silver, stretch microfiber. Built for high-impact activities such as tennis, encapsulated cups for support; compression for holding. Minimize bounce thanks to limited stretch straps brooks, style number: 350071

 

Our Pick - Champion Spot Comfort

 

  Brand - Champion Spot Comfort   Model - OAZK022398

The Spot Comfort provides cup definition while still keeping breasts snug to prevent movement, and it’s easy to adjust and put on and take off.

For C/D cup sizes, we recommend the Champion Spot Comfort. The Spot Comfort has cup definition to prevent the uniboob look, and ample side and front coverage still keep larger breasts secure while running. With padded, adjustable, vertical straps and a back clasp, the Spot Comfort is easy to put on and take off compared with a traditional pull-on racerback.

The champion shape scoop bra: the ultimate in shape and support for those seeking full support

  • 100% nylon

  • Imported

  • Hook and eye closure

  • Hook & eye closure

  • Hand wash

Also Great- Enell Sport

  Brand - Enell Sport   Model - B01NCV0PA1

This is the most supportive bra we tried for larger cups, but it’s expensive and may be overkill for those under a C cup.

The Enell Sport bra is a great option for people with larger cup sizes who want maximum coverage, support, and even relief from back pain. It’s expensive, and the high neckline and corset-like design may feel too intense for some. But the Enell is the best bra of any we tested for reducing bounce. With a 4.3-star rating (out of five) across over 1,400 reviews, the Enell is a beloved bra among people who want extra reinforcement for high-impact exercise.

Full coverage with cross back construction ensures complete support that won't let you down regardless of your activity. Tennis, running, basketball; the Enell High Impact Front Closure Sports Bra offers shape and support that wont budge no matter how much you move. A long time best-seller recommended by Oprah, this silky sports bra ensures all day comfort and support. The front clasp adds definition to your profile and feels great against your body. Solidly built for whatever your day holds, this full coverage, high impact sports bra will astound you

 

Running Gloves - Arc’teryx Gothic Glove

 

  Brand - Arc’teryx Gothic Glove   Model - B06XF51FKY

Not great for touchscreen use, but the softer and more durable material is a nice upgrade if comfort is your priority.

If interacting with a phone on the run isn’t important to you, or if you prefer a softer wool glove, a pair of Arc’teryx Gothic Gloves is a good option. These gloves, made with a less coarse merino wool fabric (as opposed to a knit material), have a softer, less itchy feel than our main pick; in fact, a couple of our testers were surprised to find out that a glove this soft could really be wool. The material is nice, but unfortunately its touchscreen ability can’t compete with that of gloves costing ₹7,000 less. Instead of surrounding the entire tip of the thumb and forefinger with conductive material, Arc’teryx sews just two little spots onto the pad of each of those digits. Both tapping and pinching to zoom are extremely frustrating. As one tester put it, “They feel great but are pretty much useless if I want to use my phone.” We also tested Ibex Outdoor Clothing liners, but they were even worse in this regard.

Although in our tests the Icebreaker Quantum Gloves were slightly better for touchscreen use, we found that the capacitive material on the thumb and index fingers was stiffer than the glove material—we almost had to fight against the glove to maintain a clenched fist. This design isn’t that annoying if you’re just walking around, but a bit of irritation each time your hand moves adds up to a lot of irritation over the course of a run. If you need to interact with a touchscreen, stick with the Smartwool gloves.

Running Tights- Sugoi Women’s MidZero Tight

  Brand - Sugoi Women’s MidZero Tight   Model - B01N7ULB3O

These tights proved the warmest and most comfortable of the bunch, and all our testers commended them for their flattering fit and shape.

Runners we spoke to (including several professionals) told us that you shouldn’t have to spend more than ₹10,000 on a new pair of tights that feel warm, fit well, and still have important features like pockets and ankle cuffs.Our testers gave this pair the highest scores for warmth, comfort, and fit—by a long shot. Typically they’re a bit pricey, but the dependable nylon/polyester blend, plus the brushed tricot interior, should help ensure that they last for several years without absorbing odor or ripping. The tights feature a single pocket for holding running gels, keys, or credit cards—not a whole lot of space, but certainly sufficient.

For women’s running tights, the clear winner was the Sugoi Women’s MidZero Tight. Our tests gave this pair the edge in warmth (the most important factor). Ultimately, we preferred the Sugoi pair for its slightly lower price tag our testers also preferred the style and shape of the Sugoi tights on their legs.

 

Reflective Wear

As a former editor at Runner’s World and an experienced outdoor-gear and fitness-gear tester with more than a decade of experience, I take running gear and safety seriously. So does James Gallagher, who works at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. In an interview, Gallagher offered a number of recommendations for runners looking for nighttime safety gear. Your priorities should be to accentuate moving body parts (namely your feet, ankles, and wrists), light up your lower legs (since most car headlights are angled downward), and maximize the amount of reflective material you wear to create more opportunities to catch a driver’s attention. Our product testing, conducted on roads that were both pitch black and dimly lit, backed up that general advice and offered more nuance. In particular, we found that nothing attracted more attention than reflective materials around the feet and ankles; we also discovered that products with large amounts of reflective area outperformed the competition, and that items designed for use in variable weather conditions or without daily washing are more versatile.

Our Pick- Road ID - High Visibility Reflective Ankle Bands

  Brand - Road ID - High Visibility Reflective Ankle Bands (pair)   Model - B0006ZK8CO

If you want a single piece of reflective gear that you can wear every day to stay noticeable around cars, this is the choice for you.

After extensive testing by a crew of three runners and an automobile driver on two dark stretches of pavement, we found that the single most useful piece of reflective running gear is Road ID’s High Visibility Reflective Ankle Band. In our tests, this band was extremely reflective from all angles, well constructed, and comfortable to wear. It proved to be more useful and versatile in a variety of conditions compared with many of the other reflective-gear options we tested, and the pricing is great, too.

You can wear ankle bands every day, regardless of the weather conditions, and they don’t require frequent washing. Most important, in field testing nothing caught our test driver’s attention faster than a reflective ankle band—even vests with larger amounts of reflective material weren’t as eye-catching, because they didn’t move around as much. Made with 3M Scotchlite material, which radiated a bright white when hit with light, this band outperformed other anklets such as the Nathan Tri-Color Reflective Ankle Band. The Nathan model glowed in three colors as promised, but the overall effect was not as visible as what the solid-white reflective material on the Road ID band produced. We also like that the Road ID model is usually a few bucks cheaper per band than the Nathan model.

 

Also Great - Amphipod Xinglet Vest

 

  Brand - Amphipod Xinglet Vest   Model - B004DKSJAG

Vests are highly visible from any angle and versatile for all conditions, and this model is more visible and adjustable than the competition.

Although you can get away with just a set of ankle bands and be quite visible, our experts agreed that adding more reflective material on your torso or hands is a smart choice. “The more reflectivity you have, the better,” said James Gallagher. “The point is to be more visible to motorists.” Specifically, we like reflective vests because they’re visible from all angles and light enough that you can wear them over any nonreflective clothing you already own. And unlike any other single layer (like a reflective shirt or jacket), it doesn’t require frequent washing since it doesn’t come in direct contact with your skin. After testing three top contenders, we like the Amphipod Xinglet the most because it’s more visible and adjustable than the rest.

Amphipod claims that the Xinglet has up to 40 percent more reflective area than most standard running vests, and although precisely confirming that claim was impossible, we could clearly see that the Xinglet had more reflective area than the Nathan Streak and Zivalo 3M Scotchlite vests. Its minimalist construction provided excellent ease of movement and didn’t get too sweaty on a hard run. Our testers, which included a 6-foot-2 man and a 5-foot-4 woman, found the vest simple to adjust for different height and waist sizes. The front latch is intuitive and quick to use, and unlike the Velcro used in the Nathan Streak, it won’t risk damaging clothes or accessories it comes in contact with.

With a reflective anklet or vest, you’re probably sufficiently protected, but you can’t really overdo it if you’re concerned about being visible to motorists. So if you need specialized running apparel, choosing items with reflectivity features offers some obvious added benefits. With that in mind, we also tested reflective running gear in numerous categories, including hats, jackets, shirts, tights, socks, and laces. Generally speaking, shirts and jackets constructed with reflective materials—usually on the seams or in the form of reflective accents—did not catch our test driver’s eye as much as products that had reflective zones that were larger, positioned low on the body, or worn on moving extremities. In addition, many of the products were less versatile pieces useful only in certain weather conditions, or items like shirts and socks, which require a wash after every use. But a few did stick out, and we think they’re worthy of consideration if you want even more reflectivity.

You can easily and inexpensively swap out the laces that come with your running shoes for Road ID Reflective Laces, which are extremely reflective from the front—useful given that you’re generally supposed to run against the flow of traffic. They are moderately eye-catching from the side but not visible to a car coming behind you.

Clipping a 4id PowerSpurz to your shoe’s heel can make you visible from farther away. Because this device does not depend on light from a car headlight to be noticeable, our test driver was able to see this product in pulse mode from a greater distance than any reflective product we tested. (Once the car got closer, though, the reflective anklets were more visible.) We were concerned that the PowerSpurz might fall off mid-run, but our testers didn’t shake it off despite their best efforts. The manufacturer says the battery will last at least 70 hours; replacement requires nimble work with tiny screws.

Water Bottle/Hydration System

Running with a supply of water can help you prevent dehydration and make longer runs a bit easier. The ideal water bottle for running should hold at least 16 ounces of liquid, which in our experience is enough for up to two hours of running in moderate temperatures. A place to store keys is ideal too, as well as quick access to gels or other energy foods. Being able to pack your smartphone instead of needing a separate armband is also useful. If you’re looking for water bottles for non-running activities and other uses in general, take a look at our full guide to water bottles.

Choosing between waist- and hand-mounted options is a matter of personal preference. Many people prefer a handheld bottle because waist packs can ride up or shift position during running. However, usually a waist pack can carry more water than a handheld bottle can, and some people don’t like carrying things in their hands for an hour or more. After over 100 miles of testing with 14 different bottles (seven of each type), we have recommendations for both kinds of products.

Also Great- Nathan Trail Mix

  Brand - Nathan Trail Mix   Model - B01AJO51KU

Offers two separate 10-ounce bottles with great spouts for hydration and nutrition (via drink mix). Not enough storage for a phone, though.

If you prefer a multibottle option, for carrying water and Gatorade for example, the Nathan Trail Mix is your best bet. It has two 10-ounce bottles that you can easily grab and replace while running; in contrast, the bottles in the Amphipod RunLite Airstretch 4 are hard to remove. The FuelBelt R3O Revenge Hydration Belt holds more liquid, 21 ounces, but the nozzles are small and annoyingly soft next to the larger, firmer Nathan nozzles. The Nathan belt also has two quick-access points for gels, something lacking on the Fitletic 16-ounce Hydration Belt, and a zippered pouch for keys. Unfortunately, it won’t hold a larger phone like an iPhone 6—and it barely even holds an iPhone 5—but its superior bottle design and easier access to water and energy gels make it the best choice overall.

INSULATED 2 BOTTLE BELT (20 oz.) :: Keep your hydration close at hand, all the while knowing that your liquids are sure to stay cooler, longer with the Nathan Trail Mix Plus Insulated. Youre gonna love this best-selling hydration belt thats fully adjustable and features a fantastically comfortable, bounce-free fit. Get easy, one-handed access to the two 10 ounce, fully insulated bottles thanks to the Trail Mixs SpeedFit; holsters, and have the space to stow your media, nutrition and other essentials with this Nathan Trail Mix belts zip pocket.

 

Energy Gel - GU Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gels

 

  Brand - GU Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gels   Model - 123046
  Item Weight - 816 g   Package Dimensions - 17.1 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm

These ubiquitous gels are available pretty much anywhere and sold in 17 flavors. They’re a great starting point.

If you’re running for less than an hour, just drinking water is totally fine. But in order to sustain peak performance and boost endurance during long runs (from 60 to 90-plus minutes), nutritionists recommend that runners consume additional hydration, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Fuel for runs falls into two categories: sports drinks, or water paired with energy bars, chews, blocks, or gels. After speaking to experts, doctors, nutritionists, and trainers, and after consulting notes from two staff members running their first marathon (including myself), we think that gels offer the most portability, consistency, and convenience when it comes to daily training or competition running.

Gels, when taken with water, offer an easy-to-digest combination of electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) and carbohydrates (in the form of sugars like maltodextrin, fructose, and glucose). “Oftentimes, runners will talk about hitting the wall,” explained Dr. Lonnie Lowery, an exercise physiologist (PhD), nutritionist, professor, and co-host of the long-running podcast Iron Radio. “And what they’re talking about is that they’re so deep into a long run that they’ve run out of muscle and liver glycogen.” In the body, glycogen is the main storage form of glucose, a simple sugar, and according to Lowery, two hours of fairly intense exercise “will almost completely deplete all of your muscle and liver carbohydrate, glycogen stores,” leading to fatigue and even a difficulty to concentrate.

After considering all the brands and flavors of gels available, we can’t name a best one for you without knowing your specific preferences, but we’re confident in recommending GU Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gels as a good starting point. GU offers the best overall nutrition, variety of flavors, availability, and affordability. That means you’re likely to find a flavor you don’t abhor (none are particularly delicious), and it’s likely to remain easy to find so you can train with it—an important factor for preventing gastrointestinal surprises on race day.

GU gels come in 17 flavors, and you can start with a variety pack if you’re curious enough to try a bunch. Andrea Mathias, The Sweethome’s growth editor, preferred to use GU’s espresso flavor during the most recent New York City Marathon, while I stuck with the berry flavor in the Brooklyn Marathon. The company even sells a Tastefully Nude variety that has no flavor.

The gels contain a blend of maltodextrin and fructose, which is key to sustaining nutrition while you’re exercising. Certified sports nutritionist, author of the recently published book How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle, and coach Matt Fitzgerald explained to us why this is important: “Different types of sugars are processed or they’re absorbed through different channels,” he said. “You can actually absorb more total carbohydrates if you have different types of carbs going into your body through different channels, because your body can multitask or parallel-process to get more sugar in.”

GU also has a line of gels, called Roctane Energy, that have additional sodium and amino acids beyond the standard Sports Nutrition Energy Gels, but they’re nearly twice as expensive as the regular ones. If the normal GU is “the Honda Civic of energy gels,” you can consider Roctane to be the Acura. Roctane gels come in eight flavors.

Some people have digestive issues with specific brands of gels, but usually they can keep trying other brands until they find one that agrees with them. If GU isn’t working for you, and if you want to explore the huge variety of gels out there, Jonathan Savage’s website fellrnr.com has an incredible chart detailing all the nutritional aspects of gels. Some are made with honey, some come with caffeine, some have a bacon flavor. You’ll even find a margherita pizza flavor! Ultimately the nutritional differences from gel to gel are pretty slight, and GU gels are solidly in the middle of the pack.

Sports drinks offer nutrition similar to gels, albeit in a less portable package. “A gel is essentially a sports drink without the water,” Fitzgerald said, “so a gel plus water equals a sports drink, more or less. Functionally, they’re not that much different, but obviously a sports drink, it’s high volume and it’s heavy, and so it’s harder to carry.” A 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 21 grams of carbohydrates, about the same as a single gel packet. But if you’re following the recommendation to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, you’d have to drink nearly three bottles of Gatorade an hour, which is a lot to drink, likely guaranteeing a visit to a Porta-Potty.

You can find other alternatives as well, specifically energy bars, blocks, and chews. Energy bars are bulky, however, and block and chews can get stuck in your teeth or become a choking hazard when you’re moving quickly.

Anti-Chafe- Gold Bond Friction Defense

  Brand - Gold Bond Friction Defense   Model - 775387

Such products all work equally well; this was the cheapest in our test group.

When you’re running, your clothes can become waterlogged and drag against your skin, causing chafing. Running in technical fibers that wick moisture away from the skin and dry faster, instead of cotton, helps but sometimes isn’t enough. Anti-chafe products create a thin barrier on the skin that guards against irritation.

We tested four anti-chafe products by running in wet clothes using different products on each side. We also had testers running Oregon’s 198-mile Hood to Coast Relay, which took place during severe thunderstorms this year. In the end, all the products provided equal protection against chafing, so we decided that the best choice is Gold Bond Friction Defense because it provided the same amount of protection for half the price of the next-cheapest option. Note, though, that it does contain isopropyl palmitate and isopropyl myristate, which are totally safe but can clog pores on sensitive skin (though we didn’t have any issues in testing). Bodyglide, the next-cheapest option, works just as well and doesn’t have either of those ingredients. However, all anti-chafe balms will have some kind of potentially pore-clogging ingredient (even if they haven’t specifically been tested for that) since they work by creating a slick layer atop your skin. As for the others we tested, 2Toms Sport Shield has a nicer applicator but doesn’t perform any better, and the same goes for RunGuard Anti-Chafe Sensitive.

 

Ice Packs - Accurate Manufacturing Ice Pack

 

  Brand - Accurate Manufacturing Ice Pack   Model - AZ00L425

The Accurate Manufacturing gel pack is affordable and holds its temperature well. Be sure to keep the pack inside a covering or to wrap it in a towel before use.

According to Runner’s World, icing your injuries is good for aiding recovery as well as for therapeutic purposes, but only if you do it right. After conducting 35 hours of research, including interviewing experts and testing temperature reduction on the body parts of two people, we think the Accurate Manufacturing Ice Pack is the best and most affordable cold pack for most people. The gel was still fairly pliable after freezing, with a small, microbead-like filling that we could mold more easily than a liquid that freezes into a solid brick. Plus, the 6-by-10-inch pack held its temperature very well—its surface temperature remained nearly constant when we exposed it to air for 15 minutes, even when we placed it in a microfiber pouch.

The Accurate Manufacturing pack scored between three and four on a pain scale (moderate to high coldness), but it was one of the only packs we tested that helped the treated site reach a temperature needed to treat pain directly. The cover is much thinner than that of other cold packs, so the cold material is closer to the skin, which may be the reason this pack gets and stays so much colder than comparable products. Because of this, though, in our tests the area we iced was somewhat numb and irritated from the coldness after 15 minutes. We suggest keeping icing times to 10 minutes or less.