Being an avid runner, I get asked pretty regularly what I wear and carry when I run. Needs and requirements change over time and I’ve been remiss for a while in supplying an update. And, with a few recent reviews for running-related gadgets posted, I’ve been asked several times to refresh my gear list. Those recent reviews are all focused on trying to liberate myself from the amount of gear I run with – essentially trying to further minimize my gadget needs to focus more on task.
With the Summer months just ahead, I’ll focus on good weather wear and leave my cold gear for a later date.
Here’s what I’m currently wearing and carrying…
Microsoft Band – I use the Microsoft Band for all my fitness activities including guided workouts, heavy bag/martial arts and biking – but mostly running. I’ve tested a bunch of different fitness wearables and have found the Microsoft Band to be the most consistently accurate for the price. I won’t argue that Garmin still makes a better fitness watch, but the price point reflects that. The latest Garmin release, the Forerunner 735XT (Run Bundle), is around $500.
Sony Walkman 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player – I reviewed this gadget recently HERE. I’m a die-hard music with fitness addict so I wear these headphones for my playlists. I’ve recently opted to eliminate my smartphone as something I carry so the on-board MP3 storage is a must. The sound output for these devices is excellent. I’m hoping that Microsoft adds MP3 storage and playback to a future version of the Microsoft Band. I also recently reviewed the Pyle Flextreme MP3 Player Headphones. These are very close in function to the Sony version and retails for about half of the Walkman. You can’t go wrong with either one, just know the key differences (detailed in the reviews).
Oakley Men’s Flak 2.0 XL – For eye protection I wear the Oakley Flak 2.0 with the road lenses. At $200, these are an expensive pair of shades, no doubt, but they are nearly indestructible and each piece is fully replaceable. Prior to purchasing these, I replaced broken pairs of sunglasses about every 2-3 months. The Oakley’s are intended to last for as long as you want them and with replacement accessories as plentiful as songbirds in Springtime, you can continue to customize these and change the look.
FlipBelt – The Flipbelt has been an awesome addition to my gear. The Flipbelt sits on your waist and allows you to safely and discretely carry your smartphone, hotel key cards, personal ID, and even credit cards should you need a cab back to the hotel if you get lost or need to purchase extra hydration along the way.
TETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack – As the Summer months trail on and the heat gets more intense, I strap on the Teton to keep hydrated. This backpack is lightweight, allows you to carry other things like snacks and hydration packs, and stores 2 liters of liquid. I prefer my own hydration mix which consists of water, beet root powder (supplies oxygen to the muscles), and peppermint oil (to manage stomach issues for longer runs). It’s a strange brew and is an acquired taste, for sure, but it does the job.
Merrell Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe – Due to constant running over time, my foot type has changed. I need a flat sole with a large toe box for maximum comfort and performance. I have a favorite pair from Onitsuka that does the job, but since Onitsuka is a Japanese subsidiary of Asics, these are difficult to obtain easily. More recently I was able to test the Merrell brand and founds these to be an excellent substitute. These are the type of running shoes you don’t have to break in, they are comfortable immediately. For regular road and trail running, these are my current choice. Remember, though, the shoe makes the runner and not every shoe type will work for everyone. The perfect shoe for you is obtainable, you just have to take the time to find it. Don't just accept the choices that make me a successful runner will be a magic pill for you. A good shoe is the difference between a great, enduring running experience and one that is painful and short-lived.
Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Running Shoe – I have different needs based on the surface. For road and trail, the Glove 3 are great, but when I’m stuck inside on the treadmill due to bad weather I run wearing the Vapor Glove 2. These are very similar to the Trail Glove 3 with one big exception – they have a zero-drop heel. If you’re not used to minimal running you need to ease into something like this – otherwise, you’ll tear calf muscles. I speak from experience. The day after purchasing these I immediately put 10 miles on them. I woke up the next morning and walked peg-legged to restroom. After a half hour or so, my calves loosened and I was able to take another run, but it took about a full week for my legs to get back to normal. Still, these are fantastically comfortable and once acclimated to the lowered heel are great for strengthening your overall form.
Though I’m not currently utilizing the following every day due to moving to the Sony Walkman headset, these are some great options for those still streaming music from a smartphone…
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones – If I need to carry my smartphone for music (which isn’t often any longer thanks to the Sony Walkman MP3 player), I use these Bluetooth headphones. Though not as immersive as I would like (they let in road noise) they are still a great option with great sound and easy connectivity. I reviewed them HERE.
Armpocket Ultra i-35 armband – Again, since adopting the Sony Walkman MP3 player, I really don’t have a need for the Armpocket, but it’s actually a pretty perfect armband. It’s snug, adjustable, has a side loop for carrying headphones, and internal pockets for storing hotel key cards, cash, credit cards, and ID.
What are you using? Have some recommendations of your own or any suggestions for things I should test and review? Let me know...