Running… The rhythmic pounding of your feet against the pavement, your heart pounding in sync. It's a sport that pushes you to your limits - physically, mentally, emotionally. But why make it any harder than it has to be? In our fast-paced world, running gear is constantly improving, so there's no need to slog it out with subpar equipment or, worse, none at all. Arming yourself with the best running gear & accessories isn't about making running easy; it's about making it better - more efficient and enjoyable - and ultimately helping you become the best runner you can be.
In this article, we'll be exploring the best running gear for 2023, highlighting top products that promise to enhance your running. Let's get started!
Best Running Shoes 2023
2023 has been a banner year for running shoes, with new technologies and innovative designs hitting the market in a big way. Whether you're a seasoned marathon runner or a casual jogger, there's never been a better time to invest in a pair of the best running shoes that can take your performance to new heights.
Best Road Running Shoes 2023
The On Cloudsurfer road running shoes have undergone a transformative evolution in recent years, and 2023's model is no exception. One of the most significant changes is the removal of the Speedboard, which was previously seen as a stumbling block in On shoe designs. Instead, the updated Cloudsurfer now boasts an advanced version of On's unique cushioning system, CloudTec Phase. This new technology aims to mimic the sensation of "running on clouds," with each "cloud" compressing and interlocking seamlessly one after the other, resembling a chain reaction of dominos.
On's CloudTec is integrated with their Helion foam, delivering a soft bounce underfoot for an optimal balance between comfort and responsiveness. This combination ensures that every stride you take is cushioned yet energetic. The Cloudsurfer has also adjusted its drop from 11mm to 10mm, offering 32mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot. This subtle shift in specs doesn't just make the shoe lighter (women's size 7.5 weighs in at just 6.9 oz), but it also reduces the risk of injury.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
Previously seen as a rather lackluster model by some, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 has undergone significant changes that have piqued the interest of many runners, including those who had previously dismissed the Nimbus. The most notable update is the new placement of the Gel cushioning system. It's no longer visible, giving the shoe a sleeker and more modern look.
The midsole of the Gel-Nimbus 25 has also seen an upgrade. Now it boasts FF Blast+ Eco, a material made with 20% bio-based material. The shoe's stack height has increased by 4mm in the heel and 6mm in the forefoot, resulting in an overall stack of 41.5 mm / 33.5 mm (8 mm drop). The outsole has been revamped with a new material to provide a softer feel, with Asics Lite rubber under the forefoot and AHAR+ in the heel for enhanced durability.
Asics has also replaced the engineered mesh upper with a new knit design, featuring an extended knit around the collar and heel tab. This not only gives the shoe a unique aesthetic, but it also provides a plush, comfortable feel as soon as you step into the shoe. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the shoe's tongue, which remains a favorite feature among many runners. All these updates combine to make the Gel-Nimbus 25 a highly-cushioned, stable, daily trainer that truly lives up to its legendary status. It's a prime example of the strides Asics has made in recent years, transforming their shoes from "boring" to "brilliant."
Hoka Clifton 9
The most notable upgrade of the HOKA Clifton 9 is the thicker and more responsive midsole. HOKA has added an extra 3mm of foam underfoot and changed the compound to a compression-molded EVA. The stack height varies for men and women, with 29 mm/24 mm in the forefoot for women and 32 mm/27 mm for men, maintaining the same 5 mm drop as previous models. Additional padding and reflective panels have been added to the heel for improved safety and comfort. The tongue has also been streamlined and gusseted to enhance the shoe's overall fit and feel. The shoe retains its plush design, breathable engineered knit upper, and early-stage meta-rocker. A thin layer of durabraision rubber covers critical parts of the outsole, providing both traction and durability.
The Clifton 9 also marks a significant improvement for runners with wider feet. Historically, HOKA's wide shoes have been criticized for not being wide enough, often resulting in uncomfortable blisters for some runners. However, the brand has made considerable strides in addressing this issue, with the Clifton 9 being a recommended daily trainer for larger-footed runners.
Additionally, the new CMEVA foam midsole is lighter yet more cushioned than previous models, making the Clifton 9 a significant upgrade from the Clifton 8. Available in various widths and colorways, the Clifton 9 appeals to both long-time HOKA fans and newcomers alike, offering a safe and reliable ride for runners and walkers of all levels.
Best Trail Running Shoes 2023
Some people just like to run on various terrains, which dictates the need for multiple running shoes, each for a different surface. However, the advent of hybrid running shoes - designed for both road and trail - has been a game-changer. Amongst the multitude of hybrid shoes, one that stands out is the Altra Outroad.
Designed as an all-terrain shoe, the Outroad builds upon the successes of the Altra Rivera 2, boasting improved durability and overlays. The shoe allows runners to transition effortlessly and seamlessly from their doorstep to the hills, promising a smooth journey in between. By the by, runners especially appreciate the durability of these shoes, some of which have lasted over 700 miles.
The shoe features a rockered forefoot, a simple design, and a slimmer profile, all contributing to its adaptability and comfort. A slight midsole taper makes it accessible even for runners new to zero-drops - still, remember to take a slow transition to avoid strain on the calves and Achilles. The upper features a ripstop mesh for structure and durability, while the Ego foam midsole provides cushion, flex, and density without losing bounce.
Saucony Peregrine 13
The Saucony Peregrine 13 stands out for its lighter weight and exceptional grip. The 2022 model, the Peregrine 12, brought significant updates to the line, shedding an ounce of weight, but left some users desiring more cushioning.
While it retains the basic structure of the previous model, the Peregrine 13 takes the updates to another level, focusing on improving the midsole and aesthetics. The Pwrrun midsole is not identical to its predecessor. It gains two millimeters of the stack and softens slightly, resulting in a more comfortable, moderately protective, and semi-responsive ride that now aligns closer with its claims.
The engineered mesh is light and airy, providing a more pleasing experience than previous versions. Its structure is moderately reinforced by the mesh itself, minimal overlays, and a noticeably soft sock liner.
Hoka Tecton X 2
The Hoka Tecton X 2 trail running shoes are hailed as the gold standard for carbon-fiber trail shoes. The shoe had been re-engineered to maximize weight savings through a new Matryx upper with a less robust toe bumper while maintaining the same parallel carbon plates and responsive midsole material that made the original version enjoyable and quick. The toe box of the Tecton X 2 offers the stretchy, forgiving comfort reminiscent of the much-loved Speedgoat Evo.
The midsole and outsole remained unchanged, with the ProflyX midsole for a responsive and cushioned ride and a smooth transition from heel to toe as well as the Vibram Megagrip outsole, renowned for its superior traction on dry and wet surfaces. The upper, however, received a total redesign - it's become much lighter and received a bit extra padding in the heel for a good foothold.
Best Running Gear & Accessories 2023
Best Running Socks: Balega Enduro
Running socks can be a crucial part of a runner's gear, contributing significantly to comfort, performance, and blister prevention. Among the various options available, Balega's Enduro running socks have emerged as a top contender. These socks provide exceptional comfort due to their plush bottom-side cushioning but don't add unnecessary bulk or impede the sensory feedback from the trail underfoot, allowing for accurate response to different terrains. Additionally, the top side of these socks is highly breathable, effectively managing heat during intense running. They also stay securely in place, minimizing the risk of blisters and other discomforts. Available in three lengths — no-show, low cut, and crew — the Enduro line caters to various temperatures and personal preferences. The crew length, in particular, offers extra protection against minor scrapes, making these socks a suitable choice for virtually any time of year.
Best Running Insoles: Currex RunPro
Currex RunPro Insoles are uniquely designed to maintain full contact between your feet and shoes. These dynamic insoles come in three distinct profiles tailored to cater to different arch profiles: high, medium, and low.
High-profile insoles are more flexible to compensate for more rigid arches, while medium-profile insoles offer slightly more rigidity to mirror the user's arch. On the other hand, low-profile insoles are the stiffest, providing additional support for more flexible arches.
Each Currex insole incorporates several features aimed at maximizing performance. For instance, a decoupled heel and cushion enhance protection and comfort upon landing. Simultaneously, dynamic arch support helps guide the foot and returns stored energy back into the foot, alleviating stress and fatigue. The insoles also incorporate a propulsive forefoot material that boosts efficiency during toe-offs in runs as well as a bamboo layer for superior moisture management and breathability.
Best Running Hydration Vest: UltrAspire Momentum 2.0
While UltrAspire may not be as universally recognized as some other brands, their Momentum 2.0 Race Vest is certainly one of the best. The updated version builds upon the original design, introducing improved water bottle holsters for easier flask stowing while on the move, a shoulder pocket now accommodating larger cell phones, and the rear stash redesigned to replace the zipper closure with a more versatile dump pocket.
As for the holster position, unlike many other designs, the Momentum vest features two rear bottle holders on each side. This design places the weight at the lower back rather than higher on the torso, offering a unique hydration solution.
Another distinctive feature is the Momentum 2.0 streamlined design that sits close to the body, ensuring effective load distribution. And for those who like to run shirtless, the vest features soft microfiber edges.
Best Running Hydration Belt: Amphipod RunLite
The RunLite hydration belt is all about keeping you quenched and comfy. It's designed to hold enough fluid to keep your thirst at bay without feeling like you're lugging around a mini water tank. Plus, it's super easy to use. Just reach down, grab your bottle, take a swig, and you're good to go. No need to break stride. And let's not forget about comfort. The belt is adjustable and sits snugly against your body, so no bouncing or chafing. It's like a comforting hug for your waist, promising you won't die of thirst mid-run.
Best Running Smartwatch: Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
Generally, the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Edition emerges as the ultimate companion for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, but it can also become your best friend on trails. Despite its substantial weight of 3.1 ounces for the 2-inch Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, the watch compensates with a plethora of handy features.
The Fenix 7X sets itself apart from its predecessor with the introduction of an ultra-responsive touchscreen, simplifying navigation and customization even during a downpour. The Sapphire Solar also boasts a more robust titanium bezel and a power sapphire lens for enhanced durability and prolonged battery life.
Battery life is another domain where the Fenix 7X outclasses its competition, offering a staggering 89 hours (or 122 hours with solar) in GPS mode and up to 28 days (+9 days with solar) in smartwatch mode. The Fenix 7X Solar Edition's list of advantages is extensive, encompassing solar charging, a broad array of features including Stamina metric, Training Readiness Score, Body Battery, Hill Score, Endurance Score, and more sports profiles than one could imagine, and an LED flashlight.
Best Running Reflective Vest: Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam
When it comes to running in low-light conditions or bustling traffic areas, visibility is key. The Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam vest has got you covered. Its standout feature? An innovative combo of reflective detailing and LED illumination. Outfitted with 360-degree high-brilliance dual strobe LED lights and a reflective booster zone on both the front and back, this vest is all about being seen. It's lightweight, easily adjustable, and designed to move with you. With its sleek design, it feels like a second skin.
Best Running Light: UltrAspire Lumen 400Z
With an impressive 400-lumen output, the UltrAspire Lumen 400Z casts a broad, even beam that lights up your path. Unlike most running lights, the 400Z is worn around your waist, providing a more natural point of illumination and reducing shadows and distortions. It also offers adjustable brightness levels and a strobe mode.
Best Running Sunglasses: Goodr
Goodr running shades, the Official Sunglasses of the 2023 OCRWC, perfectly blend functionality with affordability. Their "no slip, no bounce" design stays put during intense activity, while the lightweight, snug frames offer a comfortable fit for different face shapes and sizes. The polarized lenses provide UV400 protection; plus, with a variety of styles and colors, you can find a pair that suits your vibe.
Best Recovery Gear: TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
For post-run recovery, the TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller is a game-changer. It helps soothe sore muscles and speeds up recovery after tough workouts. The roller's design, with varying textures and densities, mimics a massage therapist's hands for effective muscle targeting. But it's not just for after your run. Use it before heading out to warm up and activate your muscles, preparing them for the run ahead.
What is the best gear for running?
The best gear for running generally includes a comfortable pair of running shoes for your terrain and running style, moisture-wicking clothing, a hydration belt, and safety equipment, such as a reflective vest and running light for visibility.
What should I wear to run fast?
To improve your speed, focus on lightweight, breathable clothing that won't weigh you down or restrict your movements. Look for moisture-wicking materials to keep sweat at bay. A good pair of running shoes that offer support and cushioning is also crucial. Some runners also find that wearing compression gear helps improve performance and speed.
How to make running more comfortable?
Comfort while running can be achieved by wearing appropriate gear. Choose shoes that fit well and provide good support. Wear moisture-wicking and breathable clothing to stay dry and cool. Protect yourself from the sun with UV-blocking sunglasses. Stay hydrated with a convenient hydration belt or vest. Also, remember to warm up before your run and cool down afterwards to prevent muscle soreness.