Gear to Make Your Next Run Your Best Run

Having the right equipment can sometimes make the difference between a comfortable run and painful drudgery.

Women running at night with neon reflective vest
If you enjoy running when the sun is down, an illuminating vest can help you stay safe.Noxgear

While running is a popular and healthy pastime enjoyed by millions of Americans, it does sometimes cause injuries that often sideline even the best training plans. From runner’s knee, stress fractures, and shin splints to muscle pulls and tendonitis, there can be obstacles to overcome. Add to that the fact that many people run in close proximity to large, moving vehicles, and even more serious injuries are possible. But get good shoes, good socks, and some safety wear, and you’re much more likely to come home uninjured and ready to run again another day.

Shoes

Brooks Mens Adrenaline GTS 19 Running Shoe
These running shoes provide plenty of support and cushioning to safeguard a runners’ feet and knees.Brooks

The perfect pair of running shoes can make all the difference in the world on your success or failure as a runner. Three different types of feet/strides require different categories of shoes. In a nutshell, runners who overpronate (the outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground, but the foot rolls inward more than 15 percent) need a motion-control running shoe for the proper amount of support. For runners who have neutral pronation (the foot “rolls” inward about 15 percent on the stride), cushioned shoes are typically the best bet. Stability running shoes are an in-between type of shoe for those who have a normal arch and only mild overpronation. When buying shoes, choosing the right size is critical. In a proper fit, there is one thumb width between the end of your foot and the end of the shoe. Width should be snug but allow enough room for your feet to move without rubbing.

Socks

Saucony Women's 8-Pair Performance No-Show Sport Socks
These socks are 98 percent polyester and 2 percent spandex, ideal for runner who like thin socks with moisture-wicking qualities.Saucony

Good running socks are nearly as important to runners’ comfort and health as good shoes are. A good pair of running socks should have a tight feel around the mid-foot and heel but have plenty of room for your toes. A good running sock should also protect your feet, provide comfort to your feet, and wick away moisture. That last point can’t be overstated. The best running socks are made of materials that wick sweat away from your skin, helping to alleviate blisters—one of the biggest problems for frequent runners. Many runners like to use compression socks, not only when running but afterward during recovery. These snug-fitting, stretchy socks gently squeeze the lower leg, helping boost blood flow and decrease lactic acid buildup.

Safety Gear

Tracer360 – Revolutionary Illuminated & Reflective Vest for Running
This ultralight runner’s safety vest provides 360-degree illumination, reflectivity, and fluorescence.noxgear

Safety is paramount to running, but not all runners think about it as often as they should. Unfortunately, some runners are killed by vehicles every year, and at least some of those deaths could have been avoided if the runners had made themselves as visible as possible. Reflective safety clothing makes runners much easier for motorists to see, especially in low-light hours early in the morning and late in the evening. Along with wearing safety clothing, runners should always be aware of their surroundings. While it’s fun to listen to loud music and enjoy the moment, don’t forget that you are responsible for your own safety, and that there are people at home counting on you to come back healthy and happy.