Gear That Makes Runners Feel Badass
For every purist on the trails or roads, there is a gear junkie. Others of us lay somewhere in the middle; partially purist because we run for personal reasons, not for gold and glory (or because we know we have no real chance of getting gold and glory), but sometimes falling for gear gimmicks, because who doesn’t like to feel like they look cool while running? And, there may be a little piece of us all who hopes if we wear the neon minimalist shoes, we’ll somehow be fast enough or capable of running far enough to actually need them. So, for those ready to admit that gear may not directly be able to make you a faster or more technically sound runner, but it sure as hell helps you feel like a badass (which is something to recognize and appreciate) here are a few additions to consider for your running wardrobe.
Hydration pack – For a runner to really need a hydration pack, they would probably need to be running at least marathon distance unassisted, meaning no aid stations or friends meeting them along the way with water or the runner’s energy drink of choice. Yet, you see runners wearing hydration backpacks all the time – even on short runs from their house. Why on earth would someone want to lug around what looks like a skimpy lifejacket with a few liters of water sloshing around in it for any distance if they didn’t need to? Simple. Because it looks hardcore. Or, at least, it does in the running world. It is the general assumption of passers by who see a runner donning a hydration pack that he or she must be on a long run and is ‘probably one of those crazy marathoners or ultra runners who pride themselves on being…a little bit crazy.’ To a runner, this is a high compliment – even if it is just an assumption by someone you don’t know when you’re only on a 5-miler.
Compression socks – How is it that these knee-high socks – quite possibly the dorkiest looking running garb – somehow morphs your mindset into ‘speedster’ as soon as you yank these puppies on? They haven’t looked cool on anyone ever, yet they serve a valid purpose if you’re running far and fast, and some of the fastest well-known runners in the world wear them, so…they’ve become ‘cool’ to runners by association.
Arm sleeves – They seem like such a silly concept – sleeves that aren’t attached to your shirt – until you wear them. Put a pair of these bad boys on with a tank top and head out for a jog. You’ll feel like you have wings, guaranteed. Maybe the secret to faster, more graceful running lies in our armpits, and we simply need to air them out more.
Gaiters – For such a small section of fabric that sits over the top of your shoe and wraps around your ankle, gaiters absolutely radiate hardcore, as they are only needed by someone headed out for some dirty, dusty, muddy, rocky, die-hard trails.
Sunglasses – These actually serve to increase confidence in plenty of other situations as well, but they sure as hell work well while running. Eyes must really be the window to the soul, since shielding them from view gives us courage to run faster, farther, and gutsier than we normally would. Perhaps knowing that no one can see the exhaustion, fear, or intimidation in our eyes of an upcoming monstrous hill or race against the clock in a road race makes it easier to convince ourselves that the fear is not really there.
If special gear gives you confidence, makes your run a bit more comfortable, and doesn’t but too harsh of a dent in your pocketbook, you may as well go for it. However, it must be acknowledged that, at the end of the day, no gear is going to make you a significantly better runner. Some gear may make things a tad easier, smoother, or more color coordinated, but when all is said and done, you have to haul your own ass to the end of the trail no matter what you’re wearing. Good luck, and remember to smile.
By: Audra Rundle
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