Summer’s Ending. Here’s the Running Gear You’ll Need to Survive It.
Summer is almost over. Running szn is just getting started
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As much as it pains us to admit it, summer is coming to a close. (Ciao, European vacation. Ciao, hot dogs. Ciao, pool floaties.) But running…whether you’re starting to prep for fall marathon season or just getting into the sport, running is back, baby. The dog days of August are synonymous with unbearable heat, stifling humidity and unpredictable weather, and it still won’t stop us from logging mile after mile in our favorite trainers and generally putting in the (very sweaty) hours.
That being said, end-of-summer running demands a specific set of gear to cope with seasonal challenges. To help us conquer one of the toughest seasons for running, we’ve put more than a little thought — also, tested dozens of products and run hundreds of miles — into the perfect checklist of gear for you to best conquer those dog day runs. While there’s no exact across-the-board approach, everything from lightweight activewear to sunscreen to hydration packs plays a pivotal role in a successful routine. Below, the must-have running gear that’s helped us maximize every mile of summer running.
The Best End of Summer Running Gear
There are more running shoes on the market than there are feet to fill them (don’t fact-check that), but this summer, we’ve been turning to the Swiss-made On Cloudsurfer for our everyday miles. Built using computer-generated CloudTec technology for the optimal blend of cushion and responsiveness, these featherweight trainers (the Cloudsurfer clocks in at a measly .54 lbs) are perfect for virtually every level of runner. The pocketed foam midsole is beefy enough to avoid serious pavement damage and the sneaker is perforated across the upper for appropriate airflow in humid conditions. We can’t seem to find a single flaw with them.
The end of August isn’t typically considered race season, but between tune-ups, track sessions and the old 5K, a race shoe in the rotation is still a necessity. We’ve opted for the newest version of the Nike Vaporfly, because, well, what else would we race in? The combination of ZoomX foam and a lightning-quick carbon plate makes it the gold standard for marathon shoes, and we’ve found the Vaporfly 3 to be ever more airy than it’s previous iteration. Plus, who doesn’t love a loud running shoe?
Hoka has a well-deserved reputation for creating running shoes with lots of cushioning, and while that’s not exactly what we’re looking for on a downright disgusting day, we’ll gladly slip into the brand’s cushy Ora recovery slide post-run. The sandal features a generous layer of sugarcane-derived EVA foam for a plush ride, and the wide sole and Active Foot Frame architecture (your foot sits lower in the sole for a cradling effect) create a stable, supportive feel.
A tank that keeps burning rays of sun off your back and preserves modesty (while showing off the guns, of course) is harder to come by than you might think; the best solution we’ve found is Arc’teryx’s Norvan Tank, an ultra-lightweight trail option that features quick-drying tech and a high neckline for an anti-chaff fit even with a hydration pack. We particularly like the Delta mesh on the back; as we can attest, the material claim of improved airflow is spot on, even on the sweatiest of tempo runs.
One of our favorite goods from Ten Thousand, the Session Short deserves a multi-sport medal for its incredible versatility and practically unlimited customizability. From lined to unlined, 5″ to 7″ inseam, XS to XXL, there are a ton of ways to rock these joints, all unified by the perfect amount of storage (plus specific pockets for your phone, keys and even gels) and an ultra-lightweight fit — the waistband is perforated and the shorts feature allover laser-cut ventilation — that pushes sweat and hot air away from your body.
Now, if we were truly sensible gearheads, we’d probably suggest that New England-based Tracksmith’s top-of-the-line Strata Tee was the way to go, with its oodles of coldblack, UV protection and active silver tech to combat warm weather. But we’re only human, and sometimes, sweating it our in a grey cotton tee is the only way to feel like you’ve really accomplished anything. The 100% cotton jersey Grayboy Tee is still a premium product, but it’ll make you’ll feel like a bona fide Prefontaine post-6:00 AM sweat sesh.
Too often we blame our shoes for painful blisters and hot feet when socks are the real culprit. Breathable, sweat-wicking socks, like Darn Tough’s Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock, keep your feet dry and cool over scorching pavement. The blend of nylon and Merino wool (not the icky, sweaty stuff, but a silky and cool-to-the-touch premium fabric) also boasts antimicrobial properties, ensuring every pair stays fresh when you’re too tired to run them through the wash.
When you’re heading out on a long run, a hydration pack is necessary to carry not only the water you’ll need, but gear and fuel too. The North Face has been leading the hydration pack charge for decades, and the Sunriser Run Vest (and it’s dual hydration bottles) offers enough liquid storage and pockets to support even ultramarathoners. Pro tip: do not fill the built-in water bladder with Gatorade.
We fell in love with Goodr when the brand launched in 2015 with a line of affordable, well-built, polarized shades that come in a ton of colors. You’ll catch us in a pair of Circle Gs at the summer barbecue, but the OGs come with a special non-slip coating that’s ideal for running. At $25, there’s no need to feel guilty every time they hit the deck or fall to the bottom of your pack, which is why runners love them so much.
As far as hats go, the dad cap ain’t gonna cut it in 95-degree weather. Instead, add an all-nylon run hat from ikyky running label Bandit to your sunscreen and shades for serious sun protection. Designed with high-density nylon that repels sweat and an internal mesh sweatband to mop up any stray beads, this lightweight cap delivers on long runs, and we much prefer the back bungee and cord stopper to a traditional velcro strap. Plus, it looks sick — toss it on and let the compliments roll in.
While there’s a newer and reportedly even better update now available, we’re still running in the Jabra Elite 4 Active, if only because of their unparalleled quality in the sweat-resistance and battery-life departments. The do-it-all earbuds deliver seven hours of battery life (28 with a fully charged case) and an impressive boosted base for optimal pavement pounding. Combined with a snug fit — three sizes of in-ear tips ensure everyone can wear the pair — that works with a hat or sunglasses, and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.
Health and Recovery
This quick-drying, non-runny sunscreen from Oars + Alps won’t leave you feeling like a sticky mess as you work up a sweat, and with 70 SPF broadband protection, will keep your skin safe from the worst summer throws your way. We prefer the nifty spray bottle to a classic squeeze tube, too — it allows for easy arm, leg and back coverage.
You can’t rely on the infrequent water fountain for hydration, especially as temperatures creep higher and water becomes key. Instead, carry the Nathan QuickSqueeze 18oz Insulated Handheld Water Bottle that uses a cycling bottle for aim-and-squeeze hydration. Its soft carrying strap ratchets down so you don’t need to use your death grip and the extra pocket holds keys or fuel. There’s even an insulation pack that keeps everything cool.
You won’t need electrolytes on every run, but longer days in the sun will burn energy that your body needs to replenish. Nuun’s quick-dissolving tablets contain minerals that can help prevent cramping after hours of sweating. Flavors like fruit punch and strawberry lemonade are tasty and don’t contain the same artificial sweeteners found in similar energy drinks.
You pushed your body to its limits and now the time has come to help it recover. Work out aches, pains and sore muscles with the ultra-portable Theragun Mini that features three different speed settings and over two hours of battery life. Its compact size fits in a gym bag or running pack, making it the perfect travel companion.
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