Fresh Running Gear
Here’s a collection of new running gear at the crossroads of fashion and function
By Brian Metzler
Still running in last year’s running gear? There’s nothing wrong with that, but styles, trends and technology are updated every year. Here’s a look at some of the latest and greatest in the world of running gear.
AllBirds burst onto the scene a few years ago as an online start-up brand with stylish, eco-friendly athleisure shoes. This spring it released the Dasher as its first true performance-oriented running shoe model. Using responsible material sourcing and unique natural components (including sugarcane, eucalyptus and merino wool), Allbirds crafted the Dasher with a smallish carbon footprint and a distinctive look. It has a comfortable, wrap-like fit and serves up a soft, stable ride, ideal for short to long runs, as well as your dash to the coffee shop.
Rabbit is a young apparel brand that often draws on its Southern California roots and these shorts ooze that laid-back vibe. The women’s Surf ‘n’ Turf Shorts are inspired by the casual style of board shorts, but they’re still infused with the company’s performance-oriented ethos. Made with a two-way stretch-woven fabric and a comfortable knit liner, they’re available with a 2.5” or 4” inseam and ideal for wearing on a run finished off with a post-run dip in the ocean.
For years, men’s running shorts were primarily available in solid black or blue. Now several brands are adding some funky style to their apparel mix, including Nike’s Wild Run line. Randomly placed materials, zig-zag stitching and wild graphics give these lightweight and very breathable shorts an eye-catching look, plus they have a soft waistband and are made from recycled polyester. They’re designed for hard training and making a bold statement.
The brand that made running hats cool again continues to evolve its trail running line with this funky bucket hat. It’s made from an airy CoolWick mesh that keeps your melon cool while offering 360-degree sun coverage and UPF 40+ protection on the brim and body. The BKTHat looks and runs cool, making it ideal for long runs, a day at the beach or an afternoon at the pub.
Brooks overhauled its design process on how its constructs sports bras for performance-oriented running and found a way to more optimally blend comfort and support. Made from a mix of moisture-wicking nylon and spandex, the Dare Crossback bra has a streamlined, form-fitting design with built-in cups, smartly placed perforations for breathability and a comfortable support band, but no hooks, zips or uncomfortable or unsightly straps. It provides the same level of comfort, style and performance for a range A/B to and C/D sizes, no matter if you’re running, going to yoga or at the gym.
If you find yourself often running early in the morning before sunrise or later in the evening as the sun goes down, the diminutive BioLite Headlamp 200 will come in handy. This featherweight, no-bounce beacon pumps out 200 lumens of light with a long run time (3 hours on high, 40 hours on low) and can easily be stashed in a jacket pocket when not in use. It’s powered by a USB-micro-rechargeable battery and tips the scales at just 1.7 ounces.
Stance was the original progenitor that put some funky style into running socks. Now it cranks out all kinds of wild, colorful and thematic designs in no-show, quarter and crew socks. The lightly cushioned women’s Run Away With Me Crew and men’s Flora Crew are built from hearty blend of polyester, nylon and elastane for a softness, stretchiness and durability. They fit great, feel good and look stunning.
Even before Saucony released the technologically advanced Endorphin Pro on a limited basis in April, the shoe had already made a statement when Molly Seidel placed second in the women’s race at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta. Following the trend of other speedy long-distance racing shoes, the Endorphin Pro has a curvy carbon-fiber plate embedded in the soft, responsive foam midsole. It weighs just 7.5 oz. for a men’s size 9.0 (6.2 oz. for women’s size 7.0) and has a moderate, 8mm heel-toe offset (35.5mm in the heel, 27.5mm in the forefoot). They serve up a is smooth and sublime ride with a burst of energy in every stride.
Brian Metzler quite literally wrote the book on running shoes as the author of the very well-reviewed “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes.” He is a sports journalist who has tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes and has raced every distance from 50 yards to 100 miles. He was the founding editor of Trail Runner and Adventure Sports magazines, senior editor at Running Times, and Editor-in-Chief of Competitor magazine. He has also written for Outside, Runner’s World, Triathlete, Men’s Health, and Men’s Journal.