Running is often seen as a “cheap” form of exercise, because it doesn’t require a whole lot of equipment or gym membership fees. However, there is an abundance of running gear available, and it can be difficult to decide what are the best running gear investments you can make.
There are definitely ways to train for marathons without spending a ton of money, and the minimalist in me really appreciates that it is possible to forgo purchasing a ton of running gear. I’ve shared that I am not a fan of buying things, but I am willing to spend some money on things that I feel I will get a lot of good use from. And I’d certainly prefer to spend more initially if I know I am getting the best running gear there is.
That being said, I didn’t make a ton of purchases in 2019, but I do want to share the three absolute best running gear purchases I made in 2019. Since I also appreciate convenience, I’ve made sure that all of recommended running gear essentials can be found on Amazon. I would recommend all of these items to any runner. These three pieces of running gear have seen a lot of miles, and I believe I’ve gotten a pretty solid return on investment for each of them.
So many people begin their running journey after making a New Years resolution to be healthier, or maybe run a race, and I am regularly asked what running gear I’d recommend for beginners. So, whether you’re a seasoned runner with some Christmas cash burning a hole in your wallet, or a brand new runner just wanting to find some items that make running more enjoyable, I think you’ll find these mini-reviews helpful.
Best Running Gear Purchases of 2019
Nathan Handheld SpeedDraw Review
In all honesty, I’ve never been a huge fan of carrying water. I’d do anything to run exclusively in areas where there are water fountains every mile or so. Alas, this is not reality for me, and as someone who regularly runs 6-10 miles during the week (in Texas heat). So I carry water.
Despite my dislike for carrying water, I have immensely loved my Nathan handheld SpeedDraw. In fact, I think it’s one of the best made products I’ve found on the market, period. Here’s what I really like about.
It’s big enough to fit my iPhone XR in the pocket. This may seem trivial, but as someone who is not interested in carrying things, having a pocket for my phone is awesome. I don’t have to worry about wearing only shorts and leggings that have big enough pockets, and guess what? The phone never chafes the back of my hand, because it never touches my skin. Amazing. It also fits a few gels in addition to my phone, and we all know I appreciate having snacks with me at all times.
Besides the phone, the handheld also carries 18oz of water, without being too heavy. 18 oz will generally be enough for me for about 8 miles in the heat, and 10 miles in the less hot months. We don’t get any cold month’s in south Texas, we have hot and less hot. That brings me to my next point, the insulated water bottle has been successful in keeping my water nice and cold for over an hour, in 80+ degree weather. Can’t hate that!
Finally, the handheld glove portion has a strap that allows the user to tighten the bottle as much as desired. For someone with abnormally frail hands (skeleton-like they’ve been called), I appreciate being able to tighten that sucker so that I don’t have to actually carry the bottle with my own will power. I sinch the strap, and it magically stays on my hand with no involvement from me. Which is great when you’re half lucid, finishing up a 20 miler.
I’ve carried the Nathan SpeedDraw on about 85% of my runs for the last five or so months. Previously, I carried it’s smaller sibling, but sized up when my iPhone became too large and my runs got longer. In those five months, I’ve washed the glove portion several times, and never notice any wear or tear. The handheld stays put, and functions well without me having to think about it. I would absolutely recommend it for any runner who drinks. So, yea, all runners.
Tifosi Sunglasses Review
I have been running for approximately ten years. Throughout those ten years, I have never been able to find sunglasses I could wear while running that didn’t drive me crazy. And honestly, sunglasses are a piece of running gear that every runner should have. About six months ago, my husband bought me a pair of Tifosi sunglasses, and they are now the only brand I will buy.
As someone with a small size head (I know it’s strange, but it’s reality), it’s really hard for me to find sunglasses and hats in adult sizes that stay on my face. Tifosi has so many style options, there’s bound to be one that looks good on everyone. I prefer the smaller wayfarer style, the Tifosi Swank, but there’s tons to choose from.
The best part is that these sunglasses not only look nice on my tiny face, they DON’T SLIDE OFF or give me pressure headaches. Which means, I can run comfortably, without squinting or constantly sliding them back up my nose. Because they stay on so well, I also wear them in everyday life, and I’ve gotten plenty of compliments.
While they are easily found on Amazon, and running stores, you can also purchase customized sunglasses from the Tifosi website directly. You’re able to select your preferred style, leg color, frame color, and lens type. I created my custom pair, and was amazed that they cost less than $50. The traditional style that I liked was a whopping $25.
After wearing these sunglasses for months and months, I’d definitely say I’ve gotten a great ROI on that $50 purchase. Plus my eyeballs are much happier.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Bone Conducting Headphones Review
This last purchase was my most expensive one. And honestly, I put it off for quite a while. I had been eyeing the trekz titanium bone conducting headphones for months when my husband finally got sick of hearing me talk about them and bought me a pair before the Waco marathon.
These guys are not cheap headphones, and there’s good reason. The headphones are designed to sit on the outer part of the ear, and utilize bone conducting technology to allow the wearer to continue to hear the outside world. This means that you can hear things like cars or dogs or creeps while you’re listening to music or podcasts. Being able to hear all of these things makes me feel much safer when I’m running alone.
The other major benefit of these headphones are that they STAY ON YOUR HEAD without any difficulty. Just like sunglasses, I have tried just about every brand of wired and wireless headphones, and was previously not able to find a single pair that could stay in my ears. Sure, they’d stay on for a couple of miles, but once I became sweaty, out they popped. Over and over again. It was incredibly frustrating.
So frustrating that I refused to wear headphones for a good, long time. They were more trouble than they were worth. So you can imagine my happiness when I was able to run a full marathon without ever having to adjust the headphones once.
They also do a great job synching up to treadmills with bluetooth capabilities. This is a nice little bonus, as I’ve tried a couple of brands that wouldn’t synch reliably. Having a pair of headphones that aren’t irritating and will allow you to binge Netflix can go a long way to make treadmill miles much more enjoyable.
Now I’m not saying pricey headphones are a running gear essential. But if you’re going to buy wireless headphones, you might as well get a pair that you’re going to love.
While none of these items are required to start running, sometimes the best way to stay motivated in a new activity is to make some sort of initial investment. And these three items can definitely make running so much more enjoyable, increasing the likelihood of sticking to a running plan. What pieces of running gear have made your “best purchase” list over the last year?