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The Best Running Accessories to Get You Geared Up

The Best Running Documentaries.

best accessories for runners
Staff, Courtesy of Thule

While it’s true that all you really need to take up running is a pair of (comfortable, sturdy) running shoes, we’d be hard-pressed to find a runner who didn’t also like a good accessory, or several accessories.

But where to begin? What you need to dress up your run, so to speak, will depend on your training and racing goals. When logging higher mileage for a marathon during the summer months, for example, a handheld water bottle or hydration vest might be a good accessory.

If you’re coming back from injury and need to focus on recovery, there are massage tools that can help you come back stronger than ever.

Complete your look, if you will, with these tried-and-true running accessories, no matter your goals.

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Smartwool PhD Pro Endurance Socks

Smartwool is one of the OG sock brands to show the power of merino wool for performance. These crew-height socks, designed by ultrarunner legend Rob Krar, go the distance without weighing you down or stinking up your shoes. 

The socks use a combo of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, with light underfoot cushioning plus padding around the ankle and Achilles, making for a comfortable ride on the road and the trails.

[Related: Best Running Socks.]

Related: Best Hydration Packs
Lakota Gambill

Deemed “Editor’s Choice” by Runner’s World, this fully customizable bra has been an editor favorite for four years in a row. The Ultimate allows wearers to adjust the band and straps, thanks to eight inches of Velcro. Plus, you can switch from an H-back to a crossback in a cinch. 

If you’re constantly fighting with your sports bra, the Ultimate’s front zipper will make dressing and undressing a breeze—although we don’t think you’ll ever want to take this off. 

[Related: Best Sports Bras.]

Nutrition & Weight Loss

For a lightweight, affordable, and long-lasting GPS watch, the Nutrition & Weight Loss stands head and shoulders above the rest—including the major players when it comes to GPS running watches. 

The no-frills Pace 2 clocks in at just 29 grams—the Apple Watch Series 6 ranges from 30.5 to 36.5 grams, and the previous Pace was a whopping 48 grams. 

Don’t worry about battery life either; the Pace 2 will keep you up to speed for 30 hours in between charges, with GPS tracking on.

Garmin Forerunner 945

For runners who do want all the GPS watch frills, the Garmin Forerunner 945 takes the cake. It tracks your steps (while running and going about your day) and logs your resting heart rate while you sleep to help paint a picture of who you are as an athlete. 

If you’re a music lover, the 945 supports 1,000 songs for on-the-run listening. And, previously a Fenix-only feature, the 945 now has color maps, which helps you navigate new running routes. 

[Related: Best Basic Watches for Runners.]

Ciele Athletics GOCap

We saw Ciele first on cyclists, but now the GoCap is making its way onto the heads of runners across the globe. The signature-style design is fun, yes, but it’s also lightweight with quick-drying fabric for those days you’re sweating or getting rained on—or both. 

TrailHeads Ponytail Hat

Runners who need a place to stash their long manes and stay warm, may we introduce you to the TrailHeads Ponytail hat? Its fleece will keep you warm, and its wide visor will protect your eyes from bright sun, all while giving your pony a place to escape. 

Gore Wear M Windstopper Beanie

For ponytail-less noggins, the Gore Wear Windstopper Beanie will keep you warm and dry. Gore gear tends to be on the pricier side, but for good reason: It’s high quality that lasts forever. 

[Related: Best Running Hats.]

Nathan ExoShot 2.0

Stay hydrated without being bogged down, thanks to the Nathan ExoShot 2.0, a sleek, collapsible bottle with a hand strap for grip-free running. Its slim pocket provides space for a few chews or gels, and the bite valve makes midrun hydration easy peasy. 

[Related: Best Water Bottles.]

Jaybird Vista True
Now 21% off

What more could you want than compact, durable, wireless headphones? Maybe ones that last six hours on a single charge? The Jaybird Vista headphones do just that. Plus they’re completely sealed, protecting the buds from moisture—rain and sweat. 

Our reviewers noticed a little buzzing over the Bluetooth connection in crowded environments like New York City, but the sound stayed smooth compared to its competitors. 

[Related: The Best Wireless Headphones for Running.]

Sweaty Bands Headband

Sweaty Bands and runners who need to keep hair out of their faces go way back—like way, way back. A staple at race expos across the country, the OG velvet-lined band really does not slip. The hardest thing to think about when it comes to Sweaty Bands headbands is choosing the design. (Why not stock up on many?) 

[Related: Running Headbands That Never Slip Off.]

Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen
Now 25% off

Unless you’re logging miles before the sun comes up or after it goes down, sunscreen is a must, Jeanine B. Downie, M.D, runner and director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey, previously told Runner’s World. She also recommends runners reapply every hour versus the standard protocol of every two hours. 

We love Thinksport, which has an SPF of 50—Downie recommends at least 30 SPF. The brand, which also makes a baby line, is better for the environment; it doesn’t have common sunscreen chemicals that can destroy coral reefs and hurt wildlife. The zinc oxide-based cream forms a protective barrier that will hold up (with reapplication) over the miles.

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
Black Girl Sunscreen

Black Girl Sunscreen is a sunblock designed by women of color for people of color. It dries totally clear and isn’t sticky or oily. Not only does the sunblock protect against UV rays, it also helps hydrate skin thanks to the avocado and jojoba ingredients. 

[Four-Time NYCM Champion Mary Keitany Retires.]

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
Now 50% off

If you run, you probably know Body Glide. It’s been the gold standard for chafing protection for years. The deodorant-type stick makes it easy to apply and the balm stands up against sweat. 

Forgot to apply your Body Glide? Treat chafing with Desitin Diaper Rash Cream. Yes, diaper rash cream. If you think about it, diaper rashes are a form of skin irritation, just like chafing. 

[Related: How to Prevent and Treat Chafing.]

Goodr The OG

Sorry-not-sorry if you’ve heard us rave about Goodr before. There is no shortage of running sunglasses, but the $25, lightweight, no-bounce model continues to impress. Our biggest complaint is the narrow fit, so for bigger heads, go for the BFG styles for 10 bucks more. 

On top of providing UV protection and keeping away sweat, Goodr sunglasses come in a wide array of fun (and funny) colorways, like Flamingos On A Booze Cruise shown above. 

Staff, Courtesy of Thule

Foam rolling: a necessary evil for runners everywhere. The Rollga roller was designed by a marathoner who actually foam rolls. Taggart Downare, who suffered from shin splints, wanted to create a roller that was effective and (more) comfortable. Downare’s prototypes included Wiffle balls, super balls, socks, and rubber casings before ultimately landing on this lightweight, bulbous design. 

The roller’s grooves allow for you to apply pressure where you want it (muscles and connective tissue) and skip over areas not meant for rolling (hips, shins, spine). Downare’s reasoning for this design was simple: if it’s more comfortable, you’re more likely to make the recovery activity a habit. 

[Related: Best Foam Rollers.]

Hyperice Hypervolt

Speaking of recovery...up your massage game with a massage gun like the Hyperice Hypervolt. The super quiet massager comes with a variety of attachments to cure whatever ails ya. The two-inch foam ball attachment is your best bet for daily use—it’ll really get into your glutes and hamstrings but won’t send you through the roof when you hit the sensitive calf muscles.

[Related: Best Percussion Therapy Devices.]

Salomon Pulse Belt

For long runs or a day on the trails, pack your essentials in the barely there Salomon Pulse belt. The minimalist design is breathable and sits securely, so you can focus on the miles ahead. The zippered pockets will keep your valuables secure, and the stretch pockets can hold two pint-sized bottles for midrun hydration. 

[Related: Best Running Belts.]

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Glove

Before you hem and haw at the price for this “knit” glove, hear us out. The three-layer construction keeps you warm and dry in all weather. The waterproof membrane sits between the nylon exterior and merino wool lining, making it more breathable than other waterproof options. 

Our testers tried their, er, hand at this model, on a rainy, 35-degree night and their hands stayed dry and warm. 

[Related: Best Running Gloves.]

Arc’teryx Arro 16 Backpack

Run commuters, look no further than the stable Arro 16 pack. The flared wings near the hips and rear padding make for a more secure fit, eliminating a lot of the side-to-side motion runners experience with backpacks. The pack fits a 15-inch Macbook Pro, according to our testers, despite the brand saying it’s designed for 13-inch laptops. The only downside is the sternum strap is tough to adjust. 

[Related: Best Backpacks for Commuting Runners.] 

Salomon Adv Skin 8
Now 36% off

This eight-liter pack was designed for women’s narrower chests and shoulders; the curved front and tapered soft flasks don’t press uncomfortably against your breasts. *Cue the hallelujah chorus.* Our testers loved the option to add a bladder, as well as the pack’s ability to store your phone and gear. 

For men (or women who don’t want the smaller fit), the Black Diamond Distance 15L Pack won our Editors’ Choice award thanks to its spacious pack with minimal bounce. Trail runners and hikers will love the ability to store shoes, clothes, a down jacket, trekking poles, and even ice axes. For roadies, this pack is a favorite for run commutes. 

[Related: Best Hydration Packs.]

Thule Chariot Cross

High-quality running strollers are a splurge, yes. But if you plan to log miles with your kiddo(s), it’s a worthwhile investment—the strollers are ergonomic, sleek, lightweight (as far as durable strollers go), and comfy for your charges. 

The Thule Chariot Cross is la creme de la creme. It converts from a stroller to a bike trailer, and for the extra adventurous, can be used as a cross-country ski sled. Your kid will be protected from all the elements thanks to its screen and plastic shield (they move independently so you can screen them in during the summer months). Toting two? The Chariot Cross comes in a double. 

If you’re not ready for this model, the Thule Urban Glide 2 is, feet down, our favorite no-frills model. 

Note: The Thule Chariot Cross is temporarily out of stock at many retailers because of COVID-19 related production delays.

[Related: Best Running Strollers.]

BioLite HeadLamp 750

Comfortable and, er, light, the BioLite 750 will guide the way with constant 500 lumens power, plus a 750-lumen burst and rear flashing lights for extra visibility. It even plugs into a portable charger to keep you lit while on the go. 

[Related: Best Headlamps for Runners.]

Compete Training Journal
Of course, you have shoes. But these must-have gear additions will up your game
Now 24% off

Sure, there are loads of apps out there to help you log your miles and your training, but there’s something to be said about actually writing it all down. (Just ask Molly Huddle.) We love the Compete Training Journal, from former pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Róisín McGettigan-Dumas. You’ll record your workouts, yes, but the pages will also help you set and assess goals, learn from professionals, and, perhaps most importantly, reflect. 

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