There’s nothing like a great run: the combination of fresh air, a great workout, some great scenery, and the feel-good feeling of a post-workout stretch is quite addicting. Our team of writers and editors rack up thousands of miles every year, and many of us have been running for more than 20 years. And over the miles, we’ve tested some outstanding shoes, socks, gear, and apparel that have helped make our workouts all the more enjoyable.
We’ve wrapped our favorite, trail-tested gear into our 2017 Outdoor Gift Guide. Find the perfect gift idea for someone on your list – or some great new shoes and apparel for your own workouts. For even more ideas, check out our trail running gear list for more of our all-time favorite shoes and gear. (And if you need inspiration on a great place to run in the South, check out our favorite Atlanta running trails, some of our all-time favorite places to score a great workout with a great view, too.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY
Trailful Snapback Trucker Hat
Our snapback trucker features an embroidered Trailful logo on a six-panel, mid-profile cap, perfect for shading the sun on hikes, trail runs, or around-town adventures. It’s a classic way to wear your love of the mountains, everywhere.
POWER UP, POWER THROUGH, RECOVER
GU Energy Snacks & Drinks
We’ve been longtime fans of GU and their line of energy, hydration, and recovery products. From pre-workout energy chews to post-workout hydration, GU keeps us moving and feeling great. Each product satisfies specific energy and nutrients needs for sustained activity and performance. And the products not only work great, but they taste great, too! Among our favorites are the Carmel Stroopwafels, Watermelon Energy Chews, and Lemon Lime Hydration Drink Tabs.
ULTRA COMFY, STABLE, AND RUGGED
HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3
Hello, comfort. The Challenger ATR 3 provides a comfortable ride on rough terrain as well as paved roads and groomed trails. The supportive midsole offers a cushiony feel while the rugged outsole’s wide lugs keep us sure-footed over whatever trail conditions we run up against. And the breathable mesh upper lets our legendary Southern heat escape as we rack up the miles.
PERFORMANCE IN THE HIGHEST DEGREE
Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Short Sleeve Shirt
The short sleeve shirt from Smartwool wicks moisture and helps regulate our temperature when our workout intensity peaks. The shirt blends the temperature-controlling and wicking properties of Merino with the stretchiness and quick-drying properties of polyester for ultimate workout comfort. Body-mapped mesh panels increase ventilation right where we need it. And we love the non-sticky feeling of wool compared to most technical fabrics when our body heat is on the rise.
JUST ROLL WITH IT
Rollga Dynasty Foam Roller
It’s the perfect way to warm up for a long run or help relieve sore, tired muscles after a grueling summit hike. The Rollga’s innovative design makes it different from other foam rollers. The contoured shape lets us work different areas of the body and specific muscle groups. The Rollga comes complete with a handy carrying strap, and detailed instructions for different exercises and stretches. Ahh… relief.
AGILE TRAIL RUNNER
Merrell Agility Peak Flex Trail Running Shoe
The Agility Peak Flex keeps us moving on the trail with a super comfortable, cushiony ride. The shoe’s outsole features heavy duty lugs providing excellent traction over a range of trail conditions and the molded heel keeps us in control on tight turns and steep descents or inclines. Mile after mile the Agility Peak Flex provides a comfortable, stable fit and excellent traction and control.
Coolcore’s line of cooling shirts has kept us cool out on the trail through the warmest weather here in the South. The non-chemical cooling technology is activated by moisture and starts working as soon as we work up a sweat. Unlike other cooling shirts that rely on a chemical added after construction, Coolcore’s technology is built into the fabric so that it won’t fade after multiple washes.
ULTRALIGHT AND ULTRA COOL
FITS Ultra Light Running Sock
FITS Ultra Light Running Sock provides a comfortable ride with a minimal amount of fabric between you and your shoe. These no slip socks feature Full Contact Fit which hugs the shape and contour of the foot and eliminates bunching and rubbing. And the Super-fine Merino Wool provides excellent breathability, moisture wicking, and odor resistance.
ULTRA-VERSATILE RUNNING WEAR
Cotopaxi Quito Active Shirt
The Cotopaxi Quito Active Shirt is perfect for just about any activity or adventure. The super soft fabric provides plenty of stretch when climbing, running, or scrambling over rough trail. Seamless armholes eliminate irritating rubbing, and the athletic fit provides a comfortable wear for all-day activity.
LIGHT AND STABLE
adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Trail Running Shoe
The Terrex Agravic packs stability, comfort, and control into a fully trail-worthy, lightweight running shoe. The outsole features wide, grippy lugs that keep us stable over mixed terrain, wet trails, and rocky conditions. The midsole offers energy-cushioning and plenty of protection from rocky terrain, while the upper remains breathable in the South’s warm summertime temps.
TRACK YOUR FITNESS
TomTom Spark 3 Fitness Watch
The Spark 3 lets us track all of our activities, listen to 500 of our favorite songs, and get immediate stats on heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, all on our wrist. The comfortable band fits great and the digital displays are clear and easy to read, even when we’re on the run. And the multi-sport mode lets us select from a range or activities including running, swimming, biking, and freestyle to help keep our route tracking accurate.
Featuring Coolcore’s chemical-free cooling technology, Coolcore Shorts keep our workouts on track during the sweltering days of summer. The stretchy fabric provides us plenty of range of motion while mesh panels improve air circulation and breathability. And a zippered back pocket is perfect for stashing keys and ID.
COMFORTABLE & WICKING
adidas Outdoor Response Long Sleeve Tee
We’ve been thoroughly impressed with this long sleeve during our warm weather runs here in the South. The Climalite fabric wicks moisture away from the body helping keep us dry and cool. The long sleeves offer great sun protection, and reflective strips increase visibility in low light. We also love the thumb loops that keep the sleeves in place when we’re active.
Cotopaxi Teca Windbreaker
The Teca windbreaker from Cotopaxi is ideal for those breezy sunrise hikes to our favorite mountain summits. The Teca is super light weight, and the whole jacket packs down into its interior pocket for easy stashing in a backpack. The durable ripstop nylon, elastic hem and cuffs puts a stop to the wind, and helps retain plenty of heat to keep the chill away. It’s great for chilly hikes and early morning trail runs, too.
Coolcore Dr. Cool Cooling Towel
The Coolcore Dr. Cool Cooling Towel lets us continue our favorite outdoor activities even when temperatures soar here in the South. The chemical-free cooling technology lets us apply targeted cooling to anywhere we need it. Simply soak the towel in water, wring it out, then snap it. Just like magic the cooling technology instantly cools the towel providing much needed relief to summer’s swelter.
FITS LIKE A GLOVE
ASICS GEL-FujiRado Trail Running Shoe
This shoe’s superior fit and comfort keep us on the trail and on the move. The shoe’s BOA closure system creates a secure fit with the twist of a dial, and the MONO-SOCK construction helps keep irritating trial dirt and debris out of shoe. Underneath, the GEL-FujiRado’s outsole provides plenty of grippy traction across a range of trail conditions, while the midsole and Asics Barefoot GEL Technology offers ample shock absorption and protection from rough terrain.
Feetures Elite Merino+ Socks
Feetures socks offer an incredible fit and an incredibly soft wear. Made from a merino wool blend, they’re ultra-breathable in hot weather, don’t slide in our boots or shoes like other socks we’ve worn, and provide great arch support via a soft, ribbed panel. And the merino wool blend wicks moisture to keep our feet dry, and helps keep the socks odor-free. They come in a range of heights and cushioning for multiple sports – and they’re great for everyday wear, too.
WEAR YOUR OUTDOOR LOVE
Trailful Bear Tri-Blend Shirt
It’s the perfect gift for the outdoor adventurer on your list! We printed our colorful bear design on our ultra-soft tri-blend Trailful tee, the softest shirt we’ve ever worn. It’s perfect for hikes, urban adventures, or just chilling around town.
The Banjees Armband is functional and easy to use. No fussy straps or covers: just a comfortable stretchy band that stays in place and holds any sized phone. One velcro strap keeps the phone securely in the sleeve while running, hiking, rowing, or biking. We couldn’t ask for anything better!
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Running Shoe
The Trail Glove 4 combines sleek styling, a secure fit, and comfortable cushioning in an all-around fantastic running shoe. These lightweight, barefoot-style shoes provide a super secure, sock-like fit for quick paced runs on pavement or groomed trails like Cochran Shoals. The shoe’s breathable mesh upper keeps our feet cool throughout the summer, and the Vibram outsole provides ample protection against small trail debris.
Stio Basis Power Dry Zip Neck
We can’t get enough of the Power Dry! This versatile mid-weight pullover is perfect for layering with a waterproof outer shell or puffy during wet, wintery weather – or as a top layer during milder temps. The center zipper opens deep for excellent ventilation during heavy activity, and the quick drying polyester-wool blend wicks moisture away, keeping us dry and comfortable.
Sunski glasses give a stylish, vintage 80’s vibe that can be worn anywhere from mountaintop exploring to chilling at the beach, and anywhere in between. And at about $50 they won’t bust the budget. Not only are Sunski glasses stylish and comfortable, but the company donates 1% of their revenue each year to worthy organizations committed to maintaining a healthy environment.
HIT THE ROAD
Mizuno Wave Rider Running Shoe
We’ve covered some serious mileage in our Wave Riders over the past decade, and have loved every step, from easy jogs through Piedmont Park to epic distance training on the Silver Comet Trail. The Wave Rider is breathable, lightweight and offers plenty of support underfoot to take us wherever the pavement leads.
BUFF Insect Shield Arm Sleeves
We love using BUFF Arm Sleeves on long runs: they provide added protection from the sun, and the Insect Shield offers protection from biting insects. The sleeves combine UPF 40+ sun protection with odorless, insect-repelling Permethrin built into the fabric. The quick-drying sleeves are lightweight and super packable, making them perfect for any sunny outdoor adventure: we also love wearing them on the water and on long hikes.
Let them choose!
Road Runner Sports Gift Card
What’s not to love about a gift card?! With a huge selection of top running brands, envy-worthy gear and a staff of running experts, Road Runner Sports is our go-to running store online. Not sure what gift to give? Let them decide!